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The Last Jedi brought a message of hope. Its themes and plots have many links back to A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and Rogue One. Now though, of course, it’s the Resistance and the First Order vying for control of the power vacuum left after Starkiller Base blew up the New Republic.
The film begins with the First Order in control of the galaxy. After discovering the location of the Resistance base, the Star Destroyers speed towards the planet, intent on wiping out the last spark of rebellion.
Meanwhile, Rey has searched for Luke Skywalker across the galaxy, following the map to discover his location on Ahch-To. Along with Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon, the finale of The Force Awakens saw her finally find the old, reclusive Jedi and offer him back his lightsaber…
The Last Jedi Synopsis
The Resistance‘s Flight
As the Resistance evacuates their base, the First Order fleet arrives through hyperspace. This includes Captain Canady’s dreadnought, a colossal ship with immense bombardment power.
Before opening up on the Resistance base and transports, Poe Dameron approaches in a lone X-Wing starfighter, taking out the dreadnought’s surface cannons. After delaying it as long as he can, it finally opens fire on the Resistance base.
The last transport escapes in the moments just before impact, making its way up to join the capital ships in their escape. Leia, relieved, orders Poe to return along with his squad so they can make their escape.
Poe refuses, switching off his commlink in what he believes is righteous defiance. He’s determined to destroy the dreadnaught so it can’t attack again. He orders his B-Wing bombers squadron to attack.
They get absolutely obliterated by the dreadnought’s onboard-stationed TIE fighters. Only one manages to drop its bombs, scoring a critical hit and destroying the enemy superweapon before it too is obliterated. None of the crew survives.
Having blown up the dreadnaught, Poe and the few remaining fighter ships return to the Raddus, which promptly jumps into hyperspace, escaping the First Order.
Or so they think. General Hux’s new hyperspace tracking technology means the First Order can track their location. However, they’re yet to find that out.
Finn wakes up from the coma he’s been in since his fight with Kylo Ren. He’s desperate to escape so Rey won’t get caught up in the fighting, but as he tries to abandon ship, he’s intercepted by Rose Tico. Rose lost her sister, Paige, in the doomed B-Wing bomber run, and when Finn’s intended actions eventually dawn on her, she stuns him.
At the same time, Leia is furious with Poe for sacrificing so many of his troops in exchange for so little gain. He’s instantly demoted for his insubordination, unreliability, and willingness to take completely unnecessary risks.
Leia, Holdo, and Poe
As soon as the Resistance learns that the First Order has tracked them through hyperspace, they go into a state of emergency. However, Kylo Ren and his First Order wingmen fire missiles into the hangar, destroying most of the fighters before they get off the ground.
He then turns his attention to the bridge. Sensing the presence of his mother, Leia, he hesitates and moves his thumbs away from the triggers that launch the missiles. However, his wingmen have no such qualms and destroy it. Leia is knocked unconscious and sucked out into space. Other well-known and much-loved characters, such as Admiral Ackbar, are also killed.
The Raddus pulls out of the Supremacy‘s range, forcing the fighters to pull back. Leia, almost dead, awakens in deep space, surrounded by debris and corpses. She uses the Force to float back into the Raddus, where she collapses, unconscious, and is quickly brought to the medical bay to heal.
Command of the Rebel fleet falls to Vice Admiral Holdo, who refuses to give Poe any information or respect. She orders the fleet to continue ahead full.
Dameron, thinking she’s leading the Resistance on a hopeless, objectiveless path, stages a mutiny. He initially works with Finn and Rose. They’re tasked with turning off the First Order’s hyperspace tracking device to allow the fleet to escape.
Later, he forcibly seizes control of the Raddus, holding Holdo hostage while he gives Finn and Rose the time they need to turn the tracker off. He reluctantly gives in when he hears them fail (they’re captured). Leia, having awoken, stumbles into the bridge and stuns him with her blaster.
The small ships then subtly leave the Raddus. The First Order isn’t looking for them, so they escape, heading for an old Rebel base on the planet Crait, where they plan to hide until the First Order passes. Holdo stays behind on the capital ship, drawing the enemy’s fire. Leia tells Poe that she was “more interested in protecting the light than she was seeming like a hero.” It’s the lesson he has to learn.
