Rian Johnson Hints At More Force Shenanigans

George Simpson from express.co.uk reports on a question about Dark Side Force Ghosts that was asked of Rian:

Speaking with LA Times, he said: “I think that would be interesting. We haven’t seen them in the movies as far as I can remember.”

Johnson continued: “But that would be really interesting considering the dark side is about self-preservation, trying to find immortality, and the notion that the light side actually got to it through selflessness, what would the dark side version of that look like? There’s so much cool [stuff] to think about if you’re willing to open your head a little bit!”

He continued: “The truth is, because Star Wars until The Force Awakens has been set in amber and we hadn’t had a new Star Wars movie in 10 years, you forget that they were introducing new Force stuff with each movie, based on the requirements of the story.

“Force-grabbing didn’t come around until Empire [Strikes Back], it wasn’t in A New Hope. Same with Force ghosts.”

Johnson added: “They’d introduce new ideas of what could happen with the Force each time…The one point where we do introduce a bit of a twist in terms of Force ghosts is where Yoda calls down the lightning onto the tree.

“That, I think, is a tantalising hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world.”

Rian

Rian’s head is open to whatever Kathleen Kennedy puts into it.

Rian Johnson Asks What Star Wars Is After The Skywalkers

Benjamin Bullard from SyFy Wire reports on comments made by The Last Jedi director:

Speaking with IGN recently, The Last Jedi director said it’s a question that isn’t so much frightening as it is exciting.

“Once you get past the things that are the iconography of Star Wars — once you say, okay, if it doesn’t have the Falcon; if it doesn’t have someone with Skywalker as their last name; if we don’t go to Tatooine, what is it? What is it at its essence?” he posited.

Johnson said he still doesn’t have the answers, explaining that the creative team is still “just at the very beginning of figuring out what this new thing is going to be.” But, he said paring away the circumstantial trappings of the Skywalker saga to reveal the essence of what’s eternally consistent about the Star Wars universe, no matter the specific tale to be told, is a huge part of the appeal of making new stories.

“It’s a really exciting question, and I think it’s something that has to be answered at some point,” he said. “So let’s figure it out.”

The film Star Crash figured this out decades ago:

The answer is schlock, and scantily clad women.  While today’s feminist Star Wars would prohibit scantily clad women, we can still expect Rian Johnson’s new trilogy to contain as much schlock as The Last Jedi did.  Maybe they’ll even cast Star Crash‘s David Hasselhoff.

Hasselhoff

Not a Skywalker.

JJ and Rian Get Their Marching Orders From Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood has piggybacked Star Wars before to further their political agenda:

 

So Planned Parenthood’s latest antics should come as no surprise.

Tyler O’Neil from PJ Media reports:

On Tuesday morning, a Planned Parenthood affiliate posted a tweet demanding a Disney princess for each of five identity politics groups.

“We need a disney princess who’s had an abortion,” the list began. “We need a disney princess who’s pro-choice.”

In addition to these abortion-themed Disney princesses, Planned Parenthood Keystone also demanded other identity politics groups get representation in Disney films.

“We need a disney princess who’s an undocumented immigrant,” the affiliate tweeted. “We need a disney princess who’s actually a union worker. We need a disney princess who’s trans.”

Here’s a screencap of the tweet that Planned Parenthood has since deleted:

Disney-Princess-Tweet

Why did Planned Parenthood delete the tweet?  Josh Hafner of USA Today reports on Planned Parenthood‘s response:

“Today, we joined an ongoing Twitter conversation about the kinds of princesses people want to see in an attempt to make a point about the importance of telling stories that challenge stigma and championing stories that too often don’t get told,” said Melissa Reed, Planned Parenthood’s president and CEO. “Upon reflection, we decided that the seriousness of the point we were trying to make was not appropriate for the subject matter or context, and we removed the tweet.”

If you can decipher that gobbledygook, more power to you.  But not so fast here.  Let’s look at this a bit more.

It could be argued that we already have our union worker princess in the way of Rose Tico, given her drab jumpsuit and silly social justice lectures.  So we know that Disney is not at all adverse to delivering on these SJW demands.

Although, I’m not sure how a princess could be an “undocumented immigrant” in the Star Wars franchise.  Would it have anything to do with the Trade Federation?  I’m sure that the activists writing Lucasfilm propaganda will sort it all out.

So that leaves us with trans, pro-choice, and having had an abortion.  Got that JJ and Rian?

