"Star Wars: The Last Jedi," is the first time we've seen a "Star Wars" film open immediately after the previous one. The longest gaps between films spanned decades, the shortest gaps less than a year, but time had always passed.
"The Last Jedi" picks up moments after "The Force Awakens" ended, and that ending was bleak. The center of government in the galaxy was destroyed. An entire sun was consumed, and a planet blown up. But most devastating of all was the death of Han Solo.
The death of Han Solo, murdered at the hands of Kylo Ren, his own son, was a seismic event in terms of "Star Wars." From the 1977 debut of the first film, Han Solo has been one of the most popular characters in the franchise. Brought to life by Harrison Ford, Solo was a charming rogue and smuggler who reluctantly joined the Rebellion against the Empire. But for the characters in the "Star Wars" universe, the pace of "The Last Jedi" leaves them no time to mourn.
"The Last Jedi" opens moments after "The Force Awakens" ends, and Oscar Isaac, who plays the pilot Poe Dameron, said at the press conference that there was just no time for worrying about Han's death. "It's a dire situation and the Resistance is on its last legs. We're trying to survive, and the First Order is right on top of us. It's like war, and you have to keep moving and fight to survive. Everything that happens in 'The Force Awakens' just keeps pushing and reaches a critical mass."
John Boyega, who plays Finn, agreed. "We're just keeping it moving. The pressure is on. That was the thing that was unique to me about this movie is the commentary on war. There hasn't been a 'Star Wars' movie yet that handles war like this one does. It's messy. In terms of Han, we all feel sentimental, but Finn has a back injury, he's got stuff to do."
But Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, had a different perspective, insisting that Solo's death profoundly affected her character. "Rey is very much affected by Han's death. Rey has been alone for a very long time and Han without trying to, she seeks something in him because there's an intimacy and something there she never dreamed of, and it's snatched away. For Rey, she has some time to ask some questions and wonder what it is that would lead someone [like Kylo Ren] to do something like that."
For General Leia, it won't be the first time she'll have to shelve her mournful feelings to fight the war. In the original "Star Wars," after watching the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan, she still has to get the Death Star plans to the Rebels. "There are no time for our sorrows," she told Commander Willard once she arrived on Yavin. And with the First Order bearing down on her at the end of "The Force Awakens," she'll have to find another time to deal with them as well.
But there's every chance that "The Last Jedi" will end in an even more dire situation than "The Force Awakens" did. And these characters might have so much more to mourn later — when they finally find the time.