What Was That Mysterious Book in ‘The Last Jedi’ Trailer?

Ryan James
Movies Star Wars
Movies Star Wars

If you’re anything like us, by now you’ve seen the incredible trailer for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi many, many times. We’ve pored over every scene looking for clues and Easter eggs, any hint at what surprises the hugely anticipated next entry in the beloved saga might have in store for us. There was one particular scene that caught our interest – what’s up with that mysterious book that Luke Skywalker (we presume) touches? We believe that this book is the fabled Journal of the Whills. Apparently, we’re not alone, as traffic to that page on the Wookieepedia immediately spiked after the trailer’s release.

What Is the Journal of the Whills?

The Journal of the Whills dates back to the first drafts of George Lucas‘ Star Wars scripts. It’s thought to be a kind of bible , or history of the Star Wars galaxy. A sort of Star Wars equivalent to The Silmarillion from The Lord of the Rings. One especially noteworthy passage from the book goes as follows;

First comes the day
Then comes the night.
After the darkness
Shines through the light.
The difference, they say,
Is only made right
By the resolving of gray
Through refined Jedi sight.

―Journal of the Whills, 7:477

The Ancient Order of the Whills were a group of Force-sensitive shaman that predated the Jedi and Sith. Together they chronicled the history of the galaxy and that chronicle became known as the Journal.

You may recall that Chirrut Îmwe and Baze Malbus from Rogue One, referred to themselves as Guardians of the Whills – was this foreshadowing The Last Jedi, perhaps?

Is the Book in the Trailer the Journal of the Whills?

In the long, complicated history of the Star Wars canon, there really hasn’t been much talk of books, by which we mean actual, bound books made of paper. Honestly, this bookcase from the trailer may be the first books we’ve ever seen in the saga

The most significant book referenced in the Star Wars saga is the Journal of the Whills, and even that is mentioned infrequently. In fact, while the Journal comes up quite a bit in the many ancillary novels and comics, it is never spoken of in any of the films. The first reference to the Whills in a Star Wars film came in Rogue One. The fact that a book – something not found in abundance in the Star Wars universe – is placed so prominently in the trailer means that this is one important book.

We also know that Luke is currently living in exile on the planet Ahch-To, rumored to be one of the locations of the Jedi Order’s first temple, which Luke went in search of after the destruction of his Jedi Order at the hands of his nephew, Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren.

It’s entirely possible that Luke did, in fact, find that first temple and the fabled Journal. And we’re betting that’s the book we see in the trailer.

What Could This Mean for the Jedi?

Throughout the history of the Star Wars saga, we’ve understood the Force in a binary way – the Light Side of the Force versus the Dark Side of the Force, Jedi vs. Sith. But it was Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jin who believed Anakin Skywalker to be the prophesied “Chosen One“, the Jedi that would finally bring “balance” to the Force.

Well, we all know how that turned out.

darth vader

In the Last Jedi trailer, Luke ominously says “I only know one truth… it’s time for the Jedi to end” and it’s hard to argue with that sentiment. Because really, what has the neverending war between Jedi and Sith actually wrought other than the near complete destruction of both orders?

In the passage from the Journal referenced above, there is one line that’s especially curious, “The difference, they say/Is only made right/By the resolving of gray/Through refined Jedi sight.” In other words, instead of being locked in a perpetual battle between Light and Dark, those that are Force-sensitive should strive to achieve a balance between the two sides of the Force, becoming gray, which is itself a balance between white and black.

So when Luke says that he believes that the Jedi order has to end, instead of hinting that Luke has gone full Sith, what he’s saying, from a certain point of view, is actually quite hopeful. In order to finally achieve peace in the Star Wars universe, the Jedi and the Sith must be eliminated as concepts. For true peace, those with command of the Force must learn to embrace balance and strip away the extremes. To become, in short, Gray.

Ryan James
Film geek with (often) questionable taste, recovering (but not really) goth, gamer, horror movie fan, podcast enthusiast, alarmingly clumsy
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