The next chapter of the Star Wars space saga finally has a title – Episode VIII is now called ‘The Last Jedi’. Disney and Lucasfilm made the announcement on Monday in a statement on the franchise’s official website.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the second of three planned chapters that started with 2015’s The Force Awakens, which grossed over $2 billion at the worldwide box office during its theatrical run. The sequel, written and directed by Rian Johnson – the man who helmed time-travelling crime thriller Looper – will pick up right where J.J. Abrams left off in the earlier chapter, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) reaching out to Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) with his old, iconic lightsaber on the planet of Ahch-To.
Going based off that, it would seem The Last Jedi references Skywalker himself, and the film – whose plot remains entirely unknown at this point – would centre on Hamill’s character. For what it’s worth, Yoda called him the last Jedi in 1983’s Return of the Jedi, and the opening crawl of The Force Awakens labels him exactly as such.
But, in the world of Star Wars, the plural of Jedi is in fact Jedi as well, which means the title of Star Wars: Episode VIII could just as well be talking about a group of Jedi. Rey hasn’t had proper training, as far as we’ve been told, but she did hold her own in The Force Awakens – be it escaping the First Order’s clutches, or duelling with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) at Starkiller Base.
Interestingly, the title could also be including Ren himself, who trained under Luke alongside others before turning on all of them. Abrams said in an interview that Ren is not a Sith, without getting into the why, but with Snoke talking about “finishing his training” in The Force Awakens, and the fact that he doesn’t carry a ‘Darth’ moniker unlike other Sith Lords, suggests that Ren is currently a Dark Jedi.
The Last Jedi has been used previously in the Star Wars universe, serving as the name of a comic book by Mike W. Barr in 1981 – as Lucasfilm story group’s Pablo Hidalgo helpfully pointed out – and a novel written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff in 2013. Both aren’t part of the official canon anymore, thanks to Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, and the resulting overhaul.
Another thing to notice about the new title is the colour choice for Star Wars, shown in red. It seems that Disney and Lucasfilm are hinting at something ominous, which going by the subtitle in The Last Jedi, might have to do with Skywalker’s death. When Hamill was asked what he thought of the new title, he said that it’s got a Samurai feel to it, which makes sense considering Star Wars pretty much started as Samurai in outer-space.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi opens in cinemas worldwide on December 15, 2017.