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Episode VIII : The Last Jedi - Discussion * SPOILER THREAD * — Page 173

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act on instinct said:

I think maybe you’re misinterpreting or responding to someone other than me because my point was not to slander Rian as hard to work with, or to minimize the role of a director. But it is clear he did write TLJ and did not write Breaking Bad which was deep into its own arcs which were followed completely under his direction. The difference between those two examples is the amount of control and authorship.

No, I directly quoted you. He had control and authorship of those episodes. Those episodes were directed by Rian Johnson, and for any of this conversation to make any sense, it assumes that the director is a major part of a film’s “authorship.” Whether you meant to minimize the role of director you were inadvertently doing so and that’s what I was responding to. He was given control and authorship of The Last Jedi to a larger degree than he was on Breaking Bad, but the idea that he doesn’t work well with other people’s creations doesn’t hold a lot of water to me. If that were true I don’t think any of the three episodes he was put in charge of would have worked out as well as they did, or that he’d keep being asked back to direct them. If you’re solely looking at Star Wars and Star Wars alone, maybe I could see that argument being put forward, but I still don’t think it stands up very well considering the movie essentially played out exactly the way he wanted it to, and it only gets wobblier once you apply a larger perspective and take in the rest of his career outside of Star Wars, and see the collaborations he had were smooth and productive, and the end result was, as with every other movie he’s made, a critical and financial success.

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Broom Kid said:

No, I directly quoted you.

(…) the idea that he doesn’t work well with other people’s creations doesn’t hold a lot of water to me.

Okay well I never said that

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Oh dang, I initially had quoted ATM’s “Honestly I don’t think RJ works well with characters he didn’t create himself,” but I don’t know why you’d try to rebut my response to that statement if you didn’t on some level agree with it? I must have confused you following up on my own response with the person I was quoting.

Apologies for any misunderstanding, but I tried to be as clear as possible what I was arguing and why I was arguing it, but I did confuse you with another poster later in the conversation.

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I was responding to your response so I get the confusion, no worries, but yeah I wouldn’t agree, I’m not even sure many TLJ haters would think that without contradicting themselves considering the level of distaste for Rose and she’s an original character. I think you feel I’m underrating his contributions to Breaking Bad and I feel you’re overrating it, but my point was to say we’re talking about Rian as a writer, and without trying to dismiss him entirely I don’t think his contributions were why Breaking Bad fans love Ozymandias so much relative to what Vince Gilliagan and co. had built up to over those seasons, though not to say he didn’t do a good job.

I will say of the established characters I was disappointed with Rian’s execution of Snoke, and not for lack of backstory, felt like he was made into a mustache twirler when he didn’t need to be, even if the overall story focus isn’t about his character having the most nuance.

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One thing that’s really funny about this movie in retrospect is Rian said he didn’t want to make the throne room fight be with the Knights of Ren because there was the implication the Knights might be Luke’s other students which would make killing them off sort of morally questionable. That plus it would be anticlimactic. Glad he saved them for their big role in TROS.

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I actually do count it as a point against Rian for not utilizing the Knights of Ren better, that was another softball pitch he more or less ignored. Maybe that sounds like getting into what you wished for vs what you got but really does become a question of why not, it’s like TFA is JJ holding up his hand for a high five but RJ is looking the other way, leaving him hanging. TROS is the finale, probably should have been them as the villains instead of the Emperor, but with so much to get done of course if the Knights weren’t developed in the 2nd they are going to be rushed in the third. And really them being even in the finale in the first place feels like it’s just there to serve continuity that became more background lore than anything. Now that doesn’t mean it’s all Rian’s fault but I think it shows how disconnected their visions ultimately were and why people keep saying they should have gone in with a plan.

Been seeing it around the question with TROS of why didn’t JJ just work with what RJ left him, that’s what people were asking when TLJ came out, just in reverse order. TFA and TLJ feel like two 1st movies, I have started asking those I know who really hated the movie (but aren’t major fans enough to really care to give it as many rewatches or chances) if they would have liked the movie more with no changes if it was just the first one, so far all of them have said yes, so point for team RJ should have done the whole trilogy.

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I’m not sure I understand that reasoning besides the “upset at not getting what you want.” TFA introduced a lot of hanging threads that could go one way or another (JJ has admitted to wanting to keep things as open as possible for the next person). Rian was very free and open to do a lot, because of how open it was and because there would be a film after his. It would be unreasonable to suspect for the second film to cover everything, nor would that be interesting if all stones had been overturned. So it was 100% his prerogative to say “it doesn’t look like the Knights of Ren fit into this story in a satisfying way” (the irony of course being that his version of “unsatisfying” would have used them in a way that would ultimately have been more satisfying than what we got, sadly). But TROS is the conclusion, and so necessarily has to follow the dotted line of what’s been set up in the last two films without punting any elements for later as those two films had the liberty to do.

