Three Times Rian Johnson Used Foreshadowing in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi is the most intellectually complex Star Wars film ever made. The emotional complexity of the characters, the symbolism, and even the structure mark it as a film like no other. But one hallmark of the original Star Wars saga still remains: foreshadowing. George Lucas consistently used foreshadowing as a technique to clue audiences in as to what would happen later on in the film. It’s a narrative technique that lends a poetic quality to a work of fiction.

One famous bit of foreshadowing happens in The Empire Strikes Back. Luke is trapped upside down in an ice cave and he’s about to be eaten by a yeti monster. He then uses the force to snatch up his lightsaber, cut himself loose from the ice and slice off the yeti monster’s arm. This, of course, foreshadows Luke’s later demise with his own severed limb.

But what parts of The Last Jedi were Rian Johnson’s ways of foreshadowing future events? Let’s take a look. (We shouldn’t need these this late in the game but SPOILER ALERT.)

1. Leia Poppins and Holdo’s Sacrifice

Near the beginning of The Last Jedi, The First Order catches the Resistance Fleet and begins a barrage attack. At one point, the bridge of the Resistance ship The Raddus explodes and everyone inside gets swept out into space including Leia.  Something inside Leia awakens and she is able to pull herself back to the ship through the Force. While she floats through the decimated bridge, she passes through a hologram of Snoke’s ship The Supremacy.  The Supremacy is the exact ship that Admiral Holdo takes out at light speed near the end of the film. Leia passes through The Supremacy at the exact spot where Holdo rams The Raddus into Snoke’s ship.  In essence, Leia’s refusal to die rhymes with Holdo’s sacrifice.

2. The Split Rock and Snoke’s Manner of Death

Some claim that Supreme Leader Snoke was just invented to make more money off of action figures. But the problem is, most of Star Wars was invented to sell more action figures. Isn’t that what all franchises are about? (I mean, I was surprised to find DC comics characters in the Arena of Valor Guide Builder earlier, so there is nothing wrong with using franchise characters to sell stuff.) But those fanboys were probably just upset about Snoke’s sudden and inevitable demise. Being cut in half by (ironically) Anakin Skywalker/Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber.

Earlier in the film, we see a similar action. Only this time it’s not a person (if you can call Snoke a person) getting cut in half, it’s a rock that’s roughly the same shape as Snoke on his throne. Rey is on an ancient Jedi island hoping to persuade Luke to join in the fight or at least train her so she can. As she hangs out on the island, she continues her personal training with her bow staff. But realizing that she has a lightsaber with her, she digs it out of her sack and begins training with it.

Rey lacks control and in her exuberance with the saber, she cuts the Snoke-like rock in half. The top of the rock slides off and comically knocks one of the caretaker’s carts off a cliff.  Rey slicing the rock in half foreshadows exactly how Snoke will die later on in the film.

3. Kylo and Rey’s Force Projections and Luke’s Demise

The last few scenes in The Last Jedi are probably the most emotional, harrowing, and divisive moments in Star Wars history. Luke Skywalker just took on the whole First Order from the other side of the galaxy. He projected an image of his younger self to give one last goodbye to his sister and face off with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo his failed apprentice and nephew.

After giving The Resistance enough time to escape in the Millenium Falcon, Luke tells Kylo “see ya around, kid” and disappears from Crait. The next thing we see is Luke suspended on Ahch-To in the Lotus Position. He falls from his elevated position, looks off into the double sunset and transcends this physical plane.  But what actually happened to Luke Skywalker to cause him to become “one with the Force?” Rian Johnson gave us a clue earlier in the film.

Rey and Kylo Ren can suddenly see each other despite being on opposite ends of the galaxy from each other. Ren is astounded. He knows he isn’t causing the double force projection and he knows Rey couldn’t possibly know how. But he utters something that clues us into how dangerous Force projection over such a long distance really is. “You’re not doing this, the effort would kill you.”  Sure, Ren could mean that Rey isn’t powerful enough to force project. But he doesn’t say “You’re not doing this, you’re not powerful enough.” He says it would kill her. Meaning, it would kill anyone, even a powerful Jedi master.

Ren and Rey’s force projections foreshadow not only Luke’s force projection but his manner of death on Ahch-To at the end of the film. I

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