Thursday, December 28, 2017

Catharsis for the Last Jedi... *SPOILERS*

Reviews for “The Last Jedi” are in abundance right now. Everybody has an opinion and the general consensus seems to be that the movie was terrible. I can’t argue with that. There is not a lot to like here. There is a little, don’t get me wrong. But, overall… you’re right to be so pissed off about Disney’s handling of this movie’s legacy.

I’m going to do my best here to not simply regurgitate what’s already been said about this film. (This will be tough, as I think the movie’s been reviewed more in the last two weeks than any film’s been reviewed in a year. But, I think my take is a bit different from most of what’s out there.)

I’ll also note that this review took me a while to finish, because, like everyone else, I wanted desperately to like this movie.

But, I don’t.

It took me a bit to come to grips with the reality of that.

It's not all bad. There are, in spite of everything… three things about this movie that are legitimately great. Three things that shine out in the darkness and valiantly try,… (though sadly fail…) to redeem the rest of it.

Since the movie is such a tangled knot, I’m going to leave those things out, and at the end I’ll cover those three gleaming diamonds in all this rough.

Stick with me. Those diamonds are indeed worth the pain involved in reaching them. In spite of the rest of the film, I’m glad those three things happened.

Let’s begin…

***




“This is not going to go the way you think.”
-Luke Skywalker


I open with this quote because it says everything relevant about the film in terms of the writing and direction, (both furnished by Rian Johnson.) It is not by accident that every trailer for the movie features this line in a prominent way. In both of my viewings of the movie, it struck me that Johnson seemed to be attempting to find every possible way to reiterate this idea through the medium of Star Wars.

This movie, for better or worse, hurts to watch. It’s meant to. (I’ll explain why later.) Anyone who tells you that the movie met their expectations is lying to you. Anyone saying that it exceeded their expectations is straight-up delusional.

Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi is,… from top to bottom, an examination of the subversion of audience expectations. Not-doing-what-we-thought-they-were-going-to-do is the point of this movie. I can’t really fault Rian Johnson too much for this. He's certainly not a bad filmmaker. He's got a good movie to his credit (Looper) and a great movie to his credit (Brick.) In being tapped to write and direct a chapter of the main Star Wars saga, he had the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders and after Episode 7’s deluge of plot-setups and hanging story-threads, he was staring down the barrel of the single largest glut of fan-theories any director has ever had to contend with in the history of film. As such, he has given us a story that examines baiting and switching so often and so repeatedly, it would make Anthony Jeselnik cringe. This occurs in every scene throughout the film. Events build toward a conclusion and then that conclusion is reversed, and re-reversed, until you feel foolish for having had an expectation in the first place.

I believe that this is Rian Johnson expressing his pain as much as it is his servicing of the plot. Many filmmakers, when pushed, will push back with a kind of half-subliminal trolling in their films. Sometimes this chiding is subtle and ingenious (Stanley Kubrick,) and sometimes it’s ham-fisted and moronic (George Lucas.) I don’t think Johnson falls on either extreme, but is somewhere right in the middle-average range.

(See what I did there? -nyuk nyuk-)

-The bombers are trying to do one thing, they aren’t going to do it, oh… no wait, they are. Now they have a chance to do another thing (take out the Dreadnought.) No, they can’t do that, no wait, yes they can. (Editorial: Rian Johnson Doesn’t Understand Physics – Part I: How are they *dropping* bombs? Yes, *dropping,* the movie explicitly says “drop.” The bombs are not *launched* nor are they *fired* they are literally dropped to fall on the Dreadnought… in space… where there’s no gravity.)

-Luke does take the lightsaber. But, he just throws it away and walks off. She follows him until he finally agrees to train her. Then, he freaks out and says that he won’t. Then Yoda’s ghost shows up and talks him into training her after all. Then he dies before he can actually train her. (I know… he’ll probably be back as a Force ghost.)

