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Friday, August 11, 2017

Entertainment Weekly Covers 'The Last Jedi'

Entertainment Weekly is covering Star Wars: The Last Jedi this week. As with The Force Awakens and Rogue One, they're providing new details and images on multiple elements of the plot, including never-before-seen creatures and the relationships between characters old and new.
Rey and Luke's relationship is at the center of The Last Jedi, but EW reveals that – as expected – he won't be greeting her warmly. He's on Ahch-To for a reason, even though he's undoubtedly aware of the galactic conflict that his old friends are involved in, and the sudden appearance of this girl with his old lightsaber – who he may or may not recognize from his past – won't be changing his mind immediately.
Exactly why Luke's on this island won't be fully revealed until December 15 (with the help of flashback scenes), but Mark Hamill revealed to EW that Kylo Ren wasn't just Luke's best student and his nephew; Luke thought Kylo was the Chosen One, and that trust led to deadly consequences. "Luke feels responsible for that. That’s the primary obstacle he has to rejoining the world and his place in the Jedi hierarchy, you know? It’s that guilt, that feeling that it’s his fault, that he didn’t detect the darkness in him until it was too late," Hamill says.

Rey has an obstacle of her own: the identity of her parents, and the reason why they left her on Jakku many years ago. EW confirms once and for all that this long-speculated secret will finally be put to rest in The Last Jedi—but it may not be as important to her as we think. "Yes, it would potentially change her mind, or at least give her a little bit more peace in moving forward," Daisy Ridley says. "But ultimately what’s coming is coming, and whatever abilities she has are there."
It calls to mind Maz Kanata's words to Rey in The Force Awakens: "The belonging you seek is not behind you, it is ahead." If Rey discovers that she's a Skywalker, that may give her more confidence, but even the most promising Skywalkers have fallen in the past.

Maz herself has been confirmed to appear in The Last Jedi for a while now, but there's been no sign of her in any marketing materials or plot details (leaked or otherwise). Unfortunately, director Rian Johnson tells EW that her role will be smaller than in The Force Awakens, though he assures that it's still "a really fun part." It wouldn't be a stretch to predict that Maz will only pop up in Rey's Force visions on Ahch-To, given her own Force sensitivity and apparent familiarity with Rey's past.
But just because Rey's parentage will be revealed doesn't mean that The Last Jedi is spilling all of the Sequel Trilogy's greatest secrets. While Snoke will get a larger role (in the flesh, this time), Johnson says that his past will still remain a mystery, pointing out that we never learned about the Emperor's rise to power until the Prequels.

Like the Emperor, Snoke's got his own crimson-hued protectors: the Praetorian Guard. But unlike the robed Imperial guards, the Praetorians are designed to look more threatening, as if they could spring into action at a moment's notice. EW's new image shows the Praetorians preparing for battle in what looks to be Snoke's throne room:
On the polar opposite side of the Force, Luke doesn't have any bodyguards, but he's hardly been alone on his island. EW unveils the Caretakers, a nun-like species of amphibious-looking land dwellers with bird-like feet. Johnson says that they're all female and they communicate with Luke through "a blubbery sort of Scottish fish talk." As their name suggests, their primary function is to take care of the structures on Ahch-To (including the first Jedi temple). They "tolerate" Luke's presence, but they'll probably be happy to see him go.
And, of course, there's the porgs: the adorable, puffin-like creatures who have quickly become fan favorites since their debut at D23 last month. They're most likely less intelligent than the Caretakers and serve more to sell toys and make the audience go "awww" than actually contribute to the plot, but the below image indicates that Chewbacca will be letting one hitch a ride on the Falcon.
Chewie's still recovering from Han Solo's death, and though the Wookiee's mission with Rey and Luke is helping to distract him from the loss, Han's ghost (figuratively, as Johnson makes sure to clarify) will still loom over the film. Kylo's been "knocked off base" by his patricide, Johnson says, and his emotional turmoil will undoubtedly translate to even more violent anger.
Leia's also dealing with the same incredible loss, but after suffering the deaths of her parents (both adopted and biological), the destruction of her homeworld, and the disappearance of her twin brother, she knows how to move on and focus on leading the Resistance. Like Luke, she'll be guiding someone who might one day take her place: Poe Dameron.

We knew that Leia and Poe were close colleagues within the Resistance, but according to Oscar Isaac, their relationship goes much deeper. Poe has the reputation of just a confident, hotshot pilot, but Leia sees in him "the potential for a truly great leader of the Resistance and beyond," Isaac says. "I think Leia knows she won’t be around forever and she, with tough love, wants to push Poe to be more than the badass pilot, to temper his heroic impulses with wisdom and clarity."
Under pressure from the First Order, the Resistance will also be facing some conflict from within. For Leia and Poe, that will most likely take the form of Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo, Laura Dern's new character. EW has no explicit details on her, but Johnson tells them that "part of the fun with Laura’s character, with Admiral Holdo, is figuring out what her relationship is to everybody as you go along through the movie." 
If Holdo is interested in taking Leia's position herself, she might end up exploiting her secret political weakness. In the Bloodline novel, the Princess came under fire when it was publicly revealed that she was Darth Vader's daughter; if Holdo spilled the beans on Leia's relationship to Kylo Ren, the First Order's most fearsome enforcer, it could convince the other Resistance higher-ups to vote in Holdo's favor. Having an evil father and evil son doesn't exactly reflect well on oneself.

Holdo may be something of an antagonist, but at least we know that she's aligned with the Resistance. Benicio Del Toro's "DJ" has much murkier allegiances. He's described as "an enigmatic figure whose tattered, threadbare clothes and lackadaisical attitude conceal a sharp mind and expert skills." John Boyega reveals that DJ is the best "slicer" (hacker) in the galaxy, taking advantage of the conflict between the Resistance and the First Order. "It’s an ongoing war that will never end. For him, he’s trying to benefit off of that — which doesn’t make him the person you want to trust."
Finn will be meeting DJ on the casino metropolis of Canto Bight as part of a mission for the Resistance. At the beginning of the film (after he wakes up from his coma), Finn will want to continue with his plans of leaving the war behind, but Resistance mechanic Rose Tico will inspire a change of heart. She's heard about the ex-stormtrooper who helped save the galaxy, and like Rey, she'll be meeting her hero and convincing him to rejoin the fight.
The most fascinating thing about Rose is her anonymity in comparison with superstars like Rey, Finn, and Poe. "She’s this nobody, this background player, which is what makes her interesting," Kelly Marie Tran tells EW. "She’s not the best. She’s not royalty. She’s someone who is just like everyone else." Even if Rose is initially disappointed with Finn's reluctance to join their cause, it's safe to say that they'll grow close while navigating the dangers of Canto Bight—and perhaps even develop a romance.
What do you think of these new images and reveals? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

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