Rey might be the last Jedi. Or it might be Luke Skywalker. Or it could be someone else entirely. The director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson, recently clarified that “last” means “final.” But what does that mean exactly for the film’s story?
On Monday, Rian Johnson responded to a fan on Twitter who was wondering about the meaning of the title of the next Star Wars film. It began innocently enough: “For my birthday today, all I want is for [Rian Johnson] to tell me what The Last Jedi means,” Twitter user @rdrichter tweeted. Quickly, and with a lot of warmth, Johnson responded with: “It means the final Jedi. Happy birthday!” And then, after Johnson’s reply, all hell broke loose.
Debates broke out across the internet with Star Wars forums collapsing on themselves as everyone tried to figure out just what Johnson meant by “final Jedi” as opposed to “last Jedi.”
One Twitter user noted the galactic civil war going on in various forums, and Johnson responded the next day, perhaps a bit cheekily, that “last” and “final” are synonyms.
So while “final” might seem a little, well, final — prompting visions of the end of the Star Wars universe as the world knows it — Johnson reassured fans that “final” and “last” are true synonyms.
Everyone on the same page? Everyone okay? Because between theories about the plurality of the word “Jedi” and who exactly the “last Jedi” — or, now, the “final Jedi” — is, everyone’s probably reeling a little bit. If anything, Johnson just managed to confuse everyone further by honestly trying to make it as simple as possible.
As an adjective, Merriam-Webster defines the word “last” as “following all the rest.” Meanwhile, the definition of “final” is “not to be altered or undone.” Merriam-Webster does in fact list “final” and “last” as synonymous, so Johnson is correct there. Still “following all the rest” and “not be altered or undone” seem to carry different connotations. So, with all respect to Rian Johnson, “last” and “final” don’t always imply the same thing. In the context of the next film, these differences may not end up mattering. Which seems to be what Johnson was probably trying to convey.
In any case, fans will figure out who the “last” — or “final” — Jedi is when Star Wars: The Last Jedi premieres December 15.