-Chewbacca’s killed and roasted one of the porgs and is about to eat it. Then he sees them staring at him with puppy-dog eyes and decides not to. Then he changes his mind and roars to scare them all away and goes to bite into the roasted porg anyway. Then he sees one little porg still staring at him, so he throws the roasted porg away.

-Kylo contemplates blasting Leia to death. Then he doesn't. But, it doesn't matter because there's an explosion and Leia gets sucked out into space and apparently dies. The audience collectively thinks this is how they’ve decided to handle Carrie Fisher’s death. Then,… nope, she wakes up,… (in the frozen vacuum of space, by the way?) They open the door (RJ Doesn’t Understand Physics – Part II: No decompression effect,… we literally *just saw* a bunch of people blown out into space by explosive decompression, but now it’s magically not a thing?) Then she falls into a coma. Then wakes up again. To everyone’s great surprise, Leia is the only member of the original trilogy’s roster of heroes who is still alive at the end of the film, even though the actress is the only one not still alive in real life.

-Rey goes to Luke for training. Not receiving it, she concludes that the Rebellion’s best hope lies in her turning Kylo back to the Light, (in fairness, she’s correct, Luke is an utterly useless shadow of his former self in this film.) She confronts Kylo and Snoke. She is tempted to the Dark Side, but not really. Kylo turns on Snoke, kills him and joins Rey in fighting off the Imperial Guard. But, he doesn’t actually turn to the Light, he wants Rey to join him in ruling the First Order. She doesn’t.

-The Walkers are storming the base on Krayt and it’s just a matter of time before their giant battering-ram-cannon blasts through the gate. All is lost. No, wait… it’s not. The rebels fly out to meet them in beat-up old fighter-skiffs. No wait, all is lost again, the fighters get torn apart like an army of toilet-paper trying to fight an army of flaming wheat-threshers,… but, then the Falcon shows up and diverts the TIE fighters away from the Walkers. But, then it doesn’t matter because the fighter-skiffs are still just getting torn apart like they’re nothing.

-Then Finn (the most ineffectual and useless Star Wars character since Jar-Jar Binks) is going to sacrifice himself to take out the cannon and finally be of some actual use. ...Until Rose swoops in and saves him. (RJ Doesn’t Understand Physics - Part III: So, these two ancient, fragile vehicles collide at several hundred miles per hour, literally IN the beam of the high-powered laser-cannon and somehow… neither pilot dies?)  

-Luke shows up and is apparently destroyed by cannon-fire.
Then he steps out of it, demonstrating that he is still the most powerful Jedi in history.
Then, he’s not… because it was just a Force projection and he wasn’t really there.
Then, he’s great again because we realize he’s been projecting himself from half-a-galaxy away.
Then, he sucks again because the strain of it literally kills him.

Why did any of this happen,... why bait and switch Luke's sacrifice only to switch it again and have him die anyway? This one was obviously just to piss us off.

It is the entire movie. Bait, switch, switch-again.

The idea resonates at the macro-scale here, as well. It comes into play between Star Wars films overall. Last Jedi effectively turns The Force Awakens into one massive bait-and-switch. Absolutely none of the threads that JJ Abrams set-up in Episode 7 pays off in Episode 8. Nor are they left to potentially pay off in Episode 9. They’re all just defused. Eliminated from the story.

My greatest irritation with the previous movie (The Force Awakens,) was that it effectively overturned a lot of the story elements that the original trilogy had established.

-Turns out Han didn’t really grow as a person. He’s an absentee father who can’t even be bothered to visit, and is still dodging hitmen and smuggling contraband for drinking money.

-Turns out the Empire wasn’t actually defeated with the destruction of both Sith Lords and the second Death Star. The Rebellion is still a small, underfunded band of rag-tag freedom fighters, and the First Order is still a monolithic behemoth with unlimited resources casting its shadow across the entire galaxy.

