Fans may still have issues with Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but Rian Johnson proves that Luke's seemingly new Force ability wasn't without precedent. When it comes to the reception for the latest Star Wars film, it may go down in the history of fandom as more divisive than the prequels. And though Canto Bight was straight out of the prequels in many ways, much of the rest of the film actually honors the original trilogy.
Strangely, one major point of contention has been the Force powers demonstrated in Star Wars 8, from Rey and Kylo's communication to Yoda's ghost lightning. Yet as we pointed out after the film was released, The Last Jedi's new Force powers are rooted in canon. It's Expanded Universe canon to be sure, but that certainly seems to be the preferable source material for many who disliked Star Wars 8. One person who has decided to invoke the previous history of the galaxy far, far away, however, is the very person who wrote the abilities into the new film.
Rian Johnson took to Twitter for a simple thread that debunks the idea that Luke's Force decoy was out of left field. Heading to his book shelf, Johnson took down The Jedi Path: A Manual for Students of the Force by Daniel Wallace. Released in 2010—two years before Disney bought Lucasfilm—the tome is packed with details on the history of the Jedi and a bevy of abilities they can summon. And sure enough, under 'Advanced Force Techniques,' there's a section on Similfuturus aka a Force doppelgänger.
Our previous piece on the Force powers in Star Wars: The Last Jedi discussed this very technique in relation to Luke's climactic trump card and it's clear that Johnson was in fact pulling from previously established elements for his film. Ironically, detractors of the movie have complained that Johnson ruined Star Wars due to a lack of reverence for the source material. Yet here's proof that the writer and director is not only a fan of the nerdier aspects of the world, but didn't invent new Force powers whole clothe.
This isn't the first time Johnson has publicly defended Luke's big new power. The Last Jedi director defended Luke's Force ability from a disgruntled journalist recently who didn't feel the reveal was telegraphed enough throughout the film. Of course, Luke's demonstrated powers and decades of isolation seem like enough precedent for a shocking new power, but it's also fairly common for genre fare to have the big hero show off a heretofore unknown skill in his final fight.
There's plenty to criticize about Star Wars 8 from a story standpoint or even in terms of the universe itself. But it's also worth stepping back and looking at the vast store of Star Wars canon and precedent before assuming something unfamiliar doesn't hold water. Star Wars: The Last Jedi may not be perfect, but it's clear that Rian Johnson did his homework.
Source: Rian Johnson
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019