Today’s revelation that the next Star Wars cinematic installment will be titled The Last Jedi has sent fans in a tizzy trying to discern the meaning. Who is the last Jedi? Luke? Rey? Both of them? (After all, Jedi can be singular or plural.) Neither? And if Luke is the last Jedi, then is Rey something else, perhaps a previously unseen Force-blessed character in the galaxy far, far away?
While we’ll leave that speculation to others, we were struck by the fact that this isn’t the first time a “Last Jedi” has been touted in Star Wars.
The issue, No. 49 of the publisher’s ongoing Star Wars storyline, was set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. The title refers to a character with the on-the-nose name of Jedidiah (the green guy with the stick on the left). As the comic tells us, Jedidiah was a Force-sensitive alien from the planet Velmoc who turned down the chance to train with the Jedi Order to stay and protect his planet. He later suffered a traumatic brain injury that left him with delusions that he was a true Jedi (hence his stick “lightsaber”). During a climactic battle, Jedidiah, alerted by a disturbance in the Force, jumped in front of an incapacitated Luke as an Imperial drew a bead with her blaster, saving the young Jedi.
At the end of the issue, Luke offers a touching eulogy to the fallen Jedidiah:
I thought you were just a crazy old man. But I was wrong. Yours was the soul of a true Jedi Knight … the last Jedi. I pray that I meet death as valiantly as you did. May the Force be with you, Jedi … forever.
A former friend of Anakin Skywalker’s, Jax managed to avoid the massacres of Order 66 by going deep underground. He discovered he was one of the few surviving Jedi Knights and is being hunted by Darth Vader. In The Last Jedi, he is prepared to sacrifice himself in a duel with Vader to save his allies and manages to escape with a bit of luck at the novel’s close.
Alas, we never discovered Jax’s fate. In 2014, Lucasfilm infamously rebooted Star Wars, relegating Jedidiah, Jax, and all their “Extended Universe” stories to “Legends” status, erasing them from canon. Which means that the newest Last Jedi, who will be unveiled with the film release on Dec. 15, will officially be the first Last Jedi.
Watch Mark Hamill talk about the title The Last Jedi: