‘The Last Jedi’: Rian Johnson Used the Color Red to Send a Brutal Message

Star Wars fans have a lot of opinions about the sequels. Some hate them, some loved them, but Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi has one quality fans can’t deny.

The cinematography in the film is striking. Johnson knows how to make a scene, and even fans who don’t like the material have to admit that the movie was visually stunning. Fans on Reddit recently discussed some of the visual symbolism Johnson included in the film. 

Rian Johnson packed ‘The Last Jedi’ with symbolism

Rian Johnson on the red carpet
Rian Johnson | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

The Last Jedi is a significant film in the Star Wars franchise. It’s the join between the first three original movies, and the new Disney installations. It will probably be the last movie where fans see Luke Skywalker have a starring role.

He died at the end of the film, in a way only a true Jedi can. Although Johnson didn’t know it at the time, it would also be the last movie Carrie Fisher would film. She passed away just months after completing the filming for the movie, and before it was released in theaters. 

Given the importance of this film, it makes sense that Johnson would pack the movie full of symbolism, says Forbes. One of the most poignant motifs was the color red. There were red details throughout the film, but the most impressive was the red on Crait, the planet where the last battle of the movie took place. Crait is a salt planet, so it’s completely white.

However, it’s covered in red dust right below the salt layer. This was purposeful. According to one fan on Reddit: “Johnson wanted to show the brutality of war, but this being a Disney movie technically, he couldn’t show blood. So he came up with this idea of the planet ‘bleeding’- as the Resistance slowly fell before the First Order.”

Crait’s composition allowed Rian Johnson to make a point about Luke Skywalker

RELATED: ‘The Last Jedi’ Was Extremely Controversial – But Rian Johnson Probably Doesn’t Mind

Aside the fact that Crait literally bled as the First Order ships flew too low over its surface, it also allowed Johnson to make a point about Luke that fans didn’t miss. When Luke and Kylo-Ren face off near the end of the movie, Kylo leaves red footprints in the salt, but Luke does not.

That’s to prove Luke isn’t really on Crait. He’s become one with the force, which allowed him to travel to the planet while his physical form was still on Ahch-To. 

As one fan wrote, the motif was “was a wonderful aesthetic. It also, in my mind, shows that Luke became a true Jedi, and his actions didn’t leave bloody marks across the galaxy, unlike his fallen nephew’s.”

Fans think Rian Johnson’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker was a perfect ending to his character arc 

In addition to not leaving footsteps, fans noticed that Luke actually starts to “heal” Crait upon his arrival. Once he gets there, a salt snow begins to fall, covering up the red scars that the First Order has left. As one fan put it, it’s an important symbol about Luke’s journey. Luke “has come in a sense to heal the entire galaxy by inciting new hope in the Resistance.”

Another fan pointed out that this ties back perfectly to the beginning of Luke’s story. In A New Hope, Luke discovers a hologram of Leia inside a drone. When R2D2 plays it for him, he sees the princess begging for help. In that first movie, Luke goes to find Leia, but she ends up doing most of the saving. At the end of his character arc, Luke has arrived to provide that help at last, and save Leia and give the Resistance a much needed shot of hope.