Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been in theaters for almost a month and the discussion is still raging about its position in the series canon. Some (this writer included) view it as a bold new direction for the franchise, while others have taken issue with the way the film seems to subvert and even refute the mysteries ostensibly set up by the previous installment, The Force Awakens.
Whatever one’s opinion of The Last Jedi, it’s clear that writer-director Rian Johnson’s film has sparked some serious debate and one of the biggest questions that keeps coming up has to do with the film’s climax.
The Last Jedi’s final battle sees Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) confront his nephew Ben Solo/Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) in a lightsaber duel. Rather than pull out his green lightsaber from Return of the Jedi, Luke brandishes his father’s blue lightsaber, which had just been destroyed a few scenes earlier when Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Kylo Ren each tried to claim it, resulting in the weapon being split in half. Some have pointed out that the blue lightsaber should have signaled to Kylo Ren that his uncle wasn’t really there, so why doesn’t he realize that Luke was just projecting himself using the Force until the very end?
IGN recently posed this question to Rian Johnson and here was his response:
“[Luke] is basically tailoring this projection to have maximum effect on Kylo,” Johnson explained. “He knows that Kylo’s Achilles heel is his rage, and so that’s why he kind of makes himself look younger, the way Kylo would’ve last seen him in their confrontation at the temple, and that’s why he decided to bring Kylo’s grandfather’s lightsaber down there — the lightsaber that Kylo screamed at Rey, ‘that’s mine, that belongs to me.’”
Okay, so Luke wanted to piss off his nephew. That still doesn’t explain why Kylo didn’t see through the ruse the moment he saw the blue lightsaber. Well, according to Johnson, that’s because Kylo technically never saw the weapon split apart.
“We as an audience saw that… The truth is, we see the lightsaber split in half — Kylo sees a blinding flash of light and is knocked unconscious, and then Rey takes the lightsaber away before he wakes up,” he said. “So if you really want to dig into it and get an explanation, you can say that he doesn’t 100 percent know what happened to the lightsaber.”