See, this is why I write books.
I’m not really going to bother reviewing this movie, although I usually preface my reviews with some sort of disclaimer about how I’m not going to write a review and then I write a review, so whatever, let’s go. Spoilers from here on in. You will not be warned again.
The creators of Star Wars had an impossible task. They had a trilogy from the ’70s-’80s that had attained a Big Chair in the pop culture pantheon and a multi-generational fan base. Every attempt to do anything with that trilogy – any attempt, ever – resulted in paddlin’s. Special remastered versions? That’s a paddlin’. Prequels and spin-offs? That’s a paddlin’.
Sequel trilogy? You’d better believe that’s a paddlin’.
As far as I can tell, the only things ever to be positively received were TV shows. From the drug-fuelled hilarity of the Holiday Special to all the animated and live-action series (Rebels, The Clone Wars, The Mandalorian), they all seem to be generally … fine, I guess? I don’t know, maybe I just haven’t gone looking for the complainers. Because why in the name of all that’s fucking holy would I?
Oh, and there’s games, and toys. People complain about them but nobody actually cares. That’s an objective fact, not opinion. Literally, absolutely, nobody cares.
Anyway my point is, the creators of Star Wars had a big problem. No matter what they did to finish off the nine-movie epic that is the core of the Star Wars story, it wouldn’t be good enough. Decades of expectation and speculation, and years of increasingly bitter disagreement between nerd tribes on the Internet, made this a doomed venture.
 I don’t even know who they are. I think Kathleen Kennedy is involved? Disney? George Lucas is apparently still a thing but they don’t listen to him? Whatever. I’m all outta fucks.
Given that starting condition, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker was really pretty darn good. This project, that was absolutely certain to make a ton of money and absolutely certain to fail, definitely made a ton of money. They walked the line of expectations and fan demands, paying nostalgic dues, and all the rest of it. The result was a vast, resounding MEH in movie form. No, not even a MEH. MEH is too negative. It was an ENH.
The movie was fine. Anyone who can look objectively at the original trilogy (and I am the only person in the world who can), has to look at this final chapter and go “enh, it was a Star Wars movie.” There was a war, in the stars. There were droids. There was Force.
So … much … Force.
I don’t think the fanboys who were mad about Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (you know, murder-Rian-Johnson, rewrite-and-re-release-the-movie mad) will be mollified by this movie, because they’re fucking idiots. The people who were happy about Episode VIII: The Last Jedi will probably be disappointed at how much effort seemed to have been poured into mollifying the freaks. Oops, did I say freaks? That’s probably a paddlin’.
Some of it was great. I’m just enough of the above-mentioned freak-type to have been pleased to see a few more Force Ghosts show up and have something to do. It was nice to see Luke again, and to see that Leia had done a bit of Jedi stuff too. The idea of their twin lightsabres becoming the centrepiece of a new shrine on Tattooine for some future Jedi was really nice.
I liked the huge Sith fleet. Pity.
Speaking of Leia, people will complain about Carrie Fisher’s image being used, resurrecting her from cut scenes and CGI. But this is a reality of entertainment now and I suggest you all just get on board with it. Soon we won’t have any need for actors, just programmers capable of resurrecting the precise person needed for a role. Actor salaries will give way to the rental rights for a certain audio-visual property. I’m not even kidding. This is happening. No more tantrums, no more prima donnas, no more abusive rapists and drug addicts. Shit, we won’t even need to worry about whitewashing or other problematic casting issues. We will be able to create exactly the fictional characters we need, and as for historical characters – we’ll be able to use them as-is. After they’ve been dead 75 years they’re public domain. You watch. This is happening.
And happening, and happening.
I loved the part where Rey suddenly Sith-lightning’d, although part of me kind of wishes they’d had the scrotum to kill Chewie in the process. Also that we had some answer other than “according to plot demand” as to how powerful Sith lightning is.
The “it’s just … people” thing, and the mass arrival of good folk from across the galaxy, was cute too. I couldn’t help but see it as a political / ideological statement, but sure.
Richard E Grant was cool, but he wasn’t Grand Admiral Thrawn so fucking kill yourselves, everyone involved in making this movie, do the whole thing again and re-release it God damn you.
Threepio was a highlight, although they definitely could have done more with his memory wipe and change in circumstances. Linking it back to his memory wipe when he forgot Episodes I, II and III would have been nice. Remember how he forgot those? Lucky golden fucker he is.
There were also some bits where I had to squint. “The Last Jedi” and “The Rise of Skywalker” are kind of stretch names, seeing as how nobody was a last goddamn anything in Episode VIII and there were no rising Skywalkers (was Ben meant to be one? Was Luke one as a ghost? Was Rey one because she pretended to be one at the end?) in Episode IX. But whatever. This all sort of makes sense if you think that Leia was meant to be the focus, but Fisher died and they weren’t quite ready to do this level of resurrection with her. It’s not like the movie titles haven’t been on the nose since the original trilogy ended anyway.
Han did not need to be in this. They were already adding some bizarre (but really quite excellent) Force talents like the healing and the teleportation of objects via Force-links, and since Han was never remotely Jedi they had to make it into a weird psycho vision of Ben’s instead. They didn’t need to do that. They could have used Leia – Ghost Leia! – or gone all the way with the psycho vision and put Ben back onto the gantry on Starkiller Base and replayed the scene to show his healing process. Pretty easy really.
How did Lando get that many ships to join him in the amount of time it took to fight half a space battle? Under normal circumstances that would be enough to travel to one system and secure one ally. That was … very cool, but unsupported.
Was Hux really meant to be a spy the whole time? Or did he become one between Episode VIII and Episode IX? I’ve got to say I don’t think it’s supported by earlier movies but they did kind of lampshade that stupidity so okay. It was interesting, and I can believe he turned after Episode VIII. Just don’t expect us to accept it as a clever plot twist. It was totally fucking random and you know it.
How easy was it to destroy those OP’d Star Destroyers? A couple of shots to the cannon and they were history. A couple of ships in orbit around each planet and presto, you’re safe from the Sith fleet. It would have been easy enough to give them some dependency on Palpatine, because he was paranoid, and then Rey could have passed that on to the Resistance or used it herself to destroy everything, echoing Luke’s win in Episode IV and Anakin’s in Episode I, crippling the fleet or driving it into the storms since they had no navigation or whatever.
See, this is why I write books. So they’ll go the way I want them to, and when they fail I can blame myself, and when I complain about stories not being told right and someone says “so do your own” I can say “I have.”
See? I brought it back to finish where I started. It’s like poetry, it rhymes.
I give Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker an enh out of a possible ehh. Or a what-they-were-forced-to-make and half a what-they-were-too-cowardly-to-make out of a possible what-I-could-have-made-god-damnit.
I can’t read it then, but I’m really baffled from what I’m hearing. Looper did a video that critics are giving it more rotten ratings because they tried to respond to all the criticisms of TLJ from fans, tries to fix the mistakes fans felt were made.
Is that your impression of the movie?
What’s wrong with responding to FAN criticism, not just critic criticism, I guess I’d ask? TLJ was so fresh it was suspicious given the fan opinions…. I just don’t know. Reviews are dead.
On Thu, Dec 19, 2019 at 9:57 AM Hatboy’s Hatstand wrote:
> stchucky posted: “See, this is why I write books. I’m not really going to > bother reviewing this movie, although I usually preface my reviews with > some sort of disclaimer about how I’m not going to write a review and then > I write a review, so whatever, let’s go. Spoilers f” >
I’d agree with that. They definitely seemed to be pandering to the angry fanboy rants and walked back a lot of the stuff that made people so unhappy about the previous movie. Or if not walked back, then at least put into an interesting context?
Skywalked it back?
All in all, it wasn’t terrible. But it could have been wonderful.
There were two or three clear points where I thought “this should be making me cry,” but no tears. And that wasn’t toxic masculinity, that was just weaponised enh-ness Or enhui, as I have dubbed it.
I also actively resisted feeling the feelings that the talking response-prompt droid D-O kept poking us with. When it said “sad” I went “FUCK YOU I’M NOT SAD” and when it said “happy” I went “FUCK YOU D-O YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME”
Seriously, bring back K2-SO.
BRB, going to see if someone has made a Ronnie James D-O picture yet.
There isn’t one that I can see, but I don’t have time to make one. Someone make it so.
I don’t generally rank, but here’s my latest ranking.
And I just realised I forgot to add The Rise of Skywalker. Not because it doesn’t belong there, but because I actually forgot it. Which kind of says it all.
Put it between A New Hope and Solo.
“there were no rising Skywalkers”
Ben raised himself out of that pit he was yeeted into, does that count?
You know it doesn’t!
Yep. They’re really not meant to be that controversial or conversation-pointy.
Agreed, they played it boringly safe on every plot point. Would it have killed them to leave Threepio wiped or Chewie dead? Or maybe lingered a little on the shift from toss-the-saber-over-shoulder Luke and catch-the-saber-before-it-burns Luke?
And have Force ghosts always been corporeal, by the way? No reason why not, I was just curious.
It really felt like they went into the whole trilogy without a roadmap and shifted things around according to badly-assembled Internet takes. Which, say what you like about Lucas, at least he didn’t seem to give a fuck about. Weird thing is, I didn’t get the impression Disney did either. And there was no need for it, because everyone was going to see this movie. No matter how much they hated all the rest of Star Wars.
– agreed –
Also agreed. Poe, Finn and Rey in particular were really fun and just nice to watch.
Was her little bit of identity theft at the end the actual rise of Skywalker? Was it … was it literally the friends she made along the way?
No, exactly. Maybe even ENH is too negative-connotation, and it is an EHH. But it could have been incredible.
Solid same. I’ve heard Star Wars veterans talking about how they’ve tried to start off new fans watching Star Wars, and Episode IV is just too slow and classical for them. Episode VII is a big attention-grabber.
I think I liked this one more than you, particularly on a re-watch, but I agree with a lot of your criticisms here. I don’t know if there’s much to pick apart and argue about, or what point there would be in doing so.
Some of this I was actually okay with, if they’d just done a bit more to join the dots with Luke’s arc for example. But a lot of it felt like a mistake.
Right. And it came so close to what might have been a great and workable plot, there was no reason for so much of it. I actually quite liked the idea of Snoke literally being a creation of Palpatine’s, like from a tank, but they didn’t explain any of it anywhere near enough. Instead of the whole Da Vinci Code thing with the Sith relic, they could have put a bit more storytelling into Palpatine / Plagueis and the quest for immortality. Even used some cinema magic to show what was happening behind the scenes in the prequel and original trilogies, with Palpatine’s consciousness going from body to body. What happened after the Battle of Endor. Slip in a scene of Cloud City and Maz getting the lightsaber, what the heck.
Could very easily have been done. But wasn’t, because fuck it I guess, like you say.
Agreed. I’ve liked their stand-alone movies, on balance, more than their main story movies perhaps precisely because they’re their own thing.
I predictably agree.
Don’t really care who makes it, as long as it’s about Thrawn.
I think you should fit Rogue One and Solo in there too. I think I ranked them elsewhere in the thread.
This seems almost self-contradictory as an opinion, care to elaborate a little? Or is it just that you saw some positives to it but don’t agree on the take-away? So it was well done, but what was done was a mess?
Yeah. Enh. That’s what this was, more or less, and that’s… OK.
It says something about this movie, about The Last Jedi, and about the current state of Star Wars at large, and also about me, that I (a) went into this one with virtually no expectations and not much anticipatory excitement, (b) was not all that emotionally moved or impressed or invested while watching the movie, (c) and walked out of the theater with a feeling of something like warm contentment, but without any need to discuss or dissect or debate what I’d just experienced, and feeling OK about that, too.
Translation: The Rise of Skywalker was an entertaining and quite enjoyable, but also utterly unoriginal, uninspired, unsurprising and just very safely adequate piece of cinema. The movie was visually absolutely gorgeous, and the main characters continued to ooze great chemistry throughout, but the plot with its super-twisty twists and hyper-epic epicness, and more quest savepoints and McGuffins than you can shake a lightsaber at, was just dumb, the worldbuilding was perfunctory and uninspired, and the whole experience just so shallow, so… enh. And yet I really, truly liked how it ended with Rey and Ben, and where and how the story ended with Rey. Daisy Ridley and Adam Driver were, once again, the highlight of the show and delivered, often just by sheer commitment to character, the best bits. (I think Rey is my favorite SW character. I hope we see more of her in future movies.)
And that’s about it. There was more stuff I liked, more stuff I didn’t like, and stuff I didn’t really have feelings about one way or the other, but none of it really rises above that level of liking or disliking or emotional impact that makes me want to open up about it more. Maybe that will change in the future, but for now… enh. 
 I’m not being bitter or judgmental or resentful or anything negative like that. I’m genuinely OK with an enh.
So, Andy, is there anything you want to discuss or debate? Seems like we had a pretty similar experience with this one.
However! Now that this trilogy and thereby supposedly the whole Skywalker Saga is done, it might be interesting to take stock. Put things in perspective, at least preliminarily (since it’s probably too early to do that properly yet).
So, here’s how this new trilogy played out, in retrospect, for me:
The Force Awakens. Kicks the trilogy off with magnificently contagious action-adventure energy and flair. Introduces interesting new characters with genuine depth and played by actors with genuine skill and commitment. Expands the verse in… relatively successful ways? Sets up tantalizing story hooks. Plot is a bit too repetitive, especially in the second half, but whatever, they can do new in the next Episode. I walked into the theater trembling with excitement, and walked out emotional, elated, and relieved (a storm of feels somewhat marred by the speed-of-light physics hiccup in the middle). Improved on rewatch.
