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Broom Kid

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3-Sep-2019
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26-Feb-2020
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Post
#1324959
Topic
Star Wars Episode IX (was) to be directed by Colin Trevorrow - DUEL OF THE FATES RIP
Time

But the process is the same whether you take years or months.

This isn’t true at all. The process isn’t the same from movie to movie often, much less across multiple decades in an industry that has changed a lot.

The process now is not the same as it was in the '70s. If Star Wars was made then the way ALL blockbusters are made now, we wouldn’t have gotten to draft 4, because when Ladd greenlit it, he’d have greenlit it with a release date locked and everything would have been set to that clock. Star Wars didn’t have a clock put on it until much, much later in the development process. The clock still almost drove Lucas insane, but he got a lot of time to develop that script that is damn near impossible to get now.

It’s a different machine creators are working in. Or rather, the engine and the gears move differently than they did when Lucas was around. Lucas is partially the reason that machine now operates the way it does, thanks to his efforts in the early 00s. Comparing the script development of Star Wars in 74 to Trevorrow’s efforts in 2017 is a comparison that isn’t worth much because not only are the creatives in question pretty wildly different, but the process is also pretty wildly different now, too.

Post
#1324947
Topic
Most Disappointing Aspect of Sequel Trilogy? Most Satisfying? * <strong>TROS SPOILERS WITHIN</strong> *
Time

One of the bigger disappointments about The Rise Of Skywalker is precisely how badly they botched making that point, when it was absolutely key that they did so. The exact question, the very notion that bloodline is THAT important, when legacy can (and should) be and mean more than simply blood and familial connections - the first two movies laid a lot of road to arrive at a destination where that entire question is answered definitively. The legacy of the Skywalker family SHOULD BE, by the end of Rise of Skywalker, that the family name doesn’t need to be tied to blood in order to have meaning and power. That by the end of their saga, the ultimate lesson they’ve passed on is one that is inclusive, hopeful, and meaningful. You can be what they were, and that name can apply to you, because it’s no longer just the name of a family, but the name of a philosophy, or an outlook on life, and living.

Rise of Skywalker didn’t get anywhere NEAR that, and while I don’t believe that sequels can retroactively ruin the movies they follow, that the quality and status of that preceding film is what it is, and that work stands on its own FOR what it is, no matter what - I do think that Rise of Skywalker dropping that ball as hard as it did makes the road the preceding two movies laid down a lot less stable. It puts a lot of potholes in the sequel trilogy, basically.

Smaller disappointment: Lando got the Falcon back and there was no real moment of significance attached to it. I think there was barely a reaction shot, in fact?

Post
#1324906
Topic
Star Wars Episode IX (was) to be directed by Colin Trevorrow - DUEL OF THE FATES RIP
Time

I don’t think it’s fair to compare the first and second drafts of Star Wars in 1974/1975 to the first and second drafts of Star Wars in 2015/2016. Not only because there was a lot more freedom and time for Lucas to work with back then, but because the way movies were made and the pipeline productions were put through is vastly different.

This DOTF draft would (and did) change from its initial draft to the one that ultimately caused Kennedy to get Jack Thorne to write something in a last ditch hope to get something Trevorrow could direct. But George Lucas isn’t JJ Abrams, and JJ Abrams isn’t Colin Trevorrow, and to really get an idea as to how different the story probably would have wound up, it’s not a good call to look at the now-legendary transformation Lucas had literal YEARS to make with Star Wars. You should probably look more at productions like Star Trek Into Darkness or Jurassic World. Or The Force Awakens, honestly. I don’t know if we know exactly how different that first draft looked compared to what the shooting script looked like, but I get the sense they were about 70% the same, roughly.

The simple fact that time was short and a release date was locked before the script was even finished makes comparing the two developments almost impossible. There’s only so much you CAN change from your first draft when you’ve got about 18mo to make the movie. Lucas’ first draft changed on the way to the fourth because he had something like 2 years to develop it before he even started pre-production, and he had a ton of friends pitching ideas over the course of those two years. There’s a level of patience, collaboration, and studio freedom that basically doesn’t have a parallel here in 2020.

Post
#1324776
Topic
Most Disappointing Aspect of Sequel Trilogy? Most Satisfying? * <strong>TROS SPOILERS WITHIN</strong> *
Time

IIRC, nobody at any point says anything like “child and animal abuse is bad.”

The “speech” that Dom just excerpted (comprising probably about 3 total lines of dialog on the page) says “look closer” as the only direct reference to what’s happening. And then she tells the story of her own upbringing, via a completely different example of First Order oppression.

“this is the sort of place that enables the system that kidnapped you” is what she’s saying - without actually really saying that.

