Star Wars: The Last Jedi (WITH SPOILERS!)

Judderman

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It's sitting at the lowest audience liked and audience scored rating of the Star Wars series on Rotten Tomatoes so far.
That said I know various people who enjoyed it.
 

ctg

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Months after the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, many people still have questions about the fate of Luke Skywalker.

Actor Mark Hamill has spoken at length about his own ideas for the character's future, and reiterated his favorite theory about Luke's disappearance while speaking on the red carpet of the 90th Academy Awards.

"My favorite is the fact that maybe he transported to somewhere else," Hamill said to EW. "And I thought, 'Well, if he left his robes behind he’d have to go to a nudist colony.'"

Hamill has previously relayed this theory, and he's known to channel his inner Joker when it comes to dealing with fans and press.

The actor also spoke about working on the Star Wars saga that began with George Lucas over four decades ago, indicating how proud he is to continue playing a role in the franchise.

"When I see the technology and the craftsmanship of these people, it’s just astonishing," Hamill said. "That’s why end credits are an hour and a half long, it takes thousands of people to put that together."

Hamill previously spoke with ComicBook.com and revealed he was afraid to reprise the iconic role, decades after last appearing in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

"Any job is exciting, on a certain level. This one was just so high profile and scary because of the legacy involved," said Hamill. "And it wasn’t easy. It was challenging because I thought, 'What could have happened to this guy, who was the most optimistic character, to become suicidal and wanting the Jedi to end?' It wasn’t easy, believe me."

Despite the negative reaction from some fans and his own trepidations while making the film, Hamill has admitted that he really enjoyed the unexpected direction writer and director took Luke in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

"I saw [the film] once by ourselves in a screening room, and I didn’t know what to think. Then the next time I saw it, I liked it better. And I saw it a total of four times, and it got better each time!
'Star Wars: The Last Jedi': Mark Hamill Confirms His Favorite Luke Theory
 

ctg

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Very good, long article on why things happened the way they did. I know through Rebel's ending that Mark Hamill might get to play for his heart content Master Luke's role at Dave Filoni's unannounced project that sets in between these trilogies. And I'm happy about it, even if he chooses to say no.

AUSTIN, Texas—Following the world premiere of The Director and The Jedi, a comprehensive two-hour documentary about the making of the latest Star Wars film, South By Southwest Film Festival attendees got a Last Jedi double-whammy. After the curtain raised at the Paramount Theater, director Rian Johnson and actor Mark Hamill took the stage for an impromptu Q&A.

Hamill unsurprisingly opted for jokes and openness in his answers, and in particular, he offered his most robust comments yet about that spicy bit of news ahead of Episode VIII's launch: that he didn't much care for how the character of Luke Skywalker had been written.
Mark Hamill on Skywalker disagreements, fear of starring in a new Star Wars film
 

Brian G Turner

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Okay, so I bought the Blu-ray this week, but was very hesitant about re-watching The Last Jedi. I'd seen a few critical YouTube vids and found myself absorbing their comments.

I thought my kids might like some aspects of the film, especially its progressive nature, but otherwise I felt a lot of trepidation about seeing this film again.

And, the second time around... I thought it was brilliant.

The first viewing challenged my expectations, but this time and without them, I felt like I could really get a sense of the story Rian Johnson was trying to tell.

With that in mind, I'm going to go back to my original negative comments earlier in this thread:

Negatives:
1. The Princess Leia, floating Hindu Goddess bit, was like something from a Bollywood film and looked silly.
2. Finn's subplot to the casino world was completely pointless and had no overall impact on the plot. It seemed the writer struggled to involve him - him wandering about leaking at the start was another silliness and unfortunately set a low tone for the film.
3. I want to like the new characters, but I'm more emotionally invested in the older ones - yet they don't actually really seem to do much in the new trilogy - more ornamentation than involvement, and too easily killed off.
4. would be nice if space is treated as big and not fish-bowl sized
5. I thought that planets was supposed to contain a heavily armoured Rebel base, rather than just a mine with a big door and some turrets?
6. Please stop letting the Imperials First Order just pull out bigger and bigger guns at every challenge - aren't Star Destroyers supposed to be powerful enough?
1. Floating Princess Leia - a big part of the film narrative is about how the unexpected and unlooked for can have a far more major role than expected. In other words, we've been so blinded watching the Skywalkers that we ignored everyone else - to our peril.

So why did Princess Leia escape certain death in space without any foreshadowing?

I think that scene was intended to be the foreshadowing - that when Leia, whom we know to be force sensitive, is forced into a life or death situation, she instinctively uses the Force - and that she was going to do something even bigger in the third film in the trilogy. In other words, this scene surprised us because we had been so focused on Luke that we dismissed her.

