The internet is built for speculation (fine, it’s not, but it’s really good at facilitating it), and that instant that the title for Star Wars: Episode VIII hit, everyone had an idea of what it might mean. So what are the popular theories so far? And what really seems likely when all is said and done?
Theory #1: It’s a Reference to Luke, Duh
This is entirely plausible/most likely. The opening scrawl for The Force Awakens actually refers to Luke as “the last Jedi,” and Luke is supposed to have center stage alongside the kids in this film the way Han did in Episode VII.
But that sounds so ominous!
Eh, not really. Episode I was titled “The Phantom Menace” and the titular character spent the whole film in the shadows, sneering about treaties. Does it mean that Luke is for the axe? There is a solid 50/50 chance on that. It’s entirely possible that Luke will die at the end of this film or the end of the trilogy, but the title doesn’t necessarily have to give that away.
But most Jedi get at least a couple decades of training—Luke got a few months. How could he be a Jedi?
Because Yoda said so. Yoda held the title of Jedi Grand Master, and he was the only one left alive (and the most senior member) from the old Jedi Council. He gets to confer that title on whoever he likes. He said “you must confront Vader—then, only then, a Jedi will you be.” Luke did that, ergo he’s a Jedi.
If we want to get more pedantic about it: Luke didn’t stop studying just because he stopped the Emperor. He had a bunch of trainees. He wandered around with them, likely searching for places where Jedi used to congregate and learn. He’s living on an island in the middle of nowhere because it’s the place where the first Jedi supposedly came into being. This is his life’s work, and it’s been 30 years since the Empire was defeated. He’s definitely a Jedi by now.
Theory #2: Luke’s Gonna Die, So It’ll Be Rey
Also possible. But that’s assuming that she really latches onto the Jedi way of doing things, and wants to become that brand of Force-user. Not a given. *shrug*
Theory #3: Jedi is the Plural Form of Jedi, Everyone (Wait, what?)
This means that the title could refer to two or more Jedi. So maybe Luke and Rey, or maybe an entire group of unknown Jedi that have been hiding out, or maybe Luke and Rey go on a quest to find more, or—
Could be. The current title in Portuguese was reportedly written in the male singular, according to a deleted Tweet from the Star Wars Brazil account, but that Tweet was taken down and replaced with the English title:
Perhaps because it was an error, perhaps because it gave away too much. It does seem like there’s a bit too much going on for Luke and Rey to spend a lot of time gathering up new Jedi, or discovering them, though.
Theory #4: It’s Finn/Kylo Ren/Poe/Phasma/Insert-Other-Character
Much less likely. Jedi doesn’t just mean “person who has the Force and uses it for good stuff.” It’s about being trained to use the Force according to Jedi doctrine, which none of these folks are as far as we know. Kylo Ren is specifically a Knight of Ren—not even a Sith Lord, as most fans believed when the character was revealed. (I sincerely doubt that he’ll become a Jedi by the end of this film, so that’s unlikely, too.) It’s more likely to be Luke, Rey, or a pair/group we don’t know about.
Theory #5: Luke’s Gonna Die, So It’ll Be Leia
This is possible only if Leia got some time in training with Luke. Which is not likely because the book Bloodline (which examined what Leia was up to in the events before TFA) never mentions anything of the sort and has ample opportunity to do so. Cool idea, though. (Don’t think about Carrie Fisher, don’t do it, no crying at work….)
Theory #6: It Could Be Literally Anything, Maybe There’s a Secret Colony of Jedi in a Pocket Universe…
This is also true, but… do you really think they have enough time to tackle something like that? Come on.
I’m going with Theory #1 for the moment. Star Wars titles are pretty darned literal most of the time, and they usually don’t have a major secret bearing on the plot. They do what they say on the tin—clones attack in Attack of the Clones. There is a strike from the Empire in The Empire Strikes Back. Sure, The Force Awakens is a little more poetic, but it does gets name-dropped pretty specifically by Snoke in the film, so…
Oh, and the title font isn’t weird for being red: the titles for both Return of the Jedi and Revenge of the Sith were rendered in red, too. So maybe the titles are red when they explicitly namecheck Force-users? One of many possibilities. But it’s not a brand new thing.
We’ve still got most of the year to speculate, though. Should probably make up some more theories to keep it going.