The Atlantic

How The Last Jedi Lands So Many Big Twists

Rian Johnson’s sensational Star Wars film recognizes that to keep an old franchise vital, you have to break its rules.
Source: Lucasfilm

This story contains spoilers for all of The Last Jedi.

“This is not going to go the way you think!” growls Luke Skywalker in a line that was, wisely, selected as the money quote for The Last Jedi’s trailers. Rian Johnson’s Star Wars sequel is a machine built to startle the audience again and again across two and a half hours, and he’s turned everything from lightsaber duels to celebrity cameos into not-what-you-think moments.

Surprise and suspense are at the heart of great entertainment. But when it comes to a huge franchise like Star Wars, familiarity often wins out over shock. Fans come to the Galaxy Far, Far Away not only to revisit the same locations and characters they love. They come to be told a certain kind of story, one that might squirrel newness into the specifics but still, in the end, feels like an updated version of an old model. The Last Jedi does this—but the quantity and quality of that newness is, well, new.

Disney’s films to date succeeded by refurbishing the original trilogy’s feel, from the hand-worn sets to the story arcs about disabling a giant weapon and lavishly staged a story fans had already heard, with one powerful—but perhaps inevitable—twist at the ending.

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