Jar Jar Binks was a trained Force user
November 1, 2015 6:33 PM   Subscribe

Here I will seek to establish that Jar Jar Binks, far from being simply the bumbling idiot he portrays himself as, is in fact a highly skilled force user in terms of martial ability and mind control. Furthermore, I assert that he was not, as many people assume, just an unwitting political tool manipulated by Palpatine-- rather, he and Palpatine were likely in collaboration from the very beginning, and it's entirely possible that Palpatine was a subordinate underling to Binks throughout both trilogies. And finally, given the above, I will conclude with an argument as to why I believe it is not only possible, but plausible that Jar Jar will make a profound impact on the upcoming movies, and what his role may be.
posted by josher71 (107 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
Jar Jar Binks: Legend of the Drunken Gungan
posted by leotrotsky at 6:35 PM on November 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


Seems legit.
posted by ELF Radio at 6:41 PM on November 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Something like this, or Luke going bad, might be the only thing that would actually make me interested in the new Star War.

Mostly because JJ Abrams ruined Star Trek, so I have zero faith in his vision.
posted by qcubed at 6:43 PM on November 1, 2015 [9 favorites]


What if Stalin was a fun guy who loved fart jokes? Is your mind blown, Internet?!
posted by munchingzombie at 6:49 PM on November 1, 2015 [22 favorites]


I will just take this opportunity to once again pass on the idea that if he fucks this up, we all call him Jar Jar Abrams for the rest of his life.
posted by hippybear at 6:56 PM on November 1, 2015 [139 favorites]


This is possibly the most important topic ever to be introduced to this community. Possible evidence of orbital megastructures around a nearby star cannot hold a candle to it. Oh, the profundity.
posted by y2karl at 7:01 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


JJ Abrams' Star Trek is a million times better than anything done with Star Trek since Deep Space Nine. Voyager and Enterprise were terrible and none of the movies since Khan were worth watching.
So, I'm not seeing how he ruined Star Trek... ESPECIALLY since his movies are in a different universe from the original Star Trek.
posted by Docrailgun at 7:02 PM on November 1, 2015 [31 favorites]


hippybear, the idea of "Jar Jar Abrams" has spread widely, and you HAVE to assume that J.J. would've thought of that before he signed to do this. So he is either adequately humbled enough to have real respect for the material, or his ego is so overblown that he will end up making the prequels look good by comparison. Of course, if he does fail, poor John Boyega will become "the new Anakin" and diversity in sci fi will take a giant step backwards.
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:05 PM on November 1, 2015


Interesting take (and I love this sort of fannish dissection and recombination), but... my gut feeling is that it gives Lucas too much credit for subtlety.
posted by metaquarry at 7:07 PM on November 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


You can tell that George Lucas - sorry, "Lumpawarroo" - put a lot of time and effort into this post.

It's heartbreaking, really.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:09 PM on November 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Eh. Robot Chicken was more succinct in putting this forward.
posted by nubs at 7:09 PM on November 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


Yousa smart!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Guys guys guys, we all know that the guy running around Cloud City with the icecream maker is the real secret mover and shaker of the Star Wars universe.
posted by thecjm at 7:10 PM on November 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


the real secret mover and shaker of the Star Wars universe.

I'm still holding out for the guy with the power converters at Tosche Station.
posted by nubs at 7:12 PM on November 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


hippybear, the idea of "Jar Jar Abrams" has spread widely

Yes, and I have several more weeks to keep spreading it. And so does everyone else.
posted by hippybear at 7:15 PM on November 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


> Mostly because JJ Abrams ruined Star Trek, so I have zero faith in his vision.

One of the ways Abrams messed up Star Trek was in trying to make it like Star Wars - grittier/more "realistic" sets, rebellious brat lead, chosen one narrative. So long as he doesn't try the reverse and turn Monomyth In Space into a Star Trek riff, I'm willing to give the new flick a shot. What I've seen of the film and it's production so far makes me think he's far better suited to this franchise.

And now, PIGS... IN... SPAAAAACE!
posted by timd at 7:19 PM on November 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


The JJ Abrams Trek movies were disposable garbage. The first one was sort of okay, but featured at least three plot points that were unforgivable:

1. Romulus is just, like, blown up by a star that went nova so quickly they had no time to evacuate the planet. Despite having, you know, star ships aplenty.
2. A villain that travels back in time and then lays low for about 20 years because the plot doesn't need him to start blowing things up before Kirk is old enough to stop him.
3. Kirk magically marooned in the exact same place as Spock. Against astronomical odds.

The second one was far, far worse. A nonsensical plot, a boring, whitewashed pale shadow of Khan, and teleporters that can magically teleport people across the galaxy. A dumb action movie that makes you want to see it once and never again. The worst thing about it? This inane plot twist that Marcus dethawed Khan to have him build big scary weapons because "savagery." Because we all know that when the US government wants to build a new fighter jet, they ignore the nerdy engineers and recruit some trained killers who are totally unfamiliar with modern technology.

ABRAMS TREK IS GARBAGE.
posted by ELF Radio at 7:21 PM on November 1, 2015 [48 favorites]


My son wrote this earlier today.

So, this was an absolutely hilarious and wonderful read. There are a few problems with it as a coherent theory that makes sense, though.

