Written By: Dan Geer


Every year since 2015, we’ve been getting a new Star Wars film thanks to Disney, and there are no signs of the franchise slowing down. This year marks the return of beloved characters from The Force Awakens entering into what appears to be very dark territory in Star Wars: The Last Jedi – the next episode of the sequel trilogy.

How should we walk into this film? What should we expect? We know that The Force Awakens echoed various beats from A New Hope (albeit while still delivering an incredible new story at the same time, despite what some may say). Will The Last Jedi do something similar with The Last Jedi and echo The Empire Strikes Back? Will all our questions be answered? Will characters do what we expect, or perhaps go down a path that we did not see coming, or do not want, for that matter? Will it finally be confirmed that Snoke is really Jar Jar Binks?

We all desire the film to succeed. It is almost impossible to not have expectations. But let’s just get a few pointers out of the way prior to walking into this film, before we totally ruin our perceptions of it walking out. We want to actually like the movie, don’t we? Read on…

– Once again, keep your expectations LOW…

Star Wars

I personally enjoyed The Force Awakens. I loved it. Yes, there was some negative criticism (pretty unfounded, if you ask me), but I thought it was brilliant. But my expectations were low going into it, as they always should be for any film, let alone a Star Wars film. These films always are put on a higher pedestal, and they really shouldn’t be. They are not films made by God, and yet people seem to act like they are. The reality is that imperfect human beings are still behind them, as they always have been. No matter how good the film is, there will be flaws, or perhaps things we may not like. It is really a matter of how big of a deal those flaws truly are in the grand scheme of things (or if said flaws really are flaws in the first place, as is many times the case).

I was certainly excited for The Force Awakens, but realized beforehand that it may not deliver everything I want – mainly because it is the first in a trilogy that had a lot to set up for us to go into what is probably the more meatier story in The Last Jedi and perhaps even Episode IX. It had to reestablish Star Wars for a whole new generation, all the while attempting to please the past several generations of fans. Seems pretty impossible, actually. However, keeping in mind that it was just the beginning, with more to come to help elaborate on what I saw in The Force Awakens with the subsequent films that follow, I was blown away by how enjoyable it was on its own – despite all it had to accomplish and all that was left open-ended.

With The Last Jedi, we can probably expect that the story will dive deeper into the characters, and perhaps even into the lore of Star Wars, based on what we have seen in trailers. But just how deep will it go? How deep does it have to go? It is only the middle chapter after all, so while we can expect an expansion on the characters and their journeys, we may be looking at another film that feels somewhat incomplete because it is the middle chapter. Not all questions will be answered. Full resolution will not be had.

Middle chapters, in many ways, are the most difficult chapters to manage. You cannot really conclude fully what is going on. You can merely expand on what came before, even ret-con if need beBut we have to keep in mind that, if things seem to be going south somewhere, it does not mean that it is forever. We will probably have to wait until the entire story is completed with Episode IX before we can fully assess just how well The Last Jedi works as a story (and even The Force Awakens, for that matter). We will most likely have some sort of cliffhanger. Hopefully there will be more resolved than in The Empire Strikes Back, which had literally NO ending (really the film’s one and only fault), but this writer will be going in expecting some major plot points to be left unresolved. We still have one more film to go after this, and that’s okay.

– Expect a darker chapter.


Middle chapters are often the darkest, and the end chapter usually ends up being the light to put a cap on that darkness. Does this mean the film is intentionally echoing The Empire Strikes Back here? Absolutely not. It is simply the nature of middle chapters in almost any trilogy. You have to reach a low point before the story can offer resolution and a somewhat uplifting or even happy ending. Episode IX will almost certainly provide that light contrast to the darkness in The Last Jedi.

Now, what do we mean by dark? Will Luke Skywalker go to the dark side? Or even Rey? The trailers seem to indicate that one or the other is certainly possible, and both scenarios are ones that I think most fans probably do not want to see. Rey was such a beacon of hope in The Force Awakens, and we all are rooting for her at this point. Luke Skywalker has been a hero to so many generations of fans over the last 40 years that it is incredibly heartbreaking to think that he could even reach such a low point where he would reconsider turning to the dark side. Either character becoming evil would really be a blow to the head for sure.

I really don’t think Luke will go dark. It could happen, but I believe the more likely scenario is that Rey may embrace the dark side at first, after having realized that Luke isn’t the person or Jedi she had hoped he would be, or could be. Luke’s had it really rough after Snoke and Kylo Ren rebelled, and he blames himself for all of it. Do I believe Rey will go there? Personally, no. But it is the middle chapter, and perhaps she does get manipulated by Kylo Ren or Snoke at first, and the film ends on that note. It really could happen, and we should really brace ourselves for that.

But if either Luke or Rey go dark in The Last Jedi, it does not necessarily mean they stay that way. If the film ends with one of them turning evil, Episode IX will more than likely be the chapter to redeem that character and bring Luke or Rey back to the light. We must be open to bad things happening to our heroes in this film, especially when we know that there’s more to come.