I think the idea that “This is a horrible place” and then you get there and it’s a literal vacation spot - it’s Fhloston Paradise, basically - is supposed to make you laugh a little. “Yeah. Super-horrible, Rose.”

Post
#1324772
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

For me, looking at whether the good guys or the bad guys are the main characters is the wrong way of looking at it.

I don’t understand how else to look at it if you’re going to discuss structure, theme, and narrative intent. That’s the bones of the story. The scaffolding. It’s the way you build a story so that the meaning comes through loud and clear. If this is a conversation about those sorts of things (and I was under the impression it absolutely was) then you HAVE to look at it that way, don’t you? What’s the alternative? Even fairy tales have to be created by someone who wants to figure out how best to effectively communicate the idea they want to get across. The ideas don’t just happen accidentally.

I’m not arguing for what’s easy. I think that’s sort of obvious simply due to how many words I’m devoting to how hard it is to tell these stories well, and how much thought you have to put into those sorts of decisions for them to work in ways that resonate this strongly. It’s not easy at all. I don’t think it SHOULD be easy. And that means you have to think about what you’re suggesting for your characters, and what those suggestions do for the messages they embody AS characters, and the ideas they exist to represent.

I’m going to disengage at this point, sorry. But again, thank you for spending the time and being fair and patient about it.

Post
#1324764
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I’m saying Vader’s redemption story being retconned into the PRIMARY story of Star Wars by its creator, informed the notion that Kylo Ren had to be redeemed by the end of the sequel trilogy, because “That’s what Star Wars is.” Retroactively making the villains the main characters is an act that centers the villains in your storytelling as opposed to centering the heroes (which is why the OT is still the most resonant of the three trilogies - it’s the only one remains focused and centered on its hero). So if you’re going to center the villains, and adopt the storytelling ethos that the point of your narrative is to show how and why it’s important above all else that Star Wars represents “Love is so powerful it can save Space Nazis from themselves!” you need to be able to explain why Star Wars should be that, or further, why it needs to be that, and why avoiding that aspect is “antithetical” to the message of “Star Wars” overall.

Yes, you could apply the same sort of interrogation to other aspects of Star Wars, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong in doing that. It’s certainly not a condemnation of those other aspects, just like my interrogation of it here isn’t a condemnation of Kylo Ren’s redemption. But I also don’t think the redemption is all that well-justified as it stands, and there aren’t a lot of good ways TO justify it, in my view. But it’s certainly not impossible. It just takes the kind of work and forethought that a good interrogation would bring out. I don’t think it’s particularly fair to describe my poking at notions of what atonement means, and what it means for the characters embodying that idea in Star Wars, to Dante and Randal talking about contractors on the Death Star in a comedy movie, nor is it all that fair to tell me to “just go watch Star Trek instead.” If you’re going to argue for thoughtfulness in the creation of Star Wars on the part of its creators, these are exactly the sorts of questions you want them (and the audience) to be considering when they’re done watching.

My disagreeing with your more generous appraisal of Kylo’s quality as a character doesn’t mean I don’t understand where you’re coming from, or that you’re wrong for thinking that way. I just don’t agree with it that’s all. It’s not a personal flaw or anything. You liking the character more than I do (and I don’t even know if that’s honestly the case, I like Kylo Ren as a character a LOT, and I think he’s the best villain this series ever had) doesn’t mean you’re WRONG for doing so, and I’m going to show you the light or whatever. But I do think there are a lot of ways a potential story where Kylo lives and just gets to “atone” for his “misdeeds” (which is a pretty light euphemism for the atrocities he committed, really) could really resonate in some unseemly ways if not carefully looked at and considered.

My biggest problem with that is, again, the idea that you can “atone” for what you did wrong while hiding your identity. The first step of atonement is owning what you did fully, and you can’t really do that - at least not helpfully and honestly - if you’re pretending to be someone else, and asking other people to assist you in that fundamental deception.

Post
#1324756
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I specifically said multiple times I see the potential, and even pitched my own version of such a story a few posts back.

I understand the desire and I get why you’d want to pursue the stories of Vader and Kylo into a better ending for both of them, I don’t think it’s wrong to do so and I agree there’s a TON of interesting avenues to go down

^ that’s me!

Heck, the post you just responded to has me saying “that’s not saying those stories have no place, or shouldn’t be told.”

Investigating why they’re being told isn’t the same as saying they don’t deserve to be.

Post
#1324749
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

Not really. I’m just asking for a solid justification for why a specific TYPE of story needs to be the DEFINING story type for Star Wars. Because that’s usually how the redemption story arcs are framed by those making arguments for them. So I’m asking why, of all the various sorts of stories that Star Wars can (and does) tell within its framework, that “villain redemption” be the one that ultimately defines the larger shape of “Star Wars.” What’s the justification for that ONE angle taking priority over the others?

that’s not saying those stories have no place, or shouldn’t be told. But it’s an interesting question to pose, I think. At the least, one that should be considered before going down that path too far.

