What I Want from The Last Jedi

When The Force Awakens came out, naturally I was excited. As a lifelong Star Wars fan, the chance to slip back into that world was thrilling. But even so, there was a slight trepidation. The prequels, though still something I enjoy, and as a child was adequately enthralled by, had left me cautious.

But now, two years after JJ Abrams showed that there was more than one way to make a Star Wars trilogy, I have high hopes for The Last Jedi.

I have been steering clear of most spoilers and content, and slowly raising my expectations at what few snippets I let slip through. The trailers; amazing. And now the early reviews; very promising.

I don’t have the time for a detailed explanation of what I am hoping for as I previously posted for The Force Awakens, so instead I am just going to offer a brief list of what I am wanting from my ninth journey to a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.

  • Humour – one of the most pleasant surprises from TFA was how funny it was. The original trilogy had its fair share of levity, but the prequels never managed to capture the casual humour of characters like Han Solo. Finn got many genuine laughs. So I am hoping that continues here and things don’t go too dark.
  • Something different – Force Awakens was great, but it was also very familiar. That is good with a new trilogy trying to pay homage to its origins, but now is the time to strike out in a new direction. You can remain true to the spirit of Star Wars without having to just rehash things, so that is what I am hoping for.
  • Cool new planets – I don’t really recall much about the planets from TFA. Sure Jakku was pretty cool, but it was also too similar to Tattooine to evoke any new sense of wonder (though yes the crashed Star Destroyer was awesome). I want new locales that stretch the imagination. I want weird environments that look aliens to us, but also realistic. Throw in some funky wildlife and we are on to a winner.
  • Answers! – I want answers damn it!
  • Secrets – I want secrets too…
  • Lightsabers!
  • Weird new Force powers – Not midichlorians, nothing like that. I want more Kylo Ren freezing powers, I want some mystic crap that lines up with Force ghosts and chosen ones.
  • Millennium Falcon.
  • Some new ship – I want a new iconic ship. TFA didn’t really offer up much new in this regard, and if anything I was more impressed by Rogue One’s U Wing than anything else. So hopefully there is something here I can desire in LEGO form next year.
  • Porgs- Really I just want them not to suck.
  • Death! – I want main character deaths that raise the stakes, and are meaningful. More like Han, and less like whoever Kylo killed on Jakku.
  • Ambiguity – Kylo Ren looks like a complicated and conflicted character,and I like that. The original trilogy took Vader from generic baddie, into conflicted person. I want more of this. I want grey areas, and flawed people.
  • Complexity – Empire bad, rebellion good. Jedi good, with bad. Give me something in the middle. Give me real life, where goodies and baddies are never that easy to seperate.

I don’t know what else; just give me a good time!

P.s. excuse the rushed nature of this post, I wrote it on my phone.

In A Name, What Is?

A new year, and a new Star Wars film title:


Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

I like it. It is invocative, it makes me wonder, why is there only one Jedi left? Or if it is plural (which Jedi can be, with tenuous proof given later) then why are these final few labelled as such? What existential threat are they up against? And yes, we may all think we know the answer, the First Order, but what exactly is this First Order’s motivation, and how does it threaten the Jedi?

All important questions. Kind of (it is after all only a movie).

So, I like this title. But in a way, it kind of bugs me. It bugs me because it ruins a theme I had notice in the Star Wars naming trilogies that I put a lot of thought into as a young boy back when the prequels were an exciting present, rather than a retroactively less-so thrilling experience.

Here is the crux of my pattern:

My explanation Instalment Prequel Trilogy Original Trilogy Sequel Trilogy
This defines the idea, metaphor or driving concept of the story. In the prequels we knew something sinister was afoot. The original trilogy was about overcoming this. And the new trilogy appears to be about renewal. Eitehr way they are all abstract things or impersonal observations. First Film The Phantom Menace A New Hope The Force Awakens
An action-focused title, some group doing some thing to drive forward the story. Middle Film Attack of the Clones The Empire Strikes back
Culmination as some conclusory act is carried out by a faction. The sith get revenge, the Jedi return. End Film Revenge of the Sith Return of the Jedi

Now I know I am not the only person to think this; or if it was through design by George Lucas, to notice it. But I am somewhat dismayed that the latest film doesn’t appear to fit the mould.

