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Star Wars: The Last Jedi discussion thread(Warning: Spoilers!)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Bryan^H, Dec 14, 2017.

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  1. Message #1541 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Jake Lipson

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    Over on page 61 of the Solo thread, the current discussion seems to be swinging a little too far in the direction of The Last Jedi for that thread. This began as a discussion of whether or not, and to what degree, Solo's low box office can be attributed to audience anger over The Last Jedi and Luke's death, but seems to have naturally evolved back into a complex discussion of The Last Jedi itself. So, rather than get that thread further off topic, I thought I'd bring that discussion in here, so that Solo can reclaim the main topic of conversation in its own thread. The quotes below are from the Solo thread.

    So how would you have accomplished what you wanted Johnson to accomplish?

    This is plainly ridiculous. Luke belongs to Lucasfilm and Disney. The fans have no claim to dictate how the story goes. We can only react to it as we see fit.

    I hate the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child because it contains inconsistencies and plot holes with regard to the seven books which preceded it, and besides that it's a lazy piece of writing by Jack Throne (who, thank goodness, is no longer part of the writing team for Episode IX, as he briefly was when Colin Treverrow was still attached to direct it.) But whether I think Throne's a bad writer or not, it was still J.K. Rowling's prerogative to authorize Jack Throne to write that play, and to cooperate with the production of it. I don't have to like it -- I am allowed to ignore it -- but I can't say that I have any rights to tell JKR how to run that world, since I didn't create it. She did. It's the same thing.

    Disney owns Star Wars and is employing Kathleen Kennedy to supervise the creation of new content for it in her position as head of Lucasfilm. In that position, she selected Rian Johnson to write and direct Episode VIII, which gave him the right to do with Luke what he wanted in his script. She had the right to approve the script or reject it. She approved it. At no points do fans get to have a say in which way the narrative goes. That's not the deal, unless those fans get hired by Kathleen Kennedy to write and direct a movie, which Johnson did.

    I'd even go so far as to say it was an intergenerational story in A New Hope as well, because even before we knew that Vader was Luke's father, there was talk of Luke's father, how he would have wanted Luke to have his old lightsaber, and Luke following in his footsteps.

    To me, this was addressed sufficiently in The Last Jedi. Mark Hamill did so much with his performance in that movie that I completely bought the transition. I didn't need to see a more detailed flashback than we had. It might have been fun to see more, but I don't think the movie needed to have more. I also think Johnson did a great job writing it, although I understand that other people disagree.

    I agree fully that Johnson was picking up Luke from where Abrams and Kasdan left him, and that Johnson's path was somewhat forward dictated by their choices in TFA. A lot of people who want to blame Johnson seem to forget that Abrams and Kasdan put him on the island while Leia and his friends were fighting the First Order alone.

    I think Johnson did the best he could with the cards he was dealt.

    Huh?

    Luke in the original trilogy always does what he believes is right and proper.

    Abrams and Kasdan decided that Luke took himself out of the fight and didn't want to be found.

    Johnson had to come up with a reason why Luke thought taking himself out of the fight was the right and proper thing to do, and I think he did. I find this entirely consistent with Luke's behavior throughout the original trilogy.
     
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  2. Message #1542 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Carabimero

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    Post deleted due to discretion being the better part of making a living :)
     
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  3. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The opening crawl to VII established that Luke Skywalker had disappeared. The final scene of VII established that Luke Skywalker wasn't being held against his will. Given those two facts, I don't see how Luke could have been portrayed any differently than he was in VIII. Johnson didn't make a choice to flip Luke's character around, the decisions made in VII did that. What Johnson did was play out the established scenario honestly, and endeavor to reconcile how the man we knew in the original trilogy could make the choices that VII showed him as making.

    The structure of the saga films is entirely present tense, so burdening it with a lot of flashbacks wasn't really an option. This one already has more flashbacks than any of the others. As Jake said, Mark Hamill's performance sold the emotional journey that took him to the place where Rey found him.

    And ultimately, The Last Jedi takes the broken defeated man that Abrams gifted him and over the course of the film guides him back to the heroic Luke Skywalker we all know and love -- only smarter and wiser for his setbacks and failures.
     