However, the Supremacy suddenly notices the small ships and fires at them, destroying most. In response, Holdo spins the Raddus around to face the First Order. She then sends it into hyperspace, splitting the ship down the middle and saving the last few transports.
Finn and Rose
After the First Order ships track them through hyperspace, Poe, Rose, and Finn develop a long-shot plan to deal with the problem. As a former stormtrooper, Finn knows precisely where to find their tracking technology (since he’s “the guy who used to mop it!”) onboard the lead Star Destroyer.
He and Rose commandeer a shuttle and jet off into hyperspace without being spotted with help from Tallie, a Resistance fighter stationed on the bridge.
They’ve learned of a master codebreaker from Maz Kanata. This person is one of the only people in the galaxy with the skills to get them past the First Order’s advanced shields without being spotted. They head to the intricately sculptured, carefully maintained planet Cantonica, landing near the casino city of Canto Bight.
Parking on the public beach, they dash into the casino, intending to find and employ the master codebreaker as quickly as possible. Although they eventually catch sight of him, they’re stunned and arrested before they can approach him.
In their cell, they discuss their plan and the hopelessness of their situation. It’s now virtually impossible to escape (even though BB-8 is still free), and they’ll have to think of a different approach.
In a dark corner of the cell, a quiet, average-looking man (named DJ) offers to help. When they scoff at him and dismiss his offer, he shrugs, walks over to the cell door, and opens it using a chip. Sauntering away, he leaves Finn and Rose to make their own escape.
After getting away through the sewers, the pair beg a few poor stable hands, boys, to keep quiet, showing them that they’re with the Resistance. They then jump on fathiers (big space horses) and escape into the brush, wrecking Canto Bight in the process.
DJ then picks them up in a ship, having also escaped Canto Bight with the help of BB-8. They immediately launch into hyperspace, heading back towards the Resistance and the First Order’s flagship, the Supremacy.
Along the way, they learn that DJ has, in fact, stolen the ship from one of the millions of wealthy clients around Canto Bight (with the help of BB-8). The owner is an arms dealer who supplied weapons to both the “bad guys” and the “good guys.”
DJ, short for “Don’t Join,” maintains the cynical outlook that both the Resistance and the First Order represent a breeding ground for corruption – nothing more. In his view, it’s every man’s obligation to make the most of their own situation.
They sneak through the Supremacy‘s shield using the thief’s tricks and make their way through the ship towards the active tracker. However, they’re spotted on their approach by BB-9E, a First Order droid, who coordinates their capture just before they reach their goal. The game’s up.
DJ sells them out, telling the First Order to scan for small transport ships escaping the Raddus, and leaves them to be executed. Just before their lives are taken, Holdo destroys the Supremacy, giving them the distraction they need to escape.
They escape onboard a shuttle and crash land into the old Rebel base to meet with Poe, Leia, and the few remaining troops.
Rey, Luke, Kylo, and Snoke
On Ahch-To, Rey has finally found Luke Skywalker, having followed the map that leads to his position. Along with Chewbacca on board the Millennium Falcon, she’s found the reclusive Jedi and handed him his famous lightsaber.
Taking her entirely by surprise, Luke tosses the saber over his shoulder and marches past her. She’ll quickly learn that he doesn’t want to be found and lives a reclusive life away from everything he feels he’s failed, trying to protect the galaxy. He doesn’t want to train any more Jedi (see the FAQs below).
Rey soon discovers that Luke can’t bear the memory of Ben Solo’s turn to the Dark Side and how he became Kylo Ren. He blames himself, feeling that he failed his apprentice and his sister, being trusted with her son – his nephew.
Luke agrees to show her how to use the Force at one point. He explains that it’s far more than “making things float,” but the energy binding all things.
He sees Rey’s raw potential and natural ability to connect to it but also witnesses her instant allure to the Dark Side. It tempts her with answers about her parents, something she desperately wants, and Luke – with fear and frustration – instantly condemns her for this. He can’t risk another Kylo Ren.
