‘Star Wars’ Was Promising To End The Jedi Long Before ‘The Last Jedi’ Trailer

After (im)patiently waiting, fans of Star Wars have finally gotten their first look at Episode VIII, The Last Jedi. The trailer still doesn’t answer specifically who the last Jedi are, but at least now we know why they’re the end of the line. As Luke Skywalker says, it’s time for the Jedi to end. A short and sweet statement that underscores where Lucasfilm has been taking the franchise for quite some time now.

Part of the problem with the Jedi and the Sith is both orders deal in absolutes. The Jedi are restricted from attachments and require to keep a zen detachment about themselves throughout their lives. The Sith are ruled by their emotions. Neither repression nor passion are healthy ways to go about life, especially when training begins during the toddler years. The prequels tried to establish Anakin Skywalker would bring “balance” to the Force, but as is the way of prophecies, the Jedi saw in it what they wanted to see. That “balance” meant removing the Dark Side. That…wasn’t how things turned out.

You can’t have shadows without light and light will always create shadows. The two are intertwined. Beginning in earnest with the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, Lucasfilm began to play with the idea that neither the Jedi nor the Sith were using the Force correctly. Several story arcs were dedicated to exploring this. Balance is achieved by moving two polar opposites closer together; what the Grey Jedi represented in the now defunct Expanded Universe and a line Luke Skywalker (and Mace Windu) have always danced on.

More clues about the future of the Jedi and the Sith were embedded into the background of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The city of Jedha was the first time fans really saw how the Force is interpreted by different faiths. The Force is ancient, and the way people interact with it has morphed over the centuries. The Jedi and the Sith are not the only Force wielders, just the ones that get the most press. The witches of Dathomir and the Guardians of the Whils are two different sects that spring to mind.

The Last Jedi trailer itself also offers some tantalizing hints as to how Luke arrived at the conclusion that the Jedi Order must end. An establishing shot of a “tree” highlights several ancient volumes. Books so old they’re written on paper instead of data pads.

It’s safe to say one of the those books is shown later in the trailer, opened to the Jedi insignia (one that has been modified and used by the Rebellion for years). The star is surrounded by a language that isn’t Aurebesh, so sadly it can’t be translated. But what’s interesting is where the star is located on the insignia. In the middle. The fulcrum. The balance. Destroying one side — either the Jedi or the Sith — would make the Force lopsided. The ancient insignia indicates that perhaps once the Jedi and the Sith were one order that blended the light and the dark to find balance.

But where did this precious tome come from? My guess is the Jedi Temple that Captain Phasma is setting on fire in what appears to be a flashback. All the books look damaged, but the one with the Jedi insignia is clearly scorched.

But how do we even know Luke owns the books in question? Lightening up the final shot of Skywalker’s silhouette at the cave entrance reveals an interior very similar to the tree bookshelf. Star Wars isn’t big on coincidence, so let’s just use Occam’s Razor and say the books belong to the last Jedi Master.

Of course, knowing the Jedi and the Sith must end in order to bring balance to the Force doesn’t tell fans how the story will get there. Which is why all our butts will be in the theater come Christmas 2017. We need to know.