Say what you like about Rian Johnson’s take on Star Wars (and my goodness have people said a lot about it), but you can’t fault The Last Jedi’s bravery. Johnson didn’t simply nod his way through a nostalgic victory lap as JJ Abrams had done with the hugely enjoyable The Force Awakens. He wanted to push the boundaries of what a Star Wars movie could be, whether hardcore fans liked it or not. Some did, and some really didn’t to the extent that, even six years later, he can’t tweet anything without being slated for “ruining” Star Wars.
For what it’s worth, we love Star Wars and we think The Last Jedi is right up there with the best movies in the history of the franchise. We’re particularly fascinated by one of the new Star Wars characters introduced in the film, though. We want to see more of ‘Broom Boy’, and we think that the most recent Star Wars series used the Force to swing that door wide open.
As we said, it’s been six years, so we’ll refresh your memory on that little lad and why he could be so important to new movies in the Star Wars universe. Broom Boy – he’s actually called Temiri Blagg, apparently – is one of many stable hands working in the casinos of Canto Bight. In the final scene of the movie, we see him telekinetically pick up his broom as he looks out at the Millennium Falcon flying away.
On the face of it, it’s the tiniest moment. If you’ve watched the Star Wars movies in order as often as we have, you’ll have seen countless Jedi doing exceptional things with the Force. But this was different. As far as we know, Broom Boy wasn’t part of the Skywalker family tree, nor was he a Kenobi or a Palpatine. He was a symbol of hope, showing all of us that Force-sensitivity was about more than just being born into a handful of families.
And that brings us to today, and the aftermath of Ahsoka. One of the joys of that show was the journey Sabine Wren took from being entirely unsuited to the Jedi arts to using the Force to help Ezra Bridger escape Peridea. Sabine wasn’t necessarily born Force-sensitive, but her dedication and desire allowed her to wield Jedi-like powers.
Ahsoka showrunner Dave Filoni has very much followed in Johnson’s footsteps here. Filoni has always been interested in exploring the building blocks of the Force and its spiritual side through the animated shows – the Mortis Gods are a prime example of this – so it was only a matter of time before he brought this curiosity about the Force into the live-action Star Wars world.
Of course, Force-sensitive children have always been out there, unconnected to the famous families. In the years before Order 66, the Jedi Order would sense these children and bring them for training. But obviously, with so few Jedi around and no central organization for them, that hasn’t happened in the era of the Sequel Trilogy. The Sith believed that they and their Inquisitors had done a stellar job of wiping out the Jedi.
But Broom Boy showed that wasn’t the case. It wasn’t just that scattered Jedi survivors were still fighting the good fight, children were still being born with Force-sensitivity and they were still a representation of hope for the galaxy, whether they spent their time lifting rocks with Yoda or not. Those who rubbish Broom Boy on the basis that the Force has always been democratized are missing the fact that there was no way of finding these children by the time of the Sequel Trilogy, with Luke Skywalker’s Jedi academy destroyed.
Broom Boy is a symbol that Force-sensitive abilities are still out there and still presenting hope, free of the legacy of the Skywalkers and the Palpatines. That’s partly why it was so disappointing to see another of The Last Jedi’s most impressive decisions retconned away in The Rise of Skywalker – that of Rey’s parentage. The idea that somebody as powerful, even before her training, as Rey could be born to two people with no Force abilities is so important and a message full of hope.
However, The Rise of Skywalker decided to tie Rey to Palpatine, as if there was no way a defiant future hero could be anything but a descendant of another powerful Force-wielder. And that’s even before we get to her decision to assume the Skywalker name, as if she could only confirm her heroism by tying herself to the past.
But as for the future, we know that one of the new Star Wars movies will follow Rey as she attempts to establish a new Jedi Order. There’s no reason she couldn’t do this with the help of Sabine Wren, assuming she makes it back to the main galaxy after the events of Ahsoka episode 8. And hey, maybe even Broom Boy will sweep in (sorry) and help out too.
Broom Boy isn’t simply Rian Johnson’s reminder to us all that Force-sensitive children once came from all walks of life. He shows that, even in the darkest of times, the light side of the Force presents a glimmer of hope for a better future out in the galaxy. The Jedi can be killed, but the goodness and light that they represent can ignite anywhere – even in the dusty corners of a casino planet.
Elsewhere, find out why George Lucas was terrified that Star Wars would “die” and look ahead to the latest dose of small screen Star Wars that’ll be new on Disney Plus, with the Andor season 2 release date.