SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead
Rian Johnson believes that Luke Skywalker's death in Star Wars: The Last Jedi will only result in more narrative opportunities for the character. As the events of Episode VIII start to sink in, fans are starting to look ahead with what's to come in the near future for the current trilogy. J.J. Abrams will be back for 2019's Episode IX, taking over the movie after original helmer Colin Trevorrow exited the project.
We say goodbye to Luke's worldly presence in The Last Jedi in the most poetic way. After we learn about everything that has put him off of the path he started more than three decades ago, plus some insightful words from Master Yoda, he caps off his personal journey by helping his sister General Organa and the remaining Resistance troops live one more day out of the clutches of the First Order. The scene was brilliantly staged featuring the Jedi Master gazing at the binary sunset -- a callback to the original film.
In light of the movie's release, Johnson talked to Business Insider about The Last Jedi and briefly touched on the subject of what comes next after his risky Star Wars film. And while he can only speak about what he knows and what he has done, he hints that just because Luke is now gone, doesn't mean that his character arc will only be relegated to a glowing blue manifestation of himself, popping in and out just to give Rey some words of wisdom.
“I’m not sure what J.J. and [screenwriter] Chris Terrio are going to do in the next one with Luke, but setting up possibilities for the next one, honestly, it seems much like Obi-Wan going where he did after 'New Hope.' The possibilities seemed even more exciting in terms of what Luke's place could be in the next chapter with him entering into this other realm as opposed to him having a lightsaber and being with our heroes. It opened more possibilities as opposed to fewer.”
With Star Wars: Episode IX not in Johnson's hands, we can only imagine what Abrams is cooking up for the threequel. There were people who were underwhelmed by his work in Star Wars: The Force Awakens given that it retreads a bit too much of the story beats in A New Hope. Nevertheless, it accomplished its job of reintroducing Star Wars back into mainstream consciousness. A lot of what he set up in Episode VII, however, did not really get the follow through that a lot of fans were expecting, so it's interesting how he is going to move the story forward. Granted, he didn't know at the time he'd return to close out the trilogy, but Abrams did enjoy what Johnson had in store for Episode VIII.
It's almost inconsequential to wonder if Luke will be back for Episode IX (Mark Hamill is definitely game), considering where we are in terms of the saga and real-life. Carrie Fisher's death significantly impacted Lucasfilm's initial plans for the threequel, and they had to start over following the tragedy. Additionally, since Last Jedi leaves her alive and full of hope, it makes the job trickier. That said, Johnson also laid the grounds for a passion of the Resistance's leadership baton from Leia to Poe Dameron, which Abrams can definitely take advantage of if he wishes to. As for Luke, there is a plethora of ways to spin his Force ghost return, and if Abrams will borrow a page from Johnson's book, he can take chances to enrich the lore. The fact that there is no overarching plot set for the sequel trilogy certainly leaves a lot of room to play with, narrative-wise.
Source: Business Insider
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019