Ever since the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the internet has been chock-full of fan theories speculating what we could expect in Episode VIII. The big reveal of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi title stirred up even more theories. These theories have run the gamut: from Supreme Leader Snoke being Boba Fett or Jar Jar Binks to theories that Rey was hatched from an egg.
All these theories share at least one thing in common – they come from fans of the movies. Fans who have an intimate knowledge of the Star Wars universe, who know the difference between a bantha and a Bothan.
[intro]This led me to wonder: how would some one who has never seen a single Star Wars movie (or TV show) come up with a theory of their own?[/intro] They would need some sort of basis for their speculation. The official theatrical poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the obvious choice. From the early concepts of Ralph McQuarrie to the art of Tom Jung, Tom Chantrell, Roger Kastel, and Drew Struzan, Star Wars posters have their own rich history. They are truly pieces of art that communicate a story and evoke feelings with nuance and detail. This would be a great opportunity to see just how effective the latest theatrical poster is in its ability to communicate and evoke.
Where could I find someone who had never seen a single Star Wars movie and who knew nothing about the general story of Star Wars? As it happens, that person sits 20 feet away from me.
And so I asked Sonia, one of our talented designers, to study the official poster for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and then join me for a quick interview. What would her take on the new installment of the Star Wars saga be, based solely on visual cues from this poster?
The Interview. A New Theory.
Aright, Sonia. First, thanks for doing this. Now just to lay the groundwork, is it true that you have never watched any movies or TV shows related to Star Wars?
Zero. And I probably never will. This is probably the most I’ll ever talk or learn about Star Wars.
Do you know anything about the general story of Star Wars?
No, I just know the name of some characters. I’ve heard of Chewbacca just because it’s a funny name. But I don’t know anything about Chewbacca. I know about these light saber things because the boys I used to babysit had them.
Great. Last thing. Now this is Luke Skywalker [shows a photo of Luke], he’s kind a main character throughout the movies. He has a father, do you have any idea who that is?
Incredible. Now that we’ve established that you know nothing about Star Wars, let’s move on to the interview.
(I spent a few minutes identifying each person in the poster, so Sonia could at least refer to them by name.)
Now that you’ve studied this poster, what do you think the general story or plot will be for Star Wars: The Last Jedi?
Well, I think the name kind of gives it away. They’re trying to search for the last Jedi. This guy Luke seems to be the father-figure, god-like, kind of an all-knowing figure. Just because he’s at the top and everyone else is under him. These people here [points to Rey and Kylo Ren] because of their [makes laser sounds to indicate their light sabers], seem like the fighters. They’re good people. Maybe they’re trying to find the last Jedi?
You think that they’re good people?
They seem like they’re fighting against the evil things down here [points to C-3PO, R2-D2, BB-8, the Resistance Ski-Speeders, and First Order Walkers and TIE Fighters]. That’s what I get from this poster. They don’t look good to me. I think it’s the hierarchy of things. You have this Luke person at the top, who’s all-knowing and seems good. Then these fighters [Rey and Kylo Ren] are trying to find the the last Jedi and fighting against the bad people who are at the bottom of the poster. The larger the figure in the poster, the more importance they have. I think the only thing that threw me off was…who’s this?
Leia. She’s in the middle of everything, so she kind of stands out from everyone else. I can’t tell if she’s good or bad. Because…her and Luke are the only ones looking at us, everyone else is looking away. It’s like I don’t know what to think about both of them. But they seem like they have the most prominent roles, because they’re looking at us; that we should already know who they are.
Then this red color. Maybe that’s what sets this movie – The Last Jedi – apart from all the other ones. I feel like the theme of this poster is red. When you see the color red, you think of aggressive, fire, blood.
What do you think about Finn and Poe [points to them]?
They seem like good guys, but just your average normal people. They seem like the only 100% human things on this poster, like they can be people from our world.
I feel like these [again, points to the Resistance Ski-Speeders, First Order Walkers and TIE Fighters] are very important because they’re all over the poster and near the center. The people, the humanoid beings, are fighting against these, the machines.
Interesting. So just to recap: there’s some kind of mystery behind Luke and Leia, but they are the central figures of this movie. Then all of these more human-like people up here are fighting against the machines down here. And because the color red is so prominent, it means they’re is something aggressive, violent or even foreboding about what’s going to happen in this movie.
Now, you kind of alluded to this earlier. But I want to ask you two very common questions about this movie. What do you think ’the last Jedi’ refers to? And do you think ‘Jedi’ here is singular or plural?
The last good person. I got singular from this poster; that’s why there seems to be a sense of urgency. Like there’s only one Jedi left. But I’m not sure. I don’t like how this title works with the poster. Because from the poster, it seems like everyone up here is trying to fight to become the last Jedi. But I don’t think it’s anyone here. I think it’s some one else. They don’t know who the last Jedi really is, so they’re not pictured here.
This is kind of a leading question, but you talked about the significance of the color red in this poster. Do you think there is some significance in Rey’s light saber being blue and Kylo Ren’s being red?
No, it feels like that’s just how these light sabers are. And the blue just helps from a design perspective, give that difference in color here near the center…but maybe Rey could be the last Jedi? But I don’t really even know what a Jedi is, so…
How do you think The Last Jedi will end? And you should know there will be one more movie after this one.
Oh, then, I think the movie will end with them finding the last Jedi, but then questions if they really found him/her. And it’s in the last movie that we find out.
Sonia, do you have any parting thoughts you’d like to share?
The main feeling I get from his poster is that I don’t really know who the good guy is and who the bad guy is; I can’t really tell. I can tell the importance of people, but can’t determine if they’re good or bad.
Thank you, Sonia. It’s not only been interesting to hear your take but a lot of fun.
You’re welcome. I kind of feel like watching one of the movies now.
So there you have it. I guess we’ll know soon enough if any of Sonia’s predictions come true. Maybe R2-D2 and C-3P0 have been the supreme forces of evil all along…