The Next Jedi

Disney revealed the official title of the next Star Wars movie. The next “Saga” Star Wars movie, as the nerds like to refer to them. This distinguishes them from the other “side projects” that Disney is developing and pushing out. An example of a Star Wars “side project” was “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”, released last month. “Rogue One” had a very simple elevator pitch: “How did the rebels GET the Death Star plans in the first place?” and then went ahead and spent two hours telling us how the rebels got the Death Star plans. It was a simple concept and I’m glad they did it. If anything, it sort of showed up poor old George Lucas’s own Prequels in that “less is more” and “people like seeing Stormtroopers blast things” and “People like seeing Stormtroopers get blasted” and less of the “Darth Vader is a sullen teen and also look: Clones! and a vaguely racist alien called Jar Jar Binks!” business that didn’t sit well with most people. Also, the protagonist (Jyn)was a woman, so that’s pretty great. Aside from her and Mon Mothma (and a couple of unnamed pilots), I don’t think there were any other women in this movie, so it was good to see that. (Oh I guess Jyn’s Mom at the beginning). And, although you don’t really ever get that ATTACHED to Jyn (SPOILER!) or the rest of the Rogue One crew, it is a great little standalone movie. Also, you get to see some early modeled AT-AT’s in a tropical setting, which is something I didn’t think I needed to see at Christmastime UNTIL I ACTUALLY SAW IT and then I was glad I did. Sure, there was a lot of “this thing has to happen, and then this thing has to happen, and then this thing has to happen” to get those damn plans to Princess Leia (40 year SPOILER), and I understand they did a bunch of reshoots because the Disney executives didn’t like the first cut and I heard that they found the whole “getting the plans to the rebels” bit at the end was a bit confusing so they stream-lined it, but then it seemed too easy? I don’t know. And don’t get me started on that creepy yet kinda cool CGI Grand Moff Tarkin…

But we didn’t come here today to discuss Rogue One, did we?

No, we are here to discuss the title of Episode VIII, “The Last Jedi”. It’s a perfect title, isn’t it? It will fuel a lot of speculation among the fans between now and December. “Who is the last Jedi? Is it Luke? Is it Rey? Is it BOTH? More? Is it PLURAL?” Considering that the opening crawl of Episode VII actually refers to Luke Skywalker as “The Last Jedi”, I suppose this makes the most sense. What’s that thing: Occam’s Razor? The thing that says when you have a bunch of possible theories, usually the answer is the simplest one. And this would stand to reason with the rest of the titles in the Saga. The original movie was just called “Star Wars” and there were stars and a war. “The Empire Strikes Back” had the Empire striking back in a big way. “The Return of the Jedi” ( a little more ambiguous. Who was the Jedi? Again with this whole singular/plural business. Was it Luke? Was it Annakin? (35 year spoiler!), and yet you knew what was going to happen). Even the prequels had simple titles. Episode II was “Attack of the Clones”. Guess what attacks in that movie, guys? It’s the clones.

So based on that, I guess “The Last Jedi” is probably Luke. And why not? The poor guy didn’t even have a chance to walk around in his costume in Episode VII. They just helicoptered him out to that island off of Ireland and had him stand around for about 20 minutes until they got the light right. Surely they’ll give him more to do in the next one, right?

Maybe I am still mourning Carrie Fisher (of course I am. Wasn’t that great seeing so many Princess Leia costumes and signs at all those women’s marches on Saturday?), but I would love it if “The Last Jedi” actually referred to Leia. We’ve had hints that she is strong in Force for a while now. In “Empire Strikes Back” the ghost of Obi Wan laments that Luke was their last hope, but Yoda reminds him that “there is another”. I don’t know if that “another” is ever really explained. Does Yoda mean there is still good in Vader that can be brought out? I like to think that Yoda is referring to Luke’s twin sister, Leia. Later on, Leia senses that Luke is in danger and makes Lando turn the Falcon around to rescue him from Bespin. Her connection to the Force is made explicit on Endor in “Return of the Jedi” when Luke pretty much just tells her that she is strong in the Force AND she is his sister. I don’t know which one is a bigger surprise to her, but it’s probably the brother/sister thing. In one of George Lucas’ edits, I’m pretty sure you can see Leia going off to gargle with Scope when she realizes she MADE OUT with her OWN BROTHER on Echo Base on Hoth.

We are left at the end of “Return of the Jedi” with the knowledge that Luke and Leia are brother and sister, and are both “strong in the Force”. Fast forward 30 years to “Episode VII The Force Awakens” and we see General Leia, who is a high ranking military official. We don’t see a whole lot of evidence that she has honed her Force skills in the interim, although doesn’t see sort of “feel it” when SPOILER! Han and Kylo Ren meet on that gang-plank?

All I’m saying is, wouldn’t it be great if we got to see Leia realize her full potential as a Jedi in this movie? (It probably won’t happen, as I understand her story arc was supposed to continue into Episode IX. With Carrie Fisher’s unexpected death over Christmas, the future of her character remains uncertain).

We can dream. We can hope.



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