The first domino has fallen for the eighth episode in the Star Wars franchise, as LucasFilm begins the year-long roll out for the upcoming blockbuster. Little is known about the follow up to The Force Awakens, aside from a beefed up role for Luke Skywalker, after his cameo appearance in the last installment. Director Rian Johnson (Looper) is at the helm of the much anticipated sequel and today the doors have begun to swing open indicating that Episode VIII is open for business.
There has always been a sense of mythological wonder in the titles to Star Wars films. As well as a fair share of behind-the-scenes stories about how they changed before the creators ultimately settled on the final names. Well, we are about to enter into a new chapter of Lucasfilm’s history. Take a looksie…
— Star Wars (@starwars) January 23, 2017
Fans will have to wait no more, as Lucasfilm took to Twitter this morning and revealed the new title for the next movie. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the title to this year’s December release and it should immediately get fans’ imaginations spinning.
While it seems like a simple title, it’s laden with nuance and potential hidden meaning. The red font boldly stands out and is a telling color within Star Wars lore, most notably as the color of Darth Vader, Darth Maul, and Kylo Ren’s lightsabers. It is undeniably, the color of the Sith and evil. This is a clear sign that this will be a darker chapter in the Star Wars saga.
The actual subtitle could refer to several different characters or story beats that may or may not be revealed this December. So let’s dig into the different possibilities.
The Last Jedi is Luke Skywalker
This is the conclusion that the end of The Force Awakens points to, with the final scene revealing the saga’s most legendary Jedi, Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill’s role has been beefed up in the sequel, with multiple reports claiming that the actor participates in action sequences in the movie.
Skywalker’s absence cast a shadow over the plot of The Force Awakens, beginning with his disappearance being the first piece of information provided in the opening crawl. Clearly at least a sub-plot will explore his recent history, as well as his new potential position as Rey’s teacher (and possibly father).
He was the titular “Jedi” in the Return of the Jedi, so it would make sense that this would be a continuation of his journey. The title also has precedent in film history, with flicks such as The Last Samurai, which would indicate that Luke is the last swordsman, before a new era is ushered in.
The Last Jedi is Rey
There are multiple theories behind Rey’s lineage and most of them will be addressed in the upcoming sequel. However, whether her father is Luke or her grandfather is Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s clear that she will be training in the ways of The Force in the movie.
However, if she is truly the last Jedi, something has to happen to the second to last Jedi after Luke trains her. This would keep up with the theme established in A New Hope of the master training his padawan before becoming one with The Force in combat. However, with the death of Han Solo and the real-world passing of Carrie Fisher, it’s unseen if the this will truly be the last movie for the trio of original trilogy characters. If so, what a bummer that would be.
Additionally, Lucasfilm made a point to introduce the title as “the next chapter in the Skywalker saga.” Is that a giveaway of Rey’s destiny and what’s to come? We will find out soon.
The Last Jedi is Kylo Ren
Plot twist! (Which is a familiar notion to the Star Wars franchise.)
If you look at the history that was explained in The Force Awakens, Han and Leia’s son Kylo Ren trained with Luke in his Jedi Academy. Then something sent Ren over the edge, which led him to corrupt – and/or possibly kill – Luke’s students, before Luke went into hiding and Ren onto his path to the Dark Side.
The Star Wars universe stands on a foundation of legendary plot twists and character turns. Whether its Lando double crossing Han, or Anakin Skywalker’s last heroic act, it wouldn’t be Star Wars without those bold plot decisions.
In The Force Awakens, Ren was seen being conflicted by the good still in him. Kylo Ren is the most iconic Lucasfilm villain since Darth Maul, however an actor of Adam Driver’s caliber isn’t there for simple window dressing. Could there be a major change of heart in the next episode? Imagine how shocking it would be if Rey ended up on the Dark Side by the film’s final act, with Kylo fighting to bring her back.
The Last Jedi(s)
Jedi is both a singular and plural word. The title could be hinting that Rey and Luke will join The Resistance and will fight side by side. Alternately, The Last Jedi could be in reference to a resurgence or hidden Jedi that will step into the light. Perhaps the duo will be joined by other Force sensitive characters that may or may not have already been revealed. (Maz Kanata? Finn? Ezra?) This could also leave the door open to introduce characters from other pockets of Star Wars fiction, such as Star Wars Rebels or the novelizations, who could potentially be Force sensitive.
Ultimately, we have eleven months until the meaning behind the catchy title is revealed. However, it’s the official beginning of the marketing campaign that may result in stills from the production, or even a teaser trailer in the coming weeks. If you are a Star Wars fanatic, it’s now your time. Get ready for the coverage of The Last Jedi to kick into warp speed!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens on December 15th, 2017.