A welcome addition to Star Wars: The Last Jedi was the appearance of Jedi Master Yoda - or his Force ghost at least. A significant amount of time and preparation was invested, with the iconic teacher returning in his original puppet form and voiced and operated once again by the 73-year-old Frank Oz.
More critical fans, however, were surprised to see him having the power to control the weather and bringing down a lightning strike on the ancient Jedi tree in order to prove to Luke that there is more to the Force than old texts.
Had Rian Johnson made an ill-conceived break from the traditional Star Wars lore in this moment? Is the Force now just a random collection of powers more akin to the likes of the characters in Frozen than the quasi-religious abilities that we have grown up with for forty years? Apparently not.
In an interview with the LA Times, Rian Johnson explained, "The one point where we do introduce a bit of a twist in terms of Force ghosts is where Yoda calls down the lightning onto the tree. That, I think, is a tantalizing hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world."
Since then, fan theories are growing across the Internet that suggest that there must be far more to this than a random, poorly-thought-out expansion of the established range of Force powers. Surely, the theories say, backed up by this quote by the director, the scene is designed to ease fans into the idea that Luke is now a Force ghost. Seeing Yoda control the weather (and also cracking Luke on the nose painfully with his cane) greatly develops what we've seen so far from a deceased Jedi.
As such, the scene goes far beyond what we saw, far beyond a cameo from an older character, and sets audiences up subtly for a super-powered Master Skywalker in Episode IX. "See you around, kid," he calmly promised Kylo.
Despite Luke's death, have we actually been set up to see the iconic battle or collision of Force powers in Episode IX that people hoped to see more of in The Last Jedi? Is Yoda's new power a carefully executed introduction to new abilities for Luke?