  4. Message #1544 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Carabimero

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    There are many ways Johnson could have drawn Luke to start VIII. Luke could have snapped out of it via Rey's inspiration. Even Hamill said he could imagine that Luke would have snapped out of it. Johnson has admitted the idea to radically flip Luke was his own. He didn't have to go radical. But he did. That's on Johnson. A lot of fans are upset because based on what they saw on the screen, they didn't believe Luke would go radical. So that means the failure to paint a convincing backstory to explain the radical break is on Johnson too. Who else but Johnson could it be on since he made the choice to go radical, and he's the writer/director.
     
  5. Message #1545 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Jake Lipson

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    If Johnson had done this in The Last Jedi to the extent that you're discussing, it would have caused the present-day story to grind to a halt.

    As Adam noted above, extended flashbacks aren't really a device that Star Wars has used before, so it would also have felt out of place within the narrative structure which George Lucas established for the saga films. Plus, The Last Jedi is already the longest Star Wars film yet at 152 minutes. If Johnson had added substantially more time with Luke and Kylo, there wouldn't have been room to follow the rest of the characters through the journeys he wanted to take them on.

    I suspect the natural response to this from many fans would be to cut Canto Bight, but Johnson had an obligation to feature Finn in the story, and that's how he wanted to dramatize a character arc for Finn.

    By all means, if you want to send a letter to Kathleen Kennedy and Lucasfilm, go right ahead. But you've got to word it really, REALLY carefully, because I'm sure they're already getting a lot of less-well-thought-out mail that amounts to stuff from butt-hurt fanboy idiots who are moaning and groaning, like that ridiculous petition to remove The Last Jedi from official canon and do Episode VIII over again. You don't want them to toss yours in the pile with all the rest of that crap. So just be careful how you go about it.

    I don't think that would have been true to what Abrams and Kasdan set up. Even Luke says in the movie that Rey's hope for him to suddenly come back and face down the whole First Order with a laser sword is ridiculous.

    I haven't spent much time with the extras for The Last Jedi yet, so I can't really comment with any authority on Johnosn's comments therein. I'll try to watch them sometime soon. But what he did, and how Hamill delivered it, felt authentic to me.

    This is why I love Luke's journey in The Last Jedi so much. It's the biggest shift and most dramatic arc that he's ever had over the course of a single film, which makes it a really big swing. But Johnson's writing pulls it off, and Hamill is totally committed when he's on-screen, delivering a masterful performance even though we know from his off-screen rants that he didn't like it. The combination of Johnson's writing and directing and Hamill's performance really gave that character a substantial and meaningful end to his life.
     
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  6. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer
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    I never resented Johnson for not doing that. But ten or fifteen minutes would have been doable. I cut the film down by that much myself. Problems doing a flashback can be floated all day. There are just as many solutions to the problems once the will to do it is there. The will was never there. And BTW, it's not a flashback if you start the movie with it.
    That's just one idea. There were other solitary options for Luke besides radicalization. No one forced Johnson to radicalize Luke. Johnson's admitted it was his choice. That means it's his responsibility. He's the writer/director. If you take Johnson at his word that Luke's flip was his doing, then there's no other rational argument to it. It's on Johnson.

    Now I must go write something that I actually get paid for! Ciao for now.
     
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  7. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Starting the movie with it would have prevented the viewer from witnessing Luke through Rey and would have made Luke the center of the audience's attention. Because Rey is the protagonist of the new trilogy, I think it was important for us to remain with her perspective, and not doing that would have minimized her role in things.

    As Adam pointed out, extended flashbacks have not been part of the Star Wars narrative before. I think 15 minute would really have been pushing it for this reason.

    I can't argue with this, nor was I trying to do so. Of course it was Johnson's choice to write Luke the way that he did. But I still think the seeds were planted by Abrams and Kasdan, and Johnson decided how those seeds were going to grow in the way that made sense to him. Does he say this on the Blu-ray? I haven't spent a lot of time with those bonus features yet.

    What are you working on? Can you say?

    It's very late here and I'm getting tired, so I'm out for the night. But I'll see you all when I get up tomorrow.
     
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  8. Carabimero

    Carabimero Producer
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    Sadly it's not Star Wars.

