We finally have the title of the next entry in the Star Wars saga. But just what, or who, does The Last Jedi refer to?
It has been a long time coming, but we now know the title of Episode VIII. The somewhat ominous name for the film is accompanied by a red, rather than yellow logo, which doesn’t exactly bode well for our heroes. But, like it or not, The Last Jedi is here — and we’re going to break down what it could mean.
But first, we’re going to look at a little Star Wars history, and where we’ve seen a red logo, as well as the title The Last Jedi, before.
The Last Jedi has been used twice as a title in the Star Wars universe. Yes, twice. You may have seen several references made over on Twitter to the 49th issue in the Star Wars comic series, titled The Last Jedi. One, most notably, by Pablo Hidalgo — a creative executive of the Lucasfilm Story Group.
— Pablo Hidalgo (@pablohidalgo) January 23, 2017
It is unlikely that we will see any reference back to the comic within the central plot itself, but it could be nice to see a more subtle hat-tip to one of the origins of the title.
The Last Jedi has also been used as a title for a Star Wars novel, now part of Legends, post-Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm. The novel was a standalone follow-up to the Coruscant Nights series, centered around Jax Pavan, the last publicly known Jedi in the wake of Order 66. Much in the same vein as the aforementioned comic, it is unlikely that the novel will inform the story of Episode VIII, but — again — it could be interesting to hear a reference to Jax, somewhere over the course of the film.
As for the logo, there have also been several instances where red has either been used, or intended to be used, in the place of the now-classic yellow.
During the Clone Wars series, the logo was changed to red to signify the return of Darth Maul — the presumed-dead Dathomirian villain of Episode I. Could the use of red in the logo for The Last Jedi suggest the return of the Sith, and ‘balance’ to the Force? Though Kylo Ren is, unquestionably, on the Dark Side, there is no reference to his status as a Sith — or, indeed, that there are any within the First Order itself.
Of course, the red logo could simply be a reference to the original title and design for Return of the Jedi. Several teasers were created and posters printed with an ominous red logo, and the title Revenge of the Jedi, prior to Lucas reverting to Return instead. On some promotional material, Return of the Jedi also had red in its logo, as did Revenge of the Sith. With a darker tone being suggested by several cast members, will The Last Jedi’s logo change reinforce that?
There’s only one way to find out. Let’s break down exactly what The Last Jedi could mean.
Luke Skywalker is the last Jedi
The most obvious reading of The Last Jedi title is that it refers specifically to Luke Skywalker. He has, after all, been referred to as such multiple times across the Star Wars saga. In fact, the opening crawl to The Force Awakens set the scene for the First Order’s single-minded mission to hunt down and destroy Luke — and with him the last vestige of the Jedi Order.
But The Force Awakens certainly wasn’t the first time we’d heard the phrase “last Jedi” in relation to Luke Skywalker. For that, we need to look back to the Original Trilogy installment, Return of the Jedi, and Yoda’s final words to Luke.
‘When gone am I, the last of the Jedi will you be.’
Though Rey may have discovered her Force sensitivity during the course of The Force Awakens and traveled to Ahch-To in order to convince Luke to return, the fact still remains that she is not yet a Jedi. Not only that, but with Ben Solo’s fall and little reference made to any of Luke’s other students surviving the massacre at the hands of the Knights of Ren, it would stand to reason that Luke’s status as the last Jedi is solidly intact.
Rey is the last Jedi
We’ve heard several times over that The Last Jedi will be a far darker tale than its predecessor. And so, by the time the credits roll at the close of Episode VIII, could Rey inherit the title of last Jedi from Luke?
It wouldn’t be that much of a stretch, considering that Star Wars’ narrative has always worked cyclically. Fans have even remarked endlessly about the parallels between A New Hope and The Force Awakens. But as Han’s death at the hands of his son, Ben, mirrored Obi-Wan’s, so too could Luke’s potential death mirror Yoda’s from Return of the Jedi. It would be somewhat poetic — if heartbreaking to lose Luke so soon after Han.
Of course, Rey’s journey to Ahch-To and Luke doesn’t necessarily preclude that she might eventually become a Jedi herself. Speaking to MTV in 2016, Ridley remarked, “I don’t know if I am a Jedi. I don’t think I am. We’ve had this debate as to whether Leia is because she uses her Force powers. Just because she’s not like, ‘Oh I’m going on an adventure’ like Luke doesn’t make her any less Forceful.”
Should Rey refuse to train as a Jedi, and utilize her Force sensitivity in other ways — as we have seen with several other characters, including the Bendu from Star Wars Rebels — we could see the definitive end of the Jedi as we know them with Luke’s death, whenever that might occur.
Amongst certain circles of fan theorists, there is also one that Rey herself could fall to the Dark Side — another signifier for the end of the Jedi, should that occur. It’s not a theory that I’m particularly fond of, but I certainly won’t discredit it, as it is a fairly persistent one. And that red logo is definitely ominous…
There are multiple last Jedi
There’s nothing to suggest that the Jedi referenced in Episode VIII‘s title is singular. Jedi can, after all, refer to both a person and a group.
The Last Jedi could see the completion of Rey’s training with Luke, and the two return side-by-side, to fight equally as Jedi. It would certainly be the sort of sneaky word-play that Star Wars has become known for, but could there be more to it?
Per The Force Awakens, we know that Ben Solo has, and continues to struggle with, the call to the light inside him. Though Han Solo’s death at his hands would seem to suggest that his fall to the Dark Side is complete, and any ties remaining to the light severed, is that truly the case?
Could The Last Jedi see Ben, much like his grandfather before him, return to the light to fight alongside Rey and Luke, making all three the last of the Jedi?
Battle with the Knights of Ren
As referenced during the earlier segment focusing on Luke, we already know there was a massacre at the hands of the Knights of Ren, resulting in Luke becoming the last Jedi once more. But between the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens, Luke was by no means the last.
Is it possible that The Last Jedi could refer to this massacre? We caught a glimpse of, what we assume, was the moment the massacre occurred — when Rey took Luke’s lightsaber at Maz Kanata’s castle. Could we be privy to a flashback sequence at some point over the course of Episode VIII, revealing the exact details of Ben Solo’s fall, and the circumstances surrounding the death of Luke’s students?