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Star Wars The Last Jedi: Moving On

By Rafael Perez (Strange Planet NYC) Feb 15, 2018 - 8:11 AM print

Yes, I know….so many Star Wars fans are not happy right now.

I’m one of them.

But not really.

When it was announced back in the 1990s that George Lucas was going to make three more Star Wars films depicting what happened before the Original Trilogy I was ecstatic. When Episode One The Phantom Menace was released in May of 1999, I was there in the theater opening night, popcorn in hand. I loved it. At least I did at first.

I went to see the film at least four more times afterwards that entire summer. Then something started creeping up on me as I watched the movie again and again….

It wasn’t good. The only thing that I loved was the famous lightsaber fight between Darth Maul and Kenobi with his master Qui-Gon Ginn. When it was release in DVD later that year I bought it and I started finding myself fast forwarding to the lightsaber fight only. The rest was not of concern to me. I think many other Star Wars fans has a similar experience….we grew up on the Original Trilogy. We ran to the theaters when the updated versions of New Hope, Empire and Return of the Jedi were released. I for one loved the updates as well as the further updates that came later (I know Han shot first for the record). This was an interesting time to be a Star Wars fan. To this day I hold that the only film from the Prequel trilogy I watch completely is Revenge of the Sith because that’s where we see it all go down; the rise of the Empire and the fall of Anakin Skywalker.

But Star Wars Episode 8 The Last Jedi….yeah that was a hard pill to swallow.

The Force Awakens in 2015 grabbed me. It held me from start to end leaving with me a satisfied and happy fan. It rose questions that I hoped would be answered in Episodes 8 and 9. Theories were rampant all over the internet regarding the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke. Who was Rey? Yep, it was a great time to be a Star Wars fan.

When The Last Jedi came out I was in the theater opening night. Popcorn in hand. When it was over I left the theater like a child who had a nice big red balloon and somebody came over and popped it with a needle. I found myself surprisingly disappointed. How could Snoke die without us knowing who the hell he is? Why did Ryan Johnson, the director come up with the crazy notion of Luke Skywalker dying the manner which he did? Why didn’t he just show up on Krayt physically? Why didn’t he show up…green lightsaber in hand…and fight Kylo Ren only to die at his hand the way Obi Wan did with Vader? I was not happy. Many fans were not happy. For a little while there was even a petition on line to have Episode 8 removed from the trilogy and the Star Wars canon. I wouldn’t take it that far. However, it did bring about a slow and steady thought. Like Episode 1 all those years ago, it started creeping up on me. I started liking it. Why? Because I started understanding a few things.

First off, I’m not the one who wrote and directed the film. Sitting on the other side of the spectrum are Star Wars fans who actually enjoyed the film and understood the direction Ryan Johnson was taking it to. I learned that the story of Episode 8 was really not about Luke Skywalker. It’s about Kylo Ren and Rey. It’s about their journey, their development. It’s about the clash between good and evil, the darkside and the light. It's about the choice that Rey presented to Ren. It’s about the choice Ren in turn offered to Rey. With Snoke’s death and Ren’s installment as Supreme Leader of the First Order, we have a situation that opens up exciting possibilities. With JJ Abrams back in to direct Episode 9 and current scouting happening in Spain and Peru, we are walking into the conclusion of a sequel trilogy that will not only end the Skywalker saga as we know it but will begin a new chapter in this universe of that galaxy far far away.

I enjoyed seeing things in this film that did call back to the earlier films; R2 D2 showing Luke that famous message from a young Princess Leia in the 1977 film. Yoda showing up as a Force ghost to teach Luke the lesson of failure being the greatest teacher. Luke’s Prequel trilogy reference to Darth Sidious (The Emperor). The flashback of Luke holding his green lightsaber as he thought about ending his nephew as he slept because he only sensed great darkness in him. These were not just echoes of films past. They are also invitations of films and adventures to come. They always have been. It has been announced that Ryan Johnson is off to make a new Star Wars trilogy completely different and original. The writers and producers of Game of Thrones are set up to create their own series of films….Old Republic tales maybe? The Solo film is coming out in May. There are talks about a film about Obi Wan Kenobi and his time on Tatooine as he looked over Luke’s upbringing. (I found it interesting that Ewan McGregor was sporting that famous beard again at the Golden Globe Awards). Star Wars Rebels is ending its series this spring. The Last Jedi is coming out in Blu Ray this March with pounds of extra footage that can shed new and great light to the questionable film. There’s a lot going on.

I thought this sobering thought right before episode 8 was released; One day, I will no longer be here in this world. But Star Wars film will continue to be made and I’m not happy that I will not longer be around to see them (unless there’s a movie theater in Heaven). But I will be happy that the saga is a saga that will never go away. A low budget film shot in the mid 1970’s has turned the entertainment world upside down and it has not been the same since. We all need to stop whining about the things that The Last Jedi did not give us and start looking forward to the new possibilities and adventures it has paved the road to as we move on to new visions.

Yes…it’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan.

Check out more from Rafael at Wide Range Media Productions and on Youtube at Youtube.com/c/StrangePlanetNYC

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