Sure you can argue that Jedi can be plural, so at least there is a group involved. And the helter-skelter grammar of Yoda can back you up on this:

“A flaw more and more common among Jedi. Too sure of themselves they are. Even the older, more experienced ones” – Yoda on arrogance

But the fact remains that the action focused forceful (pun not intended) language of the previous two middle films isn’t included. The clones attack; Bam! The Empire strikes back; whack! The Jedi……. remain in some implicitly dwindled fashion..?

That all being said, I love that I am once again living at that time in history where I get to over-analyse a movie title. I remember fondly wondering what that phantom menace would be, or who the clones were attacking, or how the revenge of the sith would come to play. Then in 2015 we got to ponder how the force awakens, or perhaps more importantly, we got to question why the force was seemingly asleep, and in need of awakening.

Needless to say I am looking forward to finally seeing Luke Skywalker on screen again. Hopefully he has something to say this time!

P.s. I hope my attempt at Yoda grammar in the title of this post somewhat made sense to people…

What I want from Rogue One

Tomorrow night I will be sitting down ready for the midnight screening of the new Star Wars film: Rogue One.

Rogue One is a big deal for Disney. It is the first test of the expanded Star Wars cinematic universe. What’s more, it is the first time that Disney will get to see if the viewing public wants a new Star Wars film every year.

Naturally, as a Star Wars fan, it is a big deal for me also. This will be the first time we get to see Disney’s big plan for the Star Wars universe. Sure we have seen the extension of the Star Wars saga with The Force Awakens, but there is a difference between just continuing a linear story, and branching out a whole universe.

So, here are some thoughts I have as to what I want to get from my viewing of Rogue One.

Cool Opening

The force awakens captured the feel of the original movies with the classic opening crawl, followed by a cool juxtaposition of massive starship, and alien planet. I am not sure if Rogue One will continue with the opening crawl model, or come up with its own thing. But I am excited to see how they handle it.

Imperial March


I am sure this is a given, but at some point there had better be the iconic blast of brass to portend the arrival of a certain Mr Vader.



One of the things that surprised me most about The Force Awakens was the amount of humour in the film; I genuinely laughed out loud multiple time in the cinema. Now while some of these laughs were just fan service, and only really humorous from that point of view (the reveal as the ‘garbage’ ship being the Millennium Falcon, and C3PO’s entrance being two examples). There was also generally a lot of humour throughout the film, particularly surrounding Finn, that to my mind worked really well (Think for instance about his plan to ‘Use the Force’, or his genuinely amusing act when playing a resistance fighter).


I was a tad worried about the humour in Rogue One when I heard of the reshoots that apparently took place after some Disney higher-ups were worried at an earlier cut of the film being too ‘dark’. After this, a studio heavyweight was apparently brought in to handle some reshoots in order to bring it back to a more ‘Star Warsy’ feel. I mean sure, I am all up for a Star Wars movie being of a different tone than the trilogies. But for me the humour was always an integral part of the story, whether it be the snappy dialogue of Han Solo, or the forced slapstick in some of the prequels.

So I am hoping that there will be some laughs in this film also, and so far,from wat I have seen of Alan Tudyk’s droid, this is likely.

Awesome surprises.


Obviously I cant be very specific here, they are after all surprises; if I knew what I wanted, then how could I be surprised.

But what I am looking for here are not just the big plot changing surprises like Kylo being Ben Solo, or Vader being Luke’s dad, but nifty little surprises like Kylo being able to freeze a blaster bolt (honestly who saw that coming), or Rey’s dramatic capture of the lightsabre.

