Star Wars is that rare cultural phenomenon that spans generations of fans. Even when there was more than a fifteen years stretch between films, the fervor to know about the fate of the Skywalker family never died down. Since its debut in May 1977, audiences have devoured any new information that serves to expand the Star Wars Universe, whatever its format, even it it’s a cringy Star Wars Holiday Special. The epic saga that spans eight (soon to be nine films), animated television shows, comics, video games and a library of novels will soon welcome a new trilogy to its expanding muniments; and without a single Skywalker in sight.
Rian Johnson, director of The Last Jedi, has been given the green light to bring to life an entirely new era of Star Wars movies. The films will feature new characters and worlds in the Star Wars Universe, separate from the opus of the Skywalker family. He will write and direct at least the first film of the trilogy. Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm’s president, stated on that the lauded director will “do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy,” and that watching him shape The Last Jedi from conception to completion was “one of the highlights of my career.”
In trailers for the The Last Jedi, we see a disillusioned Luke Skywalker, a deeply spiritual man who has lost his faith. We see him shrinking further and further from the teachings of The Force, and we are reminded of the former light of his altruistic spirit. We have the one and only Luke Skywalker, whose intrepid journey introduced us to laser swords, space wizards, and the very means by which the fabric of the Star Wars saga was woven, declaring solemnly that it is time for the Jedi to end. The beating heart of the Star Wars saga has slowed to a dull pat, and the young man who once held such noble convictions has become alienated from them. This is emotionally heavy material, especially when one considers the Jedi Master secluded himself in the most remote region possible because he had faith in a young Jedi once, who later betrayed his trust and joined the Dark Side; his own nephew.
It remains to be seen whether Star Wars can survive without the Skywalker family legacy anchoring it. It has been the impetus for some of the greatest dramatic storytelling in pop culture history, beginning with Anakin’s corruption and ultimate redemption, Luke’s hero quest that turned him from a callow farm boy into a powerful Jedi, and finally to Ben Solo’s ultimate betrayal of his parents. The Force Awakens reignited our love for the Skywalker family lore, and made us wait impatiently for the next installment. We brim with anticipation to follow Rey as she discovers the truth about her origins from a troubled Luke Skywalker, and learn the fate of Kylo Ren as he ultimately decides if he can turn his back on his famous heritage. Will there be other just as compelling stories to tell?
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