Now that The Last Jedi has been out for a while and Star Wars fans have had time — and repeat viewings — to pick away at the details, the people tasked with making sure there’s a well-thought explanation behind every story beat and visual cue are seeing more and more questions about all the hundreds of little things that matter.
Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers for a key late scene in The Last Jedi. Consider this your point of no return!
Take the film’s final confrontation on the crystal-strewn planet of Crait, where Luke Skywalker baits Kylo Ren into the one-on-one confrontation (so it appears) that his power-thirsty nephew has been craving. In their epic clash we see Luke use a blue lightsaber instead of his customary green one.
That’s Anakin’s blue lightsaber; the one Rey’s been carrying around; the one that, if Kylo had only stopped and thought about it for a second, he’d recall he’d just shattered himself in his fight with Rey.
Speaking with IGN, director Rian Johnson definitely had an explanation for why Luke nevertheless chose to make the blue lightsaber a part of his Force-projected, holographic performance for the duration of his showdown with Kylo Ren. As it turns out, it has everything to do with staging a bit of emotionally-charged theater for Kylo, who’s essentially meant to be a one-person audience, even as he’s also a participant.
Explaining that Luke “is basically tailoring this projection to have maximum effect on Kylo,” Johnson went on to describe why blue makes for a stronger, more direct emotional appeal to the sensibilities of Kylo Ren — the Darth Vader-obsessed grandson of Anakin Skywalker.
“[Luke] knows that Kylo’s Achilles’ heel is his rage, and so that’s why he kind of makes himself look younger, the way Kylo would’ve last seen him in their confrontation at the temple, and that’s why he decided to bring Kylo’s grandfather’s lightsaber down there — the lightsaber that Kylo screamed at Rey, ‘that’s mine, that belongs to me.’”
Johnson also has a technical answer for fans who point out that Kylo should have known something fishy was going on with all the blue, since Kylo himself destroyed the blue lightsaber only moments earlier.
“The truth is, we [the audience] see the lightsaber split in half — Kylo sees a blinding flash of light and is knocked unconscious, and then Rey takes the lightsaber away before he wakes up.”
Whether every fan buys that explanation or not, the pieces definitely fit. And it shows that Johnson — who’s got an entire, clean-slate Star Wars trilogy still ahead of him — is well aware that no detail of the Star Wars universe is too small to ignore, once the decision’s been made to include it.
By now you hopefully don't need us to tell you, but The Last Jedi is now showing in theaters everywhere.