THE LAST JEDI
“The.” I was hoping there would be a little more variation; there are two movies in a row that begin with the definite article. Not that I’m truly disappointed. If the worst thing about a movie is its title then that’s a good thing, and there’s always Episode 9 for something more like Hidden Fortress.
“Last.” I’m sure you remember that The Force Awakens literally spelled out in its opening crawl that Luke is the last Jedi. But that was then. Rey found him and she might be trained; and at least one former student of Luke’s is still alive and might have a chance.
“Jedi.” In English this can be singular or plural. It can remain just Luke as in TFA; it can be both Luke and Rey (and/or maybe others). Or it can solely be Rey. Which leads me to this fake leaked crawl.
Assuming this isn’t a working title, I thought it might be helpful to wait and see what the title is in non-English-speaking countries in which the languages specify singular/plural (and gender) for Jedi, but that might not help either. For example, Return of the Jedi seems to refer to Luke specifically, but can also mean that he will begin a new Order of (plural) Jedi. However, a glance at IMDB shows that other countries stuck with the singular Jedi, e.g. the French Le retour du Jedi. But hey — someone please let me know if some title out there turns out to use the feminine and plural!
Even if Luke is not (or at some point ceases to be) the title character, he might remain alive. Or once a Jedi, always a Jedi? Who decides? If Luke believes himself and his attempt at restarting the Order to be failures, he may renounce the title of Jedi and have someone else be the last even while Luke is still living. Or perhaps Luke will for whatever reason decide the Jedi ways, whether Prequel-era or earlier, are too flawed and should not continue. He may make the choice to be the last Jedi while Rey begins a new and better tradition, or they may restart some ancient proto-Jedi tradition that Luke discovered in the temple ruins. Of course let’s not forget Rey’s agency either: she might be the one to decide not to become a Jedi, whether or not Luke agrees, and there may be no one left to take that title. (Of course it occurred to me that Rey could also die, but that would defeat the purpose of giving her a large role to help the audience move on from the old characters/actors and connect with the new ones.)
The ancient ruins on Ahcht-To give me another idea. The Legends, as always, are full of ideas for the new canon to mine. In Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords, for example, the Jedi were nearly wiped out over four thousand years before A New Hope and there remained only one, a few, or zero Jedi still living in the end of the game depending on the player’s choices. The idea that the Jedi face extinction in a repeating cycle since ancient times can easily become part of the new canon as well, and in this case The Last Jedi may refer to a historical Jedi who had the responsibility of restarting the order just as Luke did, explaining why Luke sought answers on Ahcht-To. The possibilities are endless.
Or maybe the episode titles for the sequels are each part of a sentence, and Episode 9 will be To Get a Real Job.
This is why you shouldn’t want to hear me speculate.
Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will be in theaters December 14 or 15, 2017, depending on your location.