Last year, something wonderful happened — Star Wars returned to us, after many years of us waiting, longing, and rewatching even the most disappointing movies in the Saga. Star Wars: The Force Awakens may not have been perfect, but it was a satisfying and thrilling return to form for the franchise, pushing the story in a new and exciting direction. And crucially, #TheForceAwakens passed the Jedi torch from Luke Skywalker to our new protagonist: The enigmatic and altruistic Rey.
Or at least, so we thought. The title for #StarWars8 has finally been revealed, and it has some pretty shocking implications for the plot of the movie.
At this revelation, millions of voices cried out — and won't be silenced for a very long time. Cue months of speculation, in which fans dissect the title until every ounce of meaning has been wrung out of it. But before we delve into crazy theory territory (too late), there's one question on all our minds: Who is the last Jedi?
The Last Of His Kind
While obviously this title could refer to any number of people — Rey, Finn, and even Kanan and Ezra from the animated Star Wars: Rebels are worthy contenders — the most likely candidate for being the last Jedi is Luke Skywalker. And that's because he was already called "the last Jedi" in the opening crawl for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Of course, the dubbing of Luke as "the last Jedi" occurred before Rey's Force awakened and she sought out Luke to train her. In this way, "the last Jedi" could indeed be Rey, as she learns the ways of the Force and continues Luke's mission in the Light. If Rey is "the last", that would imply that Luke dies during the course of the sequel trilogy — and probably in Star Wars 8, as this is the movie's title.
But there's something that makes me think Luke is the last — and that Rey will reject the Jedi teachings, redefining the boundaries between Light and Dark. For one thing, Daisy Ridley already hinted that this was what the sequel trilogy was about, when she was interviewed at the MTV Movie Awards back in April 2016.
"I don’t know if I am a Jedi… I don’t think I am. We’ve had this debate as to whether Leia is because she uses her Force powers. Just because she’s not like, ‘Oh I’m going on an adventure’ like Luke doesn’t make her any less Forceful."
At the time, this statement from Ridley just seemed like more speculation. But now her words carry a lot more weight, as the title of The Last Jedi may mean that Luke dies — and Rey does not follow in his footsteps.
Rey Rejects Luke's Training
And wouldn't this be more interesting? Don't get me wrong, the Jedi are a crucial part of the #StarWars Saga, and Luke's journey in the original trilogy was what made the movies stand out as a titan of scifi, bringing a sense of mythology and magic to an otherwise science-based genre. But now it may be time to move beyond this simple black-and-white idea of the Force — and what better way to do that but to have Rey strike out into a bold new philosophy?
After all, the biggest complaint against The Force Awakens was that it was a rehash of what came before. It would be pretty awesome for The Last Jedi to subvert this, reinventing the idea of what defines a Jedi — and why they're far from perfect.
So here's the theory: Rey does not become a Jedi. This makes a lot of sense for her character's journey, stemming from hints in The Force Awakens. Growing up alone and abandoned, Rey nonetheless clung to the idea that her family would return for her — a belief she was forced to give up in #StarWars7, as this was holding her back from realizing her destiny.
But her journey does not end when she offers Luke his lightsaber, atop his rocky island on the planet of Ahch-To. In many ways, this is Rey's beginning, and though Luke has much to teach her, she must find her own way in the Force. And it seems highly likely that Rey won't appreciate the more restrictive parts of the Jedi teachings — no personal attachments, no emotions of any kind, etc.
Having said that, we still don't know if Luke's version of the Jedi Order will follow the old Code. He certainly descried the ancient ways in the Expanded Universe — but seeing as this continuation of the Saga was declared non-canon by Disney, anything is possible, and Luke may have become just as much a stick-in-the-mud as Yoda was in Empire Strikes Back.
Personally, I'm hoping that Rey does indeed reject the whole idea of Light vs Dark, Jedi vs Sith (or Knights of Ren). These ideas are a little simplistic and outdated, and it would be fantastic to see Rey redefine what it means to be a Force user. Interestingly, Rogue One already introduced an alternate way of following the Force — Chirrut Imwe and Baze Melbus were Guardians of the Whills, a philosophical order that took a much more ambiguous view of what the Force was. It's definitely possible that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will continue this idea, as Rey seeks another path within the Force.
Suffice it to say that there are far more interesting story possibilities within the concept of the Force, and it would be fantastic to see Rey create a new path for herself.
Or maybe the plural of Jedi is Jedi and "the last Jedi" is actually both Rey and Luke. We'll just have to wait and see!
Do you think Rey will reject Luke's Jedi teachings?