At the end of The Force Awakens we were all ready for Luke to be Rey’s master and train her. However it seems like what we expected isn’t what we are going to get. Let’s a look at what we know, and make some connections…
Rian Johnson has stated that the training of Rey isn’t a perfect parallel to Empire Strikes Back. He stated that:
“There’s a training element to it, but it’s not exactly what you would expect.”
So what exactly does this mean?
After Rey hands off the saber, at some point there is reason for Rey to want to train to become a Jedi. Her motivations are pretty clear, she wants to defend herself against the inevitable revenge of Kylo Ren and find the thing Maz said she was looking for.
At this point, I expect that Luke seems to be reluctant to train Rey, as Yoda was reluctant to train Luke; however, this would be “what I would expect” and hence the thing Rian specifically said would not happen. Nevertheless, let’s run with this for a minute.
If anything, it’s Luke’s statement that the Jedi must end that seems like the motivation of why he wouldn’t train Rey. Luke doesn’t want to train Rey because he is through with the Jedi. We’ve speculated why this would be, but in the context of not wanting to train Rey, this doesn’t line up. That is, in that article the thinking was by balancing light and dark, Luke had found a path that was more powerful. However, that doesn’t a priori preclude him from wanting to train Rey. So what’s going on?
I’m actually reminded of The Karate Kid, the 80s version, because I haven’t seen the new one. In The Karate Kid, Daniel asks Mr. Miyagi to train him, and Mr. Miyagi refuses. What were his motivations, and what changed his mind, and what does this have to do with The Last Jedi? Bear with me.
Mr. Miyagi had resigned himself to bonsai trees, and had a nursery where we spent his time trimming the roots of these trees. Let’s see, where else have trees been important? This reminds me of Luke and the Force-trees. We just wrote an article about this recently, and speculated that Luke is spending his time with the tree…
This could be complete coincidence, but let’s keep going with it. Mr. Miyagi then later revealed the following:
Their bond develops, and as their training continues, Daniel learns about Miyagi’s dual loss of his wife and newborn son due to complications arising from childbirth at Manzanar internment camp while he was serving with the 442nd Infantry Regiment during World War II in Europe, where he received the Medal of Honor. (Wikipedia)
So it is revealed that at least part of the reason is because Mr. Miyagi had lost his wife and child. Mr. Miyagi had a bit of a dark past that may have led him to solitude and not wanting to train anyone. Sound familiar?
I’m going out on a limb and speculate that maybe, just maybe, there is something here. Could it be that Rey and Luke’s story follows a similar beat to that of the original Karate Kid? This would suggest that the loss of Luke’s wife and child were part of the reason for him going off to solitude, and no longer training any more Jedi. This is of course might assume the Rey Skywalker theory, and that Rey is in fact the child that Luke lost. However, it doesn’t need to assume that. It could be the loss of his Jedi Academy at the hands of Ben Solo that serves this part in the parallel. The parallels are almost too perfect. But wait, there is more.
The thing that turned Mr. Miyagi around was seeing the boys from the Cobra Kai dojo attack Daniel. Then Mr. Miyagi saved Daniel by attacking them, and agreed to put himself at risk and train Daniel. Looking over previous rumors, there is definitely some speculation out there of a fight between the Knights of Ren (or the Praetorian guards) attacking Luke and Rey on Ahch-To. If you check my previous article, and an early leak from Making Star Wars, the Knights of Ren attack Luke and Rey. In it the rumor, Kylo fights Rey, while Luke fights the others in the Knights of Ren. This fight may be a turning point for Luke, leading to him clearly training Rey in this shot:
So what do you think? Total coincidence, or maybe because these two movies both fit the same mythological motifs of the path of a hero? Leave your comments below!