How Star Wars The Last Jedi should have gone

It’s been a few days since I watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and after thinking about it some more I’ve concluded that Disney just does not respect the franchise.

Anyway, I’ll stop bashing as it’ll just set me off on another rant. For those of you that loved it, good for you but this post isn’t for you.

In this post, I’m going to do something a bit different. I’m going to write an overview of how I, personally would have written the Last Jedi. Some aspects will be similar from the film we got but others are totally different. I wrote this bearing in mind the issues I and many of the Star Wars community has with it, namely not answering any of the questions raised in the Force Awakens and will aim to address this. So here goes… here’s how I would have written Star Wars: The Last Jedi…

Change the beginning

So, first things first. I’d completely change the beginning of the movie. So, in the movie, the opening crawl suggests that the First Order has somehow managed to conquer the entire galaxy (bear in mind this movie is set literally a few hours after Force Awakens so the First Order has blitzkrieged the galaxy in record time!).

In my version, the movie opens several months after Force Awakens and opens with a shot of Coruscant (remember this world, you know the capital of the Old Republic and Empire but for some reason not the New Republic?) a huge space battle is underway as the surviving New Republic fleets battle to prevent The First Order from invading the planet and new capital of the Republic. The Resistance led by Leia arrives on the scene and cue exciting space battle with Po and Resistance fighters engaging the enemy.

This scene would give fans their long-awaited space battle scene where massive ships slog it out. It’s also in this scene where I would kill off Leia’s character. The scene where Kylo hesitates to attack her ship would stay the same save for the death of Leia. Cue emotional impact and adding more depth to his character and the conflict he’s struggling with.

After Leia gets spaced we then go to Ak-To. As in my version, its four months later after the end scene of the Force Awakens so Rey is deep into her Jedi training. Luke isn’t the sad old recluse in the movie, instead, he’s the Jedi we all know and love. Of course, some bad stuff has happened to him but remember he’s the guy who faced two Sith Lords all by himself and redeemed his father Anakin from the Dark side. He’s on Ak-To for a reason and he made the map from episode 7 so that he could be found if the Resistance needed him. (In the movie the whole map thing is completely ignored and disregarded even though it’s the central plot point of Force Awakens.) The reason he’s on that specific planet? Jedi artefacts and knowledge that he hopes will shine some light on why Ben fell to the Darkside and for some answers about Snoke. Just like all of us, Snoke is something of a mystery to Luke and the others.

We see Luke training Rey and during it the two talk about Han and his passing. A poignant moment adding to the feels. Also, as Rey uses a staff in the Force Awakens she builds herself a double-bladed lightsaber like the one Darth Maul wielded albeit blue of course. Anakin’s old saber is returned to Luke.

The scene where Rey senses the dark cave would still be in it, but instead of it being some stupid and downright waste of time ala the movie, in my version this is where we really see what happened at Luke’s Jedi Temple (which in my version would be on Yavin 4 like in the EU books). We learn that Snoke was, in fact, one of Luke’s pupils. As Luke was seeking Force-sensitives to train, age wasn’t an issue, and anyone could be trained just like in Kevin J Anderson’s excellent Jedi Academy series of books.

Hell, I’d even use some aspects from those books too such as Snoke was turned to the Darkside by the spirit of the ancient Sith Lord Exar Kun, or one of the others mentioned in the Expanded Universe. Like Palpatine in the prequels, he learns how to disguise his Darkness in the Force. Ben and Snoke were at the academy together and without Luke’s knowledge, Snoke began to poison Ben and a few other Jedi students against their master. By the time Luke discovers what is happening Snoke has grown incredibly powerful in the Darkside. The two battle and just as Luke is about to gain the advantage, Ben and the other fallen students (Knights of Ren) join the fray. Their combined strength proves too much for Luke and the Academy is destroyed and the other trainees are slaughtered.

Wow, I just killed two of the most hotly debated questions from the Force Awakens in one go! I’m not done yet. We also learn that Rey was there too as a student of Luke’s. The vision fades, and she confronts Luke who tells her the truth. She is, in fact, Ben’s sister and Han and Leia’s daughter. (Although now she’s an orphan, sad times). If any of you have played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, the lead character has their memories wiped by the Jedi, only in this story, Luke does the same trick on all who knew her too.

Luke used the Force to wipe all knowledge of her and took her to Jakku to hide Rey to protect her from Snoke and Ben. Boom! there’s the question of who her parents are answered, and it maintains that these films are a saga about the Skywalkers.

After the shocking reveal we flashback to Coruscant where Po is leading a desperate fighting retreat from the First Order. Finn finally wakes up from the Bacta tank only to find that the situation is dire. The ship he’s on is boarded by Kylo and he along with the crew is captured. Kylo still desperate to find Luke uses his powers on Fin and rips the map from his mind. Now Snoke and Kylo know where Luke is! Kylo and Snoke then take Snoke’s flagship and jump away to Ak-To.

