The ending of The Last Jedi explained

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has come and gone. The credits have rolled, the battles have been fought, and there was more family drama than you could shake a porg at. All those Skywalkers sure do make a lot of trouble, don't they? But now that the movie's over, you've probably got more than a few thoughts about just what it all means. Well, think no more: we're about to explain the ending of The Last Jedi. But before we begin, one last word of warning: major spoilers ahead.

A Forceful conclusion

We got a glimpse at all kinds of Force-powered shenanigans this time around. From Rey and Kylo Ren staying up late to chat on the Force-phone, to Snoke waving Rey around like a rag doll, the Force has never gotten used quite like this. General Leia strapped on Force-fueled rocket boosters and flew herself through actual outer space! That beats the hell out of Qui-Gon Jinn messing around with a bunch of stupid dice. But the true expression of the Force in this movie came in the form of Luke Skywalker projecting an illusion of himself across the galaxy to fool Kylo Ren during their duel on Crait. And when the fight was over and the Resistance escaped, we saw Luke just … disappear.

If you're new to this whole Star Wars thing, you're going to want to check out a little film called A New Hope. In that movie, Darth Vader swings his lightsaber right through Luke's master, Obi-Wan Kenobi. But instead of making a Kenobi-kabob, Obi-Wan simply disappears, his robes falling to the floor. The same thing happened when Yoda passed away in Return of the Jedi. In both instances, the Jedi masters became one with the Force, ultimately helping Luke on his quest. Now that Luke has pulled the same trick, it's fair to say Rey will reap the benefits in the same way going forward. And it's a safe bet he'll show up as a Force ghost in Episode IX, just like his little green mentor did this time around.

Reading material

When ghost Yoda brought down a thunderbolt and set the old Jedi tree on fire, it sure seemed like all those old books got burned up too. Luke pretty much said as much when he started whining about Yoda's pyromaniac episode. But at the end of the movie, we got a brief glimpse of what looked like those very same books—safely tucked away on the Millennium Falcon. Now that Rey's taking the path of the Jedi herself, it seems like she'll have the chance to read them herself … and probably with the added benefit of Luke having scribbled a bunch of cartoons in the margins.

Suffering from a Phasma attack

In an interesting twist, we got the return of Captain Phasma, one of the most underutilized characters from The Force Awakens. She makes her return in The Last Jedi and gets into a pretty neat fight with Finn.

And then he hits her in the face and she falls down into a bunch of fire and disintegrates or whatever.

It's impossible to know for sure, but it's tough to imagine that Phasma will come back for a third time in Episode IX. The explosion she fell into looked pretty gnarly overall, so even though she was wearing all that fancy armor, she's probably gone off to that big moisture farm in the sky.

In fact, now we know for sure just what role Phasma plays in this new Star Wars trilogy: she's the new Boba Fett. You know, because she looks cool, seems important—and then sucks real bad right before falling into a hole and biting the big one in a lame, pathetic way. Bye, Captain Phasma. Too bad you never got to, like, do anything.

Snoke and mirrors

When he chopped up Supreme Leader Snoke, it seemed like Kylo Ren was coming around to this whole good guy thing. That is, until he heel-turned in spectacular fashion and took the throne of the First Order for himself. Now Kylo Ren is in charge … even though his subordinates saw him get totally humiliated by a fancy Force illusion down on Crait. Your reign as the new Double Supreme Leader is not off to a great start, dude.

But regardless of his rocky ascension to the top spot, it's Ren versus the Resistance now that Snoke's out of the way … or is he? Rumors about Snoke's true identity have been floating around ever since he first appeared in The Force Awakens, and we didn't get any answers to that question here. And despite getting sliced into chunks in The Last Jedi, it's still possible for him to pull things together and come back in the next movie. For starters, fans have long speculated (requiring several official denials) that Snoke is actually Darth Plagueis—the Sith Lord who supposedly found a way to cheat death itself. But even if he's not Plagueis, if you look at his face in the movie, it sure looks like he's been cut up and put back together more than a few times already. Whoever he really is, he might be only mostly dead.

Besides, there's ample evidence that being hacked up with a lightsaber isn't as debilitating as you might think. The legend of Plagueis is one example. Darth Maul was chopped in half, just like Snoke, and fell down a giant hole in The Phantom Menace…and he came back in the comics and cartoons with robo-legs. And what about Darth Vader? He was chopped into bits, and burned by a literal volcano, and he still stuck around for a bunch of movies after a quick Hot Topic makeover. This may not be the last we've seen of Snoke at all…

The next Star War

Whether it's Ren who's in charge or some glued-together Snoke, the First Order definitely has more going for it than the Resistance, which is down to its last members. But the end of the film definitely implies that the legend of Luke Skywalker is spreading to every galactic casino stable and beyond. Needless to say, the escape from Crait isn't a victory for the Resistance, but it's likely more than enough to spark some new recruits to the rebel cause. Poe's finally learned a thing or two about how to be a leader, Finn has clear ideas about when to fight and when to run, and Rey is tapping into her true power, so maybe the Resistance is actually in a better position than it may seem.

One of the main ideas behind The Last Jedi is that things are not always how they appear. Luke fooled Ren, Ren fooled Rey, and Disney fooled all of us into caring about Porgs. In the end, Rey had the right idea when she said that the galaxy needs a legend—the Battle of Crait may actually serve as a surprising rallying cry for the Resistance to beef up its ranks for the final showdown with the First Order in Episode IX. We'll just have to wait and see.

Rey's origins

Building off of that theme of deception and legends, The Last Jedi gave us a pretty anticlimactic answer to one of the most burning questions from The Force Awakens: who are Rey's parents? Why'd they leave her on Jakku? Well, if Kylo Ren is to be believed, they're nobodies who sold her for drinking money. Considering that there just have to be some important people in the Star Wars universe who aren't somehow related to Luke Skywalker, it's a satisfying enough explanation.

Only, we've learned pretty conclusively that Kylo Ren is not the most truthful guy. He tricked Rey into turning herself over to the First Order so she could turn him to the Light. Whether he truly discovered the identity of her parents or not is kind of besides the point. The important thing is that convincing Rey she's not actually important—except to him as his partner in galactic conquest—falls right in line with his overall goals and deceptive character. Just as Snoke might be able to pull himself together in time for the final chapter in this saga, it's also plausible that the subject of Rey's mysterious parentage isn't quite as closed as Kylo Ren—and writer-director Rian Johnson—might want us to believe.