‘Let the past die’ was the central theme of Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi and now the director has explained the thinking behind it.
Throughout the film a number of characters brought up this theme of letting the past die in one way or another, including two of the film’s key figures Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren.
Some fans thought this was a message from Johnson and Lucasfilm that they didn’t care about the history of Star Wars and the audience should learn to let go and just think of the future.
Rian Johnson, however, has said that the message is quite the opposite, and that letting go of the past isn’t a workable idea in Star Wars.
“From the very start, there is kind of the theme of ‘let the past die’ but that’s expressed by Kylo [Ren] very strongly and, to some extent, for much of the movie by Luke [Skywalker],” Johnson explained on the Empire Film Podcast. “That’s one of the interesting things, I thought… was that these two opposite poles have come to kind of the same conclusion.
“Kylo’s feeling about the way to move forward is to cut yourself off from the past which is something which is sort of a rebellious [feeling], running away from your parents home… cutting it off and saying ‘I can be who I want to be in life.’ I think a lot of us have done some version of that in their life at some point.”
Johnson then goes on to explain that he doesn’t agree with this mentality: “It’s not ultimately where I come down in terms of the ideological argument that I believe in,” Johnson said. “For me, I always think that if you’re cutting off the past, you’re fooling yourself and you’re just burying it somewhere where it’s always going to come back. And the only way forward is where Rey actually lands, which is to build on the past.
“Not necessarily to wallow in it, the way that Luke is doing… with Yoda’s lesson to him, with the Jedi books. Not to just wallow in its destruction… But to take what’s best from in it and build on it, and appreciate it, and move forward, which is what Rey’s path in the movie to some extent.”
So, there you have it. What do you think of Johnson’s explanation on The Last Jedi’s central theme? It will certainly be interesting to see where J.J. Abrams builds upon this idea when he steps behind the camera for Episode IX.
In Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure that unlocks age-old mysteries of the Force and shocking revelations of the past.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi sees returning cast members Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Daisy Ridley (Rey), John Boyega (Finn), Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Lupita Nyong’o (Maz Kanata), Domhnall Gleeson (General Hux), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Gwendoline Christie (Captain Phasma), Billie Lourd (Lieutenant Connix), Andy Serkis (Supreme Leader Snoke), Peter Mayhew and Joonas Suotamo (Chewbacca), Tim Rose (Admiral Ackbar), Mike Quinn (Nien Nunb) and Warwick Davis joined by new additions Jimmy Vee (Pan) as R2-D2, Kelly Marie Tran (Ladies Like Us) as Rose, Benicio Del Toro (Guardians of the Galaxy) as DJ and Laura Dern (Jurassic Park) as Vice Admiral Holdo.