The Last Jedi. Mostly ignores or subverts all the story hooks set up by TFA, often to the point of seeming to go the opposite way simply for the sake of gleefully thwarting expectations, irrespective of the logic of going said way. Expands the verse and the mythology in poorly thought-out and canon-incompatible ways. Gives Luke an interesting and unexpected, but ultimately unsatisfying arc. The plot lacks solid momentum, and the overall story seems to progress very little, if at all. Visually and cinematically stunning. Some absolutely outstanding set pieces. The characters, especially Rey and Ren, continue to be the strong point, and the actors, especially Ridley and Driver, continue to impress. Divorced from the SW context, this could actually be a really good movie, but in the continuum of the Skywalker Saga and as the direct follow-up to TFA, the movie fails to deliver. I walked in excited and sold on Rian Johnson, and walked out emotional, conflicted, and unsure of what to make of what I just saw. Improved on rewatch (but mostly as a “standalone” movie rather than as an Episode of the Saga).
The Rise of Skywalker. Ignores or retcons much of what TLJ did, and instead tries to pick up threads left over from TFA after TLJ was done burning them. Goes batshit crazy epic with little concern over in-story logic or consistent, canon-compatible worldbuilding. Because fuck it. For the rest, see above. I walked in with not a whole lot by way of expectations or excitement, and walked out with not a whole lot, but feeling pretty OK nonetheless. Let’s see if this improves on rewatch.
Disney will make more Star Wars. I certainly want them to make more Star Wars. I love Star Wars, even when it’s bad. But I really prefer it to be good. Which brings us to: What could Disney possibly learn from their first Star Wars trilogy?
Plan the fuck ahead.
For fuck’s sake, take worldbuilding seriously.
I sincerely hope they give the next trilogy or whatever set to a single writer or a single team of writers, allow them to map out the story in advance, and make sure that the production sticks to that framework as much as possible. (Needless to say, the writer or writers should be good ones. Less Abrams, more Kasdan or Johnson.) We will all end up with a better product.
Now that I started, I realize there’s a whole lot more I could say about this, even about The Rise of Skywalker. But I’m not about to make a liar of myself right from the start, so I’ll just stop here. Well, after the traditional ranking list (best to worst):
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Episode IV – A New Hope
Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
“The Last Jedi. Mostly ignores or subverts all the story hooks set up by TFA, often to the point of seeming to go the opposite way simply for the sake of gleefully thwarting expectations, irrespective of the logic of going said way. Expands the verse and the mythology in poorly thought-out and canon-incompatible ways.”
Couldn’t disagree more. The Last Jedi not only expands the lore beautifully, but it takes everything that Force Awakens set up and builds on it a way that is smart and eloquent like Star Wars has rarely been before.
TLJ certainly takes things in new, unexpected, and potentially interesting directions, and purely as a movie, as craft, it’s certainly more accomplished than TRoS and maybe also TFA. (Rian Johnson is definitely a more original and interesting writer and director than “Mystery Box” Abrams.) But as to building on TFA and expanding the lore, we’re just going to have to disagree. You see smart and eloquent, I see inconsistent and contrived.
This was the first time. Much like Yoda summoning lightning in TLJ was a first. We can maybe explain both of these away with the island being a hyperpowerful focal point for the Force. Enh.
Agreed. As much as Lucas failed as a director and writer — in putting together a good story with engaging characters played well — in the prequels, he had a plan, and his worldbuilding was pretty consistent and orderly.
Turns out not quite everyone, though. TLJ already did worse (relatively speaking) than TFA, and TRoS is now doing worse than TLJ. TRoS opened domestically with $177M, TLF with $220M, and TFA with $247M. If Abrams and Disney hadn’t reacted to crap on the Internet, as I’m sure they did to at least some extent, perhaps they would’ve ended up with a better movie and more money.
The family she made along the way!
* sniff *
They didn’t really explain Palpatine at all. All we got were a few throwaway lines of speculation from a nameless Resistance fighter. With Snoke dead and Kylo Ren hardly the main villain type, I’m sure Abrams and co. felt light on options. Palpatine was at least a better choice than introducing a totally new character. But still. Very little about his return, not to mention his staggering resources and military infrastructure, made any sense. It was just so dumb.
People have also pointed out how Palpatine’s return kind of undoes Vader’s sacrifice and the Rebel victory in RotJ. I don’t think it does, because the good guys did win and enjoy some peace for a bit, even if the main villain ultimately survived, but I do get the sentiment about the ending of the original movie being undermined after the fact.
Right. I was more in the Skywalker Saga frame of mind. But here goes:
Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
Episode IV – A New Hope
Episode VII – The Force Awakens
Episode VI – Return of the Jedi
Solo: A Star Wars Story
Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
Episode I – The Phantom Menace
Episode II – Attack of the Clones
Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
Not sure I will stand by those two placements, but they’re good enough for now.
Basically, yes. It goes back to my point about liking TLJ more as a “standalone” movie than as part of the Saga (even though you can’t really separate it from the whole). In general, the way Johnson shoots and composes scenes and tells a story strikes me as more refined and precise than what Abrams manages, so that’s a point for him. (He’s definitely more of an “auteur” than Abrams.) As to the story stuff, TLJ plays with some nice ideas and beginnings, but then a lot if ultimately just fails in plot logic or in the broader context of the Star Wars universe.
(1) Luke as a failed, old, disappointing wreck of a Jedi master, one that almost murdered a pupil, is a neat, interesting idea. That already opens up really good character arc possibilities. And when he returns to the fight in person at the end, that’s a great moment. And when that return turns out to be a projection, that’s still a neat, cool twist. But, in reflection, the cool, neat, interesting bits just don’t outweigh the problems: First, the Luke we meet in TLJ simply does not fit the Luke we saw at the end of RotJ. The distance between the spiteful, broken old hermit and the hopeful, wise, powerful young Jedi master is just way too long for me to buy without way, way more backstory. It’s also as if the Lukes come from two different genres: the former from a gritty character drama with comic overtones, the latter from an epic fantasy. There’s just so much disconnect. Second, Luke deciding to hermit himself away on the island does not seem to line up with the setup in TFA of him searching for something important and leaving behind a map for finding him. Third, the projection trick feels like a cop-out, almost cowardly. He didn’t fully return to the fight, after all. Fourth, he dies… because the trick was just too much for him or something? Fifth, he dies alone on an island, and I just personally don’t like that ending for Luke.
(2) Holdo weaponizing lightspeed and blazing through Snoke’s fleet is a jaw-droppingly cool moment and visually perhaps the most stunning and gorgeous scene in the entire movie franchise. But, damn, does it open up a can of worms as to why we’ve never seen or heard of anything like that before in any of the other movies. This is possibly the biggest worldbuilding blunder in the movie, as it potentially undermines so much. The retcon in TRoS is lazy and weak.
(3) Snoke getting killed by Kylo Ren is a cool scene and a neat surprise. But it leaves the rest of the trilogy fucked as to who the main villain is going to be now. Ren clearly does not fit that bill. Snoke’s death also undoes all the setup for the character in TFA, of which there was precious little to begin with, so you’re left wondering why have this character in the story in the first place.
(4) Digging into the politics and finance of the military-industrial complex of the galaxy in a pretty cool setting like Canto Bight is another interesting idea. But it belongs to a different movie, one closer to Rogue One in theme and feel, or maybe to something like The Mandalorian. Here, in a fantasy epic that rests on epic battles and fun action, it just ends up being an out-of-place bit of socio-political preaching with a weird side order of animal rights activism. Not to mention that it’s also a mostly pointless and certainly overlong detour in a silly and convoluted plot thread (which, as a bonus, requires that Holdo’s character act like an idiot by shutting out Poe).
(5) The theme of failure and disappointment that runs through the entire movie is, again, an interesting idea. But if the end result is a story that does not seem to progress, that leaves the heroes pretty much in the same position they were in the beginning (albeit with way less manpower and resources), and that requires the following and final episode to scramble to turn the heroes and their allies into a credible threat to the villains — or just skip over that part — then something broke along the way. Also, at its heart, the Skywalker Saga is an epic fantasy, so I’d expect the movies to just plain end on a hopeful note (even if bittersweet). TLJ very much failed in this for me.
True. Hadn’t thought of that. The Hellmouth was maybe one of the parts of The Last Jedi that I thought was underworked. That and the First Jedi Temple should have been a bigger deal, but they could hardly have fitted it in. Certainly the books Rey took could have made it clearer that this was how she was learning so much, so fast, with Leia.
But okay. To be fair we don’t know much about Force Ghosts even though it seems like we do. Obi Wan was our only example, and the stuff we saw him do was hardly “more powerful than you could possibly imagine” which was what he promised to Vader.
Yeah, this is true. And very strange. I would have thought closure would bring in at least everyone who was interested enough to see The Force Awakens. But it seems as though Disney / Star Wars exhaustion has set in for real, and people just don’t care.
Agreed. Could have been done much better.
I mean, I know I go on about Thrawn a lot, but his storyline was amazing. And part of it was the search for a fleet of lost Empire Dreadnoughts (which now we have seen how fuck-off enormous they are, Jebus just go with that) that had been mothballed back in the days of peak wartime resource-glutting.
So no need to make a whole new army of Star Destroyers with frickin’ Death Star lasers attached to their heads. Just go with an old Empire cache. Shit, make it something Palpatine started funnelling aside when he was dissolving the Senate, hiding it in the Clone War budgets, because he had a Sith vision about needing them later.
Fucking call me, Disney.
No yeah, I see what they mean but I’m with you. It was still a setback. He would have far preferred it if the second Death Star had survived and Luke had killed Vader and become his new apprentice.
But that still would have been improved by a more coherent Palpatine plan. Or just leaving him out altogether, or making the Plagueis thing happen. Oh well.
Nothing much to disagree with there, although I am surprised by your placement of The Last Jedi. I guess considering your viewpoints and explanations, it did ultimately harm the flow of the saga more than it helped. So yeah, makes sense.
Man, it could have all been so great. They had so many goddamn years to make it right!
Also interesting that you liked Solo more than Rogue One, but sure.
That’s true, it would have made a better stand-alone movie. I hope Johnson gets a chance to do a trilogy.
Yeah, and the Knights of Ren are like what, what were they even. Fuck all that. There’s a movie missing between The Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Which, to be fair, they may well do. But I don’t see how.
I mean, CGI Mark Hamill, obviously.
Seriously though, I liked how Luke’s failure to train Ben “rhymed” with Old Ben’s failure to train Anakin (not to mention the hermit approach both Obi Wan and Yoda took, and the “area strong in the Dark Side” thing that both Dagobah and Ahch-To [yes I looked it up] had going on). But there should have been more of a story there. In fact, just those similarities suggest a story to me. Like, the Force having these places of tidal pull and density, and the stronger you are in the Force, the more you’re drawn to them in order to get your head back together.
Concur. They started losing it for me as soon as they started talking about fuel. I mean, we know these ships need fuel of some sort, but did we need to wait seven movies to make both fuel and hyperspace physics a plot point? And then make them critical plot points?
Yeah, see, I liked this, and I liked the way Snoke was fucked up because he was a test tube Sith. But it needed to be explained and filled in more. Also he should have been called Darth Ecfingo or something, just to keep the Sidious / Plagueis / Vader / Tyranus trope going.
I agree that it needs more. But to me that scene tied the entire saga together. It was the whole point of Star Wars. It made any victory against the Empire and First Order irrelevant, and since we know how eternal and natural the Dark and Light sides of the Force are, there’s no winning that either. So the real villain was the war-dealing elite. Is there any victory to be had there? Maybe in the final battle with all the little people, as shown in The Rise of Skywalker (and even they are getting their weapons from somewhere). But they didn’t do it that way. They faced off against more Empire instead.
So that never got a proper ending. Which in a way is also fine, because we’re always going to need a War in the Stars.
Well, it rhymed with The Empire Strikes Back in that respect. I mean, as far as I’m concerned they were very much the same in tone and success, but you seem to have the higher esteem for The Empire Strikes Back that a lot of old school Star Wars fans have (not judgement, just a fact).
Damn, man, seems like we hardly disagree on anything. Selective replies to follow.
The “more powerful than you could possibly imagine” promise never really made much sense, at least in any literal sense. I’m pretty sure Lucas hadn’t yet figured out what that meant when he wrote Episode IV. In any case, I think I eventually settled into interpreting it more loosely as Obi-Wan just becoming a powerful, physically unbound influence on Luke. Or something.
You better fucking get a seat for me in that writers’ room.
Yeah, the broader (negative, in my mind) impact to the saga as a whole definitely weighs more in minuses than the standalone cinematic merits of the film do in plusses.
Let’s see if that sticks. The former is pretty fresh in my mind, from the 4K BD. The latter is already badly faded. I went into Solo with few expectations and came out pleasantly surprised. I went into Rogue One with high expectations and came out disappointed. Some pretty obvious math there already.
Let’s see where things stand when I watch everything story-chronologically back-to-back.
If he does, I sincerely hope he respects the established mythology and worldbuilding more than he did the last time. You can do new stuff and still remain consistent with what’s come before.
I’m sure that’s easy to read as “grumpy old fanboy complains about the new stuff not being like the old stuff he loves”, but that’s genuinely not the case here. Honest.
Agreed. Maybe even a trilogy.
Pretty soon they could actually reboot Star Wars with the original cast.
