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Watching the movie, it seems like

Rey is on the island with Luke for weeks.

But the

assault on the resistance fleet seems to take like 2 days. Even the mention of going to get the hacker and back was like 18 hrs each way. And then there was talk of like 16 hours of fuel reserves.

So, it's all a little confusing. Can we determine the time span of the movie? And if so, what is it?

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  • 7
    Seemed like it was around 2 days, not there was probably a time jump from when Rey hands Luke the lightsaber to when the rest of the plot starts. Rey's plot is probably not in sync with the rest of the plot
    – Edlothiad
    Dec 15, 2017 at 17:32
  • @Edlothiad: That last sentence is my theory as well. It just threw me off completely.
    – PiousVenom
    Dec 15, 2017 at 17:35
  • 11
    "Rey's plot is probably not in sync with the rest of the plot." But her physic conversations seemed to be in sync with the other plotline. Probably just a case of bad writing unfortunately. Dec 15, 2017 at 18:50
  • 7
    Probably a reference to the similar lack of a sensible timeline in Lukes training vs. the Millennium Falcons trip between Hoth and Bespin. Dec 15, 2017 at 23:29
  • 2
    A few hours too long, by my count.
    – Broklynite
    Dec 21, 2017 at 12:16

3 Answers 3

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I rewatched the movie paying special attention to Rey’s timeline on the island; Your intuition sounds correct about the other plot. From what we can see, Rey’s time on the island lasts two days and two nights.

Details with spoilers below.

Day 1: Tries to give Luke the lightsaber, fails, follows him around. Visits the tree with the Jedi texts as sunset is approaching.

Night 1: Chewie almost eats a porg. Luke watches R2-D2’s projection of Leia from the first Star Wars and decides to train Rey. Wakes Rey up and tells her to meet him at dawn for a first lesson.

Day 2: Rey wakes up for training, sees Kylo for the first time. Trains at the top of the mountain, senses the dark place for the first time. Luke doesn't want to train her after that. Rey and Chewie try to contact the Resistance but can’t. Rey trains with her staff and a lightsaber, and talks to Kylo a couple of more times throughout the day. She asks Luke about Kylo and he tells her the first version of the “How Kylo destroyed the temple…” story.

Night 2: Kylo tells Rey the second version of the story. Rey goes to the dark place and has a vision (sort of). She goes back to the hut she’s been staying in and talks to Kylo and touches him; Luke shows up and blows up the hut. They fight and he tells her third version of the story. She offers him his lightsaber once more, and when he doesn’t take it, flies off on the Millenium Falcon.

A reason I think this seems so long is that the island has extreme weather patterns--going from sunny to stormy multiple times per day. However, in the end we only see two sunsets day/night cycles, which matches decently to the other characters’ timelines.

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    It's possible she is on the island longer; it's not clear how much time elapsed between her departure from the rebel base in Force Awakens and the rebel evacuation; that could be hours, days, or longer. Clearly we're seeing events out of time sequence at some point, since Force Awakens ends with the lightsaber stare-off between Rey and Luke and that's still going on when we return to Rey after Finn wakes up on the cruiser. I interpreted that segue as a bit of a narrative flashback. Dec 18, 2017 at 14:55
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    It's certainly possible! However, I interpreted the end of TFA as a narrative flash /forward/ to the beginning of TLJ. Luke visiting the Falcon/Chewie roasting porgs strike me as first-night activities. However, at the very least, everything from what's labeled above as night 1 through night 2 happens over that short time, as it starts to sync with Kylo's timeline.
    – Kitkat
    Dec 18, 2017 at 16:31
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    Luke was only planning to teach her three lessons as I remember as well... and I do not think he even got through all three.
    – Odin1806
    Dec 20, 2017 at 19:28
  • @Kitkat - The reader-book "Chewie and the Porgs" indicates that the night after he tried roasted porg he also had time to find a fishing hole.
    – Valorum
    Dec 25, 2017 at 22:09
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While Kitkat takes what we see on the screen as one linear timeline we must consider off-screen time, which likely is significantly longer than we might think.

