The folks at Lucasfilm/Disney have just announced the official title for the next installment of the Star Wars saga. The title will be Star Wars: The Last Jedi. While the title doesn’t give anything away necessarily, it does raise quite a few questions. What do they mean by the “Last Jedi”? Does this mean that Rey is the last Jedi remaining after Luke? Does Luke die, leaving only Rey as the sole surviving Jedi? How are we supposed to wait this long? Personally, I’m feeling several emotions after this title reveal. As best I can, I will try to distill those emotions, and their reasoning in this article.
Any time you see the word last it implies finality. But what exactly will be finalized in Episode VIII? After all, we have a whole other movie coming in Episode IX, so it begs the question… What will be missing? My biggest fear is that this movie will continue the trend of forcing us to say goodbye to our original trilogy heroes. In The Force Awakens we saw Han Solo perish at the hands of Kylo Ren. This was perhaps one of the most emotional moments, for me at least, in all of Star Wars film canon. I’m not ready to say goodbye to Luke Skywalker, but sadly I think this is where we are headed. I say this because before her death, it was reported that Carrie Fisher had a much larger role in both episodes VIII and IX, which would make her the sole surviving member of the OT trio. We’ve yet to see just how powerful Princess Leia is as a Force User, but it was hinted in Return of the Jedi that she would eventually learn to use that power the same as Luke. My working theory is that Luke will somehow meet his end in Episode VIII, and had Carrie not passed away, she would be the one to ultimately get vengeance for his and Han’s death in concluding episode of this new trilogy. However, given the recent events, I’m not sure where they’ll go now.
While fear is my predominant emotion regarding this title, I’m also very excited. There are so many ways they could go with this, and the title is ambiguous enough to leave us guessing right up until we sit down in that theater later this year. I love being surprised by Star Wars films, even if it means something bad happening (Han’s death in TFA). The Force Awakens reignited my passion for Star Wars, and I’m so excited about the future of the franchise, so just knowing that we’re one step closer to seeing this story continue is very exciting for me. I also think we’re going to see some really crazy stuff in Episode VIII. It’s been 30 years since we last saw Luke Skywalker showcase his Force powers. How have they grown? What new tricks does he have to teach Rey? Speaking of Rey, she seems to be so powerful already, so there’s no limit to what she’ll be able to do once she has formal training from a Jedi master! Kylo Ren will probably be more powerful as well, given that Snoke mentioned it was time to complete his training. I fully expect Kylo to be a nasty character in this next chapter, and I look forward to seeing what a more mature and focused dark side user can do as well!
With this being the middle child of our new sequel trilogy, it will have to accomplish many things. First, it will need to tie up loose ends from TFA, like why Luke went into hiding, what he’s been up to, and who Rey really is. It will also have to push the current storyline forward without giving away too much of the contents from the last chapter. In essence, this is the modern Empire Strikes Back for this new set of films. We’ve already heard from Adam Driver, and others, that this film will have a much different, and darker tone than that of TFA. What does that mean? Given the title reveal, and the precedent set by killing off Han in the previous film, I think that means we will see even more of our beloved friends take their final bow in Episode VIII. But who? The title would suggest Luke, and I’ve already said I’m terrified of that happening, but they also need to find a way to write Carrie out of Episode IX, so it’s a toss up for me. There are also the obligatory easter eggs that we get in all of the Star Wars films. Who will make a cameo in The Last Jedi? Personally, I’d love for Yoda to come back as Force Ghost, or seeing as they resurrected Peter Cushing for Rogue One, maybe Alec Guinness could somehow return as well. There are so many intriguing things they can do with this movie, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with!
This is just a title reveal, so we really don’t know a single thing about Episode VIII at this point. Fans, like myself, will undoubtedly pick this title apart and dissect any-and-every piece of news that comes out between now and December to try and decipher what will happen in Episode VIII. Personally, I plan to stay as spoiler-free as possible, so that I can go into this movie with fresh eyes and no pre-conceived notions. Part of me wishes I didn’t even know the title! That only fuels my speculative imagination, and that is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, I’ll have a lot of fun trying to play out what I think is going to happen in this movie. On the other hand, this might cause me to have unrealistic expectations for the film (much like I did for Rogue One) and put a damper on my parade. Either way, it’s going to be a LONG 325 days!