The release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi caused a great imbalance in Star Wars fandom. In fact, some fans are so disappointed in the film that they are calling for it to be stricken from canon.

“Canon” is a particularly appropriate term here. Star Wars fandom has reached the point where many fans treat the movies like sacred texts. They study them like disciples of numerology, seeing patterns everywhere. They shave off rough edges to force the story into the mold of the hero’s journey or ring theory.

In the time between the release of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, Star Wars made the next step: prophecy. Fans started to believe that they could use the patterns they observed in the past to predict what was to come. They examined the apocryphal expanded universe of old for hints. They even broke down extratextual materials, like posters and standees, searching for signs.

Is it any wonder then so many have recoiled at Rian Johnson’s message, which asserts that there are no patterns? There is no prophecy. Star Wars is not a math problem that can be definitively solved. It’s art, and art changes and evolves over time.

The best example of this is the gray Jedi theories and the first time Luke sees Rey use the Force. The concept of a gray Jedi comes from the old EU. As pertains to Luke Skywalker, it mixed into the plot of the Dark Empire graphic novels. Luke would pursue true balance in the Force by mastering the light side and the dark side.

That this theory became so pervasive shows how fans have bought into Lucasfilm marketing. The light side/dark side gimmick is big for selling toys. But the Force doesn’t work like a video game morality meter, not even the one in Knights of the Old Republic.

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