-- Warning: SPOILERS lie ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi --
Now that The Last Jedi has finally arrived in theaters, we can safely confirm that the Star Wars universe will never be the same. Expectations were enormously high for Episode 8, and in the nearly unanimous eyes of critics, director Rian Johnson has delivered. Reviews have showered the movie with praise, with many calling it the franchise's best entry since The Empire Strikes Back. Fan response, however, has been far more mixed. The film currently sports a 57% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, tying it for the lowest in the franchise. As of now, it's shaping up to be the most divisive installment in the series.
The Last Jedi's willingness to challenge the status quo of the series is perhaps its most controversial element. Whether it's eliminating franchise cornerstones to make way for new characters and storylines, or it's introducing new elements to the ever-mysterious Force, TLJ is downright fearless. And that fearlessness has more than a few fans crying foul.
Regardless of whether you loved or hated TLJ, it's changed the Star Wars universe as we know it forever. It subverts expectations and challenges what it means to be a Star Wars movie. Read on to find out how much of an impact it will have on the series going forward.
The Force's unlimited potential
Among the most controversial aspects of The Last Jedi are all the new uses of the Force. Even the staunchest defenders of the latest Star Wars film probably found themselves questioning one of the new abilities on display at one point or another. Heading into TLJ, the film's Force users were bound to make a few additions to their bag of tricks. Virtually every new Star Wars film has debuted a new ability or two. But it's the extent of the new powers demonstrated in the movie that's the real game-changer.
TLJ actually kicks off with the biggest doozy of them all. After TIE fighters blew out her ship's bridge and sent her hurdling into space, General Leia looked like a goner. That was until she suddenly snapped to and telekinetically pulled herself back into the ship. Leia's Mary Poppins moment was a confusing one for casual fans, who may not have even known she was Force sensitive, although true Star Wars fans know better. Outside of some intuitive abilities, however, Leia had never demonstrated Force powers on the big screen. So how was she suddenly able to tap into the Force and survive both the bridge explosion and an extended stay in space? Well, she is a Skywalker.
Later on, Luke's ability to project an image of himself across space for an extended period of time and distract Kylo Ren made for a wild reveal, to say the least. The fact that he was able to make this projection tangible (how else could Luke have handed the gold dice to Leia?) is even wilder. Oh, and let's not forget Force Ghost Yoda calling down a bolt of lightning to destroy the Jedi Temple. Does that mean Luke will be able to lend a helping hand in Episode 9?
Based on the events of TLJ, there's really no telling what the Force can do anymore. And that's left a whole lot of fans quoting Han Solo.