The Secret Of Poe’s Jacket

It seems that Lucasfilm Story Group just can’t stop writing about Poe’s jacket, making it almost a character unto itself.

According to Sara Moran from ScreenRant, the latest issue of the Poe Dameron comic book lets fans know the real reason that Poe let Finn keep his jacket.

Star-Wars-Poe-Dameron-Marvel-Comics-Finn-Jacket

It won’t eject because the writers of TFA didn’t think about ejection seats when they wrote the screenplay.

In his telling of this tale, Poe reveals it was him who triggered Finn’s ejector seat in the TIE (something Finn thought had happened automatically) but when he tried to eject himself, his jacket was jamming the mechanism.

Poe curses the “blasted jacket,” explaining that because of its role in nearly killing him, he was perfectly happy with Finn becoming its new owner.

Fascinating.

 

Han Solo Novel Last Shot Unintentionally Retcons The Force Awakens

Among the tales of Han Solo’s baby sitting, and Lando Calrissian’s admiration of his own genitalia, Last Shot readers also get treated to the high adventure of Han Solo’s mid-life crisis.

James Whitbrook of i09 reports:

Daniel José Older’s new Star Wars novel, Last Shot, was bundled up with the recent wave of Solo: A Star Wars Story-themed book announcements. But while there are parts of it that deal with the early lives of Han and Lando, it’s at its best when it’s set decades after the upcoming movie, as the two come to terms with leaving their past—and their youth—behind.

…set approximately two years after Return of the Jedi and the Battle of Jakku, with Han pulled away from his family by Lando into a new adventure tying up the other arcs of the book through its mysterious villain, a sort of Dr. Frankenstein-for-droids figure named Fryzen Gor. That contrast is to starkly remind us of one thing: Han and Lando grew up.

From Han’s point of view in this time period, getting old is a petrifying and new thing to him, as he tries to balance his new homelife looking after a 2-year-old Ben Solo with a wife constantly caught up in the bureaucratic quagmire of establishing the New Republic (a New Republic that frequently wants Han to get caught up in its administration as well, much to his chagrin).

Han’s unease, so potent that it almost feels uncharacteristic for the smuggler-turned-Rebel-hero who helped bring down the Empire. How does a guy who’s spent most of his adult life on the run, solving problems with lies and deals and liberal amounts of blasterfire, know how to be a parent? Can he be the father he never really knew, or the husband he never thought he’d be, to a child and wife who unquestionably, thoroughly love him?

Han finds himself worryingly holo-calling home every time he has a moment to check up on Leia and Ben, and at one point late on in the novel he admits that he has no idea if he’s comfortable being out among the stars as a pilot anymore, doing the things he’s loved his whole life, when he knows should be back home raising Ben—despite the fact he has no idea if anything he’s doing with his son is actually good for the child.

But it’s also important reminder that these characters we’ve known and loved for years—decades, rather, of learning more and more about them over years of books and comics and movies, as we’re about to do so again with Solo next month—are not trapped in amber. They are confronted with maturity and aging and realities of lives outside of spaceship battles and daring rebellions, just as we all eventually become (well, at least without the spaceship battles and daring rebellions bit). And in confronting those very real emotions in Han and Lando, Last Shot becomes far more interesting than you might expect a supposed Solo tie-in novel to really be.

Okay.  So riddle me this: if Han Solo “grew up” 2 years after Return of the Jedi, and becomes a boring suburbanite dad while eschewing a life of adventure, then how come we see him in Episode VII as the same smuggler character we first met in Episode IV before his arc was finished in Episode VI?

Liberal Wanted The Last Jedi To Be More Liberal

Ian Harris writes a piece in The Michigan Daily entitled, ‘The Last Jedi’ and the state of film criticism.

But what I take even more of an issue with than the film itself is the discussion surrounding it.

I find myself in the same place, but for different reasons.

The originals are generally loved and the prequels generally loathed, with “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” both falling somewhere in the pretty-good-or-maybe-great-but-not-amazing range.

I’d have to disagree.  Rather, it seems to be the Sequel Trilogy that is now generally loathed, with the Prequel Trilogy having mixed opinions.

Before it was released in theaters worldwide, “The Last Jedi” boasted a stellar 94 percent on the critical aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes. That number has since gone down to a still impressive 90 percent. But for whatever reason, audiences didn’t take to the film in the same way. The audience score on the same website currently sits at a middling 49 percent, the worst ever for a “Star Wars” picture. 

That reason is politics.  As the recent Oscars demonstrated, those working within the industry are ruled by the political fashions of the day.  It affects absolutely everything they do.  Critics are no different; they have based their reviews of the film on the political lectures they received which they found agreeable, to the exclusion of genuine film craft considerations.

But rather than a productive debate about the merits of the movie’s themes, commentary on its characters or possibly what it was actually trying to say and whether or not it succeeded in it, much of the discussion that surrounds “The Last Jedi” resembles that of a political debate or a Twitter feud between celebrities.

That’s because the Star Wars franchise has now become the latest skirmish in the much larger cold culture civil war.

One of the prominent narratives that surrounds this film is that the people who don’t like “The Last Jedi” don’t like it for one of the following reasons: All of its main characters are either women or people of color, it doesn’t respect white males and makes all the male characters stupid and they can’t let go of the old “Star Wars” they remember from when they are kids.

That of course is entirely incorrect.  No such narrative exists, prominent or otherwise.  Rather, that is a purely imaginary point that SJWs have wholly fabricated in order to have something to argue against, in an effort to defend the political messaging in the film.

