star wars the last jedi trailer 23 luke skywalker

“It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

Those seven words, some of the first we’ve heard from the mouth of Luke Skywalker in the Sequel Trilogy era, set the internet ablaze last month when the trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi debuted at Star Wars Celebration Orlando. Whether you’re a die-hard fan who takes in every bit of Star Wars you can find or a casual fan of the movies, those words had a heavy sensation to them: what in the galaxy could Luke mean?

Of course, with that question comes worry and speculation. If the Jedi end, what does that mean for the galaxy? What does it mean for the Force? What does it mean for our heroes like Rey, who ostensibly wants to train as a Jedi? We’ve been taught by decades of Star Wars storytelling that without the Jedi there can be no balance to the Force. It’s literally in the opening dialogue of  Star Wars: The Force Awakens, courtesy of Max von Sydow’s Lor San Tekka.

But let’s face it: The Last Jedi, or even the “end” of the Jedi, won’t be the end of Star Wars. With games, TV series, movies, books, and comics all in development for after the film’s release, it’s obviously not the end of the franchise, or even of the story of the Skywalker family and the Jedi as a whole. So what does it mean? Well, some of those other canon projects may be gearing us up for a new understanding of the Force, and a new type of Force user altogether.

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Snoke Darth Plagueis Theory

Star Wars fans are notoriously detail-minded. Just look at the selection of Star Wars-related books that publisher DK releases. There are ultimate guides, visual dictionaries, atlases, blueprints of weapons and ships; it goes beyond the scene-by-scene breakdown and crosses into in-universe knowledge you won’t necessarily find on screen, all to help make the characters, objects, and places of Star Wars all the more real for the die-hard fans.

And in those details, fans may sometimes find some hints about what’s to come in the feature films that sell billions of dollars worth of tickets, getting a leg-up on those who only hit the theater each year. They’re not necessary to understand or enjoy the core story of the Skywalker Saga, but they can certainly build it up and enhance it. Such has been the case since Lucasfilm was sold to Disney, and the Story Group at Lucasfilm has started coordinating everything related to Star Wars. If there’s a book or comic or animated series or narrative-driven game in the works, it gets the Story Group stamp, as they help storytellers bring the world of Star Wars into a whole new galaxy.

And if you’re willing to do some detective work, it certainly looks like the recent books have been laying the groundwork to explain Supreme Leader Snoke, the villainous leader glimpsed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as well as the uncharted areas of the Star Wars universe.

Spoilers ahead for recent Star Wars novels.

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