The film opens with the bombardment of the First Order on the Resistance base on D'Qar. The Base they'd just fought to protect against the First Order. While they didn't know what planet they were on at the end of The Force Awakens, they knew the Resistance were in the Ileenium system.

Snoke was, however, uninterested in just finding the planet and just wanted the end of the Resistance, suggesting they simply destroy the entire system.

Snoke replied with cold satisfaction. “We do not need it. Prepare the weapon. Destroy their system.”
Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Official Novelisation

Between the destruction of Starkiller Base, the First Order re-grouping somewhere to gather whatever forces they have left, and the construction or the deployment of the Dreadnought, the finding of the Resistance base on D'Qar and getting to D'Qar would've taken some time. All the while, Rey is on the Island with Luke.

Rian notes on his choice to start the film one second after the end of the previous. With Rey handing Luke his lightsaber on Ahch-To. Rey has clearer spent time on Ahch-To that was not seen in the film.

In every other case, Star Wars movies jumped forward in leaps of time. I knew I was supposed to do that but the last image was intriguing. I knew I wanted to know where we were going next.”

While in the film we do see a possible two sun-rises and sun-sets, for Rey to have made note of Luke's "daily routine" and for Chewbacca to have become so impatient with Luke to kick his door in would've taken more than simply a few minutes. To really be able to understand" someone's daily routine takes at least several days to a week, and while Chewie may be hotheaded, Luke is an old friend that he's not seen for decades, being sapient he likely understands he needs time to come out of his exile and wouldn't simply go kicking his door down.

We know the resistance portion of the film takes no more than 36 hours, depending on how long the hyperspace jump from the Ileenium System to the Crait System was. We know they had ~18 hours of fuel before Finn set off for Canto Bight, and there weren't more than a couple of hours elapsed before that. This gives us a lower bound of at least 19 hours, after the arrival in the Crait system. The escape to Crait seems at times to be really slow going and at other times very quick, transport ships seem to travel at the speed of plot. Either way, they were on Crait long enough to have set up their computers and collected the weapons, fueled the salt skiffs etc. But not long enough that they weren't certain all the transports had arrived

The Falcon also had to have long enough to get rid of all the Fighters and the Walkers long enough to walk to the base before Kylo could enter it. That probably adds another few 10s of minutes, etc.

2

The Sequel Trilogy is the shortest Star Wars trilogy in terms of in-universe time by far, and The Last Jedi arguably has the shortest time frame within the limits of what is onscreen.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is set in 34 ABY, which is the same year Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi takes place. In fact, TLJ picks up immediately after TFA; this the only instance in the series to that point where there is no time jump between installments. Rey is 19 years old when she begins her journey at the start of TFA and 20 when it ends in Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. This bookends how much time can pass in TLJ.

We are also given important milestones within the film itself.

Rey’s first “Force Bridge” with Kylo is on the morning when Luke is supposed to teach her the first lesson — she tried to shoot Kylo and put a hole in the stone hut, before she had her first lesson.

This means she wasn’t on the island that long before the first lesson, because the time line of events went:

  • Chewie kicked Luke’s door in and revealed himself—>
  • Luke asks “where is Han?”—>
  • Luke goes on the Falcon—>
  • Artoo plays Leia hologram—>
  • Luke agrees to train Rey with 3 lessons starting “tomorrow” morning.

Once the Force Bridge happens Rey only spends less than 18 hours on Ahch-To because Kylo is seen getting his wound stitched. This happens after he refused to kill Leia (he still had the black patch on his wounds while in his TIE fighter). Shortly after Leia flies back to the ship they announce they have around 18 hours of fuel left. Added to this and not clear whether it is kept entirely within these 18 hours is the completion of the master codebreaker mission, evacuation of Resistance fleet personal to resistance base, the First Order base assault, and Luke’s arrival to conclusion of the film.

So we can estimate the film might occur as short as about a day (not less than 18 hours) up to over the span of about 2-3 days, and perhaps as long as a week, from its opening scene to credits.

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