OK, who else is pumped for the latest installation of Star Wars? This year we will be able to see Episode 8: The Last Jedi, just late enough in December to make it really hard to buy merchandise in time for Christmas giving. I mean, seriously? December 17th? But still, I’m excited about what we’re going to find here. And to celebrate, I’ve decided to explore several theories about the next film.
The Last Jedi is episode 8, so naturally the sequel to episode 7, The Force Awakens. Episode 7 took the world by storm when it came out in 2015, bringing Star Wars to the younger generations who did not grow up with the original trilogy or the three which shall not be named. In The Force Awakens, we discover that thirty years have now passed since episode 6, Return Of The Jedi. We meet Rey, a scavenger girl who survives dismantling ships for scrap, Poe, a member of the resistance and an X-wing fighter pilot, and Finn, a stormtrooper suffering a crisis of identity. What is more, Harrison Ford returned as Han Solo, Mark Hamill briefly as Luke Skywalker, and our beloved Carrie Fisher (may she rest in peace) as once-princess, now-General Leia. At the end we are left with an immense cliffhanger, where Han Solo has been killed by his own son, darkside-turned Kylo Ren, the Starkiller Base is destroyed in a manner highly reminiscent of the end of the Death Star, and now Rey, having discovered her own abilities with the force, travels to meet Luke Skywalker.
Which is where it ends. Just like that.
No wonder we’ve been clinging on for two years waiting for the next one!
All the actors, save our now departed Carrie Fisher, are going to return to their roles, maintaining some amount of consistency, which we like. Not to mention that they were all amazing as their characters, so we know we can look forward to some more wonderful acting and a fully immersive experience.
The film will pick up exactly where The Force Awakens left off, with Rey meeting Luke Skywalker, which the writers claim is going to be the start of a mentor-student relationship between the two of them not unlike that between Yoda and Luke in the original trilogy. Which is where our first theory comes in: this trilogy (The Rey trilogy?) is going to be full of parallels to the original trilogy. This isn’t lazy scriptwriting, like some critics have accused them of, but a deliberate design, with specific scenes from the original trilogy being relived by the new generation. Therefore, much like Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi lived in hiding until the next generation could take on their path, preserving the Jedi numbers, Luke has hidden until the next generation, Rey, can find him, to pass down his own lessons and role.
What is more, we can expect to see some of Kylo Ren’s background and development as similar to Anakin’s. Many critics attacked Kylo Ren’s character as simply a grumpy, misguided, emo without much more depth to him than daddy issues. But the reality is that he is directly mirroring Anakin Skywalker’s slow fall to the dark side, right down to the pull he feels between both worlds, and the slightly annoying melodramatic way he has of expressing his battle against that pull. Over the next two films we can expect to see Kylo Ren unfold into a darker, colder, more dangerous enemy, just as Anakin did before him.
However we can expect to see some mixing up of the roles as well. For example we cannot picture Poe as an equivalent to Han Solo, however the original Han is now long gone, so if we are expecting to see someone else step into his boots as the serious maverick, a slightly more likely candidate is actually… Luke himself. It is very much possible that Luke will fulfil both the mentor role and the maverick sidekick role, either in The Last Jedi, or switching roles for the last instalment of this trilogy. Furthermore, we are hoping that even though BB-8 is super cute, we may see the return of R2-D2, our original favourite beeping droid. This was all but promised to us in the scene where BB-8 meets R2 in his dormant state, so we’ll be a little let down if it doesn’t happen.
Finally, there is a little part of me that instinctively is wondering whether Finn will also turn out to be strong in the Force, just based on how well he held his own in the first film. But only time will tell…