    I'm working on a book about the production history of the three greatest movies ever made. I can tell you one of them, but not the other two. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES is the first, and best movie, I cover for this book. But I can't give you anymore information than that, since that is all that's currently in public domain.

    Thanks for asking...and goodnight, Jake.
     
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  9. Message #1549 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Simon Massey

    Simon Massey Cinematographer
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    Its also worth remembering that the sequel trilogy is not really Han, Luke and Leía's story at all - they are supporting characters to Rey, Finn, Poe and Kylo. That we got more than glorified cameos and actual development for their characters beyond just showing up to fly the Falcon etc shows their importance but the structure of the films has always had the other characters as the focus.

    If you want flashbacks to Luke, then surely the more problematic issue is the lack of detail on Ben/Kylo's return. I didn't personally perceive it as a problem and I suspect we will get more in Episode IX. I don't doubt for a second that Hamill will be back for IX especially with the unfortunate passing of Carrie Fisher and I would not be surprised to see more development between Luke and Kylo since they've lost the ability to do that with Leia.

    But hey id definitely take another film focused on Luke between the trilogies - hell give me another three films with Mark Hamill and I'm there!!
     
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  10. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    I have decided to stop following the two Star Wars threads. I am retired, but there is no way that I have the time to read all this!

    I am sorry, but I also do not know how the authors of these entries have the time to write them! I like the quick back and forth of exchanged ideas. If I want writing like this, I will pick up a book.
     
  11. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    Sorry, I re-read the above and now find it a bit harsh. It is just my opinion after scrolling through page after page of writing. It of course is whatever “floats your boat”. I don’t have to read it.
     
  12. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    If that had happened too quickly, I would have thought less of Luke. "You left the galaxy to fend for itself during a period of great strife based on a philosophy that you were on the fence about?" I would have thought.

    For Luke's storyline to work for me, I needed to believe he was hiding out on that island because he genuinely thought that that was the move that would result in the most good. And that belief should not be shaken easily.

    Agreed.

    One of the areas I suspect Alan and I agree is that the Canto Bight subplot is the least successful part of the entire movie.

    I actually like the point of that subplot a lot: Finn has spent his entire life in the bosom of the First Order, and then in the higher echelons of the Resistance. Rose was showing Finn the "real" galaxy, the everyday people that the Resistance is fighting for. I think all of that is to the good. But it gets undermined by the fact that Finn and Rose's mission is a complete failure, and then ultimately proves completely unnecessary. For this subplot to be successful, Finn and Rose's story needed to pay off in a more satisfying way before arriving on Crait; failing in their original mission needed to position them succeed on behalf of the Resistance in another way. Benicio del Toro's whole character was a misfire for me.

    And what's so satisfying about that is that Johnson knows audiences actually do want to see Luke Skywalker face down the whole First Order with a laser sword. And by the end of the film, he gives us exactly that.

    The audio commentary has been on my to-do list for a while now. I really need to make time for it.

    What I find so satisfying is that it builds on Luke's journey from the original trilogy. If anything the conflict that drives the character in The Last Jedi is that he learned the lessons Yoda was trying to teach him in ESB too well. And by the end of the film, he has found balance and equilibrium. And that's why he completely controls the confrontation with Kylo Ren from beginning to end.

    I understand why Johnson killed Luke off -- if he were still alive, we'd be expecting a big confrontation between Luke and his former pupil in IX, and he really wanted to clear the board so that Rey versus Ren is the central conflict of IX. But given that he didn't leave a body behind, I really hope we see Luke as a Force ghost in IX -- really stepping up into that mentor role that he resisted all through TLJ.
     
  13. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Lead Actor

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    But Luke has always been a character of radical change. Everything he did in the OT was fearless, and according to his instinct of what he believes is best. On Dagobah, he didn't properly train at first, until Yoda showed him the error of his ways. Then he left Dagobah against Yoda's wish.

    The character we see in The Last Jedi is 100% Luke Skywalker. And I am still shocked at what Rian Johnson accomplished with JJ's "Mystery box" . When I watched TLJ, I felt like I was 10 years old all over again. It is to me more "Star Wars" than any of the films since 1983. It only gets better with repeat viewings.
     
