I have been thinking about what I was going to do for “liner notes” for each of my podcast episodes. I decided what I wanted to do was to share with all of you the script I wrote for this episode about Star Wars The Last Jedi. For each episode I release, I sit down and write a script of what I want to say, and then follow it when I record. I don’t read every part word for word, but having the script helps me to keep on track throughout the episode. So, I have decided, as I share each episode here, I will include the script I wrote for the episode. It might be fun to see the variations.
Intro for the show and to the topic of Star Wars The Last Jedi
Episode 2 and I am very excited about the topic. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. There has been a lot said about this film, both before it came out and since its release. It seems to have been a pretty divisive movie for a lot of fans. Some fans of the Star Wars franchise really loved this addition, while others really didn’t like it at all. There were probably a lot of fans right in the middle, as well, but you hardly hear from them online. Which I think is pretty normal. Usually if you feel only meh about something, you are not going to spend a lot of time commenting about it to everyone you know.
I have been thinking a lot about how I wanted to address this particular movie. I knew I wanted to talk about it, and I thought this was a good time to do it, since the Blu Ray comes out this Tuesday, but I was unsure about what I wanted to say. Or how I wanted to say it. I have strong feelings about the film, and I know a lot of you won’t agree with my thoughts or opinions. I thought about making this an argumentative episode, where I was going to try to convince all of that you were wrong and I was right. But I really don’t want to do that. The truth is, as with any movie, everyone is entitled to feel about it what they will.
So, I decided instead to just tell you what I really liked about the film and why. Let me just start off by saying I think with time and context, fans of Star Wars are going to look back on this film as a classic. It will be up there with Empire Strikes Back. Saying that, I realize that this film was very different from what people were expecting. In fact they point it out multiple times in the film. One of the overall theme in the film is moving on from the past and looking to the future. This isn’t like the original trilogy, where the rebels are trying to resurrect the republic. Or even like the Force Awakens, where it seemed like the First Order was trying to bring back the Empire. At the end of this film, it is clear that everything is going to be different.
And it’s not going to be at the same time. Different, yet familiar.
I wanted to talk about three things from the movie that stood out to me. The First was Luke. I loved Luke’s character in this film. Let me back up on that just a little bit. I was really looking forward seeing Jedi master Luke Skywalker in this film. I wanted to see him out there swinging his lightsaber and fighting off the bad guys. In fact, when he asks Rey if what she was expecting was for him to face the whole First Order with a laser sword, my thought was Heck Yeah I do! And at the end of the movie, we get that, but in between we get a lot of Hermit Luke. Fans don’t seem to like Hermit Luke very much. I’ll be honest, I was put off by him quite a bit the first time I saw this movie. But seeing it a few more times and having time to ponder his story in the Last Jedi the more I appreciated and then loved his character.
Ok, let’s talk elephant in the room. Yes, Luke tried to murder his nephew. Or he at least thought about it for a split second, and that was bothersome for me. Until I pondered on it more. I think there are two important points missing in my statement above: the why he was going to do it and the fact that he didn’t do it. He didn’t go to kill Ben Solo in his sleep. He went to see how deep the darkness was inside of Ben, and he learned he had already fully turned to the dark side. He knew the potential damage he could do, and in that moment, in order to save thousands of lives, he drew his light saber to kill him. I think it would have been hard not to do the same thing in the moment. But, then Luke didn’t do it. He hesitated and let the moment pass- he made the noble, right choice, like heroes do. That moment though, and the following destruction of the new Jedi training temple, and Kylo Ren’s rise to power all led to the guilt Luke felt in his failure.
Hands down, my favorite moment and interaction involving Luke in the film was between Luke and Yoda. Discussing the power of passing down the lessons learned from failure was so amazing. People have a tendency to put their heroes up on a pedestal, thinking they could do no wrong. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized all of my heroes have been flawed people, who accomplished great things because of and in spite of their shortcomings and failures. Luke is a more amazing hero because of what happened with Kylo and how he handled it in the end.
