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Best Explanation Of Mary Sue Issue — Page 5

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DrDre said:

The darkness rises and light to meet it explanation seems contrived, underdeveloped, and a cheap shortcut in Rey’s development, such that we can focus on Luke and Kylo, and have a ROTJ like throne room confrontation in the middle chapter, which sees Rey being evenly matched with Kylo, despite the fact that she only learned about the Force a few days earlier, and Luke has taught her very little, aside from telling her the Jedi suck. The explanation for her sudden rise in power is just too thin, making Kylo seem weak by comparison, and no attempt is made to make it fit into existing canon. Like the FO’s unlimited resources, and Snoke’s ascension, it’s just pulled out of thin air, and we’re supposed to be entertained enough to ignore the undercooked nature of these story developments. It seems even the creators realized this, when they introduced the idea of Rey downloading the know how from Kylo’s mind in the novel.

This is how I felt watching the first film.
But here’s the problem: each generation of Star Wars usually consists of 3 films. But nowadays we’re used to epic franchises that span over multiple installments in order to build up characters and set up the story. Take The Harry Potter series and the MCU for example.
With Star Wars, Disney has to compete at that same level of epic grandeur in far less time. Not to mention they want to fulfill some degree of expectations and familiarity to fans: Deathstar 3.0. Darth Vader Jr, Rey being Han, Obi-Wan AND Luke in the first film, etc.

I don’t know if I’d site the problem with the ST as Rey being a Mary Sue. Instead, I see it more as a problem with trying to give fans what they want, trying to make a profit, and trying to do something new to stay relevant.
The explanation for the rise of the First Order in the first film seemed pretty thin. It’s just fast tracked and glossed over so we can get a story that’s almost the same as the original trilogy.

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Shopping Maul said:

I can’t for the life of me understand why these people didn’t think to write a story first!

That’s how it feels at times.
But couldn’t the same be said of the OT?
It feels like Lucas was making it up as he went along.
ANH: Vader and Luke’s father are clearly different people.
ESB: Lucas decides he wants a twist in the story and makes Vader Luke’s father. And just some insurance to get you hooked for the final film, he has Yoda say, “there is another.”
ROTJ: Oh crap, how do we resolve Yoda’s line? Okay how about a twin sister? And make her be Leia.

And although I think Luke was more relatable in his failings compared to Rey, couldn’t he be seen as having aspects of a Marty Stu?
Obi-Wan gives him one brief lesson on the Millennium Falcon, and suddenly he’s able to use the Force and destroy the Death Star with it?
How did he learn telekinesis at the beginning of ESB?
As a kid I always assumed that Luke went back to Dagobah to finish his training before he went to rescue Han and that’s why he was more powerful. Rewatching it, that’s not the case. He returns to finish his training after all that went down, and Yoda just tells him, “nah, you’re training is finished, you just need to kill Vader and then you’ll be a Jedi.”
I always got the impression that to become a Jedi there had to be rigorous training involved, and looking back, Luke has very little training. At least they could have written it so that Luke DID continue his training with Yoda between ESB and the beginning of ROTJ.

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yotsuya said:

The entire idea of what Poe did being mansplaining is nonsense and idiotic. It really shows a lack of depth to a person’s education in film and fiction. What he did was question authority. I can’t even count the number of times that has appeared in movies, books, TV shows, etc. where both parties are men. It shows a lack of understanding of what mansplaining is. Because that ain’t it.

Maybe if Poe was shown also ignoring male superiors in the film, it would be more clear that he has a problem with authority in general. But considering that the only two superiors he ignores are female, and considering the cultural climate and timing of the film it’s hard to think that may NOT have been the intention of the film makers.
I’m not a fan of the term “mansplaining.” Any time a man talks condescending to a woman, how do you know it’s because she’s a woman? How do you know that the man isn’t condescending to men and women?

On it’s own though, I think Poe Dameron is just supposed to be the typical action hero who questions authority. I don’t think he’s supposed to be sexist as a character, but I think the way it’s presented is supposed to draw allusions to sexism in modern society, in order to make it more relevant.
We’ve seen the action hero who questions authority a thousand times. By having him question his superiors in this one who are all female, it makes it more interesting and more current.
And it also sets up the theme about learning from our mistakes.

And quit blaming Disney. In modern movies the Director and the writer (sometimes the same person as in TLJ) controls the film.

Didn’t Lord and Miller get fired from Solo after they started shooting?

Lucasfilm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Disney, but Kathleen Kennedy is running it the way Lucas wanted (and if you look at her resume she has some pretty awesome films to her credit). Blame the director because that is where the success or failure of a film (in terms of quality) lies.

So is Kathleen Kennedy in charge or is it the directors?

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Voss Caltrez said:

Shopping Maul said:

I can’t for the life of me understand why these people didn’t think to write a story first!

That’s how it feels at times.
But couldn’t the same be said of the OT?
It feels like Lucas was making it up as he went along.
ANH: Vader and Luke’s father are clearly different people.
ESB: Lucas decides he wants a twist in the story and makes Vader Luke’s father. And just some insurance to get you hooked for the final film, he has Yoda say, “there is another.”
ROTJ: Oh crap, how do we resolve Yoda’s line? Okay how about a twin sister? And make her be Leia.

