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Star Wars: The Last Jedi - SPOILER discussion


Nah, unless you’re making a Trek riff, it is serious in that, we’ve Kylo doing all this stuff but I don’t see why he’s doing it.

I find that interesting as a standpoint, because it’s really the opposite. Kylo Ren is literally the only character in Star Wars who’s motivations are based on his personality and backstory rather than the needs of the plot.

For example: Why does Han choose to rescue Luke at the end of Star Wars? Why does he then return to being selfish in Empire, and go back to being Heroic in Jedi? Why does Leia move from being abrasive to courteous and back between Hope and Empire? you talk of Darth Vader wanting to bring order to the Galaxy, but why does he want this? Why did he want to supplant the Emperor and rule with Luke? You might have an answer to those initial questions, but ask why one or two more times and it’ll wind up being just because.

This is because Star Wars for the most part is going for epic sweep and scale rather than epic characters. Most of the characters are archetypes and as such fuelled by simple motivations. This isn’t a bad thing, it makes it easier to identify with them and understand, and it plays into the broad emotional arcs that are Star Wars’ bread and butter.

By comparison, Kylo Ren’s motivation is that he hates, and he’s frustrated and he’s angry. It stems from his encounter with Luke, yes, but it’s a traumatic moment that informs his character rather than defines his actions. His bad experience with Jedi training drove him to Snoke - and as we see Snoke treats him like shit, which is just going to make him hate everyone and everything even more. He wants to tear down the traditions of both the light side and the dark side because they both failed him. He lashes out at everything because he gets no emotional support. And then when he’s got a chance to get that support from Rey, he fucks it up by trying to pull the same line that Vader tied on Luke - only he killed the Emperor before making the offer. @Jason described him as a 4channer, and @Jim likened him to a school shooter, and they’re not terribly far from the mark, because the core of Kylo’s character is that unfettered frustration at a world you can’t understand or control. It’s fascinating as a character study and the most interesting thing that Star Wars has ever done.


Except that Snoke was already luring him to the dark side while he was training with Luke so it’s not his experience while jedi training that drove him at all.


Kylo may not be the best written character, but compared to Anakin in the prequels he’s freaking Hamlet.


On top of everything else you’re going to suggest Han Solo and Princess Leia are shitty parents? Come on.


That just adds texture to the deciding moment when Luke almost kills him. Luke literally drives Ben Solo away, creating Kylo Ren. It’s a moment of weakness for Luke, who ignored, forgot or otherwise failed to learn from the lessons Jedi taught him.


It just keeps getting better, doesn’t it?

A question Christian brought up sticks with me? Do you think or know if kids are identifying with the heroes of this series as strongly as they did with the originals or with the prequels? I just wonder if kids today would want to be or be friends with the new characters. If that world is still attracting their imaginations.


Not much, but for me, Vader had that villain cool that Kylo doesn’t.

In-universe? Yeah, Kylo’d be terrifying as a Force-using Begbie, but out of universe? When I’m watching these films in a comfy chair? He’s a bad joke who doesn’t work for me at all.

Much as I appreciate you going to post all that, for me I need more of that murky backstory.

Picking up a bit more on @Monk’s post, I think that’s the big difference between Vader and Kylo. For those of us of an age where we get introduced to Vader via ANH, we get Vader-as-King-Bastard, guy wearing the black hat - nothing more needed. With Kylo we know he’s Han and Leia’s kid which invites the big Q of: ‘What the fuck happened?’, in a way that the OT doesn’t for Vader


You calling one brief moment of confusion a more definitive personality foundation than any other Star Wars character? Come on. His entire arc could have been completely different if he’d woken up 3 seconds later or just stopped to ask what Luke was doing. He’s the most plot driven contrivance of a character in the whole franchise, as fleshed out as a skeleton.

Even if we swallow that one confusing moment of thinking Luke meant to kill him is solid writing, from there he joins the Nazi party and plots to kill his parents?

If the goal was to create a garbage human being they got that part right, but I’m pretty sure Disney thought they were being clever with creation and instead they created someone who makes Jar Jar look sophisticated.


Turning to the Dark Side is more like an on/off light switch thing in Star Wars. No dimmer switches.


“Screw you Mom, I’m evil now! I don’t want your stupid tendies!”


