A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, back in 1977, characters didn't die in films. Oh, some did — a few secondary characters. But the heroes? The villains? They all lived to see another day and another sequel. It wasn't until the 21st Century roared in with fantasy tales like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead that killing off scores of characters in every installment became the way things were done now. Since that is the way things are done, who dies in The Last Jedi?
One character who does *not* die in The Last Jedi is Leia. This is important, because, as we all know, Carrie Fisher went into cardiac arrest one year ago while on a flight home to Los Angeles and passed away. Rian Johnson had an out built into the film already, the point where the bridge is blown up on the main Resistance ship, and Leia is thrown into space. But instead of retooling and having her offed to match reality, he kept her fantastic, self-rescuing princess act, and she lived through the film.
So, who did die in The Last Jedi? Let's run down the characters as they went.
Rose Tico's Sister, Paige
It's a moment that happens extremely early in the film. We don't even know who this girl "Paige" is yet, or why she has an amulet necklace. She's just yet another victim of Poe's ill-thought-out plan to take out a dreadnought.
It isn't until later, when we meet Rose, that Paige's death starts to have a slow burning effect. By the time we reach the fight on Crait, and watch as Poe's plans might kill two Ticos in one film, the memory of Paige's last moments click into place.
Right when we thought Kylo Ren was about to fire on the bridge, he lowered his hand.
Too bad that Force sensitivity wasn't had by his wingmen. They picked up the slack when Kylo didn't fire, and blew the good Admiral Ackbar and Kylo's mother, Leia, into space. Leia survived, because that's what she does. But it was goodbye to the internet's favorite calamari career officer.
Supreme Leader Snoke
Let's not pretend we didn't see this coming. The entire scene with Kylo and Rey in the middle of The Last Jedi was a beat-for-beat remake of the same situation in Return of the Jedi, when Vader brings Luke to the Emperor.
The only difference is that Vader's emotional pain ripped through the screen as he fought himself internally between choosing his master or his son. Kylo Ren had no such qualms. He was there to take out one person: Snoke, so he could rule the First Order, with dreams of having Rey by his side.
This was one of the most beautiful shots in the entire film: the moment when Vice Admiral Holdo lightspeeds right into General Hux's dreadnought. Holdo's time in the series was short, but she sure made the most of it.
The silence as the explosions came doubled as a moment of silence for the bravest woman that Poe Dameron ever underestimated. In space, no one can hear you scream, neither in terror nor in triumph. Now that, sir, is how you take down a dreadnought.
All the work that Phasma's one blue eye did from inside her damaged helmet during her final moments alive should earn her an Oscar.
Abrams might have not realized what he was creating when he made the first confirmed female Stormtrooper leader in the whole of Star Wars, but Johnson knew how big a deal it was when it had Finn be the one to take her down.
When we met Luke Skywalker all those years ago on Tatooine, he was staring out at the horizon, watching the twin suns set... dreaming of adventure.
When we left Luke Skywalker at the end of The Last Jedi, he was staring out at the horizon, watching the twin suns set... knowing he had finished his work.
But Hamill has confirmed he's contracted for Episode IX, so we look forward to seeing him as a Force Ghost in the final film.
The Last Jedi has been the most divisive film in the canon so far, eclipsing even the prequels. Those who hate the film claim that it "killed their childhood." It showed Luke to be a man of many sides, who makes mistakes and has regrets, and not as the hero he was all those decades ago. It shows the victory over the Empire to be only a short-lived one, and that only a generation later, all that death was for nothing.
You know what? Good.
Childhood is a time for simple answers and simple heroes. Good and bad are black and white, wins are forever, and everyone lives happily ever after.
Except that's not the way the world is. Good people do terrible things, and bad people do small acts of kindness. Heroes aren't perfect — they can be as weak and small as everyone else. There is no such thing as happily ever after. Wins aren't forever.
No war ever really ends. The arc of the universe may bend towards justice, but we have to jump up and down on it constantly to keep it bending that way.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi killed your childhood because 2017 isn't a place for children. We have to grow up and take our place in history. The Last Jedi is here to come along with us, the film we deserve at the time we need it most.