And although I think Luke was more relatable in his failings compared to Rey, couldn’t he be seen as having aspects of a Marty Stu?
Obi-Wan gives him one brief lesson on the Millennium Falcon, and suddenly he’s able to use the Force and destroy the Death Star with it?
How did he learn telekinesis at the beginning of ESB?
As a kid I always assumed that Luke went back to Dagobah to finish his training before he went to rescue Han and that’s why he was more powerful. Rewatching it, that’s not the case. He returns to finish his training after all that went down, and Yoda just tells him, “nah, you’re training is finished, you just need to kill Vader and then you’ll be a Jedi.”
I always got the impression that to become a Jedi there had to be rigorous training involved, and looking back, Luke has very little training. At least they could have written it so that Luke DID continue his training with Yoda between ESB and the beginning of ROTJ.

I agree certain story elements of the OT were rushed, with ROTJ being the worst offender, as Lucas obviously wanted to finish the story in the third installment. However, the OT has the advantage of the story being spread out over a number of years with Luke being able to hone his skills through self-study. The fact that TFA and TLJ takes place over a matter of days leaves little room for study and reflection, and so Rey almost instantly goes from being a newbie to standing toe to toe with Kylo and lifting a ton of bolders, which to me highlights the rushed nature of the ST both in terms of the story and its development.

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First, a Mary Sue character is a wish fulfillment character. The idea was born from fanfiction and came into the main when this type was noticed in mainstream media. A Mary Sue cannot be a main character because part of the definition is that they upstage the main character. Wesley Crusher was almost a Mary Sue with how often he saved the day. Rey is the main character of the ST. She can’t upstage herself. When we meet her we are shown that she is a skilled fighter. She had abandonment issues. Throughout TFA she just wants to go home and wait for her parents until she finally accepts that her life is taking a new direction. She doesn’t just randomly pick up any force skills (which we are never shown are that hard to learn if you believe you can do it, which was Luke’s problem). She does not pick them up perfectly on the first try any more than Luke picked up blocking blaster bolts the first try. In the OT we went through the heroes journey in the first film before resuming it in the second. Here we are following Rey on that journey and she isn’t zooming through it in one film.

In TLJ she enters the training part of her journey but ends up with Luke not wanting to really teacher, instead he is trying to scare her off. It doesn’t work. Rey steals the sacred texts and leaves having picked up enough to work with. She knows she is powerful and needs training. What she lacks is not ability, but focus and purpose and she gets that in TLJ. By the time she gets in front of Snoke, she has some false confidence and would have been killed if Kylo wanted her dead, but instead he kills Snoke and Snoke’s guards attack. If you watch the scene, Kylo is the better fighter. He fights more of them and against tougher odds. When it comes to the raw power of trying to grab the saber with the force, they are equal. Saying she won when she did not accomplish her goals for going there is ridiculous. She basically failed in all her goals for TLJ. She did not get Luke to come back (Yoda did). She did not get Luke to teacher (he gave her some minor lesson and she stole some books hoping she might learn more from them). She did not turn Kylo. And her saber is broken. So for Rey, TLJ is a list of failures an if she was a Mary Sue, she would have had some big successes other than lifting a bunch of rocks (something that could have been done manually by Chewbacca).

Rey comes closer in TFA, but when you compare where she is at in her heroes’ journey compared to Luke, she has only reach Mos Eisley by the end of TFA and just escaped the Death Star by the end of TLJ. We knew Luke was a great pilot and he picked up the force power that Obi-wan taught him in just a few minutes so Rey being a great fighter, mechanic, and pilot (Luke had all those same qualities) isn’t so different from Luke. But Luke had a much longer and more convoluted journey because when Star Wars came out in 1977, it could have been the only film that ever got made so Lucas gave Luke a complete journey in one film and then reset and resumed his journey in TESB. Rey is missing that journey are reset and is just on the heroes’ journey (it starts with the call and the rejection and the eventual acceptance (TFA) followed by her training and some trials (TLJ) before her chance to save the day arrives.

If Rey is really a Mary Sue, the success of her side in both films would rest with her and I don’t see her provide that success. For Rey to face Kylo in IX, she has to be as good as he is. So she is a protagonist to match him as antagonist. Her story is not one of constant successes. She has failures. She learns the force fast, but as far as we have seen that is normal, as long as you believe you can. So the force doesn’t come easier to her than it did to Luke or Anakin. That is an assumption that is not based on events in the previous films. Luke had problems believing, never a problem with actually doing once he believed he could. And Rey sees Kylo do these things before she does them. She doesn’t have to take it on faith like Yoda made Luke do with the X-wing. And when she attacks both Kylo in TFA and Luke in TLJ, she has surprise on her side (not to mention Kylo being wounded). She never bests either of them in a fair fight.

A Mary Sue would be the best and would always win. Things would always go her way. Instead she spends all of TFA wanting to go back to Jakku and being prevented and spends all her time in TLJ with goals that don’t pan out. So far the only thing she has done successfully is locate Luke. Equating her fast learning of the force with being a Mary Sue ignores all the plot that matters. She spends most of both movies looking for a mentor only to come to the conclusion that she will have to teach herself, there by growing past her need for a parent/mentor. Rey is beset by issues that keep her from being the answer to all the problems.