-Turns out Luke didn’t reignite the Jedi Order. He gave it up in frustration over a single difficult student, and ran off to live as a hermit.

So, what the hell was the point of the original trilogy?

Well, what Episode 7 did to the original trilogy, Episode 8 does to Episode 7! It’s like a soft reboot on top of the soft reboot they already gave us.

-Snoke is set up in The Force Awakens as the biggest bad-ass Sith Lord ever. Last Jedi reinforces this as he links-up two other people’s minds across the galaxy without either of them knowing that he's doing it. Later, he overpowers both Rey and Kylo in the raw exercise of power, while reading both of their minds and stonewalling every effort at telekinetic subversion. He suspends Rey in the air with a casual wave of his hand. (By the way, this is the girl who literally picked up a lightsaber for the very first time in her life and defeated a Sith who’d been training since childhood. This was after she’d already out-muscled him telepathically. Later in this same movie, we see her effortlessly suspend and cast off dozens and possibly hundreds of tons of solid rock.) And this incredibly powerful Force-Talent is fighting Snoke's telekinesis with all of her might and it amounts to nothing. That is how badass they want us to believe Snoke is. Then, this Grandmaster of the Dark Side, who can surreptitiously read and influence the thoughts of other extremely powerful Force-sensitives from hundreds of light-years away,… somehow can’t hear a rusty, old lightsaber rattling around on the table right next to him.

He dies and we never learn anything about him other than the fact that he was (unnecessarily) a CGI creature, and that he had the power to literally do anything,… except when the writer needed him out of the way.

There are some fan theories out there about how Snoke knew what he was doing all along, and wanted to die, to project himself as a Force Demon into someone else,... or something. But, I think they're giving Rian Johnson way too much credit. Especially after this...

Over the summer, Rian Johnson infamously trolled Star Wars fans on Twitter by posting a picture of himself holding a napkin that says “Your Snoke Theory Sucks.”



Not half as much as yours, Rian.

Or, more to the point,... maybe, they did. Maybe our theories did suck. But, at least we had theories, Rian.

At least we had ideas about the main villain.
It’s unfortunate that you didn’t.

-Rey, who’s secret background is hinted at relentlessly in The Force Awakens,… is revealed to just be some random kid from nowhere, whose parents literally sold her for drug money. (I’ll come back to this later, because I have a lot more to say about it.)

-The victory of destroying Starkiller Base also amounts to nothing as the Rebels are still on the run and literally being wiped out as the movie begins. By the time the movie ends, only a handful of the Rebellion is still alive. All that remains is a "spark."

At this point, the next time the Imperials build some kind of superweapon, any rebel pilot would have to be a complete idiot to want to volunteer to help destroy the thing. It literally never accomplishes anything. 

Ok,… let’s put all of this aside for now.


There is another quote featured prominently in each of the film’s trailers,…

“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.”
-Kylo Ren


The reiteration of this quote in trailer after trailer, I believe, is also not a coincidence. It summarizes where Disney’s head is at in terms of how they are intending to utilize the Star Wars property. In other words, Luke’s quote is effectively Rian Johnson talking and Kylo’s quote is Disney.

They want Star Wars to be theirs, and creatively… it isn’t,… and they know this. So, they want to create something new out of it, all on their own, something that they can put their stamp on. But, at the same time, they want to use the nostalgia surrounding the Star Wars brand to sell their new version. They want the intellectual credit for Star Wars, in addition to the intellectual property of Star Wars. The property can be (and has been) simply bought outright, but the credit doesn’t work that way.

(As an aside here, in all fairness to Disney; who can blame them for thinking it does? George Lucas has been incorrectly assigned the credit for Star Wars for decades.**)

The problem is that they’ve been chasing two goals here from the jump. They want to sell us nostalgia for the old movies, but they also want something they can keep selling us, knowing that the three main actors of the original films are all getting very old. Carrie Fisher, as we know, is no longer with us.

