What 'It's time for the Jedi to end' really means

Star Wars Celebration 2017 unveiled the first trailer for The Last Jedi, and Star Wars fans everywhere simply can't contain their excitement. Like any good trailer, it provided few, if any, answers and raised a ton of new questions about Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8's next adventure. Perhaps the greatest moment of all is a voice that sounds very much like Luke Skywalker's giving a final warning: "I know only one truth. It's time for the Jedi to end."

So what could that mean?

The Force is too dangerous

Honestly, when you consider the damage the Jedi have wrought in the name of the light side, scrapping the Jedi Order might be the best option. "It's time for the Jedi to end" could be Luke's way of saying that the only real hope for peace in the galaxy is complete abstention from Force manipulation. Rid the universe of Jedi, torch the Jedi Academies, bring down the Sith copycats, and there's no one left to turn (or be turned) to the Dark Side. It's a logical conclusion for a Jedi Master in his place to draw.


Here's a guy who fought the Empire, led many Rebel soldiers to their deaths, defied his own father in the name of the light side of the Force, and for what? Thirty years later, things are worse than ever, with the First Order picking up where the Empire left off. When does it end? Why even go on teaching this stuff, when someone always turns to the dark side and starts a war? "This pupil could very well become the next threat to all life in the galaxy, but whatevs! Three cheers for kyber crystals, robes, and trusting in your feelings!" Sure, lightsabers and telekinesis are awesome, but is it really worth it the next time a Sith lord is taking over the galaxy?


Kylo Ren's turn to the dark side has taken a toll on Luke

Han and Leia's son, Ben, was Luke's padawan. Ben then betrayed Luke, turned to the dark side, and took the name Kylo Ren—just like his grandfather, Darth Vader. He even made a Vader-esque facemask—which in the opening moments of The Force Awakens, Poe Dameron calls an "apparatus" and says, mockingly, that "it's hard to understand [him.]" In the trailer for The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren's precious apparatus is seen briefly, and it looks like it was smashed and discarded.

It's unlikely that this means Ren has renounced the dark side and returned to his mother and the Resistance. So what could it mean? If he is losing what little light is still left in him to the dark side, will he become deformed like Darth Sidious?

Whatever happens to Kylo Ren, there's a good chance that Luke blames himself for losing his apprentice to the dark side, and it's possible that Ren's betrayal soured him to the whole idea of the Force. That may be why he's ready for the Jedi to end. You don't grow a beard that majestic and then run off to live in solitude if your conscience is completely clean. You stick around, so you can mind-trick people into complimenting your beard while you're hanging out between galactic crises. Every Jedi worth their midichlorian count knows that.

You can't escape the M-word. It's canon, people.

Rey is the Chosen One

A wide shot of Rey swinging a lightsaber on a cliffside with a cloaked Luke looking on appears to confirm that Luke will instruct Rey in the ways of the Force.

As Mark Hamill exclaimed in the press conference, Rey didn't even have any training, and yet in combat she was comparable to, if not stronger than, Luke. Plus, she could intuit how to Jedi mind-trick stormtroopers! What else does she have to learn? What could he possibly have to teach her? Maybe "it's time for the Jedi to end" because they've become obsolete.

Rey's strength with the Force suggests that she might be The Chosen One from the prophecy, the One who will restore balance to the Force. In a way that would be awesome because Rey is awesome, but it would also serve as an unnecessary reminder that the prequels exist in continuity. The books on the shelf, seen briefly in the trailer, may suggest a return of the prophecy idea.

The Jedi can't last forever

Many traditions in the noncanonical Star Wars Legends sought to harness the power of the Force. In the canonical Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the existence of the Guardians of the Whills–a sect that grew out of the long defunct Ancient Order of the Whills–reminds viewers that the Jedi and Sith are not the only Force-sensitive games in this canonical town. By dabbling in both sides of the Force, the Gray Jedi are rather like the Guardians of the Whills, who "[do not] differentiate between the light and dark aspects of the Force."


