Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
A lot happens in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and there’s plenty there hinting at what we could see unfold in the next chapter, Episode IX, and beyond. Here’s how The Last Jedi sets up the future of the franchise.
While Snoke remained alive and in charge as Supreme Leader, Kylo Ren’s wings were clipped. Rey felt through her connection to Kylo – established in The Force Awakens and explored in depth in The Last Jedi – that she could turn him back to the Light Side. But when Kylo Ren strikes Snoke down, instead of doing so because he’s seen the error of his ways, he does it essentially to enact a coup.
The act saw Kylo Ren with a renewed and sharpened focus on toppling the Resistance, and more importantly, killing his uncle Luke – his former Jedi Master and the man who he sees as turning on him and trying to kill him. The next instalment will likely see Kylo becoming increasingly deranged by the power he’s seized, and single-minded and relentless in his war on the Jedi.
If what Kylo Ren says about Rey’s parents is true, it should give Rey the resolve to let go her past and find a new place of belonging. She’s resisted the Dark Side, despite it being such a powerful influence on her, as we’ve seen. So, is full-blown Jedi-dom now for her? Yoda’s speech, when he says to Luke that they can’t lose Rey, recognises her importance and declares that they’ll do everything they can to nurture her as a Jedi.
But what if what Kylo Ren says isn’t true? Do we trust that he’s told her the truth? Or will we find out he lied to her?
“Your parents threw you away like garbage,” he says. It would make sense that if he’s trying to win her over to rule alongside him that he would prey on her biggest weakness to persuade her.
“Rey, I saw who your parents are,” he tells Rey as he takes her to Snoke.
Later, he says, “They’re filthy junk traders who sold you off for drinking money. You have no place in their story. You come from nothing. You’re nothing. But not to me. Join me. Please.”
We know he’s willing to lie to get his way – he tells Hux that Rey killed Snoke. So just maybe…
So, grumpy-old-man Luke seems to have died. It looks likely that we’ll see him pass over into the Jedi beyond and become a Force ghost like Obi-Wan, Yoda and his father before him. And just like Obi-Wan promised before him, we could see him return more powerful than anyone could possibly imagine. Watch out, Kylo Ren.
The Rebellion Reborn
All signs point towards a re-formed and strengthened Rebellion, growing out of the remains of the Resistance. Luke explicitly says that the Rebellion is reborn and Leia is equally positive. At the end when Rey is talking with Leia, Rey asks, “How do we build the Rebellion from this?”
Leia replies, “We have everything we need.”
There’s more to Luke’s “The Rebellion is reborn today” quote. And it goes like this: “The war is just beginning and I will not be the Last Jedi”. A defiant statement of intent. He’ll return in one form or another to help the Rebellion no doubt — but there’s also Rey, of course.
Not only that, there’s the film’s coda. Cutting back to casino city Canto Bight and the children who worked with the fathiers, we see the little boy who connected with Rose and facilitated her escape with Finn. As he goes outside, he is shown to be Force-sensitive, pulling a broom towards him using his powers. He looks up at the sky and sees a ship dart across it. The camera lands on the Resistance ring that Rose gave him which he is now wearing, and a shot of him from behind shows him hold the broom up, like a lightsaber.
Whether or not he is significant as a character in the franchise going forward remains to be seen – he could simply be representative of hope, and the notion that the Jedi will continue.
One More Conflict to Extinguish
As of the end of The Last Jedi, Leia, Kylo Ren’s mother, is still alive. But, throughout the film, he is constantly banging on about killing the past and will, therefore, need to kill Leia. Just like he did his father, Han Solo, of course, in order to completely free himself and surrender fully to the Dark Side. She represents his last shred of decency, and is the last remaining source of conflict within him. It’s Ben Solo’s love for his parents that Rey believes she can tap into to bring him over to the Light Side.
So will he kill Leia? We know that she isn’t appearing in the next film and that Carrie Fisher, due to her passing, won’t be returning to the franchise. But we do know he found it impossible to kill her in The Last Jedi…
A New Dynamic Between Rey and Finn
The start of the film saw a recovered Finn intent on tracking down Rey. He only had one question for Poe after coming round: “Where’s Rey?” He made it his singular mission to go and find her.
However, Finn and newcomer Rose bonded on their own adventure and cemented a blossoming relationship by the end of The Last Jedi. Rose even admits that she loves him at the end of the film after she saves his life and he returns the favour.
They have a touching moment later when Finn sits by her makeshift bedside – and Rey looks over with a slight look of jealousy. Finn and Rey were the boy-girl pairing of The Force Awakens and many shipped these two characters. So will Finn and Rose get together romantically? And will Finn and Rey be forced further apart? It seems likely as Rey follows the path that lays out ahead of her.
Rey and Poe’s Relationship
These two major characters meet for the first time at the end of The Last Jedi. That’s a whole two movies into a trilogy. This suggests that there could be more to their story and relationship than we’ve seen so far. There’s a theory that they could be brother and sister, based on a story involving Force trees and Poe’s parents from the comics. It would be interesting to see if this is where the screen story might go. You can read about this theory here:
There’s some evidence in The Last Jedi to suggest there’s more to their relationship than meets the eye. The two are connected visually when Rey screams as Snoke is attacking her, then it cuts to Poe waking suddenly. It’s as if he’s felt her pain, or sensed a disturbance in the Force maybe? Connections like this are also seen with Luke and Leia, and, of course, Rey and Kylo Ren.
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