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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 11 August 2017 at 7:45pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Keeping STAR WARS an ongoing concern is a goal for Disney, that's for darn sure.

Personally, I would have been happy to see the film(s) go back to being a product of their time and a fond memory. I'd rather not see the brand run into the ground via oversaturation and whatnot.

I mean, yeah, the original film(s) will always be there, but it still has an effect on me to see the series dragged out and milked dry.

And, and with STAR TREK, I'm more okay with them trying new things of varying quality, rather than strip-mining the original characters and concepts. I have no beef with the TREK spin-off shows (except ENTERPRISE), because they take place long after the original series, and mostly do their own thing.

Unfortunately, TREK has become trapped in a rut of counterfeit prequels and cash-grabs which exploit and distort the characters and concepts of the original series.

And so it is with STAR WARS. Drag the original characters/actors back in to get people re-invested in the films. Nostalgia, nostalgia, nostalgia. I still can't believe I live in a world where Han Solo fell out with Leia and was killed by his own son, and Luke Skywalker is a failure living in exile. Kinda hard to watch the original film(s) the same way, with that in mind.

Heck, it already took me long enough to mentally divorce the original STAR WARS from its first two sequels, and view it as a stand-alone film!

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John Popa
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Posted: 12 August 2017 at 8:32am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

I still can't believe I live in a world where Han Solo fell out with Leia and was killed by his own son, and Luke Skywalker is a failure living in exile.

---

This is my biggest issue with the new series of movies. It's the lazy 'erase the 'happily' part of 'happily ever after' when doing a new segment.

I'm hardly the world's biggest 'Star Wars' fan but I don't buy Luke quitting and running away. Who wants to see their hero do THAT?

No reason they couldn't have been STRONG at the beginning of TFA, faced a threat bigger than they'd ever faced before, and gone from there.
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Monte Brown
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Posted: 21 August 2017 at 5:34pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Greg Kirkman wrote:
"THE LAST JEDI will surely echo THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK in many ways, just as TFA was Disney's attempt to remake STAR WARS for a new audience. That's all they'll need to get butts in seats, but it can't last forever."

The Force Awakens mimes Empire Strikes Back more than A New Hope.  Especially because both had dark endings.  Think about this a Skywalker rejects his father's offer to join him (Luke rejects Darth Vader's; Kylo rejects Han's).  Mr Solo is temporarily defeated seemingly down and out, with his future misses; the girl he has a crush on, flying off in the Millennium Falcon with Chewie by her side and the final shot is her and Luke standing together.  The idealistic young hero, who showed the courage to leave the only life he knew behind, is brutally beaten by a dark force user (Luke is bested by Vader; Finn is defeated and crowned by Kylo) and is left in the sick bay.  The Skywalker of the movie finds out his mentor lied to him pertaining his father (Obi Wan never told Luke Anakin was Vader; Snoke told Kylo killing Han would make him stronger but it made him feel weaker).

And to take it a step further
"in both situations, it's about the paternity of a character (Luke-Vader and Ben-Han), but also the introduction of a young Force sensitive character who's a threat to the status quo (Luke is the Disturbance, Rey is the Awakening).  And Leia stands with a friend while sending off a new ally/friend in the Falcon on a rescue mission for one of her loved ones (running with the assumption that the audience expects it's for Luke but will actually be Ben who Rey rescues/brings back). There's even a tiny bit of that in the musical score with blending Rey's theme with Leia's and the love theme for Han and Leia. Which is the ending theme for ESB, but also we know now that Ben is essentially the result of that relationship/theme."  And merging the two themes is foreshadowing Ben and Rey will be next romance of the trilogy. 


    


Edited by Monte Brown on 21 August 2017 at 5:46pm
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Charles Valderrama
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Posted: 30 August 2017 at 3:16pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Mark Hamill admits he had his reservations about returning as Luke Skywalker for this new trilogy (from a Hungarian magazine called "Cinemania Mozimania") :

“A thing that felt maybe wrong about coming back was the fact that the original trilogy had a beginning, a middle and an end. But there's two ways of looking at that,” Hamill said. “On the one hand, it had closure. But if you look at it another way, it's the story of how Luke went from becoming a farm boy to a Jedi and then the story ends. It would be like telling the story of how James Bond got his license to kill and became 007, and the story ends.”

-C!


