Shopping Maul said:
Look, the whole Force thing is as elastic as anyone wants it to be. I just think the reason so many fans are up in arms about Rey’s instant and consequence-free power levels is that the previous films greatly imply a deep and difficult learning curve with regards to the Force. Also, the OT has the Force (and Jedi) as something forgotten and elusive and even snickered at. If Force-powers really did pop up everywhere like the ST implies, surely someone like Vader wouldn’t have wielded the terrifying influence he did in TESB. Wouldn’t there be a reasonable number of Imperial officers who just happened to be pretty good at levitation or Force-choking (perhaps they saw Vader do it and learned it instantly like Rey did) that could defy Lord Vader’s many homicidal tantrums? No, Vader was the last personification of a forgotten art. It’s not like Admiral Ozzel could turn to his fellow officers and say “look, don’t worry about Vader. My kid Force-choked his teacher the other day. Anyone can do this s##t”.
Making the Force - which is/was the spiritual backbone of the series - something easily dealt with and more or less unlimited diminishes it and, by extension, Luke Skywalker’s journey.
Except that in ANH and TESB, we don’t see Luke having any real difficulty learning the force. No more than Rey does in TFA. Luke easily lifts his saber (without any lessons) and only has issues when he perceives the X-wing as too big to lift (and he did move it, just didn’t finish lifting it out). Rey does not just pick things up. She doesn’t show any force skills until Kylo tries to pull the location of BB-8 from her. Assuming that her ability with the force was there all along and just under used as with Luke and Anakin, she would be able to sense what he was doing and then she turned it back on him (not very successful at first). Then she used the mind trick on a stormtrooper and had to struggle to do it right. Not once did Rey just suddenly start doing something without Kylo teaching it to her, and rarely perfect the first time. In their lightsaber duel we see her using her extant fighting skills (as seen in the beginning of the film) and the Kylo says he can teach her that she needs to use the force. Well, thanks to him she had kind of figured that out and puts the pieces together and ends up whipping his injured ass. In TLJ when they both fight the room full of Praetorian guards, Kylo is pitted against more of them than she is. They both come out in the end, but Kylo had the tougher job. So no where does Rey just pull a force power out of her ass as Luke did in the Wampa cave and she does have a learning curve that pretty much matches Lukes the few times we see him learn something new.
So this idea that Luke had this huge learning curve to be able to actually do anything is a joke. It misrepresents the OT horribly. What is true is that Luke had doubts to overcome about just have far the force could take him (lifting an X-wing). And nowhere in the OT is it stated that the force is unique to a select few. The force is in everybody, but it only manifests itself strong enough for a few to become a Jedi. But those few can come from anywhere. The OT never gives us the lineage of any of the three people strong with the force (excluding Luke). In the PT it is implied that the Jedi find those who are strong with the force, train them, and as part of the code, they are celibate. So there is no lineage for them to continue. It is implied that Padme’s pregnancy is as bad or worse than their marriage in terms of violating the code. And when you think about what was revealed logically, the Jedi are weakening the light side by forbidding the strongest in the force from reproducing. They are so scared of the temptation of the dark side that they have walled themselves off and after a thousand generations, they are fooled and beaten by a Sith lord. Their ability to use the force had weakened. The PT is full of things the Jedi did wrong and in TLJ we have that put into words by a bitter Luke. Part of what Yoda admonished him would be to pass on what he learned of how the Jedi failed. Not to let the Jedi die, but for the new order to fix the flaws of the old.
I think that it is pretty clear that the endgame of IX is going to be the reestablishing of balance. How they do that is a mystery at the moment. But the ideas go back to ANH and Abrams and Johnson have been true to the original in every way I can see. This idea that Luke had such problems and had a steep learning curve just isn’t true to the OT. One thing I have found is that Lucas did not just use Samurai cinema as an inspiration, but actual samurai lore as inspiration. From that we can see that a young hotshot can rise up and defeat supposed great masters, but even that young hotshot will face increasing challenges and must always strive to improve. So learning to be a samurai is a never ending lesson meaning that becoming a Jedi is similarly a never ending lesson. So to get to where Yoda was literally takes a lifetime, but a young person can learn what they need to start that journey in a short time. But they need to continually seek to improve. So the long training Lucas always has talked about is true for all and never ends, but does not preclude those who start out high in skills.
Taking the fighting skills to another area, we are introduced to Rey as a fighter. She is already very far ahead of Luke in that area. As a skilled fighter, she would have already learned Ben’s first lesson - to let go your conscious self and act on instinct. That can be learned from a lot of physical activities. And when you really look at the stories of Luke, Anakin, and Rey; Rey is taking the same journey and has the same level of success as Luke. But instead of freeing the galaxy from the tyranny of Palpatine and the Sith, she is up against Kylo and the task of balancing the force. She isn’t fast tracked any more than Luke was. Both are on the Hero’s journey. I think the biggest problems OT fans are having is coming to terms with Luke, Han, and Leia being the Ben and Yoda side of this trilogy. This is the Rey, Finn, Poe trilogy like the PT was the Anakin, Padme, Obi-wan trilogy.
I strongly disagree that Rey is/was no more fastracked than Luke. TESB is entirely about Luke’s struggle and consequent failure. He goes to Yoda all guns blazing and is absolutely humbled. Rey nails everything without effort and suffers no failures at all.
For example, imagine how cool it would’ve been if Rey had lost to Kylo in TFA (perhaps he looks into her mind and, sensing something special, spares her life). This way she would have been shown that being a Jedi is about more than just kicking ass, that her rudimentary (and aggressive) survival skills pale next to the pure flow and finesse of a trained Force user. This would give her somewhere to go, much in the same way that Luke learned that being a Jedi was so much more than just fencing lessons from a ‘great warrior’.
Imagine how cool it would have been if Rey couldn’t lift the rocks in TLJ. She realises in that moment that for all her bluster about flying off and saving Kylo, she really has much to learn. When Leia lifts the rocks for her (a better Leia moment than the space-walk methinks) Rey sees firsthand that mastery will take time.
I don’t actually think Rey’s journey should necessarily reflect Luke’s. We don’t need a repeat here. As a fan I just prefer Lucas’ original ‘space yoga’ version of the Force over the PT’s ‘Chosen One/Midichlorian’ stuff and the ST’s ‘Force on tap for any Tom, Dick and Rey’ version. If the Force isn’t elusive and nuanced and largely unattainable, then it loses it’s uniqueness in the narrative.
When I was a kid I was absolutely drawn in by Luke’s struggle. What struck me so much in TESB, from an emotional standpoint, was that Luke was so alone in all this. He was a bit like Peter Parker in that respect, he had this amazing power that he really couldn’t share with anyone else, and by association a heavy burden that rested on his shoulders alone. He couldn’t exactly confide in Han or Leia with regards to this stuff. His mentors were surly and disparaging. And ultimately he failed - not just himself but the galaxy. There wasn’t an endless pool of broom-wielding Force-mutants out there for Yoda and Obi Wan to draw upon. Luke was the last hope.
The PT took away from this to an extent. Now the Force was entirely genetic and potential Jedi were assessed via a blood-test and sent to stuffy Jedi colleges. But at least Anakin had an emotional struggle, which of course he failed.
Rey just wins. She does nothing but win. She’s better than everyone - Kylo, Luke, even Yoda. That’s fine I guess. I just prefer the Force as a deep and elusive mystery rather than the frivolous fountain of super-powers it has become.