Whether you’ve followed the Star Wars franchise from the start or you’re a new fan, there’s no denying the lure of the series. Now the latest film in the franchise has arrived in theatres, and as a new generation of fans discover the rich characters and (mostly) well-developed plot, there are several lessons business leaders can take away from the film.
This story is filled with spoilers for The Last Jedi, so if you don’t want to know what happens in the newest installment, read this after you’ve seen the movie.
Although the newer episodes in the Star Wars franchise have introduced us to younger characters, what’s really attracted people is the reappearance of the original favorites — primarily Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
The Last Jedi places the focus quite a bit on Luke, and reveals how he realized that his conflicted pupil, Kylo Ren, would use his training for evil. As fans watch Luke pass the lightsaber to the next generation of Force users, they can apply the lessons learned to their own professional lives.
The Greatest Teacher
At the start of The Last Jedi, Luke declines to train Rey, citing his failure with Kylo, who has turned to the dark side. The entire experience has left Luke disheartened to the point of anger. He can’t let go of the past. Just as he’s preparing to burn the Jedi tree, Yoda appears with very valuable wisdom, as always.
“The greatest teacher, failure is,” Yoda says, proceeding to burn the tree down anyway, while cackling with laughter the whole time.
Yoda’s lesson, along with the destroyed tree, fits with an underlying theme in The Last Jediof destroying the past in order to make way for the future. Learn from past mistakes, and then let them go, moving onward and upward. Don’t be the business owner who clings to old traditions or methods, keeping you from making progress or noticing new opportunities.
By taking risks and, yes, making mistakes, professionals can take their businesses and careers to a higher level.
Goodbye to a Hero
As with Han Solo in The Force Awakens, we see the death of Luke Skywalker in The Last Jedi. But we can’t be sure we’ll never see Luke in future episodes, since very powerful Jedi often don’t actually die, but reemerge as “force ghosts.” Just as Yoda reemerged in this chapter, so may Luke if Rey needs his help in the years to come.
Even though we’re sad to see our hero’s demise, the franchise has brought a new crop of young heroes that have their own unique backstories. Fans old and new are embracing these characters, mourning the deaths of old favorites while anticipating what will happen next.
Business leaders will inevitably find themselves working with a wide range of people throughout their careers. Whether it’s a departing employee or the loss of a valuable client, professionals must learn to say their goodbyes, then focus on forming and nurturing new relationships.
If a leader has a team, they know they must ensure new employees have a smooth transition, while departing employees leave on as much of high note as possible.
The Future Awaits
Fans now anticipate the next episode of the trilogy, due in 2019, especially with Leia’s reassurance that the rebellion can now rise again. There is a solid hero to root for in Rey, along with a cast of strong characters with plenty of stories to tell. With the death of beloved Carrie Fisher, fans also know they’ve already lost Princess Leia, which means the next film will rely heavily on its newer cast. A great deal of time in The Last Jedi was dedicated to finalizing Luke’s relationship with the series, but that time doubly served to set Kylo Ren up as the villain fans need him to be to keep future episodes enthralling.
The team behind Star Wars realizes that in order to continue to remain interesting, they must keep the magic of the original episodes, while adding the new energy that comes from fresh characters. Entrepreneurs can learn a lot here. Their businesses must often hold true to original core values while still remaining innovative.
When Walt Disney Studios bought Lucasfilm and took over the Star Wars franchise, the film distributor knew it was important to win new audiences while still meeting the expectations of longtime fans. Businesses can apply this approach to their own decisions as they attempt to offer new products without alienating existing customers. The truth is, fans of any good product will stay loyal and adapt to changes if you make them in the right way.
This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com on December 19, 2017.