Using the Knights of Ren as the big bad instead of Palpatine seems so obvious it’s truly baffling it’s not what we got. The idea that they would have been too much to set up in one film rings false when TROS as is takes devotes nearly all of its runtime to the reestablishment of Palpatine. Not to mention the big bad in ROTJ doesn’t have a lot of screen time prior to that film either (not a perfect comparison but you get what I mean).

Ultimately intellectually I still don’t have a problem with a different creative mind taking on each film in a trilogy, but in the end it definitely didn’t work. Part of we thinks now there maybe should be some sort of continuity between part 2 and 3. If you don’t fully understand what the second act sets up, you can’t properly finish it off.

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Well you could set them up but I feel there’s not really room for both them AND Palpatine as the big bad while neither are developed where they really responsibly should be by the third act, one would seriously have to go or at least go under developed. RJ isn’t obligated to answer all the questions but I think he and JJ were too precious about each other’s ideas and it mutually made them stay away and go “I’m not touching that.” leading to leaving the thread just hanging in the air. It’s less about what I want and more working with what you got. I don’t think the Knights of Ren were even what I would have wanted but it is a lot of new potential left over, I think they were caught up in their own stories they didn’t pick up the ball and see what the trilogy needed at large. Course JJ has his own issues fully fleshing out concepts and characters, Maz really ended as a prop and pretty redundant to have initially received so much attention, JJ also fumbled Phasma all on his own in just one movie.

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In my mind Palpatine should not have returned and I doubt that’s something Rian would have envisioned as the conclusion to the story he set up in TLJ. I should be clear, just because I wouldn’t have done it doesn’t make it a bad decision. But again, when you’re at the conclusion of a story, you have to necessarily follow what’s been set up. I think JJ would argue Palpatine was there because it was a conclusion to the whole saga, and that’s totally fair. Maybe there was a way to do it that would have worked. But I don’t think you can look at what they did and say it seems like a natural follow up to the previous two episodes, or the previous eight.

Personally it seemed to me like Rian’s eye was very much on the ball for what the trilogy needed at large, in particular, he saw the trajectory the Snoke/Kylo storyline was on and decided to expedite that so that the trilogy would be forced into a position in the third film where it wasn’t just aping ROTJ (whoops). I think you can draw a line from that decision to not finding room for the Knights in TLJ. Rian made a choice to have Kylo forge a different path than what we got with Vader. Whether it’s what you or I or JJ would have done or not (and to be clear, it’s probably not what I would have done - that’s not the reason I like it), in the second film he very much had the freedom to make such a choice. The failure then ultimately I feel lies with JJ for refusing to “play ball” with that decision.

Ultimately I should clarify too that I don’t think JJ was under obligation to use certain “elements.” Like, honestly I probably wouldn’t have even cared that much if the Knights weren’t in the film? Just would have been a missed opportunity (so, no different than what we got). I think being bothered by that sort of thing is kind of the wrong way of looking at it. People complain about Phasma and say she was a waste, but I say who cares? She served a purpose in TLJ. Ultimately the problem is that the Knights in TROS didn’t serve a purpose. And JJ’s real failure is not that he didn’t follow through with enough screen time for them or Maz or whoever, but that he didn’t follow through in general with the character arcs and thematic trajectories from the end of the last movie.

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DominicCobb said:

In my mind Palpatine should not have returned and I doubt that’s something Rian would have envisioned as the conclusion to the story he set up in TLJ. I should be clear, just because I wouldn’t have done it doesn’t make it a bad decision. But again, when you’re at the conclusion of a story, you have to necessarily follow what’s been set up. I think JJ would argue Palpatine was there because it was a conclusion to the whole saga, and that’s totally fair. Maybe there was a way to do it that would have worked. But I don’t think you can look at what they did and say it seems like a natural follow up to the previous two episodes, or the previous eight.

Personally it seemed to me like Rian’s eye was very much on the ball for what the trilogy needed at large, in particular, he saw the trajectory the Snoke/Kylo storyline was on and decided to expedite that so that the trilogy would be forced into a position in the third film where it wasn’t just aping ROTJ (whoops). I think you can draw a line from that decision to not finding room for the Knights in TLJ. Rian made a choice to have Kylo forge a different path than what we got with Vader. Whether it’s what you or I or JJ would have done or not (and to be clear, it’s probably not what I would have done - that’s not the reason I like it), in the second film he very much had the freedom to make such a choice. The failure then ultimately I feel lies with JJ for refusing to “play ball” with that decision.