Agreed. I don’t recall fuel ever really being a thing in Star Wars movies. For my part, I just assumed that it was cheap and readily available, since starships and space travel are so ubiquitous, and that we basically didn’t have to worry about it narratively. Fuel is something that belongs in, say, Star Trek.
One example of not respecting the established worldbuilding.
Fair enough. I guess, in the end, it fits that Snoke turned out to be “a test tube Sith”. But if you look at just TFA, didn’t they make a special point about Snoke not being a Sith, that he represented some new brand of Dark Side?
Side note: If Palpatine could clone living creatures — a technology already established way back in Episode II — why not just clone a healthy body for himself, or at least replace pretty much everything in his fucked-up body with new, healthy parts?
The point of Star Wars is the meaninglessness of struggling against fascists governments and military juntas because in the end the arms dealers win anyway and the cycle of destruction and violence just continues in new guises?
Jesus, dude. 🙂
Anyways, to me, the Canto Bight sequence is a perfect example of pushing the Skywalker Saga into thematic territory that’s at odds with the saga’s high-fantasy sensibilities. The socio-political commentary on war profiteering and the behind-the-scenes look into the arms trade are just a bit too real-world for the Skywalkers. (Not unlike the fuel.)
Which is not to say you can’t have this in Star Wars. You can and should. A grittier story told in the Star Wars universe could easily take this on. It’s just that, in my mind, the Skywalker Saga is not that story. The saga is more a fantasy action-adventure serial than a war movie, despite the catchy title and the abundance of war in the story. To me, the war profiteering stuff creates thematic dissonance, for lack of a better term.
I can afford to because, to me, the two are very different movies. Both are darker in tone than the movies around them, and both deal with failure and loss, sure, but the arcs they make from start to finish are very different.
The Empire Strikes Back starts with the Rebels quietly hiding on Hoth and ends with the Rebel fleet safely escaped, but with the heroes having lost Han, and with Luke having lost a battle and a hand to Dad. They did gain new allies, though, namely in Lando. And they’re already working towards rescuing Han, and the fleet remains big enough to still pose a credible threat to the Empire. The story picks up nicely from A New Hope, and develops the characters and the world in interesting ways, which are mostly consistent with what came before (arguably not too hard, since there’s just the one movie to build off of). The ending feels very hopeful to me.
The Last Jedi starts with the Resistance already on the run and ends with the Resistance still on the run, and with their entire force destroyed except for one ship and about a dozen or so people, and with no help in sight. They also lose Luke (and poor Admiral Ackbar). The story picks up [see above] and develops [see above]. The closing image of the Force-sensitive boy is mostly sad, because the kid doesn’t yet know that his best hope for the future just got almost completely obliterated; and when he does find out, he’ll quickly realize that it’s logistically improbable that the Resistance could recover in time for him to have a future. (No, they really, really do not have everything they need on the Falcon. Like a fleet.) It’s a very depressing ending if you allow for the repercussions of all that just happened to play out logically (as I see it).
I think there’s some [blockquote] problem here, I’ll fix it up before responding or it might just be my phone. Good thoughts, to be continued!
In my reply? Looks fine on my phone and desktop browser.
Okay then it’s my phone making it look odd. Good good.
Same, really. To be fair, if knowledge is power and he became a source of knowledge completely independent of a physical medium, it checks out. He helps Luke on Hoth, he gets Luke to Dagobah, he exchanges info with him and Yoda several times, and he helps Luke make that critical shot on the first Death Star. That’s honestly plenty without also having Swayze ghost-power but I accept it as an extension of the high-level Jedi.
I’ll remember who my friends are. They’re the ones who read and comment on all my fiction.
*saves seats for Aaron and Kristiina*
True. Slightly unfair maths (the movies aren’t responsible for your expectations except in a really big-picture way), but undeniable.
Ooh, you planning on doing that? That’s a review I’d love to see. Gonna do all the TV shows as well?
Hmm, I think this is something we disagree on, but I’m not going to focus on that. I am curious, though, just how much you think he disrespected or flat-out overturned the continuity. From what I gather here, you’re classifying need-for-starship-fuel and Canto-Bight-arms-dealers (and maybe Snoke-as-Sith) as actual breaches in continuity?
Little bit, but I’m all about the benefit of the doubt and I’m genuinely interested in your reasoning. I mean, we’ll probably not agree on the conclusion of “inconsistency”, but I think there’s points we can agree on in the journey?
This is happening. Maybe not with Star Wars, maybe not soon – but it’s inevitable, the direction we’re headed with CGI resurrection.
See, I wouldn’t take it that far. I’m sure the revised Star Wars canon has plenty of information about fuel and starship mechanics. Same as the kyber crystals they use in lightsabers. Yes, only the tiniest hint of that richness of worldbuilding makes it into the movies and as such you can argue they have no place there … but I don’t know.
I don’t think they ever said specifically “not a Sith”. And again, to be fair, the Emperor was not mentioned as a Sith, or as Darth Sidious, or even as Palpatine, in the original trilogy either. Heck, Vader was barely even mentioned as a Sith (except I believe Tarkin gave him shit about being a religious fundamentalist nutbag, thus earning him Thrawnlike levels of respect from me).
Like I say, just because these details aren’t mentioned doesn’t make their clarification later count as a continuity error.
Yeah, that was not explained or even lampshaded.
Fuckin’ A. I mean, it’s also about the spaceships and the googly aliens and the fun, but Lucas was operating directly out of a post-Vietnam-USA ennui and if you think the Empire and the Rebels and the Republic don’t have direct analogues to real life, you’re a slow-roasted Stormtrooper short of an Ewok barbecue my friend.
See, this is what I mean about the agreement we’ll find on the journey! I absolutely agree with you on this, it’s a jarring shift in theme. To me, though, it’s like for a second someone pulled back the curtain and showed us the darkness behind the goofy backdrop. The hive of scum and villainy is suddenly chilling.
Not wanting to analyse or put words in your mouth, but I suspect that’s more of a deal-breaker for you because you like your consistent themes and genres. I, as you know, am pretty perverse in my insistence on jumping from puddle to puddle and tracking that shit everywhere until you don’t even know what you’re looking at.
Neither view is wrong, which is why I think this is a case of us disagreeing but not needing to worry about it much. It’s just interesting.
Right. Which is why the kyber crystals and non-Jedi Force users and stuff in Rogue One were probably thematically fine with you? Same as the darker criminal underworld stuff from Solo? Not that they were brave enough to dive too deep there.
And … well, let’s just remember that The Phantom Menace was basically about a slave kid.
All of the movies have dark corners (come on, the subjugation and torture and mangling of droids throughout the epic?) if you care to examine them. Do that too much and it might spoil your space fantasy … or make it even more enthralling.
No, that’s fair. I’d accept this under the “let’s keep it simple” critique. It’s just not something I use as a measuring stick, which explains why we’re not quite meshing here.
That’s fair. I mean, I see that as a confirmation of the rhyme, just with more vital stakes for the second (third?) time through. There are thematic and plot differences, but yeah. I think I had a different gut reaction to The Last Jedi‘s ending as well, but part of that is admittedly down to the fact that I’ve always been pretty underwhelmed by The Empire Strikes Back compared to the average old school fanboy. *shrug*
 Would Attack of the Clones follow the same pattern? I think it does but I don’t remember much about the movie. It basically ends on the Empire materialising out of the Republic, the Clone War starting, Star Destroyers appearing … yeah, so basically the same pessimoptimistic note.
 Patent pending.
This is also interesting, I’m not sure how much of it is movie-canon or what it means, but I found this while researching about kyber crystals. Seems to pretty solidly cover Rey’s skill set, don’t you think?
At the end of Episode III, when Yoda has a chat with Obi-Wan just before the two go their separate ways, Lucas pretty much retcons “One With The Force” as this amazing new power that Qui-Gon discovered. So, yeah, it checks out, retcon and all.
On a stupidly pedantic note, the Force ghosts of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin sit and stand on solid surfaces in Episodes V and VI, and we also obviously see and hear them, suggesting they reflect light and emit sound, so doesn’t this already mean that they can interact with the physical world? (I know, I know, you can easily explain these away as just innocent cinematic storytelling conveniences, like sound in space, or as ghost magic or whatever.)
Indeed. That’s what I meant by the “obvious math”. My expectations clearly weighed heavily in the equations. (Hence the need for a proper rewatch.)
Hell, no, not the TV shows. It would take way too long. Only the movies. (Which, for me, make up the corest core canon, anyway.)
Much of the stuff we’ve already discussed. Weaponizing light speed with the Holdo maneuver. Starship fuel and hyperspace usage in general . Gravity in space . A Force Ghost casting Call Lighting . Canto Bight in as much as it was an uneasy thematic fit for the Skywalker Saga. And so on.
 Here, it’s maybe even more about the First Order failing to simply jump closer to the Resistance fleet, which they could’ve easily done as per the rules of the verse, rather than tailing the fleet from afar and picking off stragglers.
 The way the bombers drop their payload in the beginning. Star Wars is obviously known for drawing inspiration from World War II aerial combat, but TLJ takes this inspiration to a ridiculously literal extent with the bombers. And why didn’t the Dreadnaught have shields like every other capital ship in the verse?
 As discussed, maybe this is something that’s only possible on the temple island on Ahch-To, where the Force runs epic. If so, OK. If not, well… Why haven’t Yoda and other ghosts manifested themselves around the galaxy to combat the First Order? Why didn’t Yoda and Obi-Wan help Luke on Death Star II in RotJ? Why didn’t anyone jump in to lend a hand when Ben went Dark Side at Luke’s school?
Sidebar: Here’s a recent blog post that discusses TLJ’s worldbuilding problems (and other stuff) at length and, to my mind, accurately:
And I’ve no problem with us disagreeing. I’m certainly not looking to convince you to see TLJ my way. I have my own subjective take, and you have yours; they overlap in some places, while diverging in others. And that’s fine.
Of course not. That’s not what I’m saying. But if something is clarified in a way that conflicts — directly or by implication — with stuff that’s already been established, that’s a continuity error. Generally speaking. The points listed above all fit this category for me.
I don’t recall ever reading Star Wars as referencing or reflecting the Vietnam War, or its aftermath in the US. To be fair, when I first got into Star Wars as a kid, starting with the toys and the comics and eventually graduating to the movies, I knew hardly anything about Vietnam. Even when I did learn about the war later on, I never connected it with Star Wars. To me, the closest real-world analogue to the Empire has always been Nazi Germany and the real-world callbacks in the (original) movies have always pointed mostly to World War II. As Vietnam was never a thing in my Finnish socio-cultural context, whereas WWII most certainly was, I’m perfectly at ease with this interpretation.
In your Vietnam analogue, the Empire is the US and the Rebels are the Vietnamese, I guess?
Every piece of fiction is a product of its time and place, and therefore reflects that time and place to a lesser or greater extent, so I’ll happily buy the idea that there’s some Vietnam in the Star Wars DNA.
But since I’ve never looked at Star Wars through this particular lens, we’re just going to have to disagree over our takeaways of what Star Wars is all about. You see real-world commentary on the meaninglessness of struggling against oppression, I see hopeful, escapist high-fantasy heroics.
(I’m pretty sure I’ve read about this Vietnam angle here and there, though, now that I think about it. A quick google on “Star Wars and the Vietnam War” throws me vaguely familiar-looking articles. But the Vietnam subtext has clearly never caught on in my reception of and relationship with Star Wars.)
We should probably move on, as there’s really nothing to argue over here, but I cannot resist commenting on one thing: “Meaning” is one of my least favorite points of discussion about works of fiction. What does a story mean? What is the author trying to say? What’s the truth of the story? What symbolism does the story contain? What do the metaphors communicate?
I find more technical discussions about narrative structure and techniques, character development, and worldbuilding logic and mechanics much, much more interesting (and also, as a rule, less prone to subjective takes). In literary terms, I’m very much a narratologist and a structuralist at heart. I’m happy to let other people figure what a piece of fiction means; I’m infinitely more interested in the underlying structures and mechanics that make meaning possible in the first place.
For example, I’m not at all interested in what the Force symbolizes or what its real-world takeaway is. But I do care about how it works in the storyworld, how it plays into the plot and character development, how logically and consistently it’s developed and used from movie to movie, and what characters can and cannot do with it. And whether Yoda could take Palpatine in a fair fight.
I’ve ranted about meaning vs. structure before? I feel like you must surely know all this about me by now.
Absolutely. For me, consistency within a single body of work is key. From narrative techniques to characterization to themes to worldbuilding. Doesn’t mean that you can’t have variety across a given work, but, if you ask me, that variety should be consistently planned and managed.
Btw., I’ve rarely, if ever, felt that your storytelling and worldbuilding are inconsistent. The only piece that comes to mind where this was a bit of an issue for me is Bad Cow. But even there I could accept it, since the book was basically three separate narrative pieces, and the issue was mostly about story and plot, not worldbuilding. Your verse is solid, methinks.
That looks to be Expanded Universe (or “Star Wars Legends”) stuff. For me, the EU is a completely separate continuity, which I don’t really worry or even care about all that much. Or at all. If it’s not in the movies, or the TV shows, it’s not canon and doesn’t matter.
(I really, truly liked the two Knights of the Old Republic video games, and the Knights of the Old Republic comic book series from Dark Horse was pretty good, but I never mixed them with the movie continuity in my mind.)
Oh neat, I don’t remember that scene.
Ooh, see now you’re going for the deep dive. Their sitting on things and talking – and indeed a lot of that stuff right up to Luke fighting with Ren and catching the lightsaber – could all just be directly inside the observer’s head. It could be a Force resonance with their own midichlorians. Which would explain why Leia didn’t see the ghosts in Jedi yet. She wasn’t trained.