Post
#1324740
Topic
Most Disappointing Aspect of Sequel Trilogy? Most Satisfying? * <strong>TROS SPOILERS WITHIN</strong> *
Time

I don’t even get where you think “don’t abuse animals” was even PART of the main message of that trip. I’m legitimately confused as to how you thought “don’t abuse animals” played any real part in the storytelling. There’s not really any emphasis on it. It’s incidental. Of course war profiteers at the giant casino are so self-centered that they’re not treating ANYONE who isn’t also rich with any respect. The KIDS being abused was more of a big deal than the Fathiers were.

This reads to me like people who got super upset with Luke drinking Sea Cow milk? Where the point of the scene was “look at him trying to show off and freak out Rey and show how much he doesn’t need society anymore” but all anyone could focus on was “titty milk” (as if there is animal milk that doesn’t feature “titties” producing it. People were really showing their asses with their bizarre fixation on “titties” in that scene). I don’t know: Canto Bight isn’t really about animal abuse at all. I can’t agree with the notion the “ham-fisted” writing was “pandering” to an anti-abuse narrative, because I honestly don’t think it’s even really IN there to any degree beyond “how do we make these amoral people look more amoral.”

Animal Abuse isn’t the point of anything on Canto Bight. It’s a symptom of a larger moral absence and malaise. The Child Abuse is a bigger point being made - and even that isn’t really the point of Canto Bight at all.

Post
#1324738
Topic
Most Disappointing Aspect of Sequel Trilogy? Most Satisfying? * <strong>TROS SPOILERS WITHIN</strong> *
Time

I also don’t think one of the major messages of Canto Bight is “don’t abuse animals.” Obviously, you shouldn’t abuse animals. You also shouldn’t be a war profiteer. Pretty sure that was the primary thematic function of the trip to Canto Bight. Finn loves the decadence of the city at first, and is provided an opportunity (in the form of DJ) to put his morals on pause (or abandon them altogether) in order to enjoy it in the future. DJ’s function isn’t to replicate Lando’s character, because Lando and DJ are basically nothing alike. Like Hello very smartly pointed out - DJ’s function is to be the devil to Rose’s angel on his shoulder. “Look kid - it’s all rigged. It’s all a racket. You can be a sucker if you want, but why not be smart and above it all, like me.”

I was honestly surprised that Phasma didn’t come back for Rise of Skywalker though. Abrams could have easily brought her back, he just… didn’t.

Post
#1324726
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

OutboundFlight said:

I don’t know. I think it’d be fairly easy to disguise yourself around the galaxy. Wear Mandalorian or Booush armor. In Kylo’s case, grow a beard and cut your hair. In Vader’s, no one knew what he looked like under the helmet. This would be helped with Luke/Rey claiming they are dead.

The problem with immediate death is it isn’t very interesting. Vader and Kylo never confront what they have done. Love should be used as the tipping point back over, but once on the light, it would have been nice to feel some remorse for their actions.

And I think all of this is well and good, but it’s also going back to that fundamental question of what “Star Wars is about” as if there’s a central unifying thesis behind all the storytelling decisions being made (I don’t think there really should be) as opposed to Star Wars being defined by its look and sound (which I think is the most unifying aspect, and probably should be)

All that to say: I understand the desire and I get why you’d want to pursue the stories of Vader and Kylo into a better ending for both of them, I don’t think it’s wrong to do so and I agree there’s a TON of interesting avenues to go down and I’d even love to see those ideas - I spitballed one of them myself upthread! But then you have to ask why Star Wars needs to be primarily a story about misunderstood genocidal dictators making good on their ruined lives. Why are THOSE figures now THE CENTRAL figures of Star Wars, and why is forgiving them and making their forgiveness the primary focus, the overall goal of this story?

What is it about Star Wars that makes Star Wars fans think the best use of time and energy from a storytelling POV is in pursuing rehabilitation narratives for literally THE WORST people? There are other ways to tell stories of forgiveness and love than to lean as hard as possible into a path where eventually the only acceptable end point is “You’ve only really told a successful story in this fictional universe if you’ve figured out a way to make Herrman Goering or Richard Spencer loveable again.”

But even allowing for that story to be THE primary story of Star Wars - I don’t think it’s “applying realism” to Star Wars to suggest that Kylo or Vader wandering the galaxy to try and atone is sort of a bad call, for multiple reasons.

