Thesis, Antithesis, Sithesis
February 21, 2022 8:05 PM   Subscribe

The Star Wars Sequels: Disney's Anti-Trilogy Star Wars scholar So Uncivilized dives into the sins of the sequel series from The Force Awakens devolving Han Solo into an anti-hero, The Last Jedi subverting itself, and The Rise of Skywalker existing, and in doing so, creates an anti-trilogy intrinsically tied to the past while opposed to it.
posted by Apocryphon (152 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Nothing a third Death Star can't fix.
posted by fairmettle at 8:26 PM on February 21 [31 favorites]


So, I feel like this video needs a long aside on why Rogue One is the best of all Star Wars movies... And perhaps a note that half of the Mandalorian is better than the remaining seven movies of the modern era.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:37 PM on February 21 [28 favorites]


According to the pattern we're due for another starkiller base
posted by Jacen at 8:37 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


I watched an anti Rise Of Skywalker thing recently that was quite lengthy and I thought was going to help purge the ridiculously long-lasting bad taste it left in my mouth, but it was sadly only temporary. This was suggested to me for a week afterward, but I didn't watch it. There are other things out there, too.

I have very strong feelings about Star Wars things in general, and really, it's too much to get into here. But I'll check this out.
posted by hippybear at 8:45 PM on February 21 [3 favorites]


I appreciated this video. As someone in the YouTube comments noted, the sequel trilogy, in an attempt to reset the drama and chart its own course, threw away most of the character development and plot successes of the original trilogy.

Paraphrasing:

-Palpatine wasn’t killed
-The Empire wasn't destroyed
-Luke didn't bring back the Jedi order, instead he threw away his character arc, and went to hide on a mountain
-Han Solo left Leia, threw away his character arc, and returned to being a criminal
-The New Republic was a failure
-Anakin didn't bring balance to the force, etc.
posted by darkstar at 9:17 PM on February 21 [38 favorites]


Leia also threw away her chance to be a Jedi, even if only part-time. We also only get to see her being a resistance leader rather than a statesman.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:28 PM on February 21 [11 favorites]


There's a bit in there about how the Lucas (using only Prequels imagery), filled his stories with actual characters, in contrast to The Last Jedi, which only has symbolic characters. And, while the rest of the essay isn't too bad -- wasn't one of the major critiques of the Prequels that the characters were just costumes?
posted by miguelcervantes at 9:29 PM on February 21 [7 favorites]


wasn't one of the major critiques of the Prequels that the characters were just costumes?

Indeed. A decade ago I used to ponder how much easier it was to describe the character of Leia than to even detect any character traits in Padme. But these days, I’m had pressed to tell you much about who Rey is either.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:36 PM on February 21 [5 favorites]


Rise of Skywalker would've gained five points on a ten point scale if they'd changed thirty seconds of screen time and had Finn use the force to help that other escaped stormtrooper aim and assassinate palpatine thus letting someone with no force powers take the shot to kill him which undermines palpatine's plan that if anyone with force powers kills him he just comes back again, also reinforcing the themes of last jedi that people outside of the royal line can effect history and thus the themes of of the original movie where a scrappy rebellion full of mostly nobodies beat the empire.

They spent three movies foreshadowing Finn's force powers. They built up the random stormtroopers as random people dedicated to controlling their own futures. They were up there, looking down on Palpatine, screwing around while the royal bloodline defeated the eternal emperor and thus took down his fleet and solved all the problems.

It would have still been a stupid movie, but at least it wouldn't have been a movie where the A plot is that only the royal bloodline can be useful, the B plot is everyone gets a partner of the same race and opposite sex, and the dialogue is a bunch of people talking about how this is the culmination of all history and the only part of everything that's ever happened which matters.
posted by fomhar at 10:06 PM on February 21 [15 favorites]


Perhaps the broomstick is metaphor and financial foreshadowing.
posted by clavdivs at 10:27 PM on February 21 [1 favorite]


I get more and more in line with Freddie Mercury with every passing meme.
posted by Catblack at 10:33 PM on February 21 [4 favorites]




For all of George Lucas’s many, many flaws as a film maker, one thing he understood when making the first three Star Wars movies, was that the audience needed moments to breathe and take in the world on screen. He even devoted a whole minute of running time in the first film to watching R2-D2 and Chewbacca play a board game. The Force Awakens, otherwise a beat-for-beat remake of the 1977 Star Wars, crams a chase scene into the same place in the story.
posted by Kattullus at 12:29 AM on February 22 [32 favorites]


> And perhaps a note that half of the Mandalorian is better than the remaining seven movies of the modern era.

The sequels left the franchise in a sad state, and then The Mandalorian came along and restored life into it. I'm really grateful for its existence.

I've already decided to treat the sequels as noncanonical, and any potential films or series produced in the future that acknowledge them in any way will inherit that. But I'm really glad that there's such a vast amount of potential stories to be told in the timeframe between RotJ and TFA.

The Powers That Be will naturally never acknowledge the sequel trilogy as a failure, but I hold out hope that they will at least stick to exclusively telling stories from earlier in the timeline.
posted by jklaiho at 1:16 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


People can say whatever they want about episode 8, and I get that there are completely valid complaints and issues with the movie. But that fight in the throne room was probably the main thing that made 7-9 at all worthwhile. It's the main thing that sticks out in my mind to this day. Just gorgeous. A touch of true art in between JJ ABinks having frenetic seizure fever dreams on screen.
posted by Jacen at 1:16 AM on February 22 [16 favorites]


But that fight in the throne room was probably the main thing that made 7-9 at all worthwhile.

I liked that they chopped Snoke in half unexpectedly there (though this turned out to be a harbinger of lazier things to come) but the fight with the guys in red is awful. One guy does a twirl after Snoke dies, an actual twirl! (Here, About a quarter of the way from the left side of the frame.)
posted by biffa at 2:34 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


They killed Han Solo. I don't care what Harrison Ford thinks. They killed Han Solo.
posted by valkane at 2:38 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


The thing the sequels was missing was Han Solo. There was no Han Solo. And then, whatshisname kills him? You don't kill Han Solo. You don't kill Kramer. You don't kill Angel. You don't kill Festus. You don't kill the fucking Scarecrow. These are simple story rules.
posted by valkane at 2:45 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


I can almost imagine JJ walking into his office at 20th Century Fox (or Disney, or wherever) in his slim-cut pants and thinking all "Today I'm gonna kill Han Solo, because I can" and I hate everything about that scene. I'm glad he's the one who destroyed Star Wars. It's what he deserves.
posted by valkane at 2:50 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


This video by a YouTube music theory person is about how John William's score for the sequels ended up like a bad bar band covers band version of himself, but it could equally apply to the plot. Play Freebird!
posted by kersplunk at 2:51 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I think he's stretching the "Anti-" metaphor a bit. The big problem with "The Force Awakens" wasn't being anti-Star Wars, it was trying to do an exact copy of "A New Hope".

One problem with the The Rise of Skywalker was the way Abrams sulkily rejected The Last Jedi. But another problem with that movie was simply the accelerated schedule, Abrams knows how to make a less-bad movie than that but it was literally thrown together at the last minute (there was a podcast about it, they were simultaneously editing mutiple scenes, it wasn't done in the normal way movies are edited).

I agree that they made a mess of Han Solo's story arc though. They tried to do too much with the original trilogy's characters, would have been better to focus on new characters and just have them doing cameos or motivational speeches.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:19 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I don't have time to watch that right now, but my own thoughts on the sequel trilogy was that it was a deeply mediocre cash-grab and exhibit #1 in everything that is wrong with contemporary corporate filmmaking. JJ Abrams deserves a lot of the blame, but don't forget about Kathleen Kennedy and the suits at Disney who shamelessly treated beloved characters and even did poorly by some of the new ones: I audibly said "fuck you" in the theatre when Oscar Isaac announced, "Somehow, Palpatine retuned" with a face that looked like he realized the line would be replayed in the Worst Actor Razzies clip.

The prequel trilogy is deeply flawed and has its own issues which we don't need to rehash - but twenty years later I can still remember several of the scenes nearly shot for shot (mostly the lightsaber battles, but there you are).

I can barely remember anything that happens in the sequel trilogy and in which order, let alone individual characters and their lines - aside from the very unfortunate one quoted above. Some of that was due to COVID - Last Skywalker was the last time I was in a crowded place before the lockdown, so it feels like a million years ago.

I fear for the upcoming Lord of the Rings miniseries. I suspect it will suffer many of the same flaws.
posted by fortitude25 at 3:22 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


So, I feel like this video needs a long aside on why Rogue One is the best of all Star Wars movies.

I feel this video explains why I didn't love Rogue One: Top 10 Worst Reasons You Liked Rogue One.
posted by Pendragon at 3:28 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


And perhaps a note that half of the Mandalorian is better than the remaining seven movies of the modern era.

It baffles me that a franchise that is pretty terrible by volume is given so much primacy in pop culture, but then I'm familiar with Sonic the Hedgehog, another franchise that appears to run almost entirely on fans misremembering how good it actually is.

(I never saw Rise of Skywalker, after having come out of The Last Jedi and going, that was probably the most I'm going to like a Star War and it didn't quite manage to actually get to anything interesting, so maybe I should stop going to these, and then went to Solo against my better judgement and thought I should definitely stop going to these.)
posted by Merus at 3:40 AM on February 22 [9 favorites]


The thing the sequels was missing was Han Solo. There was no Han Solo. And then, whatshisname kills him? You don't kill Han Solo. You don't kill Kramer. You don't kill Angel. You don't kill Festus. You don't kill the fucking Scarecrow. These are simple story rules.

