In a galaxy far far away... Cue opening credits and super-cool theme song... Cue lightsaber action and goosebumpy beat-music. Where’s my popcorn?
We arrive at last to one of the more contemporary articles in The Gamer. The fact that a movie is great means it has touched millions of people on a deep level. Hardcore fans of the originals have often silently believed that there won’t ever be a better follow-up to the Star Wars film franchise after the titles that released in 1977/80/83. Another fan-denomination must certainly have begged to differ and felt that the three other flicks following those jewels in 1999/2002/05 were just as great.
Then along came Star Wars: Clone Wars, giving us renewed hope that even animated series in this mega-franchise can instill a sense of longing, awe, memorability, and excellence. 2015 saw the release of The Force Awakens, and it really did awaken something inside all of us who went to see Star Wars’ newest blockbuster. Sandwiched between this title and the highly anticipated Star Wars Episode IX (untitled; due for a 2019 release), we have The Last Jedi which hit theatres this month (December 2017) after weeks of intense anticipation.
In our top-25 list, we hope to cover all those facts your geeky fan-crazed eyes might have missed as you soaked up the magnificence of yet another Lucasfilm masterpiece. Hate us, you shall not. Spoilers, there are. We’ve also tapped into lore as recorded in the Visual Dictionary, so when you come across those in the points below, it’s TheGamer catering to the geek inside of you. And when you go see the movie again for the umpteenth time, we hope you truly enjoy the experience after learning about the following ‘Easter Eggs.' These points are as valid as they are fascinating, enough to drive true fans ‘crazy’ with excitement.
26 A Rose By This Name Rebels Just As Sweet
The Last Jedi has given us some pretty amazing moments, to say nothing of the fresh new introductions made in the latest Star Wars installment. Enter, Rose Tico and her sister Paige, who have been instrumental in carrying the plot forward. Played by Kelly Marie Tran, Rose is shown wearing a rather significant ring that balances out her role in the cause, mainly because fans might have assumed that Gunner Paige is more action-oriented. Though she plays a lowly maintenance worker, Rose’s contribution to the Rebel cause has been profound and that ring is proof of it.
The ornament contains a recessed face with the Rebel Alliance insignia etched onto it. Much like an orphan heirloom, the ring has changed hands over several decades until finally alighting on Rose’s finger. The engraving on the inside is only revealed to fellow-Rebels as a sign of true loyalty to the cause.
25 ‘Uneti’ We Stand
The Uneti Tree is no stranger to the animated series or the extended comic universe of Star Wars. Fans who have been following these interests are sure to find something rather familiar in The Last Jedi where a certain colossal tree is concerned. We go now to the island of Ahch-To where the original Jedi Temple stood and where a hermit Skywalker seems to have stashed himself away from the galaxy. There was a beloved ‘Force Tree’ that grew in the Temple on Coruscant before the events instigated by the Emperor that saw to its destruction.
The tree on the island might be a descendant of this original behemoth, but we aren’t sure about those ‘roots’ just yet. Nevertheless, there is a vast Jedi-tree mythos extant in the Uneti (seems to rhyme with Unity) tree. In Last Jedi, we learn that Skywalker even found his hideaway-island by tracking Uneti saplings that grew along their spore-flight route from the source Temple.
24 Guarding History
Those throne room guards on Snoke’s payroll are bloody brilliant. Aside from inspiring cosplay ideas, that superb vampire-red armor has caught our eye. But that’s not precisely the focus of this point, rather the origin-story of this particular group of ‘bodyguards;' as per Star Wars canon, of course. Emperor Palpatine’s Imperial Guards and Snoke’s current version of the same call up real-life (!) counterparts. The Jedi Order’s core beliefs, codes of honor, and even histories, are largely inspired by Eastern cultures and philosophies. In other worlds (not of the 2017 movie), we find that strong Japanese/Chinese tradition has gone into forming the iconic identity of the Kitel Phard Dynasty’s home-planet of Atrisia.