1. One of the most obvious is that the Expanded Universe continuity (which pre-dates the prequels), which included novelizations of the movies, while it is no longer canon, it was approved by Lucas at the time, and there's absolutely nothing to support it there. But that can be somewhat handwaved by that continuity no longer counting; still, there's no hint there of the original intent ascribed to Lucas by this theory.

2. The basic premise of this theory is that Jar-Jar can use force powers. There's one glaring flaw with this idea; Jedi and dark-siders alike repeatedly demonstrate the ability to sense the active usage of Force powers by other force users, or even just their presence. The only example who averts this is Palpatine, in his guise as a Senator, but other than the most subtle usages of mind-control, he does not seem to use his powers often. It defies belief that Jar-Jar can be repeatedly using his powers in the presence of one of the most capable Jedi Masters and one of the most talented Knights of the order without it being noticed.

3. There is another problem with the idea that Jar-Jar was meant to be a villain in league with Palpatine, which is that the Sith, the main villains of the series, are established in The Phantom Menace to operate on the Rule of Two, and the movie further establishes Darth Maul rather than Jar-Jar as Palpatine's apprentice. At no point does Jar-Jar fit into the rather simple master-apprentice power structure of the Sith.

4. Finally, there is an underlying assumption here of an original coherent intent by Lucas with The Phantom Menace that would line up with the next movies. There's a great deal to suggest that this is really not the case. For one thing, what footage we have of Lucas talking about the movie and Jar-Jar while it was being filmed suggests that it was supposed to be a somewhat lighter film than it ended up becoming, and that Jar-Jar was primarily supposed to be a funny character who would appeal to kids. Even leaving Jar-Jar out of it, just consider the continuity of the prequels for a moment; aside from establishing the backstory of Anakin Skywalker, the film has very little direct relevance to the events of the next two.

This is partly because, according to Lucas himself as he viewed the early screening of The Phantom Menace, "I may have gone too far in a few places." And several of the other people involved in making the movie, early on, outright acknowledged some of the many problems that plagued it. This, plus the critical reaction, caused Lucas to attempt a shift of direction and tone with the next two movies. Dooku's relative blank slate of a character, rather than proving Jar-Jar was the original intended villain, is probably indicative of nothing more profound than Lucas had no clear idea how to reach the endpoint of his story, which was Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader.
posted by COD at 7:21 PM on November 1, 2015 [24 favorites]


It's like the Star Wars version of the "Ron Weasely goes back in time and becomes Dumbledoor" fan theory.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:22 PM on November 1, 2015 [8 favorites]


Anyway more to the original topic, back sometime around 1991 or 1992, I settled in on the recliner in front of the television after putting in Star Wars and smoked a giant bowl and fell into this sort of odd reverie where I had an overarching vision of the entire 9 film series.

In it, Episode 1 begins with the assembly and activation of R2D2, who looks like a regular mech droid but who actually was basically a self-guided warhead who was aimed at the core of the Sith across great distance and many years. A warhead that was sent out without knowing exactly where it needed to go or how to find out where to be, but who, across all 9 films slowly maneuvers his way closer and closer to his goal.

C3PO is assigned to him as a, well, not really body guard, but some as a companion who serves to interface with R2 along his quest. Look at how much concern he shows toward R2 in Star Wars! He makes sure he's always found again and safe.

Anyway, this sort of opium vision inspired by THC and lack of sleep was incredibly detailed and really really WORKED as a giant long plot for the series. It had some sort of odd bookend scene deal which made it clear that the activation sequence and how it might have somehow been different led to the moment where R2 was standing exactly where he needed to be in order to destroy the Sith once and for all, sent forth decades if not lifetimes earlier, finally having completed his task.

Of course, Lucas ruined this entire amazing plot line with his Episode 1. He should have called me.
posted by hippybear at 7:23 PM on November 1, 2015 [27 favorites]




Given the recent episode 7 spoilers from the soundtrack, there may be more to this then people are giving it credit.
posted by roue at 7:30 PM on November 1, 2015 [18 favorites]


This might be one of my favourite fan theories. Usually you don't get something this well researched, plausible, or fan-bait(y). Maybe I love it because I think the more seriously you take Star Wars the more seriously this theory might rankle your chain. I used to know people who would turn absolutely livid reading this. It's so clear he was just a more mobile, proactive Yoda.

I sort of view Star Wars as having a whole bunch of isolated universes and that's what makes me happy. OT, PT, EU, Star Wars lore and canon have been difficult to get into and understand for a long time, Disney was smart to get rid of it.

Abrams Star Wars will be pretty and lifeless, he's so content to build off of nostalgia and reference without understanding the beating heart of what he likes. But with Star Wars turning into a Marvel Cinematic Universe type deal I'm actually excited. Rogue One looks like it could be amazing, maybe they'll do something with Thrawn, perhaps Jar Jar will get the movie he truly deserves.
posted by Neronomius at 7:36 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm still holding out for the guy with the power converters at Tosche Station.


That little shit ordered them, like, 30 parsecs ago! Never showed up to get them, and stiffed me on the invoice! I'm probably going to have to move them to some Jawas, and just eat most of the cost. Tried calling his uncle, no luck there. I think that whole sketchy family of his is dodging me.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:41 PM on November 1, 2015 [27 favorites]


Mostly because JJ Abrams ruined Star Trek, so I have zero faith in his vision.