My understanding was that it was either Han Solo appears and is killed in the first film, or Han Solo's actor is not interested in being in another Star Wars film thank you very much. Clearly it's also trying to do an Alec Guinness / anyone can die moment. The final film would have been better with more of a Leia arc in it, but you bump into the real world problem of actors needing to be alive.

I enjoyed the experience of watching the sequel trilogy. It's probably the last time I'll really get to watch a new Star Wars film at the cinema, and the combination of anticipation and the sound of lightsabres can't be beaten. I care a good deal less about the canon, and live with someone who thinks that the prequel trilogy is the best set of the three, and that the sequel trilogy functions as a personal insult to everything they hold dear. We no longer talk about Star Wars at home, which is sad as it used to be one of my favourite fictional universes.
posted by plonkee at 3:57 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The expanded universe and comics were much the same. Fast forward a hundred years and the galaxy is ruled by a Sith emperor with a Skywalker trying to bring him down.

Since the Force controls everything you're pretty much just watching a capricious god play action figures with meat puppets anyway.

Rise of Skywalker broke SW for me because of the lazy worldbuilding. Everything just ran off of Rule of Cool, except it wasn't. Where'd Palpy get the tax base to build all those warships? Where'd he get the crews? Okay, so he kidnapped children to be stormtroopers. Did he kidnap engineers to run the power plants or did he teach kids how to run a fusion reactor at Sith University in one of the caverns? I thought there were only two Sith at a time but there appeared to be a bunch of them on that planet.

Someone please stop giving JJ Abrams movies to make.
posted by The Monster at the End of this Thread at 4:21 AM on February 22 [22 favorites]


Star Wars is now very much like Doctor Who, in that real fans hate all of it.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:33 AM on February 22 [22 favorites]


Yes, I have Han Solo issues.
posted by valkane at 4:39 AM on February 22


I feel this video explains why I didn't love Rogue One: Top 10 Worst Reasons You Liked Rogue One.

Yasss, was coming here to post the same video. Rogue One sort of turns me into what is now that sadly classic toxic SW fan, who just loathes a particular film. My biggest beef is that the initial teaser trailer had me totally hyped and it turns out that trailer was just a marketing gimmick, a lot of interesting scenes/arc made for the trailer never happened in the movie.

'takes a moment'

Well, at least there's the Mandolarian to revel in.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:40 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Eh, Solo's actually my favorite new movie. It definitely has problems (the fate of Beckett's crew, the fate of L3, etc) but it's pretty goofy and I don't mind Han Solo being retconned as having always been a lovable doof cosplaying as a rogue. Honestly the degree to which some fans want to emphasize his redemption arc in A New Hope and push back against Lucas' edits by making him into the most stone-cold, first-shootingest, badass in the galaxy just feels a little excessive. Besides, Chewie hangs out with him, and we all know Chewie is just using Han as a front.

I thought the ending with Lando exiting stage right with the Falcon and Enfys Nest not even bothering to get into a shootout with Han was great.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 4:50 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


Thank you @RonButNotStupid for drawing my attention to the Chewie theory. I was already aware that R2 was seen by some as a more significant figure, and this ties in nicely.
posted by domdib at 5:09 AM on February 22


Don't wookies live hundreds of years, and Han is just a pet or something? Makes total sense.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:19 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


So it was just me who found this video to be kind of a rambling, smug mess? Multiple times while watching it I shouted "What the hell are you talking about?" at the screen.
posted by qntm at 5:20 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The final film would have been better with more of a Leia arc in it, but you bump into the real world problem of actors needing to be alive.

I can’t recall the reviewer who observed (with The Rise of Skywalker) that this was now a mega-franchise which had dead characters played by living actors and living characters played by dead actors.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:29 AM on February 22 [9 favorites]


MetaFilter: kind of a rambling, smug mess?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:29 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


The Rise of Skywalker hasn't even happened yet if you're a Darths and Droids (start) reader.

(Also they improved on every movie they adapted except the uh... TV episode)
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 5:31 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I also really like Luke's last stand in The Last Jedi just because of how much of a troll Luke is, and I'm willing to accept Luke's death as a Doylist cost for exercising such power. It was a really great scene, but Luke surviving and still being able to exercise that level of power would've made future stakes a little difficult to believe.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:32 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


Somehow, Palpatine retuned

Oops, I just reread my comment and realized I made a pretty funny typo - makes it sound like Palpatine somehow managed to retune his guitar before his big righteous solo - which would have been far more entertaining than what actually happened.
posted by fortitude25 at 5:45 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


After almost nodding off in the theater toward the end of 'The Rise of Skywalker' I realized that perhaps I was no longer interested in this story and these characters. Then during the first year of the C19 lockdown, gainfully unemployed, I dug into 'Rebels' and followed 'Clone Wars' and everything came back alive again. You could see how short-form episodic 'TV' gave space and time to explore characters that the films simply didn't, and couldn't, allow for. Plus now we could also leverage a couple of decades of material developed in other media (books, comics, video games). It was a perfect investment to have made prior to 'The Bad Batch' and 'The Mandalorian' being released. Having fans like Filoni take on the creative mantle of 'Star Wars' was an excellent move. (And yeah, 'Boba Fett' was really a hot mess. I'm not sure who's feet to lay that at.)
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 6:05 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


There is a part of me that just thinks JJ Abrams should've gone for broke with the Rise of Skywalker and just finished the whole mess up with a Patton Oswalt-style multifranchise epic crossover.

With everything that had already happened in the movie, Lando and Wedge showing up on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise could've only improved things.

Also it would've been really cool.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:10 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


The sequels left the franchise in a sad state, and then The Mandalorian came along and restored life into it. I'm really grateful for its existence.

The Mandalorian will always have a special place in my heart because of the episode based on The Wages of Fear
posted by NoMich at 6:11 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Well I think they should've taken a jump back in time and followed a certain non-primary non-human character through all her many travails until she ultimately finds herself trapped in the "trash compactor" on the death star just looking for a snack.
posted by sammyo at 6:20 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


Also, and I will never shut up about this, Doctor Aphra needs her own damn show
posted by NoMich at 6:22 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


Rise of Skywalker would've gained five points on a ten point scale if they'd changed thirty seconds of screen time and had Finn use the force to help that other escaped stormtrooper aim and assassinate palpatine thus letting someone with no force powers take the shot to kill him which undermines palpatine's plan that if anyone with force powers kills him he just comes back again, also reinforcing the themes of last jedi that people outside of the royal line can effect history and thus the themes of of the original movie where a scrappy rebellion full of mostly nobodies beat the empire.

I know! You're absolutely right. It would've been a nice callback to A New Hope where Han and Chewie in the Falcon are the ones who get the drop on Darth Vader allowing Luke to destroy the Death Star.

There's something really cool about how, for all his Force-related prescience and abilities, Darth Vader couldn't have anticipated that Han Solo would have a change of heart and come back at a critical moment to help his friends. As important and powerful as the Force and it's royal bloodlines are, it can still be overcome by a single act of selflessness.

I really wish the series had gone somewhere further with this idea. Luke choosing to abandon his Jedi training in order to save his friends was great, but by Return of the Jedi kind of walked that decision back a bit.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:30 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


Without watching any of the FPP linked content or even reading most of the comments I would just like to say that I think my favorite thing about the explosion of the galaxyfarfarawayverse is that Certain Breed of 40yo Man who continues to cling very strongly to the belief that he's not like other people, he's different, because he has very geeky niche interests like Star Wars, and that when people don't like him it's not because he's got no discernable personality but rather that the people he talks to aren't Geeks and do not share His Interests, chiefly Star Wars, despite the fact that you can walk into any major retailer and find enough Baby Yoda product you start to wonder if the child is Disney's new princess property.
posted by phunniemee at 6:43 AM on February 22 [19 favorites]


The worst thing about Star Wars is that so many people have built it up to be more than it is. At their best and at their worst, every Star Wars movie or TV show is pulp space fantasy with plot holes, stock characters, and more style than sense. If you step back from trying to turn Star Wars into The Greatest Thing of All Time, you find that you can actually enjoy most of it (the romance scenes in Attack of the Clones are still virtually unwatchable, but that's me).

Even in Empire Strikes Back, what is widely considered to be the best Star Wars film, the timing of Luke's time on Dagobah compared to Leia & Han's time on Bespin makes no sense at all. And it doesn't matter. It's still a great movie.

That's not to say we can't have real conversations about what works and doesn't work. Rise of Skywalker disappointed me because I thought bringing back Palpatine and making him Rey's grandpappy was a lazy move. I would have liked for them to have sat down before The Force Awakens and worked out the basic plot for all three movies before they started filming, but they didn't. Even so, the fight scene in ROS between Rey and Kylo on the sinking ship is one of my favorite scenes in all Star Wars media. So my point is that there is always something to enjoy if you want to enjoy it.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:02 AM on February 22 [15 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to what this video has to say about Abrams's empty fanboy fetishism in TFA, but it lost me when it started parroting Fandom Menace rhetoric about The Last Jedi. The line "If you love what Star Wars *could be* more than what Star Wars already *is*, do you really love Star Wars?" is projecting such a limited/reductive view of that movie (and the saga as a whole) that it's barely even worth considering as a critique.

It correctly identifies The Rise of Skywalker as a complete mess because of Abrams's inability to make a movie that actually stops and thinks about what it's doing, beyond just regurgitating images and themes we liked before. But this essay is so focused on Star Wars being this specific thing that the sequels apparently didn't capture, that I don't understand what the essayist wanted from these movies.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:23 AM on February 22 [11 favorites]


I've watched Rise of Skywalker, but based on the discussion of its plot I apparently remember absolutely nothing about this movie, which I suppose says a lot about the film.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:29 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


For all of George Lucas’s many, many flaws as a film maker, one thing he understood when making the first three Star Wars movies, was that the audience needed moments to breathe and take in the world on screen. He even devoted a whole minute of running time in the first film to watching R2-D2 and Chewbacca play a board game. The Force Awakens, otherwise a beat-for-beat remake of the 1977 Star Wars, crams a chase scene into the same place in the story.

