Let the speculation begin as Lucasfilm unveils the title Star Wars: The Last Jedi for the eighth installment in the Skywalker saga!
It’s a Star Wars title at its best: concise, powerful, and foreboding. However, many are already complaining that the title is too spoilery (it means Luke is going to die!) and or that it’s too repetitive of the original trilogy (Luke will die before he finishes training Rey, making Rey the last Jedi . . . so basically the same thing that happened with Luke and Yoda in the original trilogy). However, I don’t believe the title means either of those things.
I believe the title is a reference to Luke Skywalker deciding to truly be the last Jedi. I believe Luke will train Rey, but he will not train her to become a Jedi.
Hear me out: In Return of the Jedi, Yoda tells Luke “When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be.” The post-Return of the Jedi movies are going to uphold the power and gravity of Yoda’s statement.
Luke will train Rey to use the Force and use it for good. But he will not train her to become a Jedi and he will not use Jedi philosophy.
One of the most important realizations Luke has likely learned and that most Star Wars fans have learned at this point is that the Jedi philosophy is highly flawed, particularly the “no emotional attachments” part. The impossibility of this idea played a major role in Anakin Skywalker turning to the Dark Side and becoming Darth Vader, as did his many frustrations with the Jedi Order. Another issue is that the Jedi are supposed to be peacekeepers, yet it often seems like their role as warriors becomes more prevalent. This largely influenced growing unpopular opinion of the Jedi during the Clone Wars, thereby creating more plausibility for Palpatine’s public version of events explaining Order 66.
The Jedi were supposed to be wise, compassionate peacekeepers that valued all life yet they often had a cold outlook on matters (Yoda and Obi-Wan trying to convince Luke to continue training rather than help save Han and Leia in The Empire Strikes Back is one of the first examples that come to mind, as is how the Jedi Council so easily condemned Ahsoka for the bombing of the Jedi Temple in The Clone Wars). The first example is due to Yoda and Obi-Wan thinking about the greater good of the galaxy while the second is a product of pure blindness. Both demonstrate hypocrisy within the Jedi Order.
Wise individuals like Qui-Gon Jinn recognized the Jedi’s many flaws without letting it consume them as it did Anakin. And yet, the Clone Wars, Order 66 and the rise of the Galactic Empire destroyed the Jedi, manipulating their flaws. Even after Luke’s triumphs in Return of the Jedi, his attempts to rebuild the Jedi Order once again collapsed, this time thanks to Snoke and Kylo Ren/Ben Solo.
At this point in the Skywalker saga, Luke must realize that the Jedi philosophy is impractical and cannot be sustained in the modern galaxy. He will agree to teach Rey because of her strong connection to the Force and for the good of the galaxy. But he will not teach her to be a Jedi. Snoke and Kylo Ren aren’t Sith, but they wield the Dark Side of the Force. That there are still powerful Force-users that don’t prescribe to the philosophies of Jedi and Sith is a crucial way in which I see these movies differentiating themselves from the original trilogy and the prequel trilogy. It would also explain why newer canon like Star Wars Rebels is focusing on characters like Ahsoka, Maul and the Bendu, all characters that at this point wield the Force but don’t follow the ways of the Jedi or Sith. Therefore, this movie will largely focus on Luke reconciling with being the last classically trained Jedi in the galaxy, how to train Rey without the Jedi philosophy, and what the future of the Force and the galaxy looks like without Jedi and Sith.
True to Yoda’s word, Luke Skywalker is and always will be the last true Jedi Knight.
What other theories do you have? Is my friend Brandon correct that the title is actually referring to multiple individuals, using Jedi in the plural sense? Comment directly on the blog or on Facebook to share your ideas.