In the Red Letter Media review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Tale, Rich Evans observed… “They can’t just keep doing [stormtroopers, lightsabers, and space-battles in every movie,] because then it definitely will get old.”

He’s not wrong.

Star Wars is old. I know because I’m old and Star Wars is only one year younger than me. If you’re thinking that Disney’s intention is to conclude this old saga by giving us the long-awaited Episodes 7, 8, and 9, so that we can all have the closure we’ve been wanting all our lives,… you’re very much mistaken.

Disney’s intention, which they’ve made no secret of, is to keep making Star Wars movies for as long as they can keep the property profitable, at a rate of 1 and eventually 2 movies per year. Episodes 7-9 are, in essence, just the launch of what Disney intends to become a new Star Wars property. They’re filming the Han Solo stand-alone film. They’ve announced a Boba Fett movie, an Obi-Wan movie, a Yoda movie, a Rebellion-Era TV-Series and quote… “many more.” As I sit here, I promise you they will also continue the main saga. There will undoubtedly be an Episode 10, 11, 12,… etc.

They’re not looking to wrap-up something old. They are, to the contrary, in the process of launching something new. There’s nothing wrong with this, and people who scream and yell about how evil and corporate this is, are morons. Star Wars is owned by Disney. People who own things are entitled to do whatever they want with them.

By extension, if you, as a consumer, want to cast out everything Disney does with it, and hold the original trilogy as “your Star Wars,” …nothing that Disney has done, will do, or is even capable of doing,… can stop you. Those movies still exist and they always will. Stop whining and grow up.

But, from a production standpoint, if they want the property to remain profitable, Rich Evans is correct; They can’t just keep milking nostalgia forever, or this won’t work.

Hollywood has been wrestling with this problem for a long time. They went through a phase of making movies based on old TV shows. Then they started remaking old movies. (Yes, I know they’ve always done this. But, I’m talking about the trends that they’ve focused on.) Soon, the term “reboot” came into use in the movie industry. They put genuine effort into normalizing the idea that movies are supposed to be updated and reiterated every so often. But, they wasted no time in overplaying that hand, (there were three different Spider-Men in a single decade,) and people quickly stopped buying into it,… and so now, the big studios are all in the business of building story-continuities, …"Shared Universes" that can unite several movies.

On its face, this is not a bad idea. It allows them to use our Love for what they’ve done before… to market the next wave of products. At any given time, everything you’re seeing now exists not only for its own sake, but to whet your appetite for the next batch of products as well. This is what TV’s marketing strategy has always been, and Hollywood has been trying to adapt it to the feature-film market forever. Shared Universes allow them to do that.

Keep in mind that we’re changing as audiences too. Binge-watching is a thing now. People can and do watch TV series’ a season at a time. Visual storytelling is becoming a richer medium in that way. We're watching movies thinking about other movies related to it. But, as with anything new, there’s also going to be a lot of garbage mixed in with the gold… and a lot of stumbling as studios and production companies come to grips with the new normal.

Also, keep in mind, that shared movie universes are not a completely new thing. The original shared universe came in the form of the monster movies released by Universal in the forties through the sixties. Bela Lugosi’s “Dracula,” Boris Karloff’s “Frankenstein,” and Lon Chaney Jr’s “The Wolfman” all took place in the same shared, fictional world, (…along with “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “The Mummy,” and “The Invisible Man,” among others.) But, it is a new phenomenon for shared universes to be the standard into which movie studios are throwing all of their effort.

So, I think this movie was meant to be a deliberately harsh and poignant casting-off both of– and from– the original property.

In concept, this is both good and bad. I appreciate what they intended to do, (divorce themselves from the original Star Wars and give us a new and fresh take on everything,) but, I hate how they did it, at the same time. Undoubtedly, it must have been a tough call to make.