So they weren’t affecting light and sound waves. They were just affecting Luke.
Until we get to the point where Hux and others were seeing Luke’s projection, and other physical stuff like you mentioned – could be a result of the place they’re operating in.
Also, I seem to recall hearing somewhere that the “sound in space” thing was explained (although not canonically, unless it’s part of the TV canon) as sound systems inside the ships, linked up to sensors, designed to give spacefarers a sense of the things around them like they would behave in atmosphere. Because the silence could be off-putting.
I don’t think that explains all the instances of sound in space though. Certainly the third-person shots of ships in flight doesn’t do it. But you don’t like the omniscient / omnipresent narrator and POV anyway, so that’s on you.
Moreover, I rather like the idea of the Death Star having coalesced a thin but sound-compatible atmosphere on its surface.
Your subjective opinion of what constitutes “Star Wars that actually counts” for the purposes of your conclusions is duly noted. I will use it as a metaphorical grain of salt from here on in.
Right. What I mean is, we disagree on these actually being inconsistencies, let alone issues. But if they are for you, they are for you. That’s the beauty of subjectivity and individual meaning, as we get into below.
Yeah, now that I’ll grant you, that was dumb. I never really thought about it before but why not just fan out and jump in and hammer them? I’m willing to accept there are reasons, beyond “so the movie can happen”, but they’re not readily apparent and not even lampshaded.
Hell, I’d happily just accept “sadistic bad guy running the vermin into the ground for fun because he’s getting paid by the hour not by the job”. It’s not like bad guys and their monologues aren’t a celebrated trope of their own. And you know my Final Fall of Man Big Bad, Hacticos, was very much a “let’s blow a hole in this gas giant and blast the moon into space as well as just shooting it” style bad guy.
Still, could be stated for us.
I never understood the shields thing in Star Wars, but just assumed the bombs were enough to bust them when dropped in that quantity. I further assumed that the bombs “fell” because either the planet was still close enough to assign “up” and “down” values to that volume of space, or else they were just being sort of rolled out of the bay with a little mechanical momentum and being allowed to coast to the target. What I don’t understand is why send all the bombers in if one was enough to get the job done? Send in one, with a heavy protective force.
But y’know, like the Pitch Meetings pitcher says, “so the movie can happen.”
Weird set of lines being drawn here. There’s plenty of stuff at any snapshot of the saga that you could pull out and say “why doesn’t that become more of a thing at other points?” Maybe you have to die and become one with the Force on that planet to gain full powers. Yoda got some because Dagobah was also strong in the Force. Qui-Gon got basically nothing because what was Naboo even.
And Ben and the Knights of Ren was just under-told, no argument there. But … I mean, there was an entire Jedi Council who could have helped Anakin not turn evil. You really expect them to help more after they’re dead?
I’ll check this out when I have time. Might be a follow-up blog post in it. In the meantime I’ll limit myself to responding to your points.
Sure, exactly, and that’s what I’m trying to avoid while still discussing what there is to discuss. It’s hard to say where “expressing our individual takes” ends and “trying to convince the other to adjust their takes” begins, and it’s starting to feel like we’ve reached the line for most of this.
Yep, for you. And that’s where we should end it because what more is there to say? Sucks if that ruined the movie (even a little) for you, and I mean that sincerely rather than snarkily. I’m not going to change your mind and make you like the parts you didn’t like, and you’re not going to ruin the movie for me, and there we are.
It’s still definitely interesting to see where these issues occurred and to think about how it might have been done differently – maybe in a way to leave us both happy with it. Because we pretty much agree on Rise of Skywalker, and there have definitely been movies that satisfied us both. Sadly, it seems like the main way to salvage the sequel trilogy for you is a large-scale remake of The Last Jedi. Which probably ain’t happening.
Wild. The battle of Endor was barely even a metaphor. Whether you want to say the Ewoks were Charlie and the Empire the US, or the Empire the Commies and the Rebels were the US helping out the grateful natives, it was all in the interpretation. The Ewoks definitely felt more like Charlie, though.
*shakes head fondly*
So why did you do this? Are you a masochist?
You’re deluding yourself! This is utterly subjective from beginning to end. How can you not see that?
I can’t personally think of anything less interesting than a breakdown of the clinical technical facts of a movie’s creation (which is why I’m heartily glad we’re not even close to doing that). Every part of an artistic creation is an adjustable variable for every viewer.
And this some wanky bullplop but okay. I’m just concerned that your “objective” approach is far more susceptible to the “one take is right and the other takes are wrong” pitfall. Like, if you want to say there were scenes in The Last Jedi that didn’t fit the overall theme, the only way we can conclude that is that it’s utterly subjective because for me they fit the theme perfectly. If you want to take an “objective” structuralist approach, we’re gonna end up disproving your quibbles and forcing you to love the fuck out of this movie and wish there was more Canto Bight all up in that shit. So prepare yourself.
Since you didn’t even make it to the end of the second book in that trilogy, I’m dismissing your opinion as Fake Hindle Geek spurious.
No but seriously though, was the issue actually with the internal structuring of that one story (three stories), or was it a case of you not being in possession of all the facts? Because it was absolutely supposed to be a bizarre deep-end jump into the wider urverse and it’s not going to tie together until the end (if I do it right, which is why it’s taking me a while).
If there were “objective” issues with the structure, I don’t remember you mentioning them.
Unless you want to pretend there are objective elements. In which case, my name is Inigo Montoya.
The difference between our viewpoints, as far as I can see, is that if I like something enough (and my bar is set very differently to yours), I’ll make up a retcon of my own (the kids call this headcanon these days) and go with that until they provide one of their own or make my retcon impossible, at which point I will readjust. You’ll also overlook “plot holes” if you like the story enough, but you’re more clinical in your approach and it seems to spoil your enjoyment more often, which is unfortunate.
You’re a rational man swimming in the deep, dark waters of nonsense.
In either case, I don’t think any of the issues you raised constitute actual objective flaws, because – as pointed out – they have internal consistency and precedent. That they’re still an issue for you (despite the facts of what happened in each movie) makes it absolutely fine – just unfortunate that this was how it went for you. And underlines how subjective it is.
I also don’t want that to sound like I’m dismissing them. They’re still perfectly valid and there doesn’t seem to be anything to be done about it. It is what it is. You didn’t like these elements of the movie. That’s a bummer. Still being sincere and not snarky, although I did slip up a bit further up the post.
“Come on *belch* Morty, you piece of shit, we can do this once, maybe twice in a season before fans start complaining.” *jumps to identical parallel universe that didn’t get Cronenberg’d*
Oh! And an additional note about the nonsensical chase in The Last Jedi: If Hux was indeed a spy all along, maybe this was his way of delaying the destruction so that the Resistance could get away. However, that doesn’t explain why nobody else in the First Order didn’t say “hold on, we still have fuel, right?”
Indeed, that’s one perfectly fine way of explaining away the ghosts’ apparent physicality. Up until you get to Yoda setting fire on the tree and, as you yourself point out, Luke catching the lightsaber. Both events are presumably real, not something in the observer’s mind.
But, again, since both take place on the island, I’ll give them a pass. This is not a major issue for me.
Is that snark? I can’t quite tell, so I don’t know how to calibrate my answer. In any case, context matters. As does being clear about said context, which I think I’ve been. Talking about continuity in Star Wars hinges crucially on what you include in and exclude from the discussion, and those choices can be very subjective.
Now, while I’m perfectly happy to include the TV shows as canon, I’ve no interest in the novels and comics produced under Disney’s stewardship, which are also officially canon (and none of which I’ve actually read, so I couldn’t even comment on them). And as to the animated TV shows, as much as I’ve enjoyed them, subjectively I just cannot quite grant them the same level of canon cred as I do the live-action movies, simply because live-action trumps animation in my head. This is obviously a very personal preference or quirk or whatever you want to call it, but it’s where the “corest core” comes from.
Sidebar: I generally dislike cross-media story continuities, especially ones that start from live-action. When you spin off a live-action movie or show into, for example, a comic book, it usually feels like an existential downgrade to me. Can’t help it.
I think shields have been inconsistently handled from pretty much the start. The original trilogy only talks about them, of course. I’m guessing Lucas lacked the effects technology and/or resources to render them in film. If memory serves, Episode I was the first Star Wars movie to actually show shields, first on the droidekas, and it was a bit of a revelation (as was the Force Speed effect that followed, another first).
Sidebar: I think the first time I ever saw shields properly rendered on anything in live-action scifi was in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that was a true revelation.
The planet looked too far away for me, so I scratched that. I did entertain a roll-out mechanism option, but saw no indication of anything like that in repeat viewings, so I dropped that, too. But, yeah, the bigger issue here is that the whole bomber scene is just so dumbly realized. In fact, why not just lightspeed-ram the dreadnought with a tiny auto-piloted ship?
I was mainly thinking about Yoda, Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Qui-Gon, as those are the only confirmed ghosts in the movies. (Maybe the TV shows added a few more.) Remember that Qui-Gon was the first one to discover (or rediscover) this power, so there probably aren’t that many late Jedi who can manifest themselves from beyond the grave. (Which kind of puts a question mark on the scene at the end TRoS where Rey hears the voices of dozens of dead Jedi. But whatever.)
The Jedi Council were clearly a horribly inept and gullible group of people, so fuck no, I wouldn’t count on them either way.
Please don’t think I was asking you to respond to that writer’s points. That was just an aside in case you have the time and inclination for some extra SW analysis.
The meat of the above thread, which branched off from a discussion about Snoke’s Sithness, is the definition of a continuity error. It seems like we more or less agree on the definition, so there’s probably no point in working it further. However, having established what counts as a continuity error, we could focus on stuff that one of us dislikes precisely because they see it as a continuity error and look at whether it actually is a continuity error by their own definition. (I’ve certainly changed my mind about continuity errors before. For example, the time travel in Endgame seemed an inconsistent mess at first, but after a guy on another forum made a good case for the logic behind it, without the need for headcanon, it happily made more sense to me on subsequent viewings.)
But that might be a lot of work for little gain, and still be prone to unresolvable subjective takes, so… meh.
It is what it is, there’s no salvaging it. There’s good stuff in it, there’s bad stuff, and then there’s a lot of meh stuff in between. If I could go back in time and redo the trilogy, I’d start by sketching out the entire story in advance (with a brilliant team of writers) and then rewrite Episode VII along more original lines, and then go from there. I would also not hire Abrams to direct (much less write).
So out there. I’ve literally never before entertained the Vietnam War and the Battle of Endor together inside the same thought. (Even above, when first discussing the Vietnam angle, I was thinking about ANH.)
Assuming that’s not snark: I do this because we rarely discuss the “meaning” of a piece of fiction. We usually discuss plot, characters, continuity, storyworld, what made sense and what didn’t, what worked and what failed to, and so on. The kind of stuff I prefer. The closest we typically come to discussing meaning is themes and subtext. So, in short, I don’t need to be a masochist.
Maybe we need to calibrate what we mean by “meaning”.
Again, assuming you’re not just being snarky here, we probably need some serious semantic calibration before there’s any point in discussing this. To characterize a discussion of the elements and techniques that make up a narrative work as “utterly subjective from beginning to end” reads as naïve and useless hyperbole to me. What you seem to be saying is that the composition and reception of narratives (namely fiction) is so fundamentally subjective that we cannot say anything objective about any of it, which suggests that you believe there’s no structure or rules to how narratives are constructed or how they work their effect on a receiving mind. This would be patently false.
I strongly suspect this is not what you’re saying. I suspect you’re thinking about this in more specific terms than I am and/or from a different slant. But between the hyperbole, the potential snark, and especially the apparent misalignment of what we mean by “subjective”, “objective”, “structure”, “meaning”, etc., I just can’t tell.
For example, you seem to default to an objective-subjective binary: either something is open to interpretation or it’s fact. When it comes to narratives and their reception, I tend to think in terms of a continuum: some stuff is more open to interpretation and therefore more subjective, while some stuff has more of a logic or order to it, or is otherwise more fixed, and therefore lends itself to more objective-ish statements.
But, to rewind, were you just being snarky, and did I therefore just waste four paragraphs?
That’s a broad and loaded statement, but I’m going to entertain a loose and generic interpretation, and say: Sure, there are variables, but some are more determined than others.
(I have a sinking feeling that we’re about to set off on a horribly convoluted rabbit hole of a discussion where we’re mostly going to be talking past one another.)
Pretentious or not, that was an honest statement from me. You response, though, reads antagonistic and downright mean. Why phrase it like that? If I had thin skin, I’d probably feel hurt.
I admit that you’re probably not the right audience for statements like that, as you’ve often seemed suspicious and even contemptuous of academically-minded approaches to understanding how fiction works. (I’ve always found and, for some reason, still do find that attitude surprising in you.) But it was in a sidebar, so I figured what the hell. I’ll just check myself more in the future.
I’m not taking an “objective approach”. I think I’ve been pretty clear thus far that my takes on Star Wars are just that: mine and subject to my biases. If you need some takeaway from that aside of mine, ditch the caricature of me as a pretentious objectivist, and instead consider this: Most of what we’ve discussed here — plot, continuity, worldbuilding — falls in the category of narrative stuff about which we can make statements that (a) extend beyond the subjective and (b) we can judge against some evidence (assuming we can agree on the evidence, of course). Doesn’t mean that the statements aren’t also subjective, but they’re not all personal bias either.