And even leaving aside its attempts to undo the previous movie, RoS is worse. It reminds me of the third Raimi Spider-Man film, in which he knew he wasn't going to make a fourth and so just crammed all the plotlines he'd meant to do into one jumbled hash.

The cavalry charge in RoS should have been epic, but it's over almost as soon as it began, as Abrams ticks the "okay, done that" box and moves on to the next set piece.
posted by Gelatin at 7:31 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


I haven't had time (and I maybe don't have the desire) to watch the video in the link, so apologies, but all of this seems so overwrought. Yes, Rise of Skywalker is a mess, and I don't really enjoy it, but that's the only one of the Disney-era Star Wars that I really didn't like. All the other movies have entertained me to various degrees. There are things that I didn't like and things that I really loved, just like all of the Star Wars movies. I'd still put Attack of the Clones below just about every other one, just on the weight of the horrible "romance" scenes there. And the droid factory. And just about everything, honestly, that movie is just so terrible. But the Duel of the Fates will always be one of the great scenes in Star Wars. I'm just rambling here, but I just feel like people are too angry about all this and it makes me sad.
posted by dellsolace at 7:36 AM on February 22 [10 favorites]


I'm sympathetic to what this video has to say about Abrams's empty fanboy fetishism in TFA, but it lost me when it started parroting Fandom Menace rhetoric about The Last Jedi. The line "If you love what Star Wars *could be* more than what Star Wars already *is*, do you really love Star Wars?" is projecting such a limited/reductive view of that movie (and the saga as a whole) that it's barely even worth considering as a critique.

It correctly identifies The Rise of Skywalker as a complete mess because of Abrams's inability to make a movie that actually stops and thinks about what it's doing, beyond just regurgitating images and themes we liked before. But this essay is so focused on Star Wars being this specific thing that the sequels apparently didn't capture, that I don't understand what the essayist wanted from these movies.


Agreed. The video makes some good points. The best, in my opinion, is that he notes that the major criticism about Last Jedi (i.e. Luke's character) is unfair because Rian Johnson had to find a way to explain why Luke disappeared in the first place. That's a JJ Abrams problem.

But it's otherwise pretty smug about saying what Star Wars "is" and "isn't." A movie or TV show set in the Star Wars universe is, by definition, Star Wars. Leave it at that.

And he lost me with suggestions that the prequels paid more attention to building real characters, while showing caricatures like Watto and the dude who walks on his hands and sabotages Anakin's pod racer. Every character in every Star Wars movie is broadly drawn - whatever we think we know about their deeper motivations is our own conjecture.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 7:39 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


The Mandalorian will always have a special place in my heart because of the episode based on The Wages of Fear

Dave Filoni and crew seem to delight in wedging classic cinema remakes into Star Wars stories and I am here for it. One day you’ll be watching a Clone Wars ep and be like, “Wait, is this Hitchcock’s ‘Notorious’?” Yes. Yes it is. It’s of a piece with how every Star Wars series has at least one “Seven Samurai” remake.
posted by chrchr at 7:44 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


^ let's not forget the nods to "Hidden Fortress"
posted by elkevelvet at 7:47 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I’m really hoping a Lando movie can give us a proper Space Casablanca.
posted by chrchr at 8:03 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


A movie or TV show set in the Star Wars universe is, by definition, Star Wars. Leave it at that.

I've always wanted Burn Notice but set in the Star Wars universe and with the same characters.

Come to think of it, Bruce Campbell hasn't done anything Star Wars-related. This needs to be corrected immediately.

(A quick google suggests that he has been in Star Wars. Sort of)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:05 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


The thing the sequels was missing was Han Solo. There was no Han Solo. And then, whatshisname kills him? You don't kill Han Solo.

You totally can kill Solo. I thought that was actually one of the most effective moments in TFA. It's a much more believable single moment than Anakin going nuts in RotS for the second act. Of course it was completely squandered in the later movies, but it could have been a great character moment for Ren. Driver nearly turned it into one by pure ability anyway, but the saccharine incompetence of Abrams won out in the end.

Of course, if you're going to kill Solo, you do have a Solo-shaped hole in your narrative. You don't need that exact piece to fit the hole, but Poe Dameron was standing right there. And again, mostly wasted with a complete lack of skill at character development in the second and third movies.
posted by bonehead at 8:11 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


Of course, if you're going to kill Solo, you do have a Solo-shaped hole in your narrative. You don't need that exact piece to fit the hole, but Poe Dameron was standing right there. And again, mostly wasted with a complete lack of skill at character development in the second and third movies.

The treatment of Poe in the Last Jedi was one of the most welcome surprises for me. Sometimes the hotshot saves the day; other times the hotshot gets everyone killed. You can argue that it is very "not Star Wars" to sideline the cowboy and make him (*gasp*) wrong, but it works for me as a more mature narrative.

It also leads directly to the Holdo Maneuver, which for me is the most stunning image in all 11 movies, and possibly one of the best moments in all filmmaking.

(I frankly don't remember anything about Poe in Rise of Skywalker, so your point stands.)
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:25 AM on February 22 [23 favorites]


I agree, I just think the writers did a really hamfisted job of getting there. There are lots of great concepts in the Disney sequels, the fall and rise of Ren, The lingering ghost of Palpatine (to bookend the idea of the Phantom Menace), Luke losing his way to fear and redeeming himself, while Leah is the one who actually completes the hero's journey, and yes, Poe Learning A Lesson. Did any of them get done properly? Not many, not well at all. Abrams makes moments, but he has no idea about plotting or characterization.

The Holdo scene was breath-taking. Possibly the best visual in any of the Star Wars universe.
posted by bonehead at 8:31 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


two (or more) things can be true and valid simultaneously.. on the one hand, there's a reason we have a drinking game (take a shot every time Luke whines about something in E.IV).. yet for reasons that have been addressed repeatedly for literally generations, there is something about the cultural impact of those first three films (and especially the first film) and the weight of that impact is simply too great for anything afterwards. You can never go home. If you were pre-teen and you went to the theatre to watch Star Wars there is a chance it made you a bit crazy with love. It does not matter that this love was warped into cynical marketing campaigns etc, and trying to reduce what happened to so many people, and explain what simply was with so much rational analysis, is kind of missing the whole point?

and when did Empire Strikes Back lose its status as the obviously superior movie? I missed that memo
posted by elkevelvet at 8:31 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


As someone whose childhood was shaped by playing with Star Wars figurines and who became a rocket scientist specifically to make things like those engines on the Y-wings - someone who went total fan-girl when she met George Lucas in person - I just want to say my favorite movie of them all was Last Jedi.

I could watch it several more times just to see women in positions of power teaching men like Finn the hard lesson that chasing after the dream of toxic masculinity isn't a solution to real-world problems. I was hopeful that it represented a new vision of sci-fi that challenges patriarchy, but from what I've heard, I'm going to be very disappointed by Rise of Skywalker.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 8:33 AM on February 22 [26 favorites]


Sometimes the hotshot saves the day; other times the hotshot gets everyone killed.

I'd like The Last Jedi a lot more if there had been some consequences for Poe. He gets almost the entire resistance killed, and everyone just kind of shrugs and I think he's even been promoted by the time of Rise of Skywalker?
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:34 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


I haven't watched the video, and I'm not going to watch the video (I spend a lot of time deliberately trying to purge video recommendations like this one from my Youtube recommendations). It's not that I don't agree that the sequel trilogy had problems - of course it did, and insurmountably vast problem #1 was deciding to make a trilogy with no idea what the story was going to be and without even letting one person write the whole thing. But the thing is, I've really come to dislike the parasitic industry that has grown up around making Youtube videos analyzing and nitpicking Star Wars to death, even more than I dislike the sequel trilogy.

Just doesn't feel like a healthy way for a fandom to engage; back in the old Expanded Universe days there was a much less strict quality control, which definitely meant that on average the quality was lower (and I do appreciate that Disney/Filoni et al are picking through the EU and pulling out the best parts to re-canonize, e.g. Thrawn, Cobb Vanth), but it also meant the quality was less consistent and as a result it was easier, when you hit something that sucked, to just discard it from your own personal canon and move on.

The best thing about being a Star Wars fan nowadays, IMO, is that the technology has advanced to the point where there are tons of fan films that actually look good, so in that respect, the barrier to entry for playing around in the "Expanded Universe" is lower than ever. See for yourself! Just be aware that the Youtube recommendation algorithm just registers "this person likes Star Wars" and doesn't distinguish between "this person likes videos by people who see Star Wars as an opportunity to be creative" and "this person likes videos by people who see Star Wars as an opportunity to be relentlessly critical" and so you might end up spending a lot of time trying to scrub the latter from your recommendations.
posted by mstokes650 at 8:37 AM on February 22 [11 favorites]


Leia should've had a secret Jedi school of her own.

The Sith have their rule of two, and it seems like the Jedi would have something similar. Maybe Leia's Jedi school is so secret Luke doesn't even know about it. Maybe Leia's weird reaction upon meeting Rey is because she's trying to figure out if she can be trusted or if she's already in Luke's orbit. Maybe Leia doesn't really trust Luke.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 8:40 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


It also leads directly to the Holdo Maneuver yt , which for me is the most stunning image in all 11 movies, and possibly one of the best moments in all filmmaking.

You liked that? I thought the entire plan was perhaps one of the stupidest strategies in all of war movies, relies on a bunch of things that we as an audience don't know (that just ramming the big ships with other big ships will destroy them - even though that never worked in the past), and it just wastes a bunch of characters and plot points. And they lose their largest ship. The Holdo plan didn't even work - most of the small crew ships were destroyed.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:45 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


Some discussions of the new trilogy recently got me to want to re-watch them as I had realized that I haven't re-watched any of them since their release, and like many of you found that I could barely remember any details. To the point that I couldn't even remember which title was which... I still have to look them up.

