“The Last Jedi” Builds on the Nostalgic Legacy of Star Wars


Emily Smith

The newest of the Star War films, now produced by Disney, has honored and often included favorite original characters like Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. “The Last Jedi” brought back just about everything fans know and love about the saga, introduced new unforgettable characters to the ongoing storyline and overall raised the bar for future films in the franchise.

“The Last Jedi” is a wonderful addition to the series, building off of the complex storyline and characters introduced to audiences in “The Force Awakens.” The eighth film picked up right where “The Force Awakens” left off, reintroducing Luke Skywalker as a much larger role in the movie than before. Mark Hamill’s character reluctantly guided Rey along her journey through the majority of the film, pleasing long-time fans who missed Luke in “The Force Awakens.” Nostalgia never faded through the entirety of the movie, with constant reminders of the past films like the familiar faces of past Jedi masters Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Along with the reappearances of old characters, audiences were introduced to Rose Tico, played by Kelly Marie Tran. Rose was initially introduced as a maintenance worker for the Resistance and was seemingly unimportant, but she quickly became one of the most noteworthy and well-loved characters. Rose also served alongside General Organa and Rey as the strong and powerful female characters that complete the film.

Despite the unexpected cameos and bounty of new, memorable characters, the beloved protagonist of “The Force Awakens,” Rey, disappointingly had much less screen time than in the previous film, and her character still remains incomplete. The highly-anticipated reveal of Rey’s origin was extremely disappointing, but it was purposeful, because it would have been redundant for the main character to yet again be the child of a past figure.

Fans of John Boyega’s supporting role as Finn were happy to learn that Boyega is a much larger part of this new picture than before in “The Force Awakens”. The evil apprentice Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver, even earned a bit of sympathy from audiences in this film which was an unexpected and exciting twist courtesy of the producers. Adam’s performance as the misguided son of Han Solo is stand-out, making Kylo Ren one of the most well-rounded and complex characters of the trilogy.

Disney has also done a fantastic job recreating the same atmosphere of the old movies in their new films of the 2010’s. The glitzy new city, Canto Bight was oddly reminiscent of the Outlander Gambling Club featured in episode II “Attack of the Clones” with its plethora of ominous and criminally rich characters.

All of the quirks of the original sagas have carried on through the years into “The Last Jedi,” but the classic humor has now gone too far. The Star Wars prequels are partially known for their ridiculous and cheesy humor, and it is funny up to a point, but “The Last Jedi” is jam-packed with it. Most times, the jokes felt forced and just too much. Even Jar Jar Binks’ annoying blabbering in the prequels is preferred over the tacky, cringe-worthy scenes that ruined the moment. When Rey tried to feel the force for the first time with the help of Luke, it should have been a pivotal moment in the film, but it was tainted with unnecessary, childish antics courtesy of Luke.

Perhaps the most emotional aspect of “The Last Jedi” was the presence of Carrie Fisher, who played the iconic role of Princess Leia or General Organa. “The Last Jedi” premiered one full year after Fisher’s passing, but it was exciting to see that she was featured in the entire movie. Rian Johnson honored Fisher adequately by dedicating the world premiere of the film to their star actress, and with the first words that audiences see after the picture: “In loving memory of our princess, Carrie Fisher.” Soon, fans can expect the ninth official addition to the series and a new standalone picture entitled “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”