New details for Star Wars: The Last Jedi were revealed in the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly in an article about Leia and another about Luke and Rey. We are here to organize that news and insert some of our thoughts about the upcoming film. Beware that mild spoilers follow. As a follow-up to 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this film is one of the most anticipated of the year, if not the most anticipated.
***Full Spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens follow***
Leia and Poe
Near the end of The Force Awakens Han Solo is murdered by Kylo Ren (false fan theories that Han actually ignited the saber aside). Leia is obviously feeling immense sadness in the wake of this loss. Already she had lost her son Ben to the dark side, Luke has abandoned her, her home planet was blown up before her eyes in the past and now she loses the love of her life. Despite the fact that Leia and Han are a bit estranged during the events of Episode 7, it is clear that they still hold an undying love for one another and this loss is not something that Leia will take lightly.
Regarding Leia’s unwavering resolve, direct Rian Johnson told EW, “She’s taken hit after hit, and she’s borne it, and she focuses on moving forward and the task at hand.” Leia has always been a rock in the franchise. In a time when strong female characters were not prevalent, Carrie Fisher’s Leia was the female role model to shine above them all. Her character is unparalleled in her desire to see good prevail in the galaxy. This can be seen in many of the books that have been released. Sure, many of these books are deemed “legends” now but they can still be used to demonstrate her character.
For instance, in the Black Fleet Crisis series written by Michael P. Kube-McDowell, Leia is the leader of the New Republic, having taken over for Mon Mothma. During this series, she endures persecution and a conspiracy to have her removed from government and, all the while, does everything she can to protect the New Republic. She further sees a threat to the New Republic and successfully ends that threat!
Throughout many of the legends books that take place after Return of the Jedi, Leia puts the Republic above her training as a Jedi. While some may be disappointed to see a Leia who isn’t strong in the force, is this really out of character for her? She’s always been one to put the Republic first. She is, after all, the one who got the plans into R2-D2 which ultimately led to the destruction of the Death Star and was the catalyst that allowed the rebellion to succeed. In current canon, the same holds true for Leia. She put her political and military career above her training and became General Organa rather than pursue the Jedi path and become Master Organa.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi picks up with a scattered Resistance despite their massive victory against The First Order. Says Rian Johnson, “They’re a small band that’s now cut off, on its own, and hunted when the Republic is shattered…they’re very, very vulnerable.” Regarding the Resistance and how much pressure they are under, Rian further noted that “everybody is put in a pressure cooker right away.” This news illustrates how formidable the First Order is. Starkiller base has been destroyed, an entire First Order planet and yet it is the Resistance who is on the run, not the First Order. It will be exciting to see what this pressure does to relationships come December 15th.
Regarding relationships, Leia will be more involved with Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron this time around. This will be fun to see considering the open scroll of The Force Awakens mentions that Poe is her “most daring pilot.” The two are extremely close as revealed by Isaac where he stated that, “Poe is in some ways a surrogate son for Leia.” Further revealed in the EW article is that Poe will be a leader in the Resistance rather than just the best pilot.
Luke and Rey
We already know that Luke and Rey are together on the island Ahch-To and that it is the location of the first Jedi temple. We also know that Luke is training Rey based on the trailers. What some suspected, but we now know, is that this version of Luke is far different from what she expected and different than the Luke we came to know in the original trilogy. He didn’t want to be found nor to see his lightsaber again. He’s defeated and wants to be left alone.
I re-watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens after reading this news and could clearly see these feelings in Luke’s face as I watched that final scene. Further evidence of Luke’s state of mind is clear from the Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser wherein Luke says, “I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.” This is a complete about-face from the way he acted thirty years earlier during the events of the original trilogy. The Jedi must end? What a somber statement from the man who defeated both Darth Vader and the Emperor.
Director Rian Johnson came into this film with Luke having marooned himself and it was his and the writer’s task to explain why to film goers. Regarding Luke’s solitude, Johnson stated the following to EW:
“We know that he is not a coward. He’s not just hiding because he’s scared. But we also know that he must know his friends are in danger. He must know the galaxy needs him. And he’s sitting on this island in the middle of nowhere. There had to be an answer. It had to be something where Luke Skywalker believes he’s doing the right thing – and the process of figuring out what that is and unpacking it is the journey for Rey.”
It’s hinted by Hamill that Luke is unsure of his own connection to the force, a revelation that may come as a surprise. Hamill states that Luke thought Kylo Ren was “the one” and he invested his soul into him. States Hamill of Luke, “he is betrayed, with tragic consequences. Luke feels responsible for that.” The old Jedi feels like a failure for not seeing the darkness in Ben sooner, something that Obi-Wan may have felt himself when his apprentice Anakin became Darth Vader. The parallels between Luke and Obi-Wan are interesting but it’s clear that Obi-Wan handled the devastation better than the son of Anakin considering Obi-Wan’s connection to the force only increased and made him stronger.
This is where Daisy Ridley’s Rey comes in. Rey arrives on the island excited to meet the legend Luke Skywalker but is disappointed when she is not received with open arms. As stated previously, Luke wanted to be left alone and now this young woman (who he may or may not know) arrives with his lost lightsaber. Luke doesn’t know how to process this and doesn’t accept her willingly. Rey is faced with the task of getting Luke to remember who he is, a Jedi Knight capable of vanquishing the Sith.
This new information has truly shed new light on the film. When the teaser trailer released I speculated that Luke would train Rey to be a gray Jedi. While that may still be the case, this new information leads me to theorize that it will be up to Rey to remind Luke that there is still good in the Galaxy and that hope is not lost. I suspect that rather than gray Jedi (my personal preference), we will be seeing Luke return to form. It may take the entire film but I suspect that Luke will come back to the light. There is a reason that The First Order was so hell-bent on discovering his location.
In the The Force Awakens when learning that the Resistance has the map to Skywalker, Supreme Leader Snoke specifically states, “the resistance must be destroyed before they get to Skywalker.” We know very little about Snoke but we do know that he is powerful both in the force and politically. This statement by Snoke simultaneously demonstrates fear and respect for Luke Skywalker. If the leader of the First Order fears Luke then we can be sure that the Jedi Knight will play a monstrous role in the upcoming follow-up. Luke is extremely powerful and it is up to Rey to bring him back to help save the galaxy. As a Star Wars super fan, I can hardly contain my excitement to return to the galaxy far far away and see events unfold.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the upcoming follow-up to 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It follows Rey just after she finds Luke who is now training her in the ways of the force. As the Resistance continues to battle Kylo Ren and the First Order, Leia, Finn, Poe and more will be put to the task in this much awaited sequel arriving December 15, 2017.
For more Star Wars news check out New Star Wars: The Last Jedi Images!