Is the title "The Last Jedi" singular or plural?

119

7

As we all know, the plural of Jedi is Jedi.

In my country (Poland) the local title ("Ostatni Jedi") also uses words that have the same singular and plural form, so it's not conclusive. How is it in other countries?

Could it be that the title of the movie refers not to a single Last Jedi (Luke Skywalker), but maybe to more than one person? Maybe including Rey, maybe Yoda, maybe the whole concept of "time for the Jedi to end"?

mzywiol

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 1 448

27Same for Spain: "Los últimos Jedi" is definitely plural. Singular would've been "El último Jedi" (m.) or "La última Jedi" (f.). But then again, making it singular in some non-English languages would've needed for the gender to be specified, which might have been seen as plot-revealing, so maybe they kept it plural just to avoid that. – walen – 2018-01-15T10:24:20.390

5Isn't this just the same as in "The Return of the Jedi"? – Paŭlo Ebermann – 2018-01-15T22:06:33.610

1@PaŭloEbermann Doesn't that title refer to the Jedi as a phenomenon, a craft, a style of life, rather than individuals? – MEMark – 2018-01-17T20:22:09.677

2@i486 In my question I linked to another article on this subject (on the SciFi Stack Exchange) that clarifies that the plural of Jedi is indeed Jedi. – mzywiol – 2018-01-17T21:55:15.150

2I always assumed the title was intentionally ambiguous in this regard to add to the intrigue of the story. Are they talking about just Rey? Just Luke? A whole bunch of Jedi? You might have to watch the entire saga to completion to find out what they meant. – Seth R – 2018-01-18T02:03:34.797

@walen: that's interesting in light of "El retorno del Jedi". With a lifetime experience of awful Spanish translations (topped by "Cincuenta Sombras de Gray") I would bet on incompetence and not on subtlety. – Martin Argerami – 2018-01-20T18:24:40.243

Answers

24

It's quite ambiguous, and fortunately so!

As shown by existing answers, director Rian Johnson seems to have a clear answer to the question, but that doesn't make the title of his movie less ambiguous, especially since many of the film's official translations deviate from his opinion (neither do we know who was ultimately responsible for the title anyway). Of course the decisions of whatever international marketing division aren't necessarily more significant than the director's interpretation either, but this unclarity even among the official channels adds to the high ambiguity of the original title. Seeing how that ambiguity is just centred around the specificities of the English language and the declination of a fictitious word, it might be entirely coincidental and not intended by the film-makers at all, but it is still very much there, and quite apparently so (as your question and the interest it generates shows afterall).

We could argue if Luke Skywalker is the only Jedi left or if there are technically other Jedi around. But this is also made quite difficult by the unclarity what a "Jedi" actually is (which isn't helped by the institutionalized arm of the Jedi having been destroyed with the rise of the Empire at the end of the prequel trilogy, and the sequel trilogy bringing much more of the fuzzy mysticism back into the Jedi idea). Is it any force sensitive person? Is it some force sensitive gal carrying a bunch old Jedi codices around with her? Or is it only someone who went through a proper 4 year B.Sc. programme in Jedi?

But the ambiguity doesn't just end there. As other answers have shown, the films themselves do indeed use these words (in the title sequences as well as in dialogue) to describe a specific individual with them, Luke Skywalker that is. But then again, the mere fact that Luke might indeed be the last of the Jedi makes him also pretty much a representative of the very Jedi religion itself. So he might very well incorporate singular and plural in unison.

But beyond arguing about what a Jedi is, how many there are left, or what whoever from Disney thinks the title refers to, there is a strong theme of ending/renewing the era of the Jedi that drives itself through the movie. Afterall, Luke himself (at least initially) wants the Jedi to end for having grown arrogant and Kylo Ren actually agrees with him in that (as does Yoda to some degree). Although, the film isn't entirely uncompromising in its "out with the old one, in with the new one" attitude, especially when it has Rey save the old Jedi codices, there is a strong sense of, if not ending, then at least renewing or revising the Jedi idea. And you might argue that the notion of the entire Jedi era ending is represented more by the plural than by the singular, but that alone could very well just be a subjective impression, too.

