STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI - Rian Johnson On How [SPOILER]'s Death May Affect EPISODE IX

In a new interview, Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson discusses one of the film's shocking deaths, and how he thinks it may ultimately affect J.J. Abrams' Episode IX. Read on for more...

One of the (many) divisive moments of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the death of Luke Skywalker. The hero sacrificed his life to stall the First Order from wiping out the Resistance by projecting a Force image across the galaxy to combat and distract Kylo Ren. While he succeeded, it seemed the effort to accomplish such a feat was too much, resulting in the Jedi "dying" and becoming one with the Force, much like Yoda in Return of the Jedi

Director Rian Johnson spoke openly to Business Insider about the decision to have Luke's journey be one that lead from bitter reluctance to acceptance and martyrdom. "I had to figure out something that made sense, and you don't know much about where's Luke's head is at coming out of The Force Awakens," Johnson said. "For me growing up, I know Luke as a hero. I know that he must think he's doing the right thing by taking himself out of the equation, and that means he thinks the best thing for the galaxy is that he's not a part of this and, by extension, that the Jedi are not a part of this. So that leads you down a certain path."

“As I worked out that his arc was going to be coming to a place where he does this big heroic act that is going to be spread throughout the galaxy — basically taking back the mantle of Luke Skywalker, a Jedi master, a legend — it just slowly became clear to me that it would be this big grand act,” Johnson explained. “It would be an act of mythmaking. And if there was ever going to be a place in this entire trilogy to give him this emotional moment of a goodbye, this was probably going to be the most emotionally potent place to do it.”

Johnson also spoke about Mark Hamill's real life reluctance to bring the hero in the direction that Johnson had proposed. Hamill was quite vocal in interviews about his initial surprise and shock regarding the character's journey - something he didn't initially agree with but eventually learned to accept. "It wasn't the thing he wanted to necessarily hear," Johnson said with a laugh. "Understandably so. Mark had all these years to think what Luke's triumphant return would be. Luke's the hero coming back into this story, and the fact that this character and this movie could not be that — this character in this movie was by necessity what he had to be, and also in relation to Rey, that brought its own necessity."

While many were shocked and upset as Luke's passing, Johnson clarified that he intended for Luke's story to continue beyond his death, though where that direction leads is up to Episode IX director J.J. Abrams.  “I’m not sure what J.J. and [screenwriter] Chris Terrio are going to do in the next one with Luke, but setting up possibilities for the next one, honestly, it seems much like Obi-Wan going where he did after ‘New Hope.’ The possibilities seemed even more exciting in terms of what Luke’s place could be in the next chapter with him entering into this other realm as opposed to him having a lightsaber and being with our heroes. It opened more possibilities as opposed to fewer.”

While we have to wait two more years to find out for certain, it's comforting to know that The Last Jedi probably won't be the last time we see Luke. What do you make of Johnson's explanation? Let us know your thoughts in the usual place!
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