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Topic: Star Wars Ep. VIII:The Last Jedi - SPOILERS begin Pg 12 Post ReplyPost New Topic
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 25 January 2017 at 5:06pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

But Greg, they didn't keep them in the same place. Look at the Legacy comics - you have Stormtroopers, ISDs, an Empire and everything. Cade is even an ambiguous Jedi.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 25 January 2017 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

LEGACY is set long after the era of Luke and the gang, though. I'm speaking purely of the original characters.

I would have been much more open to Disney's reboot of the franchise if it were set long after the era of Luke and the gang. New characters, new problems. Or, yes, maybe even just a rehash of the same old problems. But, I have issues with Disney specifically taking away the happy ending of Luke, Han, and Leia, and dragging them back into the thick of war. That's just a downer. It's not quite the same thing as the EU, because the EU A) Isn't "real"/legitimized as a film with the actors, music, etc.; B) Didn't quite go out of its way to turn our heroes into losers and/or ruin all of their OT character arcs.

If TFA had been set, say, a century after ROTJ, with pretty much the same characters (minus any connections to Luke, Han, and Leia)--I'd be a lot happier with it. 

Kylo Ren could have been an all-new character (unrelated to the Solo/Skywalker bloodline), but still a Vader groupie. Rey could have been given Luke's green lightsaber from ROTJ. The previous generation lived happily ever after, and now the threat of a neo-Empire has emerged. Etc., etc. Just a few tweaks, here and there.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 26 January 2017 at 12:22am
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James Woodcock
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 12:06am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Fair points. I'll concede all of them
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Brad Teschner
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

But, I have issues with Disney specifically taking away the happy ending
of Luke, Han, and Leia, and dragging them back into the thick of war.


But isn't that exactly what ESB did? The Death Star was destroyed and the
Empire was beaten...Han chose the rebellion over reward and everybody lives
happily ever after! Then ESB comes along and refutes all of that.

TFA is working itself out of a corner in the same way that Empire had to. Lucas
didn't have his saga mapped out until after Star Wars was a mega success and
he had to flip the script for ESB. Then he rushed to wrap things up with Jedi as
his continually altering plans for the franchise shrunk from 12 to 9 to 6 to 3
installments and now Disney's trying to backtrack and un-tidy up the ending of
the original trilogy much like GL had to un-tidy up the ending of Star Wars.

Seems like business as usual when it comes to the Star Wars franchise!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

...like GL had to un-tidy the end of STAR WARS...

Put that Kool-Aid down! It's not good for you!

There was nothing in ESB that Lucas "had" to do. Vader's obvious escape had set up plenty to do in a sequel. I imagined Luke pursuing his father's killer as Vader gathered the scattered forces of the Empire and created his own "rebellion". Gutting the first movie, as Lucas did, should not even have been a consideration.

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James Woodcock
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 3:47pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

It's funny to think what might have been had Lucas gone smaller rather than bigger with the sequel. It could have kept the personal stakes without Vader becoming Luke's father, Luke could still have trained since we know Ben could communicate with him and Vader could still become the huge character he has become.

And the Emperor was still around, but didn't have to be a force user ('you, my friend, are all that remains of that religion'). Would have been interesting
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Joe Boster
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 4:45pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Splinter of the Minds Eye in 1978 was written as a sequel. More Vader, more luke and leia romance. I am your father nowhere in sight. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 5:01pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

As I've said before, it saddens me that so many of you (and STAR WARS fans in general) are of an age that you could not appreciate the original film in context.

In another thread, Greg Kirkman mentioned an imaginary project of watching all the iterations of STAR TREK in their own, internal chronological order. SO much that would not fit together, with every last vestige of TOS being scrapped away.

So, too, with STAR WARS. Watch the films in the order of their release, and one finds oneself repeatedly asking "but, if...". Watch them according to their internal timeline and see "A New Hope" irrevocably expunged.

