THE NEW YORK TIMES – While they tell tales of Death Stars and daddy issues, the “Star Wars” movies are also stories about duality: how goodness and evil can coexist — on the same planet or inside the same person — and what happens when they collide on an intergalactic scale.
These themes are revisited once again in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” the eighth episode in the science-fiction saga that George Lucas started in 1977. “The Last Jedi,” which opens on Dec. 15, is the first to be written and directed by Rian Johnson (“Brick,” “Looper”). It follows the resounding success of “The Force Awakens,” directed by J. J. Abrams in 2015, about two young heroes, a scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) and a renegade stormtrooper named Finn (John Boyega), caught up in the search for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill).
The new film continues where “The Force Awakens” left off, as Rey and Luke are about to meet on the planet Ahch-To, and it promises a further exploration of their relationship to the sullen evildoer Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and his nefarious master, Snoke (Andy Serkis). It also features the final performance in the series from Carrie Fisher, who played Leia and who died last December.
At a running time of some two and a half hours, “The Last Jedi” continues the adventures of Finn and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and their adversaries Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Somehow it finds room for the new characters Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), and a wide-eyed alien species called porgs.