The next entry in the Star Wars films, #EpisodeVIII, finally has an official title:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Now, fans are freaking out about what the title conveys or means but I'm here to tell you how the message is not as obvious or clear as you think. Get ready for a ride, dear reader! Logic dictates that the title has all but sealed the fate of Luke Skywalker and signals his impeding demise. Although a possibility, this article will try to dig deeper into the meaning behind this emphatic title.
Why are we condemning Luke right from the get go? Why are we assuming this is the end of something? What if we are looking at a message of new things to come? Remember, Episode VII was titled The Force Awakens. Maybe this is just a follow up on that. The Force has indeed awoken with Rey and the last Jedi, in this case Luke, has felt it and with that, the birth of something different.
Rey is a clean slate for the future of the Force and that does not necessarily makes her a de facto Jedi. Being a Force wielder will not and shouldn't guarantee Rey take a side. This is not a "passing the torch" type of scenario, since Ben Solo became Kylo Ren waiting for that opportunity and Luke could be very much afraid of making that same mistake with Rey.
Ben Solo grew up with the stories of Darth Vader and the adventures of Luke Skywalker and basically, he was more interested in the romantic side of the history rather than the discipline behind his powers. This will eventually be his fall, since he feels as if his destiny has been denied and power must be learned and wielded, not contained. The teachings of the way of the Force is what it should be about. Not becoming either a Jedi or a Sith.
To reinforce a little bit the idea behind the article, I would like to mention another film that plays with a similar idea: The Last of the Mohicans
The Last of the Mohicans, just like Star Wars: The Last Jedi, is a title that at its core means exactly that: the last of their people. At the end of the film, only one member of the tribe remains and with no natural heir (since his son died in battle) the elder member becomes the last of his line and his adopted son, Hawkeye / Nathaniel Poe (played by the one and only Daniel Day-Lewis), is not a blood relative.
Rey and Nathaniel share a similar path: that of the teachings of a culture that is dying out, and it falls on them to keep those teachings alive but looking forward to the future, accepting that a new world is upon them and encourage this new world to never forget. They both have extraordinary abilities but that doesn't mean either Rey or Nathaniel have to revive both Jedi and the Mohican tribe to honor their mentors. In fact, both have a very difficult task ahead of them: what to do with all this knowledge?
What I'm trying to say is, that I believe this will be a case of the end of a cycle rather than the end of a character.
The idea behind the title might be coming straight from this exchange between Luke and Yoda. Noticed how, even with the knowledge of Leia being around, she is not considered a Jedi but a Force wielder, just like Rey. Yoda is encouraging Luke to keep teaching the ways of the Force not to create more Jedi.
The Last Jedi is indeed a very somber title but I believe the concern of the veteran fans, such as myself, derives more from nostalgia rather than uncertainty. Luke completed the cycle that started with the Clone Wars by saving his father from the Dark side of the Force. This marked the end of everything Obi-Wan, Yoda and everyone involved during the Clone Wars started.
We, as fans, are afraid of moving forward knowing that everything that we have been growing with and learned to love is about to end. Making way to a new interpretation of the Force and its characters. This is why Rogue One was such a hit. We do not want to let go.
Yes, Jedi and Sith will still be heavy topics in the Star Wars stories but the story that started it all is, unfortunately, coming to an end. And if Luke dies in this upcoming film, I will consider it more symbolic rather than a sad ending to a beloved character. I do not doubt that it will hurt but if we are not ready for this, then just like Yoda said: much to learn, we still have.
Yoda: Unexpected this is. And unfortunate.
Luke: Unfortunate that I know the truth?
Yoda: No! Unfortunate that you rushed to face him... that incomplete was your training. That... not ready for the burden were you.
We, the fans, are the last of the Jedi and perhaps we are not yet ready to carry that burden.
Well, there you have it. Thank you very much for your time and I hope you enjoyed the read.