Think about this logically for a moment.

What sense would it make for long time fans to be upset over the inclusion of female or non-white characters, when both female and non-white characters have been in Star Wars throughout its entire 40 year history, going back to the very beginning.

What sense would it make for any fans to be upset over the inclusion of female or non-white characters so suddenly with The Last Jedi, when its predecessor The Force Awakens was generally well received?  Why would they suddenly become enraged over such things now?

Of course it doesn’t make any sense, which is why SJWs believe it to be true.  None of what Harris is contending here has any basis in factual reality.  I understand that SJWs believe that it’s still 1968, and really want it to be.  But in reality it’s actually 2018.  These battles were fought and won 40 years ago or more.

Now let me preface this by saying that by no means are these the only criticisms being leveled at the film’s detractors, but they are the ones making the loudest splash and the ones that are most dangerous for allowing us to have a meaningful discussion about the film itself.

No.  What’s actually making the loudest splash are the SJWs arguing against these non-existent points, much in the same way that they virtue signaled one another over the equally imaginary black stormtrooper controversy.

That’s one of the more fascinating aspects of SJW psychopathology.  SJWs are compelled to argue against points that no one is making.

One article that was making the rounds over this past weekend was titled “Why So Many Men Hate ‘The Last Jedi’ But Can’t Agree on Why.”

Yes, I’ve commented on that silly article.

The author’s argument essentially boils down to this: “Because there is no central criticism of this film that everyone agrees upon, the reason people don’t like it must be sexism.”  She points to the prequel films as examples of films everyone agrees are bad for the same specific reasons and uses that to explain that if “The Last Jedi” were actually a bad movie, everyone would have the same criticisms of it.

To which I explain:

Not necessarily.  This assumes that there’s a heated disagreement as to why The Last Jedi is bad.  Rather, what this merely shows is that there’s multiple reasons why The Last Jedi is bad.  Moreover, movie viewers are allowed to have differing opinions as to why they might not like a film, just as they are allowed to have differing opinions as to why they might like a film.  This really isn’t evidence of anything more than the existence of differing opinions.  Differing opinions are what happens when people aren’t forced to comply with the consensus of the collective.

“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn’t thinking.” ~George Patton

Ian continues:

Art is, by its very nature, subjective.

Actually, that is entirely incorrect.  The notion that art is entirely subjective is a myth that is pushed primarily by those with no education or training in the arts.  Art has objective standards that one can be trained in and judged by.  Therefore, art cannot be entirely subjective.  It’s that simple.

Taste is subjective, art is not.

It’s perfectly reasonable to like bad movies.  Many people do; the fans and producers of MST3K for instance.  But it’s important to recognize that a movie is bad, even when it’s liked.  One of the worst movies ever made, Highlander II: The Quickening, is one of my favorites.  It’s such a clusterfarkle of bad ideas that I find it wholly entertaining to watch.  But I’m able to recognize that it’s not a good film despite the pleasure it brings me.  I don’t allow my personal taste to affect my objectivity.

I think that it is important that we as liberals not (to quote “Revenge of the Sith”) become the very thing we want to destroy. If we attack anyone who criticizes a movie that features a woman in the starring role simply because the movie features a woman in the starring role, we do ourselves a disservice. 

Yet that’s what you do anyway.  Read the sentences you wrote above about the purely imaginary points that you’re arguing against.  You cannot help yourselves.

Do I think there are probably some crazy people out there who hate “The Last Jedi” because it’s about a female Jedi, a Black stormtrooper and a Resistance led by women and people of color? Yes, of course, there are those people. But those people probably also hated the similarly diverse “The Force Awakens” and “Rogue One” and neither of those movies created the kind of division that “The Last Jedi” did.

And yet, genuine posts that openly state such things can’t be found.  We can’t be certain that the few that have been pointed to aren’t posted by SJW activists perpetrating a hate hoax in order to prove a point that doesn’t exist, as was the case with the De-Feminized Fan Edit.

My issues with “The Last Jedi” involve basically every single part of the film, but what I do not have any issue with is the casting or the nature of the characters. Far from it, I believe these characters and these actors have been severely underserved by the story they were given. 

I agree, and have said so multiple times on this blog.

She is a gifted actress who had a great character in the first movie that I believe was wasted in “The Last Jedi.”

Her character really wasn’t any better in The Force Awakens, once the nostalgia goggles are removed.

Rey basically sits on the sidelines for the entire third act of the film, in which Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren take center stage. Her entire storyline revolves around needing a man to bring back to the fight (first Luke, then Kylo).

Yes, but she then gets to lecture that man about what he’s done and why he did it, as though she were there or has any wisdom of her own, then prances off as Yoda informs the audience that she already knows everything in the Jedi books.  But remember, she’s not a Mary Sue.

I don’t believe that “The Last Jedi” is bad because it stars a woman.

Nobody does.  But it probably makes you feel bold to type that sentence out anyway.

I believe that it is bad because it doesn’t feature its main character (who happens to be a woman) nearly enough. It makes Rey into an agent of Luke and Kylo’s storylines, rather than using them as supporting players in hers.  

All Luke did was milk some alien nipples and project a Force Doppelganger.  Are you sure that you understand the distinction between main and supporting characters?  Do you know what an ensemble is?

“The Last Jedi” wants to be seen as the most progressive and forward-thinking “Star Wars” yet, but in the last act of the film, it gives up on all of that to fall back on everything it claims it wants to forget. The film purports to be about realizing your heroes were flawed and not looking for an old man to come and face down an entire evil army, and then at the end of the movie Luke Skywalker comes out of hiding to face down an entire evil army. 