Here, Rey realizes Luke has cut himself off from the Force.
As she sits in her small stone hut, she suddenly sees Kylo sitting opposite her. Taken completely aback, Snoke’s apprentice doesn’t even move as she reaches for her blaster and shoots at him. The bolt never hits him, destroying the stone structure on the other side of Rey’s accommodation.
Rey is furious, whereas Kylo’s simply curious. The two begin to talk, and while Rey is constantly aggressive, Ren starts to open up to her. They discuss their fears and traumas, inevitably bringing them closer together.
Kylo pushes Rey repeatedly to ask Luke what really happened the night that Ben Solo betrayed him. He claims that his Master betrayed him and tried to kill him, scared of the power he held. While she refuses to believe this, the relationship between the two becomes more trusting and more balanced the more they talk.
Meanwhile, Rey tries many different ways to persuade Luke to rejoin the fight, insisting that Leia and the Resistance need him. Without him, there’s no spark and no hope. He, however, turns his face away.
Rey doesn’t understand his thinking – why is he letting the galaxy down by refusing to fight? For Luke, though, it’s not about rebuilding the Jedi. He’s already tried that, and it failed. It was corrupted and destroyed so quickly and so easily.
After Rey gives in to her temptations and heads to the darkness deep within the island searching for answers regarding her ancestry, she’s frustrated and hurt when she learns nothing. Where she hopes to see her parents, she simply sees a reflection of herself. Feeling alone, she escapes and turns to Ren for comfort through their Force connection.
As they touch hands, each sees a vision. Rey believes that if she goes to Kylo, he will turn to the Light. Ren, however, experiences the opposite premonition and is sure that she’ll be the one to turn to him.
Here, Luke discovers their bond. In horror, he reconnects to the Force and utterly destroys Rey’s stone hut in a show of instinctive power. The Force connection linking Kylo to Rey’s location immediately vanishes, leaving Rey to confront Luke.
She engages him in a quick duel and, enraged, demands to know whether he tried to murder Ben Solo. Luke eventually caves and tells her the story. Ben Solo’s mind had been corrupted by Snoke. He instinctively activated his lightsaber when he’d realized this, standing over the boy. Fearfully, the child lashed out with his own saber, knocking him out and destroying his Jedi Order.
Learning this, Rey pushed one last time to get him to come with her to save Ben Solo and the Resistance from Snoke. Luke, although reconnected to the Force, refused. Rey, therefore, left Ahch-To with Chewie. She was dropped in a small escape module and directed into the Supremacy‘s hangar, where she surrendered to the First Order and Kylo Ren.
In the throne room, they learn that Snoke has played them both. He’s bridged their minds with the Force and planted the visions to coax Rey to him. With his overwhelming Force abilities, he seizes Rey’s lightsaber and destroys her mental defenses, learning of Luke Skywalker’s location. He promises to kill him as soon as he’s finished with the remnants of the Resistance forces.
Chuckling, Snoke believes he’s already won. He immobilizes Rey and offers Kylo Ren the opportunity to cement his new resolve by executing her.
Ren tricks his Master, impaling the shocked Snoke with the Skywalker saber. Rey’s instantly released, and Kylo Force pulls the lightsaber to her, slicing the Supreme Leader in half.
For a moment, the two lock eyes before turning to deal with the Elite Praetorian Guards determined to avenge Snoke’s death. This is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully choreographed, visually stunning scenes in all the Star Wars films.
With their enemies vanquished, they turn to each other, remembering their visions. They’re both sure the other will turn but learn, to their dismays, that each is firmly resolved to their respective path.
Overcoming the pain of perceived betrayal, the two both try to Force pull the Skywalker saber to them. It hangs, suspended in space between them, as they each focus harder and harder. Eventually, the weapon’s kyber crystal splits, creating an explosion. At the same time, Admiral Holdo hyperspace rams the Supremacy.
Although both are knocked out, Rey escapes using Snoke’s escape pod, refusing to kill Ren as he lies unconscious. Hux briefly considers this as he stands over Ren, although the new Supreme Leader, by default, wakes up before any harm can be done to him. Kylo claims that Rey killed Snoke before seizing control of the First Order’s army, forcing Hux to kneel.
