It was, by all accounts, a fitting conclusion to a 40-year legacy, as the franchise’s impassioned fanbase bid adieu to General Leia Organa (AKA the People’s Princess) one last time.
But if there’s one scene, in particular, that proved contentious among viewers, it’s the one in which an unconscious Leia calls upon the Force to guide her back to the Resistance fleet. In the wrong hands, this dream-like sequence would have come off as schmaltzy – even melodramatic – but there are those who take issue with Johnson’s decision to unlock Leia’s abilities. Hell, it even baffled Daisy Ridley, who said the following in a recent Q&A session with BAFTA:
Because I wasn’t so knowledgeable of the Star Wars thing, I still have questions about what it all means. Like when people talk about Jedi and stuff like that I remember having a conversation with one of our executive producers on VII, Michelle, and I said, ‘But surely Leia’s a Jedi, because she’s force sensitive and she’s challenged.’ She’s not challenged in the same ways as Luke, but like she’s doing stuff for the good and everything like that. I still don’t quite have my answer, like is she a Jedi? I dunno.
And no, Leia is not a Jedi. Perhaps wary of killing off two Star Wars titans in the same movie, Rian Johnson chose to spare her life in The Last Jedi, leaving her fate in the hands of J.J. Abrams. Word is she’ll be written out of the saga entirely, thereby completing the transition to Lucasfilm’s new generation of characters – namely Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron.
Still, we don’t envy Abrams’ position, who now faces the tricky task of delivering a sense of closure through Episode IX. One plot point that has seemingly been ditched entirely is the mystery behind Rey’s parents, after we learned that Colin Trevorrow’s initial proposal not only included a “deeply and profoundly satisfying” answer, but it also brought Daisy Ridley to tears.
Sadly, we’ll never know the full extent of Trevorrow’s reveal, as the director is no longer involved in Star Wars: Episode IX. Closer to home, The Last Jedi will purportedly be available to take home on Blu-ray this March.