On the latest episode of Talk Star Wars, I decided to make a bold assertion about that line from the teaser for The Last Jedi. I know, May is an early time to start speculating with any degree of certainty for the way the movie is going to go, but I felt sufficiently emboldened in my convictions to do so.
Specifically, I was speaking to the composition of the line. The line, for those who haven’t watched the teaser as many times as others (for which there is no shame, so we’re clear - not everyone has the desire or the need to break down these things frame-by-frame like the podcasting community, and more power to you if that’s the case) is as follows:
”I only know one truth…It’s time for the Jedi to end.”
Sounds ominous, right? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that I don’t think it’s that clear-cut in the slightest. Here’s my take on it:
I think that the line we hear is the beginning and end of a much longer sentence.
There are a couple of reasons why I think this is the case. The audio is ever so slightly different between the two parts (there’s distinctly more echo on the second half, as if he’s moved from one side of the cave to the other while holding a discussion, and the tone of voice changes ever so slightly), and the only part we see with dialogue being delivered is the last part of the second half of the line in the teaser. The first part is played over other footage.
Of course, naturally, the question becomes: If it’s a composite, what’s in between? Well, we came up with a few theories. This, for reference, does *not* include Steve’s theory about characters being made to jump by funky beats. If that one comes up, I’ll eat an Ewok.
1: “I only know one truth. If you can’t learn to focus your abilities, it’s time for the Jedi to end.”
Given the nature of Rey’s trip to Ahch-To to find Luke, it’s reasonable to assume that there will be a decent amount of time with Luke training (or attempting to train) Rey. If Luke believes she is the last hope for the Jedi, and that the ball is now rolling on the next big confrontation between the Light and the Dark due to the events of The Force Awakens, Luke may not feel that there is time for her to learn at the speed with which she’s comfortable.
Daisy Ridley gave some light insight into this during an interview with Steele Saunders where she suggested that people meeting their heroes is never a good idea. Does Luke fall short of her expectations now that he is no longer a myth? Is he still cursed with impatience, like his father? Does he worry that The Knights of Ren are on their way, and is he trying to get her ready for the battle in a way that is faster than she feels ready for?
2: “I only know one truth. If the Jedi cannot deliver balance, it’s time for the Jedi to end.”
Much has been made of the Balance of the Force, particularly in light of the presence of the books inside what looks to be a Force Tree. Additionally, the novelisation of The Force Awakens opens with an excerpt from the Journal of the Whills which reads as follows:
"First comes the day, Then comes the night. After the darkness, Shines through the light. The difference, they say, Is only made right, by the resolving of gray through refined Jedi sight."
The new movies post-Lucas have made a concerted effort to include the Whills in the narrative, and there’s clearly a deliberate reason for doing so. What if the “refined Jedi sight” referenced in this excerpt is what Luke craves? If he’s decided to follow these books devoutly, then he’s presumably going to interpret it this way. If he is mid-way through a discussion with Rey about the balance of the Force, and the ability of the Jedi to provide it, this could easily be plausible.
3: “I only know one truth. If you can’t learn to let go of your attachments, it’s time for the Jedi to end.”
This one came out during the discussion. Rey’s parentage is one of the hot-button issues surrounding the new trilogy, and if she catches on that Luke has some knowledge of it, she might become insistent that he provide what he knows. Of course, we know that the Jedi did not appreciate attachments, which ultimately leads to the downfall of Anakin as he cannot reconcile this.
Luke has only ever been taught one side of the Force (certainly now that the canon has been reset, his position has apparently never wavered from the light side). If Rey is insistent that Luke is more forthcoming with his knowledge about this specific subject, Luke could deliver this line as a point of trying to establish trust from Rey and to focus her mind on the task at hand.
Of course, there is another possibility. The two halves of the line are in completely different sections of the movie, and they’ve been stitched together for the purposes of building, as Marc put it, a “big tease”.
We’ll find out in December, I guess!
Thank you for reading,