New Information, but not a new

I want Rogue One to supplement the original trilogy, not uproot it. I don’t want anything I learn to drastically change the views I have of anything from the original trilogy. I know this might seem like the generic whine of an aged fan, but it isn’t just that. It is a genuine concern I have about sequels adding in information that changes your views of original stories, often beyond their original intent.

Think about the bane of many Star Wars fans existence; the midichlorians.

Star Wars always seemed to tread the line between science fiction and fantasy. It had many of the traditional sci-fi staples present: galactic empires, strange planets, awesome spaceships, and weird aliens. But it also had The Force. And the Force was borderline magical. Then enter Qui-Gon Jinn and his midichlorian analyser, and suddenly we had a faux scientific explanation for the force that for many fell flat.


This ‘revelation’ then inevitably made you wonder about the original trilogy films. I recast a lot of what you knew, and didn’t really fit in with what had been originally shown. I get that midichlorian’s flow through us and connect us to the force, but then what doesn that mean about Force ghosts? Honestly here is an example of where keeping things more magical makes more sense, and by adding in midichlorian’s it just confused the issue.

You can see this happening quite often with unplanned sequels, and is one of my pet peeves. When How to Train Your Dragon 2 introduced the dragon brainwashing power, it altered the world. When Highlander 2 gave us the true origins of the immortals as weird alien outcasts, or whatever, it screwed up everything. When Attack of the Clones showed us that R2-D2 had rocket legs, suddenly every jam he was in seemed all the more frustrating because he didn’t just jet the hell out of there!


So long 2016…

So that’s what I don’t want to happen. I don’t want to learn something that makes me rethink some of the basic tenets of the Star Wars universe.

Now don’t get me wrong, I want new information. I want new angles on things, I want light shed on some of the shadowy areas of the Star Wars world. I just want the movie-makers to make sure that these revelations are properly thought out, and fit into the world that we have all come to know and love.

Use Rogue One to add detail to the picture, not to change the overall landscape. Save the drastic world building changes for those stories that are meant to shape the overall narrative of the Star Wars universe; the new sequel trilogy.

A compelling Bad Guy


Note: I did not know that this gif existed, but I knew that the internet wouldn’t disappoint me when I searched for it.

Star Wars introduced us to Vader, one of the quintessential film villains, and a perfect example of a compelling bad guy. Sure in the first film you can’t really claim that he is all that unique. He wants information on the rebels. Pretty simple stuff. But over the course of the trilogy you learn more about him, and by the end he is an ersatz hero. (and perhaps brings balance to the Force….?).

But the trilogy was able to introduce him as a generic bad buy, and then tease out his character as the trilogy proceeded. As Rogue One will arguably be a self-contained story, it needs to make sure that the protagonists it introduces managed to have their own compelling reasons for doing as they do (beyond simply following the orders of the Sith lords above them).

From the looks of the trailers, and Ben Mendelsohn’s evocation of the power of the battle station that appears to border on obsession, I think this is likely to be something that it achieves.

Cool Space Battles


Say what you will about the prequel trilogy, its access to modern(ish) CGI gave us some pretty amazing looking visuals. Think of the attack on Coruscant in Revenge of the Sith, or Obi-Wan’s escape from Jango Fett in Attack of the Clones.

Cool Ground Battles

AT-AT’s; buff said.

Character arcs.

Screen Shot 2016-12-12 at 9.59.05 pm.png

This is an example of a bad character arc.

The problem with a story where you know the ending, is that a sense of fatalism can pervade things. When I heard the rumours of a reshoot being necessary in order to ‘lighten’ the film a bit, it confirmed for me one of the most likely outcomes for our rag-tag group of rebels; most of them die.

So fine, I can accept this fatalism. I know that none of these guys are going to bring down the Empire and rise up as a galactic hero. But what I do want instead is for some of these characters to actually grow throughout the film. To have a struggle of some sort, to have an arc.

While the trailers definitly set up the main character as having her development from a rebel, to a Rebel (Note the change in capitalisation; it is important). I hope there is more to the rest of the Rogue One group. I want Mr Blind Force Sensitive man to have a solid arc. I want Guy Who I Just Realised Was In The Terminal to grow and change. I want the people I say goodbye to at the end of the film (and probably some that are dramatically ripped from me half-way through the film) to be different to the people I meet at the start.