If you’re Disney, you’ve got to do something with this property and the original actors were all still alive at the time of purchase. To not include them would have been seen as disrespectful, if not outright mean-spirited. Fans have never really forgiven George Lucas for not giving us episodes 7-9 in the 90s. But, at the same time… you need to do something new and fresh if you’re launching a whole new iteration of the property. So, a full reboot is off the table, which leaves you painted into a corner with the soft-reboot seeming like your only option.

Yeah, I know… you could just continue the saga and rely on creative people to deliver fresh new ideas anyway. But, with billions of dollars at stake, no one’s going to take that kind of a risk. What Disney did instead is they tried to have it all. They tried to go both ways simultaneously. They wanted to play it safe, but not too safe, and they wanted new ideas, but not too new.

Unfortunately, these were two clubs that just couldn’t be juggled, it seems, because the property, (at least in terms of going forward with the main saga,) has become a travesty. It was a one-two punch. If Episode 7 was the hard left-cross, Episode 8 was the right uppercut that finally KO'ed the franchise's integrity. They killed the old saga off in an unfair, unpoetic, and inappropriate way, while establishing a new saga that is uncompelling, uninspired, and uninteresting.

Luke was right. It didn’t go the way we thought it would.

Nor the way we hoped it would.

Even as the movie began, I thought I was in for something much better than what they delivered. I thought; “Whoa! Ok,… so this entire movie is going to revolve around one big desperate and seemingly inescapable situation. There’s going to be a ticking clock that spans the entire film, this time. That is something Star Wars hasn’t done before. Man, I’m already invested in this!”

Then the rest of the movie happened.

Exactly none of that dramatic tension or momentum was harnessed or utilized in any meaningful way. There were plot-holes you could fly Dreadnoughts through, three at a time. (Others have compiled numerous and exhaustive lists of these glaring mistakes, so I won’t do so here.)

Suffice it to say, they botched this. Badly.

Not just in terms of Star Wars, either. This was just a bad movie. Period.

The one bait and switch that I would have kept, the one that I thought was really meaningful,… was the fact that Rey came from nowhere. The fact that she was just some girl.

That was moving, I thought. Or,… it would have been, if they’d done anything with it.

Star Wars has always given us people from great families or dynasties, and then there’s the outlier. To Luke’s *Son of the Most Powerful Sith Lord Ever* and *Chosen One Who Will Bring Balance to the Force* and Leia’s *Princess of Alderaan,* and *Leader of the Rebellion,*… we had Han’s *Just some guy,* who started as a scoundrel and ended-up a hero.

How cool is the idea that, this time the nobody is the biggest bad-ass Force-wielder in the galaxy?

But, they wrecked it by making her such a Mary Sue with no explanation. Sure, she had fighting experience with her staff and living as a young, female scavenger on Jakku. But, she beats a Master lightsaber-duelist (Kylo Ren) and a Grandmaster Jedi (Luke) with no formal training, taking down the former literally the first time she’s ever held a lightsaber, and the latter… with a god-damned stick!

I’m all for this natural virtuoso discovering raw power within her and being fearful of it. That's awesome! But highly developed precision skills should never just come from nowhere. It doesn't make sense. That’s just bad storytelling economy. It smacks of a filmmaker who thinks that "Stuff People Can Do," is all intrinsically of the same nature. That someone who's good at computer programming is fundamentally the same as someone who's really strong,... or even... really lucky.

Yes, I know that between the three chapters of the original trilogy, Luke had a grand total of like two-weeks of training, but he also pretty much got his ass handed to him in both of his duels with Vader. In Empire, Vader is pretty clearly just toying with him, trying to teach him about the ultimate futility of things like hope, faith in friends, and the Light Side of the Force overall,… everything dies and so the Dark always prevails,… that kind of thing… capping off the lesson by literally slicing his hand off, and leaving him defenseless, broken, and alone, hanging upside down over a miles-long drop, with nowhere to turn except to him. Luke proves him wrong by trusting in the Force, and the Force provides. Beyond his knowledge there is another Force sensitive nearby. On instinct, he reaches out to her and she rescues him. And in Jedi? Luke literally gets driven into *hiding under the stairs* to avoid Vader until he manages to get the upper hand by opening himself to the Dark Side. As the more powerful Force-Sensitive, he managed to overpower his father by doing so. Palpatine wasn’t kidding when he said he wanted Luke to take his father’s place at his side. It’s the way of the Sith, the strongest earns his place by proving his strength,… “beating the Man to be the Man,” as it were.