He knows she’s heading for Crait and directs all his remaining troops to the old Rebel base on the planet.
The Battle of Crait
As Finn and Rose rendezvous with the Resistance in the small base on Crait, Kylo Ren and the First Order approach. They bring a vast Death Star-inspired cannon that will easily destroy their shield door.
The Resistance takes to rickety old craft as they mount a last-ditch assault to try to destroy the cannon. Thirteen craft head out into an almost impossible mission. Using the old Rebel trenches and guns as covering fire, they approach the super cannon, intending to destroy it.
The returning fire from the First Order, combined with their TIE Fighter air dominance, makes short work of most of the Resistance force. Rey and Chewbacca arrive in the Falcon, drawing the TIE Fighters away. However, their chances of reaching the cannon are still virtually nil.
Poe sees this and, having learned from his disastrous assault on the dreadnought, calls off the attack. Finn refuses, a little like Dameron’s original action, and decides to sacrifice himself to stop the cannon from firing, despite pleas from Rose. The weapon’s already charged. It’s a suicide mission, and the First Order will get into the base anyway.
Just before impact, Rose crashes her speeder into Finn’s craft, sending them both tumbling into the resultant wreckage. Half conscious, she tells him it’s not about destroying what they hate but saving what they love. There’s a quick kiss before she slips unconscious, and Finn drags her back to the Rebel base.
All hope seems lost. The First Order cannon breaches the shield door and paves the way for the Resistance, backed into a corner, to be wiped out. Even Leia gives up, sighing and regretfully concluding that the spark is out even though they fought to the end.
Suddenly, she looks up. Luke Skywalker enters the room. He’s washed, dressed in his Jedi robes, and appears calm. He sits in front of her and apologizes for everything that happened to Ben Solo. Leia smiles and just says, “I know.” He then warns her that he’s come to face Kylo Ren, and the two conclude that, although no one’s ever really gone, Kylo Ren must be defeated.
Luke Skywalker then walks outside to face the entirety of the First Order alone. Enraged and slightly fearful, Ren orders every gun they have to fire on the Jedi Master. He knows his power and ultimately becomes distracted by his fixation on killing him.
When the bombardment fails, Kylo takes Luke on face to face in a lightsaber duel. Luke tells him he’s not here to redeem him or to forgive him – he’s here to fight. Skywalker dances around Ren’s swings and slashes, toying with the boy without ever launching an attack of his own.
Poe, hidden in the mine leading from the Rebel base, suddenly realizes what Luke’s doing: buying time for them to escape. Leia gives him permission to guide.
They follow the “crystal critters” through an unmapped area of the mine until they finally come to a rockfall blocking their exit. It seems they’re stuck but Rey, having landed with Chewie just outside, uses the Force to remove the obstacle, rescuing the pitiful remnants of the Resistance.
Sensing this, Luke stands up straight, lowering his saber. He tells Kylo that striking him down in anger means he’ll always be with him. Ren refuses to listen and charges at him, cutting at the Jedi. His red lightsaber passes harmlessly through Luke’s body.
As he slides to a halt, he turns and purposefully walks back to Skywalker with his outstretched lightsaber. The blade harmlessly disappears through his old Master’s body. Kylo’s face falls as he discovers that the person he’s seeing is merely a projection.
Luke is so powerful that he can create an image of himself – even realistic enough for Leia to feel his touch – from halfway across the galaxy. His last words to Kylo are, “See you around, kid,” before he bows his head and ends the illusion. His distraction allows Leia, Poe, Finn, Rose, and the remaining Resistance fighters to escape through Rey and Chewbacca.
The intense strain Luke puts himself through on Ahch-To ultimately exhausts him. His reconnection to the Force shows him to still be one of the most powerful Force users ever. In this last moment of his life, he sacrifices himself to save the Resistance remnants.
As he slips into the Force, Rey and Leia feel his passing with great sadness. However, they know that he’s become even more powerful now and therefore don’t mourn his death like others.
Just before takeoff, Rey and Ren are linked one final time. They stare at each other before Rey closes the door on him for the last time.
