Star Wars' Rian Johnson on what 'The Last Jedi' actually means

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Mar 25, 2021, 3:00 PM EDT (Updated)

The Star Wars franchise is still looking to fill the directional void on Episode IX, but work on The Last Jedi is apparently going great — but what’s the deal with that title? There has been endless speculation over what “The Last Jedi” could mean, and now director Rian Johnson has finally opened up clarify things.

In a new interview with The New York Times, Johnson was asked point blank about the film’s title, and confirmed it is a reference back to how Luke is referenced in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. He also teased that Lucasfilm gave him a good bit of freedom to figure out where the story would go from the silent meeting of Luke and Rey on that island, noting there was no “big map on the wall” for how the story would play out. It was up to him to figure out those beats, and answer the question of why Luke was on that island and what he’s been doing there.

So, what does “The Last Jedi” actually mean in Johnson’s own words? Here’s the choice excerpt:

"'It's in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown …

That’s [Luke, saying ‘It’s time for the Jedi to end’]. It sounds pretty dire. That’s something that we’re definitely going to dig into. The heart of the movie is Luke and Rey. It follows all the other characters, but its real essence is the development of the two of them. And it’s absolutely tied up in that question of, What is Luke’s attitude toward the Jedi?"

It’s interesting to see just how much freedom Lucasfilm is giving its directors to frame the direction of these mainline Star Wars films, and could explain why the studio is occasionally butting heads with creatives along the way. It’s a lot of responsibility to figure out what’s next for Luke and the gang, but it sounds like Johnson is certainly up to the task.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens December 15.

(Via The New York Times)