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One of my issues is commenting that a strong female character must be strong physically. That has nothing to do with. Ripley in the Alien films is not a strong female character because she psychically beats the aliens, but because she does what has to be done to survive. Leia is similarly strong even though she is not tasked with the same level of physical demands as Ripley. She stands up to Vader and Tarkin. When Luke comes into her cell, she is not excited to see Luke, but excited to hear about Ben Kenobi. Then when Luke and Han don’t seem to have a plan, she makes one. She is passive during the Death Star battle because she is not a fighter pilot. But in the rest of the Trilogy, and the ST, she is obviously in charge and confident. She is not a damsel in distress even when she is a prisoner. Rey is the same way. After the force has awakened in her, she sees what Kylo does and while she can’t escape him she does escape a Stormtrooper (thanks Daniel Craig) which isn’t hard, but it takes her a couple of tries to get it. But Rey is not overly strong, she is competent and skilled and ready to be a Jedi. She does not outshine any of the other characters but comes to the story their equal. When you look at many of the male written strong female characters, they tend to be physically strong and more badass. That type of character gets old. How many people like that do you meet in real life? It is so easy to do wrong. Ripley is done right.

But to further compare Rey to other characters, let’s compare her to Wonder Woman. Rey obviously lack the extreme super powers, but has the force. Wonder Woman really has no physical adversaries in the 2017 film until she encounters Aries and she herself is the instrument of his death. She literally is outshines everyone and as the title character we expect that. Rey is the young Jedi of the ST. As such she can be expected to save the day in IX. She will initiate the solution the finalizes the Star Wars saga. So at her introduction is it any surprise that she is very powerful to start with and only grows more powerful, growing to the point where she is the equal of her adversary, Kylo. Rey actually has more setbacks than Wonder Woman and is far less powerful and less able to provide the solutions to all the problems. Plus she had the baggage of the abandonment and need for a parental figure.

I think one of the biggest mistakes is to not recognize that Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo are the main characters of the ST. Rey takes Luke’s role from the OT. Rey is supposed to grow into the Jedi Knight who wins the day. They are taking her through all the stages of the heroes’ journey over the 3 film trilogy rather than over a single film. Kylo is her unwitting teacher and Luke, the one she wants to teach her, refuses to do much beyond the basics and some politics.

So Rey is not an overly physical strong character but is capable and is the main character and therefor supposed to outshine the others. She has setback after setback in what she wants to do as the story (which you can read as the force) pushes her to her destiny. She is exactly the type of strong character we need and definitely not a Mary Sue.

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yotsuya said:

One of my issues is commenting that a strong female character must be strong physically. That has nothing to do with. Ripley in the Alien films is not a strong female character because she psychically beats the aliens, but because she does what has to be done to survive. Leia is similarly strong even though she is not tasked with the same level of physical demands as Ripley. She stands up to Vader and Tarkin. When Luke comes into her cell, she is not excited to see Luke, but excited to hear about Ben Kenobi. Then when Luke and Han don’t seem to have a plan, she makes one. She is passive during the Death Star battle because she is not a fighter pilot. But in the rest of the Trilogy, and the ST, she is obviously in charge and confident. She is not a damsel in distress even when she is a prisoner. Rey is the same way. After the force has awakened in her, she sees what Kylo does and while she can’t escape him she does escape a Stormtrooper (thanks Daniel Craig) which isn’t hard, but it takes her a couple of tries to get it. But Rey is not overly strong, she is competent and skilled and ready to be a Jedi. She does not outshine any of the other characters but comes to the story their equal. When you look at many of the male written strong female characters, they tend to be physically strong and more badass. That type of character gets old. How many people like that do you meet in real life? It is so easy to do wrong. Ripley is done right.

But to further compare Rey to other characters, let’s compare her to Wonder Woman. Rey obviously lack the extreme super powers, but has the force. Wonder Woman really has no physical adversaries in the 2017 film until she encounters Aries and she herself is the instrument of his death. She literally is outshines everyone and as the title character we expect that. Rey is the young Jedi of the ST. As such she can be expected to save the day in IX. She will initiate the solution the finalizes the Star Wars saga. So at her introduction is it any surprise that she is very powerful to start with and only grows more powerful, growing to the point where she is the equal of her adversary, Kylo. Rey actually has more setbacks than Wonder Woman and is far less powerful and less able to provide the solutions to all the problems. Plus she had the baggage of the abandonment and need for a parental figure.

I think one of the biggest mistakes is to not recognize that Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo are the main characters of the ST. Rey takes Luke’s role from the OT. Rey is supposed to grow into the Jedi Knight who wins the day. They are taking her through all the stages of the heroes’ journey over the 3 film trilogy rather than over a single film. Kylo is her unwitting teacher and Luke, the one she wants to teach her, refuses to do much beyond the basics and some politics.

So Rey is not an overly physical strong character but is capable and is the main character and therefor supposed to outshine the others. She has setback after setback in what she wants to do as the story (which you can read as the force) pushes her to her destiny. She is exactly the type of strong character we need and definitely not a Mary Sue.