As they speed through the galaxy in hyperspace, Rey – holding the destroyed Skywalker saber – asks Leia,
“How do we build a rebellion from this?
We have everything we need. “
Meanwhile, the broomstick boy – the child Rose gave her Resistance ring to – watches the stars, and Force pulls the cleaning instrument to him.
The Jedi are far from extinct.
What Did I Think of The Last Jedi?
Okay, so I’ll be honest here. My initial opinion of The Last Jedi was much the same as everyone else’s. I watched the film twice in cinemas when it first came out. To say I was frustrated and virtually boiling at the time would be an understatement.
I actually loved most of the film. All three of the Sequels are beautifully filmed and edited. Rey turns from a random wannabe Jedi into a really deep character.
Kylo Ren, as her antithesis, grows from an angry child to a calm, almost entirely evil leader of the First Order. Poe learns the meaning of leadership. The connection between the characters is fantastic. The throne room scene. The planet Crait. The “crystal critters.” Even the porgs.
Next to the other two Sequel films, The Last Jedi doesn’t quite fit in. They’re clearly written, produced, and directed in very different ways.
But that’s okay! I’ve come to like it. Just make sure to watch all three films simultaneously – otherwise, nothing in this episode really makes sense.
These things aside, I genuinely quite like Episode 8 now. Sure, it’s produced for critics, not fans, but the overall messages and themes make perfect sense.
It’s a film for people who see themselves as nobodies, showing that to move forward, you have to forget and erase the past – “Kill it if you have to.” Seeing the potential in these individuals – within ourselves, if that’s us – gives hope and a framework to move forward. And hope, eventually, will prevail.
Yeah. I like that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: In The Last Jedi, why Didn’t Vice Admiral Holdo tell Poe About Her Plan?
Answer: Holdo doesn’t tell Poe about her plan to send the smaller transports to Crait because he’s reckless. As she and Leia both express, he’s unable to get his head out of the cockpit. He’s more interested in destroying the threat (at all costs) than necessarily doing what’s best. Therefore, Holdo knows he’ll disagree with her plan.
She can carry it out only by forcibly knocking him unconscious (through Leia). Holdo is supposed to be a mirror of Leia, so Poe should’ve given her his total allegiance.
The lesson for him to understand is one of meaningful sacrifice for worthwhile gains. It’s something he eventually learns as he leads the Resistance to Rey while Luke Skywalker confronts Ren.
Question: Why Did the Force Projection kill Luke in The Last Jedi?
Answer: Force projection is one of the most difficult Force powers to master. To then send it across the galaxy is nigh on impossible. This is alluded to by Kylo Ren when the Force connection between him and Rey first opens. He says,
You’re not doing this. The effort would kill you.
He’s curious about how their connection is possible. We later learn that Snoke (Palpatine) “bridged their minds” – the only other Force user in the galaxy for whom this feat was possible. Although Rey and Ren are powerful, they aren’t ever at the level of Luke or Sidious.
Ultimately, the effort of projecting himself across the galaxy ends Luke’s mortal life, but he passes into the Force and becomes even more mighty.
Question: Why does Luke Skywalker cut Himself off From the Force in The Last Jedi?
Answer: After Ben Solo falls to the Dark Side, Luke Skywalker blames himself. He feels that his training let the boy down, so he searches for answers at the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To.
However, here he learns that his training was just fine – there is no stopping the Dark Side in some people. Jedi have always fallen away from the path. Luke concludes that the only way to maintain the balance his father had brought about was to stop training new Jedi, thereby preventing all future wars.
To do this, he cuts himself off from the Force and hides in isolation, waiting to die.
Question: Why does Rey See her Own Reflection in the Mirror Cave?
Answer: Rey expects to see who her parents are. However, instead, she simply sees a reflection of herself. As Rian Johnson explains, the Cave is a twist on Luke’s experience on Dagobah. Luke’s most significant challenge was accepting his heritage and how he was associated with – and could even become – Darth Vader.
For Rey, her biggest obstacle is not knowing who her parents were. The Cave shows her the problem she needs to overcome – not overcoming it for her.