9:00am PT by Graeme McMillan
A 'Last Jedi' Loss That Isn't as Bad as It Seems
[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Star Wars: The Last Jedi]
One of the most dramatic visuals in Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes midway through.
Luke and the Force Ghost of Yoda sit in front of the burning tree that holds the remaining Jedi texts. It’s an eye-catching image, watching the end of the Jedi Order as-was as one of the final pieces of the sacred order burns in front of characters who had devoted their lives to upholding that order.
There’s only one problem. Canonically, that’s not actually the last Jedi tree. To quote Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back, thanks to a 2015 comic book prequel to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there is another. And it was planted by people connected to the new trilogy’s core cast.
The fourth and final issue of Marvel’s Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens — Shattered Empire series, set three months after the events of Return of the Jedi, sees Luke Skywalker and Rebel pilot Shara Bey set out into the heart of Imperial-controlled space on a particular mission. “In the lab at the heart of the base is something the Emperor stole a long time ago,” Luke helpfully explains. “We’re taking it back.”
That “something” turns out to be two things: trees that are, as the ever-ready-to-assist Luke reveals, “all that remain of the tree that grew at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. The Force is with them.”
(Fans of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series had seen this tree before; it had been introduced in the show’s fifth year as the Great Tree, and showed up in a handful of episodes throughout the remainder of the show. Canonically, the tree was removed as what had been the Jedi Temple on the planet became the Imperial Palace and home to the Emperor himself.)
This means that, by this point in Star Wars mythology, there were at least two, if not three, Force trees. The third being the one on Ahch-To, which is presumably not one of the two trees from Coruscant, given both its size — although, who knows how quickly space trees grow? — and the fact that the Ahch-To temple predates the Coruscant temple.
Both of the Coruscant trees are rescued in the comic story, of course. Luke says that “one is spoken for, obviously,” but the other is given to Shara Bey and her husband, Kes Dameron — who, yes, have a son called Poe, who’ll one day grow up to be Oscar Isaac — who are seen planting the tree on their new home on Yavin 4 on the final page of the comic. It’s less clear where Luke’s tree went, although common sense would suggest his Jedi Training Academy that was destroyed by Ben Solo as seen in flashback during The Last Jedi.
Nonetheless, unless Yavin 4 has been destroyed offscreen between the events of the Shattered Empire comic book and The Last Jedi, there is at least one Force-sensitive tree out there, waiting to be discovered by the new Last Jedi, Rey — and she even knows someone who grew up with it in their backyard.
Foreshadowing, or just a strange coincidence, it’s unclear — but it’s worth remembering that Shattered Empire is a canonical story, as per the revised approach to Star Wars spinoffs post-Disney purchase. Hey, J.J.: If you want to build a whole new Jedi Order by the end of Episode IX, the groundwork has already been laid. Or, at least, the landscaping.