What do you think of the Star Wars Sequels?

Joshua Jones

When all is said and done, all's quiet and boring.
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I think you make a lot of good points: Rey does feel like she does too much too soon at least in terms of the Force. I think the scene where she pilots the Falcon is establishing her piloting skills considering that it comes less than thirty minutes into the first movie she's in (Luke in contrast says a couple of times early on that he's a pilot). But I think that if, after piloting the Falcon, she had then struggled to grasp the Force, fewer people would have a problem with that specific skillset because it wouldn't be endemic of "well, she can just do anything, can't she?"

And again, I'm not looking to change anyone's mind. I don't know if you've seen the Disney Gallery series on Disney+ about The Mandalorian (it's basically a roundtable discussion by the creators of the show) but on one of the episodes Dave Filoni goes into this long dissection of the Duel of the Fates from Phantom Menace: about how it is the turning point of Anakin's progression as a character, how much Qui Gon means to that character development and how it changes Anakin's entire arc going forward. He does this to a table full of Star Wars experts, people who have grown up on Star Wars and know it pretty well--and they are completely floored by this explanation because The Phantom Menace was so horribly botched from a story perspective that the importance of Qui Gon as a father figure to Anakin never even crossed their minds. That's basically how I feel defending Rey's character: I think I see something in how the movies wanted Rey to be perceived, but a lot of how they use her character is so scattershot that people aren't going to see it unless they want to see it. (I hope that doesn't sound self-congratulatory because I don't mean it to be. Sometimes I think I'm just reading into something that's not really there but I want it to be.)

And my first post, while mostly for fun, illustrates kind of my understanding of the growth of a fan's expertise: that when you first get into a series the author is the expert and you roll with a lot of what they throw at you because they're the ones who know the rules of the world and how everything works. But as you go further into the series, you become an expert and can begin to pick out the things later on that don't go along with the truths that were earlier established when the author was the expert. (And yeah, I agree that there's way too much inconsistency between the trilogies).
Thank you, and I think you made some good points as well. I'm not so much trying to change your mind either as defend my position and engage in an intelligent discussion of variant viewpoints which doesn't descend into accusations of harboring Nazi sympathies... so, you know, the opposite of Twitter...

Yeah, that approach may have worked, but I think it would still need some foreshadowing before she's running toward the ships. TBH, what's unforgivable about it is that it would have been really easy... like replacing her little speeder thing with a small, short range atmospheric plane, or a line or two where she casually mentions flying (you know, kinda like what they did with Luke,...). If they wanted to establish why she had the ability to use a lightsaber, they could have given her a metal sword (say, stashed inside her staff or something...) which she used to fight or hunt with or something. Her growing in the Force could have been really interesting, especially if she could always use it a bit but became much more capable as time went on. There are alot of ways they could have made her abilities plausible, but as it stands...

I haven't had the chance to watch that yet, so perhaps I'll watch it soon! And I honestly enjoyed both of your posts!
 

sule

This Space for Lease
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Yeah, that approach may have worked, but I think it would still need some foreshadowing before she's running toward the ships.
I get that. They didn't let her establish her competency until it was immediately relevant to the story. You provide some interesting fixes for that problem, as well. (As a weird aside, I think one of the novelizations of TFA mentions that she has a flight simulator in her camel walker home, but obviously that doesn't matter because it doesn't come up in the movie).
engage in an intelligent discussion of variant viewpoints which doesn't descend into accusations of harboring Nazi sympathies...
This is a thread about Star Wars, so obviously it would descend into accusations of killing younglings.
 

soulsinging

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I will certainly grant that Rey ought to have particular talents based on her backstory. I have absolutely no issue, for example, with her being talented fighting with her staff and rather acrobatic. However, so far as we can tell, she has subsisted on collecting junk from downed craft and has never flown before, yet is able to step in and not only pilot the Millenium Falcon, but do so with incredible skill. Also, while combat experience with her staff may help her in picking up on lightsaber combat, a sword type weapon requires a completely different fighting style from a staff or polearm, and it has been demonstrated in canon that becoming proficient in lightsaber combat requires intense training for an extended duration. Unless, of course, you're Rey. And that's where the Mary Sue part starts to come in... she can just up and do incredibly technical things which every other character over the course of 6 movies has had to train to do, with precisely zero hints she has ever done something like this before.

....

Contrast this to Luke... Luke's piloting background is expressly stated as a companion of Biggs and Wedge recreationally flying a T-16 while shooting womp rats and flying through Begger's canyon. So, it's established that he has flown before, and done similar things to what he would be doing on the Death Star run. He actually doesn't dogfight much... he shoots one fighter while its pilot was focused on another fighter, and managed to not die long enough for Wedge, then Han to save him. The only other time he's fighting in a vehicle is on Hoth, where he's targeting walkers. In other words, his combat flying doesn't take much more skill than he is established to have flying a T-16 on Tatooine, as he is not doing things like taking out other fighter pilots solely through skill like Rey does... with no established experience.