Take Sheev Palpatine’s penchant for gathering Imperial intelligence by hook or by crook (here, you’ll find heavily applied connections to Sun Tzu’s techniques ) and the notorious Emperor Uueg Tching’s (male member of the Kitel Phard Dynasty and the fifty-fourth Emperor of Atrisia) incredible ability to subdue, deceive, and eventually defeat enemy empires.
23 What The Mind Might Forget, The Hand Always Remembers
The original trilogy from George Lucas still holds a special place in fans’ hearts. Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill) and Princess Leia Organa (played by the late-great Carrie Fisher), along with Han Solo and others, were iconic characters; still are. The Last Jedi continues the plot-thread from Force Awakens, but Skywalker’s robotic hand seems to have held on to its memories since Return of the Jedi (1983).
The scene in question is when Rey (played by Daisy Ridley) hands Luke his distinct blue lightsaber. While we don’t yet know how this special weapon was recovered after its abandonment on Cloud City, we do see his robo-hand displaying the battle-scars from a certain fight from back in the day. Hardcore fans have certainly gone gaga over this fact, and we’ve been left wondering whether the director deliberately left Luke’s hand unsheathed by gloves or fake-skin just to ensure that someone somewhere notices the throwback.
22 A Milky Conundrum
They merely changed the beverage’s color from blue to green but fans have definitely been paying attention. ‘Blue milk’ has at times been used in the Star Wars films to communicate comedy or homely moments. It was served in the Lars household in Star Wars (1977) and has remained in the franchise ever since. Sending a nod its way, Rogue One’s director, Gareth Edwards, made sure to include a container of the partly-famous blue milk (he left it on Jyn Erso’s counter, in his childhood home). Probably aiming to outdo his predecessor, Last Jedi’s director, Rian Johnson, has taken the blue milk to fresh new heights.
It’s never been factually stated in the films that this milk comes from the Banthas species, but we see Luke Skywalker doing something different but quite similar from back when he was a kid on Tatooine. Having taken up residence on Ahch-To, he seems to have found a way to milk the Thala-Sirens indigenous to the island.
21 A Stitch In Time...
Well-tailored clothes ideal for capital cities and posh planets notwithstanding, we find a curious little tidbit concerning Finn’s (played by John Boyega) rough-n-tough jacket. But he had to repair it in time for his next adventure after Rogue One, right? In that flick, we saw Kylo Ren twisting the crossguard of his lightsaber into Finn’s shoulder. There was much ado about that crossguard, which we later learned was designed to prevent excess energy loss while promoting streamlined wrist movements.
The Sith-saber contained a rather volatile kyber crystal. While Finn was left recovering from the rather scorching effects of that crossguard, his jacket seems to have pulled through quite well. Funny, it’s not even his jacket but Poe Dameron’s (Finn took it after crash-landing on Jakku). Did the jacket save the Rebel? Yoda might have something clever to say here.
20 Alderaan, Reincarnated
When viewed from orbit, the Canto Bight casino can be as intimidating as it is gorgeous. There’s so much money being made here that it’s not hard to imagine the casino as an artificially constructed coastal retreat. Let the magnitude of that sink in. Whoever worked on the casino’s landscaping project better get ready for high-end work coming their way from the stylish Imperials. The promenades and walkways themselves are architectural eye-candy, but it’s the exotic trees lining them that complete the postcard-picture.
These trees are quite significant. We’re once again grazing the symbolism and significance of trees in the Star Wars universe here. While there are certainly more sensational trees in the galaxy, the casino’s copses are Alderaan-natives. Fans are already gasping at this reveal because these trees grew solely on Princess Leia’s homeworld before it was destroyed (Star Wars 1977).
19 ‘Chain’ Of Events
Poe Dameron’s necklace has become a hot topic, not the least of which is ‘where do I get myself one of those?’ Jokes aside, there’s something quite serious about Poe’s neck-jewelry that fans might have missed the first time around. He (Oscar Isaac) seems to be toting the piece even off-screen, in promotional photos, to be precise. The chain and its metal-washer pendant have been covered in the Visual Dictionary, where we learned that Poe’s mother, Shara Bey, called it her wedding ring.