Another way of saying that is that it’s not that I’m taking an “objective approach”, but that we’re both already mostly operating on narrative ground (i.e., topics) that I find compatible with takes that mix the subjective with the objective. That line is obviously really difficult to draw, though, which I think is the same thing as what you alluded to before with “discussing what there is to discuss”.
I don’t recall my issue being with the worldbuilding or the mythology. It was the first part that I had the most quibbles with, and those were mostly about the handling of narrative perspective and the plotting. It’s all in the PDFs.
That’s probably a fair assessment. You’re definitely more forgiving of mistakes and more prone to liking things than me. You’re also absolutely more content with fixing issues with headcanon. I’m fine with light corrective headcanon for plugging small holes, but, by and large, I find the need to retcon stuff in my head a symptom of narrative failure.
I’m tempted to draw a straight connective line between “Andy” and “Author”, and another one between “Timo” and “Academic”, but I’m sure that would be way too simplistic and probably also wrong.
I hate to object to a nice turn of phrase that’s also complimentary on the surface, but that really is just wrong. We’re both relatively rational, and fiction is not formless nonsense. And you must know this.
And I’ve yet to state that they are “objective flaws”. In fact, I haven’t even used the word “objective” before this post, and that’s by design: I do not want to push my takes as objective truths, and I don’t think that I have. But my takes are not purely subjective either, and neither are yours, and that’s where the debate takes place.
You also won’t catch me using a phrase like “objective flaw”, because it misses too much nuance: there’s plenty of space between objective and subjective, and a flaw is not an all-or-nothing characteristic.
The Holdo maneuver, for example, is many things for me: a visually spectacular scene, an exciting plot twist, a dumb plot twist, a key character moment, and a major failure of consistent worldbuilding. As to that last part, which is the flaw you’re looking for, I can point to the movie and every other Star Wars movie before it for the evidence that I think validates my judgment, but I cannot be sure that other people will agree with that evidence, and I cannot escape the possibility that both my choice of evidence and my judgement are, among other things, emotionally informed. And even if another person agreed with the evidence and my judgment of a worldbuilding failure, they might still not classify the issue as a flaw. They might just go “meh”.
If “as pointed out – they have internal consistency and precedent” and “despite the facts of what happened in each movie” refer to Joonatan’s reply from January 26, do check my rebuttal there.
You’re right about all this, and I’ll unpack below. Basically what we’re doing is (I think), you’re missing my tone, which is my fault; and I’m missing your terminology, which is also pretty much my fault. So I’ll try to do better here and keep the gleeful trampling to a minimum when you’re trying to have a proper discussion.
We do need to calibrate if we’re going to have any sort of in-depth comparative analysis of our takes on these movies and their individual components. First thing we need to calibrate is whether we’re talking about the nine-movie saga, the (eleven?)-feature-film set, the official Disney canon or something even broader as a basis for a) canon, and b) allowed establishment of consistency / lampshading events. Those two are sort of the same thing, but a bit different I think.
 I’d agree it makes sense to discount the “broader extended fandom canon” possibility, and would consider discarding the “full Disney canon” possibility too, based on what you’re saying here that’s what you want to do … although I don’t know if I approve of that calibration, it feels more like a dreameling-specific scope change.
Second thing we need to sort out is what we both want to say about objectivity vs. subjectivity. You’re right, some things can be argued and agreed more clinically and technically than others. But as far as I’m concerned, anything that has a bottom-line take-away that is different for one person than it is for another, it’s subjective. If the bottom line is the same regardless of the opinions of the viewer, it’s objective. And the thing is, we’ve covered a lot of things in these (particularly Star Wars for some reason) threads where we do have an objective technical feature, but the bottom line (flaw, fine, or enhancement) is entirely subjective.
What I’m saying is, objective is white and subjective is black, so if you want to talk about shades of grey (we’re taking that phrase back Goddamnit), let’s try not to use those terms. I will, for my part, try to bend from the “any blue dye in the water means you’re gay” viewpoint and accept that blue dye and red dye make purple dye. Or something. And I was certain I saw you mention the sliding scale of objectivity in one of your comments, which was why I started pushing back against it, so if I imagined it, that’s my bad. Still, I think we can deal. We’re big boys.
 Long story short, a debate about homosexuality raised the theory that if you’re straight, your water is clear. A single drop of gay sex and you’re not bi, you’re gay. The whole water goes blue. The obvious response is that you should add red dye for hetero sex, and then you get purple water, which is bi. And everyone gets their own shades. Weird metaphor but whatever. I used it. Can’t un-use it.
Anyway, that could all be fun but it will of course depend on how much time we have. Worth it? Maybe, maybe not. This is the Hatstand. I just need to remind myself of that.
Aha, and they both still take place in the presence only of a single Force-sensitive person. Luke could have lightning’d the temple, Rey could have Force-stopped the lightsaber she’d just thrown. And the rest, filled in by the Force Ghost to make it look like they were actually doing it.
Until we get to Krayt and – Hux and the others see Luke, right? That’s some Fight Club level shit right there, if they didn’t.
But okay. We’ll let it pass. It’s fascinating, and I left it in for two reasons. One was to add my suggestion about how the physical aspect might work. The other was to make it an example of how a seeming continuity-lapse can in fact act as a reveal to a continuity we didn’t know about. And retroactively means the other examples we have seen could also have had those characteristics, but didn’t, because reasons we don’t need to know about (unless they spoil your fun, in which case it might be nice to know about them). Yoda, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon could have had physical manifestations. Or it was linked to location.
Another thing that bugs me is, Qui-Gon “discovered” this power. And I can see him passing it on to … Yoda? The Council? Obi-Wan? So then Yoda and Obi-Wan had it. Then who passed it on to Anakin, to give him ghost-power at the end of Jedi? It sure wasn’t Obi-Wan. Then Luke and Leia both had it? Who taught them? The sacred texts? How did Luke find that planet anyway? Did the Force do it? I think that one might actually have been answered, but I’ve forgotten.
Seems like a power that way more Jedi should have had (setting aside the whole complication of the arena full of Sith Ghosts and the voices of all the Jedi, like you said down below – there are way more complications here than the movie canon will ever be able to explain), anyway, if it’s that easy to impart.
It was slight snark, but I did feel it was an example of shifting goalposts on your part. Okay, that’s not accurate because you never moved the goalposts. But perhaps you see what I mean. You’re discounting large parts of the lore while insisting that the lore be preserved, so that warranted some attention.
We can tackle it in shades of grey, if you want. Step into my brainsex dungeon.
Now, you have talked about, let’s say objectivity-spectrum facts here. And we all know the different levels of canon. We know the old expanded universe was thrown out. We also know that Disney instituted its own canon in multiple media forms. We know there are TV shows that inform the movies and vice versa (Darth Maul surviving Phantom Menace is a good example). These are as close to objective facts as we can get. The bottom line, as you say here, is subjective: what parts you choose to accept as “real Star Wars“. You didn’t phrase it that way, you were talking about “corest core canon”, but potato / sarlacc.
So yes, a bit snarky. I found your decision to limit canon to your chosen target to be a self-serving move. But it does help to simplify things.
Right. So if there was an official Disney canon retcon of a plot hole, you’d want it in movie-that-at-least-has-the-border-around-the-title-and-the-Star-Wars-logo-on-there form. Like Rogue One corrected the Death Star’s dumb flaw, and Solo fixed parsecs. Not that those had ruined anything for you anyway. But if there was feasibly a way to retroactively fix bomber gravity or hyperramming (and I can think of a half dozen just off the top of my head), it couldn’t be in a Disney spin-off book or comic, and you’d prefer it not be in the TV shows either. Just movies?
And if that happened, would you allow that explanation to retroactively fix Last Jedi for you? Or would you dismiss it as shoddy planning and patching-up after the fact, only reinforcing your judgement? It seems to me the movie had bigger problems for you but the disruption to canon and worldbuilding was almost a foundation stone of it.
I tend to agree. I was curious about the Buffy comics but never read them. I like the idea of a story crossing multiple media, but it has to be a special thing. Like, Doctor Who books. Anything goes, Doctor Who is absolutely spectacular nonsense.
Likewise, I consider my published books to be canon, and the aki’Pedia to be canon but somewhat in flux.
Book and TV show versions of George RR Martin’s stuff? Each had their own continuity, they didn’t complement each other the way a proper extended canon should.
And so on.
I agree. I guess, when they had the Star Destroyer flying along in a dogfight and they animated / superimposed an explosion on it and then there was no resultant damage to the model, that was meant to be the shields taking the brunt. Convenient and clever, in my view.
I don’t think I even noticed them in TNG. I think Independence Day showed them as an actual plot device for me, but that was mid-90s so pretty late in the game for us dinosaurs.
I really do want to see more explanation of why those things worked and why they’re not common practice. I mean, bombers are enough of a thing that they have their own starship class, so clearly that’s how they work, and the Canto Bight Illuminati R&D divisions had been working on it for a while. But turning a little ship or a torpedo into a superluminal rail cartridge? Should be a thing.
Holdo did it with a pretty big ship, which could be argued as a waste of resources. Maybe it was the mass that did it? In which case we need some prequel movie to show weapons development where this is played with, and anything smaller than a heavy cruiser just going blip and vanishing.
I have mechanisms for this in my own books. Going superluminal is very dependent on the relative gravity wells of the vessel and surrounding objects. It’s possible to relative-ram something but it takes synth-level calculation or you might as well just be ramming at sublight speeds.
Another one that bugged me, and I’m a little surprised you didn’t mention, was in Rise. The hyper skipping thing that Poe did. What the fuck was that? How was he clearly getting from star system to star system with such drastically different environments, so fast? I like the idea, and I loved the glimpses of all those worlds (although I think we’d both agree, they all definitely lacked worldbuilding, no sarcasm intended), but what was that move? How did it work, what was its precedent, was it just gratuitous planet-CGI? There are plenty of established ways we can show Poe being one Hell of a pilot.
Someone on the ground, for example, yelling “that’s one Hell of a pilot!” – that works.
No no, I was legit interested and I did already draft a bit of a response to the first bits of the page. But it’s a bit of a project. For another time.
Yeah, sounds like it could be a workable approach. Let’s see if the issues raised so far are all tapped out.
Also true. If we can agree that the bottom line will generally be “and that meant you didn’t like it and it spoiled the movie a bit, but I was okay with it”, then I think we can still debate the technicalities in a … let’s say less perversely subjective way than I’d been insisting on.
See, I’d agree with that. I’d also want to salvage a lot of the scenes and themes in Last Jedi that you probably wouldn’t want to use, so there’s a possible basis for discussion. Veers heavily into subjective take, though.
Nope, it sounds like we both have a similar idea about it, but I thought we were launching (at your instigation) into a discussion of it, and by way of introduction you were saying you didn’t like doing it. Hence me asking if you were a masochist. But it really was just a sidebar, so we can drop it there.
Me, I don’t mind talking about the meanings of stories. But that’s way personal and in this context seemed pointless. Like, for me the entire meaning of the whole epic was distilled into Canto Bight. For you, that scene was pointless. That right there is a gulf in subjective meaning.
Ooh, interesting, and I think I’ll have to sit on it for a while and see if I can formulate a better response. For now let’s just say that yes, I was being a bit hyperbolic (“balderdash! Madam you’re hysterical!”), but not precisely snarky in this case. It comes down to the difference between talking about the minutiae of these technical aspects (less subjective) and bringing it around to linking it into our take on the movie as a whole (more subjective).
But still very much subjective, even if only on the very basic level of “someone being unaware of these techniques and details is less likely to be critical of them”. Which may not apply to us … but certainly applies to me more than it does you. I’m not cinematography-oriented in my analysis. Nor is my insistence on plotting and structure consistent in any way based on my academic background, the way it is with yours.
Weirdly, I think both are true.
This is the Hatstand! No paragraph is wasted.
“Horribly Convoluted Rabbit Hole Of A Discussion Where We’re Mostly Going To Be Talking Past One Another” are my middle names.
Sorry, I found myself unable to hold back the glee at this point. My more serious responses to this are all above, anyway. And below. But you knew I was a scorpion when you picked me up.
No, you’re right. I meant this as entirely an affectionate and fond bit of ribbing to cover my honest appreciation of the viewpoint. But in the context, my tone was mean and I should have spelled it out.
That is a cultural thing. That’s the Australian you’re butting heads with.
I need to rein it in, because old school anti-pretension is too easy to fold into new wave anti-intellectualism, and I will not be having with that.
No need, I need to check myself and I’m glad you called me out. I apologise.
Agreed! Excellent summation.
Again, nothing but agreement here.
That’s fair. The Archangel Barry was an old piece of storytelling that I could have pulled together better.
So (assuming you haven’t answered above) how do you feel about the Star Wars Story retcons (Death Star flaw, parsec being a distance)? To my mind, these are probably plot holes you’d either already forgiven as utterly inconsequential, or else hadn’t even considered plot holes in the first place? And yet, if other Stories were to fix some of the Last Jedi issues, how do you think you’d deal with that?
Because I wouldn’t rule out the likelihood that they will.
It just seems like there’s a bias (which you have already acknowledged), a tendency to forgive the flaws of the cherished childhood trilogy, and pick apart the modern continuations. And not allow any correction of flaws in the latter, while correction of flaws in the former are either magnanimously greeted with “you didn’t need to do that” or given full “explanation accepted” passes.
That’s just my impression of what’s happening, though. And it’s coloured by the fact that I don’t share your viewpoint on most of it.
*shrug* It’s a simplification, but I have no objections to that.