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James Woodcock
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Posted: 05 September 2017 at 4:28pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Colin Trevorrow is out. Lucasfilm are really struggling with directors

Edited by James Woodcock on 05 September 2017 at 4:30pm
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 07 September 2017 at 1:06pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

So based on the Force Friday merchandise, this movie is about Porgs, right?
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Ryan Maxwell
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Posted: 07 September 2017 at 2:08pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

And red plastic samurai.  
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 12:08am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Before we begin, I'd like to reiterate that I begrudge no one for loving the Disney films. The following mini-rant has been percolating in my mind for some time, now, and I feel obliged to give it voice. I dislike being..er...forced into the role of Debbie Downer (especially for a topic I love as much as STAR WARS), but I need to both vent and contemplate.


A friend of mine in retail recently told me that no one showed up for her store's Force Friday event. They had two freestanding, four-sided displays set up for merchandise...but didn't receive enough product to fill both displays, so they only put out one display. Way less merchandise came in this time than during either of the past two years' worth of STAR WARS tie-in events. And, the new merchandise hasn't sold particularly well, during the past week. The new Black Series Vader and original Stormtrooper sold out the first day they were on the shelf, while Kylo Ren and the First Order TIE pilot are pegwarmers. Further, tons of TFA and R1 merchandise has remained on clearance for months and months. Black Series Finn and Constable Zuvio are major clearance pegwarmers. The Sphero BB-8 toys sat on the shelf, unsold for two years, until they were cut loose from their security tie-downs and stolen, two weeks ago.

Many of these observations seem to jibe with those made in this recent video:



I hate being the doomsayer, here, but I had that sinking feeling back in 2012, when Disney announced the Lucasfilm buyout and the production of a sequel trilogy. Over the past two years, I've grown to actively dislike the new films and what they represent, and to appreciate the older films--and George Lucas--more and more. And, yes, that includes the prequels. They have interesting ideas with flawed execution, as opposed to the Disney films' lack of ideas with slick execution. I find myself coming back to them, from time to time, whereas I have no real desire to own or rewatch the Disney films, or buy the merchandise. 

I'm aware that the following statement may sound insane, given the tremendous financial success of the last two films, but...I think STAR WARS is a dying brand. I think Disney is slowly overexposing it and milking it to death, and banking almost solely on nostalgia, which can't last forever. THE FORCE AWAKENS got a big pass from fans, because it represented...ahem...a new hope. For many people, it just needed to be competently made, have no involvement from George Lucas, and feature the original actors/characters. And it met those basic requirements. It relieved the STAR WARS blue-balls that so many fans felt that the prequels had given them. It was a calculated exercise in nostalgia-pandering. 

As some will recall, I found myself enjoying the film well enough, when it came out, but I've since had time to digest it, and now find it highly overrated. It's a surface-level rehash and a counterfeit sequel, one which fundamentally dumps all over the original trilogy and its characters, despite pretending really, really hard to seem authentic. But, it made more than a billion dollars, and was billed by Disney as "the movie event of a generation". I don't believe TFA marked the beginning of a great new era for STAR WARS. More and more, I think it marked the beginning of the end of STAR WARS. A dumb-popcorn-film moment of catharsis for fans who felt wronged by Lucas and the prequels, but ultimately indicative of the true direction of franchise as a calculated product pretending to be good storytelling. These Disney films are nostalgia-driven, corporate fanfilms designed to sell movie tickets and toys. That is the sole reason for their existence.

ROGUE ONE is in the same vein, but takes a safer route. It's a bland and boring heist film which coasts by on the nostalgia of its explicit connections and callbacks to the original STAR WARS. A so-so film enshrined by many because it's competently made, had no involvement from George Lucas, and featured CGI recreations of original actors/characters. Oh, and Darth Vader killing people, which was a fan-pandering scene added very late in the game, during reshoots. Indeed, it should be noted that ROGUE ONE was a troubled production, with Gareth Edwards and the Disney/Lucasfilm suits clashing, and Edwards not even being involved in the later rewrites/reshoots. There is obviously a pattern, now: the HAN SOLO directors were fired, and EPISODE IX's director has dropped out. Disney is homogenizing these films, and clearly has a specific creative vision to enforce. You don't follow the company line, then get lost. This could be seen as Disney simply trying to maintain a constant vision and style, but, where there's smoke...

And, yes, that vision seems to include political/SJW agendas and demographic pandering. STAR WARS is about space-wizards, robots, and rayguns, not heavy social issues. Unfortunately, politics and agendas seems to be taking over the entire entertainment industry. STAR TREK, not STAR WARS, has traditionally been the politically/socially-conscious franchise (...but it's recently been turned into STAR WARS-lite, so...). I've been creeped out by the revisionist history that's crept into various interviews with the casts/crews of these films. It's been made to seem like STAR WARS never had any strong female/minority characters, until Disney came along to set things right. Which is pure nonsense, of course. 