In the lamest fashion possible.

Seemingly the entire point of Benicio Del Toro’s character was to show that this isn’t a conflict with straight lines of good and evil, but one filled with shades of grey. And yet at the end of the movie, we are left with good guys vs. bad guys, one side that blows up planets and one side that saves lives. Rey and Kylo Ren are supposedly conflicted characters grappling with the darkness and light inside of them, but at the end of the movie Rey is unquestionably good and Kylo is unquestionably evil. There is no moral ambiguity about the ending of “The Last Jedi.”

That’s the result of stupidly insisting on a fan-ficish “remnants of the Empire” scenario.  Good vs. evil is the only possible outcome in that setting.

Even the movie’s attempts to critique the Han Solo archetype Poe Dameron fell flat on its face. While he is chastised early on for having a dumb plan that gets a few people killed, he later initiates an even dumber plan that leads to all but 10 members of the Resistance getting killed and nobody seems to care.

Not even the women in charge who lead all but a dozen or so Resistance fighters to their deaths.

Regardless, we should be able to have a conversation about a movie about space wizards who can make rocks move and fly through space without becoming mortal enemies in the process. 

Ahh.  The commonly parroted “space wizards” remark.  The remark that demonstrates that SJWs should never have been allowed anywhere near this franchise.  Before the Sequel Trilogy was released, Lucasfilm advertised TFA as “The Cinematic Event of a generation.”  Now that the franchise sucks thanks to ridiculous things like Kal-Leia, it’s just a movie about “space wizards with laser swords.”  Go read some Joseph Campbell for Pete’s sake, will ya?

Seriously though, a reasonable conversation with people who make and perpetuate false accusations in an effort to protect political messaging is highly unlikely.

But then again, I hated the movie, and from what I understand that must mean I just didn’t get it.

Or that you’re racist, sexist, and/or misogynist.

I understand that Harris is trying to articulate his dislike of the film from his liberal point of view.  But pay close attention to the nature of his complaints.  For Harris, the film wasn’t liberal enough.  If Harris had his way, the film would be far far worse.  So much so that he might have even named the main character Rey Bechdella.

hqdefault

Some fashion glasses would help make The Last Jedi more liberal.

Thanks to SC Reviews for finding this article.

The Social Justice Repulsion Effect Takes Hold Of The Star Wars Franchise

SJW politics naturally destroys any cultural institution that it infects.  SJW ideology is quite literally a cultural cancer; a fact that is easily demonstrated.

We’ve seen that truth expressed in the lowest rated televised Oscars in history.  We’ve seen it in the waning sales of Marvel Comics, and the subsequent replacement of Marvel’s SJW Editor in Chief as a result.  We’ve seen it in the slide of NFL viewership, and the MLB replacing the NFL as America’s most popular sportWe’ve seen it in the decline of Sports Illustrated subscriptions.  We’ve seen it in the declining ratings of ESPN, which had to fire 100 employees as a result.  We’ve seen it in the plummeting ratings of Late Night talk shows which have taken to lecturing their audience rather than entertaining or enlightening them.  We’ve seen it in declining Box Office at the cinema which has also increasingly chosen to lecture its audience with deeply ignorant SJW politics.  Anyone who doubts that people in the American entertainment industry are political activists rather than artists, can read about how Hollywood screenwriters are now coaching progressive political candidates.  We’ve seen it in SJW controlled universities and colleges which are experiencing big drops in enrollment.  We’ve seen it in East Berliners risking their lives to cross the infamous Berlin Wall in an attempt to escape East Berlin.  We’ve seen it in the SJW controlled city of Detroit, from which so many people have fled that their downtown skyscrapers are abandoned.  We’ve seen it in the blue state of California, from which the middle class is fleeing.  We’ve seen it in nations like Venezuela where thousands of formerly well-to-do people are fleeing the disastrous effects of the nation’s newly formed leftist SJW government.

Wherever SJW politics are imposed, normal people will understandably flee.  It’s a universal constant both in the micro and in the macro.

And this isn’t just anecdotal hyperbole.  Matt Philbin from NewsBusters.org reports:

According to new data from a McLaughlin & Associates/Media Research Center national poll of 1,000 likely voters:

75% agree with the statement, “When I watch live sports or entertainment shows on television I am trying to get away from politics and do not want to be bombarded with partisan political messages.”

Given that normal people also sought to escape the same kinds of worthless cultural re-education in Soviet gulags, this should come as no surprise.

Since the SJW contagion has now metastasized within Lucasfilm, we can fully expect to see what I call the Social Justice Repulsion Effect happen with the Star Wars franchise as well.  In fact, it has already begun.

Martin Daubney of The Telegraph writes in an editorial entitled, Liberal identity politics has ruined Star Wars for the fanboys:

Has the peculiarly Earthling curse of liberal identity politics infected even galaxies far, far away? It would appear so, if a growing fanboy backlash to Star Wars: The Last Jedi is to be believed.

Since its release at the weekend, a remarkable gulf has emerged between professional critics and the general viewing public’s scoring of the movie – as illustrated by that modern barometer of movies, Rotten Tomatoes. On the review aggregation site, the professionals give the movie an impressive average score of 93pc; while fans score it a more Luke-warm 55pc.

What’s going on? It appears this huge discrepancy can be attributed not to its plot – described as “having more holes than a Swiss cheese that shared a wedding bed with a porcupine” – but a claim the movie is no more than “social justice warrior propaganda”.

