Star Wars: The Last Jedi is such a meaty film that it will take a few viewings to really process everything. That’s evident based on the fact that there’s one crucial detail near the end that a lot of fans may have missed, but has major implications for Episode IX.
We’ll get into that on page four. But first, let’s talk a bit about the context leading up to this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene. Warning: Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi lie ahead!
Luke is in possession of ancient Jedi texts on Ahch-To
Early on in the movie, we find out that Luke Skywalker has a collection of ancient Jedi texts on Ahch-To. We don’t end up learning a lot about these books. But we know they’re quite old and contain the first teachings of the Jedi Order.
These texts are located inside of an ancient tree, which Rey finds in the film. It’s only when Rey is led to this place that Luke realizes there’s something special about her. Since Luke is convinced the Jedi must end, though, he doesn’t initially place much value in these books.
Yoda seemingly burns the books
Later on, we see Luke planning to burn the tree that has the Jedi texts in it. Before he can, Yoda, appearing as a Force ghost, confronts him. We expect Yoda to stop Luke from burning the books. But instead, Yoda summons lightning to burn the tree himself.
Luke is surprised, and in fact, it seems he cared about the books more than he was letting on since he initially tries to save them. But Yoda tells Luke that it’s time for him to “look past a pile of old books.” We initially interpret this moment as meaning that the Jedi Order doesn’t necessarily need to rely on the teachings of some ancient texts from thousands of years ago. This fits with the theme of letting the past die that runs through the film.
But actually, there’s much more going on.
Yoda says there’s nothing in the library that Rey does not already possess
After seemingly burning all the books, there’s a line that will later become important. Yoda says, “Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess.”
During our first viewing, we read this as Yoda saying that Rey already understands the ways of the Force and doesn’t need to study some ancient relics to understand it.
However, during a second viewing, that line plays a lot differently. That’s because of a critical moment that happens near the end, but that you may have missed the first time.
We later find out Rey still has the books on the Millennium Falcon
At the very end of the film, we find out that the books were actually not in the tree when Yoda burnt it. There’s a very brief shot where Finn opens a drawer on the Millennium Falcon, and if you look closely, you’ll see that the Jedi texts are inside. It goes by so quickly that many viewers didn’t even notice.
So looking back, Yoda was being a bit of a trickster earlier. When he said there’s nothing in the library that Rey does not already possess, he was being quite literal. The library is empty, and Rey literally already possesses all the books. This begs the question: If the books were not really in the tree when Yoda burnt it, why did Yoda want Luke to think they were?
Yoda taught Luke one final lesson
One answer to that question is that Yoda doesn’t want Luke to know Rey stole the books. But also, calling back to The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Yoda is teaching Luke one final lesson.
In this case, the lesson would seem to be that Luke needs to let go of the past and focus on the present. As Yoda says, “Skywalker. Still looking to the horizon. Never here, now.” This mirrors his line in The Empire Strikes Back when he notes that Luke was never focused on “where he was, what he was doing.”
Yoda teaches Luke he needs to pass the knowledge he has learned through his own experiences to Rey. This is more important than teaching her what’s in some old books.
Rey can use the texts to learn more about the Jedi in Episode IX
Some viewers felt the movie implied that Rey doesn’t need to know anything about the Jedi at all because she’s already perfect and nothing about the past Jedi Order matters. But that’s clearly not the lesson based on the fact that director Rian Johnson ensured she still had the books by the end.
So Rey can learn more about the history of the Jedi and about the Force in Episode IX. She can then use this knowledge to start a new Jedi Order.
Going into The Last Jedi, fans were worried that the Jedi Order might die completely as Rey starts something new. But by the end of the film, that does not seem to be the case.
The film is packed with little details like this
The books not being burnt is not the only detail of The Last Jedi that you might not have picked up on at first, but that makes much more sense upon repeat viewings.
One other example is in the final battle between Kylo and Luke, there are a lot of hints that Luke isn’t really there. He doesn’t leave footprints in the snow, for one. And he’s using the blue lightsaber that we just saw get destroyed a few minutes earlier. Finally, Luke also looks younger in the scene, more like he did during the flashback with Ben. This foreshadows the fact that Luke is actually just projecting himself there from Ahch-To.
Another example is that when Rey and Kylo first begin communicating remotely, Kylo says that Rey couldn’t possibly be doing this herself, as this would kill her. This foreshadows the ending, during which Luke makes himself appear on another planet and doing so kills him.
The Last Jedi, it seems, will continue to reward additional viewings. And that makes it a truly worthy addition to the Star Wars canon.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!