One of the biggest surprises in Star Wars: The Last Jedi comes when a Force-ghost Yoda, returns in classic puppet form and brought to life by iconic voice actor Frank Oz. Yoda’s reappearance is a treat for fans, and ties the film directly to The Empire Strikes Back, another Star Wars middle chapter that finds a young and untrained Force-user seeking guidance from a Jedi master. From that glistening blue aura to John Williams’ iconic Yoda leitmotif, it’s hard not to get a little emotional during this reunion.
But the scene is also a bit of a trick. Luke, upset after Rey flies off to confront Kylo, and disenchanted with the Jedi doctrine housed in a mysterious and mystical Force tree, is about to burn it all down when Yoda manifests. Before Luke can light fire to the tree and the books inside, Yoda summons lightning from the sky and burns it himself.
"That library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess," Yoda says. It sounds cheeky, but he’s being literal: as we see later, Rey snatched the books before fleeing Ahch-To and hid them in a drawer on the Millennium Falcon (we briefly see her store them as she takes off, and get a better look near the film’s end when Finn opens the drawer to get a blanket for Rose). So yes, in addition to Luke’s lessons that Rey no doubt took to heart, she also has the literal tools to reform the Jedi Order, something Luke failed to fully accomplish. That’s another lesson Yoda imparts on Luke: "We are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters."
It’s a lovely moment between student and teacher, and shows us that even forty-some years later, Yoda still has lessons to bestow on "Young Skywalker." Considering Luke’s fate by the end of The Last Jedi -- becoming one with the Force in a sacrificial moment of heroism -- it seems likely that he’ll become her Yoda. But for now, she’s fully on her own. And because of that, we have to wonder: what is in those books and how will they help?
Luckily, there’s some precedence for Jedi tomes in Star Wars canon.