Well played fan service.

I want references to my favourite films. Hell, it isn’t every year you get a new Star Wars film (at least it never used to be…). But I want them to be artful. For instance I dont want anything like the following piece of dialogue:

Imperial Worker: We should probably do something about that exhaust vent

Imperial Officer: Forget about it, no one could possible take advantage of this small weakness

Imperial Worker: Seriously though, it wouldn’t be that hard to cover it up-

Imperial Officer: Trust me it will be fine.

Imperial Worker: All I am saying is that one proton torpedo and this space station will be history.

Imperial Officer: Look, we will put it and the end of a long trench; okay?

Imperial Worker: 

References to the Prequels.

While Lucas’ prequel trilogy may be a dirty word(s) in the Star Wars community for many, it is nevertheless a part of the official canon, so I think some acknowledgment of this is necessary.

The Force Awakens could be argued to have no real links to the prequel trilogy. The closest I think it came was the mention of a clone army, though this could be seen simply as a reference to the clone wars line from A New Hope. Indeed I have heard that Forest Whittaker’s character is meant to be a Clone War veteran, which could be taken either way also.

But while I am not really sure what I want to see here, I think that for all the groan worthy things that the prequels gave us, they were also responsible for some pretty cool things.

Weird Alien Animals

Sure alien beings are cool, but alien wildlife is cooler.

Cool Droids

R2-D2 was always cool. BB-8 has picked up the baton for a new generation. Lets continue to have the droid community represented in these movies please.

To be Entertained

Really this is it, this is what we all want from a  movie. Whatever form that comes in, whether it be uplifting, emotional, scary, funny, adrenalin pumping; at the end of the day these are all forms of entertainment that we choose to expose ourselves to.

So here is hoping that Rogue One is able to continue that Star Wars magic that The Force Awakens recently rekindled.


P.s. Oh, and somebody had better say they have a ‘bad feeling about this’…

Quick thoughts on the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer


Man; I am excited about this film. Even though this trailer give me no idea of what the storyline is going to be; it still somehow reassures me that this film is going to be true to the Star Wars world.
How can a Star Wars fan not be excited about this trailer, and thus about the upcoming film? The visuals, the music; the Han Bloody Solo!
Yes a lot of us remember the prequels being a bit of a let-down, and therefore are doing our best to not throw our hopes as high as they may have been in 1999. But I can’t help feel that here are a few legitimate reasons to be optimistic for the new trilogy.
First of all, I have faith in J.J. Abrams. Excessive lens flare aside, I think the man tells a great story, is able to make interesting characters (Jack Bristow FTW), and in general makes entertaining films. He is able to capture the essence of the stories he sets out to tell.
Second, we have enough from the old Star Wars trilogy to make it feel familiar. And I don’t just mean Ford, Fischer and Hamill; Lawrence Kasdan is back as co-writer. In case you don’t know, he was the co-writer of Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of all Star Wars films.
Plus if The Force Awakens is a good film, then it means the majority of Star Wars films are good films, regardless of what you think of the prequels.
But having finally seen the trailer (as thin on actual plot details as it may be), I think I can see the way that Abrams will be taking this story; and I like it.

its true

All of it

What I take from this trailer is that The Force Awakens will be a story about the Star Wars story itself. A kind of meta self-referential tale about the power of the Star Wars story.
Star Wars casts a big shadow not only on science fiction films, but on film-making itself. It opened up a whole new way of telling stories, and inspired a new generation of directors. Directors like Abrams himself.
Abrams has long been a Star Wars fan; in fact I remember an interview with him upon the release of his reboot of Star Trek where he talked about not knowing much about Star Trek, and being more of a Star Wars fan.
In his film Super 8 Abrams gave us a movie that was as much about film-making itself as it was about an alien stuck on earth. Many claimed it was an homage to Spielbergian film-making (which I can see), but it was also a story about making films, and I think this is an example of how Abrams is able to convey a sense of awareness in his filmmaking. He understands where these films fit into the public’s perception of them.
So naturally when tackling one of the biggest film franchises of all time, he knows that there is a lot of history surrounding this, and that the fans of these movies are a part of that. The story of Star Wars has been around for almost forty years after all, so it has had plenty of time to have a life all of its own, and to pervade the way we think and feel about other stories.
This brings me to, in my opinion, the most interesting part of the trailer  (narrowly edging out the lack of Luke); this exchange of words:

Rey: There are stories about what happened.
Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. A Jedi. They’re real.

You can hear in her voice, in the way Rey talks about these stories, that there is a power in such tales. It is this talk of stories that to me explains the direction this movie may take.
The Star Wars world in these new movies is almost a parallel of our own. Indeed the passage of time between the original trilogy, and this new series has taken place in real-time, so the memories of what happened in those movies is comparable to the memories of those movies for us here in the real world.
The power of the stories people told of the downfall of the Empire mirrors the power of the original Star Wars trilogy for us, the audience. The story of old glories come back, of the power of past experiences, rings true regardless of whether you are a character reacting to them, or an audience member reliving them. Even the films new villain, Kylo Ren, appears to mirror the public’s obsession with the classic villain Darth Vader, as he seeks to ‘finish what [he] started’.

vader fan
So perhaps this Star Wars will be a story about the story of Star Wars; about the power it has over people down the generations. It will be a tribute to Star Wars, as it very well should be.

Quick breakdown of other thoughts from the trailer;

  • Number one; where is Luke! Clearly there is a reason Luke isn’t being shown (beyond a pat on R2-D2’s head. Maybe how he looks will give something away (has he turned to the dark side?). Or maybe he simply isn’t that main of a character. After all he is also absent from the poster.

Rey explore

  • Rey’s travels through the ruins of derelict Empire starships just looks awesome. (P.s. when she is watching that ship fly off into the distance, there is clearly an AT-AT foot at the bottom of the frame, which is suggested to be where Rey lives)
  • The music in this trailer is awesome. Going to be great to hear John Williams on the big screen again.


  • I like that we see Finn wielding the Skywalker lightsabre, yet I can’t help but worry that he is going to have his arse thoroughly handed to him by what appears to be a more sabre competent Kylo Ren. Unless there is going to be some awesome Jedi training montage in this film (seems unlikely), then this looks to be quite the mismatch. So either someone will come along and save Finn, or perhaps Kylo is more interested in collecting another Darth Vader icon than he is in disposing of Finn.
  • Speaking of Finn and Rey; what are their last names!! I can’t help but feel that at least one of them is being kept under wraps due to it being excitingly familiar (and familial).
  • Not much captain Phasma in this trailer.

air battle

  • Lots of awesome looking battle sequences though.
  • Lens flare.


  • Kylo Ren and his band of masked bad guys in the rain. And I don’t care what people say of its practicality; that red cross-guard lightsabre is awesome.

Finn down

  • Voiceover from Finn seems to lend credence ot the theory that he is a storm trooper who becomes disillusioned with the First Order after taking part in, or witnessing a massacre. Sure looks like he escapes in a TIE fighter and is shot down by a Star Destroyer over the junkyard planet of Jakka (soon to meet Rey no doubt).


  • Millennium Falcon. Millennium Falcon! MILLENNIUM FALCON!!!!
  • People a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, clearly have terrible memories. They don’t know about the Jedi, or the dark side? Much like these people seemed to have quite quickly forgotten about the Jedi and the power of the force in the original trilogy. Han Solo may just have no interest in history when he says “I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything.”, and perhaps when Motti references the Force as an ‘ancient religion’ he just forgot about the whole Jedi Council that existed a couple of decades previous. But it still seems odd that a civilisations collective memory could be so forgetful; its like people being shocked to learn that Nazis were real things, or that there used to be this thing called communism.