The Star Wars: The Last Jedi Moment That Nods At Looper

Star Wars The Last Jedi Mark Hamill Luke Skywalker

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Looper! Read forward at your own risk!

Until the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Rian Johnson was arguably best known for his work on the neo-noir, time-travel thriller Looper. He's comfortable within the sci-fi realm, and many of the themes and imagery used in his 2012 film managed to bleed into the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise. Specifically, Johnson recently opened up and admitted that Luke Skywalker's last-minute Rashomon-style dilemma over whether or not to kill Ben Solo echoed Joe's dilemma over whether or not to kill Cid in Looper. Johnson said:

As I was breaking Luke's story and Luke and Kylo's relationship and figuring out what we were going to see of them in the past, and searching for something that would truly be at the core of why Luke has put himself where he is right now. Something that he feels guilty about. It's also something that Kylo could grab on to and perceive in his own way---the validation in his head that his master did not believe in him. When I landed on that idea, I did immediately think, 'Oh, that's a little bit echoing stuff from Looper.' But not in way that felt like a problem. That connection is definitely there.

Though the two stories play out in very different ways, it's hard to deny that Star Wars: The Last Jedi borrows quite a bit from Looper on a thematic level. The major reveal for Luke is the fact that he attempted to kill Ben Solo years before the events of the movie when he learned of the potential threat posed by the young Padawan. As Johnson would come to realize, that idea feels reminiscent of the scenes in Looper in which Joe struggles over whether or not to kill Cid as a boy to prevent the creation of The Rainmaker and save his wife. It's the age-old "would you murder baby Hitler?" debate stretched out over two very distinct sci-fi plotlines.

Take a look at the final scene from Looper below to get a better sense of how that film's main character similarly struggles with the problem of how to deal with a young boy whose powers could lead to trouble in the future.

That said, despite the similarities between the scenes, Rian Johnson did also tell Wired that the decision was not made based on a specific intention to honor his previous film. It just came about because the two moments thematically resonate with one another.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is now in theaters, so make sure to read our review of the film, check out our To 3D guide to figure out the right format to watch it in, and pick up your tickets (opens in new tab) now!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

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.