The problem is, that her setbacks don’t really have any consequences for her. She fails to convert Kylo and beat Snoke in a direct confrontation, which might be considered a failure, if not for the fact that she only just learned about the Force a few days ago. Would you consider a novice who steps into the ring or the first time, facing a boxing champion, and gets out of the ring without a scratch a failure? The fact is, she does play an important part in getting Ben Solo to turn on his master, even if it doesn’t end up the way she expected, she easily resists Kylo’s temptation, she fights Kylo to a stand still for the lightsaber after beating Snoke’s elite guards in a team effort, she escapes from the lion’s den without a scratch, and ends up saving the remains of the Resistance from certain doom only to join them in a weird sort of celebration aboard the Millenium Falcon. So, there’s failure from a certain point of view, but from many others she is unrealistically successful (or lucky) given her lack of experience, and naive nature, and she achieves many of these successes with powers that she just almost instantly recieved from on high, and thus hasn’t really earned.

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yotsuya said:

So Rey is not an overly physical strong character but is capable and is the main character and therefor supposed to outshine the others. She has setback after setback in what she wants to do as the story (which you can read as the force) pushes her to her destiny. She is exactly the type of strong character we need and definitely not a Mary Sue.

Maybe the problem is 1) using the term “Mary Sue” 2) politicizing of the issue and 3) amateur Youtube critics.

1)As I said, I didn’t think of the term “Mary Sue” when seeing TFA, and I didn’t think Rey being good at so many things right away was because the character was a woman.
I thought that they further explained her abilities, albeit vaguely, in TLJ. She’s particularly strong with the Force, like the Skywalker family was, for no other reason than the Force chose her. In fact she’s so powerful that it’s implied that she could be tempted to the dark side. But I do think there are some valid criticisms of her character.

  1. I can sympathize with amateur critics when they believe that the writer’s injecting too much of their own personal opinions, in a way that it’s not done well and it takes you out of the story. However, it seems like the ST has been used by political personalities to further their own agenda.
    I went into TLJ ready to dislike it, but despite interpreting, what I believe to be obvious socio-political messages I didn’t find it do be too distracting. I agree with some here that it could have been more subtle, but this is a mainstream popcorn flick, going after the same modern, young crowd who are political aware and involved. The story, characters and effects were done well enough, so I never felt like it took me out of the film.

3)I like average people reviewing movies on Youtube because often times they can be better than the “professional” stuff. But the problem is that some don’t have a solid background in film history and are critiquing movies from a very narrow perspective.
For example, accusations of “forced diversity” while citing how awesome Lando Calrissian is in the OT.
The original Star Wars was criticized for a lack of diversity, and some have said that the inclusion of Billy Dee Williams in ESB was a concession to those critics.

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DrDre said:

So, there’s failure from a certain point of view, but from many others she is unrealistically successful (or lucky) given her lack of experience, and naive nature, and she achieves many of these successes with powers that she just almost instantly recieved from on high, and thus hasn’t really earned.

I agree with this.
But I don’t think it would play well if we saw Rey getting beat up like other action heroes tend to be.
Had Rey been rescued by Poe Dameron in a Hoth-like situation, people would accuse the filmmakers of resorting to the damsel-in-destress trope.
If Snoke had been hurling giant pieces of machinery at Rey’s back and head, she gets beaten and bruised with a black eye (ala Luke at the end of ESB) AND she loses the fight, it looks like a display of violence against women, and accusations of misogyny are made.

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Voss Caltrez said:

yotsuya said:

So Rey is not an overly physical strong character but is capable and is the main character and therefor supposed to outshine the others. She has setback after setback in what she wants to do as the story (which you can read as the force) pushes her to her destiny. She is exactly the type of strong character we need and definitely not a Mary Sue.

Maybe the problem is 1) using the term “Mary Sue” 2) politicizing of the issue and 3) amateur Youtube critics.

1)As I said, I didn’t think of the term “Mary Sue” when seeing TFA, and I didn’t think Rey being good at so many things right away was because the character was a woman.

Remember that Rey being a woman has nothing to do with her being a Mary Sue. She could be Ray the male scavenger and still be called a Gary Stu. There’s certainly some sexist people who use it as a way to demean her, but for most it’s just an extension of English’s gender pronouns. If we had been speaking in Hungarian (a language where he and she are the same thing) we would use the same term. Daisy Ridly didn’t help with this by completing misinterpreting the definition.

Vader, a 7 in 1 edit of the entire Star Wars Saga

Maul, a clone wars edit

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Voss Caltrez said:

DrDre said:

So, there’s failure from a certain point of view, but from many others she is unrealistically successful (or lucky) given her lack of experience, and naive nature, and she achieves many of these successes with powers that she just almost instantly recieved from on high, and thus hasn’t really earned.

I agree with this.
But I don’t think it would play well if we saw Rey getting beat up like other action heroes tend to be.
Had Rey been rescued by Poe Dameron in a Hoth-like situation, people would accuse the filmmakers of resorting to the damsel-in-destress trope.
If Snoke had been hurling giant pieces of machinery at Rey’s back and head, she gets beaten and bruised with a black eye (ala Luke at the end of ESB) AND she loses the fight, it looks like a display of violence against women, and accusations of misogyny are made.

I don’t think she needed to be rescued, but I also think she might have a little bit more trouble escaping, maybe get a few scratches, and seem a little less jubilant in the battle of Crait. As it is the revelations and her failure don’t really seem to affect her much. Given what happened to her, and the Resistance you would expect a bit more somber and reflective tone, rather than smiles and congratulations.

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The general definition of Gary/Mary Sue is a character written by someone into someone else’s already established story, who then proceeds to become a manifestation of the author by being better than everyone else- even if they have had years of experience and the new character none. They have no flaws and end up saving the day with little help. The prime example for this is a new Star Trek Ensign who is smarter than Spock and a more efficient leader than Kirk.