In fact, there's a lot in this film about dismissing women because the men are expected to know better - Poe Dameron's character arc is founded on this.

2. Finn does indeed feel somewhat under-utilized in this film - but his original character arc has been about realizing and learning the truth of his situation, the First Order, and his place in it. What the master hacker revealed to him was a terrible truth - that the rebels and First Order are equally morally wrong, because each seeks the death of the other. This underlines the point continuous in this film that the Force is about the need for balance.

3. Killing off characters kills our expectations - but that's what so radical about this film: it's about breaking from the past to forge a new future.

4. Space is big - we only see a small part of it, so that negative seems a little off.

5. It *was* a heavily-armoured base - and Leia had hoped to use it as a rallying point for their allies. Except, the allies didn't come.

6. Yeah... I think there's a degree of trying to over-compensate here, but it's hardly a big issue, especially as the audience is so used to seeing Star Destroyers that perhaps we do expect to see something bigger all the time..

One continuity issue that really bugs me - when the starship was turned and driven at light speed into the pursuing fleet to destroy it, the question arises of why no one ever did this against the Death Star or Planet Killer?
This isn't the plot hole I thought it was: the main cruiser cripples the First Order's super ship, but it doesn't destroy it.

So, if the rebels had tried the same against the Death Star, the first thing that would stop them is the shield - that's a big reason for it being there, to prevent unauthorized ships from reaching it.

Additionally, Admiral Ackbar could have sent his own cruiser into the Death Star - but it would neither have stopped nor destroyed it - he would simply have put a cruiser-sized hole in a moon-sized station.

So the tactic is useless against objects measured in terms of planetary bodies.

Additionally, presumably the rebels share our Western world-view that suicide attacks are not a valid military tactic.


On that related point - Rose saving Finn: he was going to die for no reason, because crashing into the battering ram cannon would not have destroyed it. It also underlines the value that suicide is not a heroic way to die.

I also completely go against what I said about sloppy writing - I think this script was radical and masterful and extremely clever. Perhaps a little too clever, and a little too daring for a lot of people. But I think Disney needed to start bringing in younger people and turn them into true Star Wars fans, instead of leaving it in the hands of middle-age men like me. The future of Star Wars as a franchise depends on that wider audience, IMO.

So, there - take that Brian-in-the-past. :)
 

Overread

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Additionally, Admiral Ackbar could have sent his own cruiser into the Death Star - but it would neither have stopped nor destroyed it - he would simply have put a cruiser-sized hole in a moon-sized station.
One must also remember that, whilst velocity is important, the Super Star Destroyer also rammed into the second, half built, Death Star and it seemed to hardly dent it. So even if you got it up to speed it might well not actually do as much damage to such a heavy dense structure.

Another aspect is cost - the Alliance just hasn't got waste ships to throw at the enemy. Each one clearly represents a huge investment in time and money and one-use rams isn't a very efficient use when that cruiser could do far more damage in multiple encounters. Ramming them clearly is a last-ditch affair and I suspect if the Rebels knew how badly their call for help was going to go they wouldn't have used their last cruiser as a ram; they'd have made an escape - no matter how short - to somewhere else.




To me the only weakness is that they still need a spy on the rebel cruiser; a mechanic that helps reinforce why the upper command closed ranks on their master-plan so tightly when in the past we've seen the rebellion typically being far more open about their general plans (esp to higher up troopers).
 

The Crawling Chaos

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1. Floating Princess Leia - a big part of the film narrative is about how the unexpected and unlooked for can have a far more major role than expected. In other words, we've been so blinded watching the Skywalkers that we ignored everyone else - to our peril.

So why did Princess Leia escape certain death in space without any foreshadowing?

I think that scene was intended to be the foreshadowing - that when Leia, whom we know to be force sensitive, is forced into a life or death situation, she instinctively uses the Force - and that she was going to do something even bigger in the third film in the trilogy. In other words, this scene surprised us because we had been so focused on Luke that we dismissed her.

In fact, there's a lot in this film about dismissing women because the men are expected to know better - Poe Dameron's character arc is founded on this.
This is your takeaway from that scene and I respect that, but it becomes an issue when you say that the reason the scene surprised "us" was because "we" had been so focused on Luke that "we" dismissed Leia.

I grew up a fan of Star Wars and the Expanded Universe, and notably the comics Dark Empire, in which Leia learns to use the Force, becomes a Jedi just as powerful as her brother, has children that become Jedi (including a son who later becomes a Sith Lord and is vanquished by his twin sister...). In my mind there was never any doubt that Leia could use the Force ("My sister has it too" as Luke said in Return of the Jedi), and had learned to use it between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens - in fact I was surprised this was never addressed in the latter.

