For #StarWars fans, the last couple of months have been filled with ups and downs. Rogue One was released in December, and it was awesome. However, we also mourned the unexpected passing of Carrie Fisher, a.k.a. Princess Leia. Adding to the emotional roller coaster for fans has been the agonizing anticipation of any sliver of information regarding the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, which previously had been known to us only as Star Wars: Episode VIII. That title has now been revealed. For a middle chapter, it is appropriately ominous!
Just the sight of the familiar, traditionally yellow Star Wars logo cast in an unfamiliar shade of red is enough to grab one's attention, but the title of The Last Jedi establishes a dark tone for the film ahead of any teaser trailer that will eventually come our way. For those hoping that this movie will be the Sequel Trilogy's answer to The Empire Strikes Back, this is exactly the feeling you want. Yet there is still uncertainty as to its meaning. There are several possibilities:
1. Luke Is The Last Jedi
According to the previous film, Luke Skywalker had set out to re-establish the Jedi Order that his father had helped to destroy. That is, of course, until Luke's own nephew, Ben Solo, screwed up those plans by annihilating all of Luke's students. This leaves Luke as the last remaining true Jedi, even as he is not the last remaining Force-sensitive person left in the galaxy.
This would seem to be the most straight-forward interpretation of the film's title, especially as Luke was referred to as the last of his kind in the opening crawl for The Force Awakens. This does not necessarily have to mean that death awaits our beloved hero in the latest chapter; it may simply mean that no one will follow in his footsteps.
2. Rey Will Become The Last Jedi
If the new trilogy is truly following in the footsteps of the old, then it would be reasonable to assume that Rey is destined to carry on the Jedi legacy, after some proper training from one Luke Skywalker. If the title refers to Rey, that pretty much seals Luke's fate. The franchise has made a habit of killing off mentors/father figures; one almost expects it by now. Already armed with the knowledge that we'll be seeing the final appearance of his sister, Leia (barring a posthumous CGI appearance in Episode IX), I don't know of any Star Wars fans who are truly ready to bid farewell to Luke in The Last Jedi.
3. 'Jedi' Can Be Plural
Just because the title of the film is The Last Jedi does not necessarily refer to just Luke or Rey. The word Jedi is the same either singular or plural. Unlike the famous line from the movie Highlander, there doesn't have to be only one Jedi. In the Original Trilogy, Obi-Wan Kenobi was mistakenly thought to be the last remaining Jedi. No one in the Empire, not even Palpatine himself, ever knew that Yoda had survived and was living in exile on Dagobah.
Such a loose interpretation of the term can allow for Luke to oversee Rey's Jedi training, to survive beyond The Last Jedi himself, and keep from contradicting the title. There is also the possibility that, like with Obi-Wan and Yoda, there could have been a second Jedi who survived along with Luke whom we simply haven't met yet, someone whom even Supreme Leader Snoke has come to believe is dead. With new characters joining the franchise in The Last Jedi, any one of them not cast in the role of a villain could be playing a Jedi in hiding.
4. The Jedi As We Know Them Will Cease To Exist
There is also the chance that the Jedi as a concept is about to be altered forever. Think about it: The Jedi Order has been destroyed not once but twice by students turned to the Dark Side of the Force. The black-and-white philosophical differences between the two sides has always played a major factor. The original Jedi Order clung to a prophecy that a Chosen One would bring balance to the Force and they believed they'd found him. Anakin Skywalker's transformation into Darth Vader wasn't anticipated as being part of the deal.
Ben Solo, a.k.a. Kylo Ren, has proven to be Dark Side-leaning with a spark of Light inside struggling to be nurtured. Alternatively, Rey leans toward the Light but is willful enough to channel the more emotion-driven aspects of the Dark Side. That, and she had an even lousier childhood than Anakin's. If the new Force-sensitive generation finally finds that balance, blurring the lines between Light and Dark, then Luke truly is the last Jedi.
Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that The Last Jedi hints that a dark chapter in the Star Wars saga lies ahead. Perhaps the darkest one yet. Lessons will be learned, Revelations will be made, and hearts may indeed be broken. Whether this includes the second consecutive death of a fan favorite is something we'll have to stew over for the majority of 2017.
What do you think the title The Last Jedi means?