The Clear and Present Rot at the Center of Star Wars

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Let the past die. Kill it if you have to. It's the only way you can become what you were meant to be.

I'm not a man who's usually quick to come to such long and drawn out ranting, but this is really something that needs to be said. A week or two after release, I think it's apparent to all that the Last Jedi is somewhat of a polarizing film(to make a radical understatement). We've talked about that at length. We've argued greatly about this topic just as soon as scenes started to leak in from Japan. It's quite literally a dead horse now, and this topic is not about the Last Jedis treatment of its own characters and story. But unlike the worst of the prequels this has gone beyond bad storytelling or plot devices. No, this is about something much more important, although those elements will be touched on. Every single one of you is here because you care, or once cared, about this franchise. You found some character you loved, some a little too much, and it spoke to you. You related to them, or you thought you saw a little of that one thing that just understood you. You learned everything about them. You came to this place to defend them, against all odds(often even their creators) because the themes they represented meant something to you. This franchise meant something to you. Whether you want to or not, you care about Star Wars. But, I'm here to say conclusively: Star Wars does not care about you.

Blatantly. Whether you loved this movie or hated it, to its creators, your love means nothing. They already have your money, and have moved on. TFA, for all its faults, was a Star Wars film. It made us wonder about who Rey was, where Luke was, what he was doing and why didn't he come back? Why did he leave this map? Who was Snoke? Where did he come from? How did Phasma rise to power? How did Leia and Han get to this point? Every question, every plot point, every bit of wonder reconnected us to Star Wars, to outer space and our place in it. TLJ brought up the rear and dashed all of these dreams. Rather than telling us that these things were wrong, that our theories were incorrect, it only told us that they didn't matter. Yes, Rey's parents don't matter. Snoke's past didn't matter. Luke, a hero who went from a gag farm boy to cultural icon, does not matter. But most of all, our investment in their characters over two years did not matter. Not even worthy of proper explanations.

At first I interpreted this as simple laziness. That Rey was too important for the little details, but I've come to realize that in truth it's saying that Rey does not care about us, the audience understanding. Now, Rey is a fictional character. She does not know of our existence. But Rian is not. He's saying that he does not care about us understanding. The audience is irrelevant to the tale that is being told, something stressed again by Hamill.

Emphasis that Hamill does not care about being the center of attention. Luke's time has passed. But we, the fans that have been here for decades, some since the beginning, might care about narrative consistency. About the plot making sense. But Johnson flat out puts us down. And as TLJ goes on, as many snide statement and off color jokes show that the past does not matter, it's no wonder why. We are expendable.

There was never a time when that was not the case. Hardcore fans do not make large percentages of money. But it's not casual fans that are buying merchandise. It's not casual fans that read novels. It's not casual fans that read every tidbit online. That drive up hype. That makes Jedi a legitimate religion in the United Kingdom. It's us. The people that make Star Wars not a casual hobby, but a way of life something to learn from. Who for some reason still think about space with wonder no matter how mundane it gets, and never get tired of finding the next horizon. But wonder does not matter to Disney. Not when there's money.

This extends to characterization. No one in TLJ is consistent to where they were in TFA or the OT. They've all regressed into archetypes that fit no pattern of growth no matter what happened in the mean five minutes. The subplots set up in the novels came about to nothing as well. TLJ not only ignores what came before it, it's blatantly trying to undermine it. The director did not even watch
TFA before beginning TLJ, and it shows with the disconnect from both TFA and the series as a whole.

At its core, this franchise has always been about two things, the duality of right and wrong, and family. Now, the morality has blurred. Connections don't matter, as if Luke throwing his and his father's lightsaber over a cliff did not show this enough. The bad guys will all way win, the good guys are dumb, and nothing really matters because eventually things will go bad. The dream of a better future, crushed under the reality of a harsh present. The old vision of Star Wars does not matter. It accomplished nothing. The old characters of Star Wars did not matter. They accomplished nothing. The old novels and movies, and I mean the ones surrounding TFA here not even the EU, do not matter. Only the present. And you and I, the people who supported Star Wars through thick and then, through ridicule and teasing, do not matter. Only the bottom line.

And as the nihilism sets in, there are two present camps here that like TLJ: Those who like the effects, the displays, but realize the film is flawed. And then there is the loudest group. Those who ignore everything to praise a movie that degrades and berates them. "Of course nothing matters. Of course morals don't matter. Work and effort to improve don't matter. Time to build up relationships don't matter. Ultimately, this movie doesn't matter. I don't matter."