Rey being nobody also works in contrast with Kylo. Kylo is very much “Dark Luke.”

Kylo is special because of his blood, and he knows it and you’re going to know it too, damn it!

Rey is the flip-side of that.

Again,… IF it had been handled better.

Another thing that I thought was pretty good was Luke’s appraisal of the Jedi as stagnant and overly rigid in their approach. He’s right.

The Jedi had indeed become stale and dogmatic. This refusal to change and adapt led to the rise of the Empire right under their noses.

The problem, Rian... is that Luke already proved that and redeemed the Jedi in Return of the Jedi. The two literal ghosts of the Jedi order were telling him he was a fool for thinking that it was even possible to turn back to the Light Side after succumbing to the Dark, that he was a fool for wanting to risk himself as the last Jedi to save his friends from an inescapable fate.

He proved them wrong. On both counts. He had already demonstrated the staleness of the old way and forged ahead with a new path.

Why is he cycling back to this realization again in his 60s like it's something new?

Nonsense!


Ok, so what about those three diamonds in the rough, I mentioned?

1. Luke’s lesson to Rey about the Force.

That moment, when Luke has Rey close her eyes and reach out to the Force... It’s something that has happened in every Star Wars movie. There’s always that moment when the Jedi closes their eyes and “reaches out with their feelings.” It calms them, centers them, and shows them their place in the great turning of the awesome machinery of nature, giving them uncommon insight into the way of things.

But, this is the first time we’ve ever been given a glimpse of what they’re seeing/feeling/perceiving when they do this. We all know how insightful and wise the Jedi can be. We've seen some of the amazing things they can do and we've heard them pontificate about things like 'feeling the will of the Force,' 'feeling that the Force was 'strong' with someone,' etc. But, in this scene, we are given our first ever sample of what all of that looks like *from the Jedi's perspective.* This scene was the very first time that we were allowed to actually see, for ourselves, through the eyes of a Jedi, and to experience the Force directly, the way the Jedi and the Sith do, rather than merely bearing witness to its aggregate effects like a bystander.

Concordant with Rey's meditation, Luke’s dialogue both reiterates and expands upon the timeless framing of the Force that Yoda gave us in “Empire.”

Isn’t that just so God-damned much better than fucking Midichlorians?

That one moment returns the Force to something mystical,… shamanic,… archetypal. A metaphysical alchemy that exceeds both the reach and grasp of one's biology, the Force can only be comprehended in that headspace where the mind anchors the soul.

For that moment alone, I would sit through the rest of this movie.


2. Rey and Kylo take on the Imperial Guard.

What I’m about to say is not intended as hyperbole. This scene is, without question, the best action scene Star Wars, as a franchise, has ever given us. It is the best action-choreography, -pacing, and -cinematography that any of the other films; (original trilogy, prequel trilogy, animated series,’ or Rogue One) have ever given us, but with all of the portent and dramatic weight that lightsaber duels haven’t had since 1983.

It was perfect.

3. Yoda.

Yoda has always been, and remains today, my all-time favorite Star Wars character.

I was hoping that at some point in this new trilogy, we would see Yoda’s ghost. When he died, he didn’t just die, he faded away like Obi-Wan did. Vader was surprised and confused by Obi-Wan’s vanishing act, if you’ll recall. (He nudged around in the empty robes with his toe.) This tells us that Jedi don’t usually just vanish like that. So, there was something special and unique about this method of dying. The other unique thing was returning as a ghost.