I managed to get through Awakens and enjoyed it. Yes it's annoying that almost none of the premise makes any sense (why are they still a rebellion, why is the first order so strong) but that's all background... at least the foreground is kinda interesting.

I remember liking (checks notes) "the Last Jedi" quite a bit on release, but noped out when Poe switches off his com so he can ignore Leia. I agree with the video when he says that Last Jedi can't tell us anything without telling someone in the film how they are wrong. It really is kinda garbage story telling, which is sad cause I really like Rian Johnson and want to like his movie.

I think in the end lots of it comes down to corporate interference why the whole thing is such a mess... it's obvious that Abrams-Johnson-Abrams was going to be a total clusterfuck but such is life.

The one main realization is that I'm glad we got Empire and Jedi when we did... cause as it is we get the awkward brother sister make outs of New Hope because Lucas clearly didn't really have a plan... but if it happened now we'd definitely get the more edgy brother sister make outs ala Game of Thrones and.... nope.
posted by cirhosis at 8:48 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


The Holdo plan didn't even work - most of the small crew ships were destroyed.

Of course it had to be terrible to contrast with Luke's epic trolling. But if it weren't for Luke's magic, it would have continued to be the dumbest plan in the history of plans.
posted by The_Vegetables at 8:50 AM on February 22


Leia should've had a secret Jedi school of her own.

Leia could have made something better. The Jedi were a Calvinist ideal, based on absolutes, and deserved to end with the Republic. Luke's failure with Ren kind of proved that the emotional rigidity and fragility of the Jedi (and the Sith) lead to inevitable tragedy. They need something new. Leia could have had the wisdom that Yoda and Windu lacked. Luke should have been the Last Jedi, Rey, and perhaps Ren something new.
posted by bonehead at 8:55 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


My one unpopular opinion is that Attack of the Clones should be more highly rated. If you cut all the Naboo scenes, the rest of the movie is a well paced adventure film that feels like Star Wars. Only one of the prequels I enjoyed.

I'd probably have zero interest in Star Wars these days if it wasn't for the Filoni series + The Mandalorian. They turned much of the schlock into something more interesting and nuanced.

The Jedi were a Calvinist ideal

I think that's a great comparison. The one conclusion I've come away with after going through all the movies + series is that the Force is ultimately not good for any species. The Dark Side is self-evidently terrible. But the Light Side is also awful in its own way. The Light Side consumes its followers as much as the Dark Side. I'm sure this overall narrative wasn't the intention of Lucas, Filoni et al. But the story of "What if God was real but his religion still ate people alive" is interesting. Sentient beings would have been much better off without ever learning how to control the Force.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 9:03 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


You liked that? I thought the entire plan was perhaps one of the stupidest strategies in all of war movies, relies on a bunch of things that we as an audience don't know (that just ramming the big ships with other big ships will destroy them - even though that never worked in the past), and it just wastes a bunch of characters and plot points. And they lose their largest ship. The Holdo plan didn't even work - most of the small crew ships were destroyed.

Yes, I did. It's an act of sacrifice and desperation, makes us view Holdo's character in a different light, and is an absolutely stunning piece of cinematic imagery.

I recognize that people can view Star Wars films differently, but for me, getting mired in the details isn't the right approach (see my earlier comment about how the timing in Empire doesn't work). The plan doesn't have to make perfect sense from a military or strategic context. It serves the narrative and the artistry. YMMV, obviously.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:04 AM on February 22 [15 favorites]


+1 for the thread title. Genius.

This is an age-specific thing, but I'm realizing that dumping on the sequels brought me joy. I think the prequels were worse than the sequels, and more boring to watch too boot, but the way they were bad was kind of fascinating to discuss. And we all kind of agreed they were horrible, so there wasn't argument. Heck, half the discussion looped back to why the original movies worked.

I'm realizing that my negative feelings around the sequels are mostly how uninteresting the flaws are. There's not much to say. So as much as the video does a game job trying to conceptualize the problems, the flaws in the JJ Abrams movies were identical to the flaws in all his other movies where he's not "anti-" anything. I think there should be something interesting to discuss, because Star Wars, but it's just a waste of energy.
posted by mark k at 9:14 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


I also really like Luke's last stand in The Last Jedi just because of how much of a troll Luke is

I usually say TLJ Luke is the cranky shaolin master, but that overlaps with "troll" a whole lot now, dunnit?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:18 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


+1 for the thread title. Genius.

QFT
posted by mpark at 9:20 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


I think there should be something interesting to discuss, because Star Wars, but it's just a waste of energy.

We could talk about how the prequels aren't as bad as we remember.

Still not great, but not terrible. The biggest issues in the prequels (in my opinion) are (a) Anakin should have started out as a moody teenager, not a cherub-faced moppet; (b) Maul/Dooku/Grievous could have been combined into a single villain that gave a better structure to the trilogy as a whole; and (c) much of the dialogue is terrible. I also personally didn't care for CGI Ass-Kicking Yoda, and Anakin's motivation for going to the dark side is... let's say thin.

But Ewan MacGregor as Obi Wan is wonderful. There are some really good set pieces, and a fair amount of Revenge of the Sith actually works (that's my daughter's favorite of all the films, strangely enough). I'm particularly looking forward to Hayden Christensen potentially redeeming himself in the new Obi Wan series (although I'm not sure how that will work).
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:30 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


the Force is ultimately not good for any species. The Dark Side is self-evidently terrible. But the Light Side is also awful in its own way. The Light Side consumes its followers as much as the Dark Side.

Which, coming full circle, sets it up as a good metaphor for youtube film criticism, another all-consuming scourge that sentient beings would be better off without

(GREAT thread title)
posted by ominous_paws at 9:34 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


Is this where I get to come in as an old grump and say that where the original trilogy (particularly the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes back) worked best was in settings and pacing? And, unfortunately that dissolved as soon as the Special Editions came out and lost the zip which the original Star Wars cut had.

But, it also means that at some level I'm comparing all of these movies in their current overwrought Star Wars Universe glory to an ur-experience which can't even be readily accessed. Still, for all of what made the Mandalorian so good (and so many of these others not) it was in how the storytelling matched the pacing.

I enjoyed The Force Awakens on exactly these terms. It's absurd as a movie from the standpoint of canon and world-building perhaps, but it's an apparently Star Wars story and it does work in this way - even if it runs a bit long. The Last Jedi was also good and was clearly the sequel with the deepest thinking about meaning going on, but it did also drag in some bits. Still, I thought it set up the whole series for a grand conclusion. The Last Skywalker was dumb, disjointed, overwrought by a new factor and diminished my view of the whole sequel project.

I recently rewatched the prequels with the same mindset that perhaps I hadn't given them enough of a chance. I'll admit I found them nearly unwatchable, and the re-watch certainly didn't raise my esteem. Even the parts which I found really fun, such as the pod racing, were too stuffed with extra bits which made my feel more like "let me tell you why this story is exciting" rather than giving me the actual excitement. Still, I know a generation grew up with these movies, and I still love Star Wars and any path into the fandom.
posted by meinvt at 9:48 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


My favorite anecdote about the prequel trilogy was when they announced the second film would be called Attack of the Clones, shortly afterwards they were interviewing Ewan MacGregor and Nicole Kidman on the Moulin Rouge red carpet and the interviewer asks Ewan how excited he is to be in the Attack of the Clones. Nicole goes bugeyed and blurts out "That's the name of Episode II? That's what they're calling it?" You could see Ewan die on the inside.

That was how I remembered it; haven't looked it up since so I could be wrong.

I would say the prequels were badly damaged by the terrible dialogue throughout ("I hate sand", "he killed the younglings"), the glacial pace of Episode One compared with the speedrun in the last twenty minutes of Revenge of the Sith, and the massive overuse of CGI to the point where it affected the acting of several characters. The racial stereotypes from Episode One were legitimately awful, even then.

But, but - you have the the Duel of the Fates fight in Episode One and the glorious last few scenes in Revenge of the Sith where you hear the Leia and Star Wars themes for the first time (start at 1:50) - well, I did feel the magic there.
posted by fortitude25 at 9:49 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The pacing complaints are valid, but I think it is more an issue of how much pacing in general has changed since the 70s and 80s. I understand that this is largely due to digital editing making it easier to increase the pace of movies. At the same time, movies in general have gotten longer, and I have no idea why. I'd much prefer a tight, exciting 90-minute movie to a bloated, inconsistent 150-minute movie, but such is life.

As an example, I tried to make my kids watch the original 1970s Christopher Reeve Superman movie. And while it is still one of my favorite movies, it is tremendously slow by modern standards and my kids had a hard time attending to it.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:06 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


You can never go home. If you were pre-teen and you went to the theatre to watch Star Wars there is a chance it made you a bit crazy with love.

Yes. Exactly.
posted by Well I never at 10:12 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The Jedi were a Calvinist ideal, based on absolutes, and deserved to end with the Republic.

Given that the prequel trilogy simultaneously imply that Force power is hereditary (thank Ford no one ever said the word "midichlorians" while Rey was discovering her abilities!) *and* that Jedi don't reproduce (the whole "forbidden to love" thing"), they should have ended long before.
posted by Gelatin at 10:26 AM on February 22


I need to take a deep breath and walk away from all things SW for a significant time. I had hopes that the Mouse would not screw this up. Disney does tend to play safe but they're generally smart in their choices. Boba Fett left a bad taste in my mouth and don't even get me started on the movies.

