The Last Jedi isn't the Star Wars film we wanted, but it's the one we need.

December 18th, 2017

The Last Jedi has more than its share of plot twists. There's almost no way to discuss the movie without spoiling them. If you haven't seen it yet, please do so before reading on.

Remember the last scene of The Force Awakens? Rey has tracked Luke Skywalker across the galaxy. She seeks training, and the Resistance needs his help. She shows up on his doorstep and presents him with a lightsaber. The movie ends with that shot. Rey's face is filled with expectation. Luke's expression is hard to gauge.

It's not just any lightsaber. It was Luke's first, the one that belonged to his father, Anakin Skywalker, the Chosen One who was prophesied to bring balance to the Force, trained by Jedi Master Kenobi…oh, for $%^&# sake.

It was with no small amount of relief that I laughed aloud when Luke's first act in the new film is to take the saber, examine it, and throw it over his shoulder. He isn't going to train Rey to lead the next generation of Jedi. He's done with all that.

And really, so are we. That's the whole point of The Last Jedi. Rian Johnson has done something unexpected and wonderful with the franchise: he's reinvented it.

The first Star Wars movie introduced us to Luke and the concept of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker was a simple everyman, a farm boy living a dead-end life in the desert. A wise mentor entered the scene and offered Luke a chance to become something greater.

As of the first movie, any of us could have been Luke. That was the point. Then came the Empire Strikes Back and that big revelation. Luke wasn't just anybody. He was the son of Darth Vader. His sister was a princess.

From that point forward, Luke was royalty, a prophet endowed with supernatural powers. Things only got worse with the Prequels, in which we're told Luke's father was the product of immaculate conception and his mother was a queen.

Sorry, kids. Turns out not just anybody gets to be a Jedi. That honor is reserved to a few privileged winners of a genetic lottery. Star Wars became a mythology driven not by heroes, but by legends and icons.

Those people are often woefully inadequate in their roles. That's the lesson of The Last Jedi, and it's one that's long overdue.

Luke failed. That's not something gilded royalty are supposed to do, and he doesn't know how to deal with it. He's retired to an abandoned island to wallow in self-pity, and he's not much help to Rey as a mentor.

Instead, it's up to Rey to follow her own path. There have been innumerable fan theories as to her heritage, and I'm glad Johnson cleared it up in this film. Rey is nothing special. She's a poor kid from the desert whose parents went to the liquor store one day for cigarettes and never came back.

She's a nobody, and that's precisely why she's important. Rey gets to determine her own life. She gets to make her own choices and mistakes without having the weight of prophecy on her back. In short, she can be any of us.  As Yoda tells Luke, "we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters."

I'm not the least bit sad to see the Jedi Order and its beaurocracy go. The Force belongs to everybody, and Johnson has given it back.

1 Comment »
  1. K Bryan wrote, running Mozilla Firefox 57.0 on Linux

    Boring propaganda from untalented writers.
    Presents itself as a direct sequel but is 'completely' divorced from previous entries in ever way.
    No wonder even Mark Hamill hates it.

    Comment on December 27, 2017 @ 11:24 pm

Leave a comment

This is a written medium. If you think something is worth expressing, it's worth using proper spelling and grammar.