Warning, this post contains spoilers. Obviously enough.
To me, The Last Jedi, like most other movies in the franchise (not counting the ridiculous episodes 1-3), is about Luke Skywalker. I mean, come on, it’s literally in the title. Luke *is* the Last Jedi, in the sense of a formally trained Knight of the Jedi Order.
If The Force Awakens is about “the hunt for Luke”, “where is Luke?” “What happened to Luke?”, The Last Jedi is about “ok, we’ve found him, now what?” Yes, sure, there are other characters, a whole cast of diverse ones, and whatnot, but to me the movie still hinges around the same white dude they all have. The farm boy who fulfills his destiny, and learns lessons along the way.
In this episode, the lesson that Luke learns is a vital one. And it is his old master Yoda that teaches it to him. Not Rey, with her love of his heroics and pleas for him to save the day. Not Chewie and reminders of past battles and friends now gone. Not even his sister, both in her holographic past self message from A New Hope, brought to him by the ever faithful R2D2, or in her final hours. None of these were enough to get him to do what was needed.
No, it was Yoda and his message of failure that did the trick. Yoda taught him that without failure there will never be success. That to be truly great, we must embrace our failures. And only when Luke finally learnt that message was he able to do what was ultimately required, and to finally die in peace.
Though, Yoda’s return also reminds us that, in Star Wars at least, nobody truly dies, especially not Jedi masters. So, although Luke made the ultimate sacrifice, I would not be at all surprised to see him, at least for brief ghostly moments, in future episodes. As long as Mark Hamill remains with us, Luke will as well.
For me, underneath the special effects, the epic battles, the love stories, Star Wars episodes have been a series of parables. And the lesson in this one, the one that Luke finally learnt, is important for the perfectionist in me. I do believe it’s one of the most important lessons for us all. Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is not a moral weakness. Embrace your failures and learn from them. Otherwise we can never truly learn anything at all. And otherwise we can never truly be at peace.