There's a lot out there for my nerd needs. Peacemaker is just awesome, the Game of Thrones prequel is very promising because the source material is all there and HBO is committed to deliver, and while the Amazon LOTR prequel is somewhat blasphemous I long to just wallow in that world again. And soon...Picard.
posted by Ber at 10:27 AM on February 22


Yes, I did. It's an act of sacrifice and desperation, makes us view Holdo's character in a different light, and is an absolutely stunning piece of cinematic imagery.

It's more me filling in the blanks than anything established onscreen, but I went with "people jump to lightspeed to escape, which has never been impossible before, so no one has ever been desperate enough to try it before."

But given that droids can pilot spaceships, now that they know it works, all they need is a hyperdrive and a robot brain just smart enough to point itself at an Imperial ship and engage it, and hey presto, guided antiship missiles!
posted by Gelatin at 10:30 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Rogue One is the worst of the Star Wars movies for directly making an original movie worse up into its opening moments. As far as I know I'm the only one who feels this way and was kind of my sign to stop diving into star wars, both the media and discussions. But after a lifetime of star warsing, it's hard to not, even at times like these at the end of an old thread.
posted by GoblinHoney at 10:31 AM on February 22


I also personally didn't care for CGI Ass-Kicking Yoda

In Empire, when Vader stops playing around with Luke and really starts putting the hurt on him, he doesn't bother with a lighsaber duel; he just keeps clobbering Luke by Force-tossing big pieces of machinery at him. (An ability Luke was demonstrably weak at, as well.)

But Yoda wasn't weak at it! He lifts Luke's X-Wing out of the swamp, all the while lecturing Luke that he's powerful because his ally is the Force.

So when Dooku toppled the obelisk or whatever onto Obi-Wan, it should have fallen and looked like curtains -- until it stops! Cut to Yoda with a hand outstretched and a "time for pain" expression on his face. At which point, while still holding up the obelisk with one hand, he starts throwing statues at Dooku just like Vader would do later to Luke. (Hey, maybe that's where Anakin got the idea!)

As a Funny Background Event, Obi-Wan could be scrambling out from under the massive stone hovering mere feet above him, all the while eyeing it nervously, even though Yoda never wavers. And as soon as he's out -- CRASH!

Give me that rather than Crouching Tiger Hidden Yoda any day.
posted by Gelatin at 10:38 AM on February 22 [11 favorites]


I find Star Wars works best for me when I enter into it in child-mind and just enjoy things as they happen. Because I was a child fan.

Maybe that's why, though, I found Luke and Amilyn Holdo in The Last Jedi (and Space Dad in The Mandalorian) kind of delightful. Because of course our Gen-X boy-hero Luke becomes a whiny, selfish-ass washed up guru throwing fits over the cult that never made him competent or happy. (I would almost love to see a Star Wars/Nxivm crossover.) And Holdo is just that moment that the highly competent woman snatches victory from the jaws of defeat of a power-mad privileged male. And then the process of falling in love with your child.

I dunno, man. I listened to the video and I agree with a lot of the weaknesses in storytelling and I too can rant with the best of them. I am enjoying reading it. But this universe has never really been about the critical brain for me.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:47 AM on February 22 [6 favorites]


It's more me filling in the blanks than anything established onscreen, but I went with "people jump to lightspeed to escape, which has never been impossible before, so no one has ever been desperate enough to try it before."

This is a perfectly cromulent in-universe explanation.

Not that there needs to be a perfectly cromulent in-universe explanation.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 10:59 AM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The worst thing about Star Wars is that so many people have built it up to be more than it is. At their best and at their worst, every Star Wars movie or TV show is pulp space fantasy with plot holes, stock characters, and more style than sense. If you step back from trying to turn Star Wars into The Greatest Thing of All Time, you find that you can actually enjoy most of it (the romance scenes in Attack of the Clones are still virtually unwatchable, but that's me).

...

two (or more) things can be true and valid simultaneously.. on the one hand, there's a reason we have a drinking game (take a shot every time Luke whines about something in E.IV).. yet for reasons that have been addressed repeatedly for literally generations, there is something about the cultural impact of those first three films (and especially the first film) and the weight of that impact is simply too great for anything afterwards. You can never go home. If you were pre-teen and you went to the theatre to watch Star Wars there is a chance it made you a bit crazy with love. It does not matter that this love was warped into cynical marketing campaigns etc, and trying to reduce what happened to so many people, and explain what simply was with so much rational analysis, is kind of missing the whole point?


Yep and yep. The SF movie world that the original Star Wars premiered in was chock full of deadly earnest (if not downright hamfisted) flicks about overpopulation, environmental devastation, computers just flat-out taking over, and assorted fuck-ups of science; even The Six Million Dollar Man occasionally paused its go-go action to have Steven Austin brood over the question of whether or not he was really human any more. George Lucas' previous SF film, THX-1138, was much more typical of the era, and also not really successful on its initial release; the expected SF hit of 1977 was Damnation Alley, a post-WWIII eco-thriller that followed up the mid-70s energy crisis and growing environmental movement with a cross-country trip in a profoundly fucked-up America. Given the choice between watching Paul Winfield being eaten by mutant cockroaches and a swashbuckling space opera, the choice was utterly clear to thirteen-year-old me. I was a Trekkie, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) was maybe the last of the seventies wave of deadly-serious SF movies; Roddenberry's disquisition on What It All Means To Be Human was much less popular and successful than Nicholas Meyer's follow-up featuring the space navy vs. space pirates, with the very Lucasian sacrifice of the older man with psychic powers to further the mission. TOS could be very serious about its social commentary, but it also remembered to have fun, once in a while.

And the Trek/Wars comparison goes way beyond pointless fan arguments about whether any given version of the Enterprise could beat a Star Destroyer. Any given iteration of the Trek franchise tends to be hated by fans of the immediately preceding iteration; that's true right up to the present day. Similarly, when the SW sequel trilogy started coming under fire, you had all these people coming out of the woodwork, going: hey, the prequel trilogy wasn't so bad, huh? And, as noted (such as immediately above), it does have its charms: that Yoda/Dooku duel, some of the action set pieces, Palpatine's Machiavellian machinations, etc. (Although I wonder how much of that is down to Dave Filoni & Co. rehabilitating much of that setting, characters, etc.) But, overall... c'mon. Jar Jar Binks. Getting Christopher Lee to play what may have been his last great character, and calling him Dooku. (Why not call him Count Shitay?) Those absolutely deadly romance scenes. As if Jar Jar wasn't bad enough, the very risible crypto-Asian Trade Federation people. I rewatched a chunk of Ep. III after the last season of Clone Wars, to see how it synced up, and while that was probably one of the better parts of the prequel trilogy, it was kind of astonishing how much better the cartoon was. Nostalgia, as they say, is a hell of a drug, and I don't blame someone liking the prequels, even basically thinking of them as the core of Star Wars, if they were about thirteen or so when they started dropping, but still.

The other big Trek/Wars comparison is what J.J. Abrams did to them. So Abrams took an existing franchise with a fair amount of preceding installments, did a movie that involved reworking of legacy characters, settings, and things that was somewhat controversial but still generally appreciated, and followed it up with an installment that pretty much shat the bed, especially by reviving/reworking a legacy villain? And had yet another installment directed by someone else, said movie also somewhat controversial but (arguably) better than Abrams' own efforts? See Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond. (There are a bunch of differences, of course--most obviously, Lin's movie came after Abrams', not in the middle of them--but the parallels are still striking.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:04 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Given that the prequel trilogy simultaneously imply that Force power is hereditary (thank Ford no one ever said the word "midichlorians" while Rey was discovering her abilities!) *and* that Jedi don't reproduce (the whole "forbidden to love" thing"), they should have ended long before.

So what you're saying is, we should have picked up on all those supposedly orphaned, or abandoned or single parent children who turn out to be force users and realise the Jedi are getting a bit on the side? That would certainly explain why they turned out to be so rubbish in that fight in the colosseum in AotC.
posted by biffa at 11:09 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Rogue One is the worst of the Star Wars movies for directly making an original movie worse up into its opening moments.
But Revenge of the Sith had already gone there by having Padme die during birth, invalidating Leia's memories of her mother in Return of the Jedi, as well as having Yoda meet and know Chewbacca, which was just asinine. Much as Sith had some good moments, a lot of that ending really bugged me. And yes, the same can be said for Rogue One, which I largely enjoyed but also think kinda blew it at the end. I know lots of fans really love having Vader show up there, but for me that just makes no sense with the start of A New Hope. Ah well.

The part that confuses me is that there's no one in charge of the overall Star Wars timeline and story, like there is for Marvel. Especially since they're owned by the same company, you would think that they'd see the wisdom in having some kind of cohesive narrative, especially as these things get more complex. I admit, Marvel has the advantage of having a lot of the story already created from the comics, but I know they've mixed that all together over the years anyway, and they've managed to achieve a cohesiveness between their films that is frankly amazing. I'm not sure I need that level of detail in Star Wars, but as someone mentioned above, not having a settled story arc for the sequel trilogy is just mind-blowing. It's Star Wars, it's not like they were waiting to greenlight the next two films after they see how the first one did! Have a story arc! Decide where these characters are going! How can you start this and have a character like Rey and not know who she is and where she's going to end up??? Thus, the worst possible option: Palpatine's granddaughter. Of all the things that bother me in Rise of Skywalker, that bit is just the worst.
posted by dellsolace at 11:24 AM on February 22 [7 favorites]


Luke's failure with Ren kind of proved that the emotional rigidity and fragility of the Jedi (and the Sith) lead to inevitable tragedy. They need something new. Leia could have had the wisdom that Yoda and Windu lacked. Luke should have been the Last Jedi, Rey, and perhaps Ren something new.

