The Force Awakens – or not

Last month on January 23 StarWars.com revealed the title of the next Star Wars movie to be – The Last Jedi.

The title’s announcement set Twitter alight with its sinister suggestion that, again, the Jedi were facing annihilation.

We all remember Darth Sidious, who came so close to achieving his goal of wiping out the Jedi and assuming total control of the galaxy. But even he was stopped by just one Jedi.

Admittedly, that ‘one’ Jedi was as StarWars.com’s Databank describes, “one of the greatest Jedi the galaxy has ever known” with some handy genealogy as it turned out.

Clearly, removing all Jedi is necessary to truly control the galaxy.

Luke’s failed Jedi academy, as depicted in flashback in the The Force Awakens (TFA), again demonstrates how desperately the dark side seek the elimination of the Jedi.

But are Rey and Luke currently the last Jedi or are they to become the last ever Jedi? There at least the title leaves us second guessing its meaning. And we all know that Jedi can be used as both singular and plural.

The approach of Kevin J. Anderson’s then rare addition to the Expanded Universe in his Jedi Academy Trilogy mirrored the events of TFA where Luke establishes a Jedi academy only to be challenged by the dark side, in form of a trapped long dead Sith spirit. In the novels, Luke’s trainees managed to overcome their foe by combining their strength and standing as one.

Where we would now be in the official canon now if that approach had been taken by TFA?

As it stands, rather than the beginning of another era of Jedi managed peace, the Jedi it seems will be fighting for their very existence.

It was perhaps unnoticed by many in their excitement to discuss the new title and its choice of font colour that the strapline of the news story on the StarWars.com news page read, “Announcing the name of the next film in the Skywalker Saga”.

“Skywalker Saga”.

Not, as has been the case for decades, the Star Wars Saga. Indeed ask yourself, how many times have you heard or used in general conversation the phrase the Star Wars saga?

This is a clear signal from Disney that we are entering the post Skywalker era. Where the galaxy is no longer defined by the trials and tribulations of the Skywalker family, instead they are a thread in a larger and as yet unmapped Star Wars tapestry.

Disney is setting up the next thirty years of films and they cannot practically be based on one family. They will need to introduce new characters and new character storylines to keep us returning to the big screen.

Could we see an Old Republic trilogy? Whilst series such as Rebels add greater depth to the franchise, it’s the box office that keeps the wider world enthralled in the adventures of a galaxy far, far away.

Footnote

The Last Jedi is written and directed by Rian Johnson and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin, and Tom Karnowski.

The film is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.

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