As charming as Daisy Ridley is, I've come more and more to agree with those who see her as a Mary Sue character. Her arc in TFA is absurd. She's a female Luke Skywalker (because every major character and plot point in TFA is analogous to one from the original films) who beats the main villain by the end of the new trilogy's first film with no Jedi training whatsoever. And, in a STAR WARS fan's dream adventure, she ends the film in possession of Luke's lightsaber (the unexplained return of which is total fanwank), the Millennium Falcon, Chewbacca, and R2-D2, and goes to meet and train with Luke, himself.

And so, we come to THE LAST JEDI, which looks to be almost-certainly a riff on THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (I'll bet my life that there's gonna be some sort of Imperial walker-type battle in the film), but with cute (and highly-marketable) critters thrown in, a la RETURN OF THE JEDI. A glance at the new toys also indicates that the film will be going the "evil twin" route with BB-8 (which brings to mind Disney's THE BLACK HOLE). A big red flag should be the fact that Mark Hamill (...who can say pretty much anything he wants, short of violating a non-disclosure agreement. It's not like Disney can afford to fire him!) has been pretty vocal about his displeasure with the direction that Luke Skywalker's character will take in this film. I'm still stunned and pained that so many fans have gleefully accepted this new reality where Luke is a failure and Han has been murdered by his own son, and find myself dreading what path my childhood hero will soon be going down.

I really do think that this film is going to be THE turning point for the future of the franchise. Once Disney runs out of classic characters and ideas to exploit (...we all know that fans went to see TFA pretty much only because it had Han, Chewie and the Falcon in it, right? Luke is probably gonna die or get phased out in the next movie or two, and Carrie Fisher's passing means that TLJ is the end for Leia, too.), then Disney is gonna have to try something new. From what we've seen so far, their "new" content isn't very compelling. Most of the new characters have been riffs on existing ones, and lack any real depth of characterization (so far, at least). And, we're gonna have Ewoks 2.0 and red plastic samurai/Emperor's Royal Guard guys.

I may be wrong, of course. Maybe Disney has a trump (sorry) card in TLJ, which will reinvigorate the series and launch a bold new direction, one not dependent on nostalgia.

At the end of the day, STAR WARS boiled down to Luke, Han, and Leia (with Chewie and the droids as secondary main characters). The new films have not created a similarly-compelling unit which has captured fans' imaginations. Rey is a Perfect Female Jedi who's been built up by Disney's marketing as some sort of great and iconic character. Finn is a pegwarmer in toys stores. Poe Dameron hasn't made a huge impression, as of yet, mostly because he was originally supposed to die at the beginning of TFA, and was quickly shoved into the third act during reshoots. There's also been a lot of speculation that he's gonna be outed as a...er...Poemosexual, thus bringing hot-topic LGBT issues into a series for 12-year olds that's about space-wizards and robots. BB-8 fulfills the "cute robot" quota, and TLJ is adding an Asian Girl Heroine to the cast, because of course it is.

K-2SO proved to be ROGUE ONE's most popular character, but I have the sneaking suspicion that was by default, because he had real actual charm and humor to him, unlike the rest of the cast of that film.


Anyway, it seems like there's a heck of a lot less excitement for this new film than there was for TFA, as well as a lot less merchandise. The teaser trailer was met with a "meh" by a many people, as opposed to hardcore fans crying and screaming when they saw Han and Chewie in TFA's theatrical trailer. Heck, this very thread has only received sporadic bumps and news updates. 

I feel for George Lucas. He did things his way, and the fans ended up roasting him for it, to the point where he turned his baby over to a corporation. And, let's not kid ourselves--STAR WARS is now truly a corporate product--a sausage-factory intent on using brand-recognition and nostalgia to make its owners money. It's no longer about storytelling or advancing filmmaking techniques and technology. It's about brand-management, social agendas (which are probably designed to broaden the franchise's demographic appeal, more than anything else), and merchandising.

For the first time, I find myself wondering whether I should even bother with seeing a new STAR WARS film in the theater, which is indeed a strange feeling. I now live in a world where a new STAR WARS movie comes out in a few months, and I feel trepidation mixed with indifference. A new STAR TREK series begins in a few weeks, and I'm just indifferent and depressed. Politics, agendas, and soulless, money-milking corporate-brand-management have taken over the key cornerstones of my nerd fandom--STAR WARS, STAR TREK, and comics books. And that's incredibly depressing. 

I love movies. I love STAR WARS. The original was, is, and always shall be one of the greatest and most important films ever made, and nothing is ever going to take it away from me. But, I fear for its legacy. I can see a time, within the next decade or so, where the bloom comes off the rose. Where the films become the next wave of TRANSFORMERS-esque dreck, with less- and less-profitable installments assaulting moviegoers every year or three, unsold merchandise clogging up toy aisles, and longtime fans just getting sick of the whole thing. Maybe it won't happen, but I can definitely foresee a reality where it could happen.