So first, I think it might be useful to consider that a) Luke never completed his training and b) perhaps Luke is just a shitty teacher as a result. Grogu bags on him when given the chance and we already know what happens when he tries to train (kill) Ren.

I see final events in 'The Mandalorian 2.5' (OK, OK: 'The Book of Boba Fett') as hinting of a way to create a different kind of force wielding discipline/school. Maybe one more intrinsically balanced?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:25 AM on February 22


I love Rogue One, but then I also love Alien3, so perhaps I’m just a lush for films with wonky and changed plotlines that just embody a mood.

Oh, and the everyone dying thing I guess.
posted by sektah at 11:26 AM on February 22 [5 favorites]


I see final events in 'The Mandalorian 2.5' (OK, OK: 'The Book of Boba Fett') as hinting of a way to create a different kind of force wielding discipline/school. Maybe one more intrinsically balanced?

Hopefully this ties into the Asohka show as well, since she specifically was interested in a non-Jedi path to the force. I was bugged by her trust in Luke with Grogu, honestly, doesn't seem like what she would do, but I am withholding judgement...
posted by dellsolace at 11:27 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


And yes, the same can be said for Rogue One, which I largely enjoyed but also think kinda blew it at the end. I know lots of fans really love having Vader show up there, but for me that just makes no sense with the start of A New Hope. Ah well.

Not sure I understand this. What is the problem with the ending of Rogue One? Vader and Leia never interact, so I don't see how that messes up the beginning of New Hope.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:32 AM on February 22


I was bugged by her trust in Luke with Grogu, honestly, doesn't seem like what she would do, but I am withholding judgement...

Agree with this. But then again, her arc is hardly tied to Luke's story and I'm not clear (from watching 'Clone Wars' and 'Rebels') how she even knows him. Perhaps that's explored in the comics or novels?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:33 AM on February 22


Halloween Jack, I'll never not be delighted by the way the folks at r/prequelmemes all memed themselves into believing the Prequel Trilogy is good. I think some of it may be redirected frustration over the fact that they were kids when the movies came out and they, understandably, didn't enjoy seeing these movies they loved get shat on. But still, the combined power of humor and nostalgia is wild.
posted by TheKaijuCommuter at 11:33 AM on February 22 [4 favorites]


...insurmountably vast problem #1 was deciding to make a trilogy with no idea what the story was going to be and without even letting one person write the whole thing.

I agree, this to me is what made the trilogy less that it should have been. I don't have high standards for Star Wars because let's face it, all of Star Wars has been a mixed bag of really cool, fall-flat stupid, and cringey. For the most part I thought the prequel trilogy had the most cringe but the sequel trilogy the least cohesion.

But the thing is, I've really come to dislike the parasitic industry that has grown up around making Youtube videos analyzing and nitpicking Star Wars to death, even more than I dislike the sequel trilogy.

The whining about about Rey, Rose, and Finn made me never want to see another "here's what's wrong with Star Wars" rant.
posted by Foosnark at 11:38 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Not sure I understand this. What is the problem with the ending of Rogue One? Vader and Leia never interact, so I don't see how that messes up the beginning of New Hope.

At the end of Rogue One, Vader literally watches Leia's ship leave what appears to be the largest battle between the Empire and the Rebels to date, and then he chases her down and she claims to be on a diplomatic mission? I don't know, maybe I am being unreasonable, but it seems just off somehow to me.
posted by dellsolace at 11:40 AM on February 22


>But the thing is, I've really come to dislike the parasitic industry that has grown up around making Youtube videos analyzing and nitpicking Star Wars to death, even more than I dislike the sequel trilogy.

>>The whining about about Rey, Rose, and Finn made me never want to see another "here's what's wrong with Star Wars" rant.

huge +1 to this. a key part to preserving my happiness is not engaging with people lecturing me about why certain things are good or not. just trust the vibes my friends.
posted by Cpt. The Mango at 11:41 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


At the end of Rogue One, Vader literally watches Leia's ship leave what appears to be the largest battle between the Empire and the Rebels to date, and then he chases her down and she claims to be on a diplomatic mission? I don't know, maybe I am being unreasonable, but it seems just off somehow to me.

My headcanon for that is that it's a common-enough looking ship, and Vader doesn't necessarily know Leia is on it. So between the two movies, Vader and the Empire scour the galaxy looking for a ship matching the description of the one Vader saw, and they find Leia on a "diplomatic mission" some time later.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 11:44 AM on February 22


At the end of Rogue One, Vader literally watches Leia's ship leave what appears to be the largest battle between the Empire and the Rebels to date, and then he chases her down and she claims to be on a diplomatic mission? I don't know, maybe I am being unreasonable, but it seems just off somehow to me.

I've come to watch all of these sorts of shows and movies as being a dramatization of some typical group's role-playing game. And that 'diplomatic mission' line is exactly the sort of thing one of my players would try.

"What? I have the Actor feat, you're not going to let me roll for Deception?!"
posted by meinvt at 11:47 AM on February 22 [8 favorites]


I figured Leia was diplomatically telling Vader to go fuck himself. "I'm a Senator. You're the Emperor's goon. You don't have authority here just because you have all the guns."
posted by riruro at 11:49 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Well, I do enjoy some of these explanations, so thank you for that new head-canon!
posted by dellsolace at 11:51 AM on February 22 [1 favorite]


OTOH, Vader's just captured the ship and dispatched the little resistance the crew offered.

It's not like they're going to say "You got us, here are the plans. So sorry we inconvenienced you"
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:52 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Sorry If someone already posted this, but I found A Guide to The Last Jedi (for the Star Wars Fan Base) and The Rise of Skywalker - Look What You Have Made by Nerrel very interesting (I've watched none of their other videos, seems like they do more gaming-type videos). It argues stronger for the positive parts of Last Jedi (even while criticizing parts of it). And although Johnson does have his characters be "anti" a lot, overall Last Jedi is actually a very positive and forward thinking movie that actually progresses the trilogy to a point where it can be its own, unique and good thing. The very things that this original posted video here claims they want in a new Star Wars movie.

It's not like Johnson was doing things that didn't have approval from JJ and Disney. LJ just triggered a huge amount of backlash and they hugely overreacted and over-"corrected" when making Rise of Skywalker in a small fraction of time they had been planning to take.
posted by skynxnex at 11:59 AM on February 22 [3 favorites]


It's not like they're going to say "You got us, here are the plans. So sorry we inconvenienced you"

This reminds me: a few years ago, my wife had a dream about escaping from Vader with the plans by hiding in the women's restroom where he couldn't go.

Two nights ago I had a considerably less coherent dream about Vader taking over as the principal of a high school located in the old mall where I grew up. He had some elaborate plot to enslave the students (instead of just doing it by force, or by Force), but I stopped it by.... smashing a Wi-Fi router?
posted by Foosnark at 12:04 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I've come to watch all of these sorts of shows and movies as being a dramatization of some typical group's role-playing game.

Rise of Skywalker has all the incoherence of a referee getting themselves into a mess, then grabbing at old favourites with the group to get themselves out of a mess. "It was palpatine all along guys!"
posted by bonehead at 12:07 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


The human addiction to deception, it's a lot more real than anything anyone has seen in _any_ of those movies, and that addiction is exemplified in the amount of weight people put into this fictional universe; for many fans, it's more palpable and real than their own actual meatspace lives.
posted by dbiedny at 12:11 PM on February 22


How about a Cheers-style sitcom that takes place in a cantina where everyone knows your name?
posted by snofoam at 12:29 PM on February 22


I figured Leia was diplomatically telling Vader to go fuck himself.

I hope SW stops trying fill in gaps from the past and deals with the future. ‘Cause at this point, Luke comes off as a whiny brat who didn’t do or learn much and the Jedi look even worse.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:43 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Luke comes across to me, an ex-evangelical, as an adult convert. Who maybe does quite a bit of reading of the theological texts but doesn't hone his practice with real people. The latter isn't his fault since most of them are dead. And then he starts his own branch of the faith powered mostly by bravado and his memorization of what the faith leaders did before. By the time of The Last Jedi, he's renounced much of that and has deconstructed his beliefs.

I can see how this process might not appeal to those who didn't have or escape a conservative religious background. Certainly makes the post-ROTJ Luke look quite unpleasant. But this storyline is pretty appealing to me because of my own fundamentalist childhood and my eventual escape.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:05 PM on February 22 [7 favorites]


‘Cause at this point, Luke comes off as a whiny brat who didn’t do or learn much and the Jedi look even worse.

I'm starting to think we need the boxed set of "The Jedi Way (for CEOs, COOs, And Anyone Else With A Dream)" + "Every Word Was Wrong: An Unauthorized Biography."
posted by warriorqueen at 1:11 PM on February 22


Luke is certainly not wrong about the Jedi screwing everything up when he talks to Rey in The Last Jedi, and I feel like Dave Filoni and the animated shows - and maybe now Mandalorian as well - are leaning into that. The Jedi are deeply flawed and basically fucked up the Republic, or allowed it to be destroyed right under their noses. Even the one book I've read from the new High Republic era they're launching seems to really question some of the bedrock tenets of the Jedi Order.
posted by dellsolace at 1:13 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Sorry If someone already posted this, but I found A Guide to The Last Jedi (for the Star Wars Fan Base) yt and The Rise of Skywalker - Look What You Have Made yt by Nerrel very interesting

I 100% agree with this video, though I also think some of the decisions made in the movie apply only to the star characters, as opposed to the alliance of all the characters, which I consider a weak point.

‘Cause at this point, Luke comes off as a whiny brat who didn’t do or learn much and the Jedi look even worse.

And the video actually addresses this really well.
posted by The_Vegetables at 1:16 PM on February 22


At the end of Rogue One, Vader literally watches Leia's ship leave what appears to be the largest battle between the Empire and the Rebels to date, and then he chases her down and she claims to be on a diplomatic mission? I don't know, maybe I am being unreasonable, but it seems just off somehow to me.