Abrams is not and will never be canon, so I don't really know what you're talking about.

The fact that Lawrence Kasden (who wrote ESB) wrote the screenplay for VII gives me some level of faith. But really, given that six Star Wars feature length films have produced precisely 2.0 watchable movies (beginning and end of IV, V, non-Endor parts of VI), it would foolish for one's expectations to be anywhere but the cellar going into the new film.
posted by dry white toast at 7:43 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


no
posted by schroedinger at 7:44 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


I already reported this on Twitter, but here goes again --

Lore Sjoberg had Jar Jar conspiracy theories covered over a decade ago.
posted by JHarris at 7:45 PM on November 1, 2015 [7 favorites]


It's worth reading the comments over there - people are sharing some solid points to back this whole idea up and it's all quite convincing.

...for instance, this comment that points out the correlation between this theory of Jar Jar and The Mule from Asimov's Foundation saga - that's pretty plausible, IMO.
posted by flex at 7:48 PM on November 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


Given the recent episode 7 spoilers from the soundtrack, there may be more to this then people are giving it credit.

I like how that "album" begins so plausibly and then, ever so slowly, goes off the rails.
posted by thomas j wise at 7:52 PM on November 1, 2015 [15 favorites]


This is a pretty fun theory, even if it doesn't end up happening, or being true. It has enough "hmm" parts of it that makes it entertaining.

If Abrams ends up disappointing us with the next episode, I'm at least convinced it won't be because he lost sight of what is important to Star Wars fans. It will be because of other things that don't make for good story telling. I have hope because I'm convinced that Abrams is trying to give people the movie that they want. We'll see if he is actually successful, but I think his heart and mind is in the right place in trying to pull it off. Not having to worry about that is pretty big in my book.
posted by SpacemanStix at 7:53 PM on November 1, 2015


Jar Jar making another appearance would be the surest way to ruin the new movie completely, I might actually walk out and demand a refund if any of this is remotely related to the actual movie.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:58 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like the Star Wars version of the "Ron Weasely goes back in time and becomes Dumbledoor" fan theory.

Just for future reference, the shorthand for this is "Ronbledore."

AND IT'S TRUE
posted by No-sword at 8:04 PM on November 1, 2015 [14 favorites]


The only way this could happen is in the comics. And considering the work going on at Marvel lately, that wouldn't surprise me.
posted by gideonswann at 8:07 PM on November 1, 2015


As a linguist I think it would be awesome if there was a big Jar Jar reveal in Episode 7 and it wasn't signalled by a change in the way he talks.

"What, you t'ought meesa stupid just because meesa speak a non-prestige dialect? Look whoosa stupid now, Skywalker!"

(Apologies for awful JJB eye dialogue, it's been a while.)
posted by No-sword at 8:18 PM on November 1, 2015 [28 favorites]


I'm surprised nobody brought this up yet.
posted by lagomorphius at 8:21 PM on November 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


Whoa, flex, I am fully on board with the Jar Jar is The Mule theory.
posted by sleeping bear at 8:27 PM on November 1, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's been said by others, but JJ Abrams' Star Trek movies are the best Star Wars films made in decades. I'm cautiously optimistic he'll be able to deliver.
posted by azarbayejani at 8:39 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


Star Trek Into Darkness ended up being a couple of guys having a fistfight on top of a moving truck.

James Bond did that better back in the 60s.
posted by hippybear at 8:43 PM on November 1, 2015 [12 favorites]


The balcony-plank equivalency is a Whoa! moment for me.
posted by Mitheral at 8:43 PM on November 1, 2015


I read (redd?) that reddit thread earlier this morning, and I dunno -- I thought it was both silly and pretty plausible. If it were true, as many redditors said, it would make the prequels a bit less terrible, in conception if not execution, at least.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:49 PM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


Letting Jar Jar continue to participate in the new movies means the terrorists win.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:05 PM on November 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


Never understood the hate against Jar Jar. I believe he was a funny sidekick. And yes, he did contribute to the story.
posted by George Lucas at 9:06 PM on November 1, 2015 [41 favorites]


The reveal for this would be impossible to take seriously, and that's why this theory is wrong.
posted by interrobang at 9:09 PM on November 1, 2015 [1 favorite]


It reminds me of the Indoctrination Theory for Mass Effect, which similarly relies on a form of mind control to explain away an unsatisfying bit of continuity. I have a lot of sympathy for people who try to fix a part of a beloved franchise that's broken, which doesn't mean that I give this theory any credence.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:21 PM on November 1, 2015




Ok yeah I don't believe this theory, but I'm finding it oddly compelling that the intent in Ep 1 was for Jar Jar to be set up as the villain to be revealed in Ep 2 or 3. That part almost seems ... I don't know, a tiny bit plausible?

One of Lucas' big deals with the prequels was that they were intended to "rhyme" and mirror the original trilogy in terms of general narrative themes. So there should have been a seemingly innocent creature found on the side of the road that later reveals itself as a major player ... Jar Jar was initially intended to be the prequel (and Dark Side) equivalent of Yoda. Just as Yoda has his "big reveal" when we learn that his tottering, geriatric goofball persona is just a mask, Jar Jar was intended to have a big reveal in Episode II or III where we learn that he's not really a naive dope, but rather a master puppeteer Sith in league with (or perhaps in charge of) Palpatine.