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Anthony J Lombardi
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Posted: 26 January 2017 at 6:48pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

In order for me to be able to still enjoy A New Hope. I pretend that it is a stand alone film.  The rest of the films are just sequels to Empire Strikes Back.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 27 January 2017 at 1:14am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

As I've said before, it saddens me that so many of you (and STAR WARS fans in general) are of an age that you could not appreciate the original film in context.
++++++++++

This is one of the great regrets of my life as a nerd!
+++++++++++

In another thread, Greg Kirkman mentioned an imaginary project of watching all the iterations of STAR TREK in their own, internal chronological order. SO much that would not fit together, with every last vestige of TOS being scrapped away. 

So, too, with STAR WARS. Watch the films in the order of their release, and one finds oneself repeatedly asking "but, if...". Watch them according to their internal timeline and see "A New Hope" irrevocably expunged.

++++++++++++

As some may recall, I did exactly this, a year or two back--watching the films in chronological order, and pretending it was all supposed to be one story. There are things you gain and things you lose from this, and I concluded that STAR WARS suffered the most, while RETURN OF THE JEDI gained the most.

Now, I wasn't there at the start, but I think I've done my homework and earned my stripes. Many here are firmly committed to their feeling that STAR WARS was designed to be (and works best as) a singular film. While I don't disagree with this assessment (indeed, I find myself more and more in that camp, as time goes on), it is important to note that sequels of some sort were always part of the plan. But, at the time, everyone expected STAR WARS to fail, or (at best) be a small-to-moderate success. The opening crawl was rewritten and streamlined fairly late in the game, and in such a way that it obviously helped provide some sense of finality to the proceedings ("...custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the Galaxy...."), in case the film was a total disaster. Whether this was intentionally done to button up the story in case STAR WARS ended up as a failed one-off, I cannot say. But, it seems fairly likely.

However, it is important to note that STAR WARS does not end with the actual, on-screen destruction of the Empire. And, of course, Vader escapes. The clues are all there to point to a definitive ending, in case the film flopped, but there was absolutely wiggle-room for future stories. What form those stories would take is a different matter, and, amazingly, we actual got two distinctly different versions of a legitimate sequel to STAR WARS--SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK.


Very soon after the release of STAR WARS, the public started to get primed for more stories. In fall of 1977, THE MAKING OF STAR WARS aired on TV, and, when asked about sequels, Lucas specifically stated that "The Empire is still there. Darth Vader is still there.". Less than a month later, Marvel published STAR WARS # 7, the first non-film-adaptation issue of that series, which began with the Empire still alive and well. Vader made his dramatic return a little over a year later.

In early 1978, we got SPLINTER OF THE MIND'S EYE, which, for all intents and purposes, was the original, "orthodox" sequel to STAR WARS, in which the Empire and Vader were still alive and well. SPLINTER was planned and written during the making of STAR WARS as the first of two sequel novels, which would hopeful serve as the basis for low-budget sequel films. Lucas had a trilogy (at least) in mind even during the early days of writing STAR WARS, with the third novel/film planned to depict the final defeat of the Empire.


So, while I understand why you old-timers automatically write off anything which came after the original film (and I certainly acknowledge that a massive amount of off-putting retconning began after SPLINTER was shelved in favor of the far more elaborate EMPIRE), I can't entirely agree that the Empire's continued existence post-STAR WARS was a total, 180-degree turn from what we see in the first film. I understand the reasoning behind that notion, but it seems pretty darn clear that this is not what the plan was, despite the film itself pointing pretty strongly in that direction. And, yes, the work itself--and perhaps even the audience's interpretation of it--may very well trump the creator's offscreen intent, but I do like to give authorial intent a certain amount of weight in my own interpretations of art. Before, during, and after the making of STAR WARS, Lucas intended for the Rebels to continue battling the Empire, even after the Death Star was destroyed.

