Star Wars: The Question of “The Last Jedi” by Miriam Orr
“So the last shall be first and the first shall be last.”
That’s the phrase that comes to mind upon the revelation of Episode VIII, “The Last Jedi”. Though used to describe the paradigm of the wealthy and poor in Christian scripture, it serves well the purpose of my questions in the aftermath of such a reveal, and is perhaps the perfect conclusion.
After the moment of pure jubilance followed by the phenomenal sensation of excitement, I hunkered down to scour Entertainment Weekly about the galaxy’s biggest reveal of the year. I just so happened to be browsing social media over a cup of coffee and my morning devotions when I saw the news, so to stay that I was ecstatic would be lie and an understatement. What I found was both the statement for my morning reflection, and my fan-girl curiosity.
I took a split instant to understand what the title reveal meant for the upcoming story, and what it would do to the series as a whole. Of course we know we have Episode IX to look forward to – or, do we, really? Now before you explode with rage and prepare to force-choke (don’t choke on your ambitions) me across cyberspace (is that even possible?), let’s talk about this as rational people.
Well, as rational as fans can be, anyway.
I don’t know what this means for Star Wars any more than I know how to calculate rocket science, and I’m certain you don’t, either. But, if titles are entitled (wah-wah) to one thing, it is that they tell a story about a story. They’re specially crafted to engage our minds and spark our interest and bring to the front of our curiosity those “what-ifs” we possess. They are designed to get us excited and cue us in to at least a part of the story they brazenly represent. That’s why the number one rule of writing or film-making is to have an engaging, astronomical title or tagline.
Which brings us back to TLJ. The title raises the question and concern of what’s next for the galaxy – is Luke going to certainly be the last Jedi [insert collective gasp]? Or, perhaps, Rey is the last Jedi? Of course, those are the original two thoughts that most fans might have, because as far as we know, Skywalker and Rey are the only two force-sensitives in service to the light that are actually practicing. The rest of the sensitives littered around the galaxy are dormant and the force, to them, is either unexplored or dangerous.
When we left Skywalker, we knew that somehow he was going to take in Rey a new apprentice and teach her the ways of the Jedi. After losing in Kylo the new Order he had set to build, Skywalker drifted off to do what exactly, the galaxy remains unsure. Perhaps it was to contemplate, or meditate, or wallow in the sorrow of his failure – we won’t know until we arrive at Episode VIII. Perhaps he knew Rey would come to him with a token of the past, to awaken in him the Jedi he knew himself to be. We know that Maz acquired Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber which belonged to Luke, only to be lost during the duel with Darth Vader some years beforehand. She passed the weapon (and thus the legacy) along to Rey, and set the course for her entire life.
With that passing of the lightsaber came a responsibility of a power Rey is both inexperienced – and thus unprepared – to handle. After narrowly escaping a brutal confrontation with Kylo Ren and rescuing Finn from the certain wrath of the dark side, Rey intercepts the calling of the light and the forgotten Jedi when she journeys to find answers to her visions, and thus, her calling. Embarking on the journey of finding Luke Skywalker sets her on the path to true knowledge and change – it rekindles the “new hope” we left behind so many years ago.
However, with this new hope simmering on the horizon, we turn to TLJ. I, for one, am uncertain what that means in its entirety. Perhaps Luke is the final Jedi of an Order that was distinguished under the crushing fist of the Empire’s Order 66, and thus renders the hope of the Jedi we once knew obsolete. Or, maybe, Rey will be the last Jedi to pursue that knowledge and the legacy of the Skywalker’s will conclude with her; only to birth a new Order? There are many unanswered questions in this dark times.
But…the Jedi cannot truly be gone, can they?
The Darkside clouds everything…
This is the burning question of my fan-girl’s soul, to be certain. My worry rests in the shadow of not knowing what will happen to the future of my brethren, the Jedi. If the Order is truly gone like the Empire and the First Order believes it is; what purpose does this franchise serve? What hope can spring forth in the miry remains of a galaxy smitten with darkness? Certainly a Resistance cannot hope to battle the wiles of the darkness without the light?
What hope does the galaxy have if not for the Jedi – is the force forever to remain unbalanced and caught in the powerful sway of darkness because we truly will have no light to suppress it? Will the Sith reign supreme in their regime of selfish hatred and violence and warmongering? Who shall rise up and defend the rights of the people and protect peace, as in the days of Jedi Knights?
Because, Star Wars has always been about the battle within the force- the war between light and dark; good and evil. At the forefront of the series rests that delicate issue of balance and peace, and a galaxy caught in the middle of a power struggle between two halves of a whole power. The Jedi have always existed to bring peace and protect, and the Sith have always existed to selfishly take it away and bend it. The force has been unbalanced, even before the Old Republic. I refuse to believe that this is the end of that great legacy of the force.
Luke was the last Skywalker to have bestowed upon him the knowledge of the Jedi as a simple Tatooine farmer, under the watchful talents of Obi-Wan Kenobi. He is the first Jedi to rise in the face of the First Order of chaotic devastation. What is to be said of Rey I am unsure, but in her rests the future of my beloved brethren, the Jedi. Her future has yet to be foreseen.
I am certain, however, that light bursts forth from darkness, and that darkness does not overcome it. That is a small hope in these desolate times of uncertainty. Perhaps, after all, the first [Jedi] shall become the last and the last [Jedi] shall become the first.
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Miriam Orr has dreamed of writing adventures to capture audiences from all walks of life since the age of five. Currently, she is pursuing the adult world as a graduate of Minnesota’s own Crown College with a Bachelor’s in Communication, if one can even begin to understand the trade. If there is one thing she has learned, it is that life never goes according to plan, so it’s best to have a plan B – and, you might as well have the rest of the alphabet planned out, too. They probably won’t go according to plan, anyway. Her passions and writing interests range from science-fiction to Christian living, but mostly consist of ridiculous action- adventure plots and film scripts. She hopes to live life according to Isaiah 6:8, found in the holy scriptures of Yahweh, and pursue Hollywood as a filmmaker and scriptwriter. You can follow her on instagram (@miriamruthorr), or through Facebook.