The Last Jedi costume change

When writer/director Rian Johnson began writing Star Wars: The Last Jedi, he was handed a pretty serious cliffhanger to resolve: Rey standing on an Ahch-To cliffside, offering a beige-and-white-clad Luke Skywalker his father’s lightsaber. The Last Jedi‘s opening scene picks up where The Force Awakens‘ left off, and after unceremoniously tossing the saber over his shoulder, Skywalker immediately changes out of his light colored robes and into darker garb.

Luke’s darker robes better represent the character’s internal struggle, but now we know there’s an actual story reason for his new look. Read on to discover the reason behind Skywalker’s The Last Jedi costume change.

Why Did Luke Skywalker Change Clothes?

I must admit, I barely registered that one of the first things Luke does after Rey meets him is change his clothes. I guess I was just so caught up in the story that I didn’t give it a second thought. But now that I think about it, I suppose it is a little odd – so what gives?

ScreenRant explains that the reasoning can be found in author Jason Fry‘s novelization of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It turns out that Luke’s lighter robes are part of the ceremonial attire associated with the burning of the ancient Jedi tree. That means that just before Rey arrived, Luke was considering setting the tree ablaze – but as we saw later in the movie (when he was wearing those lighter robes again), he was so conflicted about what that would mean that he couldn’t bring himself to do it.

What’s With the Hesitation?

Skywalker spends most of the movie railing against the old ways of the Jedi, but when the time comes to set the ancient tree on fire, he hesitates. Why? According to the novelization, Luke reflects back on his decades traveling the galaxy collecting Jedi artifacts, all of which are inside the tree: burning it down means not only symbolically destroying the religion to which he subscribed, it’s also literally setting his entire legacy on fire. I haven’t read the novelization myself yet, but ScreenRant says it’s clear that Luke “had actually made a few failed attempts to burn the Jedi library” – including one that’s interrupted when Rey arrives.

In all likelihood, Johnson just wanted Luke to be wearing a costume that better reflected the character’s inner turmoil than what J.J. Abrams left him in. And as we saw elsewhere in the film – most notably with the destruction of Kylo Ren’s mask – it’s clear Johnson had no scruples about jumping right in and immediately telling the story he wanted to tell. That’s what he was hired to do, after all. But it’s always amusing to learn about the canonical explanations for some of these seemingly small issues that occasionally pop up in Star Wars movies.

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