As for the sequels themselves, I tend to give Lucas a lot of latitude. After all, it's not as if other writers/directors came and made sequels after he'd moved on. No, STAR WARS was Lucas' baby for nearly 40 years. I think he was within his rights to continue the story as he saw fit, even if I may not agree with all of the choices he made. He planned for STAR WARS to have sequels, and he had clearly planned to continue the Rebels vs. Empire war in those sequels, despite the more close-ended impression left by the original film. I can't quite begrudge him for expanding upon and/or rethinking his own work.

And, after all, that's a hallmark of Lucas' style. He's an editor and experimenter at heart. To understand Lucas is to understand STAR WARS. He clearly doesn't take all of this stuff as seriously as we fans do. He likes to play fast and loose. He deliberately set out to make the prequels in such a way as to completely invert and rethink the original trilogy. "Interactive filmmaking", he called it--where you watch the films in release order and get one story, whereas watching them in chronological order gives you a different story. I may not necessary like all of the results, but I have to admire his guts for doing such a thing. There's really never been anything else quite like it in the history of cinema, and we're all still talking about it, to this day--good AND bad.


Anyway, steering back on topic, I think saying that Disney's Sequel Trilogy is the same as what Lucas did with EMPIRE (taking away the happy ending of the original and showing that the Empire wasn't really defeated) is a false equivalency. For two reasons:


1. As noted above, Lucas seems to have never really committed to the idea that the destruction of the Death Star would automatically lead to the end of the Empire. Numerous comments made before, during, and after the making of STAR WARS point to--at least--a trilogy of films which would detail the final defeat of the Empire. Which is exactly what we got. Lucas, the creator of the original film, made sequels which detailed further battles against the Empire, and made them only a short time after the original film's release. It's not as if he came back 30 years after making STAR WARS, and started making sequels just to capitalize upon decades of nostalgia. He immediate began working on sequels after the first film was a staggering success, just as he'd hoped to, initially.

2. Almost immediately after STAR WARS, the public was primed for more adventures in that universe, by way of novels, comics, and other media. It was a mere three years until the first sequel film was released. By contrast, THE FORCE AWAKENS came out 30-plus years after RETURN OF THE JEDI had firmly and definitely ended the story. (And, yes, the Expanded Universe told many post-JEDI stories, but, as noted, that really seems to have been more about maintaining the brand and keeping it alive, rather than continuing the story in a "real" and meaningful way. Does Average Joe Moviegoer know or care about the New Republic's battles with Grand Admrial Thrawn? No, because everyone knows that the Empire was defeated when the Emperor, Vader, and the second Death Star were destroyed.)

During that time--my entire lifetime--the STAR WARS TRILOGY was firmly enshrined as a vital and beloved piece of modern popular culture, and one of the most beloved and influential franchises of all time: the so-called "Holy Trilogy", which had a staggering influence upon nerd culture, pop culture, and the film industry. Referenced, parodied, and cited countless times, and across all media.

The long-promised, long-awaited prequels were a loophole. They were sort of a bonus--another chance to return to that beloved Galaxy, but without undoing the happy ending of JEDI. The ending of the story was already over and done, and Lucas wanted to finally delve into the backstory. You can argue about the merits of those films, but the prequels merely added to (or radically altered) what we already knew, rather than undoing JEDI in order to make more films possible. And, when the prequels were completed, Lucas said that the story was over and done. No more films. He'd told the story he wanted to tell (...and obviously went in some wildly divergent directions, along the way!).

I can give EMPIRE and JEDI a pass because A) I don't think they came quite so out of the blue as some say; B) They were produced by the creator of the original film. Disney's sequels are a different matter. The STAR WARS trilogy had 30 years to become a beloved icon of pop culture. To suddenly come along after all that time, pull the rug out from under the audience, and say, "You thought the story was over--but it's NOT!" seems to me exactly like what it is--people who are not the original creator of the property coming along and artificially keeping it going with counterfeit sequels in order to maintain the brand, and earn major returns on their $4.5 billion investment. From a business standpoint, I understand that. It makes perfect sense. From an artistic standpoint...I can't quite get behind it. I kinda think that certain sacred cows should be left alone and some endings should remain happy, y'know?