But that floating-in-space-scene I still find personally dreadful. It has nothing to do with dismissing women - why is every single issue nowadays unfairly simplified into a gender or privilege issue? - and everything to do with its execution and implications for the future of the lore. Its execution is poor, and I agree with your original assessment: It looks like something out of a Bollywood movie. It elicited laughs and snorts within the audience when I saw the film on the big screen, and that was my main concern. People weren't laughing at a woman using the Force, they were laughing at the fact that she looked like a floating piece of cardboard drifting across space, pulled by a cable.

But the scene is also problematic for me because once again a screenwriter writes himself into a corner ("Let's blow Leia out of the ship and into space!") and has to use a new Force power to write himself out of it. Maybe the theory is that the Force can do anything, but I like my Star Wars with as little Space-Magic-dei-ex-machina as possible. I like The Force when it's about finding strength within yourself (which is Luke's journey, especially in ESB where his training almost exclusively consists in finding peace by running around and climbing trees while carrying Yoda on his back, and the Dagobah Cave scene, in which he must confront a spectral Darth Vader to find out that he too could become the new Vader). I can live with the Force allowing to choke people at a distance, jump higher and run faster than the average person. I don't like it when it's about surviving the void of space. Because where does it stop? Are we at risk of seeing even more ridiculous scenes in the future, in which the writers decide to write even more ludicrous situations that can only be resolved with the discovery of a new Force ability?

They should be careful not to turn the Jedi into Supermen (DC's Superman), because as far as we know, right now there is no kryptonite in the SW universe. That is something the Prequels started and I already didn't like it at the time, but the theory back then was that there were thousands of Jedi, the Force was strong and healthy and its users were able to tap into its power more efficiently. But even though in TPM Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon were able to survive toxic gas by holding their breath for a while, they still needed a breathing apparatus to reach the Gungan city underwater.

So, if the rebels had tried the same against the Death Star, the first thing that would stop them is the shield - that's a big reason for it being there, to prevent unauthorized ships from reaching it.
Yes, but the Death Star mission was all about deactivating the shield on Endor first. With the shield up, nothing could be done to the Death Star, suicide mission or not.

And on the kamikaze strike in The Last Jedi: In the SW universe, ships can be flown by droids. Holdo could have (should have) programmed the jump and left the ship with the rest of the troops instead of depriving the Rebel Alliance of one of its smartest and boldest admirals in such dire times.

I don't admire her sacrifice as a gesture of courage. I laugh at its stupidity.
 
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Overread

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Driods sit in a really odd place in Star Wars.

On the one hand they can make whole mechanical armies which are shown to be very effective in war and which are used as single minded warriors thrown into battle without concern for their wellbeing. On the other hand its clear that many of the driods used by the rebellion are valued beyond their mechanical utilitarian use and that units like C3PO and even the very utilitarian Astromech droids are almost ascribed human levels of sentience; indeed R2D2 is commended by the Queen in Phantom Menace. Notice also how they don't simply open up R2D2 and scan his "brain" for the information likely locked within. Also don't forget the torture scene in Return of the Jedi where we see a robot being spun around and its feet pads being burned with a hot surface, the machine clearly displays and makes a "no no" sound so whilst pain might be a debatable point the damage accorded to it is clearly undesirable.

To me this says that many droids in the Star Wars world are considered as alive as their organic counterparts, at the very least by the Alliance/Rebellion factions of the setting. So leaving a droid to pilot the ship would have been the same to them as leaving a person. It's a line of thinking that isn't fully explored like it might be in something like Blade Runner or Matrix, but in a way the Starwars droids and people are decades beyond even questioning if their droids are "alive". Though there are clear varying levels of respect accorded to them and, in the end, they are still machines.

Interestingly we also don't see ship AI at all. The Star Destroyers even have rank after rank of staff on the bridge clearly performing the mundane activities in managing the ship. Meanwhile they don't seem to have any form of ship central computer like one might see in Star Trek, instead ships are far more managed like aircraft in today's world; flown by the living (even the Trade Federation had living pilots and their fighters are seen walking and are shown as being more akin to flying robots than self-moving space ships - though that's a fine line of reasoning). This gives rise to the thought that perhaps because machines are so capable in the Star Wars world, there is also a push-back against that by the living.


In the end its perhaps easier to think of the machines as just differently alive creatures rather than AI as we might consider them. This explains why their lives are often considered important; why they are not able to control whole starships on their own; why there is no apparent AI save for things like targeting computers etc...
 

