As most of you will know by now, the title for Ep VIII, the second instalment in the Sequel Trilogy, was announced two days ago and it is ‘The Last Jedi’! Lucasfilm released the following statement:
We have the greatest fans in this or any other galaxy. In appreciation of the fans, we wanted them to be the first to know the title of the next chapter in the Skywalker saga: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI.
THE LAST JEDI is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.
STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.
So let’s start digging into what all of this means! Of course the most popular, and in my opinion most credible, theory is that ‘The Last Jedi’ refers to Luke Skywalker. Not only did we find out in The Force Awakens that he went in search of the first Jedi Temple, he is also, as far as we know, the only Jedi to remain. The Original Trilogy saw the deaths of (spoiler I guess?) Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and, arguable, Anakin Skywalker. They seemed to have been the only Jedi still alive and Luke was their legacy, the only person trained by Jedi in the ways of the Force. It would therefore make perfect sense to consider him the last Jedi in the Galaxy. However, although Luke calls himself a Jedi in The Return of the Jedi, he also throws away his lightsaber which I have always interpreted as a partial rejection of what the Jedi were. Since we know next to nothing about what Luke did between RotJ and TFA except for diasterously training Ben/Kylo Ren, we don’t know to what extent ‘Jedi’, as we know it from the Prequels, still applies to him. However, my theory is still that this title indicates a strong focus on Luke Skywalker in Ep VIII. A (big) part of me would be disappointed if Ep VIII focused too intensely on Luke Skywalker since I would like the Sequel trilogy to focus on its new characters. Han Solo played a major role in TFA, arguably very understandable considering, but I was hoping the new characters would take centre stage in Ep VIII. However, I also think this title could spell the end of Luke Skywalker, with the title of “the last Jedi” passing to Rey when he dies. I can totally see a death scene where Luke tells her ‘You’re the last Jedi now’, a la Yoda’s ‘There is another Skywalker’ in RotJ.
Another thing that caught my eye about the announcement above is that they called Star Wars the Skywalker saga. I don’t know if I’ve missed something major but I feel like it’s never really been called that “officially” before. It has always been the Star Wars saga, although it was clear that all seven, soon eight, films focus on the Skywalker family. Kathleen Kennedy referred to the films as such back in 2016 when she said:
‘The Saga films focus on the Skywalker family saga.’ (emphasis mine)
Back then I wrote about the importance of the word ‘saga’ and how it implied that there was a mythologising of the Prequels and Originals, turning those stories into something a new generation of characters, not necessarily Skywalkers (looking at you, Rey and Finn) could be inspired by. But now the non-Anthology films are officially branded the “Skywalker family saga” and I wonder what that means. Rey is clearly the main protagonist of TFA but so far we know nothing about her origin. I am still quite dubious she is a Skywalker, considering Han and Leia’s relative lack of recognition when they met her, so where does that leave Rey? The only confirmed new Skywalker we know of is Kylo Ren, so I wonder if he is being shifted towards main protagonist or if a major reveal regarding Rey is coming up.
I also share Wired’s interest in the red colour of the logo. The Star Wars logo has almost always been its own iconic yellow and hence it comes as a surprise that it has been changed for Ep VIII. And this isn’t just any red. It’s Sith Red! As Wired suggests, it could simply be a change for promotional material, but I doubt it. Considering how unsure Luke’s status as “Jedi” is, that Kylo Ren joined the Dark Side, and that Rey herself seems to be able to tap into both the Light and the Dark, I think there is a considerable chance we’ll see a all these characters deal with their inner demons. John Boyega did say the following about Ep VIII after all:
“It’s a different take, darker, bigger.” (Variety)
One of the three times this red was used for the Star Wars title was for RotJ in which, as Wired points out, we saw some major character deaths and internal struggle for Luke. Considering all of this I think we’ll get a very different film from TFA, one hopefully exploring all kinds of new aspects of the Force and focusing on our new characters growing into their new roles in the Galaxy.
What are your thoughts on the title announcement? And am I reading too much into “the Skywalker saga”? Let me know in the comments!