Ever since The Last Jedi's trailer dropped, the internet has reverbated with theories about the return of the Gray Jedi–Force-sensitive wanderers who manipulated the light and dark sides of the Force without being fully seduced by either of them. Perhaps Luke's time in seclusion has turned him into a Gray Jedi. Whatever happens, one truth persists: the Force will be around long after the Jedi have gone.


Luke is reluctant to train Rey

Another potential reason for Luke to say that it's time for the Jedi to end is that he simply doesn't want to train anyone else, Rey or otherwise. We see Luke training Rey in the trailer for The Last Jedi, sure, but maybe he needed some convincing first. There's no reason to assume that the dialogue in the trailer runs in chronological order.

Some fans have speculated that Rey and Luke are related in some way, which would be a logical reason for Luke to eschew the ways of the Force—he doesn't want a repeat of the ol' "everyone I love turns to the dark side" story line. That's possible, though it would also be yet another rehash of the old "I am your father" trope. Luke's and Rey's names already imply history repeating itself. (Luke means "light," "Rey" of light.) Either Luke is no Master Yoda and he knows it, or he is consciously choosing to emulate the hermetic lifestyle of cranky old Yoda in his retirement/seclusion on Dagobah, which might actually be worse.

On the other hand, maybe he just doesn't want to see any more ghosts. Since Luke is the only one who can see the space ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin, there's reason to be optimistic about the chance of some of these spirits showing up in The Last Jedi. Could the muttered words of Darth Vader and Obi-Wan in the trailer's opening be evidence of Jedi ghosts? Perhaps Luke would prefer that there be no more Jedi because he already has enough space ghost friends. Three's company.

Luke is saying this just to test Rey's will, Yoda-style

Yoda of The Empire Strikes Back is as wise as he is mischievous, chiding Luke for letting his mind wander and even striking him with a cane and laughing in his face. He is given to speaking in riddles and, in general, getting on Luke's nerves–more of a Laughing Buddha than the stoic sage with wicked ninja skills we see in the prequels, Clone Wars, and Rebels. It could be a ploy to challenge Rey's resolve.


"It's time for the Jedi to end. … Gotcha! Just joshin' ya, young Padawan," Luke will say. And Rey will respond: "I can't believe I traveled across the galaxy to find you." Didn't we just learn at Star Wars Celebration 2017 that you should never meet your heroes?


Has Luke been tempted once again by the dark side?

While this hopefully isn't what "it's time for the Jedi to end" means, you have to consider the worst-case scenario: the line could be an apocalyptic vision of a former hero turned villain. If you get rid of the Jedi (and First Order/Sith/Empire), there's nobody to turn to the dark side. It's his father's genocidal logic but, given the series' obsession with birthright and lineage, it would make for an interesting about-face for the Skywalker character to be tempted by, and at last give in to, the dark side. Snoke did say at the end of The Force Awakens that it's time for Kylo Ren to "complete his training." Who knows how powerful he will be once he does—powerful enough to seduce Luke to the dark side once and for all?

This line was highlighted to throw us off

The trailers for Rogue One and The Force Awakens intentionally misrepresent those movies. There's no reason to expect The Last Jedi's trailer to be any different. The internet went nuts when The Force Awakens' trailer featured Finn holding a lightsaber. Who was this new Jedi? And why was he wearing a stormtrooper's gear? It's old news now, but there was a racist backlash against a plot point that didn't even exist.


Then there was the issue of Luke's absence from The Force Awakens' poster, which led some writers to conclude that Luke had become a Sith lord. Of course, that could still be the case–but it's just as likely that the producers are deliberately steering the conversation away from the real plot points.


Never forget the lesson of Rogue One

The purpose of a trailer is explicitly not to give much away. Generate interest, stir up questions, offer one answer: go see the movie. Rogue One's trailer featured a number of scenes that seem to have been produced for the trailer. Will the line "It's time for the Jedi to end" even be in The Last Jedi? Considering Star Wars' history, even that can't be taken for granted. There's only one way to find out.