The STAR WARS We Lost

I’ve been living in Star Wars the past few weeks. The Mandalorian on Disney+. Jedi: Fallen Order on the Xbox. A full franchise rewatch gearing up for the release of The Rise of Skywalker, including dipping into relevant episodes of Clone Wars and Rebels. My brain has been living in a galaxy far, far away, and perhaps the most amazing thing about returning there is realizing how much of the inane trivia is still in that old grey matter of mine. Side characters from the Prequels who were only named on toys or in books – I know their names. Aliens that pass through the frame for a second – I can tell you their species. I can point out how the events of Rebels sets up this moment or how Clone Wars established this piece of lore. I know less than some, but much more than others. I am full of Star Wars mythology. 

We were watching Rogue One the other night and I had a realization. Jyn and Cassian were making their way through Jedha City when they bumped into two aggressive jerks. “That’s Ponda Baba!” I said to my girlfriend. “Obi-Wan Kenobi is going to cut off his arm in Star Wars!”

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The Tao of the Jedi

The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

Among the exciting things that Star Wars: The Last Jedi does for the larger Star Wars universe is that it expands and deepens the mythology of The Force in a way that we haven’t seen since The Empire Strikes Back. And it does so in a way that has learned a lesson from the fiasco of Midichlorians – The Last Jedi returns The Force to its status as a mysterious and truly powerful concept that is far beyond silly tricks like picking up rocks. In fact, it returns it to a concept that is far beyond such silly tricks like violence and physical force in general.

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You Can’t Be A Jedi

“The Force is with me, and I fear nothing.”

Here’s the problem with the Jedi: you’ll never be a Jedi. Maybe when you first saw STAR WARS as a kid you entertained the idea that you, like Luke Skywalker, were a secret space wizard just waiting to be activated. But as you got older it became pretty clear that this would never happen, that you’d never be a space wizard.

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ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY Review

Complete spoilers for ROGUE ONE follow! Be aware I will spoil it all!

It’s been interesting seeing the divide in people’s reactions to ROGUE ONE. I suspect it comes down to how you reacted to the characters; if they worked for you, you truly loved the movie, but if you didn’t gel with them the whole thing fell flat. I don’t have a further theory on this – ie, I don’t really know why some people didn’t like the characters while others, like me, fell for them hard – but it does seem to be dividing line.

Because I loved the characters I found the ending to be doubly impactful. It’s impactful on a simple level everyone has to agree on, which is that we NEVER see the leads die in a blockbuster franchise movie, let alone see ALL the leads die (also this movie blows up every new location, making ROGUE ONE almost impossible to revisit in any meaningful way in future films). That’s a big deal, and it’s a ballsy move for a movie studio that is just as interested in licensing and toys deals as it is with telling stories.

That ending is so important, though, and I believe it’s the ending that we need right now as we face down Trump’s America. Indulge me while I talk about this for a minute.

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