What all these ramblings are hopefully showing is that this isn't really a simple question to answer. But it's also not a simple question to ask either, seeing how the ambiguity adds to the theme of ending the Jedi as well as, in its referral to Luke himself, to the question what Luke actually means for the Jedi as a whole and ultimately to the question what "Jedi" and being a Jedi really means, nothing of which is simple to answer. So even if that looks like a lame excuse, we might just resort to the platitude that the question itself is the answer. Coincidental or not, it's a really interesting question and Rian Johnson might either have been joking or a little bit too dismissive in his judgment of it. ;-)

Napoleon Wilson

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 38 524

1I think what a Jedi is or even, what Jedi can be, is certainly something that has been explored in previous EU. (and briefly in new EU. ie: Ordu Aspectu)--it isn't singular, and given that this film IMO does rely on it's ambigious nature with Rey and Ren specifically through Snoke and Luke respectively, it's fair to assume that a Jedi or a Jedi Order can manifest---even Yoda being able to evolve in the afterlife the way he does, suggests that even if one is declared a knight, doesn't mean a Jedi is suppose to stop learning, and therfor is an ongoing evolution. Nice answer! – Darth Locke – 2018-01-15T20:14:13.767

102

Is the title “The Last Jedi” singular or plural?

Despite what some translations may suggest, the title is singular.

During an interview with ABC News, director Rian Johnson said:

It's so funny when people started asking that, when the title was announced, because I never even pondered that question ... That seems like, to me, the most uninteresting question ... In my mind, it's singular.

If one's to consider the director's opinion as the de facto answer, well, then, there it is.

Charles

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 3 070

57"That seems like, to me, the most uninteresting question." I am surprised by this statement from a director, because this ambiguity is an excellent way to introduce a cryptically foreshadowed plot twist. – Maurycy – 2018-01-15T08:17:32.313

11I find it surprising that translators didn't have any official clarification about the ambiguous title (as opposed to the case of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for example). – Márton Molnár – 2018-01-15T08:46:05.167

2@MártonMolnár pretty sure the translators worked with a crazy schedule to publish it as soon as possible, such minor things simply wasn't on their mind. :) – Shadow Wizard – 2018-01-15T09:20:57.200

19I find this hard to believe. The ambiguity in the title served as food for speculation since its announcement. Even if it wasn’t “directly intended”, it’s hard to believe that the director lacks the most basic grasp of the English language, and missed it. – Konrad Rudolph – 2018-01-15T10:36:36.427

8@MártonMolnár it’s surprising the first time you hear it, but translators not only have no clarifications for subtle things, more than often, they don’t even have a script of any kind but only the spoken words of the movie itself, sometimes mumbled and overlaid with noises. Then, add to the picture that translators sometimes have no clue about the topic the protagonists are talking about… – Holger – 2018-01-16T18:18:00.113

1

Disney is a big enough company to have regional offices in Europe and they do have a controling hand regarding marketing and distribution of their movies there, so I highly doubt they had no say in what the foreign title of a Star Wars movie should be. - The plural translations where revealed back in February 2017, 10 months(!) before the movie was released in theaters.

– Oliver_C – 2018-01-16T21:53:22.667

55

This is community-wiki, so please contribute!

Though Rian Johnson has stated the title is singular (as per Charles' answer), for the record, here's a list of international translations of The Last Jedi, categorized by whether they are singular, plural or indeterminate (such as in English or languages which do not have a singular/plural distinction at all). Titles with asterisks are taken from Wikipedia; those without are from the more official IMDB AKA page.

TO-DO:

Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnian title)  Posljednji Jedi   
Malayalam                      സ്റ്റാർ വാർസ് : ദ ലാസ്റ്റ് ജെഡൈ *
Thai                           สตาร์ วอร์ส: ปัจฉิมบทแห่งเจได  *

PLURAL

Farsi (Iran)                   آخرین جدای
Bulgaria                       Последните джедаи
Estonia                        Viimased jedid
France (& Canada)              Les derniers Jedi
Hungary                        Az utolsó Jedik
Spanish-speaking countries     Los últimos Jedi
Portuguese-speaking countries  Os Últimos Jedi
French-speaking countries      Les derniers Jedi
German-speaking countries      Die letzten Jedi
Greece                         Οι τελευταίοι Τζεντάι
Italy                          Gli ultimi Jedi
Latvia                         Pēdējie Džedi *
Lithuania                      Paskutiniai Džedajai
Romania                        Ultimii Jedi
Russia                         Последние джедаи
Ukraine                        Останнi Джедаi
Serbia                         Poslednji džedaji  
Israel                         אחרוני הג'דיי (Achroney haJedi)
Slovakia                       Poslední Jediovia

