Star Wars: The Last Jedi hasn’t even wrapped up its opening weekend and JJ Abrams is getting to work on the next installment. The only question is if he’ll treat Rian Johnson’s baton pass (in the form of Rey handing off Anakin’s old lightsaber to Luke) the same as Johnson treated his. We won’t know about his story for at least another two years, but we know, thanks to Disney’s Laughing Place, that Abrams has pitched Disney’s CEO Bob Iger and Lucasfilm on the story, so the familiar phase of asking “what’s gonna happen?” is upon us once again.
So, what’s gonna happen?
The most divisive issue with The Last Jedi is also one of the best possible outcomes for the primary artist behind it — Rian Johnson got to make the movie he wanted. Some fans loved it, some fans hated it, but his vision was fulfilled with a pat on the back from Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm. Ultimately, that’s all that matters. Plotlines within the Star Wars universe have indeed moved forward, but plenty have ended as well. Now JJ Abrams has a lot of work to do. Most of the movie he set up in The Force Awakens has been reset — Snoke is dead, Luke is so tired he’s vapor, and Rey’s parents are… Nobodies. Maybe. Probably?
Speaking to EW after a screening of The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson hammered home that his movie is canon, Rey’s parents are inconsequential, and now JJ Abrams has to wrap it all up again in the most expensive game of sci-fi “Telephone” ever.
“I can’t speak to what they’re going to do. And there’s always, in these movies, a question of ‘a certain point of view,’…But for me, in that moment, Kylo believes it’s the truth. I don’t think he’s purely playing chess. I think that’s what he saw when they touched fingers and that’s what he believes. And when he tells her that in that moment, she believes it.”
Could Abrams double down on Johnson’s theme of letting the past die, and killing it if he has to in order to wrap up this latest trilogy in the tidiest way possible? The Force Awakens was such a crowd-pleaser, and The Last Jedi divided the fanbase like a lightsaber slice to the midsection. Maybe Abrams is bringing balance to the new trilogy starting today.