The Crawling Chaos

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Driods sit in a really odd place in Star Wars.
I think droids are very much a commodity in SW (see Uncle Owen's handling of C-3PO and R2 in ANH), and some are treated like living beings only after a certain rapport has been established between them and an organic being (Luke / R2).

There's a scene at the end of ANH - or is it ESB after the Battle of Both? - in which a Rebel technician informs Luke that R2 is too damaged and will be replaced, and he just says it casually, as if getting rid of one astromech and replacing it was just another day on the job. Luke insists that he wants R2 fixed instead because he has befriended the droid.

But even if we ignore the droids, let's look at the Millennium Falcon: Every time the crew need to "jump" somewhere, a course is charted by the computer and Han or Chewie or whoever is piloting the ship at that time pulls on a lever, the ship makes that jump and then everybody moves to the lower deck where they can play chess ("Dejarik" if memory serves), fix something or shoot the breeze. Ships have onboard computers making calculations, and there is no reason to think that a human being or droid is even necessary at all for a ship to travel through hyperspace. I cannot remember exactly when but I am 95% sure that there are also mentions of an auto-pilot in at least one of the films.

In any case, it makes absolutely no sense for this admiral who is presented as one of the finest - if not the finest - tactician/s of the Resistance to suddenly commit hyperspace-assisted suicide (unless she was terminal and condemned to die?) and abandon the rest of her men and women (and droids) in such dire circumstances, when they are down to a handful of people and are being tracked down by the most powerful fleet in the galaxy. If not the onboard computer, then a droid or even a lower-ranking officer (who was the captain of that ship?) should have gone down with the ship.

I felt it was a cheap and gratuitous sacrifice that was probably meant to elicit an emotional response on the part of the audience, but left this audience member cold and confused. I know I'm just one example and maybe the scene worked for others, but I can only share my own perspective.
 
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Overread

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Aye I still maintain that they needed more development time on the fleeing ship. The admiral is supposed to be going through super depression after having lost most of her friends and companions (partly as a result of that bombing run on the dreadnought). That was never fully developed so she seems somewhat callous without much reasoning. They honestly could have done better to have put more time on that cruiser and less in the gambling hall (which did feel somewhat tacked on and a bit iffy - esp when they didn't hook up with the master hacker and instead found "some guy" in a cell who found "some ship" and managed it all.
 

Brian G Turner

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Re: The Leia bit - I'm not familiar with the expanded universe, but in the films so far little has ever been made of Princess Leia's force abilities. My feeling is that Rian Johnson was trying to bring them to the fore, with her life-or-death moment forcing them into becoming more active - and that we would see more of this development in the third film, if keeping to that.

After all, Kylo Ren himself says something about this story being about the Skywalkers - which no doubt would make people think on Luke and Anakin. And yet Leia is also a Skywalker, and also has a direct connection to Kylo Ren. I wouldn't have been surprised if Rian Johnson was planning to set her up as a bridge between both.

That's just my initial thinking, though. :)
 

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To my thinking it simply shows that Luke did start training Leia, however all that likely came to a total end when Kylo turned. So Leia had a level of skill, but never developed it fully or took it further. Considering what happened to her son and that Luke abandoned her not long after; its no shock that she likely never perused her own training any further. We also have to assume that Yoda and Ben had no reason to try and influence Leia further either.

Honestly my feeling is that the film tried to cover just a bit too much for its own good and left a fair chunk up to viewers to make up for themselves. Some bits were easy; some were harder and some require more of a leap of faith in the lore and background. Which I think is why this film gets such a huge division in the market as to who likes/hates it.
 

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Here's an interesting video - made over a year ago - which predicts that Disney are going to make a big point of focusing on Grey Jedi:


In other words, The Force exists outside of the Light and the Dark, both of which are just intentions and not inherent to the Force itself.

In other words, the only way to bring balance to the Force is to remove the Jedi and Sith.

That was his prediction 11 months before The Last Jedi was released.

Now, we've seen Disney target that through this film - Luke wants the Jedi to end, and the Sith no longer exist as a pair. Kylo remains conflicted by the dark and the light, and also wants an end to the past and what it stands for. Additionally, Rey hasn't been trained to be a Jedi Knight, but simply shown how to better connect with the Force - something some people flagged a plot hole, but actually works with this concept.

IMO the YouTuber seems to be onto something, and his theory supports my idea that Leia is integral to this playing out, not least due to being Force-sensitive (and potentially a powerful one) but also being neither a Jedi nor Sith - yet she is also a Skywalker and Solo.