SINGULAR

Arabic                         الجيداي الأخير (Al-Jidai Al-Akheer)
Iceland                        Síðasti Jedinn *
India                          Aakhiri Yodha
Lithuania                      Paskutinis Džedajus [alternative] *
Croatia                        Poslednji Džedaj
Turkey                         Son Jedi
Georgia                        უკანასკნელი ჯედაი (Uk’anask’neli Jedai) *
Slovenia                       Poslednji jedi

INDETERMINATE

English (Original title)       The last Jedi
Poland                         Ostatni Jedi
Japan                          最後のジェダイ (Saigo no Jedai)
Korean                         스타워즈: 라스트 제다이  
Taiwan                         最後的絕地武士 (Zuì hòu de Juédì Wǔshì) *
China                          最后的绝地武士 (Zuì hòu de Juédì Wǔshì) *
Vietnam                        Jedi Cuối Cùng
Czech Republic                 Poslední z Jediů

Wasabi

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 101

3While a fun compilation of data, this doesn't really address the heart of the question, which is whether there are multiple Jedi in the movie or just one. – TylerH – 2018-01-15T14:52:05.080

3@TylerH I totally agree with that. But then again, I guess we can still leave it be just for reference purposes (and to catch the otherwise coming, and even more useless, single-title answers). But if you have a reasonable answer to the actual question, be that based on the film or these titles, don't feel held back by the already accepted director quote, no matter what your conclusion is. – Napoleon Wilson – 2018-01-15T15:04:37.310

33@TylerH That being said, the question isn't actually if there are multiple Jedi in the film either. It's if the title refers to multiple Jedi. – Napoleon Wilson – 2018-01-15T21:17:14.630

3@TylerH I don't agree with that observation. The original post contains many questions, including the nature of the title in other countries, whether the title The Last Jedi is plural, and finally speculation on how the plot ties into the title. – Ghoti and Chips – 2018-01-16T10:14:47.140

1@GhotiandChips Notice I specified "the heart of the question"; while this might be a bit idiomatic, what I mean by that phrase is essentially "the thing OP really is wanting an answer to". It's true he asks "how is it in other languages" but that is an ancillary inquiry. What he really wants to know is the last paragraph, and what his title alludes to: how many "Jedi" are there in the movie; who counts as a Jedi? It's simply that one of the legs this question stands upon is the fact that OP is in a situation where foreign language comes into play. – TylerH – 2018-01-16T14:43:24.510

1@GhotiandChips the true answer to OP's question of the heart (so to speak) is given by Charles above, without any need to dive into the various international translations of the title. So, again, while this is a fun compilation of data for folks who enjoy that stuff, it doesn't offer any kind of conclusion/answer to the quandary. – TylerH – 2018-01-16T14:44:53.720

The so-called Malayalam title listed above (from Wikipedia), namely “സ്റ്റാർ വാർസ് : ദ ലാസ്റ്റ് ജെഡൈ”, is just the English words “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” transliterated into Malayalam script. (Not translated, just transliterated: it literally reads “sṟṟār vārs : da lāsṟṟ jeḍai”.)

– ShreevatsaR – 2018-01-17T00:04:19.567

@ShreevatsaR: Do you know the actual Malayalam title? If so, please edit the answer (and on Wikipedia too, while you're at it!). – Wasabi – 2018-01-17T09:16:54.650

Like the Malayalam answer given by @ShreevatsaR, the Korean title are the English words "Star Wars: Last Jedi" transliterated in to Korean – David Pell – 2018-01-17T10:45:23.173

Hot topic so I cannot edit: but the Croatian translation is "Posljednji Jedi" (e.g. https://www.blitz-cinestar.hr/cinestar/ratovi-zvijezda-posljednji-jedi/4640/1/1). It is singular though, but it could be considered plural, following some rules and exceptions.

– Zlatko – 2018-01-17T22:28:18.367

Someone put Brazil as "O Último Jedi", which is incorrect, according to IMDB, Wikipedia and ingresso.com.br (a Brazilian online ticket sales site), so I rolled that edit back. – Wasabi – 2018-01-19T12:14:58.583

30

The title of the film is spoken twice in a conversation late in the movie.

Luke Skywalker: I failed you, Ben. I'm sorry.

Kylo Ren: I'm sure you are! The Resistance is dead, the war is over, and when I kill you, I will have killed the last Jedi!

Luke Skywalker: Amazing. Every word of what you just said was wrong. The Rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi.