It makes slightly more sense if you've seen Rebels. Leia undertakes humanitarian missions to planets struggling within the Empire, and provides some aid to the nascent Rebel movement. She does this under diplomatic cover and her position as the aide / daughter of a Senator. Most of the time this works. The local Lieutenant in charge of a spaceport isn't going to yell at a member of a prominent political family. Even when he knows she's up to something.

Makes sense she would try this with Vader. It worked before and it's her only option in that moment. I think Rogue One makes that moment better. It's sheer desperation on her part. Knowing it probably won't work this time, but never hurts to try.
posted by Teegeeack AV Club Secretary at 1:17 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


Leia had genuine authentic diplomatic immunity. She had every right to protest that Vader had illegally detained her ship, murdered her personnel, and was about to have her tortured.

Vader of course happened to be completely right that she had the stolen plans, had absolutely no illusion exactly what ship they were chasing, and was deeply pissed that she tried to hide behind diplomatic immunity when he knew darn well she was a rebel an a traitor. He mad.

The Jedi also show an immense willingness to use children soldiers. On the front lines. Of an massive and horrific galactic civil War. Not okay Jedi.

And it also concerns me how little they seem to care that Anakin slaughtered a bunch of sentient beings on Tatooine. Tusken people can create and use tools, language and have family structures and he knows it. Padme is just like oh no that's sad that you're a mass murderer you want to bang?

And the rise of Skywalker had incredibly bad pacing, irregardless of the whole palpatine thing. They could have made an infinitely better movie by changing the title crawl. Instead of presenting palpatine's return as a fact, yet in a way that made me unsure if they were completely serious, start with mysterious activity emanating from the Death Star ruins. That whole nonsense of the knife was a complete side quest, utterly unnecessary. Thinking Star Wars needs side quests reveals a lack of understanding of the source material in my opinion.

Cutting out that gives you at least 20 minutes to space out the movie A bit, to work on pacing. Instead of this happens and this happens and this happens and this happens and this happens and isn't all this stuff exciting? They can give moments weight and emotion and depth and meaning. JJ Abrams confuses flash and movement for plot. A rotating disco ball is not the same thing as storytelling.

And again, having a scene with weight to it is important. Compare Luke looking at his father's lightsaber to whatever the heck was going on voices and images when Rey pause the lightsaber out of a trunk in a cantina that's a pale imitation of the movie it's ripping off. His handling of Han Solo's death had no meaning. Harrison Ford mostly just stands there looking constipated and confused as to what he's doing, while Ren is clearly going to murder him the whole time. I don't think they'd even interacted once before that scene, does it matter that he killed Han? Not really. I mean yes, the beloved character died, but they didn't even really do a good job of showing Ren as being extra tormented or anything.

And since that scene justifiably got so much grief, Abrams did what, three fake out deaths in rise of skywalker? Terrible tawdry unearned melodrama. I get that he can't kill Chewbacca, but you could have at least let c3po sacrifice himself.
posted by Jacen at 1:31 PM on February 22


Vader of course happened to be completely right that she had the stolen plans, had absolutely no illusion exactly what ship they were chasing, and was deeply pissed that she tried to hide behind diplomatic immunity when he knew darn well she was a rebel an a traitor.

I suspect I am not the only one who read this sentence and at the end heard Vader order, "Take her away!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:52 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]


he notes that the major criticism about Last Jedi (i.e. Luke's character) is unfair because Rian Johnson had to find a way to explain why Luke disappeared in the first place. That's a JJ Abrams problem.

Precisely.

Also: What Luke did (going into hiding after a disaster virtually wiped out the Jedi order, and biding his time until a worthy student appeared) is exactly what Yoda and Obi-Wan did previously.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 1:55 PM on February 22 [12 favorites]


Also also: What Luke did (throwing away his lightsaber) is exactly what Luke himself did at the climax of Return of the Jedi when he announced (convincingly) that the Emperor had failed, and he was a Jedi like his father before him.
posted by The Tensor at 2:04 PM on February 22 [11 favorites]


Han Solo's actor is not interested in being in another Star Wars film thank you very much.

Which is fine, Harrison Ford has for a very long time acted like a great big baby in public. But killing Solo at the very beginning is supremely lazy, and didn't even make a dent on any single character beyond Chewie going WHARRRRRGARBL for a bit. Since you're doing A New Hope shot for shot anyway, have Solo come in at the end for the trench run or...whatever it was in the new movie...and he's a Big Damn Hero and then dies. More impact, truer to the character, truer to the spirit of the universe, and Ford still gets to not be in any more Star Wars movies and can go back to sitting around at home growing out his earlobes or whatever.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:08 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


How about a Cheers-style sitcom that takes place in a cantina where everyone knows your name?

And Bea Arthur has already performed the theme song!
posted by polecat at 2:12 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


beyond Chewie going WHARRRRRGARBL for a bit

do not TELL me you just dismissed 95% of the reason I watch any of these damn movies
posted by elkevelvet at 2:13 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


[McSweeney's]
SEPTEMBER 3, 2002


LISTS
ALL OF CHEWBACCA’S DIALOGUE IN THE COMIC BOOK VERSION OF THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK

by BRIAN McMULLEN

“Raarghhh!”

“Waaark!”

“Vaaarrk!”

“Growwk!”

“Awwrk?”

“Aowwww!”

“Narowrrr?!”

“Vowarrrk!”

“Rawrrk!”

“Nowrrrrragh!”

“Nrawwwwk!”

“Waaaaarrk!”

“Yawrrrk!”

“Raarghh!”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:19 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]


Also: What Luke did (going into hiding after a disaster virtually wiped out the Jedi order, and biding his time until a worthy student appeared) is exactly what Yoda and Obi-Wan did previously.

Well, I think Obi-Wan hangs out on Tatooine watching over Luke, waiting for his moment, PLUS...well, I am not going to spoil 'Rebels' for anyone who hasn't seen it...there's more.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 2:27 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


How about a Cheers-style sitcom that takes place in a cantina where everyone knows your name?

Or a dramatic biopic about legendary jizz-wailer Max Rebo.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:29 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Which is fine, Harrison Ford has for a very long time acted like a great big baby in public. But killing Solo at the very beginning is supremely lazy, and didn't even make a dent on any single character beyond Chewie going WHARRRRRGARBL for a bit. Since you're doing A New Hope shot for shot anyway, have Solo come in at the end for the trench run or...whatever it was in the new movie...and he's a Big Damn Hero and then dies. More impact, truer to the character, truer to the spirit of the universe, and Ford still gets to not be in any more Star Wars movies and can go back to sitting around at home growing out his earlobes or whatever.

I get it. But as a slavish retelling of A New Hope, which is based on Joseph Campbell's monomyth scholarship, Han Solo is the mentor or sage whose death propels the hero (Rey) to face her fears and continue on her journey, just as Obi Wan's death did for Luke at the end of A New Hope (or Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring, or Dumbledore in Harry Potter).
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 2:31 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Like many SW characters, Max has a fully fleshed out back story in case one's interested.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 2:32 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Wookiee Jedis would be cool.
posted by clavdivs at 2:33 PM on February 22 [4 favorites]


Talking of SF: Elmo faces the Gom Jabbar (instead of Timothee Chalomet).
posted by biffa at 3:10 PM on February 22


Wookiee Jedis would be cool.

They're rare (and varying degrees of canon) but they do exist.
posted by mstokes650 at 3:23 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


Where’s the Jawa who are Jedi?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:07 PM on February 22 [1 favorite]


the sequel trilogy, in an attempt to reset the drama and chart its own course, threw away most of the character development and plot successes of the original trilogy.

That got me, too. I was unimpressed by The Force Awakens, it was such an unimaginative point by point remake of ANH, but I did like the central trio and thought I might catch up with the other films some day if I heard that they were better, and then apparently the three of them had almost no further screen time together and also every single thing that the original trio had done or planned to do turned out to a complete failure on a personal, political, and spiritual level.

Some level of failure or struggle was baked in, to be fair, or there wouldn't be material for another trilogy, but it felt like very "I'll smash everything before so I can redo it, because I have no creative ability to come up with my own story."
posted by tavella at 4:11 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


I hope SW stops trying fill in gaps from the past and deals with the future.

The easy thing that would get me tentatively very excited about Star Wars again would be a tiny teaser that's just the Lucasfilm logo fading away to:

A long time from now in a galaxy far far away...
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:24 PM on February 22 [2 favorites]


Talking and thinking about Star Wars is fun for me because its like taking apart a giant machine to see how it works - or doesn't. The original trilogy, especially the first two films, weaved together elements of classical hollywood and golden age science fiction - along with cutting edge special effects - to capture the imagination of country reeling from Vietnam, Watergate, and cultural battles of the 50s and 60s. Blowing up the death star in the first film must have been a cathartic moment for people worried about the growth of centralizing entities like the military industrial complex or just post WW2 bureaucratic states in general, which was probably why the original trilogy attracted fans across the political spectrum. The next two movies were about reconciliation between generations, which may have appealed to a country looking to come together after the supposed generational conflicts opened by Vietnam and the 60s counter culture. I always think of a song, I think it was by the Carpenters, that I'd hear on "oldies" radio growing up about conflicts between fathers and sons - In the Living Years - when I think of ESB and ROTJ. Lucas may have rationalized that he was filming the "monomyth", but I think that applicability caused the original trilogy to resonate.