Let’s take a look at Rey. Don’t have much a problem with TFA. But by TLJ, we learn Luke has lost all his optimism for the Jedi. Whhaaa? That was Luke’s primary character trait. It made him stand out beyond even legends like Yoda and Obi-Wan. It’s interesting perhaps for a novel focusing on Luke, but within a two hour movie that’s a lot to cram in. So they spent their time with Luke and turned Rey into the mentor character. Rey is at a point in this film more optimistic than Luke, and later it’s shown she can shoot on the Falcon far better than Han ever did. And to top things off, she lifts all the boulders with no effort, about as much as the x-wing from empire only Yoda struggled so she must have greater will than him too.

To summarize, she’s more optimistic than Luke, a better shot than Han, and stronger willed than Yoda. By the end of movie Rey’s sole point of weakness was crying a bit with Ben, but that was of empathy. So is Rey’s sole weakness that she cares about others? Really?

Rey being a Mary Sue definitely wasn’t intentional; Rian didn’t imagine him being Rey and proving to everyone he was better. It was an oversight, because he was more interested in telling a one-off story with Luke and already crammed with Kylo, Poe, and Finn.

Vader, a 7 in 1 edit of the entire Star Wars Saga

Maul, a clone wars edit

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One of the issues with the Mary Sue argument is that many who subscribe to it now look anywhere they can find and contort everything Rey does as evidence to back it up the theory. It hurts the argument to do such acrobatics (just as it hurts the argument to use the term in the first place, as that strikes up a whole different debate).

It’s one thing to say that Rey learns the force too quickly, respective of previous canon portrayals, or that the stakes for her emotional journey are too low going forward. But to nitpick and turn everything Rey does into proof that she is better than someone else is disregarding the actual filmmaking decisions and how things actually play out on screen (not to mention in some cases these arguments involve ignoring, forgetting, or fabricating things that happen in certain scenes).

My point being, I’m sorry I get flippant some times but it can be very frustrating when I want to have a discussion and it feels like when we can’t even agree on the reality of the film we’ve all seen (probably multiple times). It makes it very hard to debate!

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Voss Caltrez said:

Shopping Maul said:

I can’t for the life of me understand why these people didn’t think to write a story first!

That’s how it feels at times.
But couldn’t the same be said of the OT?
It feels like Lucas was making it up as he went along.
ANH: Vader and Luke’s father are clearly different people.
ESB: Lucas decides he wants a twist in the story and makes Vader Luke’s father. And just some insurance to get you hooked for the final film, he has Yoda say, “there is another.”
ROTJ: Oh crap, how do we resolve Yoda’s line? Okay how about a twin sister? And make her be Leia.

And although I think Luke was more relatable in his failings compared to Rey, couldn’t he be seen as having aspects of a Marty Stu?
Obi-Wan gives him one brief lesson on the Millennium Falcon, and suddenly he’s able to use the Force and destroy the Death Star with it?
How did he learn telekinesis at the beginning of ESB?
As a kid I always assumed that Luke went back to Dagobah to finish his training before he went to rescue Han and that’s why he was more powerful. Rewatching it, that’s not the case. He returns to finish his training after all that went down, and Yoda just tells him, “nah, you’re training is finished, you just need to kill Vader and then you’ll be a Jedi.”
I always got the impression that to become a Jedi there had to be rigorous training involved, and looking back, Luke has very little training. At least they could have written it so that Luke DID continue his training with Yoda between ESB and the beginning of ROTJ.

You’re absolutely right re Lucas making it up as he went along, but in the interest of consistency I have exactly the same beef with ROTJ. In that instance though it’s clear that Lucas was writing on the run, having not even known the first film might be a hit. So I think leeway is due on that one, even if ‘a certain point of view’ and ‘Leia’s my sister’ still make me wince to this day!

But why repeat the mistake when you know you have a trilogy planned? It just doesn’t make sense to me at all, especially given how much scrutiny is inevitable with a franchise like this one.

I don’t think Luke was a Marty Stu at all. That first lesson on the Falcon still didn’t amount to anything that might dampen Han Solo’s cynicism (“I call it luck!”). Luke was like “I did feel something…” but it was pretty vague and hardly conclusive. It’s not like he turned around and mind-tricked Chewie into handing over his wallet. And the Death Star thing was just an extension of that lesson - “do that thing I showed you earlier” - not to mention that Luke was already pretty confident with regard to two-metre targets.

By TESB it seemed clear to me (in 1980) that Luke, now fully aware of his heritage as a Jedi’s son, would have been practising as best he could in the intervening 3 years (“but I’ve learned so much!”) - and even then his levitation skills were pretty lacklustre on the Jedi scale. He got a boost under Yoda’s tutelage, managed to lift some rocks (but not an X-Wing), and of course Yoda wasn’t such a big fan of failure back then! We know the rest. He quit his training early and got his ass handed to him by Vader.

ROTJ occurred some time later, and again - given Luke’s new attitude re Vader (sheer outrage had been replaced by a calm Zen ‘must save Dad’ attitude) - it seems clear that he had honed his skills during that time. There is at least a sense of growth, of progress, and of consequence. Rey just gets everything on a platter - mind tricks, levitation, you name it, and at no cost, no Dark Side issues etc.