However, GL chickened out. The fan reaction to Jar Jar was so vitriolic that this aspect of the trilogy was abandoned. ... This is why Dooku seems like such a flat, shoehorned-in character with no backstory; he was hastily written in to cover the plot holes left when villain Jar Jar was redacted.


I... I want to believe?
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:36 PM on November 1, 2015 [6 favorites]


This fits very nicely with the decades-old theories that R2D2 was secretly calling all the shots in episodes 4-6. To have episode 9 be the final battle between J2 and R2 would, indeed, be quite a redemption.
posted by chortly at 10:03 PM on November 1, 2015 [10 favorites]


Well, we're at least pretty sure that he's a merling.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:37 PM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


Without having RTFA, I'll just simply say that weed is a hell of a drug.
posted by nevercalm at 10:38 PM on November 1, 2015 [3 favorites]


The second one was far, far worse... This inane plot twist that Marcus dethawed Khan to have him build big scary weapons because "savagery." Because we all know that when the US government wants to build a new fighter jet, they ignore the nerdy engineers and recruit some trained killers who are totally unfamiliar with modern technology.

You know that ST:ID was written by 9/11 truthers, right? The entire setup is that Khan was Bin Laden, a government asset gone to ground in Klingon territory (in ST:TOS, Klingons being the stand-in for Cold War Soviets, making their occupied territory Afghanistan). The head of the Federation actually plotting the entire attack in order to actualize his new super-warfare program. Khan Bin Laden crashing a plane spaceship into the capital city. The movie, well, doesn't make sense per se but at least has a more comprehensible set of loosely coordinated moments when you see the entire thing as a half-baked take on the War on Terror, including being dedicated to post-9/11 veterans.

This is not a defense of the film at all, it's a total shitshow. But there's a method, or at least diagnosable impulse, behind the stupidity.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:42 PM on November 1, 2015 [13 favorites]


The director's cut of the trailer seems to back this theory.
posted by Apocryphon at 10:43 PM on November 1, 2015 [2 favorites]


It defies belief that Jar-Jar can be repeatedly using his powers in the presence of one of the most capable Jedi Masters and one of the most talented Knights of the order without it being noticed.

In addition to introducing a certain suppleness in the movements themselves the drunken style is an excellent form of subterfuge common to all forms of Kung Fu.
posted by three blind mice at 2:29 AM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


This is really interesing, and although it may turn out to be utter bollocks, I love that it is as lovingly researched and put together as any of my university-level research papers.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 3:02 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


In the old EU, didn't most of the Sith secretly break the rule of two? Even Darth Vader had Galen Marek.
posted by drezdn at 4:31 AM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


JJ Abrams' Star Trek is a million times better than anything done with Star Trek since Deep Space Nine. Voyager and Enterprise were terrible and none of the movies since Khan were worth watching.

Since you clearly dislike the majority of Trek (you and Abrams have that in common!) maybe you're not in the best position to appraise whether Abrams ruined it. Many of us who loved Trek were not at all happy with what he did to it.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:08 AM on November 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


No way am I gonna wade through that whole post. Is it serious? Because if so, that's pretty silly.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:10 AM on November 2, 2015


The only thing worse than star wars is star wars philosophy.

Let it die. Like post punk no wave, some things were better in '77. But now we have better cars, better music, and better movies.
posted by clvrmnky at 5:22 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


So, I'm not seeing how he ruined Star Trek... ESPECIALLY since his movies are in a different universe from the original Star Trek.

Any positive movement done with the first one he did was completely and utterly annihilated with such finality and devastation with Into Darkness.

It was more disappointing than the Metreon cascade deployed on Rinax.
It was more thorough than the destruction of the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order in the Omarion Nebula.
It was more brutal than the massacre at the Battle of Wolf 359.
It was more regrettable than Garth of Izar's genocide of Antos IV.

Nobody's going to disagree that Berman and Braga royally fucked the pooch, but saying Abrams saved it is especially cruel, because he kept Enterprise untouched.

So, yeah. Maybe his Star War won't suck. But the bar is so fucking low after Lucas's shit...
posted by qcubed at 5:23 AM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


Maybe I love it because I think the more seriously you take Star Wars the more seriously this theory might rankle your chain.

From what I've seen it's been the opposite. People have read this and gone and rewatched TPM for the first time in ages.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:34 AM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Like, seriously. I've tried to blot out Into Darkness, but it's unforgivably bad.

If they have transporters that can cross from the Alpha into Beta quadrants with pinpoint accuracy, why bother with starships? Fuck, why are the Klingons even a threat at that point? In the opening moments of any war, transport bombs into every single Klingon installation, onto every single ship, and the war would be over in minutes. Why didn't they just transport Khan into space?

If they can use Magic Khan Juice to resurrect dead people, Star Trek now essentially has two phaser settings: stun, and slightly longer stun.

Why is Earth more or less completely undefended? It's the capital of the Federation. One would assume if anyone saw a shooting battle between the Earth and the Moon, somebody somewhere would have said, "Hey, uh, guys, what's shakin'? Other than the bridge?" And how the hell did they get away with building the Vengeance around Jupiter?

For fuck's sake, if the Enterprise was close enough to Q'onoS that a shuttle could get you there, why didn't the Klingons send a couple ships out to be like, "What the fuck, guys? What are you doing in this neighborhood?" Seriously, if the Klingons didn't send anyone out, maybe because they didn't see them even though the Enterprise didn't have cloaking, why the fuck are the Federation worried about them?

