The question of who the last Jedi is has nagged Star Wars fans since the title of Episode VIII was announced in January, leading them to parse translations and hatch elaborate theories. However, director Rian Johnson reveals the answer has been right in front of us the entire time -- or at least since December 2015.
In a lengthy Q&A with the filmmaker, The New York Times gets down to brass tacks, asking, "What does 'The Last Jedi' mean?" To his credit, Johnson is just as direct in his response.
"It’s in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens," he said. "Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown."
It's true: Right there in the opening crawl of J.J. Abrams' 2015 blockbuster it says, "Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister First Order has risen from the ashes of the Empire, and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed."
So much for all those wild theories; the last Jedi of the title is precisely who we were told: Luke, whom we hear in the trailer saying, "It’s time for the Jedi to end.”
"It sounds pretty dire," Johnson acknowledges. "That’s something that we’re definitely going to dig into. The heart of the movie is Luke and Rey. It follows all the other characters, but its real essence is the development of the two of them. And it’s absolutely tied up in that question of, What is Luke’s attitude toward the Jedi?"
Arriving Dec. 15, Star Wars: The Last Jedi stars Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa, Adam Driver as Kylo Ren, Daisy Ridley as Rey, John Boyega as Finn, Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Domhnall Gleeson as General Armitage Hux, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke.