With the Star Wars sequel trilogy essentially serving as a relay race, with one filmmaker handing the storyline over to another filmmaker, Lucasfilm was heavily invested in attempting to ensure narrative and tonal cohesion, sometimes leaving audiences to wonder what decisions were made by individual filmmakers and which were imposed on a film by the studio, though Star Wars: The Last Jedi writer/director Rian Johnson confirmed that the title of the film was entirely his. The filmmaker confirming this detail is a testament to the fact that, regardless of whatever involvement or encouragement the studio might have offered on the sequel, he was given a substantial amount of freedom to pursue whatever avenues he wanted.
When a fan asked Johnson on Twitter if he came up with the title, the filmmaker confirmed, "It was me, had it very early in the writing process."
It was me, had it very early in the writing process.— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) December 1, 2020
It's understandable how fans could think that Lucasfilm requested this be the film's title, especially due to Star Wars: The Force Awakens using the phrase "the last Jedi" at one point, but it would seem as though Johnson was inspired enough by this term on his own to explore how Luke Skywalker was the titular character.
The collaboration between Johnson and the studio was so strong, in fact, that Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy previously pointed out how one key moment in The Last Jedi served as a representation of the entire franchise.
"What the Force means lying ahead, I think is Star Wars," Kennedy shared with Gizmodo last year. "It certainly is a part of what Episode IX is. But the Force is a huge part of the conversation about where we're going and what is the future of Star Wars. And once we move on from Episode IX and we start telling new stories, the Force is the foundation of Star Wars."
In a more practical sense, however, the future of Star Wars on the big screen is a bit unclear.
Prior to the release of The Last Jedi, Lucasfilm announced that it had enlisted Johnson to develop his own trilogy of films set within the franchise, the first of which he was slated to direct. In the years since that announcement, no updates on those films have been made, with Johnson constantly reiterating that it's all up to Lucasfilm and when they want to move forward with those installments.
Currently, Lucasfilm has three confirmed release dates for films in 2023, 2025, and 2027, though it's unknown what projects will take those dates. Taika Waititi was announced earlier this year as directing a film for the franchise.
Stay tuned for details on the franchise's future.