One of the most talked about quotes from Star Wars: The Last Jedi was "let the past die," which was not only said by Kylo-Ren but is also what many fans felt was Rian Johnson's message for the series in general. Considering the mixed opinions fans have had with The Last Jedi, it's fair to say that it wasn't a message that was well-received. That being said, Johnson has clarified his comments and claims that "letting the past die" isn't the message he was trying to get across.
Speaking with the Empire Film Podcast, Johnson states that he doesn't think destroying what's come before is what should be taken away from the film since that's what the villain, Kylo-Ren, believes in. Rather, he thinks we should learn from the past and build on what's still relevant, which is what Rey eventually did.
"Kylo's feeling about the way to move forward is to cut yourself off from the past which is something which is sort of a rebellious [feeling], running away from your parents home… cutting it off and saying 'I can be who I want to be in life.' I think a lot of us have done some version of that in their life at some point. It's not ultimately where I come down in terms of the idealogical argument that I believe in," Johnson said. "For me, I always think that if you're cutting off the past, you're fooling yourself and you're just burying it somewhere where it's always going to come back. And the only way forward is where Rey actually lands, which is to build on the past. Not necessarily to wallow in it, the way that Luke is doing… with Yoda's lesson to him, with the Jedi books. Not to just wallow in its destruction… But to take what's best from in it and build on it, and appreciate it, and move forward, which is what Rey's path in the movie to some extent."
Luke was also an advocate of letting the past die since he felt that his failures and the teachings of the Jedi are what led to Ben Solo turning into Kylo-Ren. He wallowed in it for the longest time but after meeting Rey and one last lesson from Yoda, he decides to sacrifice his life and finally help The Resistance.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi might still be showing in some theaters. Expect a home release schedule for it soon.