Ultimately I should clarify too that I don’t think JJ was under obligation to use certain “elements.” Like, honestly I probably wouldn’t have even cared that much if the Knights weren’t in the film? Just would have been a missed opportunity (so, no different than what we got). I think being bothered by that sort of thing is kind of the wrong way of looking at it. People complain about Phasma and say she was a waste, but I say who cares? She served a purpose in TLJ. Ultimately the problem is that the Knights in TROS didn’t serve a purpose. And JJ’s real failure is not that he didn’t follow through with enough screen time for them or Maz or whoever, but that he didn’t follow through in general with the character arcs and thematic trajectories from the end of the last movie.

I think the failure lies in not making one of these guys responsible for writing the story of this trilogy. In case of JJ it would have likely become a very safe story, and in the case of RJ it would have likely been controversial, but at least it would have been a consistent story from start to finish. As it is now the total is less than the sum of its parts, where it should have been more.

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Continuing from some of the links I posted earlier. Here are two reviews of TLJ:

http://www.chriswei.com/reviews//star-wars-the-last-jedi-2017

‘THE LAST JEDI’: ICONOCLASTIC AND ICONIC.

https://classicaldifference.com/star-wars-the-last-jedi/

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the first of the Star Wars films that could be labeled as iconoclastic.”

What is interesting about these articles, is, that the first article praises TLJ for being iconoclastic, whilst the last condemns TLJ for it. This makes TLJ a very unique, and interesting film for me intellectually. Usually when people criticize a film, they criticize poor characterization, sloppy/rushed story telling, plot holes, poor dialogue, poor acting, etc, but rarely have I seen many people praise/condemn a film on the exact same basis. This line of thought has made me re-evaluate TLJ. While I’m not sure, whether I like or dislike its iconoclastic premise anymore (I’ve mostly disliked it up till now), one might say TLJ is the perfect ending to the saga, from a certain point of view, because it ends, how the story began, with a new hope. The circle is complete. Luke Skywalker’s story is done. The twin sunsets that started his adventure, ended it. Rey from nowhere will be the next Jedi. The next generation of Jedi are all across the galaxy, as symbolized by stable boy. Poe will follow in Leia’s footsteps. Kylo has embraced the dark side for the forseeable future, but as Luke tells Leia, and as we witnessed in ROTJ, nobody is ever really gone. Did we really need TROS to hammer it home? Should a story always end in celebration?

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That is an interesting though. I suppose you could think of Episode I as a prologue and Episode IX as an epilogue to the whole story.

I would be interested in hearing what you were sort of hoping to see in IX, Dre.

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Cthulhunicron said:

Wanderer_ said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Cthulhunicron said:

I need to rewatch this one, but I’m beginning to feel this is the best of the sequel trilogy. I have issues with the film, but I don’t hate it.

To me, I feel like I have the same opinion. The Force Awakens destroyed every single accomplishment in Return of the Jedi, copied the original 1977 movie, and undid Han Solo’s character growth. The Rise of Skywalker not only destroys the meaning of Anakin’s redemption and sacrifice, but also undermines this entire franchise.

The Last Jedi is awful, yes, but at least it tried to continue the story that was told in The Force Awakens, albeit badly. Thus, I consider The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker to be worse movies than The Last Jedi.

TLJ destroys Luke. So i guess they all work together against the OT characters. And for the record I never felt TFA destroyed Hans Solo, he was pretty much the Hans we knew and loved from the originals. He was a scoundrel, not really boyfriend material… And neither was Leia.

I’ve never understood this perspective that TLJ destroys Luke. He makes a mistake, overcomes it, and has a heroic death. He’s humanized, and still gets to be badass at the end.

I appreciate the spectacle, the music and intent behind bit… But honestly it was a bit lacking in the end. My personal interpretation od course and i respect people who loved that arc, but Luke already had a perfext hero journey, this step back didnt really add much to the universe, in fact it affects the story in a negative way. Rey needed a mentor, a father figure. Luke should have been that figure and his role would have been much more purposeful and fulfilling. As a result Rey was stagnant in the movie, Luke never really redeemed himself imo and we lost 2 great character opportunities in one sitting. For what? The cinematography for the final scene was amazing… And thats about it.

