FORCE OF IDEAS

Who is “The Last Jedi”? Some theories on what the next Star Wars movie title means

Earlier today, Lucasfilm, the Disney-owned production house behind the Star Wars franchise, announced the title of the eighth movie in the series. It will be called The Last Jedi.

What exactly might that title mean? Who is this Jedi and why is he or she the last one? Here are a few exceedingly nerdy theories:

It’s Luke Skywalker

This is the most obvious answer. The hero of the original Star Wars trilogy, and the guy whom the entire Star Wars universe seemed to be looking for in 2015’s The Force Awakens, Luke Skywalker is referred to as “the last Jedi” in the opening title crawl of the most recent film. Indeed, his father eradicated almost all the other practicing Jedi 20 years before Luke was born, and the others died during the course of the earlier Star Wars movies.

The official Star Wars Twitter account calls the new film the “next chapter of the Skywalker saga,” which would seem to imply that Luke is the titular character—assuming that’s the Skywalker it’s referring to.

On the other hand, is Luke even a real Jedi? He never went through the formal training, never dressed like one (at least not when he was younger), and Yoda says he won’t be one until he confronts Darth Vader. Even then, he’s not a Jedi Master, in a position to start training other people in the ways of the Force. Perhaps someone else far more qualified has been waiting in the wings all these years, a character that could be introduced in the The Last Jedi.

That would be a real stretch, even for a franchise that has been known to drop some fantastic twists over the years. But it does seem entirely possible that the title is an equivocation meant to make the audience think one way before the film reveals another answer. After all, Yoda himself told Luke in The Return of the Jedi that “there is another Skywalker”—and all of the sudden Luke is telling Leia that she has the Force and could be a Jedi. Does that mean…

It’s Leia

There’s no indication in The Force Awakens that Leia has followed in her brother’s footsteps with the ways of the Force. But Yoda, on his deathbed, tells Luke in The Return of the Jedi: “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.”

Later in the film, Luke speaks to Leia about the Force, telling her, “You have that power, too. In time you’ll learn to use it as I have. The Force is strong in my family. My father has it, I have it, and my sister has it.”

But given that Carrie Fisher, the actress that has played Leia throughout the years, died in December, it’s unlikely that the central plot point for the rest of trilogy would revolve around her, as Disney has said it will not digitally recreate her likeness for the final film.

It’s Rey

The protagonist of The Force Awakens clearly has some link to the Force. Her aptitude with a lightsaber, plus her seeming ability to figure out how to perform Jedi mind tricks on a Stormtrooper and move objects with her mind, all seem to suggest she is Jedi material.

She also has a similar origin story as the previous two trilogies’ protagonists. Rey, like Anakin and Luke, lives on a desolate sand-filled planet and is a seriously talented pilot. Like Anakin, she’s a master tinkerer. And like Luke, she longs to know about her parents. (And one of those parents could even be Luke, which could make her, like her father before her, the last Jedi in the family line.)

She also seems to sympathize with the Rebellion—recall the Rebel Starfighter helmet she wears as she eats dinner, as Luke did when he interrogated C-3PO about the Rebellion.

While corollaries doesn’t necessary mean causation here, it does seem entirely likely that after Luke, Rey will be the last Jedi (at least for now). At the end of The Force Awakens, she stands in front of Luke, silently holding his lightsaber, and it seems very plausible that she would like to be trained by him.

It’s Kylo Ren

In The Force Awakens, Han Solo tells Rey: “[Luke] was training a new generation of Jedi. One boy, an apprentice turned against him, destroyed it all. Luke felt responsible. He walked away from everything.”

The boy is Leia and Han’s son, Ben Solo (also known as Kylo Ren). It’s entirely possible that this was a setup for a redemption story for Ben Solo, much as the first six films documented the rise, fall and redemption of his grandfather, Anakin Skywalker. Solo was training as a Jedi before he was tempted to the Dark Side by supreme leader Snoke. If something were to happen to Luke and to Leia—who very well could have trained in the ways of the Jedi herself when Luke set up his school—then perhaps Ben Solo is the last Jedi standing.

