Analyzing some recent hints, tidbits, and comments about The Last Jedi

We’ve slowly but surely been getting more and more hints and insights into The Last Jedi, with much of it centering around different conferences: there was Star Wars celebration earlier this year (when the trailer dropped), there was the D23 conference last weekend (when the behind the scenes reel dropped), and then this weekend was the San Diego Comic-Con.  Star Wars really didn’t have much at all at Comic-Con, but they did have a display.  But between that, D23, and various interviews, tidbits, and hints we’ve gotten recently, there are some interesting things to point out that we’ve been learning or being told about the upcoming film.

Though most of these things aren’t anything big or new – though some are really interesting and noteworthy – it should still be noted that there may be some possible spoilers ahead.  With that said, let’s take a look at a number of comments and tidbits that we’ve heard within the last few weeks that have relevance and interest.

What does “The Last Jedi” mean?

Here’s what Rian Johnson said in a recent interview with Good Morning America regarding the title of the upcoming film:

It’s tough to talk about without talking about it in the context of the movie, because it has, not even neccessarily multiple meanings, but its meaning evolves over the course of the film.  So yeah, it’s tough to talk about without getting into the story.  But for me, I guess ultimately what it comes down to is that first question of, “what is the deal with Luke Skywalker?”  And Luke and Rey are kind of the beating heart of the film, I guess, and their relationship.  And so the last Jedi, in all the things that it means, is tied up in their story.  And so that was the heart of it.  And it’s something where from the very start, even when I was just coming up with the story at the beginning, that title seems crystal-clear to me, so it’s always made sense.

Earlier this year, Johnson said that he thought of the title as singular, even though the title is plural in other languages.  But Johnson clarified that recently by saying that the meaning of the title evolves throughout the movie.  So the way I take that is that Luke really is the last Jedi at the start of the film, which shouldn’t be any surprise – after all, in ROTJ Yoda says that once he’s gone “the last of the Jedi will [Luke] be,” while the opening crawl of The  Force Awakens calls Luke “the last Jedi.”  So Luke is the last Jedi, and this title would also play into Luke’s apparent beliefs that the Jedi should end.  We might see Rey eventually work into the meaning too, however, meaning that it’s possible that by the end of the film it does mean multiple Jedi (Luke and Rey) even though at the beginning of the film it’s singular (Luke).  With Rian Johnson saying that it doesn’t really have multiple meanings (which would indicate a switch from Luke as the last Jedi to Rey as the last Jedi), he did say that the meaning evolves (which to me indicates that by the end of the film Luke and Rey together are the last Jedi (plural)).

More Phasma!

In that GMA interview, Rian Johnson confirmed that we’ll see more of Captain Phasma in the movie:

There’s more Phasma in this, definitely.  We’re going to see… I think people who dig Phasma are going to be happy with what they see in this one.  I hope.

It seems that Captain Phasma will be a focal point, given the amount of material that is set to be published about her leading up to the movie (there’s a novel and a comic book), plus these comments from Johnson.  It’s no secret that Phasma’s character was severely underutilized and disapointing in The Force Awakens, but it seems we might see a much bigger focus on her this time around.

Hints about some Leia scenes?

Rian Johnson was asked in that GMA interview about apparently saying previously that Leia’s character wraps up nicely and whether that’s really true:

Well, I mean, I guess that sounds a little definitive; I’ll say that I think that, I mean, Carrie gives a really beautiful performance in the film.  And we obviously didn’t make the movie to be her final film, final Star Wars movie.  Given that though, I think there are scenes that she has that are going to mean a lot to people.  And there are scenes that we have with her where now, not having her around, I watch them and I think, I’m just really thankful that we have that and that we can give that to people.  So, yeah, wraps up nicely?  I don’t know.  But emotionally gives some kind of catharsis, I guess, I’m kind of satisfied, gives some kind of emotional satisfaction?  I think so.  I really hope so.  I know for me it does.

We know that Leia won’t be appearing in Episode IX but we also know that The Last Jedi apparently will remain unchanged even though Carrie Fisher passed away.  That means that Colin Trevorrow and company will need to figure out a good way to handle Leia’s character, but Rian Johnson might have made that job a bit easier based on the hints he gave in his comments.  He gives the impression that, while Leia’s character doesn’t really wrap up in this film, there’s some emotional satisfaction with scenes that fans will love and that mean a lot.  To me, that seems to be VERY much hinting at a possible Luke and Leia reunion.  While a Leia and Ben reunion would be touching, it wouldn’t carry the same emotional significance with fans as a Luke and Leia reunion.  I think we might be getting the latter, and Johnson’s comments seem to me to be a hint at that.