We'll see.

End of rant!

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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 1:31am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

And, yes, that vision seems to include political/SJW agendas and demographic pandering. 

------

????
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 1:59am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

A big red flag should be the fact that Mark Hamill (...who can say pretty much anything he wants, short of violating a non-disclosure agreement. It's not like Disney can afford to fire him!) has been pretty vocal about his displeasure with the direction that Luke Skywalker's character will take in this film.

------

What else has Hamill said beyond the "fundamentally disagree" Vanity Fair quote that kinda got blown out of proportion and that he went on to clarify?
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 6:30pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

And, yes, that vision seems to include political/SJW agendas and demographic pandering.



------




????
+++++++++++++

No, I'm serious. I didn't buy into it, at first, but I've seen more and more hints of agendas at work, and read/seen a lot of articles/interviews which support that idea. Marvel's STAR WARS comics have recently come under fire for inserting SJW-type characters into their narrative.

And, I've seen interviews where, as noted, cast and crew have tried to claim that STAR WARS is being "diverse" and "representational" for the first time, with the Disney films. I believe I also heard in an interview some time back that the Empire of ROGUE ONE is supposed to be a stand-in for White supremacists.

And, of course, Rey has been accused of being a Mary Sue and a piece of Feminist propaganda more than a believable character. We'll see how she fares in TLJ, of course, but I agree with the critics, at least insofar as that her character arc in TFA is absurd and only serves the purpose of having a Female Jedi character to get little girls to buy STAR WARS toys. Also, both of the existing Disney films feature (British) female lead characters.

There's also the FORCES OF DESTINY (referred to as "FORCES OF FEMINISM" by wags) cartoon and toyline, which is focused exclusively on female STAR WARS characters.

As noted, the idea that STAR WARS never had strong women or minorities until now is total poppycock. I personally have no problem with female or minority characters (except when are existing characters are retrofitted with those traits, as in many comic-to-screen adaptations), but I'm not a fan of this stuff being shoveled down our throats at the expense of good and organic storytelling.

A good creative team should be able to tell a good story about characters of any race/religion/sexual orientation. Do it honestly, and not just to boost profits. Preaching to the audience isn't a good idea. Rey may have gotten little girls to buy STAR WARS toys, but she's not a particularly deep or interesting character. Indeed, she's pretty much just a gender-swapped Luke Skywalker (humble kid-turned-Jedi) Han Solo (amazing pilot) Princess Leia (strong woman) hybrid, and not a very original character.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 7:51pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

What else has Hamill said beyond the "fundamentally disagree" Vanity Fair quote that kinda got blown out of proportion and that he went on to clarify?
++++++++++++

That's mainly it. Hamill's clarification came across as backpeddling of a sort. He clearly never imagined the character ending up as a broken failure living on an island, who'd basically rejected the principles he'd fought to uphold in the original trilogy. He says that he eventually warmed to the characterization (if only to do his job and play the role), but...
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 9:49pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

What else has Hamill said beyond the "fundamentally disagree" Vanity Fair quote that kinda got blown out of proportion and that he went on to clarify?
++++++++++++

That's mainly it. Hamill's clarification came across as backpeddling of a sort. He clearly never imagined the character ending up as a broken failure living on an island, who'd basically rejected the principles he'd fought to uphold in the original trilogy. He says that he eventually warmed to the characterization (if only to do his job and play the role), but...

-----

I didn't see any backpedaling at all. He was contextualizing what was already in the article. Everyone was quoting the first part and ignoring the next paragraph.


 QUOTE:
Likewise, after reading Rian Johnson’s script for The Last Jedi, Hamill said, “I at one point had to say to Rian, ‘I pretty much fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character. Now, having said that, I have gotten it off my chest, and my job now is to take what you’ve created and do my best to realize your vision.’ 

 ”Hamill noted that he has the utmost respect for Johnson and The Force Awakens’s director, J.J. Abrams, and is pleased with how both films have turned out. He just wanted to be heard. To both directors, Hamill said, he delivered a version of this spiel: “I have thousands of really terrible ideas I would love to share with you, among which you might—just law of averages—find a nugget of something and go, ‘That’s not as terrible as the other 35 you just told us.’ ”
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 10:22pm | IP Logged | 14 post reply

 Greg Kirkman wrote:
... I also heard in an interview some time back that the Empire of ROGUE ONE is supposed to be a stand-in for White supremacists...


