What does Star Wars Episode VIII’s new title actually mean?

The Last Jedi was hidden in The Force Awakens

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This December’s upcoming Star Wars saga film has finally revealed its official title – The Last Jedi – and it’s already got our minds running into overdrive about what it could mean. 

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The most obvious answer is probably the most likely one, of course – we already knew that the film was going to revolve around the Jedi training of Rey (Daisy Ridley) at the (somewhat metallic) hand of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), so The Last Jedi could just be implying a focus on Luke after his absence in 2015’s The Force Awakens, as well as hinting at his emotional struggle with taking on another pupil after his previous charges were murdered by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). 

After all, the opening crawl to The Force Awakens referred to Luke in exactly these terms (see below), and this could be what gave episode VIII director Rian Johnson the idea for the new title (he’s reportedly had it in mind since the beginning). 

Episode VII

THE FORCE AWAKENS

Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.

Then again, it could be that Jedi refers to more than one person – the word also works as a plural, after all – grouping both Rey and Luke together under the film’s title as they battle the forces of evil. Yep – both solid probable meanings behind the words.

However, here at RadioTimes.com we’re in the internet speculation business, so we can’t help but wonder if there’s more going on here. What if, rather than the titular Last Jedi being Luke, it’s someone else entirely?

We’re not talking about a secret hidden Jedi here, but Rey herself. You see, as well as The Force Awakens crawl, the title evokes a piece of dialogue from 1983’s Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, when Jedi master Yoda warned the young Luke of what was to come.

“Luke, when gone am I… the last of the Jedi will you be,” Yoda said. “Luke, the Force runs strong in your family. Pass on what you have learned.”

This fun little reference definitely ties into the themes of Episode VIII as we know them already – Luke will be passing on his knowledge to Rey – but also makes us fearful that Luke may also be passing on the same posthumous burden to his protégé.

After all, if The Last Jedi continues to follow in the pattern of the original trilogy like The Force Awakens did (killing off Harrison Ford’s Han Solo after he fulfilled a similar mentor role to Alec Guinness’ Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s A New Hope), then we’ll soon be due a Yoda death – and as Rey’s mentor, Luke will essentially be filling that role. 

So maybe The Last Jedi was and is Luke Skywalker – but following the events of the next film, it’ll become Daisy Ridley’s young heroine instead when her teacher dies.

Or maybe, you know, it’s a cheery film about Luke Skywalker saving the galaxy and training loads of new Jedi pals, and this entire article will have been for nothing. As long as we’re watching Star Wars, we’ll probably be happy either way.

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Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will be released in UK cinemas on the 15th December