Put down your Nintendo Switch for just a moment. I want to take a moment to consider how often we are reminded of the first and the last of the Jedi Order. What implications does this “first and last” mean? Let’s take a moment and be warned of potential spoilers.
The Last Jedi and the First Jedi Temple
We are are told that Luke went looking specifically for the first Jedi Temple. Han states that
“People who knew him best think he went looking for the first Jedi temple.“
At the same time, we are told two different occasions that Luke is the last Jedi. From the opening crawl.
…to a quote from Snoke. Following the news that the title is likely to be plural, we have the idea the that last Jedi, Luke and Rey, will likely explore the first Jedi temple. Of course, the name could also refer to Luke, Rey and Ben Solo and possibly even more, but you get the idea. This sort of places the The Last Jedi as bookend to the “Jedi Era”, if you will. The events of this movie, and storytelling that takes place in the first Jedi temple, could therefore be the end to an era stretching back many thousands of years. We can certainly expect that while Rey isn’t fighting sea monsters, she will be with Luke exploring the secrets of the first Jedi, and hopefully they’ll use this as an opportunity to present the more mystical aspects of the Force in connection to discussing these first Jedi.
This leads me to an observation about what appears to be the development of 3 distinct time periods in the future of Star Wars story telling
One Thousand Generations before ANH
There are tremendous opportunities for Rian Johnson’s film to to pave a path for a future set of films, TV, or other content set in the time period of the first Jedi order. Why wouldn’t they? Imagine A Star Wars Story movie would that could explain why the first Jedi Temple is on Ahch-To and the spiritual birthplace of the Jedi would seem to be on Jedha, hence the name. We’d expect the movie to explore the adventures of the first Force users on Jedha, who eventually made their way to Ahch-To to build the first temple there.
After all, I have sometimes wondered if The Last Jedi will actually explore the *last* Jedi. Meaning, will this really be the end of the Jedi? Would Disney actually give up that sweet, sweet Jedi gravy train so quickly? Well, recent news suggests that TLJ begins at the end of the Republic, so perhaps all bets are off and the galaxy is being turned upside-down. If they do, it would give them the opportunity to use this movie to establish, through some dialogue of Luke or otherwise, about some characters or events that could be the basis for future Star Wars content at a time “a thousand generations” prior about the first Jedi. It’s exciting to think of how they might even establish a story for a future Star Wars Story film.
On the subject of “firsts”, we have to mention the First Order. That’s because The First Order seeks to destroy the Last Jedi, as if to even further reinforce this pattern of “firsts” and “lasts”.
If they do end up presenting a spin-off film on the fledgling days of the Jedi order and those that begin to explore the power of the Force, where would they go? What other time period would the explore? Well, there is one that seems pretty obvious.
1000 years before ANH
There is one other time period that we can expect, and this could probably even happen before the “first Jedi” story. It may be more likely because so many recent developments in Star Wars canon seem to pinpoint an era 1000 years before A New Hope, including:
- the importance of Jakuu 1000 BBY, as stated by Palpatine
- the believed extinction of the Sith (quote from Ki-Adi Mundi in The Phantom Menace) and presumably the beginning of the Sith “rule of two” around 1003 BBY
- there were wars between the Jedi and the Sith, presumably ending around 1000 BBY
- Tarre Vizsla became a Jedi and built the Dark Saber around 1032 BBY
- The Galactic Republic was established in 1032 BBY
It’s as if so much of what is happening in the waining days of the Jedi order reconnects to a very specific 30 year period 1000 years prior. It would a great time to explore a multi-generational story (two trilogies perhaps?) and still be able to touch upon very specific and familiar locales and objects. At the same time, it would take place in a nice, round, easy-to-remember number of years before the stories we all know and love.
So we end up considering three core eras to be explored in future Star Wars content:
- The Era from A New Hope to The Last Jedi
- One thousand years prior to ANH
- One thousand generations prior to ANH
This conveniently sets up three time periods that are at least easy to remember. From a marketing perspective, going beyond three core time periods could be a tough sell. But it’s cool to sort of consider these as sort of temporal punctuation points in the galaxy and great opportunities for storytelling.