This article contains major spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Turn away now if you haven’t seen the film. Seriously. The porg will scream.
Luke Skywalker’s journey in Star Wars: The Last Jedi ends as his saga began: with a solitary gaze into a binary sunset, a seemingly endless expanse away from the rest of the galaxy.
Gone is the yearning Tatooine farm boy of 40 years ago, for whom the pinnacle of excitement was a trek to Tosche Station. And gone is the angry, regretful broken shell of a man who turned his back on the Force, his legacy, and his loved ones, choosing self-imposed exile over facing his own failures.
This Luke is different. Depleted, but at peace. He’s confronted
his past, finally learning to neither toss it off a cliff, like he does his own lightsaber, nor leave it to rot on some dusty holy shelf like the Jedi texts. He finds hope again—not in himself, but in a new generation of Force-users unburdened by the same Jedi hubris that allowed the Dark Side to rise again and again. It’s the Last Jedi philosophy in a nutshell, one that’s far from precious about holding onto rituals of the past. Like Luke, it accomplishes feats never before seen in Star Wars. And, like the once-Jedi Master, it leaves behind a hero’s mantle that anyone can take on—Skywalker blood or no.
In writer-director Rian Johnson’s hands, no feature of the Star Wars-verse is too sacred to upend. Things break. Beloved characters perish. The good guys lose. Dazzling twists and turns defy expectations in service of gratifying pathos and nuance. It’s irreverently funny to a degree no Star Wars film has been, and even sexier, too. It is undeniably, quintessentially, lovingly Star Wars, and yet it dares to push the franchise beyond its well-worn obsessions to new, more challenging ground.
‘We Can’t Be Precious About This Stuff’
In a franchise steeped in such revered mythology as Star Wars, in which even slight deviations provoke cries of heresy (and of course, this one already has), Johnson’s approach is, in a word, bold. Still, to hear him tell it on the day of The Last Jedi’s release, it is all done out of affection.