Star Wars: The Last Jedi has unsurprisingly been rated PG-13 by the MPAA, becoming the fourth installment in the franchise to receive that classification. This development was always expected, as Lucasfilm's prized cash cow is one of the many four-quadrant properties currently operating in Hollywood. Mega franchises like Star Wars, the MCU, and DC always target the PG-13 rating, since it hits the sweet spot of being accessible to the widest audience possible - from impressionable youngsters to older fans.
Along with confirmation of The Last Jedi's extensive runtime, this is the latest sign we are inching ever so closer to experiencing the next episode of the Skywalker family saga. As we come down the home stretch (only a few weeks to go), Lucasfilm has done their part to raise awareness with a bevy of promotional materials, including television spots and new posters that hint at tantalizing plot details. Based on the footage that's been released, it was clear this chapter wasn't going to be happy-go-lucky, and the official rating is proof of that.
The official Star Wars YouTube channel posted a video chronicling Mark Hamill's surprise visit to the Star Tours attraction at Disneyland, and it ends by telling viewers to see The Last Jedi in theaters this December. The tag also mentions the film is officially PG-13, due to "sequences of sci-fi action and violence." That reasoning is very similar to The Force Awakens and Rogue One, which were also PG-13. Revenge of the Sith, the first Star Wars film to take things in a more "mature" territory, also had "some intense images" because of Anakin's injuries on Mustafar.
Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson was previously asked about how appropriate his film will be for kids, who make up a large portion of the Star Wars target audience. Johnson was honest in saying it includes some intense scenes, but nothing that went beyond what was shown in the prequel and original trilogies. Five of those six films were rated PG, and included imagery such as charred corpses and the battered body of Shmi Skywalker. It's safe to say Johnson didn't put anything too extreme in The Last Jedi, and it should be an entertaining ride for families this holiday season. After all, with inquisitive Porgs hopping around and screaming battle cries, things can't be too dour.
Johnson is best known for more adult-orientated works like Breaking Bad, Looper, and Brick, but this should not be interpreted as the filmmaker watering down his sensibilities to appease Lucasfilm. He has been very adamant throughout the process about how much creative freedom he was given, barely making an alteration to the script as he realized his vision for the story. Kathleen Kennedy signed off on a 150-minute final cut, a first for Star Wars (which usually stays within the 2-hour range), so she wasn't imposing any restrictions. And with Johnson now developing an all-new Star Wars trilogy to carry the franchise into the post-Episode IX era, everyone was happy with the way things turned out.
- 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: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019