I posted this in another thread, but felt it was out of place and going to be moved anyway, so here it is…
People have strong feelings on the new Disney saga and just like back in the day when we complained about stuff in the prequels, people tried to justify it with examples from the classic films. I was asking if a new fan edit of ROTJ was going to take the new movies into account. It was being suggested that Rey going from being proficient with a staff to a lightsaber was more believable than Luke going from a T-16 to an X-Wing.
It’s a lot easier to justify weird stuff in the new movies by referencing precedents in the Prequel Trilogy and/or the EU (the EU is actually where most everything “new” is coming from these days, I think people have forgotten, at least a portion of those things, good or bad, are from rejected concepts from the first three movies – most modern fans probably never read the old scripts or “legends”: another usage I dislike). Rey being a wunderkind is more like Anakin being a wunderkind in Episode I, though at least there we are given all kinds suggestions that Anakin is some special anomaly, and we know he’s been working with machines for years. Rey is still a step up from that kind of natural ability, in the absence of some later reveal that she had memory loss of how she acquired skills. TLJ puts a damper on that speculation, however.
One funny thing, the notion that Rey is not a Mary Sue (or that Luke is a Gary Stu, so that makes it okay) is off. As thousands of others have pointed out, Luke suddenly knowing how to use a lightsaber (after training with Yoda) does actually make a certain amount of sense (and even if some of those scenes were deleted, they’re described in the novelization that was released before the movie). While Luke is portrayed (and assumed in other canon) to have just flown the equivalent of an aeroplane before he jumped into an X-Wing, with only a few seconds of doubt from Red Leader (and he gets the hang of it in minutes, notice Luke only goofs up a few things during the battle)… Rey on the other hand flat out admits she’s never left the planet, she doesn’t know why she has skills, and flies the Falcon for the first time at least as well (if not better) than Han or Lando do in ESB or ROTJ respectively (Han is even implied to be impressed with her). So she got less training in both areas before she was shown to be talented and effective, whereas Luke spends much more time failing and screwing up. Watch the movies again and tell me I’m wrong.
TFA flat out leads us to believe that the Force gives proficiency and skills to a person they lacked before. At the time I saw it in theaters I interpreted JJ as following the EU notion that certain “artifacts” are imbued with power, such that when the right person “touches” them, they not only get the memories that were put into that object, but the abilities that were granted to it. It’s the old “magic sword, makes you a hero” trope from fantasy. While this existed in various forms in the EU, it was something new for the movies. IF we accept it, then no explanation for Rey’s powers are required. She doesn’t have to be some chosen one vergence of the midichlorians. Many speculated from TFA (rightly so) that Rey was going to be someone who simply had their memory erased by trauma and the dark side. I have so little invested in the franchise at this point though, I really don’t care if they bother to explain it adequately. Some probably love this interpretation of Star Wars Lore, more power to them.
The last thing that bugs me about any of this are the excuses that have been offered (not accusing anyone in these forums, but elsewhere in media) to defend TFA and TLJ, suggesting that one is a misogynist, a right-winger, a racist, or someone who is too old or jaded to appreciate new things… if they offer such criticisms. Or saying head canon and expectations were too high. I only asked for good movies, and they gave us garbage (millions disagree… I don’t care), but my expectations have been very, very low since 2005. This is why I have to clarify when I say I’m a “Star Wars fan” that I’m not a fanboy who loves everything with the logo on it, and don’t feel I have to justify everything the company that owns the IP does (anymore today than I did when George was in charge, and he made his share of mistakes with his own creations). It’s one thing when these attempts to demonize critics of a movie come from fans, but when they are mouthed by the cast, crew, or other people representing the franchise, that really sours a person’s fandom, let me tell you. I could ignore this poisonous atmosphere a lot easier if the product they were putting out was consistently good.
Thankfully, my experience of OT.com is not like that. I see a lot more openness, creativity, and comradery here than I’ve seen in a long time in any fan community associated with Star Wars, for obvious reasons. If only that attitude would spread. MTFBWY