Who Is the Last Jedi?
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It's hard to believe that it's been more than a year since the Star Wars film franchise returned from its lengthy hiatus - or hibernation, to be more precise. The first movie to debut following the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company in 2012, The Force Awakens, opened a new chapter in the tale of the Skywalker family and their successors (or is that descendants?). At the conclusion of the film - spoiler alert - we saw protagonist Rey finally come face-to-face with Luke Skywalker, their paths now irrevocably intertwined.

Our questions about the story and the people at its center burn even brighter with the announcement of the subtitle for Episode VIII. Dubbed The Last Jedi, the film is set to continue right where the last left off, with Rey presumably beginning Jedi training under Luke's tutelage. But we can't help but wonder whether the subtitle may hide some secrets: Namely, who exactly does "the last Jedi" refer to? It may seem clear that the person in question is Luke, but perhaps the writers mean to reference Rey, who might become the last Jedi should her master meet his end during the events of the film.

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Fans continue to speculate whether Finn might also awaken to the power of the Jedi. He displayed some prowess with the lightsaber in a duel against Kylo Ren, and although he was defeated, this may be due to his inexperience and lack of training. Some eagle-eyed fans have picked up on tidbits that point to Finn being Force-sensitive, even though he hasn't yet displayed any obvious signs. For one, his original designation of FN-2187 is both a reference to Leia's cell number in A New Hope and also the film 21-87, which inspired George Lucas in part to develop the idea of the Force. Other scenes in The Force Awakens - like a moment when Kylo Ren looks in Finn's direction after the battle on Jakku - point toward his sensitivity.

Being that the plural of Jedi is simply that - "Jedi" - it remains possible that both Rey and Finn might continue Skywalker's legacy. One of the criticisms of The Force Awakens is that it paralleled A New Hope too closely, replicating previous plot points instead of treading truly new ground. Yet for all of the ground it retreaded, it also laid fertile narrative groundwork by introducing a vibrant and diverse cast of characters with a wealth of potential. To have The Last Jedi led by a woman and a person of color is cool enough - the power of representation in media is not to be understated - but to have them both become Jedi would be a welcome and exciting development indeed.

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Part of the fun of discussing upcoming media we're interested in, whether video games or film, is dissecting pre-release information and theorycrafting with wild abandon. The Last Jedi is a highly-anticipated movie that could very well break new ground for the Star Wars universe - which, in turn, creates new material to draw from should a developer set their sights on creating another Star Wars video game. It doesn't take the Force to sense that December 15 is going to be an important day in Star Wars history.

Derek Heemsbergen
Derek Heemsbergen
@EmbryonX

Contributing Writer
Date: 01/24/2017

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