  14. Carabimero

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    This is better advice than maybe you even know. Right now she'll read a letter based on our acquaintance. But if I send something stupid, she won't read the next one. I have to make sure this is a battle I want to fight, and I'm not sure it is, since I don't think I can win it.
    I didn't have the time last night either. But it's so much fun to exchange ideas with Jake and Adam and everyone else, I couldn't help myself. But now I have put myself in a corner and today have to do the writing I should have done last night. But it was worth it. It was fun.

    Happy Memorial Day everyone.
     
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  15. Tommy R

    Tommy R Screenwriter

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    I'm a HUGE TLJ fan. Sitting in the theater on it's Thursday opening is one of the highlights of theater-going for me. I saw nothing wrong with Luke's portrayal and found it consistent with OT Luke as others have said. I was shocked over the following weekend by how much negative backlash it got, and only after days of trying to wrap my head around it was I able to SORT OF see where the negativity was coming from, though I still disagree. My sister and my mom in particular hated it because of the Luke stuff. But whatever, it's an instant SW Masterpiece in my eyes and has only gotten better on repeated viewings. I will never forget the visceral emotion I felt at Luke's final moments.
     
  16. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I remember when the movie ended, I thought that it was the first Star Wars movie that basically everyone was going to love since the 1980's.
     
  17. Message #1557 of 1644 May 28, 2018
    Last edited: May 28, 2018
    Jake Lipson

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    To be honest, I don't think you can win it either. Given the divisive response to The Last Jedi, a prequel movie that serves primarily to set it up isn't going to work for Lucasfilm, because the people who liked The Last Jedi won't think it's necessary, and the people who didn't like The Last Jedi have even more reason to boycott it than they do Solo. There's no way the math works to get Lucasfilm to spend $250 million to make a movie to fill in that time period.

    But it does seem like something where if they wanted to explore that time period more, it would work better in the context of a book or something. I think you'd have a better shot of getting hired to write this as a novel. Plus, that way, you could have Leia in it too if needed and not have to explain why she isn't around.

    I thought this too after the first time that I saw the movie. So I totally get why you feel that way. It was when I went back for seconds that this started to work for me, because the whole movie is a meditation on failure in a way. Therefore, it started to make sense to me with the themes of the movie overall why they would completely fail.

    I would be absolutely stunned if this did not happen. I don't want to put words in Johnson's mouth, but I think it's highly likely that he expected Colin Treverrow to use Luke a a Force ghost in Episode IX when he wrote Luke's death. (I say Treverow because he was still attached to do Episode IX when Johnson made the call to kill Luke, but it will be Abrams now.) Having Luke in a mentor role as a Force ghost opens up more new possibilities for that character than if he were still alive and just tagging along with Rey and Finn and Poe on their next mission.
     
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  18. Message #1558 of 1644 May 28, 2018
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    Carabimero

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    A potential novel is a great idea. I'm going to work up a book proposal, shoot it over to my agent, and have her run it up the Lucasfilm ladder. If I post nothing about this in the future, that is good news. It means I signed an NDA. If my proposal gets canned, which is likely, I'll let you know. But like you said, this has a realistic outside shot, at least. Thanks again.

    I agree Luke changes. His biggest change for me happened between Empire and Jedi. But his change in the OT never went against type, so however big the leaps might have been, they worked because he was always to some degree the Luke we knew.

    But Johnson showed us a Luke against type. When a writer does that, it requires extra work to make it plausible because people aren't expecting a radical change against type. Judging by a lot of fans' reactions to TLJ (and my own), Johnson did not do the extra work necessary to make the vast majority of fans believe Luke would do that.
     
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  19. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    If this does happen, and you do sign an NDA and can't talk about it for a while, that's totally understandable. But if that is the case, please do come back and let us know about it once the publication is official and you're allowed to talk to promote the release of it. I don't read that many Star Wars books, but I would be happy to read yours if it comes to fruition.
     
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  20. The Autistic Asexual

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    You know what would have made The Last Jedi infinitely better? Having Darth Vader in the movie kicking ass in some flashback scenes of him and also having Kylo Ren travel to Vader's Castle and just checking it out especially the underground Sith Temple. That would've made episode VIII so very amazing and awesome!! :D
     

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