In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson takes some big risks by killing off four major characters. Some of them are, clearly, dead for good. But there’s at least one person who seemingly died in The Last Jedi but could still return for Episode IX. And it’s not the one you’d think.
Let’s take a look at the characters who got killed off in The Last Jedi and the one who, based on a new interview with director Rian Johnson, might have actually survived. Warning: Major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi lie ahead.
The Last Jedi kills off four major characters and one minor one
As a reminder, there are four major characters who apparently die in Star Wars: The Last Jedi: Luke Skywalker, Supreme Leader Snoke, Amilyn Holdo, and Captain Phasma.
In addition, Admiral Ackbar is, sadly, killed off-screen. He’s barely a character in The Last Jedi, but he’s on the ship that Leia is blown out of, and it’s later revealed that he did not survive. There’s no real reason to doubt that, so we can safely assume Ackbar is gone for good.
Of the other four characters who apparently died, two are unlikely to return. But we’ll probably see the other two again.
Next: Can Snoke jump his consciousness from body to body?
Could Snoke still be alive?
One death that seems fairly unambiguous is Supreme Leader Snoke’s. Kylo Ren slices him in half with a lightsaber, and we see Snoke’s dead body lying still for a full scene. Yet some fans theorize that Snoke is alive somehow.
Before the movie even came out, there was a theory that Snoke could jump his consciousness from body to body. So perhaps this is the case, and he did so just as Kylo struck him. Alternatively, maybe his return could have something to do with his ring, which the Visual Dictionary notes contains obsidian from the catacombs of Darth Vader’s castle on Mustafar — maybe the ring has some Tolkien-style powers to it. Snoke’s backstory is so mysterious, and he’s so strong in the Force, that it’s always possible there could be some crazy way he’s alive in Episode IX. Let’s not forget the last time a Star Wars villain was killed off surprisingly early by being cut in half: His name was Darth Maul, and it was later revealed that he survived.
However, this seems unlikely because director Rian Johnson has said in post-film interviews that he killed off Snoke in order to focus the storyline more on Kylo Ren and allow him to come into his own as a villain. So bringing Snoke back would just undermine that. Episode IX director J.J. Abrams will probably respect Johnson’s decision and keep Snoke dead.
Next: This character, though, will almost certainly be in Episode IX.
Luke definitely died, but he’ll likely still be in Episode IX
Luke Skywalker gets a clear death at the end of The Last Jedi. Earlier, Kylo Ren had suggested using the Force to project yourself in another location is extremely difficult; he tells Rey the effort would kill her. This foreshadows what happens to Luke. He projects himself across the galaxy in order to save the Resistance, but doing so kills him.
In one of the final scenes of the film, Luke calmly and peacefully dies on Ahch-To. He has redeemed himself, accepted his role as a legend, and become one with the Force. Because of the existence of Force ghosts, it is extremely unlikely that this is the last we’ll see of Luke. But he really did die at the end of the movie.
In interviews, Johnson certainly isn’t acting like Luke will never appear again. In just one example, he told Esquire, “the potential of Luke’s part in the next chapter, no matter what it ends up being, the possibilities are more varied and more exciting with him having passed on into the next realm.”
So far, it seems like Snoke and Luke really did die. But this next character could have actually survived their apparent death scene.
Next: Never count this character out.
Captain Phasma might have survived
Of all the “dead” characters, the one most likely to have secretly lived is Captain Phasma. In the film, Phasma duels with Finn, who ultimately gets the better of her and knocks her to the ground. After she gets in one last dig, the floor beneath her collapses, and she falls off-screen.
This plays like a death scene, as Phasma plummets into what’s essentially a giant ball of fire. But it has been established that Phasma’s armor can withstand quite a bit of damage, as she easily deflects blaster shots. Plus, we don’t really get a good look at how far Phasma’s falling. This is a situation where the death is just inconclusive enough where J.J. Abrams is left to decide whether he wants to bring her back.