If the Vengeance was that much faster than the Enterprise, why did it bother chasing, instead of just meeting it around the Earth and atomizing it as soon as it exited warp?

Why the fuck would you have a tribble on board? Why the fuck didn't you just transport that tribble with your quadrant-spanning transporter to Q'onoS? Why does Q'onoS have a shattered moon? Praxis wasn't fucked up yet. If it had been, how is the Klingon Empire still standing?

Oh, and yeah. How the fuck is Khan white?

You could fly the entire Klingon-Cardassian-Romulan-Federation armada next to the joint Breen-Dominion force with all of the Borg Collective's ships through the plotholes in Into Darkness.

Even Enterprise's final episode where it was revealed to be all a dream holodeck simulation isn't as embarrassingly shitty.

And yet you expect me to think that Star War Wake Up Force is going to be good?

No. It might not be as bad as Eps 1-3, but "good"...
posted by qcubed at 5:49 AM on November 2, 2015 [12 favorites]


Even Enterprise's final episode where it was revealed to be all a dream holodeck simulation isn't as embarrassingly shitty.

Wait, what?! Please tell me you're kidding, they honestly didn't pull that BS did they?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:05 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I wish I was, but I'm not. Riker goes into the holodeck and watches Archer doing some shit before he decides to 'fess up to helping Admiral John Locke (Pressman) in violating the Treaty of Algeron re: cloaking devices. So, yeah. It's a holodeck simulation in the TNG era.

Berman was a fucking moron.
posted by qcubed at 6:11 AM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I mean, when you get down to it, Into Darkness could have done what the first Abrams Star Trek did and shown that it was willing to make daring changes to the established mythos. In the first one, as if to say, "This isn't your parent's Trek", they blew up Vulcan.

They could have upped the stakes by leaving Kirk dead. Then Spock would have had to deal with the knowledge that his logical side, his control, which he lost fighting Khan, would have amounted to nothing changing.

But they took the coward's way out. They brought Kirk back in less than 30 minutes. If we're expecting something daring with Space Battle Mysterious Woo Comes Back, the precedent is not great.
posted by qcubed at 6:24 AM on November 2, 2015


The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
posted by dephlogisticated at 6:35 AM on November 2, 2015


Oh, and yeah. How the fuck is Khan white?

Why does God need a Starship?

Why do the Borg need to travel to Earth THEN do the time travel? Time travel first, THEN travel to Earth.

Seriously, The Abrams Trek finds are no more stupid than any of the other later Trek films.
posted by happyroach at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lucas had no clear idea how to reach the endpoint of his story, which was Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader."

That was probably his main problem. Anakin becoming Vader should have been the climax of the second movie, especially if Lucas wanted to mirror the first trilogy.

Movie three should have been a war between the Jedi and the Sith with Obi-Wan and Yoda losing everything except their lives and Vader's children.
posted by straight at 7:12 AM on November 2, 2015 [18 favorites]


Like, seriously. I've tried to blot out Into Darkness, but it's unforgivably bad.

This means you think The Undiscovered Country or Generations or gods help us Nemesis was actually worth a damn.

Never mind the "best" of the NG movies, where they took the truly scary thing about the Borg, which is that they can't be easily wiped out because there's no central place to attack, and threw that right out the window with the Borg Queen. But at least it wasn't horrible -- though we have to question Rotten Tomatoes for scoring it at the best of the pre-reboot Trek Movies.

There's Wrath of Khan, there's First Contact, and then there is utter dreck. Into Darkness is dreck, but compared to The Final Frontier and Nemesis, it's middle tier solidly above the relegation zone dreck.

It's even worth noting, I think, that Metacritic scores Into Darkness as a better movie than any of the pre-reboot movies. Yes, including Wrath of Khan and First Contact. Rotten Tomatoes scores it higher than everything except those two.

So, with all that, *AND* my experience, it's clear -- if that's unforgivably bad, well, then, what in the Star Trek movie universe wasn't?

And, really, there's a very common thread here -- what will JJ Abrams and Disney do to wreck Star Wars that George Lucas hasn't already topped? MIDICHLORIANS, people. JAR-JAR FUCKING BINKS! Managing to get bad performances out of who? EVERYBODY. They even ruined Samuel L. Jackson as a Jedi. They actually had Vader say "Nooooooooo!'

If Disney/Abrams makes a move as bad as, say, Nemesis, it'll STILL BE BETTER THAN THE PREQUELS!
posted by eriko at 8:06 AM on November 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm not a fan of the J. J. Abrams Trek, but his movies were probably instrumental in getting the new Trek TV series off the ground.
posted by painquale at 8:14 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


JJ Abrams Trek also kept Trek off of TV for a long while--CBS wasn't going to launch a show that would possibly compete with the movie franchise, from what I know, and from what I've heard the people doing the movies are pretty proprietary with the franchise right now.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:31 AM on November 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Remember that anonymous droid that breaks down at the beginning of in A New Hope, which then causes Luke to buy R2-D2, literally keeping the entire story from crashing to a halt?

It turns out his name was Skippy, and like Jar Jar he was another powerful secret Jedi.