Well, to be honest, Greg, the commanders dress in a style reminiscent of Nazis, and the troops are called "Stormtroopers," after all.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 10:37pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply


 QUOTE:
Marvel's STAR WARS comics have recently come under fire for inserting SJW-type characters into their narrative.

Post-Charlotteville, I have no reservations calling out the use of "SJW" as people who are drinking the alt-right Kool-Aid. At best, the term is a reductionist dismissal of some complex issues. At worst, you're hanging out with freaking Nazis.


 QUOTE:
I believe I also heard in an interview some time back that the Empire of ROGUE ONE is supposed to be a stand-in for White supremacists.

I believe some of that was snark post-election. The Third Reich parallels with the Empire go back to the Original Trilogy. The Expanded Universe kind of emphasized that the Empire favored humans over other species. I'm not sure why everyone would suddenly be concerned with the Empire being compared to White supremacists.


 QUOTE:
And, of course, Rey has been accused of being a Mary Sue and a piece of Feminist propaganda more than a believable character..

I think Rey's problem is that she can be a bit of a cypher. But I don't find her character any less believable than Luke's.


 QUOTE:
Also, both of the existing Disney films feature (British) female lead characters.

If the two films had starred white males, a lot of people would have thought that was "normal". That two films in a row featured female leads is somehow considered "tipping the scales too far" says more about normalized sexism than it does about any social agenda. I do agree on the Brit part though.


 QUOTE:
There's also the FORCES OF DESTINY (referred to as "FORCES OF FEMINISM" by wags) cartoon and toyline, which is focused exclusively on female STAR WARS characters.

Well, yes, a segment of the fandom is sexist and feels threatened when it's not a boy's club. If Star Wars can put out a lot of Slave Leia merchandise for guys to jerk off to (said by a person who has Slave Leia figures and statues), then I don't see the issue with more girl-friendly cartoons and toys. FORCES OF DESTINY is a bunch of cartoon shorts. I don't see the big deal.


 QUOTE:
A good creative team should be able to tell a good story about characters of any race/religion/sexual orientation.[./QUOTE]

Exactly. Which is why it is absurd that when they try to do so with anything other than a white male, they get accused of an agenda.

[QUOTE]Preaching to the audience isn't a good idea. Rey may have gotten little girls to buy STAR WARS toys, but she's not a particularly deep or interesting character. Indeed, she's pretty much just a gender-swapped Luke Skywalker (humble kid-turned-Jedi) Han Solo (amazing pilot) Princess Leia (strong woman) hybrid, and not a very original character.

Luke is fundamentally male power fantasy. A nobody farmboy kid suddenly discovers he is the Chosen One. I don't understand why, when the exact same thing is done with a female character, it becomes a "preaching feminist agenda".

I mean Rey has some shortcomings as a character, but so did Luke.

This is a universe where when you ask "Does this character have to be a white male?", 99% of the time the answer is "no". So whether you think the casting is "pandering" or not, what difference does it make? I mean, if in TLJ, Rose suddenly goes off on a rant about how everyone expects her to be subservient or excel in school, I'll concede that some social agenda is at play, but how does her being played by an Asian female mean something is shoved down your throat?
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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 10:57pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Interesting breakdown on why "The Force Awakens" is not a good film:

LINK.



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Matt Hawes
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Posted: 08 September 2017 at 11:13pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

Looking at some STAR WARS videos related to the discussion here, I came across this video compilation of Mark Hamill speaking abut the new movies:

LINK.



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Brian Miller
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 8:36am | IP Logged | 18 post reply

Rey is my youngest daughter's favorite Star Wars character.  
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 4:26pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Well, yes, a segment of the fandom is sexist and feels threatened when it's not a boy's club. If Star Wars can put out a lot of Slave Leia merchandise for guys to jerk off to (said by a person who has Slave Leia figures and statues), then I don't see the issue with more girl-friendly cartoons and toys. FORCES OF DESTINY
++++++++++++++

It's not a big deal, but it seems to be a pattern. Both films have had (White British) female leads. There's the FoD cartoon. And I believe I've read that the latest iteration of the BATTLEFRONT game has a female lead.

Pretty much all of Disney's output so far has been female-led. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's important to remember that "diversity" and "representation" should involve EVERYONE, rather than serving as some sort of Feminist revenge on White male-led franchises.

I mean, ROGUE ONE initially looked like it was going to be more of a true multi-racial/gender ensemble piece, but, no, the marketing focus quickly narrowed down to Jyn as the main character. And, she was also the ONLY female in that ensemble.