In a new interview, though, Johnson made a comment that certainly suggests Phasma could return.
Next: Is Phasma like Kenny from South Park?
Rian Johnson has compared Phasma to Kenny from South Park
In a recent interview, Johnson suggested Phasma could still be alive. He told Entertainment Weekly that Phasma is the “Kenny from South Park of this series,” referring to the fact that Kenny from South Park constantly “dies” only to return in the next episode.
Johnson was obviously joking around here. But this quote was still music to the ears of Phasma fans. In another interview with Slashfilm, Johnson made the same joke. But this time, he also said that “there’s always a chance” that Phasma is still alive. He noted that it’s completely up to J.J. Abrams, who is currently writing Episode IX.
For what it’s worth, Mark Hamill also told Entertainment Weekly that “I think she’s got to survive,” and costume designer Michael Kaplan said that “Gwendoline has it all figured out how she wants to come back.”
Next: The movies have already proven that anything is possible with Phasma.
Phasma already returned from apparent death after The Force Awakens
Let’s not forget that Phasma already returned from “death” once before. In The Force Awakens, Han Solo and Finn throw Phasma into a trash compactor. From there, we are left to assume she died — if not by being crushed to death then at least when Starkiller was blown up.
Yet she returned. In the comics, it’s explained that Phasma managed to make her way out of the trash compactor, ultimately escaping Starkiller just before it was blown up. This is to say it’s not unprecedented for audiences to be led to believe that Phasma died, only for it to be explained that she did not. If it could happen once, why couldn’t it happen again?
Granted, it’ll be a lot more difficult for Phasma to survive The Last Jedi than it was for her to survive The Force Awakens. But she could return in Episode IX having been burnt in the explosion but being desperate to track down and finally kill Finn, getting her revenge once and for all.
Next: This classic character also returned from apparent death.
Boba Fett, Phasma’s analog in the original trilogy, also returned from apparent death
Fans have compared Captain Phasma to Boba Fett from the original trilogy. They’re both characters with really cool-looking designs who have a vendetta against one of the protagonists and who Lucasfilm sells a lot of action figures of despite them not getting too much screen time.
If Phasma really is the new Boba Fett, then her odds of returning are looking even better. Boba Fett, too, got a pretty lame death in Return of the Jedi, falling into the Sarlacc Pit unceremoniously. But in the expanded universe, it was subsequently revealed that he survived. That’s no longer canon. But in the new books, there have been some hints that Boba Fett might have survived the pit; his armor shows up in a recent book, for example.
So if Phasma really is the new Boba Fett, that would be a good thing, as it would mean that she survived her apparent death against all odds.
Next: At least one character will definitely not return.
At least one character will definitely not return
There’s only really one character from Star Wars: The Last Jedi whose death we can be 100% sure of: Amilyn Holdo. Laura Dern’s Resistance fighter, after all, dies by going to light speed and crashing her ship into the First Order’s fleet. We see her going to light speed on screen, and the ship crashes head-on and explodes. That’s about as clear a death as you can get.
That said, we might still see more of Holdo off-screen. Holdo was already introduced in a canon book called Leia: Princess of Alderaan, in which she is a childhood friend of Leia Organa’s. So we will probably see more of her in future books, especially ones that take place leading up to The Last Jedi.
Sadly, though, Dern will almost certainly not be in any more Star Wars films, meaning seeing her adorably freaking out while meeting BB-8 on the red carpet and chatting alongside Mark Hamill was a one-time thing.
Next: Who do fans want back the most?
Who do fans definitely want back?
When bringing back an old favorite character is the surprise final moment of a film, a lot of expectations rest on how that story will be told in the sequel. There was a lot of talk leading up to TLJ as to how Luke Skywalker would factor in, and even his portrayer, Mark Hamill, had his doubts.
The criticisms are vast: Some feel that Luke was underutilized and unlike his old self, while others feel that his final appearance wasn’t satisfying. But all seem to say the same thing — give us more Luke, or you’ll have some angry fans on your hands.
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