  1. It makes our heroes liars. Especially in a scenario where they just… let Vader or Kylo go and tell everyone else “Oh, he died.” That’s a HUGE betrayal of trust and responsibility on the part of our hero. “You told me he died” is a pretty big hurdle to have to clear, and even BROACHING the subject shifts the texture of the storytelling you’re working with. They tried to have Obi-Wan reckon with it in Jedi and it… didn’t really work. It’s maybe one of the biggest bits of bullshit IN that movie. Now imagine turning EVERY hero we have that’s in on this story INTO that, but on a larger, galaxy-wide scale. And even then, it’s not “I lied about him dying because I thought you’d have to kill him for the sake of the galaxy,” but “I lied to everyone about him dying because I want him to get as many karma points as he can before he kicks the bucket”

  2. It sends a weird message, in that you can duck responsibility for being a genocidal maniac by simply growing a beard and fighting off farm raiders in the outer rim, or wearing a helmet for the rest of your life. But even that’s likely not going to stop word from spreading about who you REALLY are. And once that word is out - you’re basically on a countdown clock to assassination attempts. But the big contradiction here is that you can’t REALLY atone for what you’ve done while you’re in hiding and denying who you are. That’s not really atonement. You have to be you, and take responsibility for what you did. If you’re “atoning” under an alias and denying who you are (and making good people complicit in that deception) it’s kind of a bullshit “atonement.”

  3. It again, tilts this storytelling towards enabling and making… not excuses, but ALLOWANCES for flat out EVIL behavior. Because there’s no way on these adventures that this bad guy turned good doesn’t get in fights and/or kill good guys who aren’t trying to hear about this atonement world tour. And then you have to step back and ask why THIS is your primary storytelling focus? What is it about Star Wars that has led you to the point where in order to craft a SUCCESSFUL story that embodies THE THEMES of Star Wars, you have to grapple with character choices like “how do I get Kylo Ren out of this jam where a farmer figures out who he is and tries to put a knife in his eye?”

Post
#1324693
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

My problem with the idea of either Kylo or Vader surviving their respective redemptions is that even in a fantasy film universe as wide open as the one Star Wars occurs in - I simply don’t see a future for either character where they’re not immediately murdered as retribution for their crimes, either by the respective governments, or by mob rule. Asking audiences to accept that family members (or possible lovers) can forgive the terrible in those they hold dear is one thing. Asking the rest of that fictional universe to get in line behind them is… a lot. And really, really pushing the suspension of disbelief.

Their only real future along those lines is self-exile. Which was actually pitched in the case of Kylo, but ignored by Abrams as a possibility. Kylo communing with the Force for the rest of his life, in solitude, on Ahch-To makes sense to me. Kylo wandering the galaxy like some sort of do-gooder Ronin? I don’t see it. It’d just be wave after wave of people trying to take him out because of, you know, the whole genocidal dictator thing.

I could see self-exiling either character for literally DECADES, and then being summoned out of that exile as a last ditch “you’re our only hope” sort of hail mary for whoever the heroes of that follow-up story were. i.e. “I know of one man who could help. Maybe. But you’re not gonna like it

That’s one hell of a long game to play. But it’s probably the only real shot at a plausible “redemption/atonement” storyline for those characters. You need a ton of time and a whole lot of distance from the events of the movie they redeemed themselves in. Give them a chance to become legends/spectres, and then they finally get a chance to do the right thing for the right reaons on a large scale.

But in the case of Kylo… I just don’t see him surviving like 50,000 assassination attempts if he lived past The Rise of Skywalker. He’d have to hide out in a place where no people go for a very, very long time.

Post
#1324670
Topic
Most Disappointing Aspect of Sequel Trilogy? Most Satisfying? * <strong>TROS SPOILERS WITHIN</strong> *
Time

I still don’t understand why she wasn’t the “TRAITOR” trooper. Finn loses that fight, but Chewie knocks her out of it with his bowcaster. It doesn’t kill her because of the armor, but it definitely knocks her out. Then they meet up again on Starkiller Base and Finn gets the jump on her.

It would have made the rematch in The Last Jedi a little more meaningful. I really wish Rian Johnson hadn’t deleted that scene where Finn almost starts an uprising right there on the Supremacy, and Phasma shuts it down immediately. I know it saved him like 2 minutes in the edit but MAN that would have been great.

Post
#1324653
Topic
Star Wars Episode IX (was) to be directed by Colin Trevorrow - DUEL OF THE FATES RIP
Time

Honestly it’s kind of just Lucas’s narcissism thinking that everyone would just blindly follow what he had laid out for them without having ideas of their own.