At a stretch Kylo’s comment could be using “Jedi” as a plural, grouping in the students he killed prior to Episode VII, but Luke’s response only makes sense if the word is singular (though he denies that he is truly the last).

Princess Ada

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 401

20

Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence, the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Skywalker, the last Jedi, has been destroyed.

Although BEFORE the film was released Rian Johnson insisted it was singular and specifically pertained to Luke, which is also stated in The Force Awakens opening crawl, and in which Luke's initial beliefs in not wanting to train Rey, confirm his statements, I believe those ideas are contested by the film's end.

  1. Although it took a bit of prodding, Luke does train Rey (also confirmed by action figures, Rey "Jedi Training"). So at the very least one can more safely say she became a Jedi apprentice. Now if she is truly a Jedi Knight by the film's end, I think is unclear, since he only gave her 3 lessons of the Jedi Order. However, she also has Jedi ancient texts, which may lead her to advance by the start of the next film.

  2. It's true we have seen Force-Ghosts before, which have only ever been characters that were, at some point, Jedi. In this film however,(Jedi Master & Knight) Yoda's Force-Ghost not only appears, but seems to have evolved to near materialization. So there may be an argument to be had, if a Force Ghost of a Jedi (Master, Apprentice, Knight) appears, if it counts on as a "Jedi" on screen? But one may also point out that Force Ghosts can help train/teach, and even in some rare circumstances, interact with the corporeal world. Yoda's existence at the very least helps Luke, to help Rey, to help Leia & the resistance. Also one reason Force Ghosts can appear from the netherworld seems to rely on Jedi training, and thus so far, only Jedi have returned.

  3. The film's ending scene. Although IMO the film's primary drive fixates on uncertainty, the ending with the young force-sensitive stable boy, Temiri Blagg, and tales of Luke Skywalker being passed on yet again, is like a song being sung across the galaxy. It's a symbol of hope--an awakening, suggesting that there may be more Jedi yet to come, although it is unclear if the new era of Jedi will resemble or embody the same exact principles or beliefs, as those seen in the recent past and if Rey is to be their new teacher.

  4. Although he has turned to the dark side, Kylo Ren (Ben Solo) was also once a Jedi apprentice and the final film seems like much hangs on Rey saving him from the dark side and to see if he will finish going down the Jedi path.

But to fully answer the question is hard, because of where the boundaries really lie for what a Jedi is/can be, but if we only reduce the rank of Jedi within any given known order to "Master" or "Knight" and if we take everything that is not either fully corporeal in nature, currently on a Jedi path to Knighthood, or even Knighthood/Masters as a rank themselves, then it appears that Luke may have been the Last Jedi [KNIGHT/Master] in the film and by the films end, despite that others may be on their way and/or Ghosts of Jedi Knights/Masters can appear to help guide them.

Darth Locke

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 5 501

3Note though that not all Force users (even not all light side users) are automatically Jedi. Like Chirrut Imwe from "Rogue One". – mzywiol – 2018-01-16T12:22:49.457

1Never said they were. Only refering to force ghost and possible context for upcoming film, based on context for this one (ie Jedi Master train an apprentice). CI is not even force-sensative, despite of his belief in the Force. The Q is specifically about a reference to "Jedi" themselves. – Darth Locke – 2018-01-16T16:11:59.697

1What do you mean, Chirrut Imwe isn't force sensitive? Did you notice him dodging gunfire, etc., despite being blind? – Wildcard – 2018-01-20T11:01:19.817

He may have been in tune with the Force, but I don't remember seeing "kenetic" abilities, which is usually what one sees with Force-Sensative beings. I also never found a SW source that outright said he was born Force-Sensative, unlike Maz Kanata that has confirmation in SWVD. In any case though, he is not a Jedi by any traditional means, which is what this Q is about. – Darth Locke – 2018-01-20T16:45:47.680

1

It does not matter.

In either case, last refers to the ending of the Jedi class.

The same discussion about singular or plural has been with Return of the Jedi.

Boondoggle

Posted 2018-01-15T01:14:23.323

Reputation: 195

You've linked to a question that received 58 upvotes and 8 answers scoring a combined 157 upvotes as a citation that it doesn't matter? One could well say that "movies don't matter," either, but it rather seems you're on the wrong site. – Wildcard – 2018-01-20T11:02:48.570

@Wildcard I would hesitate to think that's really what he's trying to say with his first sentence, though. – Napoleon Wilson – 2018-01-22T14:59:34.140