The Last Jedi Plot Speculation

I like Rian Johnson’s movies. It’s the way they’re told, nuances you find in their emotion, story, sight, and sound. You really can’t say he’s trying to be anyone but himself. Weighing the writer/directors of his generation, Johnson has the potential to be revered in thirty years as Spielberg does now. He’s just one little, sturdy tentpole movie away from regularly working on the scale of Christopher Nolan. Whether or not that is likely largely depends on The Last Jedi. That said, I doubt one trailer can give away the main plot points from the more matured writer behind Looper and Brick, fiercely determined to write the best damn Star Wars movie he can. But when Rian called out on Twitter, recommending, at least, in part, not to watch the trailer, I immediately thought that he believed they gave too much away. And that’s what made me think about it. Hey, I highly doubt this is it, but it’s a fun exercise for the brain. So, be warned, you poor souls: Mindless reading disguised as speculation spoilers ahead…

Serving as her mentor, Luke realizes that Rey has the potential to be as dangerous and powerful as Kylo Ren, and therefore does not finish her training. A series of unfortunate events, perhaps, the death of a beloved mother from her evil egg, leads Rey to face-off again against Kylo Ren, where he, this time, gains the upper-hand. I suspect an emotional plot point for Rey climaxing in surrender (possibly due to conflicts with Luke regarding her family, carrying the same weight as Ben Kenobi’s Vader-Skywalker lie in the OT), as we are led to believe in the trailer with her calmly questioning her purpose and Kylo offering a kindly hand. If true, the next plausible beat would have Kylo escorting Rey to Snoke’s castle (“Bring her to me!”), where Snoke would ultimately turn out the metaphoric light inside her and she would begin her life as his new apprentice. It’s then that Luke would remain, without a best friend, sister, or student, hopeless, and the last Jedi. This would mark the end of movie for the main through-line (no clue how the soldier story line plays out with Poe and Finn other than the loss of Leia). Part of the big conflict between Luke and Rey, outside of her family issues, is the fact that Luke lost faith in the force and rejected the Jedi’s principles, choosing instead to adhere to value system of moral ambiguity; Not light, not dark, and, perhaps, in a stroke of brilliant irony, Luke’s perspective on the light and dark are eerily similar enough to Snoke to make Rey’s conversion more plausible.

All that would scorch the earth for the final movie in this particular Skywalker tale, Episode IX. Luke would reexamine his rejection of the Force and face off against Snoke’s two disciples, Kylo and Rey, and ultimately, Snoke himself. Luke realizes he, not his father, is the Jedi that was prophesied to restore balance to the Force, ultimately realizing his true purpose as the last Jedi. And that’s perfect for Snoke because he feeds on the Jedi’s light, it’s energy only makes him stronger. Following the logic of Han Solo’s warning to his one and only son, Snoke simply wants Rey and Kylo for his own ends (to reign victorious over Luke and consume Luke’s body/light/spirit), and ultimately become the most powerful being to ever exist — a God. So, Episode IX would find Luke battling the fiercest apprentices any Star Wars movie has ever seen (both of whom he trained), and the God they kneel before. I’m sure someone else will die (Kylo) and Rey will restore her Jedi street-cred after defeating Snoke and saving Luke. Who knows if Luke will die, but if they decide to echo Return of the Jedi like The Force Awakens did A New Hope, be damn sure of it. But that’s a long, long way away. If you want my further thoughts on the subject, you’ll have to wait until fall ’19 when I can get my eyes on a new trailer.

William Robert Rich
William Robert Rich

William Robert Rich is a story analyst, screenwriter, and co-author of Story Maps: The Films of Christopher Nolan. He's currently based in Austin, Texas.

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