Oh no. No, the universe is random and meaningless right down to the subatomic level. Everything that happens is a complete cosmic accident dictated by the titanic rules of gravity and its fellows. Storytelling, from religion all the way through to the Holdo Manoeuvre, is humanity’s desperate, hopeless attempt to impose its own control over an infinite, turbulent and inevitable ocean of darkness. Even science, and our attempts to explain the titans of gravity and mass and magnetism, is just another story we’re screaming into the depths.
When you dabble in the shallows of that ocean, you need to be aware of the sheer volume of what the light can’t reach. And the more you splash around with those “rational” details, the more risk of bringing up the leviathan.
It’s a tortured metaphor, sir, but it checks out.
I tried to find it because I was sure you had, and that was the only reason I started. But maybe I fell into the trap of equating “less subjective” with “more objective” by default. I mean, I’d argue that’s not a trap, because words mean things, but it doesn’t really matter. I think we’re on the same page, or at least in the same book.
Here it is!
Agreed. But from those points, we arrive at a different bottom line. These things happened, and it retroactively rewrites the laws of physics of the galaxy far, far away, throughout history. These things, unless just newly discovered somehow, were always a thing. Why weren’t those things used before? Did we just not get a chance to see them? Was it a function of real-world culture – the idea of kamikaze ramming a bit too charged in our reality before now (hard to imagine it’s less charged today though…)? Who knows?
Definitely room for discussion, though. I’m interested in a lot of this and will do my best to limit my glee, hyperbole and Force-choking to illustrative moments only.
Got it. Makes so much more sense now.
I would be happiest with sticking to just the live-action movies, all ten of them. It’s easy enough to discuss the Skywalker Saga as its own subset in that context, if and when necessary.
I would also include The Mandalorian, as it’s live-action and officially canon. Yet to see it, though, so I can’t say anything about it.
In addition, since they’re officially canon, and since a movie actually references one, I feel like we need to also accommodate The Clone Wars (movie and series) and Rebels.
Anything beyond that, officially canon or not, I got no interest in.
Now, this is obviously a biased and somewhat arbitrary set, but it’s what fuzzily, intuitively constitutes Star Wars in my head and what’s therefore my go-to context when thinking and talking about Star Wars. This set has also been my reference here (save for The Mandalorian, simply because I’ve yet to see it, as I said).
What’s your preference?
I think I’m just fundamentally uncomfortable with the term “objective”, because I read it as a very absolute statement. I’m much more at ease with “subjective”, since, to me, it has a sliding scale built into it, which makes it a safer concept to wield. The way I reconcile this is by just extending that sliding scale from subjective to objective. And it’s there, among the shades of gray, where I think most stuff fits in anyhoo, and which I do want to keep in the discussion, since I don’t see how we can not.
But, yes, maybe we should just stop using “objective” and “subjective”.
You didn’t bring it up specifically, but, as a general point, I do think we can judge subjective takeaways of the same thing as more valid or less valid. Which is to say interpretations and opinions are not equal. Depends on how informed and internally consistent they are. In other words, even if there is a bottom-line takeaway that’s different across people, we can still have useful, reasonable arguments over those takeaways. (Which is what we do here all the time.)
PS. The above is not my final take on the objective-subjective issue. This is one of those things that I have a fuzzy grasp internally, but that defies easy articulating.
Given how long it took me to get this set of replies out, I think we can start ramping this down. For now. I’m sure we’ll be back to this same stuff when the next big Star Wars thing hits.
But Luke’s not yet a Force Ghost there. He’s just a projection, an illusion. Basically, a spell cast by a living Jedi. Makes sense to me that others would see the effect, not just Ren and Leia.
 If you’ve ever wondered why I retain your emphasis except for the underline, it’s because I’ve yet to figure out which tag gives me the underline in WordPress comments. Because it’s not “u”, as it was deprecated way back in HTML4, and there’s no semantic alternative (e.g., such as “strong” for “b”). 
 Why WordPress doesn’t provide simple formatting controls for comments for non-admin users is beyond me.
Anakin getting the power makes no sense, I agree. One of those cases where the story simply dictated that he needed to have it in order to be able to stand next to Ghost Yoda and Ghost Obi-Wan at the end.
I can see Luke and Leia learning it from the other Ghosts, though. If we go by what Episode III seems to suggest, Yoda and Obi-Wan both learned the power from Ghost Qui-Gon.
Well, it’s certainly self-serving in the sense that that subset is what I’m most familiar with and what constitutes “true” Star Wars for me, as already discussed. If I actually had shifted the goalposts to make my arguments, then you would’ve been completely correct to call me out, but, for me, the goalposts are where they’ve been all along, and my arguments are consistent with that. Now, you can obviously question my original placement of said goalposts, but that’s a separate discussion (which we’re now having above).
Yup, that about covers it. Nothing to add.
If the explanation was well done, then sure, it could work as a retroactive patch, no problem. But, like you say, it would not “fix” TLJ for me, since the movie had other than just worldbuilding consistency issues for me. (Then again, as you rightly surmise, those were pretty big individual hits for me.)
Given how much you love good worldbuilding in stories, apparently to the point where you can forgive alotta lot if the storyworld is sufficiently interesting and well-realized — Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets comes to mind — I would expect you to also have more of a beef with worldbuilding inconsistencies. (And we clearly recognize the same inconsistencies in Star Wars, even if our takeaways differ.)
Yes, it would’ve been so easy to justify in the worldbuilding with just a few quick additions!
Maybe ships have built-in safeties to prevent hyperramming? Or maybe they have built-in security measures to prevent hyperramming in their vicinity (since safeties would be circumvented anyway)? Or maybe the physics allow it in only certain situations? Something!
Where on the same page here, then.
I actually read the first two or so seasons of the Buffy comics, and while they were fine as comics, they just didn’t feel like the real thing.
Wait, aki’Pedia is not fully canon?
Yes, that! That really blew my mind in the theaters.
Which is why you should be goddamn consulting in those writers’ rooms.
But I did mention it! It’s included in:
I groaned internally during that scene. But, exhausted by Holdogate, I just didn’t have it in me to ultimately give a shit. That applies to so much of the movie for me. (I’ve yet to see it a second time, actually. Not really even feeling the urge.)
I also groaned a tiny bit in TFA when Han hyperjumped the Falcon past Starkiller’s shields, but mostly because of how fast and easy it seemed to be. The maneuver itself made sense to me, but I would’ve expected more nav computer calculation stuff, as the jump should’ve been super hard to pull off.
So much agreement.
Well, I find that I mostly agree with this.
Your touch of hyperbole earlier clearly just threw me off again, and we were probably again applying different takes on “subjective” as used by both. Let’s move on!
All is well. I was 99% sure you were not being mean on purpose, but that I was just missing something. Which, it turns out, was that we were operating at those different tones you mentioned.
To the first: Yes, mostly inconsequential stuff for me. (But I think Solo gave a pretty awkward explanation for the parsec issue. It was clearly just a blunder in the original, and there’s really no way to cleanly fix it.)
To the second: I’d be OK with it, if it was well done. See above.
I’m sure that’s at least partly the case. I’m obviously watching the new movies through different eyes than the older ones. The experience of the originals is also necessarily more fixed and more cherished in my mind than that of the newer ones.
Yeah, Imma just draw that line.
Goddamn authors and their existential angst.
But they still retroactively rewrite the laws of physics inside the storyworld, which empirically  makes them worldbuilding consistency errors in the narrative, right? If you now go back to an earlier movie, you’re going to carry that dissonance, that discrepancy with you. Which makes the experience a little bit less. Or it does for me, and that’s sad.
 Oh, God, Timo! You found another loaded word! 
 I’m not sure I entirely stand by that “empirically” there, but it was just too good a lexical callback to miss.
As much as I enjoy a good bit of glee or cheek in a discussion, and as much as I dislike the idea of holding you back from being you — verbal acrobatics and all — I do find that I’m increasingly most comfortable (and patient) with level, serious, tonally consistent discussions when online. Maybe I’m just growing old.
And we do know from experience that you can easily dial it up to too-witty for me to keep up. (Plain fact. No flattery.)
Eleven. Or which are we not counting, Rogue One or Solo?
I don’t remember the Clone Wars movie, I guess it was animated? Anyway sure, I’d be happy to consider all of these canon, officially, for the purposes of solving technical and continuity tie-breakers. But like you, I haven’t really seen any of them (yet?) so I don’t mind skimming over them either.
Your subjective take on it is fine with me. Always was.
Okay, aside from that one just up there, I’m done.
That sounds like fun.
And this sounds self-serving. How about we just agree that opinions and interpretations are not equal, and what it actually depends on is how creatively and colourfully they are expressed?
Yeah, I like that better.
No but seriously, I have a definite issue with this. When we’re talking about things that register on the scientific spectrum, like matters of medicine or climate or astronomy, of course knowledge and consistency make an opinion / interpretation more valid. When it’s a piece of art or entertainment, it feels intellectually shitty to put one above another. Depends on the intention, of course.
And I’ve just been having a discussion elsewhere about the slippery slope / thin end of the wedge when it comes to anti-intellectual and ignorance-glorifying cultural shifts (experts don’t matter / my feelings are worth as much as your knowledge), and it feels weird to be on the other side of that conversation now.
That’s true. Inadmissible then. Hell of an illusion, though. Mind you, the Rey-Renn Force binary enables spontaneous matter teleportation so…
For the record, underline is “u” in the pointy brackets. But there is no underline button even for me, and I can only get underlines to work using “u” in one specific admin-commenting area. If I just write the comment into a reply on the blog using the reply button, italics is about my limit. Even if I use “u”, the formatting doesn’t appear in the comment unless I come to the special editing spot and add the tags back in. Which is why sometimes I don’t use underline either.
Seems like it’s a ton of extra work and server space?
But we forgive it, because we love the story.
For you, the goalposts are unmoved. From my perspective, outside your head, they moved. What constitutes canon changed according to what you said, in response to points made.
I don’t think there’s much left to discuss then. Because that’s completely subjective and irreconcilable.
I don’t see worldbuilding issues. I see tiny glimpses of worlds, that I can safely assume to have more to them, and am happy with that. If I want to find out more, I can move beyond dreameling-canon for it.
It’s canon, but it can be edited. The books are set in stone.
Agreed, again. The hyper-skipping thing was a case of “that just raises further questions!” for me.
Yeah, but Han Solo is a super awesome pilot and smuggler and stuff, right? I’d expect him to have a lot of these little tricks.
You have no idea.
I’d need to see way more solid facts and figures to really allow it, but on the grounds of “the Empire is that thing that’s in the Star Wars“, I will relax my grasp this time. Lest too many things slip through my fingers.
I can’t make any promises, and it doesn’t seem like there’s much to add to this right now – as you said, it can wait for the next discussion (or the Rogue One discussion you still owe me). And my verbal acrobatics and aggressive flippancy vary from day to day along with my will to live, so there’s that to contend with.
Oops. Math fail. Yeah, eleven.
The movie was the pilot for the series:
Proper theatrical release and all. The series itself is actually better, or it eventually gets better, than the movie.
All I’m really saying is that most pieces of art and entertainment have some structure or logic to them — they’re not random, formless, arbitrary objects — and that we can therefore have rational discussions about them, how they work, how successful they are, and so on. That’s pretty much the basis of art criticism and aesthetics, and the academic study of the arts (and of pop culture).
This is separate from one’s emotional or gut response to a piece of art. You can simply like or dislike a piece, and there’s really no arguing over that. Arguments over taste are obviously pretty pointless.
But when we start discussing and studying a piece critically and analytically, then it’s no longer just a matter of gut and personal taste. It’s still biased and skewed, of course, but you can nonetheless check it against something more solid that just your feels. And that’s where my “interpretations and opinions are not equal” comes in. In a rational discussion, some arguments can be more rational than others.
I’m basically echoing the discussion about subjective vs. objective we already had above, so I’ll just move on.
Assuming that wasn’t sarcasm, I’m pretty sure it would not cost them a lot. Implementing a simple toolbar as an alternative to the manual formatting tags that the platform already supports doesn’t seem like that complex of a development task. And having more formatting tags crop up in replies doesn’t strike me as something that should be a storage space issue these days.
Come to think of it, Anakin appearing next to Yoda and Obi-Wan wasn’t that big of a logic deal back when Episode VI came out, since Episodes IV and V hadn’t really established that much about Force Ghosts. It was really Episode III that added more lore there, which then made Anakin’s inclusion more overtly nonsensical. (Let’s not get into Hayden Christensen taking over from Sebastian Shaw.)
So, the young me in the 80s probably had zero issues with Anakin’s Force Ghost. (I’m also pretty sure the young me wasn’t as anal about canon and continuity as the old me is.)
Well, sure, in so far as I didn’t explicitly lay out the full canon/context in my head at the start of the discussion. Which means you can either give me the benefit of the doubt and allow that I never actually included, for example, the EU in the context in which I was discussing continuity, or you can deny me that courtesy and just assume I dropped EU only when it became an argumentative problem for me. (I thought you already did the former, but since we keeping circling this, I feel like you want to go with the latter.)
The young me probably would’ve agreed with you. The old me… enh.
Fair enough. Life has a way of coming in the way.
But as to Star Wars, yeah, I guess we’ve exhausted the topic for now.
As a final note, I think it speaks volumes that this discussion extension to your review of The Rise of Skywalker barely bothered with The Rise of Skywalker. It’s just not that good a movie, is it? What a shame.
Oh, neat. I wasn’t aware of this! Interesting.