I sort of agree but I also think if it’s narcissism, it isn’t entirely unearned. He handpicked Kennedy, and chose to take the company to Iger. He spent the last 5-6 years essentially feeding story ideas to Filoni & Co, who consider it a personal point of pride to be Lucas’ conduit for ideas becoming reality. And before all that was the prequels, where he didn’t exactly have a squad of Yes Men rubber stamping everything he thought of, but he also made it a habit to essentially tell everyone who raised a concern that it didn’t matter because it was his company and ultimately he was going to do what he wanted anyway.

But I do think that the Clone Wars experience might have led directly to his believing Abrams and Arndt (and then Kasdan) were just going to carry his water the way Filoni did. That Clone Wars experience probably fooled him into believing that’s how ALL his hands-off projects would go. That it was owned by Disney wouldn’t make THAT big a difference. They’d still have the meetings once a month and they’d sit around a table and listen to him bloviate about the Force and take his word for what Star Wars is, etc. etc.

Post
#1324635
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I 100% agree that there was an abundance of villains who could have slid into Kylo’s role post-redemption for both of them to face off against, and Palpatine didn’t HAVE to be done the way it was, it could have worked (and I figured the move was so bold that it HAD to be supported by a great take on how he came back, which was a mistake on my part, LOL) in other ways. The potential of this part 3 was abundant! A story where Hux goes completely barking mad and Kylo is redeemed on the way to Rey & Kylo finally taking him down could have worked. A story where Hux pursues his weird Force fetish as in Trevorrow’s script but instead of him comically trying and failing to lift a rock or whatever, THAT weird obsession leads to the resurrection of some ugly monstrous Palpatine-THING at his hands (w/ the help of the Knights of Ren, even) could have also been great. There were a lot of ways that could have gone, and I think a lot of discussion about TROS is going to by default end up a requiem for the failed potential, left unfulfilled. The point you made about Rey’s threat being her own insecurity and unsurety pushing her to the darkside is a great one! And I wish THAT had been made a little more concrete and was done a LOT more cleanly and effectively! And you can see how that’s sort of what they’re TRYING to do by “completing her arc” on Exogol, but it just doesn’t land because it’s all done so poorly, and it’s being sorta/kinda presented as PART of the same thing that leads to Kylo’s redemption, but the two aren’t really linked very strongly at all, and it ends up diminishing BOTH arcs in the end.

We’re both, when we’re not splashing around in the sadness of all this failed storytelling potential as presented in TROS, advocating for the same thing, really: A better, tighter, more clear and thematically satisfying resolution to Rey AND Kylo’s story. We disagree on how to get there in some pretty big ways, and you’re maybe a little more inclined to disqualify some options than I am, but really, we’re more or less starting from the same point: “This could have gone another way, a much more satisfying way, than how it was given to us.”

So far as the Reylo aspect goes, I do honestly feel like the only legitimate romance this trilogy ever had an honest shot at was Poe and Finn. That’s not just shipping wars stuff, those two actors were the only two to have anywhere near the sort of chemistry that Ford and Fisher had in Empire. So if you’re not going to actually get those two together and make the most out of the sparks they were throwing, then I think there probably shouldn’t have been a romantic element to the sequel trilogy AT ALL. To some degree, all the other possible pairings (Finn/Rose, Rey/Kylo, Rey/Poe) just didn’t have it, and it was palpable that it wasn’t really there.

Post
#1324629
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

“Just on a basic level though, why does Kylo’s redemption have to be a part of Rey’s story?”

I don’t know how else to answer this for you! LOL. By the point his redemption becomes legitimately viable, it’s firmly her story and he’s HER villain. He’s not a supporting or secondary protagonist. I don’t understand how you possibly make his redemption NOT in service to her story under those circumstances, and those ARE the circumstances by the time his redemption is seriously on the table. It’s not a what-if or a hypothetical at that point. It’s 2 1/2 movies into a 3 movie cycle that is absolutely her story, and his place IN that story is just as firm and absolute. He’s the villain of her story. His redemption needs to be in service to that to be successful.

And even if I grant the argument his redemption as it is serves her story, just the mere fact it serves the story isn’t enough to overcome how poorly it’s done. Just because a thing is baseline done doesn’t mean the doing of it was laudable. The Prequels tried to do a lot of things, and you can argue that those things WERE achieved. But they were largely done poorly. The execution of a storytelling goal is just as important as the arriving at it.

I disagree that Kylo’s potential descent into irretrievable villainy for the third movie is “in direct contradiction” with what came before, but we’ve done that do-si-do, LOL. Kylo Ren’s direction as a character is up in the air after his defeat on Crait. The film itself makes an argument that he could double down on pursuing the dark just as clearly as it makes the case Rey could have turned him. I don’t think a failure to be redeemed in part 3 contradicts anything that’s there in the first two Sequel Trilogy stories. I feel if it directly contradicts anything, it’s that conventional wisdom of “Star Wars” as retconned by Lucas via promoting Anakin’s redemption story as its ultimate “true meaning”. But like I’ve said, I find that conventional wisdom not only to be fundamentally broken, but unnecessarily limiting.

