Good evening my maniacal movie minions! Today I’d like to dive into my favorite film franchise. ( Look at me killin’ the alliteration!) There have been some tremors in the Force lately, and I’d like to discuss the final chapter in the sequel trilogy. If you haven’t seen Episode 8, then be warned there will be spoilers. There are rumors and a few pictures for Episode 9 out there on the inter webs, but I am not going speculate on these rumors as it is way to early in the process of making this movie to believe any of these ” insider” rumors. Back to Episode 8, I am not going to bash on The Last Jedi as well. I enjoyed some parts, and other parts make me want to hit myself in the head with a hammer! ( Looking at you Canto Bight) So, let’s dive in…
My one question for Episode 9 is really a basic one: Why should I see you? This may seem like an odd question to ask the final movie in a trilogy, but I am at a loss for any real reason to see this, other than I am a Star Wars fan. Now before you scream at me through your electronic device, let me explain. I re-watched The Last Jedi, and instead of criticizing it, I watched to see where the story goes from here. Unfortunately, it seems to have painted Episode 9 into a corner. Allow me to elaborate.
At the end of The Last Jedi, the rebels have escaped, Luke has defeated Kylo Ren and moved on to be one with the Force, Snoke is dead and Rey is our new Jedi hero. JJ Abrams was not left with much to work with here. Usually, the middle film in a trilogy sets up the final conflict to be resolved in the last film. Well, at least in a good trilogy. Where is the conflict that needs to be resolved? Or to put it a better way, where is the conflict that we as moviegoers need to see resolved? Since this is the Star Wars saga, let’s look at the middle film in the prequel and original trilogies. At the end of Episode 2 ( love it or hate it), the Clone Wars have begun, Anakin is flirting with the Dark Side and our Jedi heroes have basically had their butts handed to them by Dooku and above all else, the Empire is beginning to take shape. Naturally, as a movie watcher, you want to see how the Clone Wars will end, how the Jedi will fall and how Darth Vader emerges to lead the Empire to power. Fast forward to the original trilogy, and the best movie ever made, The Empire Strikes Back. You want a movie that makes you need to see the follow-up film, this is the one. Our hero Luke gets defeated and loses his hand, to Darth Vader which he also finds out is his dad. Han is frozen in carbonite and being taken to Jabba the Hutt. Oh, and the rebellion got it’s butt kicked. You had to see Return of the Jedi, it wasn’t an option!! Unfortunately, The Last Jedi did not set up a pressing conflict that we HAVE to see.
I suppose you could argue that we have to know how the battle between the rebels and the first order ends. This conflict is difficult to get excited for, as both films in this trilogy have done a poor job defining the First Order. The Force Awakens did not give us much detail as to the size and scope of the First Order. I understand the First Order arose from the remaining cells of the Empire, but how powerful are they? Why are they such a threat? The New Republic doesn’t seem to be concerned until the First Order blows up their home planet. The Last Jedi makes it even more difficult to worry about the First Order, as their leader, Snoke, gets cut in half like a punk and the movie goes out of its way showing that their leaders are morons to be laughed at. At the end of The Empire Strikes Back no one leaving that theater thought the Empire and Darth Vader were something to laugh at.
The next conflict you may bring up is Rey versus Kylo Ren. This feels like a hollow conflict as well. I hate to compare so much to Empire, but the set up by that film makes the conflict in Return of the Jedi the main point of the movie. Luke HAS to face Vader again. He isn’t a Jedi until he does. The Empire can’t be defeated unless he does. Luke has to know the truth about Vader being his father and deal with his inner conflict fighting his dad. Where is this with Rey and Kylo? It feels like they have to fight as they are the only two people in the universe with lightsabers. The Last Jedi shows us that Kylo isn’t going to walk away from the dark side. He wants to destroy everything, so I guess Rey is the only one to stop him. There is a reason for them to fight, but are you really DYING to know what is going to happen between them?
What about the other characters and their arcs in this trilogy? Poe Dameron is the leader of the rebels, I guess. His character has been kind of disappointing, as I like Oscar Isaac as an actor, but who is Poe? A great pilot that barely flies in The Last Jedi. He needs more to do, but in the last film of a trilogy, he can’t be expected to be much of a factor. Finn is the character that didn’t get much love in The Last Jedi. His character arc was the same as in The Force Awakens, and his real moment to be heroic got removed at the last moment. So where does he go from here? Will the next movie starts with him running away from the rebels only to come back again, like he did in the last two movies? The biggest question for Finn is is he going to hook up with Rose or Rey? And of course, we know that Leia’s fate is not good, as Carrie Fisher passed away. So with these other main characters, what is there for us to want to see with them? Not much.
This may seem like a pessimistic rambling, but I do have faith in JJ. I think he is a good filmmaker that really does love Star Wars and will deliver a good film, but he has his work cut out for him. I worry that, while it will be a good movie on its own, it really can’t wrap up the trilogy. I also worry about a second Star Killer base! ( Please NOOO) Maybe he will flip the script and have Kylo Ren destroy everyone in his path. That would definitely shock all of us! Or he could give us two hours of porgs riding giant space horses on Canto Bight. thus killing my love of Star Wars! I have faith and I am sure I will be there opening night!
If you would like to discuss, leave a comment below and we can nerd out over Star Wars.
As always, thanks for your time.
The Movie Psycho