TLJ story and character arcs were pretty much nothing. Some people like that, i dont.

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RogueLeader said:

That is an interesting though. I suppose you could think of Episode I as a prologue and Episode IX as an epilogue to the whole story.

I would be interested in hearing what you were sort of hoping to see in IX, Dre.

Difficult to say, since I felt TLJ had a sense of finality to it. There were no real cliffhangers, or clear story threads, that could be finished in IX.

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Nice. Tier 1 head-canon ending is RoTJ. Tier 2 is TLJ. Never thought of it that way too and it sort of recontextualizes how I thought about TLJ. I too don’t find it all that decent, as most of the first half is the more offending part. But the ending itself is the least offending, to me at least. Despite my misgivings, I still liked how Luke was treated, and he had his big moment toward that end.
Along that idea, how Luke wanted Rey to understand the flaws of the Jedi Order, there is indeed some ambiguous, yet hopeful, implication that Rey restores the Jedi Order with the parts that work and discard the rest that are trash. The lack of the cliffhanger is frustrating, since it doesn’t excite interest in the next sequel, but I never did consider that frustration to be synonymous with finality. This doesn’t excuse the very mishandled treatment of a trilogy, but it ironically does seem to act like the final movie.

The Rise of Failures

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I guess this is where we eventually get to our own fanedits and personal headcanon, I want to agree it’s probably best to consider TLJ in the standalone category, but a few establishing pieces might need to be added from TFA for it to truly work and make sense to the blind viewer. The ending as ambiguous is fine, ha maybe the ultimate subversion would be that we never did get a definitive conclusion and are left to wonder, definitely a meta take, makes it more fun to me in theory.

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act on instinct said:

I guess this is where we eventually get to our own fanedits and personal headcanon, I want to agree it’s probably best to consider TLJ in the standalone category, but a few establishing pieces might need to be added from TFA for it to truly work and make sense to the blind viewer. The ending as ambiguous is fine, ha maybe the ultimate subversion would be that we never did get a definitive conclusion and are left to wonder, definitely a meta take, makes it more fun to me in theory.

It works for TLJ and for TFA as well. We can just imagine what happens after Rey meets Luke.

Thats what i do every day xD

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Cthulhunicron said:

Wanderer_ said:

FreezingTNT2 said:

Cthulhunicron said:

I need to rewatch this one, but I’m beginning to feel this is the best of the sequel trilogy. I have issues with the film, but I don’t hate it.

To me, I feel like I have the same opinion. The Force Awakens destroyed every single accomplishment in Return of the Jedi, copied the original 1977 movie, and undid Han Solo’s character growth. The Rise of Skywalker not only destroys the meaning of Anakin’s redemption and sacrifice, but also undermines this entire franchise.

The Last Jedi is awful, yes, but at least it tried to continue the story that was told in The Force Awakens, albeit badly. Thus, I consider The Force Awakens and The Rise of Skywalker to be worse movies than The Last Jedi.

TLJ destroys Luke. So i guess they all work together against the OT characters. And for the record I never felt TFA destroyed Hans Solo, he was pretty much the Hans we knew and loved from the originals. He was a scoundrel, not really boyfriend material… And neither was Leia.

I’ve never understood this perspective that TLJ destroys Luke. He makes a mistake, overcomes it, and has a heroic death. He’s humanized, and still gets to be badass at the end.

The problem is that he had repeated the same mistake he had committed before: considering the cold-blooded murder of one of his family members. It undermines and undoes his entire arc of overcoming darkness in Return of the Jedi. When Luke attacks Vader, he realizes his mistake and throws away his lightsaber in front of the Emperor, promising that he will never turn to the dark side.

The point of him realizing his mistake and promising to never turn to the dark side was to show that he has matured as a person, to better face and overcome the darkness in the galaxy and within himself.

Adywan’s Star Wars Revisited edits are to Blade Runner: The Final Cut as the original theatrical releases of the original trilogy are to the original version of Blade Runner.

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People don’t overcome their shortcomings and then never ever make them ever again for the rest of their life, though.

His mistake in this example is “seeing that his nephew will commit genocide on a scale his father never dreamed of and instinctually flicking on a lightsaber” - before immediately feeling a flood of total shame at himself in response. It’s actually a lesser mistake, considering the first time he tried to save one of his genocidal relatives he kicked the hell out of him and then cut his hand off before just barely managing to stop himself from delivering the killing blow.