I see what you’re saying here but I think – especially in the context of things we’re discussing here – I disagree with the concept.
Now as you say, we can certainly talk about more technical and concrete elements of the story, but we don’t seem to have done that since The Rise of Skywalker was such a meh movie. So it’s pretty much disposable as a debate path.
Hee, it wasn’t sarcasm, but now that you mention it, it wouldn’t really take that much space or effort, would it.
I’m pleased to have retained the wide-eyed imaginativeness and wonder of youth. The Rise of Skywalker was meh as fuck though.
That feels like a bit of an unfair characterisation but it doesn’t bother me. I’m not the world’s most courteous of cunts.
It did seem like you started at one conclusion and then weeded out stuff that others were including in order to preserve your conclusion against all defending (or even just plain alternative) points. But I’m satisfied with the fact that you’ve arrived at “I’m only counting a fixed part of the whole and have become way more nitpicky and critical as I’ve gotten older” as your summary.
On this we can absolutely agree.
We can always return to this when debating the next big pop culture movie event, which I’m guessing will be a Marvel movie, a Star Wars movie, or an Avatar movie. In short, a Disney movie. Christ.
I suspect we’re not entirely calibrated here, though, even if we might both feel we are, but we can recalibrate next time.
You make me feel so old.
Fair enough. Star Wars is a deeply rooted, hugely formative, giant, pervasive, personal, messy web of stuff in my head, with decades worth of deposits and layers, so it’s no surprise I come to any discussion of Star Wars with a lot of secret baggage that I don’t even think about, much less think to mention. I just need to be more careful and mindful.
And on that note, are we finally done? 🙂
Feels like we’ve been at this forever. (Not because this is anywhere near the most text we’ve produced across a single discussion, but because my tardiness in replying has dragged this thing along for like half a year.)
We really are spoiled for choice aren’t we?
I mean you are way older than me so that checks out.
No hey, and with this in mind, I really should give you more leeway in discussing it. As I’ve said before, I’m really more “take it or leave it” when it comes to the big nerd fandoms of Star Wars and Star Trek. I enjoy them very much as a casual consumer. I would not dive this deep into something I considered as precious and formative to my own geek-psyche. Doctor Who, for example.
So, I appreciate that.
Oh gee, sorry to browbeat you so constantly.
Yeah, everyone’s been pretty fucking lazy on this blog lately and I’m pretty un-fucking-impressed.
Maybe we should branch out more. I hear good things about Bollywood scifi.
I need a GT.
It’s all good. I’ve learned something from this discussion, so it really actually is all good.
Yeah! And even when you don’t actually demand or otherwise say anything I can feel the waves of anxious expectation emanate from you across the aether. It’s so stressful.
Seriously, though, I kinda just want to archive this Word document that I’m using to write and spellcheck my TRoS replies. It’s a thing with me.
Well, at least there’s some more TRoS stuff (weee!) coming once I’ve rewatched the movie on BD!
So, yeah, seems we’re not done yet.
As to said laziness at large, for my part, I think I’ve gradually settled into this new behavioral mode where I simply don’t spend that much time discussing stuff online in my free time anymore. I don’t get the same sense of joy or reward from having my say in public or arguing my point of view as I did before. I think part of it is that I know no one really cares, and that none of it really matters in the long run or in the big scheme of things. I know what’s in my head, and I’m happy to discuss it, especially face-to-face over a cup of coffee or a pint, but I just don’t feel the need to broadcast it as much anymore.
Also, all of my blog feeds are now in Feedly (https://feedly.com/), which doesn’t throw me any notifications, so I get my updates, including those from Hatboy’s Hatstand, only when I choose to check Feedly. (I’ve disabled pretty much all notifications from WordPress.) I’m sure all of this affects my level and frequency of engagement.
Like I said before, I may just be getting old.
Meh. Enh. Close enough.
Oh, Disney, this could’ve been so great.
I do sit and refresh my blog page every couple of hours to see if anything’s slipped through my notifications net. It’s so exciting when I get a bunch of comments. *sigh*
Yes, that’s good! Let me know if you wind up with any additional findings or any expansion on enh.
I’m pretty much the same. I do still like a good intelligent and in-depth conversation but it has to have some respect and some sense of progress to it. I still sometimes involve myself in Arguing On The Internet, but it tends to be in an attempt to goad concessions and rational discourse from people rather than shouting them down. Weird but true! I’ve screencapped a few of them on the blog. It’s better to have a level-headed assembly of points and see if you can get anyone to respond to them. Usually it’s more about who is reading along than who you’re arguing with. The one you’re arguing with is very often just a huge waste of time.
Not on the blog, obviously, but social media shouting matches in general.
Another question: Is this canon?
Lot of “great” explanations of inconsistencies there. I’m with Vito, I feel bad for the author who had such a hard job. But such explanations are, I feel, very much my wheelhouse so I feel a kinship with Hidalgo here.
(Vito seems like an almost caricatured neckbeard who hated the movies with a passion. but he’s also kind of funny)
Never watched this Vito dude before, but he is funny.
I guess the visual dictionaries are officially canon. However, for my Curated Star Wars Canon, which already omits the official novels, Imma definitely also omit the visual dictionaries. Again, the movies should make sense on their own.
Still. “Spacetime-bending quintessence physics.” Brilliant. 😀
Yeah, if the movies don’t make sense on their own I’m all for people getting help if they can’t make up their own explanations. It looks like we all have our own canon, and that’s fine, but it makes certain discussions fairly pointless.
Sure, and I got nothing against supplementary or spinoff material per se. My main issue — which I’m sure is already perfectly and nauseatingly clear to you, but I just so like the sound of my own words — is with “main” works (in the case of Star Wars, arguably the movies) that fail to make sense on their own as coherent narratives. Ideally, any supplementary material will therefore expand and enrich the main work rather than retroactively fix it, or just make a bigger mess.
In principle, I love the idea of those visual dictionaries. Back in the day, I loved the original Star Wars RPG sourcebooks from West End Games, since they opened up the verse in wonderful (if not canonical) ways.
Yeah, but this is a feature not a bug. You can have a three-movie story that is simple and elegant and makes sense on its face (and there are plenty of things in the original trilogy we could argue only make sense with the inclusion of wider lore), or you can have a 9-movie / 11-movie / movies-and-TV-show cinematic universe with a whole lot of moving parts and side-stories that require explanations sometimes. You can’t have the simplicity of the first option in the second.
If you want to make the argument that they should never have made more Star Wars movies after Return of the Jedi, I’m here for you but that’s a fairly sterile argument and I’m pretty sure you’re not trying to make it.
No, that’s not what I’m saying at all. Not sure how you read that in there to begin with. I’m happy they made more Star Wars. I just wish they’d done a better job, as discussed at length above and elsewhere on this blog (as far as the new trilogy goes).
The prequels at least follow a consistent vision and mostly make sense without off-movie explaining and fixing (even if it can be a flimsy kind of sense). R1 and Solo also work mostly fine in the established movie continuum without needing supplementary material to make retroactive/retconned sense.
You could have absolutely made a coherent trilogy that built on and expanded on the two preceding trilogies in internally consistent-ish ways (and with a side feed of TV canon, why not). But Disney didn’t do that. Instead, despite the promising start, we got something that’s kind of a mess as a whole.
So, it’s not about features and bugs. It’s about poor planning and poor execution. And, again, it’s such a shame.
It seemed like the only alternative. Making more movies will always widen the scope and require some extra knowledge in order to fully grasp everything that’s going on – and that’s a positive thing. I can’t imagine a movie that expands out into a franchise without needing any deeper knowledge, at least for full enjoyment. That would suck.
A viewer can still enjoy all these movies without the additional explanations and retcons. They’re just not going to get all the levels, and that’s fine. You can’t enjoy the movies because of the inconsistencies and incompleteness that comes with the territory of expanding a story. And that’s also fine. Although yeah, a shame.
The sequel trilogy was definitely a mess and the Stories did a better job sticking to the existing rules. That the sequel trilogy needed this sort of explanation-set in a book, even if only for certain members of the audience, is unfortunate. Nobody’s here to say they couldn’t have done the sequel trilogy better.
Fair enough. When you expand a movie into a trilogy or a series or a media franchise you inevitably make things more complex for sure. But whether you also inevitably need more and more extra-movie material to manage (creator) and enjoy (consumer) that complexity, I’m not so sure about. I think it depends. But I don’t want to quibble.
I think the main takeaway here is not the logic or logistics of telling expansive stories, though, but our differing sensibilities (which is not news): You allow for movies and movie sequences to rely on / refer to worldbuilding and other information established outside of those movies in some other media belonging to the same story universe, whereas I generally do not. If a movie does not explain or otherwise justify some detail that needs to make sense within the movie, you see an opportunity , whereas I see a failure. As a rule.
 Opportunity for the creators to come up with some extra material or for the audience to engage in some creative imagining.
That’s fully fair, I didn’t even mean to frame my response as a counter or disagreement but we are what we are.
Another thing that occurred to me while thinking about this was that I was thinking about a trilogy like The Lord of the Rings. You benefit from the massive expanded lore but you don’t need it. Then there’s a prequel trilogy and it does kind of bank on you knowing the Lost Tales, the Appendices and the Silmarillion in order to look at it as anything but a huge overstuffed mess.
So, is Star Wars the US’s Lord of the Rings? Do we hold it to that sort of standard? Maybe. It’s a big creation. But ultimately I think the answer is, we can if we want to. Some people will go in blind and be fine with it, others will go in blind and walk out going “what the fuck”. And the same goes for those who go in fully-informed.
Interesting stuff, not sure where I’m going with it.
I think Jackson’s movie trilogies both stand well on their own (or as a single whole) narratively. You don’t need to look outside them to understand what’s going on. Everything you need is set up and explored in the movies, and the story world remains internally coherent and consistent throughout. (With the possible minor exception of Legolas across the two trilogies, and maybe a few other things.)
Tolkien pretty much took care of the planning and plotting and worldbuilding for the filmmakers, so they never needed to come up with shit on the fly (even if they did adapt the shit out of things). They had a solid blueprint. The closest Star Wars has ever come to this was the Prequels.
(Funnily enough, Jackson’s two trilogies are way more aligned with one another than Tolkien’s two books are, since Tolkien retconned a lot of stuff in The Lord of the Rings.)
Come to think of it, not having read any Tolkien might be better for enjoying the movies, since they do change, condense, and omit quite a bit of stuff from the books, and if you really love the books and cannot approach the movies as an alternative interpretation of the same story, then you might just hate the movies. (For me, though, having read The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit definitely added texture and depth to the movies.)
On a related note, Game of Thrones held up pretty nicely as a coherent piece of storytelling and worldbuilding for as long as they had books to adapt. But when the books ran out, shit started to unravel. The moral? Always wait for the fiction writer to think it through for you.
As to Star Wars being the The Lord of the Rings for the US? I don’t know. Both are certainly big mythos-building exercises. But I think it’s probably unfair to compare a book by a single author to a series of movies (and other stuff) by multiple authors. I also wonder whether Harry Potter is the new The Lord of the Rings for the UK?
Shit, where did the line breaks go?
Always looks weird to me depending on which element of the site I view the comment from. I’ll see if it needs fixing!
Again I’m left with nothing much to add or argue about here. And I think that’s fine.
Oh, and your line breaks look fine on the full view and my WP-admin view so I guess it just looked funny in preview?
Yeah that’s fair. I still think the “prequel” trilogy was more of a hot mess than the original because of the extra lore required to make it an actual trilogy, but there was also a whole lot of character bullshit (Evangeline Lily was there for no real reason, and yeah, Orlando Bloom’s continuity-breaking appearance was all on Jackson and the team, not Tolkien) messing things up. All of it more or less necessary, but still. The trolls didn’t have a talking wallet that yelled at Bilbo when he tried to pickpocket them, so I’m outraged.
Oh and how.
Yeah, I’m generally the same. My familiarity with the books made me love the original movies, and the fact that The Hobbit was such a different sort of book made me … I don’t know, can you picture me watching the movies, but sort of tilting my head a bit in confusion, smiling in a pained sort of way, and squinting every now and then as I try to see what exactly they were going for? It did that for the prequel movies. I still liked them, but fuck it they should have a) found a way to keep del Toro and b) gone dicks out for Harambe and done the whole fucking Silmarillion and all the lead-in, making The Hobbit the third movie in a proper prequel trilogy.
Hey, a girl can dream.
Oh, you know Imma agree with you on this one. You sly bastard.
Nah, that’s also fair, I was just spitballing on this point. The US has some great literary epics that could fit the bill. It seems like even Lovecraft is getting an interesting and nuanced TV reboot now, and if you want to talk mythos, forget about it.
As for Star Wars, I think you’re probably right – the latter movies depend rather more on retcons and infodumps from outside the immediate source to really work for a wide audience. The weird thing is, I would expect that sort of thing to be like catnip to the hardcore fans they seemed to be courting throughout the 21st Century’s movie additions, but the hardcore fans have seemed pretty consistently pissed about the new offerings. Instead, the latest movies seem more aimed at weirdcore fans like me, who liked Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. And that’s not a load-bearing set of fans. It’ll be interesting to see where they go next. Let’s not kid ourselves though – we’ll be spending money on Disney every time they bring out a new Star Wars offering. And, you know, every other day of the week too, because they’re the only game in town. What a world.
 Okay, Episode I was late 20th Century but the others are all 21st.
