We’d never expect the most contentious debate about Star Wars to be about grammar. But ever since the subtitle for writer-director Rian Johnson’s (Brick, Looper) entry in the sequel trilogy was revealed to be The Last Jedi, speculation ran rampant about who this last Jedi was. Candidates include Luke Skywalker, Rey What’s-Her-Last-Name, or maybe even a wildcard like Kylo Ren. Or is “Jedi” meant to be plural? In a recent interview, Johnson let everyone know that they’re reading too much into it, and the answer was in front of them the entire time.
Speaking to The N.Y.T., Johnson clarifies:
“It’s in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens. Luke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There’s always wiggle room in these movies — everything is from a certain point of view — but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he’s removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown.”
There you have it. No clever word tricks here—the last Jedi is definitively O.G. Star Wars protagonist Luke. But the element of suspense comes here in whether Luke will still be the last Jedi by the conclusion of the film. In its ominous teaser trailer, a brooding Luke declares, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.” Star Wars fans, however, will have to wait until the film comes out to find out what exactly Skywalker means by this.
Johnson also told The NYT that he was surprised by the amount of creative freedom given to him by Lucasfilm. This would probably come as a surprise to anyone following behind-the-scenes drama, where Lucasfilm is looking more like a director slaughterhouse every day. The studio just let go of original Episode IX director Colin Trevorrow, and previously fired the duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller from the Han Solo standalone film, benched Gareth Edwards from Rogue One and axed Josh Trank a long, long time ago.
It’s clear from Johnson that he loved working on this project, so we wouldn’t be too surprised if Lucasfilm and their President Kathleen Kennedy turned to Johnson for a second time to fill in the Trevorrow-shaped hole that was left behind.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi will come to theaters on Dec. 15.