The Star Wars universe is huge, so here are some things you should remember before watching the new film.
I'm sure some people will say this is just me being a fangirl, but I really believe that watching a Star Wars film at the movie theater is an immersive experience that everyone should do at least once in their life. There’s nothing like that moment when they turn off the lights, and in that darkness two blue lines appear in the center of the black screen: “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.” Then, you’re surrounded by John Williams's powerful and epic theme as the Star Wars logo appears. The music guides you as you read the famous yellow lines of the prologue, narrating the context of the film you’re about to watch. Before you know it, you’re being taken from your world to this fantastic universe of lightsabers, spaceships, and warriors of light and darkness. It’s no wonder why this universe lives on, no matter the passing of time and generations. At least that’s what my personal experience has been like.
In my family, Star Wars is our thing. One of my uncles, in particular, has been a die-hard fan since the release of the first movie, A New Hope. The day I realized the impact this series has had on different generations was when all three generations of my family went to watch Rogue One together. It was a funny scene to watch. We looked like a fanclub of twenty-something people going to the movies rather than a family. First, there was the generation who watched the original trilogy: my uncle and his wife, my mom’s siblings, my parents, and even my grandma. Then, there was the next generation, my cousins and I, who grew up with the following trilogy, the one exploring Darth Vader's past, the demise of the Jedi, and the rise of the Empire. And finally, the new generation, my nephews, who are now embracing the new trilogy, including the movie that’s about to be released, The Last Jedi.
A particular feature in this new saga is that, despite featuring new characters and storylines, it has become both a tribute to previous generations as well as a way to welcome new ones. With this in mind, I did a little research and asked other Star Wars fans, from all three generations, what they thought was important for everyone to know about the universe before the movie is released. These 6 points were the main answers I got from them.
Who are the Jedi?
First things first: if this film has the word Jedi in the title, it’s a concept you must be well-acquainted with. Basically, the Jedi are a monastic order that uses the Force to help others in need. That’s why they often take on the role of teachers, philosophers, warriors, and ambassadors, among others, as long as they mean keeping the peace and balance of the universe. Their counterparts, the Sith, incite chaos and use the Force for their own personal interests. However, you don’t have to be a Jedi or a Sith to use the Force. That’s very important to remember because the Order of the Jedi might be about to disappear, with Luke Skywalker being its last master. But there’s still the possibility for a new order to be born, right?
What is the Force?
The Force is one of the main concepts of the Star Wars universe, and yet it's still a mystery for many people. To put it simply, it's the energy that's in all the things of the universe, and it's the source of power of the Jedi and Sith. Nonetheless, as I said before, you don’t have to be a Jedi or a Sith to wield the power. For instance, Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker's twin sister, can use the Force. That’s how she links with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, and that’s why her children, both in the expanded universe (which I’ll talk about later) and in the movies, have the potential to use it. This potential is measured through midi-chlorians, microorganisms that are found in the blood of people who are sensitive to the Force. So, the more midi-chlorians you have, the more likely you are to be able to use both the Light and the Dark side of the Force.
Luke Skywalker has been tempted by the Dark Side
Something many fans have noticed in the posters of The Last Jedi is that Luke is standing with the heroes and also in the background with the villains, where Darth Vader often stood in other Star Wars posters. This fact has made many people wonder whether Luke will actually be the villain or if it has something to do with Kylo Ren’s surrender to the Dark Side. By the end of The Force Awakens, we don’t know a lot about Luke’s decision to withdraw from society and become a hermit. We can only speculate about his intentions through what we’ve seen in the trailers. However, this theory of Luke being a villain isn’t as far-fetched as it might seem. Throughout The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, there are subtle yet very important moments where we see Luke about to surrender to fear and anger, which according to Master Yoda, is one of the steps before going to the Dark Side. Although it’s not been confirmed yet, maybe finding himself as the last Jedi despite all his efforts might trigger Luke’s dark side. Or, as he has done before, he’ll know how to find the way out of it after meeting it face to face.
Don't forget the Star Wars expanded universe
When The Force Awakens was announced, some fans weren’t so happy when they heard the studio didn’t take into the already canon Star Wars expanded universe comics and books, especially since some of them focus on the aftermath of Return of the Jedi and tell what happens with Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and the rest of the rebel crew. In this universe, for instance, Leia and Han have three children: the twins Jana and Jacen, and Anakin, all of whom can wield the Force. So, yeah, Ben Solo, a.k.a. Kylo Ren was a new creation of the franchise, as well as Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn. I would’ve loved to see the new generation of Solos that was depicted in comics, but at least the characters of the new trilogy are cool. Also, the universe keeps expanding through other releases such as Rogue One, the Battlefront stories, as well as the upcoming movie focused on Han Solo. So, we still have a lot of Star Wars for years to come. In the end, anyone can choose whether to stick with the plot of the comics or that of the movies, or even both.
The chopped off arm of the second films
Now, in a darker tone, and a slight spoiler in case you haven’t watched the previous trilogies, Star Wars is quite famous for its, let’s say, memorable dismemberments. Yes, except for The Force Awakens (Disney’s move, maybe?), every Star Wars film has a character that loses an arm, a leg, is cut in half, or has something chopped off. However, the most iconic dismemberments are Luke Skywalker's in The Empire Strikes Back and Anakin's (his papa) in The Attack of the Clones. As you may have noticed, these moments happened in the second film of their respective trilogies. So, it’s safe to assume that Rey, the protagonist of this trilogy, should take good care of her arm…
Why is Chewbacca in the three generations?
This was one of the things that intrigued me the most when I saw Chewbacca appearing in Revenge of the Sith and now in The Force Awakens. We see characters grow old, the whole Star Wars universe evolve, and yet, in all three of the trilogies Chewie remains his wookie cool self without any trace of aging at all. Since Star Wars has given other outcomes and stories in books and comics, we’ll keep it simple and stick to the Chewbacca of the movies. In terms of this universe’s events, the famous wookie is about 200 years old. When we're talking about Star Wars generations, Chewie has known them all and more!
Maybe at first sight these facts aren’t directly related to The Last Jedi. Nevertheless, they are essential parts of both the cinematic and the expanded universe of Star Wars, so keeping them in the back of your mind can help when you go watch the new films. And more importantly, it helps understand why this universe keeps getting new fans decade after decade.
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