It is curious that in a week when Disney’s already gigantic empire looks set to grow further with the purchase of Fox, it is another one of their recently bought franchises, Star Wars, that will be showing any new content the way forward with The Last Jedi, a film that is, in all honesty, likely to break box office records aplenty. And we can’t bloody wait to see it.
There’s absolutely no prizes for guessing that we’re all massive Star Wars nerds here at AI Movie Night. We love it completely, and OK, there have been some low points in the saga to date (I’m looking in your direction, Jar Jar Binks…) but The Force Awakens, the incredible reboot that comes post-Darth Vader, has given all fans of the journey a massive, and much needed, boost. There’s plenty to look forward to and many unanswered questions. So let’s talk The Last Jedi.
The expectations are huge, will it bang?
The Force Awakens was better than anyone expected. That much is true. Merging the old characters with the new franchise, on paper, sounded like a risky move. But it was a move that paid off. So what next? Well, the expectations are already huge for The Last Jedi, not least because of that title. But Disney has shown with the Marvel universe especially, that they can create something huge. Of course, we’re all looking forward to seeing what happens with Luke Skywalker, but it’s the things we didn’t quite find out during the last film that I’m most excited to see. Who were, and what happened to, Rey’s parents? During TFA, we found out she had been waiting for them to return since childhood. So where did they go, and what do they have to do with her clearly incredible power? I expect to find out more about this, and more about General Snoke is and what his part was in the years after Vader. So far we’ve seen him big, and seen him holographic, but that’s it. If we don’t find anything out about these extra pieces of the universe we’re so invested in, then I’ll leave to cinema disappointed.
Will this film be wholly original?
The new trilogy has started off brilliantly, but if there’s one small criticism (from others, not me!) it’s that it seemed to follow a similar story to A New Hope. As a matter, this isn’t a wrongly formed opinion, but the film was still a hit with fans. What would grind gears, though, would be if TLJ followed a pattern to previous films, namely The Empire Strikes Back.
From what we have seen of this new story, and of Rey meeting Luke at the end of the last film, there is a legitimate worry that this film will follow a similar story to Empire. Will Luke go on to train and hone Rey’s skills, a la Yoda to Luke, or will that temptation have been avoided by writer/director Rian Johnson? I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised.
The Force Awakens was a risk for fans because they had been burnt by a sub-par prequel trilogy. Offering a good level of familiarity to hard-core fans, such as older characters and a similar storyline, allowed Disney a couple of easy wins. With a quality movie, they could get Star Wars mega-fans and newbies alike on their good side. With the last film, this happened. Having gained film-goers trust, Disney can now start to explore some more expansive, original and fresh storylines. I think we’ll start to see something like this in The Last Jedi.
Continuing Kylo’s evolution
For me, Kylo Ren was the standout character in the previous film. He was a wounded soldier for the First Order, and his betrayal of Luke Skywalker is probably going to be an important part of the trilogy story arc. What I love about Ren is that he’s on edge; he’s unstable, emotionally fragile and, by the looks of things, very insecure. That makes for such an interesting figure within the story. He’s evil, but we can’t say how deep his dark roots lay. An important rule amongst the Star Wars franchise is that they’re not afraid to get dark. Anakin Skywalker, during Revenge of the Sith, strikes down a group of young Jedi, whilst Kylo kills his father, and popular franchise hero, Han Solo. An emotionally unstable villain means that anything is possible. And that’s what makes Kylo such an exciting – and terrifying – prospect.
Luke: Good or Evil?
Some of the amazing reaction from the US has stated that Johnson has been brave and “crazy” in The Last Jedi but in a totally positive way. What does that mean? The main guess would be that we could be in for an interesting and shocking arc to the continuation of the Luke Skywalker story. As you will have noticed, Luke appears on both the ‘light’ and ‘dark’ side teaser theatre posters, hinting at a possible fork in the road for our old hero. Has he completely given up on the Force, and are we to see him turn evil in a way we’ve never experienced? His relationship with Rey will probably influence the remainder of the trilogy. I have a completely unfounded gut feeling that Rey and Luke may have met before. We’re missing a part of the puzzle when it comes to Rey’s parents, where Luke has been for years and where her immense Jedi potential comes from. Be it that she’s a relation to Luke, an old Jedi Academy student or something else, there’s still plenty that Lucasfilm aren’t telling us. On rewatch of The Force Awakens, there’s a curious scene when Han and Rey meet, and Rey knows each and every tale of the Millenium Falcon, the Rebellion and Han Solo. Where would she have found this information? Maybe we’re looking into it too much. That sounds about right, too…
We could literally talk for hours about this film. With only a few days until release, there’s not long left to speculate. What’s great, though, is that our excitement is a testament to how great The Force Awakens was, and how much excitement fans feel towards the current story arc. If you haven’t got your tickets yet, why the hell not? And that leaves us to say, between now and Thursday morning: may the force be with you.
You can check out our look ahead to Star Wars: The Last Jedi on the AI Movie Night Podcast! Have a listen!