Of course the Force doesn’t exist, so credulity is in the eye of the viewer. For me Luke’s journey was like that of the Karate Kid. Firstly, not any Tom, Dick, or Rey can do Karate. You have to train for it. Secondly, you have to master the self, balance the forces that can sway you one way or another and thwart your quest for mastery. Without this the Force is boring. It’s just an X-Men power that lucky kids wake up with one day.

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Shopping Maul said:

But why repeat the mistake when you know you have a trilogy planned? It just doesn’t make sense to me at all, especially given how much scrutiny is inevitable with a franchise like this one.

Oh, I definitely agree on this point.
But I think it does make sense considering they don’t have an infinite amount of time to come up with the perfect story, while at the same time, they can’t take too many artistic risks considering how much they bought the property for. Which is why we get repeats of so many things from the OT.

I don’t think Luke was a Marty Stu at all. That first lesson on the Falcon still didn’t amount to anything that might dampen Han Solo’s cynicism (“I call it luck!”). Luke was like “I did feel something…” but it was pretty vague and hardly conclusive. It’s not like he turned around and mind-tricked Chewie into handing over his wallet. And the Death Star thing was just an extension of that lesson - “do that thing I showed you earlier” - not to mention that Luke was already pretty confident with regard to two-metre targets.

For me, I think it just felt too convenient, and in hindsight, it seems rushed and way too condensed. Lucas originally envisioned an epic story which took place over a series of films. He didn’t think he’d get the chance, so he condensed all the story into one film, which is why we never got to see Luke dueling with a lightsaber, and yet we still get to see him destroy the Death Star and save the galaxy.
Plus, that’s crazy how his x-wing shot literally turned to go down the corridor. Even Robot Chicken made fun of that.

By TESB it seemed clear to me (in 1980) that Luke, now fully aware of his heritage as a Jedi’s son, would have been practising as best he could in the intervening 3 years (“but I’ve learned so much!”) - and even then his levitation skills were pretty lacklustre on the Jedi scale. He got a boost under Yoda’s tutelage, managed to lift some rocks (but not an X-Wing), and of course Yoda wasn’t such a big fan of failure back then! We know the rest. He quit his training early and got his ass handed to him by Vader.

This is a good point. I would have thought that you would need someone to train you in the Force, but at least the film made it seem like there was some considerable amount of time between ANH and ESB.

ROTJ occurred some time later, and again - given Luke’s new attitude re Vader (sheer outrage had been replaced by a calm Zen ‘must save Dad’ attitude) - it seems clear that he had honed his skills during that time. There is at least a sense of growth, of progress, and of consequence. Rey just gets everything on a platter - mind tricks, levitation, you name it, and at no cost, no Dark Side issues etc.

I agree. I thought there was some slight implication Rey would be tempted by the dark side in TLJ, but mostly that was because Luke got scared at her abilities, and that thing with the hole in the ground. I didn’t sense there was much, if any, internal struggle with Rey.

Of course the Force doesn’t exist, so credulity is in the eye of the viewer. For me Luke’s journey was like that of the Karate Kid. Firstly, not any Tom, Dick, or Rey can do Karate. You have to train for it. Secondly, you have to master the self, balance the forces that can sway you one way or another and thwart your quest for mastery. Without this the Force is boring. It’s just an X-Men power that lucky kids wake up with one day.

I agree on this.
But despite the ST hitting most of the same beats as the OT, one beat they didn’t want to repeat was watching another Jedi-in-the-making struggle to train. It was shown in ESB for a reason: to show that Luke was impatient with the training, and that him taking the shortcut to save his friends was signaling to the audience that he too was making the same mistake as young Vader, and possibly was going to turn to the dark side.
Also, there’s a different message going on in the ST. Whereas the those adept with the Force in the OT might appear as “privileged” or members of an exclusive family dynasty, the Force in the ST is shown to be more inclusive. Power to the people and all that, rather than relying on a select few to make change in the world.

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Personally, I think the emphasis on its parallels with Taoism describe the Force perfectly, which were partially set up by Lucas in Star Wars (influenced by the growing of New Age movement in California) but extrapolated by Kershner, who was a Buddhist himself, in Empire Strikes Back.

Particularly, the way Luke and Rey portray the Force is like a Taoist trying to achieve wu wei, which literally means without action/effort/control. It can be better understood by the term wei wu wei, or effortless action. Think of it like an athlete being “in the zone”. Doing without thinking.

If you compare the Force with the Tao, basically the Path/Way of the universe, then idea is to let go of your own desires and let the current of the universe take you where you need to go.

You can see this multiple times, with Luke destroying the Death Star, to him taking a deep breath and then reaching for his lightsaber in the Wampa cave, to him calling out to Leia beneath Cloud City. It’s about clearing your mind, letting the Force take over. It always has been, and I think us seeing it otherwise was influenced by not only extended material, but our pop culture and other media as well.

The Force is much more like magic than a martial art, but if I had to describe it as anything it would definitely be Tai Chi. To me, the way Rey is learning the Force doesn’t seem much different.

Also, is it not possible that the Force itself is this dynamic thing that changes between the trilogies? In the prequels, it apparently took around 20-25 years to become a Jedi Knight. For Luke, he became a Jedi Knight basically in one year. If you were to put that on a graph, there would definitely seem to be a correlation with time.