The thing that annoys me most is the revisionist history heard in interviews and such. I mean, Princess Leia was (and is) a Feminist icon--a riff on the stereotypical damsel in distress who was too competent and strong-willed to be a damsel in distress, and so took charge of her own rescue!
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 09 September 2017 at 6:55pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Pretty much all of Disney's output so far has been female-led. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's important to remember that "diversity" and "representation" should involve EVERYONE, rather than serving as some sort of Feminist revenge on White male-led franchises. 

------

It'll literally take decades of not including white males for things to become unbalanced.

And it's especially ridiculous to cite ROGUE ONE as an example of this imbalance while pointing out that she's the only female character in the group. Five males and one female, and just because Jyn happens to be the emotional center point of the group, somehow white males are being excluded?  As I said, stop drinking the alt-Right Kool-Aid. 


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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 12:40am | IP Logged | 21 post reply

Thanks for the links, Matt. I suppose I should return the favor. Here are some articles and videos I've checked out, lately. A mix of positive and negative. Lots of interesting points made.


JJ ABRAMS IS BAD AT MOVIES (by the way, I found this while reading another mini-book by the same author--ZOMBIE SIMPSONS, a fascinating and excellent analysis of how THE SIMPSONS fell from grace):



Take Off The Nostalgia Goggles: 'THE FORCE AWAKENS' Is Terrible:



The Fault in Our STAR WARS:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=gsIQa7sH5_Y


Kathleen Kennedy, STAR WARS Feminist:



Mr. Plinkett's The STAR WARS Awakens:



The Nerd Crew: THE LAST JEDI Trailer # 2 Breakdown:



EPISODE IX Loses Director- Reaction:   

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 1:34am | IP Logged | 22 post reply

It'll literally take decades of not including white males for things to become unbalanced.

And it's especially ridiculous to cite ROGUE ONE as an example of this imbalance while pointing out that she's the only female character in the group. Five males and one female, and just because Jyn happens to be the emotional center point of the group, somehow white males are being excluded?  As I said, stop drinking the alt-Right Kool-Aid. 
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I didn't say they were excluding White males, per se. I just find myself wondering if they're headed in that direction (consistently going for anything BUT White males as leads) as their way of addressing the longtime imbalance. I don't think that does anyone any favors. True representation should give everyone and anyone a shot as a lead. It shouldn't come across as, "You had your turn, White boys, and now we're getting ours, so get off the stage". 

Race and gender should ideally be a secondary consideration, with good characters and stories being the primary one. Write a good role, then find the right actor for the part. True colorblind casting. Sticking a White female lead into every new STAR WARS project as some sort of reparation for gender inequality--if that is the case, here--isn't the best way to go, especially considering that the primary STAR WARS fanbase has consisted of males for the past 40 years. 

What I'm saying is that they had an opportunity to show a DIRTY DOZEN-style group of multi-racial/gender/species characters all working together for a single goal, without a "main" character, per se. But, no, they went and gave us another female lead, instead. It's turning into a pattern. An exclusive focus on female (and only White female) leads kinda does a disservice to everyone, I think. If Disney is gonna throw a ton of STAR WARS at us, then surely they can afford to mix things up, and not just go in one single direction of "representation". How about an alien lead character? Or a non-White lead, even if still female? 

My objection is to the pendulum potentially swinging too far the other way. As you note, it would take decades to become unbalanced, but why start down that path? Why can't these offshoot STAR WARS projects go down a more STAR TREK-y path of diverse ensembles? It's all good and fine that the lead of the current trilogy is a woman (execution aside), but the stand-alone films lend themselves more to outside-the-box ideas. And, since Jyn turned out to be a rather bland and uninteresting character, perhaps a true ensemble-type tale (rather than JYN, HER PAL, CASSIAN, AND THEIR AMAZING FRIENDS) would have worked better for that story. 

Whereas STAR TREK did the diversity thing with no problem whatsoever in the friggin' 60s (and also broke a few more barriers in the 90s, with diverse casts working together, a Black Captain, and a female Captain, all of which were No Big Deal, as it should be), this new direction for STAR WARS unsettles me in a way that I can't quite articulate. 

And not in an "Alt-Right Kool-Aid" way, thank you very much. It really seems like politics have invaded even what is supposed to be escapist fare like STAR WARS. There were accusations of racism and sexism against Lucas, back in the day, but it should be noted that he'd considered casting the main characters with dwarves, at one point, and that a Black actor was one of the finalists for the role of Han Solo. It just so happened that the three actors who worked best together as a unit were White.


TFA had a White female lead, with what basically amounted to Black and Latino sidekicks. Same in R1, but with just the Latino sidekick. I would hope that future films mix things up a bit more than that.