The Star Wars extended universe is bizarre, overly fleshed out, place.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 8:59 AM on November 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


The only winning move is not have any commercially created childhood memories that can later be bought and sold like politician at election time.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 AM on November 2, 2015 [9 favorites]


Remember that anonymous droid that breaks down at the beginning of in A New Hope, which then causes Luke to buy R2-D2, literally keeping the entire story from crashing to a halt?

It turns out his name was Skippy, and like Jar Jar he was another powerful secret Jedi.


In the Star Wars radio series, the reason that the droid has a bad motivator is that R2D2 fucks with that droids systems to make it break down. And then, of course, C3PO suggests that R2D2 be purchased.

This all fits into my theory and storyline.
posted by hippybear at 9:11 AM on November 2, 2015


Off-topic, but regarding Star Trek, I think it's kinda crazy to claim that Abrams has somehow destroyed a series that already had one of the rockiest histories in cinema before he arrived. I mean, seriously: I liked the first one, and I thought "Into Darkness" had a bunch of massive problems with it and don't really ever want to see it again. Guess what? That puts it on par (or better) than basically any 2 sequential movies in the entire history of Star Trek! Would I prefer they all be good? Sure, but I don't think you can point to Abrams as if he's the only director who has ever made a super shitty Star Trek movie. The series was not pure and perfect before he came onto the scene.

On-topic, regarding Star Wars:

Lucas had no clear idea how to reach the endpoint of his story, which was Anakin Skywalker becoming Darth Vader.

This is the problem that basically every attempt by fans to explain away the problems of Star Wars has to grapple with (and, in my opinion, ultimately lose to). It's fun to come up with all sorts of reasons why something might make sense if we only knew the whole context, or how we're misinterpreting some key details, but you can't get away from the fact that Lucas really did not plan these things out to the level of detail that would be required for any of that to work.

(In fairness, that's true of most directors; for example, even Kubrick, who likely did plan a bunch of aspects of how he filmed The Shining to mess with perceptions [such as the incoherent and confusing geometry of the Overlook Hotel] nonetheless has fans who want to believe that every last detail down to tiny background details or crazy three-degrees-removed mathematical associations were totally Kubrick putting secret messages into the film)
posted by tocts at 9:47 AM on November 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh, and yeah. How the fuck is Khan white?

Same way he was white in TWOK?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:59 AM on November 2, 2015


Something like this, or Luke going bad, might be the only thing that would actually make me interested in the new Star War.

I'm of the opinion that Luke already went bad at the end of ROTJ. The new trailer seems to confirm this, but George feel free to jump in and give us spoilers.
posted by allkindsoftime at 10:05 AM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


ABRAMS TREK IS GARBAGE.

There are much worse Trek films.
posted by Hoopo at 10:14 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Remember that anonymous droid that breaks down at the beginning of in A New Hope

His name was R5-D4.

And, yeah, there is a continuity error that may be an editing mistake, which would make R2s sabotage at least implied on-screen.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:24 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm of the opinion that Luke already went bad at the end of ROTJ. The new trailer seems to confirm this, but George feel free to jump in and give us spoilers.

Kid, I've browsed from one side of this Internet to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange fan theories...
posted by entropicamericana at 11:09 AM on November 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hoopo: "There are much worse Trek films."

...you mean like the one where Picard can come back into the normal time stream any time or place he wishes, and instead of coming back DAYS ago when the bad guy was potentially vulnerable, he comes back 30 seconds before the ship is going to crash? 'Cause the stupidity of that one still irks me.

(Also Kirk always knew he was supposed to die alone. ALONE, damn it.)
posted by caution live frogs at 11:24 AM on November 2, 2015


Oh, and yeah. How the fuck is Khan white?

Because this is headcanon.
posted by Apocryphon at 11:44 AM on November 2, 2015


...you mean like the one where Picard can come back into the normal time stream any time or place he wishes, and instead of coming back DAYS ago when the bad guy was potentially vulnerable, he comes back 30 seconds before the ship is going to crash?

It's actually even worse than that: the movie opens with Picard learning that his brother's whole family died in a fire. Later, given the chance to come back at any time (including early enough to save his only remaining relatives and also stop the big bad guy), he apparently doesn't even consider that option.

WTF, writers?

(Alternately: it never occurs to him to go back and prevent his being taken by the Borg? Or save Tasha Yar? Or god knows how many other things he could have done with that power?)
posted by tocts at 11:45 AM on November 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Same way he was white in TWOK?

Ricardo Montelban?
posted by daq at 12:08 PM on November 2, 2015


Ricardo Montelban?

"...the son of Spanish immigrants..." I'm guessing he self-identified as white, as a majority of Hispanic people do. In any case, no more South Asian than Cumberbatch.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:01 PM on November 2, 2015


Confirmed?
posted by drezdn at 2:01 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm of the opinion that Luke already went bad at the end of ROTJ. The new trailer seems to confirm this, but George feel free to jump in and give us spoilers.

Woah, that was pretty interesting.

I'm not a Star Wars expert, but I believe Yoda also said these two things:

“The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again.”

"All this has happened before, and all this will happen again."

Maybe this was to foreshadow the cycle of father to son, and continues the mirroring concept from the theory in the post about the prequels.

