It’s been a while since The Last Jedi hit cinema screens and, while most critics loved the film, the Star Wars fanbase is pretty divided on what to think of the film. Some say it’s the best film to come out of the franchise since The Empire Strikes Back. Others feel it’s much worse than any of the Prequels George Lucas cooked up in the early 2000s. I honestly feel it’s a really good movie but not as good as any of the films set during the Original Trilogy but parsecs better than the Episodes I, II and III. It’s much better than a lot of movies that came out during 2017 at the very least. This is how I’ll probably remember The Last Jedi. It’s a really good movie but not the best Star Wars film put out.
But even though this is how I think I’ll remember it, there no real way for me to say how I’ll feel about The Last Jedi 10 or even 20 years from now. This is definitely true for everyone. You may firmly believe it’s the best or worst Star Wars movie now but these very same people may “forget” how they feel about the movie now and just go with the flow of what the “current” popular consensus is at the present. Their opinion may change and choose to remember that they loved/hated The Last Jedi when it came out depending on the film’s lasting legacy or may just say that they initially loved/hated it when it came out but they were swayed after watching it a second time. And they’ll believe this “new” truth with the all the conviction in the world.
Don’t believe me? Well, let’s take a trip back to 1999 when Episode I: The Phantom Menace was released. This was a huge event and I can even remember watching it in the movie theater for the first time and I was amazed by the movie. Then again, I was only 4-years old at that time so anything bright and flashy like a Star Wars film was going to be good in my idiotic baby-like brain. But I definitely wasn’t alone. When The Phantom Menace came out, moviegoers overwhelmingly loved it! There hardly was a complaint about it. No issues about the boring setup about trade blockades. No one yelling that Jar Jar Binks (which I loved as a kid) was annoying. No one saying that young Anakin Skywalker was a bad actor. Not many people said anything bad about The Phantom Menace came out.
But, oh, how times have changed! Instead of all the high praise The Phantom Menace received then, most Star Wars fans agree that the film is terrible. Some fans even recommend totally cutting it out of rotation when watching the Star Wars films! So, what happened to all of the accolades and acclaim the film got way back then? Do these very same people who had grins from ear to ear still think it’s fantastic? I honestly doubt it and I’m betting a small portion of those people are wondering what they were thinking then.
This leads me back to The Last Jedi. I think it’s very interesting that people are incredibly divided by it right from the start. It’s also a very different era than when George Lucas formulated the Prequels for two huge reasons. The first is the proliferation of the Internet. When the Original Trilogy or the Prequels were released, there was no real way for the common folk to voice their opinion to the vast majority as the Internet was still in its infancy. So, it’s totally possible that there were some haters for the Prequels or even the Original Trilogy but they just didn’t have the platform to shout it out to the world unlike today.
The second is the general way fandom behaves today. I generally like fandom as they give people a single topic or object to bond over. Star Wars is one of those things and people do have generally positive experiences over bonding over it. However, like all fandoms out there, there is going to be this contingent of hardcore fanboys (or fangirls… Let’s not get sexist here) that will go overboard and just hate on the very thing that they love when it doesn’t meet their very high standards. This may even be a very small portion of the fandom but it can certainly snowball and just dominate the conversation. And it may even take over the vast majority if it becomes popular enough, which actually may be happening with The Last Jedi right this very moment.
But everyone is missing one important component regarding how people will remember The Last Jedi. That component is that it’s part of its very own trilogy of films. The Last Jedi is the middle film of this new trilogy. It’s supposed to be the bridge between the film that was released before it and the one that’s going to be released in the future. This is actually something important to remember because The Last Jedi may have answered some questions but not every one of them. It ends in a cliffhanger with the Rebels/Resistance is in tatters and on the run from The First Order. Kylo Ren is now the big bad guy with seemingly very little hope for redemption. Rey may seem like the last person who can use the Force but there are others out there that may have that very same ability.
Why is this important? Well, I believe that The Last Jedi’s ultimate legacy and how it will be remembered will hinge greatly on how people react to Episode IX as this will be the official ending of this new Star Wars trilogy. Right now, we are only looking at an incomplete story. Once Episode IX, we will get the full picture of Rey and Kylo Ren’s story. Will what happened in The Last Jedi factor in to how the entire trilogy will close out? Will we get a satisfying conclusion to everything we experienced? If those things are met, maybe some fans who hated The Last Jedi originally will look back and then change their mind. If not, maybe some fans who loved The Last Jedi would question the entire point of The Last Jedi and start detesting it.
In my opinion, I do believe that 10 or 20 years from now, fans will say that The Last Jedi was a great film because that’s how I think of it right now. Then again, I may be facepalming myself in the future for ever thinking The Last Jedi was any good because Episode IX sucked so hard!
How do you think people will remember The Last Jedi? Let me know in the comments section below!