Nobody solves a problem in their life once and then it stays solved forever. Even real life heroes struggle with those sorts of things. That he made that mistake (among others, including subtly succumbing to hubris and vanity) doesn’t erase his maturation as a character (especially considering the rest of the film’s characterization of Luke, and Hamill’s amazing work in bringing it depth and meaning). It complicates it, but by the end of the film’s arc, it’s enriched. Luke does something no Jedi’s ever done, not even Yoda. He only unlocks the potential and ability within himself to do that because he learns - finally - from the failures he kept incurring (as we all do) when his life continued past “happily ever after.”

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I wish I was better at ignoring these threads. Reading these same eternal recurring discussions is tiresome.

“If you err it is not for me to punish you. We are punished by our sins not for them.”

— Elbert Hubbard

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“acknowledgement of the shadow must be a continuous process throughout one’s life”

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Broom Kid said:

It’s actually a lesser mistake, considering the first time he tried to save one of his genocidal relatives he kicked the hell out of him and then cut his hand off before just barely managing to stop himself from delivering the killing blow.

This never tracked with me, I think it conflates wildly different circumstances, a young Luke already being hunted in active combat is not the same to me as an old Luke reading the thoughts of his sleeping nephew. I was fine with the backstory of how Luke failed Ben being ambiguous and I wish it stayed that way, when the truth is revealed it still for me feels so abrupt and Luke seems barely nudged into going 0-100, again it’s not that I hate Luke failing thematically or turning away from the force but the ultimate written explanation is where I just can’t make that leap.

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DuracellEnergizer said:

I wish I was better at ignoring these threads. Reading these same eternal recurring discussions is tiresome.

Hey, it’s still better than watching the news.

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does this place not have a block or ignore function? I’m not very familiar with the software.

it still for me feels so abrupt and Luke seems barely nudged into going 0-100,

I don’t know about it being “abrupt,” he’s mentioning he knew something was up with the kid, and then he went into his mind. Consider that going into someone’s mind like that is basically like “Drifting” in Pacific Rim, or… like DRINKING the pensieve in Harry Potter. So he saw what Kylo would become, and instinctively pulled his weapon. Going 100 would be mean-mugging while pulling it up and swinging it down while shouting (which is how it played in Kylo’s lie to Rey). But in this case he pulled the weapon, and then looked at it like “What in the hell am I doing.”

The tragedy, of course, is that the second he did it is the very second the would-be genocidal dictator in question rolled over and looked at him, and then pulled a hut down on top of him in response.

If you want to make it even MORE morally complicated, you could interpret Kylo’s side as not so much a lie, but his perception of Luke’s regretful, ashamed hesitance being twisted by the Dark Side. He THINKS that’s what he actually saw because he’s so poisoned by cynicism, fear, and anger that he can’t help but see it in Luke.

(once again, another example of Kylo’s POV being used as a means to slyly comment on Star Wars fandom itself).

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Broom Kid said:

People don’t overcome their shortcomings and then never ever make them ever again for the rest of their life, though.

His mistake in this example is “seeing that his nephew will commit genocide on a scale his father never dreamed of and instinctually flicking on a lightsaber” - before immediately feeling a flood of total shame at himself in response. It’s actually a lesser mistake, considering the first time he tried to save one of his genocidal relatives he kicked the hell out of him and then cut his hand off before just barely managing to stop himself from delivering the killing blow.

Nobody solves a problem in their life once and then it stays solved forever. Even real life heroes struggle with those sorts of things. That he made that mistake (among others, including subtly succumbing to hubris and vanity) doesn’t erase his maturation as a character (especially considering the rest of the film’s characterization of Luke, and Hamill’s amazing work in bringing it depth and meaning). It complicates it, but by the end of the film’s arc, it’s enriched. Luke does something no Jedi’s ever done, not even Yoda. He only unlocks the potential and ability within himself to do that because he learns - finally - from the failures he kept incurring (as we all do) when his life continued past “happily ever after.”

I think you nailed it. His mistake in that flashback is minor except that he Ben catches him doing it and lashes out. Had Ben not been on the verge, that would not have happened. Luke makes a minor mistake and Ben goes into a rage. That shows that Snoke had already turned him. Luke isn’t about to Kill Ben. And I have said many times that Luke in TLJ very much pulls from the Luke we saw in the OT. His stand at the end of ROTJ was great, but that is a moment. I really feel the rest of ROTJ and the two previous films is more true to his character and insisting that he must live up to that high point of heroism at the end of ROTJ is lifting him above being human and putting him on a pedestal. TLJ brings humanity back to the character and makes him more real and relatable like he was in the OT.