Rian Johnson Is Sticking To His Guns

Echoing JJ Abrams comments regarding his own work on Episode IX, Rian Johnson too won’t let the backlash against Star Wars affect the direction of his work on his own trilogy.

Adam Chitwood of Collider reports on a quote from Rian Johhnson:

Speaking with Fandango’s Erik Davis at SXSW where the incredible making of documentary The Director and the Jedi premiered, Johnson said he’s not taking into account fan criticisms over The Last Jedi for his new trilogy:

“No, not really. I feel like every Star Wars thing that ever gets made has a big, loud response because Star Wars fans are passionate and that’s what makes them awesome. But no, and I don’t think it’s possible—if you’re really telling a story you care about and having it come from your heart, it’s just not possible to be intellectually processing what everyone else wants. Nor would it be a good thing, a healthy thing. I don’t think that’s a good way to tell a story.”

And what’s Rian Johnson’s “good way to tell a story?”

“It’s Star Wars. Let’s not worry. Let’s move on.”

rian-johnson

He’s not listening to a word you’re saying.

Rian Johnson Shows Us What His Trilogy Is Going To Be

Dan Zinski of ScreenRant reports:

Saying he’s excited to dive in on the project, Johnson admitted that he still has to “figure out what it’s going to be.”

Well, judging from The Last Jedi, we can surmise as to what it may turn out to be.  But Rian Johnson gives further indication, of his approach to the project:

Luke Y. Thompson of The Nerdist reports:

One of the most common questions waged about Star Wars: The Last Jedi involves the opening space battle: How exactly does the process of dropping bombs work in zero gravity, out of orbit? Sure, there were TIE bombers in The Empire Strikes Back as well, but the fact that such a thing exists in Star Wars canon doesn’t answer the question of how. According to visual effects supervisor Ben Morris, however, this was something his team thought carefully about for a long time.

“We did all go, ‘How do bombs drop in space?’” Morris told Nerdist. “And we sat there for ages. And then Rian [Johnson] said, ‘They’re Maglev [magnetic] bombs. It’s Star Wars. Let’s not worry. Let’s move on.’”

“It’s Star Wars.  Let’s not worry.  Let’s move on.”  That’s the dismissive attitude that Rian Johnson applied to The Last Jedi, and will therefore likely bring to the table for his own trilogy.

spacebear-starwars

Don’t worry, be happy.

Lucasfilm’s Failed Diversity Fashion Show

I’ve previously written about the offensive antiquated racial stereotypes that have gained a resurgence in The Last Jedi because of youth’s naive penchant for letting the past die:

In fact, we can demonstrate that the purported “more broad representation” in the Sequel Trilogy is very old stuff indeed, by comparing two characters of color; Lando Calrissian and Finn.

Lando Calrissian, a character that we were introduced to way back in 1980, was the “administrator” of the mining operations on Cloud City at Bespin.  Translated into Earth terms, he was essentially the mayor of a small town and the CEO of a mining operation.  He then rescued Han Solo from the clutches of the galaxy’s most ruthless gangster, Jabba the Hutt.  He then went on to lead the Rebel Fleet as a General, and led the assault on the Death Star 2.0 at which he made the winning shot that blew  up the space station and destroyed the Empire for good (at least until that was retconned in Episode VII).

Finn, who we met in 2015, was a janitor for the First Order.  The character serves as a comedic foil in the narrative.  He piloted a ship in The Last Jedi in an assault against walkers, but Rose sabotaged his efforts before he could have his tragic hero moment.

Keeping these two descriptions in mind, which one more clearly resembles a token character?  Lando Calrissian served a vital essential function in the narrative, and played a role of prominent importance.  Finn does not.  In fact given Finn’s primarily comedic  sidekick role, the character is somewhat of a throwback to the 1940s and 1950s, when “black actors had to play dumb for roles as nannies and servants,” often for comedic value at the expense of the dignity of the character and actor.

So the Sequel Trilogy and the Finn character in particular actually represents a regression to very old offensive racial stereotypes that have been outdated for a very long time, but are now unwittingly rebooted because some folks have “let the past die.”

Erin White from Afropunk, also identifies this problem as well, in her thoughtfully written review of The Last Jedi entitled, ‘THE LAST JEDI’ FAILED ITS BLACK AND ASIAN CHARACTERS, REDUCING THEM TO COMIC RELIEF AND CANTO BIGHT.  In it she writes:

It’s not that these characters sucked ass. And both actors did a great job! The problem is once again where there was an organic sense of and the possibility to create groundbreaking representational characters was right there to take off with and, instead, we got Canto Bight. Which was trash and served mainly to set up Rian Johnson’s Star Wars spin-off staring Broom Kid (probably).

