The Meaning Behind “The Last Jedi”

Star Wars Episode VIII officially has its title: “The Last Jedi.”

Per usual, the internet lit aflame with wonder over this mysterious and loaded name. The problem is, the rest of the internet is wrong. Don’t worry, we’re here to help. This is my official guide to the meaning behind “The Last Jedi”:

The first and most obvious theory is that the title just refers to Luke Skywalker. There is a good amount of evidence to support this, first and foremost being the title crawl from The Force Awakens (TFA) told us this:

“Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.”

Our second piece of evidence comes from Return of the Jedi, from our (spoiler) dear departed Yoda:

“Luke, when gone am I… the last of the Jedi will you be. Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned, Luke.”

It could also just be Rey.

Maybe we’re about to see the last of Luke and be left with Rey as the solo (see what I did there?) Jedi in the galaxy. Seems plausible, since her character arc follows Luke’s pretty closely.

More likely, “The Last Jedi” uses Jedi in the plural, not the singular.

This makes a lot more sense since we saw Luke with Rey. You know, together. Plural. We also saw Finn using a lightsaber VERY effectively, and Poe flying around like only a Force-user can. So, we’ve got a good group of folks who are likely candidates to be the last Jedi (plural).

But let’s talk about that red lettering.

The only two times that red lettering has been used in Star Wars titles is for “Revenge of the Sith” (ROTS) and “Return of the Jedi” (ROTJ). These stories contain pivot points for the larger galaxy and are incredibly important for their protagonists and the Jedi. In ROTS, we have the fall of Anakin, the downfall of the Jedi Order, and Yoda and Obi-Wan as the last Jedi. In ROTJ, we have the redemption of Anakin, the rebirth of the Jedi Order, and Luke as the last Jedi.

The most important component of these movies is the mirroring of the narratives with the arc of the main protagonists in question. So, why use red lettering in Episode VIII?

Because it’s the beginning of Kylo’s redemption, and/or Rey’s fall, from being a Sith/Jedi.

Eric’s Bet Your Bottom Dollar Guess:

Rey isn’t falling to the dark side. Disney’s not that crazy. Kylo is definitely coming back to the light. BUT. The title “The Last Jedi” doesn’t refer to Kylo or Rey. It only refers to Luke. He is going to be the last Jedi.

Because Rey and Kylo are not going to become Jedi (or Sith). They are a failed entity, and their time is passed. Luke tried to bring back a pipe dream, to honor the dying wish of Master Yoda. And it all blew up on him when Ben turned and formed the Knights of Ren, who ended whatever progress Luke had made.

In the same vein, the Sith are also done. Kylo is obsessed with honoring the memory of his grandfather, who he sees as Vader. Yet there is only one mention of the Sith in TFA, by Maz, who says that it is simply one of many forms of the dark side she has seen take form. TFA also ended the Alliance (now the Resistance), the Republic (destroyed), and the Empire (now the First Order).

TFA was all about new beginnings, out of the ashes of old. The character designs and arcs, the narrative structure, even the aesthetics all lend itself to this notion. Episode VIII will see a continuation of this idea, with Kylo and Rey wanting to be Sith/Jedi, but instead being something new and entirely different.

Making Luke truly, the last Jedi.

 

 

 

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