As an aside, I remember all that "Black Stormtrooper"  controversy/nonsense which occurred before TFA came out. Goes to show how far we're backsliding, I guess. I still don't get how and why that was even a thing, considering that we'd never even seen a Stormtrooper (in the original trilogy, at least) without his (or her?) helmet. And, of course, Temuera Morrison (Jango Fett) is of Maori descent, which means that all of the Clone Troopers in the prequels were non-White, too.


Unfortunately, race and gender are still things society gets way too worked up about. I never really imagined that STAR WARS would become something of a lightning rod for this sort of thing. It's all rather surreal. I'm definitely more comfortable talking about storytelling and continuity stuff, but this is where we're at, in 2017: People getting all fired up about race and gender politics in what should just be escapist movies about space-wizards and robots.
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Conrad Teves
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 1:44am | IP Logged | 23 post reply

There's FOUR different kinds of Twi'Lek in the Star Wars Universe, but add an Asian and some people start acting like there are just not enough white people there. In Star Wars of all things. The comments I see on Facebook or YouTube on some Star Wars posts is frankly embarrassing. The fact anyone made a big thing out of, ore even particularly noted that Finn was black (instead of saying "Cool! John Boyega! He killed it in Attack The Block") is, to me, pretty embarrassing.

It's perfectly normal to have the show look like the audience. E.g., Japanese productions are populated almost entirely by Japanese. The US today is a much more diverse country than it was when (say) Superman and Batman were created, (i.e., 85% white with almost all the rest being black) and hence much more diverse.

Chart.

Why shouldn't a movie largely targeted at the American market not reflect this? In the movie business, would it not be foolish to ignore it?

>>It'll literally take decades of not including white males for things to become unbalanced.<<

Agreed. The occurrence of the female action hero is in no danger of overtaking the male action-hero even this year. A quick count on google, and there are only four female-led major motion picture action movies against at least 22 male-led ones*. I'm uninclined to check, but four might even be a lot?

Moreover, as story-telling devices go, the female action lead is fun. We (obviously) react differently to them than to males. Sometimes the difference is subtle, sometimes it's not.

*Ghost In The Shell, Wonder Woman, Atomic Blonde, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I didn't count Valerian because that's at best a tie and a thousand planets made it into the title ahead of Laureline.
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Michael Roberts
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 6:29am | IP Logged | 24 post reply


 QUOTE:
Race and gender should ideally be a secondary consideration, with good characters and stories being the primary one. Write a good role, then find the right actor for the part. True colorblind casting. Sticking a White female lead into every new STAR WARS project as some sort of reparation for gender inequality--if that is the case, here--isn't the best way to go, especially considering that the primary STAR WARS fanbase has consisted of males for the past 40 years.

You are trying to have it both ways here. I'd argue whether the STAR WARS fanbase is currently primarily male (maybe for the action figures), but setting that aside, if race and gender are a secondary consideration, what difference does it make to have a female lead for a movie franchise for males?


 QUOTE:
What I'm saying is that they had an opportunity to show a DIRTY DOZEN-style group of multi-racial/gender/species characters all working together for a single goal, without a "main" character, per se. But, no, they went and gave us another female lead, instead. It's turning into a pattern. An exclusive focus on female (and only White female) leads kinda does a disservice to everyone, I think. If Disney is gonna throw a ton of STAR WARS at us, then surely they can afford to mix things up, and not just go in one single direction of "representation".

You mean Lee Marvin wasn't the star of the DIRTY DOZEN? Jyn was the primary mover of ROGUE ONE, but Cassian was in it as much as she was and had as much of a story arc as she did. As for the other characters, the film took the time to give each of them their individual send-offs, so it was far from a Jyn-exclusive film.


 QUOTE:
How about an alien lead character? Or a non-White lead, even if still female?

Because then you'd get comments like "TLJ is adding an Asian Girl Heroine to the cast, because of course it is".


 QUOTE:
And not in an "Alt-Right Kool-Aid" way, thank you very much. It really seems like politics have invaded even what is supposed to be escapist fare like STAR WARS.

If you've paid attention to any of the GamerGate stuff, the arguments are pretty much the same. I'll point out that you are the one who brought the "SJW-stuff" into this particular conversation.


 QUOTE:
TFA had a White female lead, with what basically amounted to Black and Latino sidekicks. Same in R1, but with just the Latino sidekick. I would hope that future films mix things up a bit more than that.

