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The Last Jedi Director Says Ending The Jedi Isn't A 'Valid Choice'

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The galaxy far, far away needs the Jedi to survive.

A major focal point of writer-director Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi was Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) insistence on bringing the Jedi Order to an end. This theme of severing one's past from their present is mirrored in Kylo Ren's (Adam Driver) belief that the only way to become who one is meant to be is by destroying who they once were. And heck, all anyone could talk about before The Last Jedi soared into theaters was what exactly Luke meant when he said it's "time for the Jedi to end." 

According to Johnson himself, he doesn't think that ending the Jedi was ever a reasonable choice for Luke or the galaxy as a whole. In the Phil Szostak-written film companion book The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (via ScreenRant), Johnson spoke at length about Luke's choice to die alone on Ahch-To and refuse to train anyone new, ultimately insisting that this initial desire turns out to be an invalid one, largely due to his mentor-mentee relationship with Rey (Daisy Ridley).

"When Rey shows up, the first and foremost thing is she needs a mentor. In looking at this grand plan from ten miles up in the air, Luke is missing the thing right in front of his nose. Here's somebody who needs you, who needs your help. If you think you are throwing away the past, you are fooling yourself. The only way to go forward is to embrace the past, figure out what is good and what is not good about it," Johnson explained. "But it's never going to not be a part of who we all are. And that includes Rey, who grew up hearing the legends about the Jedi. So the notion of, 'Nope, toss this all away and find something new,' is not really a valid choice, I think."  

Johnson's words here definitely overthrows what some Star Wars fans were expecting to hear from him, given that the ways in which The Last Jedi handled Luke's characterization has resulted in a ton of backlash–including some doubts and uncertainties from Hamill, who said that he's "not my Luke Skywalker" in the movie. Many have voiced that Johnson misrepresented Luke, and that Luke would never actually want the Jedi to end for good. But based on the filmmaker's comments, it seems that Luke wasn't genuinely in favor of the Jedi Order dying out with him. Instead, he was hoping that the old generation of Jedi would "end" and fizzle away to give way to a new, reinvented one. With any luck, we'll get to see just that in Episode IX