It’s Finn

A bit of a long shot, but given this former Stormtrooper’s innate desire to do what he believes to be right, and his seeming interest in fighting with a lightsaber—even if he was terrible with it—could make Finn a surprise choice as the last Jedi. Remember, Luke, too, was very poor with a lightsaber at first, and was also cocky and headstrong before he learned a bit of humility over the course of the original trilogy. Finn, like Anakin, Luke, and Rey, also seems to be an orphan, if that’s a criteria for whom Lucasfilm chooses for its Jedi protagonists.

It’s Jar Jar Binks

Just joking—but amazingly enough, there’s an argument out there for the idea.

It’s a group of people

One early theory that’s been sweeping around the internet is about the grammar of the word “Jedi.” Much like sheep, fish, and aircraft, the word is the same in its singular and plural forms. Perhaps The Last Jedi refers to a group of Jedi, that Luke leads with Rey, or other characters from the last film, to fight against the First Order and Kylo Ren. Think about all the other incidental characters in The Force Awakens: Perhaps the last Jedi (or one of them) is fighter pilot Poe Dameron, or a convert like the underutilized Captain Phasma (the shiny Stormtrooper, played by Gwendoline Christie).

In any case, it’s been a long time (not in real time, but chronologically in the films) since we’ve seen a lightsaber battle with more than two people involved. So a group of Jedi taking on the evil empire would be a welcome addition.

What does “the last” mean?

There are a few ways to interpret the other part of the title, too.

  • Someone is going to die. Whoever the last Jedi is, this will be the last time he or she is heard from. This would seem to mirror the fatalism that dominated the most recent Star Wars offshoot film, Rogue One, which killed off its characters in the third act after spending the first two acts building them up, because it had to. It also makes it seem like there might not be any Jedi in Episode IX.
  • It’s just a nod to Luke. Luke was set up in the previous film as “the last Jedi,” but was in the film for a grand total of about 20 seconds. Perhaps this will be a film about him joining his sister to help dismantle the First Order. Luke is the “last” Jedi, but when there is peace, he can possibly start training new recruits to be Jedi again.
  • It’s the end of the religion. Given that Luke’s last attempt to restart the Jedi resulted in an angry kid killing all his fellow pupils, much like his grandfather had before him, perhaps Luke would have enough sense to not try to restart the religion after killing off the last remaining supporters of the Sith. Luke’s father was foretold to bring balance to the force, which he sort of did by killing the Emperor and redeeming himself. Perhaps Luke can finish what his father started, and will abandon the idea of seeing a group of acolytes taking The Force’s name in vain to do with it as they see fit.
  • It’s a message. One theory put forward, possibly jokingly, on Reddit is that Lucasfilm is making a sentence with its new titles: “The Force Awakens The Last Jedi.”

Also, why is the logo in red?

People on the internet have been wondering why the Star Wars logo surrounding the new title is red, when most of the previous films’ logos have been white or yellow. Perhaps it’s a dire sign indicating that there will be blood in this film (maybe a Star Wars version of the “red wedding” in Game of Thrones). Or, perhaps, it’s just a nod to some of the classic designs that were used in the advertising of previous Star Wars films:

Miscellany

Did the Star Wars franchise folks inadvertently drop a hint about the identity of the last Jedi when they dropped a tweet in Portuguese? Initially there was speculation that the title refers to a man, based on the singular, gendered pronoun used in the translation “El Ultimo Jedi.” This is from an unofficial account:

The translation also appears to have been used in a tweet from the official Star Wars Brasil account.

Only, the Star Wars Brasil tweet referred to above has since been taken down, and replaced with a tweet that uses only the gender-neutral English title.

So maybe it’s a man, or maybe it isn’t.

Or maybe, after all these years of standing on the sidelines, always playing sidekick, Chewbacca is ready to steal the limelight.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search