Rian Johnson Explains Why "Letting The Past Die" Doesn't Work in Star Wars

When it comes to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many people have a wide range of opinions, but most [...]

When it comes to Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many people have a wide range of opinions, but most people can agree that one of the film's main themes is to "let the past die."

But writer and director Rian Johnson said that's only one of the themes, arguing that people need to accept the past in order to move forward.

"From the very start, there is kind of the theme of 'let the past die' but that's expressed by Kylo [Ren] very strongly and, to some extent, for much of the movie by Luke [Skywalker]," Johnson said on the Empire Film Podcast. "That's one of the interesting things, I thought… was that these two opposite poles have come to kind of the same conclusion.

"Kylo's feeling about the way to move forward is to cut yourself off from the past which is something which is sort of a rebellious [feeling], running away from your parents home… cutting it off and saying 'I can be who I want to be in life.' I think a lot of us have done some version of that in their life at some point."

And while Kylo Ren represents this ideal, Johnson doesn't agree with it, which comes through in how Rey ultimately moves forward by the end of The Last Jedi.

"It's not ultimately where I come down in terms of the idealogical argument that I believe in," Johnson said. "For me, I always think that if you're cutting off the past, you're fooling yourself and you're just burying it somewhere where it's always going to come back. And the only way forward is where Rey actually lands, which is to build on the past."

This also is in stark contrast to where Luke Skywalker is at in the beginning of the film, though he ultimately sees another way after getting yet another lesson from his old Jedi Master.

"Not necessarily to wallow in it, the way that Luke is doing… with Yoda's lesson to him, with the Jedi books. Not to just wallow in its destruction… But to take what's best from in it and build on it, and appreciate it, and move forward, which is what Rey's path in the movie to some extent."

Johnson left the story in a precarious position, with both the First Order and the Resistance in tatters, though Rey has all of the pieces to help restore hope in the galaxy. It will be interesting to see how J.J. Abrams takes back the baton to end the trilogy with Star Wars: Episode IX.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now playing in theaters.