Warning: MASSIVE spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi! Read ahead at your own risk!
With Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson has raised a crazy amount of questions and done things that we have never seen in the Star Wars franchise before. Among these deviations from series norms are the inclusion of three Rashomon-style flashbacks to show how Luke Skywalker finally lost Ben Solo to Supreme Leader Snoke. It's a new direction for the series, and according to Johnson, these scenes were apparently added at the last minute based on a desire to provide an economical and emotional backstory for Luke and Ben. The director explained:
Based on those remarks, it seems that the intention was always to have a big reveal that Luke Skywalker actually did try to kill Kylo Ren. However, rather than convey that portion of the story verbally or devote a significant portion of the story to one specific flashback, Johnson instead used three slightly different flashes to show the night in which Kylo turned on Luke from three different perspectives. The scenes apparently weren't in the original plan for the film, but Rian Johnson eventually decided that they helped provide an extra punch for the ultimate reveal.
However, unlike a traditional Rashomon story, this isn't a matter of figuring out which specific one is the truth. Of the three that we see, the only one that's intentionally distorted is Luke's initial perspective on the events, in which we're led to believe that Ben Solo turned on Luke without any provocation.
As mentioned earlier, this reveal from The Art of Star Wars: The Last Jedi (via Screen Rant) is huge. It's not just because of the implications that this scene has over how we view Luke Skywalker and the entire Star Wars franchise, but it's also significant because it's the first time that we have ever seen a storytelling device like this used in a Star Wars film. To date, we have pretty much always taken what we see on the screen at face value, and Rian Johnson has officially opened up the series to more complicated and complex forms of subjective storytelling.
Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi is currently in theaters and dominating the box office, so make sure to pick up your tickets for the film and check out the latest adventure in the galaxy far, far away!
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Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.