Post
#1324624
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I still don’t understand why redeeming Kylo would have made it his story as much as Rey’s.

I’m not saying that. I’m saying his path to redemption needed to serve her story, ultimately, because the sequel trilogy IS REY’S STORY first and foremost. It’s not his. That’s not a logical leap. It’s not his story, it’s not structured as such, and it doesn’t play that way. It’s her story, and his role as villain is in service to that story. If you’re going to make him a good guy, it needs to happen in a way that resolves her arc just as much (preferably moreso) than his. Otherwise you’re just dividing focus and introducing confusion. This was also a big problem with the prequels, there wasn’t any unified focus to the storytelling.

The redemption of Kylo Ren is poorly done in TROS for a number of reasons, but one of the biggest is that it doesn’t really serve her story or close any of her arcs. His redemption isn’t a key want of hers as she heads into the finale, so when it happens, it’s not as meaningful as it should have been. Not only is his redemption not done very well, it’s not thematically clear who its for. If it’s for HIM, then it’s out of place because it’s not his story. If it’s for Leia, it’s really out of place because the only way that has any impact is through the audience carrying ALL of the water for Abrams via metatextual familiarity with the series. If it’s for Rey, then it needs to be the last piece that slots into her arc that reallizes it’s successful completion - but the movie tells us THAT happens on Tatooine, when she buries the sabers and takes a last name.

So it’s a redemption that doesn’t have a clearly stated purpose, doesn’t serve a primary thematic need, and isn’t done very well on top of all of that. I’m not saying it couldn’t have happened. I’m saying the way it did happen was very unsatisfactory on a number of levels, and the idea that other possibilities were tossed out before even being explored simply because “that’s not very star wars” was probably a mistake.

Post
#1324622
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

Well what I mean when I say “of his own” I mean that it doesn’t have to be in service of another character, which is what you seem to be suggesting it has to be.

I’m suggesting it has to be because the story is REY’S story, not his. He only starts to creep into co-lead status 2/3rds into The Last Jedi. What you’re effectively asking is “why isn’t it Kylo’s story” and my answer is “Because it’s Rey’s.” - and it is. It’s not both of theirs. It’s hers. The “two sides of the same coin” thing got a lot of play, but her side of that coin HAS to be the one that lands face-side up at the end because it’s HER story. And really, the “Two sides of the same coin” comparison only really works as a reflection on, and reference to, Rey as the main character. She’s the focus.

The decision was made to make it her story for TFA, and that decision was underlined in TLJ. Abrams never put in the work, much less did that work well enough, for there to be a solid case that by the third movie, Kylo’s name should sit right next to hers. It COULD HAVE. But I don’t think the case was ever effectively made, and if a lot of that case rests upon the poorly argued precedent that Lucas himself set by trying to awkwardly (and ineffectively) retcon “the meaning of Star Wars” to be ABOUT Anakin’s redemption, then that’s not a good case in and of itself, and that precedent wouldn’t do Kylo’s redemption any favors. And it didn’t.

I’ve never said redemption was impossible. My primary beef is with the notion that redemption was the ONLY possibility, and therefore storyarcs that would have led to Kylo’s character staying firmly villainous were abandoned out of hand. I’m not arguing against redemption so much as I am arguing for the premature and short-sighted nullifying of story possibilities for the sake of adhering to broken conventional wisdom about what “Star Wars really is.”

If they were going to redeem him, it needed to be better than this, more well thought out, and more thematically rich - and it needed to be a key part of REY’S story. They didn’t really do any of that. And if they could have served Rey’s story better without driving towards redemption, but they decided against that for no other reason than “That’s not Star Wars” I feel they shot themselves in the foot a little.

Post
#1324617
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I still don’t buy the idea that the antagonist can’t have an arc of their own

You keep saying I’m saying this but I’m not saying this. He can have an arc of his own. Vader has an arc of his own, but it’s primarily utility is as a supplement to Luke’s. Kylo has an arc of his own in both TFA and TLJ, but that doesn’t mean he’s a main character in either film (although you can argue he’s the co-lead of Last Jedi).

What we’re disagreeing on is the idea that his arc could and should be a PRIMARY storytelling engine. Ultimately, as the villain, his arc needs to be in service to the main character’s (Rey). This happens in TFA and TLJ. It doesn’t really happen the way it needs to in TROS to realize the effect Abrams is hoping to achieve with his redemption.

