Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: the Last Jedi is a big movie full of larger than life battles, huge set pieces, and an enormous cast. And all of this is encapsulated in a small idea; all you need is hope. You don’t need the Force. You don’t need the Jedi. You don’t even need that many rebels hunkered down in a bunker. Not when you have hope. In the end hope wins the day.
Hope in Luke returning to battle the First Order keeps Rey resolute. Hope in a stranger found in a casino on Canto Bight keeps Rose and Finn soldiering on. Hope that Kylo Ren will see sense and come to the light gives Rey a reason to believe in something greater than herself. Hope that the rebels will get away to safety gives Amilyn Holdo the courage to sacrifice herself.
The Last Jedi is overflowing with hope, no matter how often things don’t turn out the way our heroes expect. This is a thread weaved throughout the Star Wars films from A New Hope onward, but never is it as evident than in this sequel. The Force is powerful, but without hope you are a tool for the dark side as shown by Kylo Ren.
This isn’t Luke’s story, or Rey’s, or Finn’s, or any one person’s. It is all of them having hope that they will win the day. Even when subverted in the face of astounding circumstances, hope drives our heroes on because this story is bigger than them.
I think what bothered a vocal minority on the internet about The Last Jedi is that many things we’ve come to understand as integral to this universe actually aren’t. The Jedi basically gone, their sacred texts in flames, their last caretaker blowing away in the wind. But hope remains a constant. Hell, it’s in episode four’s title. Johnson has cleared away many things that have fueled this series since the beginning, but that’s okay, because he’s added so many new ideas and characters to keep it going for many more sequels. I for one have hope that Star Wars will continue to be a franchise that inspires as it entertains for decades to come.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on March 27th. It features some awesome bonus content including The Director and the Jedi behind-the-scenes documentary which is fascinating, two Andy Serkis pre-cgi Snoke scenes, 14 deleted scenes, four scene breakdowns, and commentary track with Johnson.