It Had to be Blue

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It Had to be Blue

Before The Last Jedi, there was a lot of speculation about what color lightsaber Luke would use. Many fans of a certain age rallied behind the montra, “Ignite the green.” Others wanted the continuity of Anakin's blue saber going to Luke, to some Cloud City garbage bin, to Maz Kanata, to some ratty chest in in a damp, dark, forgotten cellar, to Rey, to Fin, whizzes past Kylo, back to Rey, offered to Luke, to Kylo, to Snoke, to the back of Rey’s head, through Snoke, to Kylo, to Rey, to Kylo, through a Praetorian Guard’s eyehole and back to Luke(?).

We did see Luke with the green saber in The Last Jedi, but it was only in flashback. Some people may say flashback counts as “igniting the green,” isn’t that right Jeremy? However, I did a very scientific poll on Twitter. Eight voters participated, and sixty-seven percent decided the flashback indeed did not count as “igniting the green.” (Hey, if you don’t mind, give me a follow on Twitter. If I can get ten people to vote in my next poll, the percentages would be nice round numbers.)

So in real time, we saw Luke use the glamorous blue lightsaber. Why did Rian Johnson choose the blue lightsaber? It had nothing to do with preference or which one was better. It had to be blue.

“Why?” you may ask.

By now, everyone reading this has seen or heard all the different clues Johnson gave us that showed Luke was not physically on Crait. He was (merely?) a Force projection. Some of the major clues are as follows:

  • Luke much younger than he did earlier in the movie.
  • He didn’t seem to have transportation. His X-wing was submerged in the ocean on Ahch-To.
  • The base on Crait had only one way in, which was closed. Somehow Luke still got in. Poe even points this out by asking how Luke got in there.
  • Luke doesn’t make in sound walking into the base.
  • The debris falling on during Luke’s confrontation of Kylo do not land on Luke or his lightsaber. They do land on Kylo and his lightsaber. To belabor the point, when Luke dusts off his shoulder, there is nothing on it.
  • When Luke is on Crait, he does not leave footprints by disturbing the salt. Everyone else does.
  • Luke is using the blue lightsaber, which was destroyed earlier.

This and many other secrets about The Last Jedi can be seen in the video of a story group roundtable discussion released by Lucasfilm.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p09c0MXDxto&w=560&h=315]

This is part of the reason the lightsaber had to be blue. Rian Johnson wanted to play fair with the audience and give them clues about what was really going on. It’s like Agatha Christie. She was a great mystery writer because all the clues were there. She didn’t trick you, yet the clues were not obvious either.

“But,” you may ask, “weren’t there enough clues already there so that Johnson was not obligated to use the blue?” The answer is, “Yes.” Here is the other part of why it had to be blue. Johnson didn’t just want to give a few clues for the audience. He wanted to, much like he literally did with Rey, figuratively hit the audience over the head with the clues. He didn’t just want moviegoers to be able to go back and see something small that they missed. He wanted his M. Night Shyamalan, The Sixth Sense moment. He wanted people to ask themselves, “How did I miss that?”

Guess what? I missed it. I think most people would say the same thing, if they’re being honest. The closest I got was that I knew Luke looked different on Crait. I’m sure many others caught that and a few other clues, but I don’t think most people used the clues to conclude Luke wasn’t really there.

How do I know Johnson wanted to cram as many clues in there as possible? Two reasons.

First, let’s look closer at the fact that Luke did not disturb the salt on Crait. The only time Johnson focused on Luke’s feet on Crait was during the duel.  What was unusual about the shot of Luke’s feet moving over the salt while preparing to battle Kylo?

There was no salt on the ground at that time where Luke was standing, or at least there shouldn’t have been.

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Where was Luke standing at the beginning of the confrontation? He didn’t move after the First Order fired every gun at him. They shot so many times at that spot to the point that all the salt had been blown away, and only red ground remained. Even where Kylo was standing when he came out of the ship had no salt on the ground. Johnson had to make the salt covering somehow reappear when the closeups of the feet were shown. He disrupted the continuity of the film just to add another clue.

The second reason unites the Star Wars cinematic universe with the reality of most moviegoers. What name popped to mind when Luke dodged Kylo’s attack? Is the name you are thinking of Neo from The Matrix? In The Matrix, people living sparse and isolated existences project themselves into another world. In that world, their projections are the best, most stylish versions of themselves. While in that world, they are able to bend the laws of physics. Rian Johnson wanted to give us so many clues that he reached into another movie just to add one more.

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Did you think that was air Luke was breathing in that place?