This isn’t an OT vs ST thing, it’s a basic storytelling structure thing. It’s not specific to Star Wars. The antagonist CAN become the protagonist, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get that antagonist to that point, and it’s got to be done in a way that informs and supports THE MAIN CHARACTER primarily before that transformation can be successfully completed. Otherwise you’re trying to switch horses midstream and it’s almost impossible for that not to play as a disservice to the main character, and to the detriment of your overall story.

Post
#1324612
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

I don’t see why Kylo/Ben’s story should matter only in respect to Rey’s. Even if you say Finn’s story in TLJ is supporting, he’s still having a story of his own with its own meaning, separate from Rey’s. These movies have never been about just one character’s story to the exclusion of another.

But I didn’t say “to the exclusion of another” nor did I say that Finn’s story is feeding Rey’s. I said Finn is a supporting character - I didn’t say he doesn’t have his own story arc. Kylo’s story primarily matters in respects to Rey and Finn’s in TFA (and Han and Leia’s, but they’re OBVIOUSLY supporting characters, where Finn is more like a co-lead in that movie) and not so much on his own. It’s the same in TLJ - his story matters most as a reflection on Luke, and as a potential mirror to Rey’s. But his primary utility as a character is to catalyze their actions/reactions. He’s the fuel for what our heroes our doing. He’s not a hero, or even an anti-hero. He’s the villain still.

Villains in these sorts of stories are often catalysts firsts, characters second. Vader is a great example of that - he’s a catalyst primarily that grows into a character just in time for his death to provide the final piece to completing Luke’s arc in that story. It works wonderfully. Kylo is a catalyst with some of the strongest characterization in Star Wars period, villain or not, and it’s great (And Driver makes a meal out of it, and should have been nominated along with Hamill for Last Jedi). But the transition into being a character for his own sake first and foremost never quite happens. If it was going to happen, it would have happened in the third movie, and Abrams couldn’t figure a way to make it work, and so it didn’t. It just didn’t work. And part of that is because for Abrams, character motivations are often secondary to AUDIENCE motivations. He often has characters do things so that their decisions resonate in that sort of “Oh, I recognize that reference” metatextual level before they work on a character level. He absolutely relied on “that’s just Star Wars” a LOT to paper over his bad decision making. That worked for him on TFA where the stakes were lower and the arcs were only beginning. It can’t carry any of the weight he needed it to as an ending, because he’s not doing the work. He’s relying on shortcuts and the faith that the audience will carry the water for him.

I disagree that Last Jedi makes it a fait accompli that Kylo’s getting redeemed, either. it’s ambiguous still. There are things you can point to in the text and performances that supports either read. But structurally, Kylo’s failure on Crait serves Luke and Rey’s story more than it serves his own, and that’s good. That’s honestly how it SHOULD work for a good villain in a moral fable like this. That’s not a failing or a shortcoming. That’s making a choice as a storyteller to maximize the punch you want to land at the end that makes the point you’re trying to make thematically. Kylo’s story is primarily supplementing both Luke and Rey’s arcs, because those are the two most important ones in the movie. That doesn’t mean the other ones (Finn, Rose, Poe, Holdo) don’t EXIST. Just that they’re not AS important on a character level as nailing Luke and Rey.

Stories can’t be everything to everyone at all times, and you have to make decisions on what you want to emphasize and why, and you have to have very good reasons for making those decisions and placing that emphasis. If you’re going to make your villain a hero in the third act, you have to figure out a way to make it work and matter to your MAIN hero in a way that rewards THAT character’s arc. If you can’t do that, it’s not going to play right, and The Rise of Skywalker is a good example of that storytelling failure. Vader’s redemption worked because it was Luke’s greatest reward. Kylo’s redemption doesn’t because it’s not Rey’s ultimate goal. Return of the Jedi keeps hammering home that Luke is going to the Death Star to turn his father. That’s his goal. He wants his dad back, and he’s going to save him. Maybe the biggest failure of Rise of Skywalker is that it never solidly explains WHAT Rey really wants in that movie, and it never settles on a solid answer. “That’s just Star Wars” kinda fills in a lot of those blanks. And a big part of that failure is that Kylo’s redemption is presented as what Rey really wants - but Kylo’s redemption ISN’T why she’s on Exogol. It’s not why she’s on Ahch-To, either. So what is it doing, and what purpose is it trying to serve at the end of a story that is, by that point, obviously Rey’s?

There’s no good answer, becasue “That’s just Star Wars” isn’t enough, and it’s all Abrams has.

Post
#1324594
Topic
Star Wars Episode IX (was) to be directed by Colin Trevorrow - DUEL OF THE FATES RIP
Time

But where are you getting the idea that Disney is making Lucasfilm stay away from prequel era storytelling in the sequel trilogy?