In media land, one critic gushed The Last Jedi is “the most triumphantly feminist Star Wars movie yet,” concluding it a masterpiece that possesses a “celebratory inclusiveness that seems entirely in the Jedi spirit”.

The Last Jedi has also been heralded as the first Star Wars movie that passes the Bechdel Test, a rule of thumb that asks whether a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man.

This type of analysis isn’t new. Entire books have been written on the identity politics of Star Wars, pointing out that creator George Lucas once spoke of his duty to wield a “moral megaphone” in his filmmaking. “Somebody has to tell young people what we think is a good person,” he said.

However, some feel that, since Disney bought the rights to the Star Wars franchise, this moral megaphone has become deafening.

Analysis of user comments on Rotten Tomatoes is telling. While most lasers are locked on the flick’s “terrible plot holes”, its “un forgivable” treatment of Luke Skywalker, and it being “little more than a very long Disney advert vehicle to sell merchandise,” a large voice of dissent decries its use of identity politics as a serious Force of disgruntlement.

The comments are littered with one-star reviews that read, “Politically correct to the point of boredom”; “SJW propaganda” and “I’m frustrated that feminism and diversity have made their way into this film. This has ruined Star Wars for me as well as my kids. Keep liberalism out of it and stop ruining once good things”.

Certainly, watching the movie can feel like you’re playing identity politics bingo.

Perhaps these fanboys ought to get over themselves. It’s just a movie, after all.

But the truth is that identity politics is the kryptonite that saps the joy out of all it touches. How long before Harrison Ford comes out as Trans Solo? What price a zero-emissions Millennium Falcon? Will Jabba The Hutt be called out for “fat shaming” the obese?

Will any of this make the slightest difference one of the highest-grossing movie franchise of all time? Only time will tell, but for now a social media war is raging between critics and diehard fans, an increasing number of whom seem to be saying “dead to me, the franchise is”.

The truly amusing part of this whole biofeedback machine, is that the SJWs currently staffed within Lucasfilm will see the backlash as a great success.  SJWs will delude themselves into thinking that they’re pissing off all the right people.  Who are all the right people?  I have compiled the unabridged SJW gripe list and provide it here for your convenience:

“Deplorable rich intolerant bitter clinging hate-mongering war-mongering fear-mongering privileged middle-class micro-aggressing triggering patriarchal straight sexist misogynist cisgendered hetero-normative transphobic homophobic homogeneous hegemonic racist xenophobic jingoistic nativist tea-bagging redneck hillbilly reptilian-brained binary-thinking white supremacist euro-centric male Zionist Evangelical Christian Far-Right Extreme-Right Uber-Right Ultra-Right Alt-Right NeoCon so-called conservative Republican bourgeoisie capitalist colonialist imperialist fascists.”

Of course, none of that makes any kind of coherent sense, but that’s the inherent nature of the uneducated SJW mentality that normal people have to cope with.  They’re pre-programmed to involuntarily squawk these words in response to various stimuli without regard to what the words actually mean.  In any case, the above list represents how the SJW employees at Lucasfilm view every backlasher who writes a letter, posts a blog, or uploads a video in protest to their content.  Just ask them.  They’ll tell you, if they can bear to acknowledge your existence at all.  So they’re almost guaranteed to double down on social justice messaging.

Jack Kenrick from squawker.org also identifies this phenomenon in an article entitled, Star Wars Fans Seem To Hate The Last Jedi And SJW’s Couldn’t Be Happier About It.  In it he writes:

What’s been interesting to watch in the hours since its release, is that the general public seems to be finding this the most divisive Star Wars film yet. While almost universally lauded by professional pop culture and film critics alike. The Last Jedi is seemingly not doing quite as well with the average American moviegoer. A fact many Progressive types somehow seem to be actively celebrating as proof of their own moral superiority.

Case in point this article written for Wired magazine entitled, “The Last Jedi Will Bother Some People. Good.” In which writer Angela Watercutter not so subtly informs us all that “The movie isn’t here to Make the Galaxy Great Again.” We are are told that those who don’t like “diversity” should not see the film. Of course as is now standard practice for today’s modern liberals, by diversity they don’t mean a variety of thought but rather simply superficial differences in skin color. None of this is too surprising however when you consider the original title of the now modified story was actually, “The Last Jedi Will Be To Inclusive for Some People. Good.”

It would seem that the average moviegoer doesn’t appreciate an obviously politicized half hours worth of pointless subplot. Which is frustratingly what the film provides, as almost the entirety of the genuinely forced “Progressive” parts of the movie take place in an oddly out of place subplot, that ultimately feels like it lacks any real purpose beyond simply pleasing SJW types. 

UPDATE:

Immediately upon publishing this blog post, I discovered that SC Reviews was discussing another article that echoes many of the same things I’ve been writing about on this blog.  Paul Cheung writes an article at fee.org entitled, “The Last Jedi” and the Politicization of Storytelling.  In it, he writes:

Has identity politics created a dilemma for the Disney Empire?

There’s been a disturbance in the franchise: Ambivalence, rather than anticipation, has characterized the online response to Disney’s announcement of the deluge of new Star Wars projects we are to be saturated with over the next several years. And while the trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story (scheduled for May) was expected to be received with some misgiving, many fans are actively rooting for it to flop.

There’s already an over-abundance of online rants analyzing The Last Jedi’s shortcomings as a piece of entertainment. But it is in the realm of the ideas where the division between critics and audiences is most stark. Dozens of articles praise the film’s perceived socio-political commentary while countless viewers decry it for the very same reason.

