The eighth episode of the "Star Wars" saga has an official subtitle: "The Last Jedi."
Strong. Yet ominous.
What does it mean? What are the implications? Who is this "Last Jedi"?
Cary's Comics Craze candidate theory No. 1: It's Luke Skywalker - This is the most logical conclusion. After all, Supreme Leader Snoke calls Skywalker "the last of the Jedi" in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."
But does it mean Skywalker will get killed off? Could "The Last Jedi" be the last "Star Wars" film we'll see the last of the Big Three (Luke and Leia) onscreen? Say it ain't so!
Instead, Luke Skywalker could be "the Last Jedi" in that he's the final Jedi Master to be trained by Yoda, the greatest of the Jedi Masters. Then Skywalker turns the training of the next generation of Jedi to ... our next candidate.
Yet, Rey could be "the Last Jedi" who is naturally strong in the Force, yet isn't named or related to the Skywalkers. As I've said in my "Who is Rey" post, my hope is she's a Skywalker-figure, but isn't a Skywalker.
That's not a popular opinion, as many, many fans are clinging to the idea that Rey must be Luke's daughter.
I'm not buying it; it doesn't make sense for Luke to have fathered a daughter only to abandon her when he chose to become a hermit; he's too responsible to do something like that and it's just not in Luke's nature. And honestly can you imagine Luke fooling around and having a child out of wedlock? "The Force Awakens" indeed includes a theme of running away, but I'm just not buying Luke Skywalker being irresponsible enough to run away from his own daughter.
Rey is the "New Hope" of this trilogy, but that doesn't mean she has to be a Skywalker. Or even a Kenobi.
That's just poor, lazy writing -- and huge, fat cliche. Let's be brutally honest: with the introduction of Jyn Erso in "Rogue One," yet another young girl separated from her parents and who lives on a secluded planet, the "Star Wars" universe needs to stay far, far away from any more cliches.
Cary's Comics Craze candidate theory No. 3: It's Leia - In "The Empire Strikes Back," Yoda tells Obi-Wan Kenobi's Force-ghost "there is one more" Jedi besides Skywalker. Just sayin'.
Leia could be inspired by her son murdering his father and her lover/estranged husband, Han Solo, (in "The Force Awakens") to give up leading the Resistance (at least partially or temporarily) to "learn the ways of the Jedi" as her father and brother before her. Very unlikely, but possible.
Even as a wild shot as Leia is as "the Last Jedi," I really dug how she was a partially trained Jed Knight in the pre-Disney novels (aka the Expanded Universe). In my estimation, she was slightly less adept at using the Force and her lightsaber as Luke was in "Empire." This made Leia quite the triple threat: A member of royalty. A Rebel Alliance/New Republic leader. And a Jedi Knight. In a word: Badass!
Cary's Comics Craze candidate theory No. 4: It's Kylo Ren/Ben Solo - Sounds fare fetched, right? But think about it.
Obviously Rey will be trained as a Jedi by Skywalker. And I think we've been led to believe the "Force Awakens" trilogy is about Rey -- and it mostly is. Probably.
But what if "The Force Awakens," "The Last Jedi" and the ninth episode are just as much about Kylo Ren and his struggle to avoid embracing the Light Side of the Force and returning to being Ben Solo?
To paraphrase his Uncle Luke, I'm confident Ben has attempted to bury those feelings of good "deep inside" just as Anakin Skywalker did as Vader and is struggling to stay true to Snoke and the Dark Side.
This new trilogy could be the story of Kylo Ren's redemption into Ben Solo just as the classic three "Star Wars" films ended up being about Vader/Anakin Skywalker's. Redemption and fallen Jedi are massive themes in "Star Wars" -- and we saw a variation of that in "Rogue One" with Jyn's non-Jedi father, a good man who was forced to work for the Empire.
Yes, I stand by my theory (offered in my 2017 genre film preview) that these movies are focused on Rey's journey into being a Jedi Knight -- with Luke's Yoda-like guidance -- but also about bringing Kylo Ren the redemption he's been avoiding.
For the record, I don't see Luke making it out of the "Force Awakens" trilogy alive; I predict Kylo Ren kills him in a lightsaber duel. But not before he helps redeem his nephew back to the Light Side of the Force.
Cary's Comics Craze candidate theory No. 5: "The Last Jedi" refers to Rey and Ben Solo/Kylo Ren - Jedi is used as a singular and plural noun throughout the "Star Wars" saga. Who says it has to refer to a single person?