‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: Rian Johnson Finally Answers This Burning Question

We have a lot of questions about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Disney and Lucasfilm have done a phenomenal job keeping the answers away from us, even though some spoilers have been consistently leaking over the last few months.In a recent interview with the New York Times, The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson finally answered one of the burning questions fans have: What, exactly, does the title mean?

Read on to find out Johnson’s long-awaited answer to this question, as well as closer a look at the other ways The Last Jedi could change Star Wars as we know it.

Rian Johnson reveals what The Last Jedi title means

Rian Johnson speaks into a microphone at Star Wars Celebration

Rian Johnson | Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images

While speaking about The Last Jedi recently, Johnson seemed to finally address the question surrounding the movie’s title and it’s meaning. As he stated:

It’s in the opening crawl of “The Force Awakens.” Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown.

Now that that’s finally confirmed, let’s dig into some other mysteries surrounding The Last Jedi.

Luke denounces the Jedi Order

Luke stands silhouetted at the entrance to a cave.

Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

The big reveal from the teaser trailer for Episode VIII was Luke’s line, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” We don’t yet know what the context is for that line, but we can still create a few theories about its meaning. Luke has been alone on this island for years, presumably, with nothing to do but explore the very first Jedi temple. We can assume that he has learned everything there is about the original Jedi teachings and has come to some conclusions based on that information.

But what if he found that the teachings of the Jedi as he knows them — basically the stuff he might’ve learned from Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda — were really wrong? What if the teachings of the Jedi had split from the original purpose? It’s easy to see why Luke might actually denounce the Jedi and want to take a different path with his teaching of Rey. Could that create some problems later in the movie?


Kylo Ren, Rey, and Han Solo

Rey stands in front of a cliff face, with waves crashing in front of her

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

When examining how Han Solo fit into Star Wars: The Force Awakens, an often overlooked element is his personal relationship with his own son as compared to his relationship with Rey. In the scene where Kylo Ren is attempting to read Rey’s mind, he mentions that she sees Han as the father she never had. In a telling line, Ren tells her that Han would’ve disappointed her. We can see the jealousy he feels at the fact that Rey formed a bond with his father in a matter of days.

Then, of course, Rey — having wanted nothing but a family her whole life — endures watching Kylo kill her father figure. To sum it all up, we don’t expect that Harrison Ford will be reprising his role as Star Wars‘ biggest scoundrel in The Last Jedi, but he will be present in some sense.

Add in the fact that Kylo was defeated by Rey in battle (earning him the hideous scar on his face) and we have some potential for a really ugly feud. This isn’t anything like Luke with Darth Vader, the father he never knew. There should be some seriously bad blood between Kylo Ren and Rey, and it goes beyond the light, the dark, and the Force.

Rey turns to the dark side of the Force

Rey bent over, sweaty and panting outside.

Rey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi | Lucasfilm

A big twist that we probably wouldn’t see coming is Rey turning to the dark side of the Force at the end of the movie. But that doesn’t mean that the seeds of such a turn haven’t already been sown, to a degree. Let’s take this back for a second — we know that Rey is powerful with the Force. We know that, upon touching Luke’s — and Anakin’s — lightsaber, she has a vision where familiar voices speak to her. Specifically, we hear Obi-Wan Kenobi saying, “Rey … these are your first steps.”

But according to the novelization of The Force Awakens, which is official in Star Wars canon, Rey also heard darker voices in a different moment in the film. When battling Kylo Ren on Starkiller Base, a voice in her heard implored her to kill him. Who was this voice? Supreme Leader Snoke? Emperor Palpatine? Or just a manifestation of the dark side of the Force?

This moment where the dark side pulls at Rey, plus the notion that Luke may be veering away from traditional Jedi teachings, could open up the hero of The Force Awakens to become a dark side user in The Last Jedi. After all, it’s right there in the title and Johnson has admitted it: Luke is the last Jedi. What will that make Rey?

Kylo Ren turns against Snoke

Kylo Ren holding a dual red lightsaber and extending his arm.

Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

Another big twist would be Kylo Ren turning against Snoke, but again, it’s not as if this hasn’t been foreshadowed to a degree. We know that Kylo  is tormented by the pull of the dark and the light inside of him, and we can piece together that what drove him to Snoke in the first place was the teaching of the Jedi Order: Embrace the light but turn against the dark.

Could learning to use both the light and the dark, much like a Gray Jedi, be the key to Kylo’s atonement? It’s hard to come back from murdering Han Solo, at least in the eyes of Star Wars fans, but Kylo is more complicated and layered than your typical bad guy. His story is written so that the audience feels his pain to some degree, even if they don’t totally sympathize with him. In contrast, Darth Vader was just a creepy, unknown guy in a suit with an obviously evil agenda for the bulk of the original trilogy.

So don’t rule out the redemption storyline for Ben Solo.

The return of an old character

Benicio Del Toro sitting down in a blue suit and starting straight ahead.

Benicio Del Toro | Juan Naharro Gimenez/Getty Images

Fans have been salivating at the thought of the original trilogy — or even the prequel trilogy — intersecting with the sequel trilogy. So far, we’ve been teased and introduced to plenty of characters from the past, but that has been primarily limited to the main cast. Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb were seen working with the Resistance in The Force Awakens, but there has to be more than that coming in The Last Jedi, right?

Given the secrecy behind the character “DJ,” played by Benicio Del Toro, fans have gone crazy trying to guess who he might actually be. Is he Boba Fett? Could he have some tie to Leia and her past? And what about all those Snoke theories? He has gone from Darth Plagueis to Mace Windu to Kanan Jarrus in just the last year or so.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took some liberties with the fan service and dropped in old characters from both the original trilogy and prequel trilogy. Let’s face it, the movie wouldn’t have been nearly the success it was without the appearances made by Bail Organa, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Darth Vader. You can expect that someone you’ve seen before will also reappear in The Last Jedi, too.

Leia’s final storyline

Leia and Han in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'.

Leia and Han in Star WarsThe Force Awakens | Lucasfilm

In the same interview with the New York Times, Johnson details the decisions he had to make in regards to Leia’s final storyline. The fact that Carrie Fisher tragically passed away after her filming was complete made things slightly more complicated for the director.

When she passed away, we were pretty deep into post-production. When we came back to the edit room after New Year’s, it was so hard. We went through all her scenes. I felt very strongly that we don’t try to change her performance. We don’t adjust what happens to her in this movie. Emotionally, you can’t help recontextualize it, now that she’s gone. It’s almost eerie how there are scenes that have an emotional resonance and a meaning, especially now. She gives a beautiful and complete performance in this film.

There are a few possibilities here. The first is that Johnson had planned to kill off Leia at the end of the movie, which would be a massive twist that he wouldn’t want to let slip. If they had already planned to wrap the story in a way that Johnson, Disney, and Fisher all agreed on, not changing that plan makes a lot of sense.

Otherwise, it’s difficult to know exactly what we’ll get in regards to Leia in The Last Jedi. Based on what Johnson says here, we can assume that she will have a large role in the movie — which is refreshing, given her relative lack of screen time in The Force Awakens.

Luke Skywalker could die

Luke Skywalker stands and looks ahead in an all-black outfit.

Luke Skywalker | Lucasfilm

No, that’s not true. That’s impossible! Oh, but in a galaxy where Han Solo can return to lead the new generation in a sequel trilogy, only to get killed off at the very end of the first film, nothing is off limits. It’s important to remember that the sequel trilogy is all about the new characters: Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Kylo Ren. The old characters are really only there to help push them along, sort of an Obi-Wan to their Luke in Star Wars: A New Hope.

So what does that mean for Luke, who only appeared briefly at the end of The Force Awakens and who will supposedly play a big part in the plot of The Last Jedi? How much would Rey’s anger and hatred of Kylo Ren magnify if he also killed Luke? Then again, how much would the audience hate him for taking away two of the most beloved characters from the original Star Wars?

We certainly hope that Luke makes it out of Episode VIII to help transition to Episode IX, but with Leia’s story coming to a close and Han out of the picture, the concern that Luke Skywalker may meet his end in The Last Jedi is very real.

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