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Star Wars: Episode VIII will be called The Last Jedi

What does this enigmatic title mean? How will the story of Luke Skywalker unfold?

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The official Star Wars Twitter account announced this morning that the eighth episode of the series, sequel to the 2014 smash hit The Force Awakens will be called The Last Jedi and confirmed its long-speculated December 2017 release date.

Since the announcement, speculation all over the web has been running wild. Let's break into this and figure it out.

For most of us, the Star Wars universe is centered on Coruscant. It's not hard to picture the vast hall of the galactic senate or the monastic silence of the Jedi Temple. For gen-z fans of Star Wars, the galaxy is teeming with Jedi. Whether you're picturing the Ewan McGregor-inhabited world of Episodes I, II, and III or the chunky CGI universe of Clone Wars, we're used to the Jedi being this massive, somewhat militarized group.

But for older fans, a Jedi is a space cowboy, a lone ranger, not by choice but by simple fact. And that's the world that we're about to enter with "The Last Jedi." Despite forming some sort of Jedi academy in the meantime between Episode VI and The Force Awakens, Luke has spent most of his Jedi-life in solitude with the Force. When Rey finds him at the end of Episode VII, he's meditating alone on a Shangri-La-esque grassy hill in the midst of an ocean. What effect has this had on him? Is he stronger than ever or will we find him weak and on the brink of (physical) death like we did Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back?

There's also the possibility that Jedi in question is not Luke at all, but Rey. Perhaps, like in every good anime training sequence, the master has sworn off the art of the Force. After all, Rey did find Luke's lightsaber abandoned with Maz Kanata. Why would he ditch his lightsaber? Was he simply rushed and running from enemy forces or did he abandon the Jedi arts after they failed him again with the rise of his nephew and the rise of Kylo Ren, who undoubtedly went full Anakin on his students.

Whether he's a reluctant Philoctetes or a willing Master of the Force for Rey, whom many believe to be his daughter, Luke will play a pivotal role in The Last Jedi. Let's just hope he doesn't die at the end, although the parallel structures of Star Wars stories don't exactly play nice with his character's suspected archetype. Good luck, Skywalker, you're gonna need it.

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