Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is finally in theatres and here are some reasons why Rian Johnson’s film is so important for the future of the franchise.
WARNING: There will be major SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi in this article!
Star Wars. Has there ever been two words put together that make you more excited? For me, there hasn’t been. A new Star Wars film coming to the cinema is a huge event and this December marked the release of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi which had fans flocking to their local multiplexes or independent cinemas.
You might have seen a lot of chatter about this film online, both good and bad. Rather unsurprisingly there’s been a lot of opposition towards Johnson’s film despite its massive critical success. Is this yet another case in which the critics are a step removed from the general movie going public like they were with Darren Aronofsky’s mother!? I’m not so sure if that’s truly the case. I really do believe that in time people will see The Last Jedi for the groundbreaking Star Wars movie it really is. But as I said, this will take some time.
The Last Jedi is one of those films that takes a while to really sink in. I can completely understand why some long-standing Star Wars fans would have walked out of the cinema feeling a bit bemused and slightly disappointed with what they had just seen.
However, if you sit back and think about what Johnson achieved with his Star Wars picture you start to realise the huge risks he was allowed to take and how it’ll revolutionise the series going forward. He really has breathed new life into the Star Wars franchise and that will naturally ruffle some peoples’ feathers who really feel attached to Luke and the Skywalker saga.
Let’s first talk about Rey and the decisions that Johnson took for the character. Many of the main questions people were asking after having seen The Force Awakens was: who is Rey? Where does she come from? Who’s she related to? How come she’s so powerful with The Force? Most people were convinced she was related to either Luke, Obi-Wan Kenobi or even the Emperor himself.
Yet, what Johnson decided to do was truly brave and naturally sent some Star Wars fans up the wall. When Kylo Ren revealed to Rey that her parents were nobodies and left of Jakku to rot, my first reaction, like many Star Wars fans, was “What!?” But then I thought about how important that revelation was. It showed that it doesn’t matter who you’re related to in the Star Wars universe. You can still be an incredibly strong Force user without being related to some powerful Jedi or Sith. How else do you think the Jedi and the Sith began?
The scene near the end of the movie where to child uses the Force to pick up the brush is also proof of that fact. This kid is an underprivileged nobody, forgotten by his people, yet he holds more power than any of them. Johnson’s film shows that the Force is in all things and can be weirder by whomever regardless of their heritage.
People seem to be upset that these Star Wars films seem to be deviating from the Skywalker bloodline yet they seem to forget that Kylo is a Skywalker and his journey is a fascinating one. He’s a Skywalker obsessed with his grandfather’s legacy, Darth Vader, yet he’s conflicted. This film marks his fundamental turn towards the Dark Side. He just wants complete annihilation of everything and anyone.
This may have upset a few Star Wars fans yet I find it utterly compelling. The end of the film shows that there’s no more light left in Kylo and he’s become utterly enveloped by the Dark Side. There may be room for his retribution in Episode 9, but as far as Johnson’s film is concerned, Ben Solo is gone and only Kylo Ren remains.
I found Luke’s story arc in The Last Jedi to be fascinating. I really do understand why some people would have been upset with his mindset in this film. They were hoping to find a Luke who was desperately seeking answers. Instead, they found a man who had exiled himself from the rest of the galaxy because he felt that there was no hope and that he had failed. Think about it logically. Of course, he would feel this way. He believed Ben Solo to be the chosen one and he feels like he failed him.
This would be hard to handle and added to the fact that he was regarded as a legend by the whole galaxy, all this guilt would say heavy on anybody’s conscience. However, Luke’s time with Rey shows him that there’s still hope and he ends up becoming the hero we always knew him to be by facing Kylo Ren in order to give the Resistance time to escape certain destruction at the hands of The First Order.
The end of the film sees Luke at peace and he decides to fade away whilst looking at the two suns (a callback to A New Hope and the two suns on his homeland of Tatooine). This was a beautiful moment and does spell the end of Luke Skywalker who will surely come back as a Force ghost in Episode 9, much like Yoda did in this film (another great moment).
These are just a few reasons why I believe that The Last Jedi is a truly groundbreaking Star Wars movie. Johnson took real risks with some of the most beloved Star Wars characters and tropes. This is also one of the main reasons behind the negative reactions towards this film. Some people just aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the Skywalkers and see a director really leave his or her mark on a Star Wars film.
Up until now, it’s still been very much a George Lucas franchise, yet Johnson and Kennedy have now firmly planted their flag on the saga. This will help the franchise to move on and continue long into the future. Thanks to Johnson’s bravery and boldness these Star Wars movies have been given true longevity. Long may these Star Wars films continue and as Kylo said in The Last Jedi, it’s time to let the past die.