I think that after the third trilogy is done, it will look something like this:

Trilogy I - Trilogy II - Trilogy III

It will create a chiastic structure with mirroring on both sides that has its midpoint at the middle of Trilogy II, which would be Episode V, ESB. And it just so happens that the midpoint of ESB (I'm actually serious about this part) is Luke's training on Degobah, where Yoda reluctantly agrees to take on Lukes training, which includes the image of Luke's face in Darth Vadar's helmet when he goes into the cave.

Theory supported.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:35 PM on November 2, 2015


Yeah, it's really weird reading these posts complaining about Abrams' Star Trek. They're not great movies. Neither are ST 1, 3, 5, or really any of the NG movies. Nor the vast majority of Voyager, and all of Enterprise. They're all bad. Abrams didn't do anything that hasn't already kind of sucked already, and I say that as a guy who thinks Star Trek is better than Star Wars.
posted by nushustu at 5:08 PM on November 2, 2015


Hey nushustu.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:09 PM on November 2, 2015


I really dislike Abrams ST movies, but the fact is that they're really pretty good action movies. Similarly, I dislike a lot of things about a lot of his TV work -- but it still hooks me in. And he tends to get strong peformances with material that really shouldn't be as good as it is.

Put another way, Abrams is a guy who's pretty good at making crap exciting.

SO I think the very worst thing we ought to expect is that he gives us an exciting and engaging movie that doesn't leave us feeling like we did when we were ten or eleven watching that space ship thunder into view on the big screen.

But after seven hours of "Star Wars Episode 3.5: The Continuing Resolution", I'm inclined to give J. J. a chance.
posted by lodurr at 6:22 PM on November 2, 2015


All this Star Trek stuff is a huge derail here, isn't it? Anyway, the biggest problem with the reboot Star Trek films is simply that it is a reboot, it hit the reset button on something a lot of people didn't think needed resetting. You can point to Voyager and Enterprise all you want, but even they had their moments, and the flaws in those things were widely assumed to be in the production, rather than with the basic premise. In throwing everything out, they basically threw out the beloved original series, TNG and DS9, and that was a mistake. All they had to do was make a non-crappy Trek series in the original universe, maybe a Next Generation for Next Generation, and I tell you everything would have been forgiven.
posted by JHarris at 6:59 PM on November 2, 2015


This is utterly fantastic. Obviously not true, but fantastic nonetheless.

Oh, and to all you JJA Trek haters: I know you're salty that that there's finally a watchable Star Trek film and it's not anything like the show, but for dignity's sake, get over it. His first one is really good, and the second one is still way better than any Star Trek movie before it. "Khan was the last good one" my ass, there's not a single one of those films worth sitting through if not for nostalgia.
posted by quadbonus at 10:16 PM on November 2, 2015


At this point, I dig the Jar Jar wild speculation because it tests the limits of the worldbuilding that's in the new series. The fate of the core original characters such as Luke will happen inevitably or not, and seems too tied to the authorial fiat for anyone to reasonably to figure out before the movie. I'm more interested to see if they'll be salvaging/reclaiming any of the concepts from the EU. Benicio Del Toro plays Grand Admiral Thrawn please please please
posted by Apocryphon at 10:42 PM on November 2, 2015


quadbonus, you're just wrong. Yep.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 10:55 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I'm agreeing with Ursula Hitler (both here and generally in the thread). Trek wouldn't have become such a big thing if it hadn't had something to it originally. The reboot Trek movies threw that away to try to grab more general audiences, and succeeded a bit, but it's always been the fans that have driven the Trek franchise, and abandoning them was an obvious bad move.

I know you're salty that that there's finally a watchable Star Trek film and it's not anything like the show, but for dignity's sake, get over it.

A. When did "salty" become a general web synonym for being mad about something? I fear it's yet another incursion of video game culture into general internet usage, and as something who's played hundreds of video games, and written about more than few, no one has more right than me to look askance at its spread.

B. You're just wrong. There, you see, I can assert too.
posted by JHarris at 11:13 PM on November 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


It's so clear he was just a more mobile, proactive Yoda.

First, congrats on "proactive Yoda."

Second, Jar Jar's internal life and potential for wisdom was completely overshadowed by the horribly racist caricature he represented, which I'm sure was inspired by the most noble multicultural intentions, the likes of which hadn't been seen onscreen in such a cringeworthy way since those two crows (one of whom was named Jim Crow) taught Dumbo how to fly. Or maybe Sebastian from The Little Mermaid.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:15 AM on November 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know you're salty that that there's finally a watchable Star Trek film and it's not anything like the show, but for dignity's sake, get over it. His first one is really good, and the second one is still way better than any Star Trek movie before it. "Khan was the last good one" my ass, there's not a single one of those films worth sitting through if not for nostalgia.

I don't know why you're all "salty" over the older Treks, quadbonus, but the problem with the JJ Treks is that they are prime examples of how the franchise has devolved into another set of mindless action films where things blowing up is more important than a coherent plot, where characters are a couple of traits dialed up to "extreme", where phasers and torpedoes are to be applied before reason and thought. If these new films were worth their salt, Into Darkness wouldn't have had to lean on TWOK to attempt to achieve any emotional impact with the audience.