Not only was she an excellent Rebel pilot, comic prequels (more on this later) depict her as an active team member in both Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa’s missions. It’s interesting to note that Kes Dameron (Rebel Special Forces; the ‘Pathfinders’) and Shara were married, and had a baby. Poe wears the ring to remind him of the strong bond his parents shared, and what’s truly worth fighting for.
18 One Ring To Dazzle Them All
Snoke believes in making lasting impressions, is master of grand entrances and creepy exits, and is basically Palpatine 2.0. One look at his throne room is enough to instill the idea that Snoke is all about that sass; power, opulence, drama, and sheer Force-Darkness made manifest. If only he could have made himself look a bit less orc-like, but then again, the Force can only do so much. Behind Snoke is a very human origin-story, that of a man seeking purpose and meaning in the Dark Side. We shall continue by touching upon his attendants, who hail from the Unknown Regions. But we mainly wish to share a little something on Snoke’s own ‘ring of power’.
We draw your attention to the four images engraved on the gold band. These are the four sages of Dwartii – Yanjon, Faya, Braata, and Sistros – who go back to early Republic days, and have proven to be quite philosophically ambiguous. They prioritized thought over morality, which in itself is not the Jedi way; no wonder these four were Sith favorites.
17 And The Famous Line In The Script Goes To...
One of the franchise’s trademark lines is as simple as, “I have a bad feeling about this.” It began when the Millennium Falcon was gravity-beamed into the Death Star, and he used that line. Ever since then, every Star Wars movie has used the sentence at an apt moment of dire circumstance. However, in The Last Jedi, not one character has spoken the iconic words, and fan-observations of the same carried over onto Twitter where manifold complaints were met with one cool confirmation (though a rather subtle one) from Director Rian Johnson. ‘It IS spoken...’
Well, that got fans rushing to figure out how, who, where, and what. It’s one of those instances where the simplest things result in a complicated series of events. Before long, the hunt ended and fans found out that (wait for it) BB-8 is the most probable candidate. The droid’s incessant beeping to Poe before they assaulted the dreadnought First Order has given viewers cause to believe that the cute little thing was going ‘beep-beep-got-a-bad-feeling-about-this-beep.'
16 The X-Hangar
Luke flies a favorite ship, one that has become our own beloved fictional transport over the years. The X-Wing has been with Luke through thick and thin, even in Last Jedi where it helped him find the old Jedi Temple on Ahch-To. Fans feared the worst when the memorable fighter aircraft was sunk (by Luke himself, for valid reasons) in the Dagobah Swamp (Empire Strikes Back; 1980), and Yoda later floated it back up using the Force. Having decided to see the end of his days on the island of Ahch-To, it’s only fitting that the X-Wing keep him company. But where is it, exactly?
Direct your eyes to the shoreline in one of the scenes featuring Rey with Luke. Move your eyes to the bottom of a small inlet. Voila, the X-Wing! The ship is not particularly in ideal flying condition, in fact, Luke decided ‘I’m gonna be here for a while, might as well recycle the old girl.
15 The Romeos Of Cameos
There have been some noteworthy cameos in the Star Wars film franchise over the years. Sofia Coppola played Saché, one of Queen Amidala’s handmaidens, in Phantom Menace. Our latest James Bond, Daniel Craig, played one of the troopers in Force Awakens. Even Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, made a quick but important appearance in Awakens. Remember Notluwiski Papanoida in Revenge of the Sith? That’s George Lucas himself. Joe Johnston, Richard Marquand, Simon Pegg, John Ratzenberger, Greg Grunberg, Treat Williams, the list goes on.