The prequel films also were weirdly resonate, and prophathetic considering when Phantom Menace came out, for a post 9/11 America going through the lies of the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, and Bush II's moves to consolidate executive power. I remember a lot of neoncon types feeling betrayed by the "this is how democracy dies" line. The difference between the original trilogy and the prequels was that Lucas had collaborators to filter his ideas into compelling filmmaking for the original movies, whereas he was on his own when he made the prequels. I always think about how the "political scenes" in the prequels would have been handled by single lines of offhand dialog in the original trilogy. For example, in the original trilogy the emperor dissolving the Senate happened offscreen and was communicated with a single statement, but in the prequels I get the feeling Lucas would have included the entire speech.

With the Disney Star Wars films, I get the feeling that nobody except Riyan Johnson had any idea of what they were trying say, what they wanted the films to be about. Johnson basically had to compress three movies worth of storytelling and character development into one movie, which was never going to work. JJ Abrams just had his endless mystery boxes and his ability to fashion pastiches of others' work, but as too often is the case with his filmmaking, there was nothing underneath the surface. Once the mystery boxes were opened, there was no "there" there. It was all surface. I've heard some comment that the new Star Wars films represented the breakdown of our culture's ability to fashion collective myths that are credible to itself. I think there is something to that. Unlike Lucas, everyone involved with the Disney Star Wars films understood how to use the grammar of filmmaking to craft compelling scenes, but they didn't have a coherent story to tell.
posted by eagles123 at 8:21 PM on February 22 [13 favorites]


The Vader scene in Rogue One ties in perfectly to the beginning of A New Hope as far as I see. Leia claims diplomatic ship and Vader knows that they’re lying out their ass because he saw guys put the plans on that exact ship before it bolted.
posted by azpenguin at 8:42 PM on February 22 [3 favorites]


As I always say, I wish Disney had just stuck to their imminent train wreck and had Colin Trevorrow direct IX as he was originally slated to do in the first place. No matter how bad it would've been, at least then we would've gotten a trilogy that was differently bad from different creators at every step, and in a way perhaps it would have echoed the range of the Lucas films- as the video states, those contain "a children's fantasy, a noirish political mystery, an apocalyptic opera a serial adventure, a dreamlike tragedy, and a classical morality play."
posted by Apocryphon at 12:33 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


If anyone missed it the first time, We Can't See Star Wars Anymore (archive) is worth a read.
The success of “Star Wars” has obviated a lot of its original virtues. Much of the fun of watching the film for the first time, now forever inaccessible to us, was in the slow unveiling of its universe: Swords made of lasers! A Bigfoot who co-pilots a spaceship! A swing band of ’50s U.F.O. aliens! Mr. Lucas refuses to explain anything, keeping the viewer as off-balance as a jet-lagged tourist in Benares or Times Square. We don’t see the film’s hero until 17 minutes in; we’re kept watching not by plot but by novelty, curiosity...

We literally can’t see “Star Wars” anymore: Its control-freakish creator won’t allow the original version of the film to be seen and has stubbornly maculated his own masterpiece, second-guessing correct editing decisions, restoring wisely deleted scenes and replacing his breakthrough special effects — historic artifacts in their own right — with ’90s vintage C.G.I., already more dated than the film’s original effects.

There may come a day, a long time from now, after Disney’s vampirically extended copyrights have expired and all the accumulated cultural detritus has eroded away, when people will have forgotten “Star Wars,” and can finally see it again. Seen anew, much of its imagery is surreally beautiful: the vast plated underside of an armored starship sliding on and on forever overhead; the dreamlike tableau, seen through a scrim of smoke and framed by concentric portals, of a girl shrouded in white furtively genuflecting to a robot; a golden android waving for help in a desert by the skeleton of a dinosaur; a convoy of space fighters opening their split wings in sequence, like poison flowers blossoming.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 1:28 AM on February 23 [10 favorites]


Oh gosh, couldn't they just bring back an updated (cgi rather than sparkler rocket engines:) Buck Rogers of the 25th Century?
posted by sammyo at 5:13 AM on February 23


We literally can’t see “Star Wars” anymore:

Well, I have the 1990's 10 Year Original Trilogy VHS tapes, which are all pre-revision, ripped to my harddrive, so there's that.
posted by mikelieman at 6:35 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


I think it's fun game to make Star Wars more interesting. This is what I've been thinking of this morning....

The Knights of Ren were an ancient Jedi order of warrior-poets from a time long ago. Ben and his friends learned about them in history class at Luke's academy, became fascinated by their exploits, and decided to form their own "Knights". Luke was excited by their enthusiasm, and he encouraged them and even bestowed each member of the group with their "Ren" name, dubbing Ben "Kylo Ren" because it was the name of a great leader who expelled the corrupt Sith and restored the Jedi to their previous glory.

About this time, Ben started asking him about his grandfather. Luke had occasionally described Anakin's fall but he never dwelt upon it because he always preferred to emphasize his father's redemption. It made Luke feel uncomfortable when Ben asked if Anakin could be posthumously inducted into the Knights of Ren as well (The name "Anakin" is descended from an earlier name which was considered sacred by the Knights of Ren) but he went along with it anyway in a secret ceremony because he felt the good in his father needed to be honored. And when he overheard Ben talking with his fellow Knights about Anakin being "misunderstood" and having been treated unfairly by the Jedi, Luke didn't think anything of it because deep down he also believed those things.

Over time the behavior of these "Knights" grew worrisome. They started adopting more and more of the archaic practices of the Knights of Ren such as wearing masks. They began chastising other students for not adhering to their "purer" form of Jedi philosophy and questioning whether non-humans can even be considered true Jedi. Other students and teachers pointed out that the historic Knights of Ren were problematic and not that far removed from the Sith in their ways, but because the restoration of the Jedi Order was so important politically and most of the Knights of Ren were children of respected Rebel generals turned New Republic leaders, it was easy to dismiss this behavior was just kids being kids--until the night the academy burned.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:42 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


The Knights of Ren were an ancient Jedi order of warrior-poets from a time long ago. Ben and his friends learned about them in history class at Luke's academy, became fascinated by their exploits, and decided to form their own "Knights". Luke was excited by their enthusiasm, and he encouraged them and even bestowed each member of the group with their "Ren" name, dubbing Ben "Kylo Ren" because it was the name of a great leader who expelled the corrupt Sith and restored the Jedi to their previous glory.

Of course, in this version Kylo expresses his attraction to Rey by reciting classical poetry to her, and the rift between Kylo and Luke occurs because Kylo really only wanted to be an actor.
posted by Gelatin at 6:48 AM on February 23


Eh. I was thinking about how Terry Jones described the crusader knights as brutes who would violently murder you and then return to their castle to write a poem about their experience.

My less charitable interpretations of the Jedi always seem to have that same sort of vibe.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:56 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


I've never read the work cited by TheophileEscargot, but that is a much more articulate rendering of "you can never go home." We can't "see" it and let's not forget the sound design, the musical score and various thematic elements that echo through popular culture to this very moment, the TIE-fighters swarming, the thrum of the light sabre blooming, all those marvelous sounds. Hearing them for the first time was pretty magical.
posted by elkevelvet at 7:51 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


We literally can’t see “Star Wars” anymore: Its control-freakish creator won’t allow the original version of the film to be seen

You can see it easily enough; just search for "despecialized."

What you can't do is pay Disney for it. ohnoanyway.jpg
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:04 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


this has been around for a while, but if you ever get a chance to watch The Empire Strikes Back Uncut with a group of friends, it is so much fun.
posted by elkevelvet at 8:18 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


The original trailer for Empire Strikes back wonderful and full of limitless energy and possibilities.

(Also, I had no idea until I just read the description on YT that it was narrated by Harrison Ford)
posted by RonButNotStupid at 9:09 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


(Also, I had no idea until I just read the description on YT that it was narrated by Harrison Ford)

That voiceover is more excited than I've heard Harrison Ford be about anything.

I don't recognize the shot of C-3PO tearing some sort of flyer off the wall. Any idea what that was supposed to be about?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:25 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


I don't recognize the shot of C-3PO tearing some sort of flyer off the wall. Any idea what that was supposed to be about?

‘Races to type answer before other nerds show up’

C3po was tearing a sign off the wall indicating where the ice monsters were in the hope that Stormtroopers would end going in that door.

First?!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:29 AM on February 23 [7 favorites]


Lol thanks Brandon!
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 9:31 AM on February 23


okay, that first Luke Skywalker flop in the trailer is PERFECT

someone make a GIF, that is the essence of Luke right there (edit to add timestamp: 0:46)
posted by elkevelvet at 9:47 AM on February 23


that explosion at the end.. "more cowbell" before it's time
posted by elkevelvet at 9:50 AM on February 23


I think I've just figured out the origin of a personal bit of pre-Internet Star Wars knowlege which has always puzzled me. I swear in the early 1990s my Mom told me that they were making new Star Wars movies (!) but that they were going to be set thousands of years before the originals.

Until now, I've never been able to figure out how she might have come across this information, but after reading an obituary for Tom Veitch, I'm pretty sure she must have been exposed to some promotional material for Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi and thought it was a new movie in production.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 11:57 AM on February 23


That voiceover is more excited than I've heard Harrison Ford be about anything.

Well, he was a working actor, and it's not like the actors made a fortune off of the first Star War. Lucas, sure; Kenner, most def. Guinness and Cushing had some clout. Hamill, Fisher, Ford; not so much.

In 1979, Harrison Ford was the guy who since the Han Solo role had been in Hanover Street and Force 10 from Navarone and one scene in Apocalypse Now. Indiana Jones and Blade Runner and stardom were still a ways off. His last experience with Star Wars on screen had been the Holiday Special, so I imagine that the marketing department cut him a cheque for $175 and told him to do that 40's radio announcer voice. He may have figured that the 1977 movie was a flash in the pan and he'd back to being a carpenter who was occasionally a day player in a year or two.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 12:21 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


if you want me, i'll be watching Auralnauts
posted by eustatic at 3:51 AM on February 25


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