Nobody’s Perfect in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and that’s Why it’s Fab

It isn’t often that a film makes you truly stop and think. Star Wars: The Last Jedi is one of those movies. It seizes you by the collar, slaps you about, and then parks up in your brain for days on end (in other words, it’s fantastic). Uncomfortable and surprising in a stubborn, determined sort of way, it’s also earnest in doling out a genuinely crucial lesson: no-one’s perfect.

Awooga, awooga – spoilers for The Last Jedi ahead.

Look there, in the shadows…. it’s Grumpzilla the Hutt (concept art from Star Wars: The Last Jedi)

Nowhere is this more obvious than Luke. Now a grumpy, haggard old man, he’s far from the hero we cheered on in the original trilogy. He’s rude. He’s disgusting. He’s selfish. And therein lies the brilliance of it. Basically, he’s human.

Luke’s been trapped in storytelling amber for over 30 years; he ended Return of the Jedi on a triumphant, righteous note, and we took it for granted that his troubles were over. He became idealised and messianic, a standard we could strive toward but never reach. Yet life doesn’t work that way. We don’t ever stop making mistakes, nor do we stop learning. This is why it’s so healthy to see Luke become a miserable git who lives on a diet of fish and space-cow milk. It’s a reminder that we’re all flawed. And you know what? That’s OK. Heroes aren’t people who do no wrong; they screw up, just like us. Anyone can be a hero, an idea reflected in the wonderfully down-to-earth Rose.

Furthermore, the mark of a hero is that they get back up again after being knocked down… even if it’s not right away. Although Luke had a momentary lapse of judgement that cost him everything, he came roaring back in the end to save the day. It doesn’t matter that this took time. What matters is that he eventually did. That’s a powerful message. It’s an inspiration, too. If Luke can overcome such enormous problems, we can as well.

For me, this is why The Last Jedi’s easily the most important chapter of the Star Wars saga. It’s a message of hope for anyone of any age.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Yeah, This is Why the Jedi Need to End

I boot up the internet and Star Wars is everywhere. With Star Wars Celebration 2017 coming to an end last weekend, the aftereffects of the event are still reverberating through the web like an infamous cry of a million souls before they were extinguished by a dirty great space laser. More to the point, everyone’s still recovering from The Last Jedi teaser and Battlefront II’s trailer. Suffice to say, that kind of reveal leaves a lasting impression.

However, one of the biggest takeaways from the event was Luke Skywalker’s claim that the Jedi must end in The Force Awakens’ sequel. As a former beacon of hope for the Jedi order, his disillusionment has caused quite a stir. The obvious question is ‘why’, but a better one should probably be ‘why not?’.

Perhaps it IS time for the Jedi to end – they’ve caused enough trouble. Concept art by Ryan Church

If you stop and think about it, the Jedi have been nothing but trouble. Besides appointing themselves as galactic police who stick their noses where it may not be wanted, they seem to rely on violence more often than diplomacy. Moreover, they bulled their way through the Clone Wars as generals and warriors when that’s precisely the opposite of what they were built for: I thought a Jedi’s lightsaber training is meant to be used in defence of the innocent and as a last resort, not a first response. Aren’t they primarily diplomats and monks?

Then there are all the amusing gaffs they’ve made throughout the original/prequel trilogies. Most egregious of these would be Obi-Wan’s flagrant dickery in lying to Luke’s face about his father. ‘True from a certain point of view’? Shove off, that’s ridiculous. It’s a somewhat limp attempt to justify a retcon and makes Obi-Wan look negligent. Then there’s Qui-Gon Jinn’s hilariously bad attempt at babysitting, where he takes a young child into the heat of battle when he could have left him literally anywhere else. Finally, the books reveal that the prequels’ Jedi temple was built on a super-evil Sith shrine that apparently corrupted them over millennia (it was apparently capped, but would you take that chance?). I mean, come on. I adore these films, but the characters do make some bizarre decisions.

Then there’s an aspect that, in contrast, the prequels handled rather well. The Jedi are essentially a cult: you follow their strict rules or you hit the road. Additionally, these rules can seem needlessly cruel. Take their refusal for Jedi to form attachments, for instance. This has never ended well, as demonstrated by Anakin’s fall and the fact that those same attachments let Luke save the whole damn galaxy.

Most damning of all would be when you read between the lines. As explained by Tor, a reason for Obi-Wan lying to Luke about his father could be that they needed an assassin who’d take out the Emperor’s greatest asset without querying why. Knowing about his head-in-the-clouds demeanour and daydream to be a hero, Kenobi fed him a suitably clichéd story about his father that’d set him on a collision course with Vader, no questions asked. It’s a calculated, manipulative move.

Similarly, Luke was given the surname ‘Skywalker’ and left with his family – surely a giant red flag to Vader – because he could also serve as bait as an added bonus. If Vader found him, Obi-Wan would emerge and take him down.

It’s a fascinating way of looking at the old Jedi order, and it doesn’t paint them in a very good light. As such, I’m not surprised that Luke wants to shut things down now he’s older and wiser.