Although I think much of the Prequel Jedi training had more to do with complex lightsaber techniques and diplomacy education, the Prequel Jedi still didn’t seem to learn as fast as Luke did in the OT, not even Anakin, the apparent Chosen One with 13-14 years of Jedi training, didn’t seem that much more powerful than Luke with 1 year of training (and only a short period of time of official training directly with Yoda, the rest was self taught). I mean, ROTS Anakin probably would’ve whooped ROTJ Luke in lightsaber combat, but that probably goes for any Prequel Jedi. But Force ability wise, doesn’t seem that much different. See what I mean?

The ST, on the other hand, everyone has this raw strength that we’ve never seen before. Kylo Ren stopping blaster bolts IN MID AIR. Pulling information out of people’s minds with little effort. Snoke ragdolling Hux from apparently lightyears away, bridging Rey and Kylo’s minds, casually bouncing lightning off the ground, throwing Rey around in the air like she is weightless. Luke severing his own connection with the Force, blowing up a hut with the flick of the wrist, projecting himself ACROSS THE GALAXY. And of course, Rey’s natural abilities with the Force. Also can’t forget broom kid with no training at all pulling the broom towards himself, almost without thinking (Remember Wu Wei?).

It is almost as if the Force has literally awakened, not only in Rey but across the Galaxy.
I have a little headcanon that is has something to do with the number of Force-users dropping from 10,000 to a half dozen or less within a short amount of time, and that number not growing for decades. It has been dormant, and it is now surging through new Force-users like electricity through a conduit.
But, I hope they never really explain the Force 100% officially. It needs to remain mysterious, because that what makes it so interesting. There should be different philosophies and interpretations, just like any faith.

But to me, the way “the Force works” most closely resembles Taoism. And I think this is being shown in the ST not only its depiction of the Force, but also bring back the shades of grey in what we see as good and evil, as Taoism also recognizes that one thing is not wholly Yin or wholly Yang, but has elements of both Yin and Yang. I should also clarify that Yin and Yang are not equivalent to the Western perspective of good and evil, but moreso the complementary opposites of all things: peace and violence, life and death, selfishness and selflessness.

But this is just my perspective.

The Tao never does anything,
Yet through it all things are done.
If powerful men and women
Could center themselves in it (They can!)
The whole world would be transformed
By itself, in its natural rhythms.
People would be content
With their simple, everyday lives,
In harmony, and free of desire.
When there is no desire,
All things are at peace.
–Chapter 37

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Good post RL. It definitely seems like the ST and TLJ in particular are implying that less force users = more heightened individual force abilities. TLJ more or less presents the case that Luke cutting himself off from the force (combined with the purge of his academy) created a vacuum in the light side of the force that ultimately lead to Rey’s explosive awakening. Again, this is merely implied, but the suggestion is that her strength is such so that she may balance out Kylo.

Whether IX continues on this potential thread or not, who knows. There is also the rando (Canto) kids throughout the galaxy with force abilities to consider. Abrams has been vocal about the force being a power for “anyone” so I’d imagine no matter which way it goes the film won’t lose sight of that. He also doesn’t seem to care much for excessive exposition so I wouldn’t necessarily expect anything crazy when it comes to deep philosophical musings about the specific agendas of the force through the ages. But he is the one who reintroduced the concept of “balance” so I’d hope for some follow up on that, in some way.

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Thanks Dom. I agree, there does seem to be an implication of that, but I like that it isn’t ever overtly stated as such, because I want it to be something that is open to interpretation.

That is interesting to me. A lot of people talked about how the line, “This will be begin to set things right.” was an indirect jab at the prequels, but a moment later Tekka continues saying, “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.” Balance in the Force, being a concept introduced in the prequels. Not saying these things were or weren’t intentional, but I definitely like the juxtaposition. I still kind of have a hunch that the title for IX could be “Balance of the Force”, but regardless of the title, I do think this question of balance will be addressed/resolved in some way, especially with the cyclic nature of light and darkness being an apparent theme in the new trilogy.

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I love what you’re saying Rogue (not that I necessarily grasp all of it of course, but I like the vibe of it!) but I would add that attaining the ‘effortlessness’ implied in the Taoist way would (ironically) require effort. Think of it in terms of being a musician. It would take hours of blisters and finger-cramps and listening and learning for a guitarist to be in that zone. No-one’s going to pick up a guitar and nail it first time just because they had their baser thoughts in check. That’s the beautiful thing about the Karate Kid - he had to wash cars and stand like an Ostrich and go through all kinds of stuff to get to that place. Kershner famously said he wanted “something powerful going on in Luke’s soul” and within the (arguably) limited framework of a SW film he achieved that. The SE feels more like bullet points - ‘we need lightsaber fights, we need a Dark Lord, we need a cantina’ etc etc. Any depth to Rey’s experience seems (to me) to being created by the fans themselves rather than by anything JJ and/or Rian are doing.

In terms of the Force having agency and not only choosing it’s bearers but increasing its own power, I have to confess to being bound by my own fannish conservatism here. I like the Kersh version of the Force. I like the post-TESB Lucas version a lot less (Midichlorians, Chosen Ones, and the genetic lottery sit ill with me) and I’m not sure there even is a version in the ST beyond pulling the powers out to satisfy the visuals. But that said, I dig the heck out of your posts and once again have been given something to think about…

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RogueLeader said:

Thanks Dom. I agree, there does seem to be an implication of that, but I like that it isn’t ever overtly stated as such, because I want it to be something that is open to interpretation.

