When it comes to the Star Wars sequels, most fans agree that the new trilogy went off the rails, but it’s tough to tell exactly when the Sith hit the fan with these films. Legions of fans think that the real problem was Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi.
After all, this Disney movie throws out almost everything we knew about key characters while removing major threads like Snoke from the board. If you agree with those criticisms, then you better pour yourself a tall glass of green milk as we explain how and why the Star Wars sequel The Last Jedi is secretly brilliant.
Luke Skywalker Had Perfect Characterization
One of the biggest complaints that Star Wars fans had about The Last Jedi was that Luke Skywalker seemed too different.
The heroic Jedi was now a grumpy old man who’d rather throw his old lightsaber away than train a new student, and the reason for his angry exile is that he once felt tempted to kill Kylo Ren after sensing the darkness in his heart.
In other words, Star Wars enthusiasts who loved Luke Skywalker, the bright-eyed hero of the Rebellion, had trouble accepting him as a broken old man in The Last Jedi.
Luke As A Recluse
But here’s the thing: having Luke disconnect himself from everyone he knows is an idea that goes back to George Lucas’ original concepts for a sequel trilogy.
Furthermore, while it’s depressing to consider Luke’s momentary temptation to murder a child, it’s in line with his character: not only is he the son of a famous Youngling slayer, but he has previously been tempted by the Dark Side, which Yoda warned would “forever dominate your destiny.”
Finally, seeing Luke as a broken-down recluse is what makes his heroic return and sacrifice so meaningful, so Star Wars fans need to put their keyboards down and let our favorite Jedi have an emotional arc.
The Rey “Twist” Was So Much Better Than the Later Retcon
Fans were hoping The Last Jedi would definitively answer one of the bigger questions from The Force Awakens: who are Rey’s parents?
It seemed unlikely such a badass Jedi would come from a pair of nobodies, but that’s exactly what Kylo Ren reveals in The Last Jedi.
Later, of course, this was clumsily retconned so that Rey is now the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, one of the most powerful Force users of all.
Rey’s Story Was The Right One
Now that Star Wars fans have seen how goofy the retcon is (and had the misfortune of having to imagine a woman having sex with the disfigured Palpatine), it’s time to admit that The Last Jedi had the right idea about making Rey a nobody from a line of nobodies.
Doing this helped emphasize that anyone could become a Jedi even as it helped de-center the franchise from its Skywalker obsession.
And unless fans learn to embrace stories about new characters from humble backgrounds, Star Wars will remain a franchise that clings to the past instead of (as Kylo Ren urges) letting it die.
That Hyperspace Ramming Trick Was Cool As Hell
It’s impossible to talk about The Last Jedi without talking about Admiral Holdo’s hyperspace attack. Basically, she sacrificed herself by taking a capital ship to lightspeed and using it to ram into the enemy flagship.
Predictably, this led to endless fan debates over whether such a move should be possible in a galaxy far, far away, and if it was, angry audiences wondered why the Rebels didn’t just use this technique against the Death Star and other major Imperial threats.
However, and we can’t believe we have to explain this to Star Wars fans, much about this universe doesn’t make sense.
For example, we’re not only expected to believe in an invisible energy field but that those who understand enough about that field will win every time by bringing their laser swords to a gunfight.
When a character pulls off an impossible feat such as destroying the Death Star, we’re not meant to debate the astronomic odds of making the shot…instead, we’re meant to celebrate a character pulling off a feat many thought impossible.
Holdo’s sacrifice matches the vibe of Star Wars in that her Last Jedi ramming speed attack focused on “rule of cool,” giving us a beautiful scene rather than a scientifically precise attack we might find in other franchises like Star Trek.
We also see that Holdo is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save the galaxy, including characters like Leia whom we love like family. Admiral Holdo did the impossible and saved the galaxy against all the odds, proving herself a hero and giving us a breathtaking scene that was the visual highlight of the entire sequel trilogy.