I laid out my case for their personality traits. Sometimes loners make bad parents. They focus on themselves by default. Leia and Han were loners. In some other version of events (the books), there was a happy ending. This one certainly reflects the real world. We’re not exactly setting world records in parenting these days. Exceptions apply.


Rey is a cool character, but she’s the only one out of the new ones. Just compare Finn and Poe with Luke and Han. They’re so unappealing.


Poe should have never lived.

But Finn…he had all the makings of a likable and fun character. They just…never pulled the trigger and he’s so dull now.


My little boy is a big fan of Finn, he was sidelined a fair bit in the latest movie but there’s probably some rose tinted work going on that the old crew were so much more appealing.


I agree. They’re okay, I was actually kinda shocked that so many people called Han “dashing” or “charismatic”. He’s a sorta goofy but generally watchable bloke. They all sorta are. Especially in that first one.

The genius of Empire is taking these somewhat amiable characters and then ratcheting up the tension a fair amount. It’s like watching someone put a puppy in danger. At least that’s how I felt when I rewatched them all last month for the first time since I was…6?


I wouldn’t downplay how great the old crew were. The movie broke all records for a reason. Han Solo was supercool, Leia was a badass princess and Luke turned from a whiner into the bravest hero of them all. And by Jedi Luke was as cool as it gets walking into Jabbas palace.


Yeah, that’s more where I was thinking. I’m not able to compare them today as the original series doesn’t have the effect on me as it did when I was a kid. I mean, Luke doesn’t work for me any more than Anakin in the prequels anymore, but I can remember playing Star Wars as a kid and playing with the toys. You wanted to be those characters or be friends of those characters.

I think that was true of the prequels too. Kids who watched The Clone Wars show and The Phantom Menace forged a connection with the characters.

I’m mainly wondering if the kids who saw The Force Awakens or The Last Jedi made that connection. In some ways, I think the new Star Wars movies may be seen by kids as something really made for their parents.


From what I’ve read Star Wars toys aren’t selling very well, but that could also indicate that toys just aren’t what they used to be.


It is hard to tell. What toys are selling well compared to video games? Maybe toys based on games would sell better today.

What I really notice are the Halloween costumes kids choose, and honestly I see more Marvel and direct Disney characters (especially Princesses) than Star Wars.

I think it is a different pitch now with Star Wars than either the original trilogy or the prequels when it comes to kids which may account for some additional vulnerability. We talk often about how comics lost new generations by holding on to readers from the 80’s and 90’s until today. Superheroes became more sophisticated, but also lost the appeal to pre-teens except for the cartoons (and books based on the cartoons). Star Wars fandom went the same way with a lot of material really designed to appeal to the same adult genre audience.

However, that’s a self-inflicted difficulty when trying to repeat the same effect STAR WARS and even THE PHANTOM MENACE had on first time, very young audience members.

When I really look back at what I was watching before Star Wars came out, the only real antecedents that I was into that matched what Star Wars offered was, first, Star Trek and Lost In Space, then the Tarzan television shows and movies and Hercules peplum (sword and sandal) films, the adventure movies like Jason and the Argonauts, and finally the Godzilla movies with all their strange alien and sci-fi fantasy background stories.

I hadn’t seen the matinee movies - the closest thing would be the Mole People movies - and science fiction films up to that time were not really like Star Wars. 2001 (which I had not seen), Alien and Silent Running did not prepare you for Star Wars. Nor did my favorite sci-fi films - the Planet of the Apes series (and TV show). I wouldn’t read European or underground SF comics until Heavy Metal came out after Star Wars so I didn’t have anything built up in my expectations for the film.

So, it’s impact was unfiltered. I got the cinematic style of David Lean, John Ford and Kurosawa movies mixed with the straightforward, archetypal (and stereotypical) characters from a pulp or movie serial adventure.

Now though, kids are introduced to this sort of story and world probably dozens of times before they even see their first movie. In games, comics, toys and shows of all kinds. Even when the Prequels came out, there wasn’t this vast access to everything all the time that we have now. It’s hard to make the films something special so they are going to feel quite different today.


I think the difference is that Vader was redeemed as a father and not necessarily as a man. If he didn’t have the good fortune of dying when he did, he would have found himself dangling from a rope at Nuremberg, so to speak. I do think that OT was too easy on Anakin, but he died before he would have had to face any consequences.

But who is left to forgive Ben Solo? Luke and Han are dead. Probably Leia, too. Rey doesn’t owe the little shit lord anything.