One reason is that archetypes and the mythic storytelling form never lose relevance. They are timeless and universal. By contrast, loading a film with political messaging for 2018, using it as a vessel to comment on current events, makes its relevance transient. Ironically, Johnson’s attempt to “update” the saga is precisely what caused his entry to feel dated at an accelerated pace.

And it isn’t just the film’s detractors who observe the current American political climate’s bearing on the way it was written. GQ UK gleefully claims “The Last Jedi takes on Trump”. Other articles, such as these in The Independent, The Guardian, and Wired, insinuate that anyone not on board is an “alt-right” hater of diversity.

While the controversy may appear to be an inordinate fuss over “light entertainment,” Star Wars (whether by chance or intention) has come to represent something far more significant than that.

Throughout history, stories have functioned as one of the most effective societal-shaping tools. The themes, ideals, and values communicated in stories have simultaneously reflected and molded the cultures which produced them. This is what Victor Hugo was alluding to when he wrote, “England has two books: the Bible and Shakespeare. England made Shakespeare, but the Bible made England.”

Descriptions of Star Wars as “generation-defining” are also allusions to the power of stories to shape who we are. And therein lies the problem: Johnson’s work, while managing to imitate the aesthetic of Star Wars (stormtroopers, lightsabers, etc.) is a hollow husk bearing only surface similarity to its parent material. Its shallow identity politics reflect a cultural hegemony adrift from deeper moorings.

Such an incoherent set of half-baked ideas wouldn’t matter if not for the fact that they are being propagated on an industrial scale, becoming almost ubiquitous in U.S. and UK entertainment.

In a scene in The Last Jedi which practically invites the type of historical parallelism above, there’s an attempted book-burning (ignited by Yoda, no less) broadcasting the film’s overarching theme of abandoning the past.

“Let the past die. Kill it if you have to,” Kylo urges Rey, even as Johnson urges the audience to “let the past die” so that we can embrace his Star Wars and, at a broader cultural level, the ideas his film promulgates.

With the backlash to The Last Jedi, the values in the background of Johnson’s film have been inadvertently thrust into the spotlight, exposing greater popular discomfort with them than anyone anticipated.

UPDATE:

SC Reviews offers his own perspective on the Telegraph article:

Lucasfilm Rep Astonishingly Believes They Are Putting Out Quality Product

Brandon Katz from the observer.com asks the question, What Happens When a ‘Star Wars’ Movie Finally Bombs?

In it, Brandon interviews Bryan Young for his take on the current state of Lucasfilm and the Star Wars franchise.  Bryan young is touted in the article as an “author, filmmaker, journalist and uber-Star Wars fan.”  He’s also a contributor for starwars.com.

Here’s what Bryan has to say:

“I think Lucasfilm is working to find the best people for the job.”

The Last Jedi discredits that thinking.

“Kathleen Kennedy is essentially casting directors for the stories that she and her group want to tell.”

That’s the problem.  The stories that Kathleen Kennedy and her group want to tell are awful.

“When those people aren’t providing the job that she expected, they’re going to get replaced. I think the behind-the-scenes shakeups are a result of Lucasfilm wanting to make the best movies possible, and those shake-ups will continue if they feel they aren’t getting what they want.”

Are the behind-the-scenes shakeups the result of Lucasfilm wanting to make the best movies possible?  Or are they the result of Kathleen Kennedy wanting things done in her own special social justice way?  There’s a significant difference between the two.

“Perhaps they’ll be more judicious in who they choose, but I don’t think anyone is safe if they’re not turning over a quality product.”

I’d argue that they’re not safe if they are turning over a quality product, given the content in Disney’s Star Wars thus far.

shit

Disney/Lucasfilm’s quality product.

“I don’t think there’s anything they can do to hurt the brand, honestly.”

Bryan Young is unfamiliar with the concept of “cooking the golden goose.”

“We’ve lived through the holiday special and the Ewok Adventures… I’d argue the Special Editions and the prequels were actually more divisive than any backlash for The Last Jedi, and Star Wars made it through that era just fine… “

You might argue that, but you’d be incorrect.

I’m old enough to have actually watched the Holiday Special live when it first aired on network television.  I’ve seen the very first film in the theaters during it’s original theatrical run in 1977, and have been a part of the fan base ever since.  I can tell you from first hand experience, that I’ve not seen any backlash even remotely on this level, not even with the Prequels.  With the Prequels, the OT Special Editions, and even the original OT itself, the criticisms were always just that; criticisms of something that folks still loved, warts and all.

Though Lucasfilm would undoubtedly love to convince the public otherwise, the reality is that this backlash is something entirely different.

“As long as they’re turning a profit for Disney, I think they’ll be left to their own devices.”

“This really is a team of people looking to tell stories first.”

No.  It’s not.  It is a team of political activists wanting to use the Star Wars franchise as a vehicle to propagandize a moronic political agenda.  They are not artists or storytellers.

“That they get to slap a Star Wars logo on it all just means it’ll make money.”

Not according to the toy and merchandise sales as of late.

“The Last Jedi is the seventh highest grossing film of all time.”

Yes, but there’s much more to consider than just that, such as all of this.

“I don’t think they’re sweating it.”

The Heroic Musicians of the Titanic continued to play as the unsinkable ship sank into the icy waters, in an effort to calm the passengers…

UPDATE

SC Reviews offers his own great perspective on the observer.com article.  Thanks for the shout out!

Twitter

Twitter terms of service.