This veritable tradition has carried into Last Jedi, though we have yet to catch any specific big-names. Rumor has it that Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are part of the cameo-gig. Bear in mind that cameos include voiceovers as well as performances. Keep your eyes wide open and let us know who you find. This almost feels like a weird game of Pokémon Go.
14 Girl Power
This character debuted in the novel ‘Leia, Princess of Alderaan’ by Claudia Grey, and is only now finding her rightful place on the screen. Teen-Leia became close buddies with Amilyn in the early Galactic Senate storyline, in the hopes that knowing an up-and-comer like her will benefit the Resistance in future. Leia trusted Amilyn enough to hand over vice-admiralty of the Resistance Fleet to her.
Our main focus is on Holdo’s home-planet of Gatalenta, whose graceful culture has not gone unnoticed. There is a wild streak in these people, though, as Amilyn’s unusual choice of hair color might hint. There was a time, in the Star Wars saga, when Luke Skywalker made a trip to Gatalenta to learn more about the first Jedi Temple. Logically, this means that the planet is still respectful of the old traditions and has seen history in the making. In keeping with such cultural pride, Amilyn Holdo’s bracelets are designed after the constellations as seen from the ground of her homeworld.
13 Make Star Wars ‘Crait’ Again
Claudia Grey’s novel ‘Leia, Princess of Alderaan’ has left hardcore fans eager to see if the finale does justice to the book, something that is still a cinematic mystery to newbie-fans of the franchise. Another ‘fresh’ idea that debuted in the book is Crait, a distant mining planet scored by salt flats. In a world that’s relatively uninhabited, Leia Organa observed that there were one too many shipments making landfall. When she eventually made it over to investigate, imagine her relief when she discovered that a full-fledged Rebel Alliance base was being coordinated from there, led by none other than her own father, Bail Organa. Destiny has taken our darling Princess to some interesting places in the galaxy, to say the least.
It was on Planet Crait where a teenage Leia found her rebellious spirit, making this homeworld as iconic as our brassy heroine.
12 May The ‘Force Tree’ With You
The story behind Poe Dameron and the Force Tree, while involving other prominent characters, is still a story about Poe himself. The mission that Luke Skywalker and Shara Bey embark upon is as much Poe’s own mission. The storyline links the comic prequels (i.e., Star Wars: Shattered Empire) to the most recent Star Wars trilogy (Rogue One, Last Jedi, and the untitled Episode IX). Going undercover in classic infiltration style, Luke and Shara aim to access a vault secured by Emperor Palpatine himself. The so-called ‘heart of order’ in the galaxy was the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, and Palpatine (who destroyed said Temple) purportedly had living sections in storage taken from the mother-tree that once stood in the Temple.
It’s an interesting mystery that the Emperor wanted to save a part of the tree for future purposes, and it’s even more interesting that Skywalker went out of his way while attempting to retrieve the tree’s genetic remnants.
11 Raddus, The Mon Calamari Savior Of Us All
The Last Jedi showcases the travails of the Resistance in a glaring new light, and Raddus is a rare jewel in this chain of events. With Admiral Ackbar fulfilling the all-important role of Captain, the ship, and its crew go on to win big-time in the movie.
This ship’s name has a remarkable history. We’re going back to Rogue One and the Battle of Scarif. Remember the commanding officer then? The future of the Force depended on that alien rushing to Scarif carrying reports of a potential rogue-Rebel incursion, and forcing a sizeable squadron of loyal Rebels to tail him in the process. The stubborn and intimidating Mon Calamari officer made it back in time to prep the stage for dire days ahead, and in the process granted our current Last Jedi heroes a timely edge in their fight against the Dark Side. No wonder Captain Ackbar (according to Star Wars canon) requested that Leia’s ship be named after Raddus.
10 Laser-Luke, Lazer-Lucas
The New Order is super-powerful, and their military supremacy seems like a fact of nature. This is why Luke Skywalker finds himself doubting what he can do to change things now when he couldn’t before. To be clear, Skywalker is the eponymous Last Jedi. This time around, however, Luke is not going to be able to use the line “walk out with a laser sword” and go meet his enemies in battle head-on.
