As an avid Star Wars fan, I’ve been looking forward to the latest installment since the credits rolled on The Force Awakens roughly two years ago. Having seen The Last Jedi, I’m honestly still not quite sure what I think about it. It was very well done and probably the best Star Wars film since the original trilogy, yet it’s left the fan in me feeling rather conflicted. I won’t go into the reasons why, as doing so would necessarily involve spoilers I dare not divulge, but Luke Skywalker’s line from the final preview that “this is not going to go the way you think” sums up the movie quite well.
The film picks up right where Episode VII ended, with Rey standing face-to-face with Luke while her resistance counterparts continue their battle against the First Order. The interaction between Luke and Rey, as she tries to convince the Jedi Master to end his exile and join the fight, provides the most interesting moments. That said, every character in the film has a purpose, and director Rian Johnson does an excellent job of weaving their stories together in a way that’s unexpected yet seamless.
One of the main themes throughout The Last Jedi is the way in which each of the main characters must decide how their past will influence their future. By the end of the film, each person’s answer will have played a crucial role in determining their part in the story. It becomes clear that ignoring what came before is simply not an option, and the same is true for us as well.
One of the best things about blockbuster movies like Star Wars is that they can provide common ground for people from all walks of life. Judging by the fact that the only film to ever make more than The Last Jedi‘s reported $450 million first weekend was Episode VII two years prior, it’s going to be a topic of conversation for some time. As Christians, we should never lose sight of the opportunities that sort of shared experience can offer.
That doesn’t mean taking every conversation back to Jesus as soon as it starts, and it’s all right if a discussion about the film remains about the film. But by recognizing key themes within the movie, such as the way people must either use their past to help them grow or stand doomed to repeat it, we can open up avenues of conversation that could eventually lead to the gospel. If nothing else, these discussions can help create a comfort level with others that could pay dividends down the line.
As Paul demonstrated in Athens (Acts 17:16-33), the best way to help people understand the good news of Christ is often by putting the discussion in a comfortable context. Whether it’s movies, sports, fashion, politics, or any number of topics, when we turn our conversations over to the Lord, he will often accomplish something truly amazing.
I’m still not quite sure what to think about The Last Jedi, but I can’t wait to see what God does with my next opportunity to talk about it.
What will be your Last Jedi today?