The Magic And Mystery Is Starting To Fade

Alex Gherzo from Geeks + Gamers writes an interesting article, that shows some are beginning to see what this new Disney Star Wars franchise is really all about.  The article is entitled, “Every Word of What You Just Said is Wrong,” Why Lucasfilm’s Charges of Sexism are Unwarranted.

In response, Lucasfilm – in particular, Kathleen Kennedy, Last Jedi director Rian Johnson, andThe Force Awakens and recently christened Episode IX director J.J. Abrams – are doubling down on the decisions made and the state of Star Wars today. That’s fine, and more power to them; it’s a business decision and they’re in charge of the business (along with Disney, but it seems to this observer like the Lucasfilm crew aren’t really being micromanaged by the Mouse House). 

I would argue a minor point here, that it is not a business decision.  Rather, it is a political decision, as the lecturd propaganda both within the film itself and by the Lucasfilm production crew demonstrates.  The recent Oscars likewise demonstrate that everything that people do in this industry is politically motivated.  They are political activists, rather than business people or artists.

But what makes me angry, and should make you angry too, whatever your feelings about the movies, is their response to those who disagree, in particular the head it came to when Abrams suggested people who don’t likeThe Last Jedi are “threatened by women.” 

Indeed, it was a monumentally stupid comment to make.  But again, it demonstrates that politics supersedes all things with these people.

There’s not an ounce of introspection or acknowledgment that there could be a plausible reason for disliking some of the decisions made; just the finger pointed, the accusation of sexism delivered for daring not to give your seal of approval, and the ludicrous notion that there are people who hate Princess Leia.

One of the more bizarre aspects of SJW psychopathology, is how they routinely argue against points that no one is making.  Of course no one ever made any such complaints about Leia.  But for JJ to make the point he wants to make, he has to imagine that someone did.  Of course, later this will snowball into SJWs endlessly parroting this nugget as though it’s fact, until they finally come to believe that such a thing actually occurred.  It’s absolutely fascinating behavior.

Many – I would comfortably say most – of the people who are so angry at this movie loved The Force Awakens, which featured a woman and ethnic minorities in the lead roles. If they just want an all-white-male Star Wars universe, where was their anger in 2015?

Well, they tried to float a fabricated black stormtrooper controversy in 2015, but it didn’t really take hold.  So now they’re trying to put it out there again.

The answer is because in The Force Awakens feminism and diversity didn’t feel like ends in themselves.

They did to folks who are very familiar with these politics.  But most normal people certainly can’t be blamed for not spotting it or even caring about it.  It sometimes takes a trained eye to spot it.

The answer is because in The Force Awakens feminism and diversity didn’t feel like ends in themselves.

No.  They weren’t.  You can read my review here.

The point is, all of these characters feel useless in The Last Jedi, and if they’re not serving the plot or being developed themselves, viewers are left to ask why they’re in the movie to begin with.

That’s because they are useless, and always were.  They never had any plan outside of, “let’s make a female Luke Skywalker/Han Solo hybrid pass the Bechdel Test. ”  It’s not any deeper than that.

 Moreover, people seem to be picking up on other less-than-stellar aspects of the new movies because of how glaring the problems with The Last Jedi are, such as Rey’s seeming invincibility and sight-unseen mastery of the Force; some people pointed this out in The Force Awakens, but it’s getting talked about a lot more now, compounded as it is by Rey’s – and everyone else’s – handling in Episode VIII. What’s worse, her “Mary Sue” aspects are accentuated by the dumbing down of Luke and Han; Luke is now an inept coward with no control of his emotions, while Han ran out on his family and can’t fly his own ship. Not only are the legendary heroes of the series being denigrated, but it’s in service of what turned out to be a lackluster character.

That is exactly correct.  Every word.

That is why charges of social justice, feminism and diversity pop up as negatives; because, while in The Force Awakens they (mostly) happily coexisted with functional, interesting, dynamic characters, here they are an end in themselves.

They never really did happily coexist.  The largely positive reaction to The Force Awakens can be attributed to nostalgia goggles.  The Last Jedi has shattered those goggles.  Folks were just happy to see Harrison Ford in his Han Solo costume again.  But as time goes on, The Force Awakens is slowly being revealed for what it is.  The only real difference is that TFA was able to resist having a character deliver on-the-nose social justice lectures directly to the audience.  But they’re there all right.

Why is Rey the lead if she doesn’t do anything?

Because she’s a woman.  Hear her roar.

Why are Rose and Holdo in the movie when their very presence detracts from the story and existing characters?

Because they have high Vagi-Chlorian counts.

Midi

The Midi-Chlorian is no match for the Vagi-Chlorian.

The only logical conclusion is, to add more women. Well, I’m sorry, but that’s not good enough.  A character in a narrative has to stand on his or her own, not just as the symbol of a cause. And this shows how empty these virtue signaling bouts really are; if they cared so much about representation, they’d put that care into crafting great characters that would catch on with people regardless of their sex or race or any other attribute. That’s why The Force Awakens – or, to use more recent, non-Star Wars examples, Wonder Woman and Black Panther – caught on; people liked and identified with the characters. Not so The Last Jedi, and in the wake of the popularity of these other films, I think the audience deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The SJW has no valid counterpoint to that argument, and therefore has to respond by chirping accusations of sexism and/or misogyny in a Pavlovian manner.

But they won’t get it, at least not from Lucasfilm, because any kind of honesty was never the point. The “ism” charges are a smoke screen to hide the fact that The Last Jedi is a divisive movie and, without taking anything away from the people who love it, those who don’t have perfectly legitimate reasons not to. (That this even has to be disputed is ridiculous; can you imagine arguing that there is no legitimate reason to dislike anything?)

