‘The Last Jedi’ Director Rian Johnson Explains Luke Skywalker’s Fate

It goes without saying that any discussion of Luke’s fate in The Last Jedi tips over into spoiler territory, but even some who have seen the film may be left with unanswered questions. In a recent interview with Empire, writer-director Rian Johnson opened up about the thought process behind his depiction of Skywalker. “I wanted Luke’s death to be peaceful, to be on his terms—I wanted it to be a victory,” he said. “I wanted it to be that he’s done this huge grand act that has restored the spark of hope to the galaxy. I’m hesitant to put into words what he does in the end, but it is completed.”

One of the biggest challenges the writer-director faced in The Last Jedi was coming up with an explanation for Skywalker’s isolation—that didn’t undermine the character’s heroic reputation. “I know the Luke I grew up with is not a coward, he’s not sitting out there hiding, so I had to come up with a reason he was there that was active and positive, and something I could genuinely believe I could think in his shoes. And the thing that came to me that seemed to make sense to me is this notion that he sees this hero worship of him and of the Jedi that is detrimental to the galaxy.”

That explains Luke’s isolation, but what about his unexpected return to the public stage? “The end of the movie is him embracing the part of the past that the present needs, which right now is the legend of Luke Skywalker,” Johnson explained. “They need something to believe in. They need that action figure of Luke Skywalker to grab on to, that inspiration to stare up at the stars and believe that you can be a hero.

The Last Jedi is in theatres now. Read our review here and check out the trailer below.