The fact that Star Trek has become just another action franchise is not JJ's fault - the franchise was going in that direction for quite a while, in terms of the feature films - but I'd love it if the audience would expect more.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some kids to transport off my lawn.
posted by nubs at 7:40 AM on November 3, 2015


U.S. slang sense of "angry, irritated" is first attested 1938 (probably from similar use with regard to sailors, "tough, aggressive," attested by 1920), especially in phrasejump salty "to unexpectedly become enraged." Related: Saltily.
posted by bq at 10:18 AM on November 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


...where characters are a couple of traits dialed up to "extreme", where phasers and torpedoes are to be applied before reason and thought.

If I had to pick one general criticism of J.J., it would basically be this. It's not always true, but often is. He's gotten better with time on this point, but it is what he runs home to, and it seems to me he did that in a big, big way on the Trek movies.

But this is also something that is not going to be a huge problem if he does it in SW7.

Aside, though: 'where phasers and torpedoes are to be applied before reason and thought' is just a wonderfully pithy way of describing ST:ID. It's all Id, all the time -- kind of like if the entirety of the Federation were infested with some kind of space!-Toxoplasmosis.
posted by lodurr at 8:29 AM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I mean, everyone is so busy dealing with their Ids, insecurities and libidos that they fail to pay attention to basic things like not having a critical meeting of all top Star Fleet personnel in a building with more or less totally unsecured airspace all around it.
posted by lodurr at 8:32 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


One of the things I like about Trek ("classic" Trek as opposed to the reboots) is that it was about the application of thought and reason before violence; it emphasized that thinking through problems and issues was more important than blasting away at them. TNG is noted for the conference room scenes, but even TOS did it - I think of the episode with the Gorn, where Kirk's knowledge of science and his reasoning ability allow him to triumph in the physical contest - and then he is able to demonstrate victory in a moral way as well.

Anyways, Star Trek to me was always about that use of intelligence and reasoning, even during a fight, to find solutions. Kirk balanced between Spock's rationality and McCoy's emotions to find ways forward; the TNG crew was a larger one, but still represented different patterns of brainstorming and approach to solving issues, and that carried on to DS9 and Voyager. There was an idealism there - about us all working together, about listening and thinking and problem solving - that the reboots have lost.
posted by nubs at 9:00 AM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I know you're salty that that there's finally a watchable Star Trek film and it's not anything like the show, but for dignity's sake, get over it. His first one is really good, and the second one is still way better than any Star Trek movie before it. "Khan was the last good one" my ass, there's not a single one of those films worth sitting through if not for nostalgia.

You're asking us to believe that Into Darkness, a movie desperately (and in vain) grasping at Wrath of Khan for some shreds of emotional weight it can wrap around its nonsensical plot and characters, is a better movie than Wrath of Khan?

The big reveal of Khan's true nature in Into Darkness is Nimoy telling Quinto, "Trust me, he was a bad dude in the previous reality. The audience will know what I'm talking about [I DIED!]."
posted by straight at 9:58 AM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Jeet Heer with some thoughts on the politics of Star Wars.

I see what he is getting at, but he is missing the 4th faction - the Sith, who subverted the Republic into the Empire. So really, from the perspective he is taking, it's about two elite groups (Jedi and Sith) manipulating the masses. I also question how the Rebels are "grassroots" when a Princess is one of the leaders. And given that the prequels paint the Jedi as rather inept, I have to conclude they had either become corrupt and complacent in their long years in power, or they aren't the string pullers we think they are.
posted by nubs at 10:39 AM on November 5, 2015


Actually, scratch that - it is 3 factions, just that the factions are Sith, Jedi, and the Populace, with the Sith and Jedi manipulating and controlling different segments and aspects of the Galactic Republic/Empire as their eternal struggle goes on.

Two competing elites, and everyone else caught in their struggle.
posted by nubs at 10:45 AM on November 5, 2015


Alexandra Petri: The biggest problem with the Jar Jar theory
posted by prize bull octorok at 11:03 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I would also argue that there is a porous border between Fake Oafery Designed To Fool Other People Into Thinking You’re An Oaf and Actual Unmistakable Oafery


I dub thee "Lucas' Law!"
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:22 AM on November 5, 2015




Here's Cracked responding and covering the theory pretty well, which is how I first came across it almost a week after the last comment in this thread.

My general quick thoughts:

1. The jump-twist-dive into the water was most likely because Lucas likes CGI and really, really had a crush on what he could do with it then.

2. The Drunken Style fighting, which Jar-Jar's movements were, indeed, clearly based on, seems more likely the input of a fight choreographer than anything else. It's a great way to give the character a fluid, bumbling - but consistent and consistently modeled - feeling of movement.

3. I'm not sure that I buy the gesticulation as anything other than coincidence.

4. Still, once everything starts combining...

5. And that balcony thing is a bit more convincing than it should be, with the droid animations and all backing it up pretty well.

6. And I haven't seen this bit mentioned anywhere but in the Cracked video, whenever somebody says something sort of weirdly out of character and out of nowhere, We see Jar-Jar right behind them mouthing those words.

7. Seriously, what I just said.

8. It's really creepy and has on its own pretty much sold me on this idea.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:24 PM on November 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


I watched the Red Letter Media guys dissect the trailers for the new films on You Tube last night, and one of the clips they pulled was Lucas with the storyboards for TPM talking about how "Jar Jar was the key...we have to get him right -" (which had my ears all pricked up because of this theory) "- because he's the funniest character the series has ever had." Feels like theory shattered to me - Lucas thought he was comic relief and really funny.
posted by nubs at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


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