Non-white characters can exist and be complicated without centering white protagonists and providing comic relief.

I couldn’t agree with her more.  All of the actors were perfectly fine, and performed as well as they could with the material they were given.  The problem was the material that they were given.

Despite the film’s much touted diversity virtues, the characters that the actors inhabit have no depth.  Given that the characters had no complexity or dimension, it amounted to little more than a shallow and transparent fashion show where Disney paraded people of varying skin tones in front of the camera so they could check off a diversity list.  “See?” Disney was telling the audience, “we have every shade in the rainbow!”  Great.  But it’s unfortunate that Lucasfilm’s writers couldn’t figure out how to make the characters they were playing as interesting and compelling to watch as Lando Calrissian was.  What a wasted opportunity.  Lucasfilm writers should take notes from the Black Panther writers.

FinnRose

Strike a pose.

Disney Revolutionized Star Wars?

Patrick Stuart of Fansided contends that Disney revolutionized an irrelevant Star Wars franchise.

“With Star Wars going nowhere for 10 long years, Disney came in and saved the day from its mainstream irrelevance.”

What are you talking about?  Lucasfilm had the extremely popular Clone Wars Television series airing on Cartoon Network, and the EU was publishing material routinely.  Additionally, Lucas was preparing to do the Sequel Trilogy himself shortly before the sale to Disney.  So the notion that Star Wars was going no where has no basis in fact whatsoever.  In fact, people who grew up with the Prequels like them very much, and can now be read quoting lines from them routinely.  And let’s be clear, 10 years is not a very long time.

“Disney saved Star Wars, and it is as popular now as it has ever been — just look at all of the Hollywood elite flocking to these films now. “

Well, except that it isn’t.  I’ve written here, here, here, and here, about how the numbers demonstrate that fans are actually shrugging their shoulders, and walking away from the franchise.  Any legitimate response will be required to take that information into account.  Hollywood elites can flock to these films all they like.  But somebody actually has to watch them, and then purchase the merchandise for it to actually be popular.

“Up until Disney acquired Lucasfilm, how many big-name actors have you seen in Star Wars? The correct answer just a few, with Liam Neeson as a prime example. But even at that point in his life, he wasn’t nearly as big as he is now — Neeson only had Schindlers List under his belt which made his name indeed well-known within the movie mainstream.

If you honestly think that Disney is ruining Star Wars, then why are we having so many celebrities flocking to be included in these films? Wouldn’t they would want to save their careers and stay away?”

This actually isn’t evidence of anything.  Firstly, the two big-name actors we saw in the first film would have been Alec Guinness and Peter Cushing.  They’re not big names anymore today, so it’s likely that many may not realize this, particularly given youth’s amusing penchant for letting the past die.

Secondly, one of the reasons for not casting big name actors in the primary leads was quite simply to keep the cost of production down.  Remember, the initial film was a massive experiment, and many doubted it would ever succeed.  Indeed, it almost wasn’t even finished.  It was only after Star Wars became a cultural phenomenon, that big name actors were willing to lower their salary requirements to be a part of it.  Craig likely received scale in order to avoid union problems, which means that as an extra he would have earned approximately $148 per day.  And there was little to no publicity benefits for it, remember, his face is covered with a helmet.  So these kinds of cameo appearances don’t really have much meaning.  The more prominent roles being filled by big-name personalities are again a sign of the franchise’s cultural prominence, which is really the result of everything that came before Disney.  Disney had no hand in making Star Wars a cultural juggernaut.  That fact was already there, which is why Disney was willing to pay 4 Billion for the franchise way back in 2012.  Because the franchise already had the very things that Stuart is claiming it didn’t.  Additionally, it’s highly unlikely that SJWs would have been screaming for equal represenation when the sale to Disney was made, if the franchise were irrelevant at the time.

“Disney is what saved Star Wars from irrelevance, and we should be truly grateful, not angry.

Of course, a galaxy far, far away still had a multitude of fans, but from a mainstream perspective, was way off the charted system. Irrelevant.”

Irrelevant to whom?  And why would it be irrelevant to them?

Before the sale to Disney, Star Wars Celebrations attracted thousands of people from all over the world, The Clone Wars television series was highly regarded with good ratings and likely would have continued for several more seasons which were planned and in the works, and merchandise was flying off the shelves.

“But, not anymore, thanks to Disney and their movie-making magic — as well as establishing an easy to follow, cohesive timeline.”