If you’re going to be infuriated by their (whose? Disney’s? Lucasfilms? Trevorrows? Abrams?) shortsightedness it helps to actually know whether or not they’re having the vision problems you’re diagnosing in the first place.

There doesn’t have to be a conspiracy in place for questionable decisionmaking to appear. That can happen completely independently, and often does. I understand that it can be more comforting to imagine an effort to screw things up leading to things we don’t like showing up in a movie, but the uncomfortable truth is that a lot of the stuff that goes wrong is often just… unforced errors.

And considering most of the time we don’t actually know what’s going on behind closed doors focusing SO much time and energy on outright GUESSING why a decision was made and getting mad about that guess as if it was fact seems like wasted energy, especially since ultimately it doesnt’ change the fact of what we did get, and why it doesn’t work ON IT’S OWN.

Post
#1324591
Topic
Does Kylo really deserve to be redeemed? Did he deserve to be Reys love interest?
Time

To tie it back to Kylo and his redemption, I think the retconning of Vader’s importance as a character, to the point where “The Skywalker Saga” from 1977-2005 effectively became HIS story, and not Luke’s, is partially why I feel Kylo’s ultimate redemption doesn’t work , and the focus on his being redeemed is dramatically unfulfilling and brings down the Sequel Trilogy. TFA has a dual POV. Finn/Rey. Eventually it becomes REY’s story, solidly, by the end of TFA, but it’s mostly a two-hander. Kylo’s character is interesting, intriguing, and NEW in ways a Star Wars villain hadn’t been, no doubt. I still think he’s overall the best villain the saga’s got. But TLJ is pretty solidly Rey’s story. Finn is supporting. And Kylo’s story is there mostly to inform and illuminate and shade both Luke and Rey’s characters.

I think the problem is that, because of how Lucas sledgehammered Anakin into the center of Star Wars through clumsy, repetitive (and most importantly, NOT via successful storytelling) means, people came to believe that making your bad guy interesting and thoughtful and relatable in a Star Wars movie meant you HAD to redeem him because isn’t redemption what Star Wars is all about? Listen to Lucas! What’s he been saying for the last 30 years? It’s obvious that the whole point of Star Wars is this!

And it makes for great copy, but it’s also, if you ignore the after-the-fact interviews and just look at the stories themselves, and the quality of the storytelling within them, not very true. Vader’s redemption isn’t ABOUT Vader, it’s about Luke. Lucas spent three movies TRYING to make it about Vader and it didn’t really work. He then spent 6 (now 7) seasons of a television show to further make that point, and what ended up happening is Anakin’s apprentice became the heart of the story, to the point where Anakin’s fall gained more impact and more meaning to Star Wars as a story in REBELS, during Ahsoka’s realization and ensuing confrontation with him, than it did in Revenge of the Sith.

So if Vader’s redemption is now the FOUNDATION of what Star Wars is, thematically, its’ a shaky foundation because the reason it worked in Jedi is unique to Jedi, and the specific lead-in it got from Empire. You can’t just copy-paste it into other stories. And Kylo’s redemption in Star Wars almost always had a hint of “well, that’s just how Star Wars works” as its key justification, and that’s probably why it never really rang true to me as a possibility, and DEFINITELY didn’t ring true in its eventual execution. Kylo’s redemption was never really established as a thing Rey wants for the sake of saving Kylo. The closest you get to that is The Last Jedi, where Rey specifically calls out how turning him would help END THE WAR. Nothing about his soul, or his light. She speaks about him as if he’s a useful tool. A means to an end. And she’s not wrong to do so. She’s approaching it pragmatically, really, like a scavenger would. She doesn’t like him, but she recognizes he can be useful to her cause, and THAT’S why she goes to Snoke’s ship. And she wouldn’t have if Luke had gotten over himself just a little bit sooner, either. There’s a connection, and a level of understanding… and that just makes it harder for her when he shows her hope in his goodness to be naive and mostly unfounded after the throne room fight.

So already, right there - Kylo isn’t in a great storytelling position to have a successful redemption because nobody involved really wants it for the sake of his redemption alone, and it doesn’t mean that much to anyone IN THE STORY on that basis outside of Leia… who isn’t really a character in TFA or TLJ, and who, by the end, also doesn’t seem to particularly want Kylo’s redemption. There’s nothing his redemption does to serve ANY of our main characters arcs being fulfilled at that point. THAT’S why it feels unearned to me in TROS, because Abrams and Terrio never figured out a way to tie his redemption to Rey’s character arc meaningfully, or to Leia’s, honestly, and the execution of that was even worse.

Which is probably the most prequel-y thing Abrams could have done.