D.J. is a shady character

Rian Johnson also talked a bit about D.J. with GMA, confirming that he’s his own character (not Ezra from Rebels, thankfully) and noted that he’s a shady scoundrel:

He’s a shady character, yeah.  Yeah.  Well that was kind of where the character, the idea, came from, it’s like there’s a long tradition of scoundrels in Star Wars movies and the idea of, ‘oh, let’s do a scoundrel in this movie.’  That seemed really fun. … They kind of occupy this gray space and we kind of always hope that they’ve got a heart of gold underneath there.  They’re always the most intriguing characters for me, are the ones who are kind of on the edge of good and bad in these universes.

It seems likely that D.J. is a part of Finn and Rose’s mission, and it could leave us wondering whether he’s truly helping them out or not – with the potential for a possible betrayal or twist.  That should make things more interesting with that particular storyline.

One word in the opening crawl: “Decimated”

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Rian Johnson discussed the process of writing the opening crawl for The Last Jedi, noting that it was just finalized a few weeks ago – and sharing that it includes the word “decimated.”

I think it’s safe to guess that this refers to the Republic or the Republic fleet, which we know has indeed been decimated.  I love the speculation of Reddit user ZackBop on what the crawl could be, as this would be really good if it actually happened:

“The galaxy is in chaos. Although Starkiller Base has been destroyed, the attack on the Hosnian System has decimated the New Republic’s defense fleet.

With General Leia Organa’s Resistance now the only force standing between the First Order and galactic conquest, the worlds of the Republic must choose a side.

In a desperate attempt to bring her brother back from his self-imposed exile, Leia has sent the young scavenger Rey to the planet Ahch-To, where the last Jedi awaits her arrival….”

A new character… and a key plot point confirmed!

At the San Diego Comic-Con, a ‘new’ character was revealed: C’ai Threnalli, an Abednedo pilot for the Resistance.  He actually had a cameo in The Force Awakens, but for all intents and purposes his character is still ‘new’ in the upcoming film.  More significantly, however, is what else the description of the Resistance pilot revealed: we will indeed see the evacuation of D’Qar.

A skillful fighter pilot of Abednedo descent, C’ai Threnalli flies as Poe Dameron’s wingman following the evacuation of D’Qar.

Ever since the trailer came out for The Last Jedi (and really, since The Force Awakens ended) it has been thought that we will see the evacuation of D’Qar in this film, since the First Order is aware of the location of the Resistance base.  This could be the scene of a space battle in the first act of the film as the Resistance attempts to flee, and we know that C’ai Threnalli flies as Poe’s wingman during this event.

Speaking of Poe, Comic-Con also provided a bit of an update on where the hotshot Resistance pilot stands entering the film:

“Now that the conflict between the First Order and the Resistance has escalated into open warfare, Poe shines as a daring squadron leader.  Ever brash and foolhardy, his hot shot antics wear on the patience of both First Order and Resistance command.”

Kylo Ren’s new ship

Earlier this week, The Star Wars Show unveiled Kylo Ren’s new ship, which had been previously reported by Making Star Wars.  It’s called the Tie Silencer, and it looks pretty cool:

According to the Star Wars databank, Ren’s ship has “laser cannons and missile launchers,” but more importantly the entry confirms that Kylo “is an expert pilot — thanks to skills passed down from his father — which he puts to use in exploiting his ship’s speed and ferocity.”  We didn’t see Kylo Ren fly a ship during The Force Awakens, but this is confirmation that he is in fact an expert pilot – which should have been expected, considering who his father and grandfather were.  This seems to make it clear that Kylo learned his piloting skills from his dad, however, which I think makes a lot of sense.  It also makes that deleted scene from TFA of Kylo in the Falcon that much more meaningful, as it makes it even more probable that Ben learned to fly with his dad in the Falcon.

Luke’s X-Wing found?