They’re not ever going to get it, because they’re not artists or storytellers.  They are political activists and propagandists.  Watch footage from the most recent Oscars for proof of that.

It’s hard to say for sure how much damage, if any, this will do to the Star Wars brand, but I seriously doubt it’s good business to attack the people who love your product the most.

The brand is effectively dead.  It cannot survive on brand recognition very long with the current crop of SJW activists at the helm.

Mark Hamill Doesn’t Care Anymore

Patrick Cavanaugh of comicbook.com writes an article entitled, Mark Hamill Doesn’t “Care Anymore” About Returning to the Star Wars Series.

In it, he reports on new comments made by Mark Hamill:

Sadly, the passing of Carrie Fisher and demise of Harrison Ford’s Han Solo prevents the original trio from appearing in the upcoming Episode IX, with star Mark Hamill having no interest in returning to the series with those reunion opportunities no longer possible.

“It really has tarnished my ability to enjoy it to its fullest,” Hamill shared with ABC News of Fisher’s passing. “You were asking earlier, ‘Are you gonna come back?’ I don’t care anymore, on that level. Because Han Solo is gone, Luke is gone. You just can’t get the band back together the way you wanted it to be, and it shouldn’t be that way. It is what it is. Rather than being sorry that we can’t have more of her, I’m just grateful that we had the time with her that we did.”

Many fans also no longer care about returning to the franchise.

Luke2

Who could blame him?

 

Entertainment Journalist Blames JJ Abrams For All Of The Problems That Make The Last Jedi So Awesome

James Hunt at whatculture.com writes an article entitled, The Biggest Problem With Star Wars: The Last Jedi Is J.J. Abrams.

Success

If he keeps scratching that mystery box, maybe an idea will come out.

In it he writes:

There are a plenty of criticisms for the movie, but a lot of them stem from the way Episode VIII does – or doesn’t – follow on from The Force Awakens. 

Many of them do,  but there’s also solid criticism for the concept of the Sequel Trilogy as a whole, particularly it’s poorly defined macro-story, boring characters, and silly plot lines.

Johnson forges his own path in a lot of ways, and after two years of speculation and build-up, not everyone was happy with what he came up with.  Rather than directing ire at Johnson, though, perhaps it would be better aimed at Episode VII helmer J.J. Abrams. It was his threads that Johnson decided to either drop or take in different directions to those expected, but a large portion of the blame lies with Abrams as a storyteller because, we’ve seen in his other work, he’s great at ideas and concepts, but not so much with the answers.

I think I agree with you.  While Rian Johnson is certainly a shoddy filmmaker, many of the glaring problems with the Sequel Trilogy can be attributed to the foundational work that Abrams supplied in The Force Awakens.  Contrary to myself, most folks seemed happy with the film at the time, but I think they were watching it with nostalgia goggles on, and just happy to see Harrison Ford in his Han Solo costume.  The film has not aged well at all after only a few years, and the problems in it are much easier to see the further we get away from the nostalgic hype.

While the movie’s narrative structure closely follows A New Hope, its bigger ideas are the new ones: the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke, the parentless Rey, the Knights of Ren. Abrams may or may not have had answers to who these people are but, since he knew in advance that he’d be leaving the trilogy behind, it didn’t matter. Like with Lost, he never needed to open the mystery box; he could, as he prefers, keep it firmly shut.

Johnson, then, took possession of these boxes he’d never created, and had a peak inside. With Snoke, he’d have found a powerful figure but one who, despite the theories, there was nothing known about. He was nothing, really, but a hologram who could use the Force. Johnson made him even more powerful, and then cut him down, sensing that he could serve the story better dead than alive.

Snoke was always empty to me, and held no mystery whatsoever.  Apart from being obviously derivative of Emperor Palpatine, I’ve watched every episode of LOST, and knew that JJ Abrams had no rabbit in his hat.

It’s not just a huge shock, but one that pushes Kylo Ren into becoming the new leader of the First Order and the unrivalled Big Bad. We’d already had one Palpatine, so it makes sense that we didn’t need another and, after all, Palpatine got no backstory in the Original Trilogy either.

Yes, but it was understood on some level that the Emperor had risen to power somehow, and that was part of his backstory.  We see the final gesture of his rise to power when Tarkin tells the audience that the Emperor has disbanded the Imperial Senate.  In 1977, the general story of the tyrant or the dictator was widely understood, much more than it is now, so not much more needed to be said.  Additionally, most folks who were very interested in Star Wars read the novelization of the first film, which contains the Emperor’s backstory in the first few pages, so it was really common knowledge.

What matters most in Snoke’s story is that he lured Kylo Ren over to the Dark Side, that he led the First Order, and then that he was killed by his own apprentice. All of which we get on screen. The rest is superfluous and, if there were anything TRULY important, it should’ve been in The Force Awakens, while the decision to kill him off means he avoids simply being a Palpatine redux.

I’m not sure if Snoke avoided that anyway.

Likewise, Rey was revealed in The Last Jedi to be a ‘nobody’, which came after two years of speculation that she was a Skywalker or a Kenobi or a Palpatine or a Jinn or an Erso or product of any other family line in Star Wars. She’s left alone on Jakku, and that’s all we know about her past. It makes complete sense, then, that she’d be a nobody: for starters, anything else would be too convenient – and Lord knows there were already enough Skywalkers in this saga – and yet also feel shoehorned in. Being from nothing is not only what hurts the Rey the most, but given the pieces Johnson was left to play with, is the best fit, and one that allows the saga to move forward with a new hero that breaks free from that one special family, and instead shows you can rise from nothing to save the day.

