Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Reunions of 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi'

The Last Jedi, like The Empire Strikes Back, will be splitting our heroes up as the young, Force-sensitive protagonist trains with a retired Jedi master while their rebellious friends attempt to escape an evil, fascist regime. However, the developments of The Force Awakens have set up the opportunity for friends, enemies, and family to meet again on an unprecedented scale. We're taking a look at seven reunions that we can expect in The Last Jedi, ranked based on their significance and emotional impact.

7. Captain Phasma and Finn

It's safe to say that Phasma is pissed after her former subordinate betrayed and humiliated her, sending her into Starkiller Base's trash compactor and leaving her for dead. She'll be coming for Finn, and as the commander of the First Order's ground troops, you can bet she won't be coming alone. 
This reunion is unlikely to inspire any tears from the audience, but it'll at least give Phasma a clear purpose in The Last Jedi (something she was sorely lacking in The Force Awakens) and the opportunity to prove herself to both Snoke and the audience. Who wouldn't want to see her pull a total TR-8R and attack Finn with her new spear like the traitor he is?

6. Luke and Chewbacca

The marketing for The Last Jedi will undoubtedly hype up Rey and Luke's meeting and interactions on Ahch-To, but let's not forget that she left Chewie and R2-D2 with the Millennium Falcon at the base of the island. No matter how reluctant he is to train Rey, Luke will definitely make a point of saying hi to his old friends.
Luke doesn't have an especially well-developed relationship with Chewie, and we don't know if he ever got around to learning the Wookiee language, but they share a special grief over Han Solo's death. Luke was one of Han's best friends so Chewie can find someone to properly mourn with, since he and Leia had zero interactions after his return from Starkiller Base. (JJ Abrams admits that Leia should have hugged Chewie, not Rey, when they got off the Falcon.)

5. Luke and R2-D2

This is probably the more tearjerking Ahch-To reunion. Artoo has been in a deep sleep since Luke's departure many years ago, and the only reason that he awoke was so that he could find his master again. Last time we saw him, he was rocking back and forth with excitement while Rey began to ascend the stone steps to find Luke. 
Artoo is simply Luke's most loyal friend and a longtime ally of the Skywalker family. His extremely limited role in The Force Awakens was a disappointment, so it would be great to see him become an active member of the plot again as his master does the same. 

4. Rey and Finn

"We'll see each other again. I believe that." Rey's last words to her comatose friend, before she left to fulfill her destiny with Luke, promised us that The Force Awakens' breakout pair would meet again. They care deeply about each other, and a reunion in The Last Jedi would be emotional for everyone.
Remember that Finn wasn't awake to see Rey use the Force to defeat Kylo Ren, so he would be shocked to see her burst in with a lightsaber to save his life once again. Meanwhile, Finn will similarly have found his place in the galaxy after (eventually) choosing to stand up to the First Order and dedicate all of his battle training to the Resistance. 

3. Rey and Kylo Ren

There's no denying that Rey and Kylo share a very special connection. They've both been estranged from their families. They're both attracted to Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. Kylo is tempted by the Light Side, while Rey's fury towards him brings her dangerously close to the Dark. They're going to meet again at some point, and the teaser already hinted at a rematch, with shots of Rey charging with her lightsaber and Kylo facing her with his own crossguard blade.
In the film, these shots are most likely 100% unrelated, but the marketing is clearly trying to hype up another lightsaber duel between the two. Rey will have honed her already-potent abilities while Kylo will have finished his training with Snoke (and probably won't be suffering from a Chewbacca-induced wound this time), so we can expect a duel on an even greater scale. 
If this were to occur near Darth Vader's old castle on Mustafar (which is likely to be a major location in the film), it would mirror Anakin and Obi-Wan's spectacular duel and finally silence the many fans who have criticized Disney of largely ignoring the events of the Prequel Trilogy.

2. Leia and Kylo Ren

Ben Solo's reunion with his father was one of The Force Awakens' most emotional – and saddest – scenes. We can assume that any scene with him and his mother would be just as impactful, especially considering the huge conflict of emotion that stems from Han's murder. Leia will always love her son and hold at least a sliver of hope for his redemption, but she knows what he's done and what she might have to do to stop him.
Leia is also no fool, so her reunion with Kylo would certainly be a far cry from Han's. She'll have all kinds of harsh words for her son (we know she's no stranger to space profanity), and she won't let him get within stabbing distance if she can help it. Nerdist also reported that we might see Leia (verbally) face off with Snoke after getting captured; a scene with Leia utterly roasting the First Order's leadership (including Snoke, Kylo, and even General Hux and Phasma) would certainly make Carrie Fisher's last performance a memorable one.
Unfortunately, there's only so many emotional reunions to fit into one movie, and it's possible that Lucasfilm elected to save this moment for Episode IX. In that case, we'd most likely never see it on-screen, since president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that neither existing footage nor a CGI recreation of Fisher will be used in Episode IX.

1. Luke and Leia

The reunion of the Skywalker twins is definitely meant to be a high point of the Sequel Trilogy. Once again, we can't be sure if this was filmed for The Last Jedi or saved for later and then scrapped after Fisher's death. However, if Rey is returning to help her friends in the final act of the film, then Luke is likely to join her to satisfy the audience (who is dying to see him leave Ahch-To and kick ass once again), take down Snoke, and yes, see his estranged sister again.
Luke and Leia are bound by blood and the Force itself. Like Han and Leia's reunion, theirs has the opportunity to be a real tearjerker; while a loving hug can be expected, Luke must feel guilty about leaving her (maybe he blames himself for Han's death?) and Leia is sure to be resentful of his disappearance when she needed him the most.

Despite some serious daddy issues and an incestuous moment that they'd both like to forget, Luke and Leia are the Rebellion's greatest remaining heroes, and their reunion would signal a new hope for the Resistance. The Sequel Trilogy may be more focused on the next generation – Rey, Finn, Kylo, Poe Dameron – but the Skywalker twins together again at the end of The Last Jedi would set up an awesome final chapter in Episode IX, even if Leia won't be around for it.
Which reunions are you most looking forward to in The Last Jedi? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

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