Warning: spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead
Returning to that galaxy far, far away, Star Wars: The Last Jedi raised some major questions about the potential of evil within its lead characters, and now, director Rian Johnson is opening up about Rey’s vision in that dark place on Ahch-To.
Quite literally picking up where J.J. Abrams left off with The Force Awakens in 2015, The Last Jedi returned to Luke Skywalker’s rocky exile with Daisy Ridley’s Rey keen to learn the ways of the Force. The movie briefly took a pilgrimage to the expansive first Jedi Temple, but also took a dive into the depths of the island and the evil within. No one expected Jedi in-training Rey to be told the harsh truths of light and dark while taking a tumble into the ominous side of her own psyche trying look for her parents. But what was Johnson trying to tell us?
Speaking to /Film, Johnson calls the parallels between Luke’s own potential to stray to the dark side in his own training that was touched on in George Lucas’ original trilogy:
“Well, the idea that this natural place reflected. The idea that if there’s a Jedi Temple up top, the light, it has to be balanced by a place of great darkness. We’re drawing a very obvious connection to Luke’s training and to Dagobah here, obviously.”
It was all very Circle of Life as Luke told the stories life and death while Johnson did a beautiful montage of Ahch-To and the balance between all sides. During this scene was when Luke first sensed the real power within Rey, which ultimately caused him to question whether she would be next Kylo Ren. However, curiosity got the better of the young Jakku scavenger, and she soon went in search of the dark place herself.
With Rey hoping to find answers about her own parents, The Last Jedi created its own Luke vision scene from The Empire Strikes Back with a bit of Harry Potter‘s Mirror of Erised. Although neither Luke or Rey found the answers they were looking for on the dark side, it was an important message for Johnson to convey:
“The idea was if the up top is the light, down underneath is the darkness And she descends down into there and has to see, just like Luke did in the cave, her greatest fear. And her greatest fear is [that], in the search for identity, she has nobody but herself to rely on.”
Interestingly, while the place of light is referred to as the Jedi Temple, the dark place doesn’t get a Sith moniker. There was no Supreme Leader Snoke down there training his own legions of Kylo Ren replacements. However, moving forward, it makes you question whether anyone else will be taking a dip in the hole at Ahch-To or if there is anywhere else similar out there in the galaxy.
Thankfully, neither Luke or Rey succumbed to their dark side urges, but the battle between good and evil certainly blurred its lines during The Last Jedi. There were various points throughout the movie’s runtime where it looked like Rey, Kylo, or both of them could switch sides to the opposite cause. While Episode VIII hyped up the battle between good and bad, let’s see where the concluding part of the Skywalker saga sends the remaining heroes and villains in Episode IX.
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