Early this morning, the folks over at Lucasfilm bequeathed us a beginning-of-the-week gift by finally dropping the official title of the second film in the new trilogy, previously known as simply Star Wars: Episode VIII. Coming this December is Star Wars: The Last Jedi!
Even in the last couple hours that this news has been public, speculation (and worry) has been running rampant. So let’s address what we already know…
Who is “the last Jedi”? Yes, people are actually wondering this. Even though this question was answered in the first minute of The Force Awakens. No, really, right there in the opening crawl, Luke Skywalker is referred to as “the last Jedi”. This is later in the movie reaffirmed by Supreme Leader Snoke, who, when speaking to Kylo Ren and General Hux, calls Luke “the last Jedi” and states the First Order’s purpose of finding him so that they can eliminate the Jedi order once and for all, otherwise “the new Jedi will rise”. So, yeah, mystery solved, case closed.
Other folks are speculating that this title indicates that Luke will die in the new movie, to which I reply… see above. “The Last Jedi” is simply a moniker that has been placed on Luke by those who seek him out; he is the last remaining of his kind. Now, that doesn’t mean he WON’T die in the new movie (though I doubt that will be the case), but that’s not what the title is reflecting. So everyone take a space chill pill and calm down!
So, it definitely looks as though the new movie will be heavily Luke-focused... which is... not exactly what I was hoping for, to be honest. Look, TFA did a really great job of striking a balance between appealing to the nostalgia of old-school Star Wars fans and grabbing the attention of the newbies, integrating the Legacy characters seamlessly with the next generation. However, it also got a lot of heat for being too derivative of A New Hope. Which I understand but I also think was necessary in order to appeal to both sides of the fandom. Having said that, I felt TFA successfully established the new characters (Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, Poe, etc.) enough that they no longer needed to lean on the crutch of the Legacy characters moving forward. But this new title seems to indicate that they're not yet quite ready to let the Legacy go completely. Which is sort of disappointing, but I have every faith that writer/director Rian Johnson is going to give us a satisfying new chapter!
So, now that that’s been taken care of, the next question is, of course, when the heck do we get to see the first teaser trailer? Take this with a grain of salt, but my money is on the Super Bowl. No, not literally, I’m not a sports gambler – but there’s a good chance we might see our first glimpse of The Last Jedi during the big game on February 5. One reason I believe this to be the case is due to reports that Adam Driver has signed on to be featured in one of Snickers’s “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry” ads… Now why in the heck would Adam Driver, of all people, be involved with a Snickers ad unless it was Star Wars-related? I’m betting it has something to do with Kylo Ren, meaning the Episode VIII hype train is beginning in earnest. Which also means there’s a good chance we could be getting the first trailer on Super Bowl Sunday.