Laser swords do NOT mean lightsabers, and true fans of the franchise will know this for a fact. With that line, Skywalker is grazing ancient history, going all the way back to the beginning. The misunderstanding is expected because Luke is known to ‘simplify’ things to the point of being funny. The real reference to ‘Lazerswords’ can be found in the ‘real world’, specifically George Lucas’s original scripts and storylines for Star Wars where the word ‘lightsaber’ is as alien as some of his character sketches.
9 Color Coding
The movie gives us a nice close-up of the books in Skywalker’s library, specifically the one with the Rebel Alliance insignia on the cover. These are old editions claimed from all over the galaxy and containing valuable data on the Jedi Order. While the insignia is considered to be Rebel-centred, it originally belonged to the oldest Jedi Order in history. Gorgeous, the twin wings enveloping a lightsaber. The insignia’s core meaning seems to have been lost to time. The lightsaber represents the Jedi and the wings are a shout-out to the Old Republic.
This brings us to the colours used. We see a golden-yellow saber, which seems to have a strong connection to the kyber crystal idea that’s prevalent in Last Jedi and its immediate prequels. This lightsaber-type was used by Jedi Temple Guards of old. We’re still in the dark about the cerulean wings, though. They could be flames, waves, or just another illustrated version of the Force. From what was once a monochromatic stamp, we see a beautifully rendered logo of sorts in Last Jedi, leading us to suspect something more is on the way.
8 Grim Revan-lations
The latest trilogy in the Star Wars franchise has portrayed Luke Skywalker in a rather historic light, showcasing his past involvements with Jedi business. He seems to have hoarded quite the collection of mementos on his new island-home, one of which is a necklace with a red crystal. While leading some fans to conclude that this crystal is a kyber-type one and/or was the same one used by Darth Vader (Luke’s father) in his lightsaber, we happen to believe otherwise. A large part of Star Wars seems to have been removed from canon, even though a large part of Last Jedi seems to have drawn inspiration from such ‘lost lore’.
The Visual Dictionary posits that the red crystal is designed for use in a Sith lightsaber, though the necklace itself is classified under ‘Jedi Crusader Pendant.'
7 Doggy Delighted
Carrie Fisher LOVED her dog, so much so that she gave him the family name. Gary Fisher has not only perked up during showings of The Last Jedi when Carrie came on-screen, he’s also made a cameo appearance in the movie. Leia’s return as the leader of the Rebel Resistance made for an excellent send-off for Carrie, who played the awesome princess from Alderaan. Her passing hit us all with the force of an avalanche, but Gary’s love for Leia transcends human limitations. He has her etched in his heart, and we see that time and again when he pays attention to scenes depicting Carrie Fisher.
The alien pet in one of the Canto Bight casino scenes is a CG-touched version of Gary, who didn’t directly perform the scene because (pfft) he’d never let anyone else hold him but Carrie.
6 A ‘Beastie’ Connection
A particular race of creatures more prominently focused upon in Force Awakens captured fan-fancy in manifold ways. The Abednedo are more fan-worthy than previously thought, owing in large part to the fact that each of the characters from this species that were given screen-space has curiously familiar names. They’re each named after a hit single from Beastie Boys. When one of the creators came up with the name Ello Asty for the Abednedo Resistance pilot, it soon became clear that it was inspired by the song ‘Hello Nasty’ by none other than the Beastie Boys.
The band is quite a favourite of J. J. Abrams, who directed Force Awakens and is looking to return to the captain’s chair in Episode IX. The Last Jedi’s new Abednedo seems to be a Canto Bight regular, and goes on to inform the fuzz about Rose and Finn’s arrival. His name gives away his character to a ‘T’: Slowen-Lo (from ‘Slow and Low’).
