Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Last Jedi (or not?)

Potential Spoilers. Or not. This is just speculation, so I have no idea.

Yesterday we found out the title for Star Wars Episode VIII: "The Last Jedi". At first blush, a lot of responses went something like "OMG who could that be". Then people began pointing out, "hey, the opening crawl of The Force Awakens says that is Luke".

If we're doing that, The Return of the Jedi already did that, since Yoda said exactly that. So, yeah, Luke is the last Jedi. We've known that for 30 years.

But I think it's saying something else entirely.

The Jedi failed. Intended to be the protectors of peace throughout the galaxy, they feel victim to their own rigid code and getting too involved with the wispy-haired chancellor of the Old Republic, who just also happened to be a Sith Lord. That failure lead to their extermination, the rise of the Empire, the destruction of Aldaraan and all the rest.

Luke was then trained by Obi-Wan and Yoda, as we all know, leading to the proclamation that he was the last of the Jedi. Luke then tries to restore the Jedi order, failing miserably when his student and nephew slaughters all his students. Luke does the traditional Jedi thing and hides somewhere. Kylo, his former student, meanwhile, joins up with the First Order, aka Empire 2.0, under direction of someone called Snoke.

We know very little about Snoke, namely:
1. He likes holograms
2. He is very old
3. He is not a Sith.

While good ol' JJ Abrams likes misdirection, this message has been echoed enough from Lucasfilm/Disney we can likely trust it. This is important for several reasons. Not the least of which is the fact that while Kylo idolizes his grandfather, Darth Vader, he is not being trained as a Sith by Snoke. Why is this, then? Sith have always been associated with the Dark Side of the force, but are not its only adherents (Night Sisters of the Clone Wars show, for example).
I don't need a reason

It has also been stated the Snoke is very old- older even than the Empire. With age and scars generally comes wisdom, so we can assume Snoke knows a thing or two. So why is *he* not a Sith?

For practical reasons, because the Sith have *also* failed. The so-called 'Rule of Two'- there always being a master and apprentice- fails in practice. Palpatine killed his Master. His apprentice, Vader, ultimately killed him. The power-hungry nature which the Rule of Two was supposed to contain only worked so well. Sith don't like being middle management.

So we have two failures- the Jedi and the Sith. It is already clear those using the Dark Side of the Force are not Sith in the VII-IX trilogy. So what of the Light Side? I believe this title is the clue- the Light Side users have also learned from the mistakes of their forbears and are now ready to evolve into something more effective, starting with Rey. This makes Luke, not the last Jedi alive, but the last Jedi.


Dean is the author of the 3024AD series of science fiction stories (which should be on YOUR summer reading list). You can read his other ramblings and musings on a variety of topics (mostly writing) on his blog. When not holed up in his office
tweeting obnoxiously writing, he can be found watching or playing sports, or in his natural habitat of a bookstore.