My other favorite part of Luke’s story was when he faced the whole First Order with nothing but his laser sword.
The second thing that stood out to me, or that I wanted to discuss was Poe’s development. Let’s get one thing clear, right up front, Poe is the future leader of the resistance. He is noble and heroic. However, at the beginning of the film, he still just has leadership potential, and is not the leader he needs to be or that the resistance needs him to be. Poe is a hothead at the beginning. His decision to keep pursuing the destruction of the Dreadnought. It costs them their whole bomber fleet, after they were already low on numbers and manpower. He was rightfully put on the sideline, and when Holdo excludes him from her plan to save what’s left of the resistance, she makes the right call. And by the way, she clearly had a plan.
After Leia’s lecture the first time around and then her lecture when she comes to and he had just staged a mutiny, he begins to understand what he needs to be and do as a leader. It’s not just blowing stuff up, it weighing the costs, knowing if a plan is worth what you might lose, and then making the best decision for the resistance, instead of completing one mission at any cost. He lost their whole bomber fleet and a lot of fighters taking out the dreadnought, but he still counted the mission as a success. His experience with Leia afterward and the after the whole Holdo situation, he realizes how shortsighted he’s been. As a pilot, it makes sense.. you are given orders, you fly, you execute. Pretty straightforward. As a leader, you are the one giving the orders, and your subordinates need to know that you’re not risking their lives needlessly.
On Crait, he’s starting to get it. The Poe from the beginning of the movie would have done like Finn. They would have stayed locked on to the bartering ram laser until the last man, trying to take it out. Poe, at the end, though, realizes they will not succeed, it’s not worth it, and calls the whole thing off. He saves his soldiers to fight another day. He makes the right call. And the again, as Luke is facing off against Kylo, and Finn wants to go out and help him- Poe stops. He knows there’s a reason for what Luke is doing, so he stops and thinks about it. He looks for a way out, and decides to follow the crystal critters out. This is the moment when he finally gets it, where he completes the transition to soldier, fighter pilot, to leader of people. And just for good measure, we get the confirmation from Leia. “What are you looking at me for? follow him” and then an approving look. The torch is passed. Poe is ready to lead the Resistance into the future.
Speaking of the future, the last thing I wanted to discuss is Rey. There were so many theories and ideas about who her parents were going to be. Was she a Skywalker? A Kenobi? Another powerful Jedi family? Nope. She is a nobody. From nowhere-Luke confirms that Jakuu is nowhere. Right before Last Jedi came out, one of my friends mentioned on a Facebook page that he hoped Rey’s parents would be nobodies. His thought was that it would be empowering to know you don’t have to be born into any particular family to accomplish great things. I loved his reasoning, and he kind of won me over, but I thought there was no way that it would turn out that way. I imagine he probably whooped in the theater when it was revealed that Rey really was a nobody. But she’s not a nobody. She has to face that, her greatest fear. She needs to have her parents be someone, to make her believe she is someone, but at the end, she realizes she is somebody special. She’s not a nobody. I even like the scene where she meets Poe for the first time and she tells him who she is and he just responds I know. I loved that.
Overall, this was one of my favorite Star Wars movies. I think I liked that it was so different. It made me stop and think, and it was totally unexpected in parts, which is amazing for a franchise that has been around for 40years and has multiple films.
Want to let me know what you thought of the Last Jedi? Feel free to drop me an email at [email protected]. Or you can sound off in the comments for this episode on my blog, the Geeky mormon.com or on our Facebook page. You can also follow me on twitter and on instagram- @thegeekymormon.
Please join me next week as I discuss geeky parenting. Also, sometime later this week I will be discussing Captain America: The Winter Soldier on the Superhero Moviecast podcast. I’ll put a link up to that on the Facebook page.
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Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next time…