Fresh off my third viewing of The Last Jedi I find myself liking this movie more and more. Initially I walked out of the theater on opening night and had a mix of emotions. I liked the movie, but much of what I expected to see or hear didn’t come to fruition and that left part of me feeling almost let down.
In my second viewing that feeling of being let down had subsided and I watched the film expectation-free. What a difference! I went from having conflicted feelings, to being in balance and putting this film ahead of Return of the Jedi on my personal “Best of Star Wars” list (which was previously third).
Now with my third viewing complete I can safely say I understand why Disney gave Rian Johnson another entire trilogy based upon what he did with The Last Jedi. Johnson managed to improve upon the already great new characters left to him by J.J. Abrams and The Force Awakens. However he also took existing characters and gave them more depth. None more than Luke Skywalker.
I know what was done with Luke in The Last Jedi is a source of contention for some Star Wars fans, but as someone who initially wanted nothing more than to see Luke survive to see Episode IX I have come around to see how well they handled this iconic movie character and gave him a worthy ending. Giving a Skywalker character more depth and meaning can only be a good thing in a Star Wars trilogy. After all that bloodline is the main focus of both the prequel and original trilogies.
The prequel trilogy told us the story of the rise and fall of Anakin Skywalker. The original trilogy showed us the rise of Luke Skywalker and the redemption of Anakin. Now the new trilogy has added another chapter to the Skywalker saga and showed us the failure and then revival of both the legend and person that is Luke Skywalker.
The only question that remains is this; was The Last Jedi for all intensive purposes the end of the Skywalker saga or is there more to be told?
Where The Force Awakens was ripe with what many feel was fan service and retreads of original trilogy story lines, The Last Jedi walked a tightrope between nostalgia and the future of the franchise. When it comes to the Skywalker family did The Last Jedi lay all the new trilogy’s cards on the table or is it stringing us along?
I’ve read many articles that discuss how Rey being a nobody is a good thing for the franchise and have friends that are very happy with this development as well. Regardless of how you feel about this reveal in The Last Jedi, my question to you is this – Are you sure that Rey is really a nobody?
Think about how we learn of Rey’s origins in The Last Jedi. During one of Rey and Kylo’s Force Time sessions they touch hands and at that moment they each see different visions. Rey sees Kylo turn to the light against Snoke. Kylo sees Rey turn to the dark side. He also says that it was in this vision that he sees the identities of Rey’s parents.
The problem here is that they were both seeing what Snoke wanted them to see. He facilitated their connection and directed their visions. If he was the architect behind everything they saw, why is everyone taking the idea that Rey’s parents were nobodies as the truth? Snoke could have planted the idea of Rey’s parents being junk traders in both her and Kylo’s visions.
Why would he do this? Let’s for argument’s sake say that somehow she is a Skywalker. It is already established from what we saw in The Force Awakens and throughout The Last Jedi that Rey is very powerful even with little to no training in the force, however she is still unsure of her place in the story. She lacks confidence because of this. Finding out that she is a Skywalker could instill a confidence in her that would allow her to potentially become a gigantic threat to Kylo and Snoke in a very short period of time. Rey already believed in the legend of Luke Skywalker. Imagine what she could do if she began to feel she was part of that legend too.
Snoke would want to keep this knowledge from her and this is why he would direct both Rey and Kylo’s visions to disseminate a lie and then use the false information to make her more vulnerable. We see the potential of this false information and how it could be used to manipulate Rey when Kylo uses it while trying to get her to join him after Snoke is defeated.
I know that many will ask how Rey could be a Skywalker. I have my theories, but that is another discussion altogether and I by no means am certain that this is the case. I just feel given what we know of how the knowledge of Rey’s parentage was gained in The Last Jedi it’s surprising to see that most people are taking this information as gospel.
The Last Jedi makes no secrets about moving on from the past, but did the franchise move on from the Skywalker focus with this movie? We’ve already established that the first two trilogies were all about the Skywalkers. The Force Awakens revolved around the search for Luke and how the galaxy needed him. The Last Jedi told the story of Luke’s failure with Ben Solo and him coming to grips with and recovering from that failure to once again give hope to the galaxy. It sure seems to me that this new trilogy is being driven by and revolves around the Skywalker name. For that reason I would not be surprised to see more Skywalker involvement in the final episode before we ultimately and definitively move on from that family in future films.
At the end of The Empire Strikes Back we learn that Vader is Luke’s father. In the years between Empire and Return of the Jedi there was plenty of debate as to whether this was true or if Vader was lying. Perhaps Rian Johnson’s reveal in The Last Jedi was a play on that situation. Maybe this time we didn’t get the truth at the end of the second installment of the trilogy, but instead have been set-up for a big twist in episode IX.
The Last Jedi did not definitely answer that question of Rey’s origins. Maybe I’m holding out hope to a delusional extent that she is a Skywalker, but given the source of the information in The Last Jedi – I know it can’t be trusted 100%.
All there is now is to wait another couple of years until we get Episode IX and see where J.J. Abrams feels this story should go.