 Although maybe we still need to calibrate on what’s a hardcore fan. I don’t think there are any of them here, although you are probably the closest we have and let’s just say you’ve got issues with the new movies. You’re nowhere near the level of foaming hostility of most of the demographic, though. I think we used “old school fanboys” previously.
 Yeah I’m just making shit up now.
You wash your bitch mouth out right now.
That’s totally fine. I feel like we’re slowly semi-waffling to yet another end here.
We’ve managed to rack up a decent comment count for this post, though.
They were missing in the desktop browser reader view after I posted from that view. But now they look fine in the browser and also in the WP app. Did you fix them, or did the planets just align right again?
Oh, as a whole, it was a bloated mess of a story for sure. Too much stuff. I only meant that it at least remained relatively internally consistent. In my head, you can have, for example, a badly told story that nonetheless has good worldbuilding.
There’s a talking wallet in the book? Shit, I’ve forgotten so much.
Is that agreement, or did you forget a question mark?
Complete agreement. Absolutely loved the first trilogy. Lukewarm on the second (although it actually improved for me a little when I saw the extended editions on Blu-ray). Del Toro’s take would certainly have been interesting to see. I’ve never read the Silmarillion, but I know enough to wish that Jackson & co. had actually owned the full rights to all the books and lore, so that they could’ve at every point integrated and used whatever they needed
Yes, we can.
Know your audience, man, know your audience. Also, it’s just plain true.
If you believe the online rumors, there’s some organizational restructuring going on at Lucasfilm, with Kathleen Kennedy about to exit and whatnot. If that’s true, and I’m not at all certain it is, it’ll be semi-interesting to see who Disney puts in charge of the franchise going forward.
Honestly, I’m not sure what a “hardcore fan” of anything is. I quite love Firefly and Serenity, but I’m no Browncoat. I do love Star Wars, but I’m not married to it. So, no, I guess I’m not a hardcore fan. I’m OK with “fanboy”, though, even if that sounds a bit derogatory.
I like “weirdcore”. Sounds totally legit. Coin it.
Harry Potter’s never been my thing. As far as the content goes — and I can only go by the movies, as I’ve never read any of the books  — it’s nowhere to be found in my personal pantheon of excellent fantasy. But I’m pretty sure I would’ve quite loved it as a kid (which might have launched it into my pantheon).
But it’s clearly left a giant mark on the field, especially on the children’s and YA side, and on pop culture as a whole.
 I’ve listened to about a third of the book. My wife started reading it to our daughter in the evenings a while back. But she grew bored and we stopped.
Or where you referring to Rowling’s latest online controversy?
A-ha! The line breaks were again missing after I posted (desktop browser). But refreshing the page fix them. So, apparently some minor rendering/refresh bug on site.
PS. I just ordered the 4K Blu-ray of The Rise of Skywalker, so I just may pop back to this thread for a 2nd-viewing update. Sorry.
No, please do if anything leaps out at you on second viewing. My brother-in-law just watched it for the first time, since he’d previously been too scared (for context, he liked Episode VII and hated Episode VIII), and his response was pretty much the same as ours. “Meh.”
PPS. The Blu-ray is still waiting in the to-watch stack. 😦
This really nailed it.
Yup. Watched this a while back, and could only empathize.
Just hopping in to point out that there is no continuity or set in stone mythology in Star Wars. Never has been, never will be. It’s only there for drama, and can be endlessly retconned and changed as seen fit by whatever story requires it. Lucas knew this and messed with the stories endlessly. If it was set in stone, we’d have to deal with nonsense like a zombie clone of Luke who is called Luuke and a race of aliens that aren’t affected by either the Force or lightsabers.
This is true. But dreameling and I are technical writers. This isn’t ‘Nam, there are rules.
If we’re talking about everything from the movies to the TV shows to the movie novelizations to the endless mass of books, comics, and video games that make up the Expanded Universe, then fair enough. It’s a mess, from what I can tell.
But the current discussion has been expressly about the movies, the very core of the Star Wars canon. If you maintain that there’s no continuity there either, then we disagree, as there’s most definitely a continuity running through the movies, especially a continuity of worldbuilding and mythology. If there was none, then Lucas would not have even attempted to make the Prequels line up with the Originals, and none of the new movies from TFA onwards would have needed to worry about anything that came before them.
Now, the fact that there is a continuity does not meant that that continuity is unbroken or well-managed. Lucas himself obviously dropped the ball quite a few times in the Prequels and ended up bending over backwards in trying to make the ending of Episode III click with the opening state in Episode IV. Retconning in no way invalidates continuity. If anything, retconning enforces the fact that there is a continuity and that the storytellers are mindful of its existence (irrespective of whether they actually care about it).
Continuity, by definition, is not set in stone. It’s something that develops with every scene in a story and with every entry in a series of stories. How successful it is depends on how internally consistent it remains. The Star Wars movies, and especially the Skywalker Saga, clearly have issues with continuity. And, frustratingly, they’re issues that could’ve been avoided with some extra thought and planning.
Finally, this notion that worldbuilding and mythology are “only there for drama, and can be endlessly retconned and changed as seen fit” is both baffling and dispiriting to me. I can easily imagine how precisely this type of attitude in a storyteller results in failing to respect established worldbuilding. To my mind, the rules of a storyworld are an absolutely crucial aspect of any story. They help define what can and cannot happen, and, by extension, what the audience can expect to happen or not happen in a story. If you change the rules willy-nilly, you undermine the drama. To put it in extreme terms: If anything can happen, then nothing matters.
So, yeah, there are rules.
There really aren’t, and those that there are have already been done in the series and films. Hyperfuel? Done in Rebels and Clone Wars, referenced multiple times in each episode film – most notably in Phantom Menace where they have to stop on Naboo to refuel, and in Empire where Han is worried do they have enough fuel to reach Bespin. Bombs in space? Done in Empire, where the Empire is dropping them on the asteroid Han and co. are hiding. Weaponizing light speed? Done in Rogue One, where they use it to ram blockade runners against Star Destroyers.
etc etc etc etc.
This is another one of those things where we’re just going to have to disagree. You see a drama-first free-for-all, I see an obligation to consistent worldbuilding as a basis for good drama.
Fuel. Fair enough. Fuel is a thing in Star Wars. But it’s never really been a major thing in the movies. And, as already discussed above, fuel itself is not even the main issue here; the issue is how the fuel shortage is contrived into a major plot thread that conveniently forgets that the pursuing First Order ships have plenty of fuel to jump around as they please. It’s dumb plotting.
Bombs. The asteroid bombing in TESB is visually an aside. The tiny glowing objects we see might as well be propelled by rocket engines; they certainly drop pretty fast. The scene also provides a physics out in that the asteroid clearly (somehow) sports relatively strong gravity. It’s all a bit dubious, sure, but not at all difficult to make “sense” out of. By contrast, TLJ dwells on the bombers and shows us in close detail how the bombs free-fall out of the ship. Nothing seems to propel the bombs, and there’s no reason to assume the dreadnought exerts any significant gravitational pull on the bombs. The scene is simply more overtly dumb than the scene in TESB.
Lightspeed weaponized. I don’t recall any blockade runners in R1 ramming Star Destroyers at lightspeed. They just had the one ship ram into a drifting Destroyer at sublight speed. The Holdo maneuver is a first, as far as I can recall.
>Fuel. Fair enough. Fuel is a thing in Star Wars. But it’s never really been a major thing in the movies. And, as already discussed above, fuel itself is not even the main issue here; the issue is how the fuel shortage is contrived into a major plot thread that conveniently forgets that the pursuing First Order ships have plenty of fuel to jump around as they please. It’s dumb plotting.
Fuel forced Liam Neesons and Obi-Wan to stop on Naboo, which brought them to Anakin, which made the prequels happen. Star Wars uses whatever is necessary to create drama, that’s kind of its thing.
>Bombs. The asteroid bombing in TESB is visually an aside. The tiny glowing objects we see might as well be propelled by rocket engines; they certainly drop pretty fast. The scene also provides a physics out in that the asteroid clearly (somehow) sports relatively strong gravity. It’s all a bit dubious, sure, but not at all difficult to make “sense” out of. By contrast, TLJ dwells on the bombers and shows us in close detail how the bombs free-fall out of the ship. Nothing seems to propel the bombs, and there’s no reason to assume the dreadnought exerts any significant gravitational pull on the bombs. The scene is simply more overtly dumb than the scene in TESB.
In Phantom Menace when the space station is destroyed, the entire thing begins to fall. Ships in space drop when they’re shot, mimicking the WW2 dog fights that Lucas based them on. Tie fighters roar when they fly in space. There’s explosions and visible lasers.
You either accept all the nonsense, or none at all, but cherry picking that suddenly this kind gravity is a problem when all the other hokum isn’t feels a bit silly.
>Lightspeed weaponized. I don’t recall any blockade runners in R1 ramming Star Destroyers at lightspeed. They just had the one ship ram into a drifting Destroyer at sublight speed. The Holdo maneuver is a first, as far as I can recall.
It’s the first that does it all the way, but before that it’s been used at “sub” speeds, and Han even talks about how without planning a route they’ll go directly through a star even in something as small as the Falcon. TLJ makes a special point to show how big The Raddus is as a way of foreshadowing the kind of damage it could do. This is just in the films (but if we wanted, we could point to the comics where they actually have this lightspeed kamikaze done in the 80s).
Star Wars is fantasy built on old-school TV serials. In the fantastic Rinzler books that chart the making of the original trilogy, Lucas is very open about essentially making things up as he goes along. There are no rules. Before Luke used the Force Pull there wasn’t anything like that. The storytelling has always come from a place of “let’s put the heroes in trouble and invent cool ways for them to escape.” It’s a part of the fandom that has projected this desire for their to be hard science in a film series that doesn’t even acknowledge space as being, well, space.
Nothing to add, I just want to date this blog post and comments thread with a meme so we know it was 2020 when we talked about this.
I went back and checked, since I didn’t recall any fuel shenanigans in Episode I, and indeed there were none: It was not fuel but a damaged hyperdrive that forced them to land on Tatooine for repairs. Like I said, fuel was never really that big of a deal in the movies before TLJ.
For the most part, ships in space in Star Wars behave in a consistent way. It’s somewhere between flying in zero gravity and flying in gravity with an atmosphere. But I do not recall them “dropping” in space. Feel free to point out scenes where that happens. As to the TPM space station, it simply breaks apart from a series of explosions inside it. The apparent falling might as well be from the force of the explosions (and the tilt of the camera).
And thank you for bringing up the other stuff, too. Star Wars uses sound in space consistently. Explosion in spaces consistently feature fire. Lasers are consistently visible. Might as well add that the standard galactic language is modern English and that those visible laser beams travel really slow. (Both also consistently observed, of course.)
The operative word is consistent, which is what I’ve been talking about all along: consistency in storytelling and worldbuilding. (To be fair, some of the points you raise, like sound in space, are more about the medium than the content; they’re more like (re)presentational storytelling conveniences. But the consistency is still there.)
For you, sure. For me, absolutely not. I allow for granularity in both building and appreciating storyworlds. If a worldbuilding consistency error or other brain fart comes and goes in the blink of an eye, it’s very different to when it takes up a good chunk of the story or has far-reaching in-story ramifications. I can live with the former, but the latter obviously stick out for me.
For the third and hopefully last time, let’s just agree to disagree. We clearly come at this from such different perspectives and with such different sensibilities that there’s no point in arguing as there’s really nothing to discuss.
Not sure what you mean by “all the way”. Either you ram at lightspeed or you don’t, there’s no gray in between, and the Raddus was the first ship to do this in the movies.
Of course you make stuff up as you go along. Like I said: “Continuity, by definition, is not set in stone. It’s something that develops with every scene in a story and with every entry in a series of stories.” But just because you introduce new stuff does not mean that you cannot also make that new stuff play nice with what’s come before (i.e., rules). And you can always plan ahead. This is what good worldbuilders do.
Say what you will of Lucas as a director or writer, the man did take his worldbuilding pretty seriously. For all their failings as movies and stories, the prequels did at least expand the Star Wars universe in novel ways (even if they had to sometimes bend over backwards to awkwardly line up with the originals; a sign that Lucas clearly wanted to maintain continuity).
This is pretty on the ball as far as I’m concerned.
My opinion of the 2 JJ Trek movies was always that if the stories were used in a completely new IP they would’ve been good, they just weren’t “trek” to me… same with Discovery. I enjoyed Beyond and Picard, I haven’t watched Lower Decks yet.
My opinion of the JJ SW movies will always be that even if the stories were used in a completely new IP they would’ve been bad.. they just weren’t good stories to me.
i will always enjoy having the Disney vs EU fight online, other than that and replying to posts like this, I could not give a damn.. Have not paid a single cent to Disney for SW.
Aye, I feel pretty much exactly the same way about Trek. And I think you’re right about the SW sequels – there was too much to fit in there and they tried to please too many people at the expense of the plot and story, and ended up not really pleasing anyone.
I’m going halvsies with my brother-in-law for Disney+ which starts at the end of September over here, so they’re getting their pound of flesh. I’m quite looking forward to seeing their offering.
I really really enjoyed Mandalorian, looking forward to S02. Was especially happy with that MMA lady’s acting (was super sad she didn’t cameo in DP2).
As I mentioned on a YT video, Mandalorian and Rogue One were both well written and to me could easily have been written by one of the big EU authors.
Are you not seeing these comments?
Now I can see them, but all the searching I did earlier would not bring this up.. weird blog hiccup?
WordPress is in the middle of inflicting a new editor interface on me, so I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some glitches. dreameling has been having odd line-break issues too.