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The Last Jedi: A Fan Base Divided

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The Force has awoken: this past winter break was graced with the arrival of the eighth installment of the Star Wars saga. The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson, brought a surge of polarizing developments to the story and caused uproar among fans. Let’s take a look at a couple interesting theories and contentions that currently divide the devoted fanbase.

        The most divisive moment in the movie was when Kylo Ren revealed to Rey that her parents were nobody special, thus debunking all past theories regarding Rey’s heritage. Many past Force users, except for Anakin Skywalker, of course, were related to some great Jedi or Sith. Rey’s humble beginnings emphasize the unbiased nature of the Force, how one does not have to be born from greatness in order to become great. Some may argue that Kylo might have been trying to manipulate Rey, lying to her about her parents in order for her to “let the past die.” The movie tells us, however, that Rey’s lineage is unimportant: what matters is what Rey chooses to do with the power she has been given.

        In other theories, viewers question the verity of Luke’s death. It seems to me that his presence in the film is not gone for good, and that we will see him in the ninth installment of the series. As we have seen even in this episode, Force ghosts are just as influential as real people. We saw Yoda set that old tree ablaze with a lightning strike, and all he did was lift his finger. Perhaps Luke had always intended to transcend into the Force ghost form, leaving his physically deteriorating body behind and remaining one with the Force.

        Perhaps the most debated moment of the film is Snoke’s death. I find the scene of Supreme Leader’s death to be too simple, too straightforward, and too incredulous to be taken at face value. Firstly, Snoke was built up to be one of the most powerful Force users in the universe, capable of connecting two minds across vast distances (Rey and Kylo’s) and striking down his very powerful apprentice with a flick of his wrist. The casual manner in which he toyed with Rey and Kylo reinforces his adeptness in the Force. He himself said he “cannot be betrayed,” since he can read people’s minds. To think that he didn’t catch the moving lightsaber directly to his right-hand side is absurd. So, how on earth could he have died?

Dead or alive, Snoke succeeded in every way he wished to succeed. Snoke wanted two things: to destroy Luke and to secure Kylo Ren as a follower of the dark side. By the end of the movie, both those things indeed happen. Snoke first infuriates his apprentice with insults and mockery in order to work up his anger. Just as Darth Sidious told Luke to “strike him down,” Snoke did the same with even more finesse. He presented the two options of killing Rey and killing Snoke, while manipulating Kylo’s emotions in such a way that he completely ignores the third (and morally higher) option of not killing anyone at all. Snoke knew that Kylo’s anger was so great that regardless of whom Kylo chose to kill, he would ultimately become a part of the dark side. Kylo was lost before he even entered the room. By taking advantage of this same temper, Snoke put Kylo on a warpath to snuff out the Resistance and, as a result, draw out Luke for his ultimate demise. If you look at the final scoreboard of the film, Snoke is by no metric behind in points.

All in all, The Last Jedi moved the Star Wars universe ahead into uncharted territory. The film was unexpected, surprising, and emotionally jarring: everything a good space epic should be.

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