As noted, there were ways this could have been done that I'd have been fine with. But, Disney, perhaps necessarily, took the quick and easy route of bringing back the beloved characters/actors to initiate the launch of their STAR WARS reboot, and to legitimize it. Again, I understand this from a business perspective, but not necessarily an artistic one. And, as I have said before, it seems more and more apparent that STAR WARS fans just want more STAR WARS--even if only by way of retreads which help them in their attempts to recapture the initial high of seeing the original film(s)--no matter how nonsensical or derivative they may be. The, "Hey, I can see lightsabers, X-Wings, and Vader cutting people up on a movie screen! I remember that!" effect.


Just my take. Mileage may vary, void where prohibited.



Edited by Greg Kirkman on 27 January 2017 at 1:31am
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Michael Penn
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Posted: 27 January 2017 at 1:56pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Speaking as someone who saw (many times) and loved (ever since) the original film upon release, I can say for myself that the idea of a sequel was 40 years ago neither unexpected or repellent. STAR WARS was not only a blockbuster film but a cultural phenomenon.

Whatever Lucas' plans, STAR WARS didn't need a sequel. Everything in that movie carries its own conclusions. That the Empire isn't shown fully destroyed is no loose end, neither is Darth's survival. Could there be more story? Of course. When Scarlett vows to win back Rhett and pronounces as the last line "tomorrow is another day," no doubt her story could go on. With what film, or any story in any medium, may we not speculate thus? BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES blew up the Earth -- but still three more movies followed!

That STAR WARS would likely have a sequel was, as I said, neither unexpected nor in and of itself repellent. Darth was still around. And the defeat of the Empire, while not in doubt, could easily be fodder for a story. Darth gathers up defeated Imperial Forces into his own anti-Republic guerillas... Darth Strikes Back! "I killed the father... now I'll kill the son!" And the presumably deposed Emperor? Let's see him too!

Lots of sequels that might have been -- and that did NOT have to shit on the original movie.

Lucas did what he wanted. Fine! His baby! But I didn't have to like it. I didn't and I don't.

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Jozef Brandt
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Posted: 27 January 2017 at 3:45pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply


As someone who saw Star Wars in '77 as a kid and ate, lived, breathed, it with the toys, when I heard that a sequel was planned, I had absolutely no belief whatsoever that Star Wars was self contained.  By the time Empire came out, I had read the Marvel adaptation of the movie dozens of times.  I collected the bubblegum cards (which had all sorts of expanded explanations, trivia, etc on the backs of them), and the "larger universe" such as it was in '77-'80 was something I was very immersed in.  (Including the ongoing Marvel Comics).  I didn't read Splinter until 1983, which was also when I read the Star Wars novelization. 

I just wanted to say that in the context of someone who saw them as they were released, the finality of Star Wars never occurred to me, but then again I was very young.  I have a friend who was 15 when Star Wars was released and a senior in high school when Empire came out, and he said he and his friend were blown away at how good Empire was.  (And ultimately let down with ROTJ when they were both in their 20s). 

I had no problems with ROTJ on release, but it still became the movie I watched the least of the OT.  (the Ewoks definitely had a shelf-life for me). 

I was pretty soft on TFA since I thought its characters overcame its flaws.  But, it also seemed to me that they took very forced steps in order to cast the heroes as the underdogs again, and I would argue it was something that was unnecessary!  The First Order was a perfectly acceptable enemy just based on their deadliness and viciousness.  Making the Republic into a rag-tag outfit again was just not needed.  Having the "bad guys" be the rebels works just as well as the reverse. 

Anyway, my expectations are going to be somewhat higher for EP8, but I admire Rian Johnson's work and have a lot more faith in him that I did JJ Abrams.
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