Regarding lightsaber training, Luke doesn't fight anyone with a lightsaber until Empire Strikes Back, which is after he received training from Obi Wan and had time to play around with it between the movies. He then fights the Abominable Snowman (I honestly can't remember if they named it in movie and I haven't looked up the name...) and chops off one arm before running, uses it to stab an ATAT, and then gets training from Yoda. After an indefinite period of time under Yoda's tutelage, he flies off to confront Vader at the protest of both Obi-Wan and Yoda, who are proven right when he is curb stomped by Vader. It is only in Return of the Jedi that he is competent with his lightsaber, which is after significant self training between movies and the construction of a new lightsaber on top of past training. To put it another way, Luke had to work hard during and between two whole movies before he killed a single person with his lightsaber and could stand toe to toe with Vader. Rey, in contrast, merely picked one up and bested Luke's student in the first movie she encountered one, and never properly lost a fight after that either.
I think you can make similar distinctions for Rey:

She doesn't dogfight much either. She runs from a few TIE fighters that thought they were on a simple strafing run and wound up chasing a ship that's faster, better armed and shielded, and more maneuverable than it looks, all during an engagement at planet surface rather than the space combat they're designed for. Even then, Rey doesn't so much out-pilot them as use her knowledge of the local surface and its wreckage to shake them off and run for it.

For the lighstaber duel, she doesn't best a Vader. Part of Kylo's thing is that he's nowhere near Vader in terms of fearsomeness or experience. On top of that, he's wracked with insecurity and doubt about his talent and devotion, which Rey has already exacerbated by resisting his mind probing. So she's literally in his head. By the time they fight, it's minutes after the tension and emotion of him murdering his father before racing across an exploding planet to capture a foe he's not sure he can beat. His distraction lets even Finn land a lucky blow that has Ren bleeding and frustrated, and then as he's fading, Rey is able to wrest a lightsaber from him and fight him off. It also serves as a good illustration of the jedi power... her ability to master her emotions in the moment gives her just enough of an edge to escape with her life. His wild indulgence in his chaotic emotions has left him weakened and confused and unable to finish the fight.
 

Joshua Jones

When all is said and done, all's quiet and boring.
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I think you can make similar distinctions for Rey:

She doesn't dogfight much either. She runs from a few TIE fighters that thought they were on a simple strafing run and wound up chasing a ship that's faster, better armed and shielded, and more maneuverable than it looks, all during an engagement at planet surface rather than the space combat they're designed for. Even then, Rey doesn't so much out-pilot them as use her knowledge of the local surface and its wreckage to shake them off and run for it.

For the lighstaber duel, she doesn't best a Vader. Part of Kylo's thing is that he's nowhere near Vader in terms of fearsomeness or experience. On top of that, he's wracked with insecurity and doubt about his talent and devotion, which Rey has already exacerbated by resisting his mind probing. So she's literally in his head. By the time they fight, it's minutes after the tension and emotion of him murdering his father before racing across an exploding planet to capture a foe he's not sure he can beat. His distraction lets even Finn land a lucky blow that has Ren bleeding and frustrated, and then as he's fading, Rey is able to wrest a lightsaber from him and fight him off. It also serves as a good illustration of the jedi power... her ability to master her emotions in the moment gives her just enough of an edge to escape with her life. His wild indulgence in his chaotic emotions has left him weakened and confused and unable to finish the fight.
I see where you're coming from, but I must respectfully disagree. My issue isn't with how well Rey can pilot as much as it is that she can pilot at all with no foreshadowing whatsoever. The fact that she can pilot as well as shown is merely the icing on the issue. Not saying A New Hope is a perfect movie at all, but one thing they did very well was foreshadowing Luke's piloting experience. It was subtle and, most importantly, believable. Rey's ability just came out of nowhere as the plot demanded.

You do raise an excellent point, though, that Kylo was definitely not at the top of his game during their first encounter, and I completely agree that he is clearly depicted as a lesser of Vader. The problem is threefold here. First, anger, fear, and aggression are supposed to be things which empower the dark side, so arguably, he should have been stronger at this moment, rather than weaker. Second, at least the Wookiepedia page indicates that he is actually supposed to be relatively well trained and skilled with the lightsaber, and he's certainly no slouch with the Force. Third, so far as I know, Rey hadn't seen a lightsaber being used prior to this, much less seen lightsaber combat, much less tried to do it herself. I've been doing martial arts for the better part of two decades, and one cannot simply pick up a completely unfamiliar weapon and hope to best someone who has been training with it for quite some time, light injury or no. The fact that Jedi are trained for something like 20 years to become a Jedi Knight confirms this is pretty much how it works in Star Wars canon as well.

That said, the fact that Finn could at least hold his own for a bit against Kylo is certainly a relevant fact in this conversation. The problem arises in that Kylo bests Snoke's guard alongside Rey, which means either everyone in this continuity is a shadow of the characters in the first two trilogies, or Kylo was so off his game during the first duel that, quite frankly, it strains credulity, especially being he arguably would be more powerful at this moment. Either way, it leads to degrading the threat that Kylo poses to anyone, unless of course one is willing to grant that Rey is a Mary Sue, and Finn obtained his skills in this narrow area ex machina (this wouldn't necessarily make Finn a Marty Stu, though, as he doesn't gain all of his abilities in this manner). Or, alternatively, it could just be granted that this scene happened because the producers believed it would be epic, and thus just decided to make it happen regardless of how little sense it makes in the storyline.

And that's the conundrum these movies face. In my opinion, they so badly wanted to have a strong female action hero that they overshot and made her too skilled, and this without explanation. This can only be interpreted as her opponents aren't capable, or she is over capable, and either way, it diminishes the stakes of the movies, in my opinion.

All that said, I'm greatly enjoying the back and forth here, and certainly welcome rebuttals of my points!
 
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