What Star Wars' Journal Of The Whills Are And Why They'll Be Really Important

Star Wars the Last Jedi shelf of books

Star Wars fans can always count on Star Wars Celebration to bring the goods and this year's Celebration did not disappoint. Not only were there some awesome panels, and trailers for Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars Battlefront II, but we all finally got to see the first footage from the incredibly anticipated Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

The trailer, though understandably brief, teased some great moments for fans to chew on for the next few months. Luke Skywalker spoke his first line of new dialogue since 1983! Rey training! A whole new planet! Kylo Ren doing his Anakin impression! However, the biggest mystery of the teaser belongs to an ominous shelve of books. The internet has been buzzing about what these books can possibly be and the No. 1 theory by far is that the Journal of the Whills has finally come to Star Wars proper.

You'd be forgiven for not knowing what the Journal of the Whills is, as it's one of the more infamous bits of behind-the-scenes trivia. Originally, the concept of the Whills was conceived by George Lucas, who had planned to implement it into the early drafts of the script for the very first Star Wars movie. In essence, he imagined them as a collection of stories told by a group of immortal beings known as the Whills. The Whills would pass on the knowledge that they gained to Keepers, who would chronicle the stories in a journal. In this sense, the story of Star Wars is essentially being told through these books, with R2-D2 as the Keeper. Lucas had even considered making himself a Keeper, thus connecting Star Wars to our own reality.

George Lucas would eventually scrap this idea, and change it into the Force. However, one piece did survive in the form of the opening crawl, which was envisioned as excerpts from the journal told to the audience by the Whills. That's why every Star Wars film begins with a storybook-esque narration, "A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away."

Star Wars the Last Jedi close up of a book

The lore of the Journal of the Whills would survive, though, popping up every now and again in the Expanded Universe, now known as the non-canon Legends. The Journal of Whills finally entered canon with a quote from the opening on the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

First comes the dayThen comes the night.After the darknessShines through the light.The difference, they say,Is only made rightBy the resolving of grayThrough refined Jedi sight.-- Journal of the Whills, 7:477

How much a part of canon the novelization is of a Star Wars movie is debatable, but this isn't the last time we hear about the Whills. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story prominently featured two characters that were directly tied to the name: Donnie Yen's Chirrut and Jiang Wen's Baze. Chirrut and Baze were formally Guardians of the Whills, protecting the Temple of Kyber in Jedha City. Not much is known about what they actually did (an upcoming book entitled Guardians of the Whills hopes to fill in some gaps), but it's said that they were warriors who worshiped the Jedi, guarded the temple, and failed pretty spectacularly.

Rogue One Chirrut and Baze

So, when a trailer for a Star Wars movie very prominently shows a book -- which aren't exactly all over the place in Star Wars -- it's easy to think that said book is a physical copy of a Journal of the Whills. Why go through all the effort to introduce some books when no one knows what is actually in them? Well, it all ties back to that above quote and what it means for the future of Star Wars.

The quote seems to be a prophecy of some kind, foretelling a time of light, followed by darkness, only for light to shine again. It's those last four lines that require special attention. These lines seem to say that balance between the light and dark sides of the Force can only be balanced through a new perspective i.e. "refined Jedi sight." This would seem to hint that Star Wars will be moving away from its tried and true, black and white view of the galaxy in favor of a more realistic gray. Gray is super important here, as it seems to reference Gray Jedi, Force users who wielded both sides of the Force, but was neither strictly Jedi or Sith. Basically, they could shoot lightning from their fingers without wanting to rule the galaxy.

The emphasis of balance has always been important in Star Wars mythology and it's no coincidence that the trailer cuts to a close-up of one of the books when Luke mentions the word "balance." The Journal of the Whills might be the key to Luke realizing his One Truth and will put Rey on the path of becoming a Gray Jedi, effectively changing the ancient battles of right and wrong this series is known for. That's incredibly exciting as a Star Wars fans and the Journal of the Whills may be the secret to pushing the Star Wars franchise into a new direction for years to come

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Matt Wood

Matt has lived in New Jersey his entire life, but commutes every day to New York City. He graduated from Rowan University and loves Marvel, Nintendo, and going on long hikes and then greatly wishing he was back indoors. Matt has been covering the entertainment industry for over two years and will fight to his dying breath that Hulk and Black Widow make a good couple.