You'll have to explain how Poe or Cassian are Latino. (I'm aware of the ethnicity of their actors.)
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 10 September 2017 at 11:02am | IP Logged | 25 post reply

You are trying to have it both ways here. I'd argue whether the STAR WARS fanbase is currently primarily male (maybe for the action figures), but setting that aside, if race and gender are a secondary consideration, what difference does it make to have a female lead for a movie franchise for males?
++++++++

I'm saying that a sudden gear-shift to doing ONLY one type of lead from now on is the sort of thing which could tick off the predominantly male fanbase. Ideally, SW different projects should have a variety of leads, rather than just the traditional White males or now just White females.
++++++++

You mean Lee Marvin wasn't the star of the DIRTY DOZEN? Jyn was the primary mover of ROGUE ONE, but Cassian was in it as much as she was and had as much of a story arc as she did. As for the other characters, the film took the time to give each of them their individual send-offs, so it was far from a Jyn-exclusive film.
++++++++++

Mind you, I have only the vaguest memory of THE DIRTY DOZEN from my childhood, so perhaps that's not the best example. My point is not so much that ROGUE ONE had too much focus on one character over the ensemble, but rather that it indicated a pattern of having a White female lead, and didn't instead try for more of a true ensemble feel. It's very much Jyn's (and, to a lesser extent, Cassian's) story, with the rest thrown in for flavor. 
+++++++++

[IBecause then you'd get comments like "TLJ is adding an Asian Girl Heroine to the cast, because of course it is".
+++++++++

I'm not opposed to diversity of casting. I just can't help but feel cynical about the motivations for such casting in these films. It just reads to me as more about profits and broadening demographics than anything else. Maybe that's irrational and just me overthinking things (or underthinking), but there's just something about it that my gut instinct tells me to be leery of. STAR WARS has traditionally never done as well in the Asian market as it has in the West, so I find myself wondering if a prominent Asian cast member is just properly diverse casting, or an attempt to help broaden the film's appeal in that market. I dunno. I think it's important to ask the question, rather than assuming Disney's motives are good and pure. Frankly, I've never quite bought into Disney's carefully manufactured culture and marketing.

The corporate-ness of what STAR WARS has now become just kinda puts me off. It doesn't feel like it's about art or meaningful representation. I mean, if it were about making good, artful movies with individual directors' visions behind them, then we probably wouldn't be seeing these directors dropping out and/or being fired. Disney/LFL clearly has a specific vision in mind, and they're sticking to it.

+++++++++++

You'll have to explain how Poe or Cassian are Latino. (I'm aware of the ethnicity of their actors.)
++++++++++

Yes, I'm aware that the actors are Guatemalan and Mexican, respectively. That's just me being stupid while writing in the middle of the night.



Here's the bottom line: I hate politics. I hate these sort of discussions. I'd rather discuss storytelling, characters, and structure than gender and race relations. That's not really my thing, and I freely admit it. Unfortunately, those hot topics have made their way into entertainment (and STAR WARS, in particular) in a big way, recently, and now aren't so easy to avoid.

In daily life, I try and get along with everyone, and judge people by their actions, rather than their surface characteristics. I've had close friends of many races, religions, and sexual orientations. I prefer kindhearted people who may not be so smart to smart people who are selfish and cruel. I believe that kindness begets kindness. I'm contemptuous of liars, cheaters, and thieves, and just wish everyone could get along. I can't help but be cynical about the motives of the big studios, because money has a tendency to overpower art and morality.

The increased diversity of the films is by no means a bad thing. As noted elsewhere, I had no problem with the diverse casting of SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (save for familiar Spider-Man supporting character names being slapped onto all-new characters), because that more accurately represents what you're gonna find in a 2017 Queens high school. 

STAR WARS has a unique opportunity, in that the universe is not bogged down by the same race/gender/political history that our real world is. In a real-world film, the specific time and setting would necessarily play a role in the characters' race/language/politics/whatever. For example, you can't really make a film about Asian characters in a story set in pre-colonial North America. 

In a STAR WARS film, you can tell any sort of story with any race/gender you want, because the real world doesn't have to hold you back. If the series were to permanently skew into a White female-lead-only tangent, I think that would be a missed opportunity, and too narrow of a focus.


One of the positive things about a forum like this is that it levels the playing field, to a degree. People can freely express their ideas without being held back by age/race/gender/whatever. As long as the discussion is stimulating and respectful, that other stuff isn't important, and everyone gets to be heard. I've said plenty of stupid things, in my time (and will doubtless continues to do so), but I appreciate the fact that people of all walks of life can come to a forum like this and try to find common ground (and the occasional respectful disagreement). 

I'm not out to change minds about anything. Love the films, hate the films. Whatever one likes is a matter of personal taste. But, for me, it's all about asking questions and looking at these things from different angles. I'm more than happy to admit that I have been, could be, and will be wrong about any number of things at any given time. Maybe in a few years, I'll look back at this discussion and see how wrong I was about Disney and its methodology. Maybe I'm looking at the telescope through the wrong end. Maybe not. Only time will tell.
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