I would argue that perhaps the new timeline is a bit too easy to follow, being unnuanced and shallow.

Celebration2012

Star Wars Celebration 2012 – An irrelevant crowd.

Too Much Of A Bad Thing?

There’s a Han Solo movie coming in May.  The anthology film that Josh Trank abandoned is still floating around in development hell somewhere.  All signs point to an Obi-Wan film eventually getting made.  Rian Johnson has been rewarded for his work on The Last Jedi with his very own trilogy.  The Game of Thrones writers have been awarded a separate trilogy of their own.  Disney has confirmed that they have several Star Wars television shows in development.  And of course, Episode IX is on its way.  This on top of all the comics, novels, and video games.  And this may not be it; who knows what else they may be planning.

So some are reasonably asking, is it enough already?

“Don’t get me wrong — I love lightsabers, blasters, the Force and loud explosions in space as much as the next nerd. But I also believe (heresy ahead!) there is such a thing as too much Star Wars, and that maybe George Lucas was on to something when he applied a scarcity model to his most sacred franchise. It wasn’t just about waiting three or more years between installments, it was about being on a quest for something new under the sun. “

“The scarcity that made Star Wars into a culturally religious text is gone. We’re getting a Star Wars movie every year, and it’s still an event, like the Super Bowl, but it used to be like the Olympics. With each new installment, it becomes more like any other film series; tinker enough with the Bible and it’ll turn into Divergent.”

“Clearly, the flood can be attributed to one universal truth: this franchise practically prints money. Still, we can’t help but wonder whether Star Wars might be in danger of diluting its mystique and allure by giving fans too much of a good thing.”

“…the risk of saturation is also at an all-time high, unless Disney can think of ways to differentiate all this upcoming content . . .”

“First, what value does Star Wars have when we get a new one every year? Second, what value does Star Wars have when we get one every year in a world where big-budget action franchises drop in theaters almost every week? Third, how much value does Star Wars have when A) we get a new one every year, B) they exist in a tentpole-rich Hollywood environment and C) they have little to no connection to the established Skywalker saga?”

“It would be such a mistake to dilute this series’ beauty, to resign “Star Wars” to the fate that every franchise from “Harry Potter” to “Lord of the Rings” has suffered — the fate of too much, when restraint is so often what makes a work into a work of art.”

All of this data begs the question: Does Disney/Lucasfilm run the risk of oversaturating the market with Star Wars content? Or, more troublesome, are fans already suffering from Star Wars fatigue?

The studio is hell-bent on dropping a slew of new films, shows and more in the coming years. The sheer volume of offerings combines to slowly chip away at fan anticipation and lessen the “special” quality of a Star Wars release, which can result in diminishing financial returns across multiple mediums.

So, really, is Lucasfilm’s upcoming jam-packed slate possibly doing more harm than good?

“I can’t help but feel like the franchise is about to become over-saturated with installments that fans aren’t really asking for.”

“What makes me wary about the lifetime commitment is that it’s already starting to feel like too much Star Wars. Other than the joy of seeing Donald Glover as Lando, I can’t bring myself to care about Solo, and I’m bracing for the possibility of it being a disaster. Han Solo has been my favorite Star Wars character since early youth (I fell in lovewith him), and yet the approach of a movie all about him makes me flinch—which makes me feel confused and disloyal. But I can’t ignore the signs that I am approaching maximum Star Wars saturation.”

What some are unable to understand, is that this all boils down to the basic economic law of supply and demand.

When supply is down, demand is high.  When supply is up, demand is low.  It’s really that simple.

Others feel that Star Wars material simply doesn’t offer the same opportunities as the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the way of endless films.

“True Star Wars icons are limited. Luke, Leia, Han and Vader, as the major players. And Star Wars debuted all of them together in the original Star Wars trilogy, and there’s no real way to continue to wring the life out of these characters in a way that’s going to be very effective.”

This is going to be their most significant problem in reversing the trend that I’ve written about here, here, and here.  So far, the Disney version of the franchise has generated a sufficient amount of goodwill by merely slapping on a thick coat of nostalgia on shallow 1-dimensional characters and boring plot lines.   This may be what is leading many reviewers on YouTube to now express a general feeling of “meh” towards the franchise:

The product quality has already diminished, many can clearly feel that, and they’re going to give us healthy heaping helpings of more?  That’s not a model for sustainability, and the waning merchandise sales are demonstrating this.  The franchise cannot last for long in this form.