Of course, it’s entirely possible that Kylo lied to Rey about her parentage, much in the same way that Obi-Wan gave Luke “another point of view.”

The Knights of Ren are largely left out of things in The Last Jedi due to time constraints, but even that is just one line of dialogue from Snoke in The Force Awakens, and one that Johnson gives us an answer to by confirming they were among the pupils at Luke’s Jedi Academy.

But the reason that there’s time constraints is that we wasted roughly a half hour on Canto Bight and worthless social justice lectures, the boring mutiny against Holdo’s horrible decision making, among other things.

All of these things are used to drag down Johnson and The Last Jedi, but the problems originate from Abrams’ focus on creating mystery boxes rather than actual characters.

Indeed.

Luke Skywalker has vanished. After the title – and, of course, ‘a long time ago…’ – that is the first thing we see at the start of Episode VII. J.J. Abrams sets out his stall early with the disappearance of Luke, and – while Han gives us a clue – we don’t get any sort of definitive answer of where he is until the very end of the movie.

I believe stalling is the correct word.  JJ Abrams was asked by Kathleen Kennedy, “Who is Luke Skywalker?”  Unfortunately, the writers were so obsessed with passing the moronic Bechdel Test, that they had no idea how to answer that question, and maybe even no interest in answering it.  At the end of the day, they couldn’t figure it out and punted it to the next filmmaker in the trilogy.

What we know going into The Last Jedi is that Luke has clearly exiled himself from the galaxy, including those closest to him, but why? And that leads to a further question: What could’ve happened to Luke that, when Han Solo is in such grave danger, he doesn’t come to the rescue? It’s exactly what the old Luke did, after all.

Since Luke DIDN’T return to save or avenge Han, nor to comfort his sister Leia, nor join the fight against the First Order, there had to have been something drastically different. Luke had to have changed into the weary, cynical version we meet in The Last Jedi, who has cut himself off from the Force, because if he were still similar to the hero of the galaxy then his absence from The Force Awakens would be much harder to swallow. It’s precisely because of what we know of Old Luke that we needed this New Luke, which becomes one of the strongest arcs in the film and gives us Mark Hamill’s finest performance in the saga.

There’s nothing wrong with these ideas in and of themselves.  It was the execution of them that was so bad.  For instance, the backstory of Luke’s failed Jedi School could have been interesting, and really should have been the primary plot of the Sequel Trilogy.  Instead they tell us what happened to Luke rather than showing us and taking us on that journey through the course of the narrative.  As a result, it was far too jarring, and just didn’t work.  Ultimately, I’m not sure that alien nipple milking could qualify as Mark Hamill’s finest performance.

Of course, there are other issues people have with this: the tossing of the saber, and even more so his non-return to face Kylo Ren. The saber is crucial in that it immediately let’s the audience know that this isn’t your dad’s Luke Skywalker; he’s a different person now, setting up his arc across the movie. As for the end, it means Luke Skywalker can once again save the day, having realised the importance of his legend to the galaxy, and makes it a victory: Luke dies as a result of the astral projection, rather than being killed by Kylo Ren, which likely would’ve happened had he physically gone to Crait. Abrams put the legend of Luke Skywalker into a box, and Johnson is the one who brought it back.

the Force projection was handled in a silly manner.  It’s the kind of Jedi power you want to see early on in a film, like Ben’s Jedi Mind Trick.  Not something you want to see as part of a climax.  It would have been far better to have Luke show up physically.  No one waited 35 years to see this.

As we’ve seen, a lot of the biggest problems with The Last Jedi stem from decisions J.J. Abrams did (or didn’t) make, from making Snoke such a blank canvas that you could project just about anything on to him, to leaving Rey’s parentage as vague as possible, and various other kernels of ideas without much substance to them. It would’ve been easy for Johnson to take this template and simply mirror The Empire Strikes Back, have Snoke be Palpatine, have Rey be Luke’s daughter and so on. Instead, he took those kernels of ideas, those mystery boxes, kept the most interesting ones and turned them into actual character arcs: Rey becomes a hero despite not being from a special family, Kylo Ren becomes so much more than a Darth Vader wannabe, Snoke becomes one of the most stunning twists in recent blockbuster history.

Despite it’s much touted attempts at subversion, The Last Jedi remains quite derivative indeed.

But where this gets really interesting is the fact that, unexpectedly, J.J. Abrams is returning to the saga. It’s not a position he ever expected, but after Colin Trevorrow’s firing and Lucasfilm’s issues with directors, he’s back in the hot-seat, and will find himself needing to actually deliver answers himself. He is a good filmmaker, and with Chris Terrio co-writing the script there should be a decent balance there, but the jury is nonetheless out.

If you’ve watched LOST, then you really ought to know that this isn’t a possibility.  Abrams likes set-up, and has no clue how to deliver pay off.  He’ll pull the same thing off here and then accuse critics of not understanding nuanced subtly.

The Last Jedi means there are numerous possibilities for Abrams with the trilogy closer, because – with Episode VIII containing elements of both Empire and Return of the Jedi along with lots of its own new ideas – there’s a chance to continue to do things differently. Johnson started it, but now Abrams needs to let the past die, stop with the mystery boxes, and give us some proper resolution.

If only they could let this Sequel Trilogy die.