We’re not even a month into the new year but we’ve already had calls for the trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII, not due out until this December. Yesterday, Disney and LucasFilms gave the public their first taste of what to expect with the official title: STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI. Naturally, the internet exploded with excitement and theories on what the title could possibly mean.
— Andi Gutierrez (@DeeGoots) January 23, 2017
The first debate that popped up was over whether or not the title was referring to just one person or not…
So we have almost a year trying to figure out whether they’ve used Jedi in plural or singular form. #StarWarsVIII
— Mikhail Merkulov (@mikhailmerkulov) January 23, 2017
“Jedi” is used for both singular and plural and could refer to Luke Skywalker’s appearance at the end of The Force Awakens with Rey. To be a Jedi, however, you must be trained. Luke was taught by Obi-Wan and Yoda, and seemingly will take over the mentorship role with Rey in the second film.
— Marcus Gin (@Maruko_no_hono) January 23, 2017
A lot of people online immediately jumped onto the idea that Luke is going to die since that is a recurring theme in the films, however I believe there’s hope for Skywalker. With one member of the original human gang members leaving the franchise in the last film, and sad realities removing another from the world over the holidays, Skywalker’s death would not just be the end of the character but a huge hit for the franchise with the three original leads all gone.
There is another issue that did not go unnoticed by the more dedicated fandom…
The Last Jedi already exists as a book in the Star Wars EU, it’s just part of the now defunct Expanded Universe referred to as Legends. The book takes place circa 18 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin for the unaware). It follows Jax Pavan, one of the few remaining Jedi in the world after Order 66 (Jedi extermination, duh) has been put in place and is fighting as a lone guerrilla fighter and member of a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Pavan must transport a valued resistance leader who is targeted for assassination from Coruscant to a distant world, with Darth Vader working relentlessly to stop them. Considering that Rey has gone in search of Luke, a valued leader who Kylo Ren is hell bent on capturing, in the hopes of bringing him back to the First Order… the film’s title might be alluding to more than just the film’s focus and may be guiding people to potential plot details.
Now the Legends books and comics are just that, legends, but the new canon has pulled from them more recently with the addition of General Thrawn on the Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels, and new information from Woody Harrelson on his role in the Han Solo spin-off movie. In a recent interview, when asked if Harrelson could confirm that he was appearing in the spin-off and if that he would be playing Garris Shrike, the actor sheepishly confirmed though it is debatable if he was confirming the role or just his appearance in the film.
In the Legends books, Garris Shrike is a bounty hunter with a short fuse who raised Han Solo. His inability to capture many live bounties worked against him and so he became a Fagin-like character, collecting orphans to perform tricks and thefts on a troopship. Shrike trained, raised, and abused Solo, even killing Solo’s surrogate mother figure, creating a complex relationship that could add some darkness to the film from funny guys Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
If the new canon is looking more and more to the books of yesteryear for inspiration, maybe there is still hope for fan favorites like Mara Jade and Kyp Durron to make an appearance in the new universe!
But for now, all we have is the title and the debate over if the last Jedi is Rey or Luke or both, when the answer might be the simplest one of all…
— Michael Schroeder (@TheSchroeder) January 23, 2017