Anghus Houvouras on the Star Wars: Episode VIII title reveal and what it could mean for the movie…
It’s funny how little it takes to get people excited these days. The anticipation for the eighth episode of the Star Wars is high. So much so that it was named Flickering Myth’s most anticipated film of 2017. As Rogue One proved, Star Wars fans will rabidly consume these annual trips to a Galaxy Far, Far Away. Film fans around the world are eager to hear any and every detail about the next installment. And Lucasfilm has revealed the title…
Wow. That’s… That’s kind of… what are the words I’m searching for?
Oh, I know. Vague. I suppose they could have done that thing studios do when they have a generic film and want to try to make it seem more hip by adding ‘American’. Episode VIII: The Last American Jedi.
Let me see if I can convey my ambivalence and slight consternation towards this title.
The Last Jedi. Three words. And you can completely take out one because ‘the’ doesn’t really offer a whole lot. Two words: ‘Last’ and ‘Jedi’. It certainly helps narrow down the focus of the film. Is Luke ‘The Last Jedi?’ Or perhaps it’s referring to Rey. Technically ‘Jedi’ is plural so it could be referring to them both. We know from the insane amount of Star Wars coverage that the movie focuses heavily on Rey and Luke. Seeing how Star Wars: The Force Awakens ended, it already seemed lucidly clear where the focus was going to be.
It’s not that ‘The Last Jedi’ is a bad title, it’s merely one that is both intentionally unspecific and about as interesting as buttered toast. It feels perfectly apt given the titles of previous installments, but nothing about it says ‘this is going someplace unexpected’. Perhaps that is intentional in the design. By giving Episode VIII an innocuous, vague title fans will be forced to guess what the story is about. The Force Awakens was a pretty apt title. It had been fairly dormant, Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber and gets a boost of midichlorians like a coke-laced red bull that turns into an all power force-wielding master in a matter of minutes.
Most of the Star Wars movies have titles that capture the overall feel of the movie. The Phantom Menace let audiences know there was something menacing looming in the shadows. Attack of the Clones, while being clunky as hell, conveys the overall plot of the movie. Revenge of the Sith delivers on said promise of ‘Sith’ and ‘Revenge’. A New Hope was a nice dual meaning title referring to the acquired Death Star plans and Luke Skywalker beginning his heroic journey. Episode V clearly featured the Empire Striking Back. And Return of theJedi was both a literal and metaphoric title.
What’s lacking in The Last Jedi is a sense of action. Of all the previous installments, it’s closest in relation to The Phantom Menace and A New Hope since it references a thing and not an action. Most of the other titles gave us a sense of the events. The clones attacked, the Jedi returned, the Sith got their revenge, the empire struck back, the force awakened.
My guess would be the story focuses on Rey. She is the Last Jedi of the title. It would make sense. Luke was the New Hope. Palpatine was the Phantom Menace. Rey is the ‘Last’ Jedi and Episode VIII will tell her story.
The nebulous nature of The Last Jedi is kind of a head scratcher because it lacks an action. It indicates it’s going to focus on a person or persons. Luke, Rey, Snoke, Ren (Leia?), and anyone else out there who might be in tune with the all-powerful force.
The more I say the title, the more disingenuous it seems. The ‘Last’ Jedi? Really? Are we supposed to believe this is the story of the final few Jedi who remain after Luke’s new recruits were slaughtered by the Knights of Ren? Surely this multi-billion dollar franchise will continue to feature Jedi, lightsabers, and all the other staples that helps Disney lubricate their money printing machine.
I’m guessing there has to be a very specific story element that makes something about the Jedi in Episode VIII the ‘last’. Because if there are Jedi in Episode IX, X, and other future set Star Wars stories, using the word ‘last’ is going to feel like a short con.
Based on the worldwide box office and merchandise sales, I’m betting the idea of a ‘Last Jedi’ won’t last.
What are your thoughts on The Last Jedi? Let us know in the comments below…