Just thinking aloud. :)
 

The Crawling Chaos

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I think Lucas is on record stating that the Jedi are part of the balance rather than a "positive distortion" of the Force because they respect, listen to it (and abide by its "will") and do not use it for their own gain. The only imbalance to the Force are the so-called "Dark Side" (which I agree is only a matter of intent and has nothing to do with the Force having two sides) users.

So bringing balance to the Force means eliminating the Sith and keeping the Jedi. Or at least that's what it meant to Lucas when he was still at the helm.
 

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"After the curtain raised at the Paramount Theater, director Rian Johnson and actor Mark Hamill took the stage for an impromptu Q&A."

* I listened to that. He didn't hide his dissatisfaction with the film very well. He was expecting an Alec Guinness/Merlin kind of role, and had assumed it for decades (though the writing was on the wall by Return of the Jedi since Kenobi was revealed to have failed as a teacher--and that pattern of failure continued in the prequels).
It was jarring how unintelligent Johnson sounded but not surprising. What is happening with Star Wars reminds me of Canadian film in the 90s when people like Atom Egoyan were getting heavy media attention but the public was meh/indifferent. Somehow, that avant garde, anti-populist art philosophy has penetrated the big movie studios and Disney especially. They are beyond profit concerns and don't care about audience desires. Art without audience identification is something else--experimental, abstract. And I would bet they will not change their ideological intentions at all because the profits are less important than the message.
 

The Crawling Chaos

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Somehow, that avant garde, anti-populist art philosophy has penetrated the big movie studios and Disney especially. They are beyond profit concerns and don't care about audience desires. Art without audience identification is something else--experimental, abstract. And I would bet they will not change their ideological intentions at all because the profits are less important than the message.
I don't see this at all. If anything, I find Disney far too timorous when it comes to managing audience's expectations. There's a reason The Force Awakens was just a beat-by-beat retread of A New Hope. There's a reason all these Marvel movies feel the same (they are the same, bar a few exceptions). I would bet that any filmmaker coming on board with Disney receives a welcome package containing their Bible of Specifications, and that if their movie does not tick 90% of the boxes in it, they part ways claiming "artistic" differences.

As for making movies/art for the audience, well, that's just a myth. No one knows what the audience wants ("Nobody knows anything"). The best an artist can do is work on what they like with integrity and honesty and hope that their taste aligns with the audience's.
 

KGeo777

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I don't see this at all. If anything, I find Disney far too timorous when it comes to managing audience's expectations. There's a reason The Force Awakens was just a beat-by-beat retread of A New Hope. There's a reason all these Marvel movies feel the same (they are the same, bar a few exceptions). I would bet that any filmmaker coming on board with Disney receives a welcome package containing their Bible of Specifications, and that if their movie does not tick 90% of the boxes in it, they part ways claiming "artistic" differences.

As for making movies/art for the audience, well, that's just a myth. No one knows what the audience wants ("Nobody knows anything"). The best an artist can do is work on what they like with integrity and honesty and hope that their taste aligns with the audience's.
Yes Disney is a gigantic corporation, not an artist patronage business. It was closer to that under Walt. He made art for his heritage. And he became the most famous filmmaker in Hollywood because he was American, making art for his target audience. He had the number one box office hit of 1938--released independent of the big studios. That was no myth. That's how art has always worked since the time of Homer. But an international corporation is a different matter.

I have no doubt that Disney's management handed Johnson a "to do" list and then BS the publicity to make it sound like he had creative freedom. James Mangold highlighted the same concern of lack of creator freedom with Disney Corp. Disney is totally pre-packaged, boardroom certified. All studios have editorial input, and are very controlling, but not like Disney. This is why Edgar Wright can be hired and replaced without losing the release date. It's running on a carefully controlled assembly line. They are like the Borg of film companies.
Eisner said he wanted Disney to be entertainer to the globe--but the problem with that is that different cultures have different tastes. The idea of creating a one size fits all artistic work is intriguing but ultimately doomed to alienate. Art has run along regional heritage lines for thousands of years--I don't think Disney's executive board has the ability to overcome that reality-despite the massive amounts of cash they have.
But as I said, they have so much money, they do not need to worry about profits at all. I dont even think selling toys is a big concern for Disney either. They way Eisner sounded in the 90s, he saw Disney as a platform for social engineering.
But even the original Star Wars not really a traditional story. The basic elements were there, but they were tweaking it for the 60s political style. Ben Kenobi was the Merlin-like sage in the first film, but by Return of the Jedi he became the failed teacher who was convinced that his former pupil was beyond hope (would have thought a force ghost might be privy to more information but apparently not).
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