The trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now out, and the response from fans has been (as expected) pretty massive. Aside from the initial delight of seeing the first footage from Episode VIII, there have been a swell of questions regarding everything from the implications of the title, to the possible fates of major franchise characters like Luke Skywalkeror Princess Leia.
Here at Comicbook.com, we've been in heavy debate about what pathThe Last Jedishould blaze for the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy; In the last week we've had a strong argument for why The Last Jedi should end the Jedi Order - vs an argument for why the Star Wars franchise should never take such drastic steps. However, the franchise may have a different idea altogether: it could be headed for a much needed balance in the Force.
On behalf of Star Wars Fans we're asking: Will Star Wars: The Last Jedi transform Rey into The Gray Jedi?
What Are Gray Jedi?
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now the "Legends" unofficial canon), "Gray Jedi" is used in two ways:
1. As a term of Force-users who found balance between the light and dark sides, without being corrupted by the darkness.
2. Jedi who operated outside the mandates of the Jedi Code, and apart from the oversight of the Jedi Council.
The truest of the Gray Jedi were those who hit points 1 and 2 above. Clearly, after the events of The Force Awakens, it's also a set of circumstances that Daisy Ridley's Rey can easily fulfill.
Will Rey Go Gray?
We still don't know much about Daisy Ridley's Rey - including where she comes from, and who her parents are. While she emerged as the primary heroine in The Force Awakens, we only know for sure that her power is considerable - and that she has emotional attachments and hang ups that have typically not been good for major Force-wielding characters to grapple with.
In The Last Jedi trailer, we see Rey's training with Luke taking some ominous dramatic turns. There's the sight of Rey in seemingly distress from the training exertion; voiceovers that drop terms like "light," "darkness," "the balance," and "it's so much bigger,"; the sight of Rey accessing some new Force abilities; and that major final line from Luke "I only know one truth... It's time for the Jedi to end." Taken altogether, it's not hard to see how Episode VIII could transform Rey into something new altogether.
Between Rey's proven ability for heroism, and her major emotional vulnerabilities (due to being abandoned on Jakku by her family), it's not hard to imagine that she will have to face major temptations of the dark side, once the deeper training with Luke begins. But instead of doing a simple "serve the light, resist the dark" storyline, this modern version of Star Wars could aim for something more complex: the notion that the Force (like people) is something more complicated than what the factions of Jedi and Sith would like to believe.
It's an idea that's being steadily introduced in the new saga, through characters like Bendu on Star Wars Rebels, and there are already visual clues that it could play a major part for Rey's storyline in The Last Jedi.
Gray Looks Good
Stars Wars fans know that visual aesthetics are a huge part of the franchise, and contribute a great deal toward its thematic arcs. Luke Skywalker started out in pure heroic white during A New Hope; he had a dirty, off-white outfit in Empire Strikes Back, but by Return of The Jedi, he was wearing a black outfit that spoke to his more complicated struggle with the dark side, and his father's legacy.
Rey conspicuously wore a darker, sandy-toned color in The Force Awakens, but by the end of the film (and where we begin in The Last Jedi), she's in a gray vest and arm sleeves outfit, which could be saying more than fans initially thought...
Then there's the official poster for The Last Jedi, which cleverly combines the blue of Rey's lightsaber with a Sith-red background, creating a new halo of light around Rey, in a new hue that could serve as visual metaphor for a new balance in the Force.
It's also interesting to note that all of this comes with a female protagonist. Every attempt to create balance in the Force during the Skywalker saga has come from an arguably male perspective (the two-sided, "either, or" view of the world) - maybe what the Force needed all along was a more feminine perspective on things. The thematic power of that would be great.
More Star Wars
Star Wars: The Last Jedi, from writer/director Rian Johnson, is in post-production now for a December 15, 2017 release. The film follows-up and continues the story of the next generation of the saga as Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo Ren find their place in the galaxy and follow the legacy of Luke Skywalker, Leia, and Han Solo. Daisy Ridley returns to star as Rey, with other returning stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Peter Mayhew, Andy Serkis, Anthony Daniels, Lupita Nyong'o Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa. Benicio Del Toro and Laura Dern join the cast in as-yet-unrevealed roles.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters December 15.
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