Art reflects life, and TLJ did nothing if not reflect the post-modernist attitude of In the End. It's all just relative, and even the sacred is no longer sacred and has no meaning. No value. The Resistance failing isn't just a plot. It's a statement about the cultural struggles that we are currently going through. Kylo isn't just trying to get Rey to follow him. He is telling the audience to let go of everything, of our past, because it means nothing. Success lies with casting aside such unimportant things as a conscious. But I think a quote from Rian Johnson himself will sum this all up best.

Star Wars isn't about telling good stories. It's about making money off kids and casting them aside when they grow up, hence him saying after watching TLJ he hopes you play with toys. So whether you enjoyed, hated, or didn't care for this film, or anything else in canon, continuing to support Star Wars has become the equivalent of paying a prostitute to beat your with a baseball bat. No matter what you say, I realize a lot of you love this franchise still. You talk about it to death, even when you claim to hate it. I do to. But it's no longer something that should be given monetary support in good conscious. If you do, I can only come to one conclusion: You don't want to be hurt or to have your world view and expectations challenged. You want to be abused and tortured because in the end you think the only thing that is of worth to you is what's in your wallet.

And for the record, obviously Rose and Finn are in love. Who has time to get to know each other, when there's right here and right now, yeah? It may not make narrative sense, but it makes absolute political sense.

thumb up

Never seen you write such a long post, are you ok?


You seem to think that Kylo Ren is portrayed as being right but he isn't. He's only half right, the movie argues that both obsessing over the past and trying to kill it off are wrong. Learning from it and growing off of it are right. The Jedi don't die, they are reborn in Rey. The resistance lives on to inspire a new generation. The Legend of Luke Skywalker returns one last time to echo across the galaxy. These things all matter and are portrayed as mattering. Even Kylo ends the movie on his knees staring at his dads old trinket as it literally slips through his fingers.

In the words of Mark Hamill "It's just a movie."

Originally posted by FreshestSlice
They already have your money,

They don't have mine, someone has to keep their dignity in this forum Happy Dance


I admit that I enjoyed new movies (guilty) but I see your point.

To Disney, Star Wars franchise is just another tool for monetary gains.

The best I have seen from Disney is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story so far.

But to be honest, I have little interest in the new canon.

Marvel has my attention now.

I agree completely, but this has been a slow, agonising descent into current Star Wars. It began with Wookiees and Kashyyyk being replaced with Ewoks and Endor.

Disney isn't butt****ing the old lore out of spite, they're doing it because they're desperately ready to start making films that don't have to tip toe over the dreams of fanboys.

Its gay, but don't take it personally.

The Ellimist
Originally posted by cs_zoltan
Never seen you write such a long post, are you ok?

I'm fine. I don't particularly care about the directions Star Wars goes into anymore. It's you people that disgust me. uhuh

Originally posted by Tzeentch
Disney isn't butt****ing the old lore out of spite, they're doing it because they're desperately ready to start making films that don't have to tip toe over the dreams of fanboys.

Its gay, but don't take it personally.
Nah, it's very clearly out of spite. There's a difference between not having to care about what fanboys think, and blatantly making nags at fans which TLJ does on several occasions. See, say that I think Rey is the granddaughter of Palpatine, for some odd reason. Rey then goes on to be the child of junkers. That's fine. Then we're told, "But hey, that time thinking about who your parents were didn't matter anyway because they're nobodies." /bu-dum-tish. Everytime Disney says something doesn't matter in a Star Wars film it's never just about how it doesn't matter in a Star Wars film, and there's no reason it should be given the multitude of other statements made with political edge. It's about talking to the audience.

The Ellimist
TLJ was the goat movie tbh

Disney bought Star Wars to use it as a weapon in a cultural war. It's not that they don't give a shit about what Star Wars means to you. That's not the half of it. They hate you. TLJ was meant as a cudgel, just like Ghostbusters.

laughing out loud

I never held my breath for anything related to Disney Canon. Rogue One was a pleasant surprise but that's it.

R1 truly was the pinnacle of nu-wars.

Lord Lucien
Originally posted by FreshestSlice
You want to be abused and tortured because in the end you think the only thing that is of worth to you is what's in your wallet. Jesus f*ck. And I thought the survivors of ISIS had it rough.

Hopefully at this rate, the people who toss and turn at night over how much their space wizard movie isn't conforming to their internal concept of what a fictional universe should be like, will move on to another fantasy distraction and stop paying to see these things. Then, eventually, and at last, the Star Wars movies can just f*cking end, like they should have done over 30 years ago.

This essay seems to be written as if they missed the part where Luke saves the Resistance and reignites hope in the galaxy.

Frankly, though, this could have been written in 1980 with Empire Strikes Back and make just as much sense.

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