Why The Last Jedi Has the Most Thematic Breadth in the Series
I recently saw The Last Jedi over this past weekend. It was one of those films that took me a while to process because of just how many plot twists and surprises were packed into its two and a half hour run-time. The more I’ve thought about it, however, the more it strikes me that The Last Jedi may have the best thematic breadth in the entire Star Wars series. (Warning: Spoilers follow.)
In most Star Wars movies, the thematic aspect of the film seems to be pretty focused on one character. A New Hope focuses on Luke’s character arc as he learns to trust the Force. Han has a character arc as well, but it’s more minor and disconnected. Empire Strikes Back is about Luke being forced to choose between achieving greatness (whether as a Jedi with Yoda or a Sith with his father) or protecting his friends (among other things; there are a couple different themes, but they seem to mainly revolve around Luke). Revenge of the Sith likewise focuses everything around Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side. Great themes with a lot of depth. However, all these themes are largely focused on one character in each of the films.
I was surprised to find that this isn’t the case in The Last Jedi.