One of the most interesting developments we’ve seen recently actually caught some attention after an image of a pinball game for The Last Jedi released, but the interesting image in question has now been tied to an upcoming tie-in book for TLJ too, according to Making Star Wars.  Here’s a look at that image, with a h/t to MSW:

Screen Shot 2017-07-23 at 6.29.30 PM.png

Do you see it?  Look at the water in the bottom left corner of the picture: that’s an X-Wing.  The image very much seems to be Ahch-To with Luke and Rey, which strongly indicates that there’s a crashed X-Wing in the waters of Ahch-To.  That’s incredibly intriguing.  Of course, Luke had to get to the island somehow, but this would seem to confirm that he did so via his X-Wing and that his ship is no longer operational.  Was it an accidental crash landing?  If so, that would certainly change some things about why Luke has remained on the island!  Perhaps more likely, however, Luke might have intentionally crashed his ship to keep himself in self-imposed exile.  Either way, it’s quite interesting that there’s an X-Wing there.  It should also be mentioned that this looks far more like TFA version of the X-Wing than Luke’s original trilogy X-Wing, but considering the fact that we know as recent as six years before TFA Luke wasn’t yet in exile on Ahch-To, it would make sense that the Jedi has a new fighter.  A crashed X-Wing being in the waters on Ahch-To would also provide the opportunity for it to be raised, like Yoda did in TESB.  Of course, if Rey has to do this as part of her training it would provoke criticisms of a rehash, but I think having Luke raise it out of the water would provide a representation of his power: he was unable to do so in TESB, but him being able to do so now would be a callback that serves to illustrate his force prowess now thirty years later.

Luke has lost hope?

This is something that has been hinted at quite a bit, and I don’t think it’s confirmation about anything neccessarily, but Mark Hamill’s recent comments about what’s surprising about Luke in TLJ are interesting:

“Well if you notice in that trailer, teaser – I’m not sure what the difference is – that’s the only plot point.  Because really, you can’t tell what’s going on until he says that, but I think that’s indicative of how surprising this film will be to people.  Because I thought, really?  Luke was always so optimistic and represented that side of us, the never give up hope.  And to see him say that was as shocking to me as I’m sure it will be to the fans.”

There’s not neccessarily anything new here, because Mark Hamill is simply talking about the comments we heard from Luke in the trailer that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.”  And, keep in mind, Hamill is a master at not giving much away while still saying a lot and making things fun, so there’s nothing definitive here, but I do think what he’s getting at is this: Luke has lost hope.  With Mark talking about how you’d never expect that from this guy who was always so optimistic, it seems to me that what many expect will indeed happen: that at least at the beginning of the movie, Luke might have given up.  This would present a phenomenal plot point in the film: the galaxy’s new hope has lost hope.  That would be fascinating to watch play out throughout the course of the movie.

Porgs officially confirmed

This really isn’t even news by this point, but Porgs have been made officially official now.  Making Star Wars has been talking about them for a while now, and in the BTS reel recently we got our first look at them.  Then last week, Star Wars officially confirmed their name too.

Additionally, there’s an upcoming children’s book called “Chewie and the Porgs”  that seems to confirm another MSW report: that Chewbacca forms a bond with these birds and has a strong connection to them in the film.

Pablo Hidalgo spoke with StarWars.com about these Porgs, giving a bit more information about them: they’re native to Ahch-To, they build nests, they fly, their babies are called Porglets, and they’re mainly curious about their visitors since they don’t get many.

Finn & Rose on a mission… with BB-8

This point also isn’t as much news as it is more confirmation about things we’ve already suspected or known: Finn, Rose, and BB-8 embark on a mission in The Last Jedi.  At the BB-8 display at Comic-Con, the display said this:

“Brave and loyal BB-8 continues his service to Poe Dameron, but also is a good friend and resourceful ally to Finn and Rose during their mission to thwart the First Order.”

We’re starting to be able to piece together some details about this mission.  The BTS reel showed Finn and Rose disguised as First Order officers, which confirms prior reports that they go undercover.  This display reads that they go on a mission to try to “thwart the First Order,” which though not surprising gives a bit more insight: they’re trying to stop their enemy, and could this mean that they might team up with a shady character in D.J.?  That seems likely – though we’ll have to see how that works out for them.

 

Age-old mysteries of the Force revealed

The official synopsis for The Last Jedi was released last weekend, and it says this:

“In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past. Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in U.S. theaters on December 15, 2017.”

So The Last Jedi will join the heroes from TFA (Rey, Finn, Poe, etc.) with the legends (Luke, Leia, etc.), but we knew that.  The synopsis also teases that “age-old mysteries of the Force” will be unlocked, as will “shocking revelations of the past.”  We’ve heard a lot about the shocking nature of this movie and that means that it likely will include some key revelations, and it seems that this might have to do with the nature of the Force – which would make perfect sense, given that the movie will largely focus on Luke, Rey, and the Jedi – will it end?  What’s Luke doing?  Questions like that will likely help us get some more insight into the Force.

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