SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi ahead
The Last Jedi is the farewell project to everything that we have known about the Star Wars saga thus far, creature creative supervisor Neal Scanlan says. Writer/director Rian Johnson sent shockwaves across the massive fandom by opting for bold narrative choices in Episode VIII, which have kept the community talking.
A $450 million opening weekend worldwide is a decent indication that Lucasfilm has another gold mine on their hands. However, unlike the previous offerings which sparked theories about the future of the franchise, The Last Jedi is keeping people in the present, forcing them to process what just went down in the sequel, and the conversation is producing varying opinions. The followup to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, it has been two long years since we were first introduced to a new band of good (and bad) guys in the galaxy, far, far away. Episode VIII also sees the much-awaited return of Luke Skywalker, who has changed dramatically since Return of the Jedi. Audiences are presented with a nuanced, haunted and less optimistic character which is both interesting and controversial.
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In his commentary on the book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Scanlan opens up about The Last Jedi being a pivotal point that redirects the course of the Star Wars franchise down to a brand new direction.
"We're waving goodby to the legacy that is the original films and prequels, even to The Force Awakens. Rian is taking this film to a place that we've been. But it's definitely a place that we haven't been before. And that's liberating, isn't it - because where does Star Wars go from here? What a fantastic way to say, 'Goodbye.' And 'Let's go somewhere else. It was really amazing to do it with him."
However, not everyone sees eye-to-eye with Scanlan or Johnson on the matter. The sequel remains to be one of the most highly debated movies of the year, and not in the conventional way of trying to predict what will happen next. Instead, a significant part of the fan community chastised The Last Jedi for spinning the existing lore on its head. Several things that appeared to be building blocks for something significant in The Force Awakens (Rey's parentage, Snoke's identity) apparently did not really matter in the grand scheme of the trilogy. For many, The Last Jedi was quite bold in sending that message across.
Whether Scanlan also means that saying goodbye to the legacy of Star Wars means saying goodbye to the legacy characters is up for interpretation. Although, at this point, the original trio will not be physically present in Episode IX, considering the real-life death of Carrie Fisher and Luke Skywalker only able to appear as a Force ghost. Perhaps now is the time to bring back Lando Calrissian, not just for nostalgia, but in a way that works for the narrative (Leia mentioned meeting up with allies in the Outer Rim in Last Jedi). Assuming the threequel opens with the aftermath of General Organa's death and Poe Dameron taking the lead role, bringing in an old friend who helped the Rebellion in the original trilogy sounds like a good move to establish stability in the Resistance.
Source: The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017