Two Big Questions The Last Jedi Raises About Force Ghosts

Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi raised so many massive questions about the future (and the past) of this ongoing saga that we're just now wrapping our brains about the big answers that it gave us. Rey's parents? The importance of Snoke? All of it has been addressed. Head over here for a run down of that.

However, thanks to a recent interview Rian Johnson gave to The L.A. Times, there are smaller -- somewhat trivial, but still important -- issues that we now have with Star Wars after seeing a few things that happen in The Last Jedi. And no, they're not all about porgs (though they remain a mystery, those adorable little buggers). Instead, these inquiries involve Force Ghosts, and one Jedi Master who returned for a pivotal scene. Let's break down what we are wondering, what Johnson says on the matter, and how it changes what we think we might see moving forward.

Luke looks at Good Force Ghosts

Why Haven't We Seen Dark Force Ghosts?

This is an excellent question raised by the L.A. Times, and it's something we really hadn't considered until it was brought up. In the past, the Force Ghosts we have encountered have been Ben Kenobi, Yoda and Anakin Skywalker... only, he reverted to peaceful Anakin, and not Darth Vader, after he passed. In The Last Jedi, Yoda returns as a Force Ghost as counsels with his former protégé, Luke Skywalker. And we're already assuming that Luke will return as a Force Ghost in J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode IX.

But does that mean we might see Snoke's Force Ghost, as well? There have not been Dark Force Ghosts in the Star Wars saga yet (that I can recall). And when asked about the possibility of them, Rian Johnson said:

I think that would be interesting. We haven't seen them in the movies as far as I can remember. But that would be really interesting considering the dark side is about self-preservation, trying to find immortality, and the notion that the light side actually got to it through selflessness --- what would the dark side version of that look like? There's so much cool [stuff] to think about if you're willing to open your head a little bit!

That would be a fascinating twist, if apostles of the Dark Side of the Force, hellbent on preserving their legacies, finally learned that they could only master life after death by accepting the Light. Would they do it? It's the type of Big Picture topic Rian Johnson enjoyed raising in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and one I wonder if J.J. Abrams will continue with his sequel.

If Dark Side users were able to return as Force Ghosts, Snoke, Palpatine, Darth Maul and, of course, Darth Vader could all be fantastic candidates to reprise their roles in future stories. That being said, we haven't seen it yet, so I don't know if it's possible. Then again, The Last Jedi showed us a LOT of things that we haven't seen before. Which brings me to my next point.

Master Yoda

What physical powers do Force Ghosts have?

Did you notice when Yoda summoned lightning to set ablaze the tree that Luke protected on Ahch-to? In the moment, it was a surprising turn of events, a bold move by a Jedi Master to ignite an actual flame that would burn the remnants of the Jedi Order to the ground. It wasn't until the L.A. Times raised the issue with Rian Johnson that we realized, "Oh yeah, ghosts shouldn't be able to do that." On the issue, Johnson tells the paper:

The one point where we do introduce a bit of a twist in terms of Force ghosts is where Yoda calls down the lightning onto the tree. That, I think, is a tantalizing hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world.

What a tease. As with a lot of what we see in The Last Jedi -- particularly as it pertains to things we HAVEN'T seen in a Star Wars movie before -- is that with The Force, anything is possible. Leia (Carrie Fisher) taps into her latent Force abilities to rescue herself from certain death when she is sucked into space. Luke (Mark Hamill) is able to Force Project his image to the salt-planet of Crait to confront Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) long enough for his Rebel friends to escape. And Yoda, who is dead, can affect the physical property in our reality.

These are things we never thought possible. The Last Jedi says that they are. Moving forward, almost anything is possible... starting with that Force-sensitive stable boy on Canto Bight. Where will J.J. Abrams take Star Wars in Episode IX? Where will Rian Johnson continue to take Star Wars in his planned trilogy?

The future is filled with possibility.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.