– Will the film be a remake of Empire Strikes Back?


To expand further on the previous section – no. It will not. But it may feel similar or familiar, as was the case with The Force Awakens paralleling A New Hope. Like what was discussed above, middle chapters of a trilogy are almost always darker than the first or last. This film will no doubt be darker than The Force Awakens. I think we all want it to be dark.

But will it have an exciting and unexpected twist like The Empire Strikes Back? Maybe, but we should not expect a twist on the level of “I am your Father.” Nothing will beat that. There may not even be a twist. Perhaps the goal is simply to tell a great story, and great stories do not necessarily require a surprising or unexpected turn of events.

Because The Force Awakens ended on such a different note than A New Hope, it is the belief of this writer that The Last Jedi will actually echo Empire somewhat less than The Force Awakens echoed the original Star Wars. Where we left off was in such a different place, leaving us with Rey and Luke on Ahch-To, wondering if Luke will embrace Rey or turn her away. We know now from trailers that we certainly see Rey get training, similar to how Luke received training in Empire, but it is looking like Rey will be going different places in her journey, based on what we already know. I do not think the training will go well.

In short, there will be similarities, but most likely there will also be plenty of differences as well. There is nothing wrong with the film reflecting what we’ve seen previously in other Star Wars movies. As long as the story offers up enough new concepts and ideas, it is perfectly fine to embrace elements of the old. The Force Awakens did this, and in my opinion, very effectively. But based on what we already have seen in previews, it looks like The Last Jedi will take us into plenty of unexplored territory, probably more so than the last film.

– This film may indeed honor Luke Skywalker’s wish, and end the Jedi Order.


Luke seems pretty certain in the trailers that the Jedi order needs to come to a close. It may very well happen, and we should definitely expect this.

But what does that even mean? Just because the Jedi are done, doesn’t mean another faction of heroic Force wielders cannot not emerge out of it. Perhaps Luke has simply found that the previous methods of the Jedi were not always the best methods, and that past generations of Jedi had it wrong in many areas. This is almost certainly the case with the Jedi from the prequel era, where it seems their own arrogance clouded their judgement on a great many things, leading to their ulimate demise. It may even be possible that, despite Yoda and Obi-Wan learning from those mistakes over time, that even they may have been wrong about some things in their older years, even after having already evolved from how they were in the prequels. There may be more room to grow, and that growth may take Luke and Rey away from being Jedi in order to evolve into something else entirely.

Or, it could simply mean that it is Luke’s initial thought to end the Jedi, but gets persuaded otherwise, by Rey or other circumstances that come his way. We just do not know. All we know now is that we see Luke attempting to train Rey, so it seems that at least he may be willing to give it one more shot, whether that means trying to reestablish the Jedi Order and correct past mistakes through Rey, or become something more – something better, beyond the Jedi. It is all very compelling to speculate about.

Could the Jedi end? Yes, they could. But that could mean many different things. These are two points of speculations as to what Luke may be wanting to accomplish here. It could be something else entirely, but it seems likely that one of these two scenarios will happen.

– “This is not going to go the way you think.”


Reaching into a little more broad territory, we all have things we hope we will see in this film, as well as what we don’t want to see. We want to see Luke in action. We want to see him reunite with Leia. We want to discover who Rey’s parents are. We want the full story on Snoke. I think the majority of us hope that Luke and/or Rey do not turn evil, because they have represented the very embodiment of good in these films, and it is very unsettling to think they could be anything other than that.

But we need to be willing to go with it, whatever it is – at least for now, because we know it’s not over. Just because the film doesn’t turn out the way you had hoped, does not mean it is bad. Luke doesn’t necessarily have to wield a lightsaber for the film to be good. He doesn’t have to reunite with Leia for the film to be good (although it would be saddening, for sure). We don’t necessarily have to find out who Rey’s parents are for this film to be good. Snoke can just be… Snoke, and the film can still be brilliant.

The above quote from Luke can really serve as our ultimate guide as to how we should walk into this. Take the story for what it is, and not what you think it should be. Be open to the story going places you do not immediately want it to go. Watch it a few times, and discuss it with others who liked it, if you really end up hating it the first time around.

I have the feeling The Last Jedi is going to be hard to watch at times. The film will likely explore areas that are uncomfortable, but necessary in order to tell a compelling story. They are taking risks, and that’s a good thing.

December 15th is just around the corner. Take a few deep breaths, realize it is still indeed just a movie and that you may not get what you want. Just surf the roaring tidal wave that is sure to be caused by this film and have fun with it. Hopefully the story will be interesting and exciting enough to keep us on the edge of our seats and leave us wanting more. But we have to manage our expectations first before this can even be possible, let alone probable, and remember to just enjoy the ride, even if it gets bumpy at times.

And hey, with Disney owning Lucasfilm, we pretty much always have the next Star Wars movie to look forward to, so don’t sweat it if you end up not liking The Last Jedi. The future is very bright for the franchise, and there’s never been a better time to be a Star Wars fan than right now, even if not every film ends up being what you want.

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