Now, admittedly… back in the 80s, I’m pretty sure we all thought that Jedi’s spirits tended to linger on after death, and other Force-Sensitives could see them. It wasn’t until Lucas decided that Ghost-Projection was just Force Technique #672 of the “Spirituality” Power-Tree, ...that any of us thought otherwise.

I thought that Rey’s training would have been a perfect time for Yoda to show up.

His effect on the story is not what I had hoped it would be. However, his final parting lesson to Luke was great.

It was, (unlike prequel-Yoda)true to the original trilogy version of the character,… which is the Yoda I like.

He spoke about things like letting go and accepting that we do not control anything, we merely guide things by going with the flow, and that ultimately everyone has their own destiny and their own choices to make along the path toward finding it.

“The greatest teacher, failure is.” (This line actually gives me hope for Star Wars in spite of Last Jedi. That’s how awesome Yoda is!)

“We are what they grow beyond. That is the burden of all Masters.”

Yes!

His prequel-doppleganger was just some dogmatic little Pope sputtering nonsense about how one subjective emotion objectively always leads to some other subjective emotion, before leaping around like a circus monkey with a tiny, baby-sized lightsaber and NOT seeing the Sith Lord *TALKING TO HIM* in meetings.

I was very happy to see the real Yoda one last time.

All in all, Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi is one big, giant sigh of longing for what might have been. It’s a bittersweet thing that is a lot more bitter than sweet. But, as I said,… it’s just a movie. The original trilogy is still there for us.

Eventually,… way down the line… Star Wars is going to be rebooted.

Here’s hoping that, when that day comes, the saga finds itself in more capable hands.

It’s sad that we’ll never get a proper sequel-saga with Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford.

But, let’s be honest with ourselves… The original trilogy was lightning in a bottle. It was never going to happen anyway. You can’t summon that kind of synergy on purpose. It’s the result of everything just coming together perfectly in ways that no one is consciously capable of orchestrating.

You can’t go home again.

But, you also don’t need to, because though you left home, what mattered most about home never left you, and it never will.

So, despair not, my fellow fans.

Disney used a couple quotes to summarize their message. I’ll use one to summarize mine.

“Remember, the Force will be with you,… always.”
-Obi-Wan Kenobi

***

Also, watch this. It's funny as hell...





***


**In spite of what most fans think, George Lucas’s Star Wars is something we’ve never actually seen. It’s a Love-letter to Flash Gordon, wherein Luke Starkiller is a 60-year-old retired general with a robotic head, Han Solo is a 7-foot-tall humanoid frog, and Yoda is a literal elf complete with pointy-toed shoes, and magic wand, straight out of Santa’s workshop. The Force, meanwhile is a power that comes from a kind of cosmic Holy Grail called the Khyber Crystal, the finding of which the series was originally intended to revolve around.

Nearly all of Lucas’s original ideas for… (*deep breath*)

“The Adventures of Luke Starkiller, As Taken from the Journal of the Whills, Saga I: The Star Wars,” (…yes, that was the original title. No joke.)

…were overruled, shot down, and laughed out of the writers-room by those he was collaborating with. At the end of filming, the movie he’d shot was an unmitigated disaster. Gary Kurtz, the film’s producer has been quoted as saying it was all “terrible trash of the worst kind.”

It was then given to two gifted film editors (Richard Chew and Paul Hirsch) who basically performed the editing equivalent of turning water into wine in transforming George Lucas's pile of hot celluloid fecal-matter into the modern masterpiece we know today as Star Wars.

The film stands to this day as the greatest example of just how much can be accomplished through editing.

In spite of this, George Lucas has been riding the “I’m the Guy Who Created Star Wars” hero-chariot for forty years. So, yeah… it’s understandable that Disney might feel they can hijack the credit for Star Wars.

It has, after all… been done before.