5 From One Director To Another...
Homage scenes are quite popular in franchises as immense as Star Wars. The way Rose Tico detailed the casino crowd, you’d think there’s no way a Canto Bight visual will be used to pay homage to anything but ill-repute. But one look at the sheer extravagance, luxury, and perfection of design that has gone into the island retreat is sure to convince anyone that, bad qualities aside, this is one of the more popular and powerful locales in this corner of the galaxy. By way of paying homage to the yesteryear Hollywood hit movie ‘Wings’, we see a splendid sweeping shot, performed with a boom-mounted camera, and capturing that old-Hollywood flair to outstanding effect.
Silent movie fans are sure to appreciate the wonderful way Rian Johnson has mimicked the yesteryear favorite. The shot proceeds in a sweep across game tables, champagne servers, and more, until arriving at the target-subject of the scene.
4 Let’s ‘Slice’ Things Up A Little
DJ (played by Benecio Del Toro) is another exceptional character added to the Star Wars roster. He mainly handles code-breaking and security in Last Jedi, but he wasn’t the A-Team’s first choice in the matter. Yet another cameo comes to the fore via Justin Theroux who played Master Codebreaker. We’re a bit confused where serious code-breaking is even required to bypass the First Order’s shields (we’ve seen R2D2 do some cool stuff before). DJ, however, is playing the style-card and ‘slicing’ his way past security. His ‘pre-programmed’ approach has been duly noted, purely because he used the word “slice."
This is jargon right out of the Star Wars extended universe. The term has been in regular use to indicate various points in the hacking lexicon. 'Slicing’ is a seemingly graceful way to get past enemy programming. It’s also quite accurate compared to anything that prevailed earlier in the franchise.
3 Hey, Mr. DJ...
Since we’re on the topic of DJ, and his cool-cat attitude in Last Jedi, let’s cover the reasons behind this guy’s raison d'être. It was actually quite the mystery in the pre-production stage as to who was going to play his character. He’s been shady from the start of his scene, and it seems like a happy accident that Rose and Finn got him involved in the fight at all. Let’s not be misled by the name, though, because it has nothing to do with music. In fact, it seems to be an acronym for ‘Don’t Join’, and we’re drawing this connection from his own words to Finn that said as much.
This ‘discovery-moment’ only comes near the end of the movie, and only if you know what you’re looking for. Pause a while on his pillox hat with its side-mounted metal-plate, and draw your attention to a translation of what’s written on there. It literally says ‘Don’t Join!' Hey, Mr. DJ, this isn’t the sound we expected to hear.
2 The Mystery Pool
The island of Ahch-To seems like your usual run of the mill secret-hideout kinda locale. But there’s more to it than meets the eye. In his dialogue with Rey, Luke Skywalker reveals some fascinating facts about the place he’d chosen to run away to. Apparently, there’s an antiquated tree somewhere on the island that contains memories of potent Jedi life-lessons. To be more respectful, this is an offshoot of the original Uneti Tree we covered earlier in our top-25 list. Taking her to a sacred place on the island, Luke has made it clear to Rey that he intends to train her in three crucial Jedi lessons. Remember the large rock facing the sunset? Behind it is a man-made chamber, or rather, Force-made, when you think about it.
There’s a captivating mosaic pool inside, with water dripping from the ceiling into it. It looks like a nice indoor-pool idea, if you ask us. The image on the mosaic-tile floor of the pool portrays ‘The Prime Jedi.’ It's a figure kneeling, and a personification of both the Light and Dark sides of the Force.
1 Bonus Entry: You Will Be Missed
We’d like to end this article on a heartfelt note. Bless the late Carrie Fisher, and thank you for the memories. We appreciate the filmmakers for leaving her a tribute following Last Jedi’s end credits: “To Our Princess, Carrie Fisher.” Carrie, you will never be forgotten as long as Star Wars and its billions of fans live on. You are truly ‘The Last Jedi’, if ever there was one (sorry, Luke). A part of you rests in all of us. And in keeping with your spirit, TheGamer wishes to say to all its readers, “May the Force be with you.”