I’m not sure which just-released Star Wars trailer I am more excited about. This:
It’s a jump ball!
Together, these two trailers give us a fascinating peek at the future of Star Wars, and suggests confirmation of a theory about which many Star Wars fans like myself have been speculating.
One of the many aspects of the Prequels that bothered me was the whole business about the prophecy of Anakin Skywalker as the “chosen one” who would bring “balance to the Force.” The Original Trilogy had framed Obi-Wan’s hubris as responsible for Anakin’s fall to darkness. (“I thought I could instruct him just as well as Yoda. I was wrong.”) That prophecy mumbo-jumbo muddled what had been, to me, a fairly clear story. Plus, the Jedi’s faith in the prophecy made them look extremely dumb. If there are hundreds of Jedi and only two Sith in the universe during the time of the Prequels, then why would the Jedi think the “chosen one” who would bring “balance to the Force” would be something GOOD for the Jedi? In fact, Anakin’s actions bring balance to the Force by slaughtering the Jedi, resulting in there being only two surviving Jedi (Yoda and Obi-Wan) and two surviving Sith (The Emperor and Darth Vader).
This whole “balance” business has been an aspect of the Prequels that, for a long while, I wanted to forget. But lately the idea has been coming back in a big way. Two key things have happened in the third season of Star Wars Rebels (watch for my full review of season three coming soon). First, they introduced a mysterious character called the Bendu, an ancient Force-wielding creature who was neither Jedi nor Sith, but who claimed to represent a middle path, balancing light and dark and incorporating both into himself. Second, in the season’s brilliant penultimate episode, “Twin Suns,” we caught up with Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine, a few years before the events of the original Star Wars. In that episode, Kenobi refers to Luke, rather than Anakin, as the “chosen one.” Hang onto this idea for a second.
Following The Force Awakens, fans like me have speculated as to why Luke ran away from the universe, and what he’s been up to. In this trailer for The Last Jedi, we see Luke state emphatically that “it’s time for the Jedi to end.” Is it possible that, following the failure of Luke’s attempt to restart the Jedi Order (with Kylo Ren’s turn to the Dark Side and the Knights of Ren’s apparent massacre of Luke’s new Jedi school — I assume that’s what’s happening in the trailer when we see Luke fall to his knees in front of a burning building — a moment that appears to connect to the iconic shot from the early Force Awakens trailer in which we see a hooded Luke reach out with his metal hand to R2D2) that Luke has come to realize that the Jedi were as flawed as the Sith? Jedi keep turning evil and wreaking havoc. Perhaps what Luke means by ending the Jedi is the idea that he and future Force-wielders must find a middle path, a “balance,” like the Bendu? In this way, Luke could be the one to finally bring “balance to the Force.” In the trailer, Rey says that she sees “the light” and “the dark” and then “the balance”!
And then, critically, in the Rebels season 4 trailer, we hear Kanan say to Ezra: “We are the balance.” I don’t think that’s a coincidence!! I think these stories are starting to weave together, to give us a look at the future of the Star Wars universe. This might be a hint at an answer to the question that fans have been asking since the beginning of Rebels: what happens to Kanan and Ezra by the time of the Original Trilogy? Yoda told Luke “the last of the Jedi will you be,” so there can’t be two other Jedi running around, can there? Is it possible that Kanan and Ezra will discover this middle path, this “balance,” and become something other than Jedi?
By the way, that line of Yoda’s dialogue has a lot of new meaning now, doesn’t it? “The last of the Jedi will you be.” I’d always taken that to only mean Luke’s situation in that particular moment, that he would have to face Vader alone, without any help from Yoda or Obi-Wan. (Thanks a lot, guys!) I’d always assumed that, in the future, after the events of Return of the Jedi, that Luke would restart the Jedi Order and begin training new Jedi. I thought that’s what Return of the Jedi meant. But maybe, now, we will see that Yoda was speaking literally, and Luke truly will be The Last Jedi.
Are any of my guesses right? We’ll see soon enough…