I wouldn’t mind further dialogue about it, but in terms of overt statements I completely agree. Much better when vague, mysterious and open to interpretation.

That is interesting to me. A lot of people talked about how the line, “This will be begin to set things right.” was an indirect jab at the prequels, but a moment later Tekka continues saying, “Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.” Balance in the Force, being a concept introduced in the prequels. Not saying these things were or weren’t intentional, but I definitely like the juxtaposition. I still kind of have a hunch that the title for IX could be “Balance of the Force”, but regardless of the title, I do think this question of balance will be addressed/resolved in some way, especially with the cyclic nature of light and darkness being an apparent theme in the new trilogy.

Yeah I always find it weird when people say TFA shits on the PT or whatever specifically because of that. It’s not an insignificant element to be lifting from those films (far more worth mentioning than say whether or not a TPM pod racer flag is featured at Maz’s Castle).

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Shopping Maul said:

I love what you’re saying Rogue (not that I necessarily grasp all of it of course, but I like the vibe of it!) but I would add that attaining the ‘effortlessness’ implied in the Taoist way would (ironically) require effort. Think of it in terms of being a musician. It would take hours of blisters and finger-cramps and listening and learning for a guitarist to be in that zone. No-one’s going to pick up a guitar and nail it first time just because they had their baser thoughts in check. That’s the beautiful thing about the Karate Kid - he had to wash cars and stand like an Ostrich and go through all kinds of stuff to get to that place. Kershner famously said he wanted “something powerful going on in Luke’s soul” and within the (arguably) limited framework of a SW film he achieved that. The SE feels more like bullet points - ‘we need lightsaber fights, we need a Dark Lord, we need a cantina’ etc etc. Any depth to Rey’s experience seems (to me) to being created by the fans themselves rather than by anything JJ and/or Rian are doing.

Well, to use your Karate Kid example I think the idea in the ST is that Rey has essentially spent her whole life waxing cars (whereas Luke is mostly just any old kid, wasting time with his friends between chores at home).

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I had a thought about Rey lifting the Rocks at the back of the rebel base on Crait …there are real world examples of people having enough adrenaline flow through them and enabling them to do superhuman feats like lifting cars in an emergency to save a trapped child etc. I believe it was something like this with Rey , everyone she held dear was trapped in that base and in immediate peril so adrenaline rush +the force =superhuman feat x 10. She did not have time to hesitate or think about whether she could do it or not , unlike Luke when lifting the X-Wing on Dagobah in a safe and controlled environment .She believed she could do it , and did not stop to question it . okay , inevitable rebuttal in 3…2…1…

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/

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screams in the void said:

I had a thought about Rey lifting the Rocks at the back of the rebel base on Crait …there are real world examples of people having enough adrenaline flow through them and enabling them to do superhuman feats like lifting cars in an emergency to save a trapped child etc. I believe it was something like this with Rey , everyone she held dear was trapped in that base and in immediate peril so adrenaline rush +the force =superhuman feat x 10. She did not have time to hesitate or think about whether she could do it or not , unlike Luke when lifting the X-Wing on Dagobah in a safe and controlled environment .She believed she could do it , and did not stop to question it . okay , inevitable rebuttal in 3…2…1…

I like the explanation but we’re given no glimpse inside her thought process there. Because it happens offscreen we’re left having to assume what may or may not been going on in her head. Which would’ve been fine we’re she not supposed to be the lead.

(Not to mention, this is the point at which she should be feeling the most doubt in her abilities).

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Shopping Maul said:

But that said, I dig the heck out of your posts and once again have been given something to think about…

Aw, thanks Maul! I’m glad at least one person likes my ramblings!

And I do get what you’re saying. While it doesn’t bother me too much, and I think Dom brings up an noteworthy perspective, since Rey was already a girl of focus, maybe they could’ve shown Rey take a little more effort to do certain things. But luckily that’s what things like fan edits are for!

I think Nev had a good idea about splitting her mind trick attempt in half, so she tries once and fails, then later she tries again and succeeds.

This is another reason why I think it is good to trim the Rather scene and cut Rey saving Finn from one of them.

I personally kinda wish Rey would’ve stretched out both of her hands when lifting up all of those rocks at the end of TLJ, which I know is a little trivial but it does show a little extra effort. I think a skilled editor could actually do this. Minor, but something I’d like to see.

This is another reason why I would keep the Caretakers. One trait of a Mary Sue is that everyone loves her, and the Caretakers clearly aren’t too fond of Rey. Haha.

When it comes to editing I try to approach things in a “less is more” kind of way. Like, what would be the smallest changes that would have the biggest impact on your perception of your character, in your opinion?

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that’s the thing though ,she starts TLJ in a place of doubt , " I need someone to show me my place in all this ." In the end ,she has cast that doubt aside .She literally has no time to doubt or question her abilities in the moment where she lifts the rocks or people will die . I am not sure what you meant by it happens off screen . If you are referring to her thoughts , I suppose that could be the case but I don’t see how that is relevant . other than comparing it to Luke expressing doubt about lifting the x-wing . And having her use two hands would be to weaken her character in my opinion .

https://screamsinthevoid.deviantart.com/