Star Wars. It never stops. It just keeps going and going and has been since 1977.
And now that we’re less than 9 months away from the release of the next chapter (this one marking the eighth entry/episode VIII for the nerds) in the projected nine set original series, fans of Star Wars are endlessly consuming every bit of pre-release news as the eagerly anticipate The Last Jedi. For those who absolutely must learn something new every day, try this on for size. Though series creator, George Lucas, described his story as a set of three trilogies, the actual word for a nine part series is ennealogy. But enough of that. Let’s get on with our summary of everything we know about Episode VIII. It has a name!
The Last Jedi
In keeping with recent history, the powers-that-be in the Star Wars universe (that’s Disney after Lucas sold the rights for north of $4 billion) haven’t given us much. In fact, we just learned not too long ago that the new film has an actual title: Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Well, thanks for the scrap. Unfortunately, (and by design) that seems to open a whole ‘nother can of worms, like…
Who, In Fact, is the Last Jedi?
Maybe a trick question here. The easy answer is Luke Skywalker. He shows up at the end of Episode VII hanging out on a deserted island, looking all serious as Rey climbs several million stone steps to bring him his old lightsaber. But it could just as easily be that she, Rey, is the last Jedi. Or maybe the fact that the word “Jedi” is a plural of itself means there is more than one last Jedi. My mind is officially spinning. It’s a mess. Either way, Disney achieved their goal of forcing people to discuss and debate the meaning of the title, as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing this article. I’m just a cog in the Star Wars machine.
Possibly an easter egg from the international audience: It’s been discovered that The Last Jedi title, translated in Spanish comes out to “Los Ultimos Jedi”.. which you’d assume signifies a plural. If it’s plural, then that means Luke isn’t the “last” Jedi. Did Disney mean to leak that information via a foreign-language poster? Are they dropping obscure hints and clues across the globe? Probably. But it would be awesome if they didn’t intend for that to happen.
Anyways – we all pretty assume Rey has some Jedi-juju in her. One thing we can be fairly certain of though, when it comes to the meaning of “The Final Jedi” – Disney paid too much money for the rights to Star Wars to make Luke actually “The Last Jedi”. Star Wars is one of Disney’s most lucrative cash cows at the moment, and with reports that they’ll be making Star Wars through 2030 (and likely beyond), we haven’t seen the “last” of the Jedi. Because, money.
Luke is probably (definitely) going to be ridiculously powerful
I’m so incredibly hyped for this movie, it’s probably borderline over-the-top.. especially because after The Force Awakens, my expectations are now at an all-time high. And there’s primarily one reason why: I think the safest assumption anyone can make is that Luke Skywalker is going to be incredibly badass in The Last Jedi. Hidden away on some island seeking out the Jedi Temple, it’s a safe bet that Luke hasbeen mindfully mastering the force to a level possibly never seen before, and it’s going to be insane to see the end product of his journey. The most powerful version of Luke will undoubtedly be the most badass version. Old man, mechanical-hand, force master Luke Skywalker is going to be nothing short epic. Hopefully he has a few scenes like Darth Vader’s destruction at the end of Rogue One. It’s obvious that he’s probably going to have to train Rey too, which will probably be both painful and fun to watch.
Everyone and their pet bantha knows uber movie maestro J.J. Abrams directed the the last movie, The Force Awakens, but who’s sitting in the director’s chair this time around? Not yet a household name, Rian Johnson has done good work with The Brothers Bloom and Looper, though this is his first shot at helming a major franchise entry. If he feels the pressure, it doesn’t show. Plus he’s got Abrams as executive producer in case he wakes up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
But What’s It About?
As with the previous seven entries in the series, don’t expect many plot details before the release. One thing we do know is that The Last Jedi will pick up exactly where The Force Awakens left off – namely with Rey and Luke Skywalker exchanging inscrutable looks on that island while Chewbacca waits impatiently in the Millennium Falcon below. With all the other movies there was a time gap, sometimes significant, in the storyline.
Since we’re left hanging with so many unresolved plot threads from the first one, expect we’ll get a little satisfaction on these fronts: Will Luke teach Rey to be a real Jedi or will he fall to pieces and run away from everything again? What’s Finn going to do now that he doesn’t have to wear that horrid stormtrooper suit any more? Is Leia going to send Ben to his room for killing his father (Han Solo)? Will Poe Dameron continue to be awesome? (Yes). Finally, not a question as much as a request. Will someone please walk up to Supreme Leader Snoke and stick a smoking lightsaber in his belly?
In the original three movies Lucas created we get a popular trio of heroes to follow along their adventures – Luke, Leia, and Han. We think The Last Jedi is headed in that same direction with Rey, Finn, and pilot Poe Dameron. While Poe is no Han Solo and probably couldn’t make the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, he did add some value to The Force Awakens and ruined at least a few of Kylo Ren’s plans. At some point we need to have some backstory about Rey and Finn’s origins. Who were the parents that left her stranded on Jakku? What was he doing before he became a stormtrooper? Hopefully, we’ll learn more about these two soon.
Wait a second – probably the biggest bombshell that I’m doubting we’ll find out in Episode 8 – are Luke and Rey related? It’s obvious that Rey and Kylo are somehow related too (which makes sense since Kylo is the son of Leia, aka Luke’s sister). We obviously know that Kylo is the unfortunate outcome of Han and Leia, but how does Rey fall into the mix? If Luke ends up being Rey’s estranged father, who was her mother? The family drama dynamic has always been present in Star Wars — rest assured it’s not going away any time soon. My guess is they’ll make it crystal clear in Episode VIII that Luke and Rey are related, but we won’t find out exactly how. Because mechanical-hand Luke needs to keep some secrets.
Luke’s First Words
No, it definitely won’t be “I’m your father” or “Do you like my beard?“.. but it has been reported that Luke’s first words to Rey (and possibly first words of the movie) will be, “Who are you?” Which is potentially ironic, if Luke ends up being Rey’s father. Or uncle. Or something.
Can we please just appreciate the fact that three words of dialogue from an unreleased Star Wars movie constitutes legitimate breaking news? Society at it’s peak, ladies and gentlemen.
When Death Changes the Story
Will the rumors regarding a planned Han Solo funeral scene included in Episode VII come to fruition? That only seems fitting. That old warrior needs a proper send-off. And while Carrie Fisher had already finished her work for The Last Jedi before her untimely (and globally mourned) passing, what does that mean for the fate of General Leia Organa? These are the questions that keep Rian Johnson up at night. Or maybe not. Chances are he won’t direct the next installment, so he can sit back and laugh hysterically at the plot mess left for the next guy or gal who slides into the director’s chair (and more importantly, the writers for Episode 9). Who am I kidding, they’ve already written the plot for Episode 18 by this point.
The Bottom Line
Had enough yet? We’re aware the actual new facts discussed here are woefully inadequate. Blame Disney! What we do know is that The Last Jedi will hit big screens around the world on December 15, 2017. The first trailer release can’t be too far around the corner!