The First Order fleet under the command of General Hux defeats the New Republic fleet forcing the survivors to abandon Coruscant to its fate. As they flee, Po learns that Finn was captured by Kylo and petitions to Admiral Ackbar (yes, he lives in my version) to go after him. As it was Kylo who took Finn, Po knows exactly what he was after and so the Resistance and surviving New Republic forces jump to Ak-To.

Back with Luke and Rey. As they are continuing Rey’s training Luke discovers the Jedi texts he’s been looking for. As he suggests they leave and join the fight, Snoke’s ship appears in orbit. They hurry to Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon and as they try to take off, the ship is gripped by the Force and unable to fly. Kylo lands with his knights of Ren (Luke’s former pupils) and challenges Luke. Cue epic lightsaber fight where Luke and Rey battle side by side against the Knights of Ren. Rey is wounded in the fight, but Luke has Ren under his saber but cannot bring himself to kill him. Jedi don’t kill prisoners after all. He pleads with his nephew to turn back to the light, but Ben refuses. Luke and Rey escape on the Falcon.

In orbit, the Resistance arrives and engages Snoke’s ship. As the battle rages in space, Po leads a team to board the ship in an attempt to rescue Finn. The fleet knocks out the shields of Snoke’s ship allowing them to gain entry and they fight their way through stormtroopers and bust Finn out of the brig. As they’re escaping General Hux and a large First Order Fleet arrives and promptly obliterate most of the Resistance fleet forcing them to retreat. The Falcon rendezvous with the fleet and together they escape.

Now, this is where I’d use some of the Crait scenes from the movie. The battered Resistance forces are forced to seek shelter on Crait and as in the movie, the First Order launches a ground assault against their base. Po calls for help (in the movie Leia does this) and receives no reply. Outside the base, the Falcon, Finn and the others are desperately fighting the AT-ATs but getting beat up.

A voice crackles over the radio, it’s Admiral Lando Calrissian of the New Republic saying that help is on the way only if they can hold out. With the battle going poorly Luke decides to intervene and leaps from the Falcon. A similar scene to the one in the movie where he confronts the First Order ensues, but instead of just being a projection he’s there. The AT-ATs blast him and as in the movie, he emerges unscathed. In the EU of books and games, there is a Force ability that allows a Jedi to absorb huge amounts of energy and unleash it. (The Jedi in this trailer for the Old Republic game uses it)

This is what Luke does. Distraught over the death of Leia he edges closer to the Dark Side and unleashes a blast that destroys several of the AT-ATs forcing the First Order to send in the troops. An epic scene of Luke literally taking on an army follows lightsaber flashing and Force powers on display. The scene ends as its obscured by smoke.

Lando’s fleet arrives just in time and Rey guides the survivors from the base. They escape but no one knows what’s happened to Luke. As they escape into space we see Luke’s lightsaber lying in the dirt. Of Luke’s fate, we don’t yet know. (Even he exhausted himself using so much of his power and was eventually overwhelmed by the First Order forces.)

So, in conclusion, Luke gets captured by the First Order during his heroic stand. Leia is dead. The galaxy is on the verge of conquest, but some New Republic and Resistance forces remain to continue the fight. Rey is on her own, but has come into her powers and now knows the truth. She will come to terms with the deaths of her parents and is more determined than ever to save her uncle Luke and redeem her brother Ben. Po learns what it takes to be a military leader and Finn is just glad to have Rey back.

The End.

What did you think of the Last Jedi? Did you love it or hate it? Let me know in the comments or get in touch via Facebook and Twitter and please sign up to the newsletter

The Force is not with The Last Jedi *Spoiler Review*

I’m sat here torn. I’ve just watched Star Wars: The Last Jedi and my heart feels heavy. I am a huge fan of these movies. They’ve been an important part of my life for so many years, but now, here I sit, and I’m thinking; ‘The Star Wars I love is dead’.

I also know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Other Star Wars fans have begun to express their displeasure with the Last Jedi and once again it feels like those critics that have raved about it A) went and saw a completely different movie or B) were not Star Wars fans to begin with.

Look at the current Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics are on 93% in favour whereas fans are at just 57%. Were the critics all high or were they all receiving a payment from Disney or something? This disparity between critics and the general public seems to be a growing issue lately.

So, let’s get into it. Why was The Last Jedi such a massive disappointment?

This is not the story we’re looking for

The movie starts off promising enough with a pretty spectacular space battle that sees the Resistance fleeing a vengeful First Order. As usual, the dogfighting scenes are great, but my first niggle with the movie appears at this point.

Po Dameron’s X-Wing single handily destroys a First Order Dreadnought’s guns enabling some slow bombers to attack it. A) why hasn’t the First Order developed effective anti-fighter weapons yet?? Did they learn nothing from losing two Death Stars and Starkiller base? B) why are the bombers designed to manually drop bombs like a WW2 bomber?

We’re then taken back to Ach-to the planet at the end of the Force Awakens (read my review of that movie here), where Rey meets Luke Skywalker. If you’re hoping for a meaningful scene where he takes his father’s lightsabre (btw there is still no explanation as to how the lightsabre was found after Luke’s and Darth Vader’s duel on Bespin), you’re gonna be disappointed. He takes it and then promptly chucks it over his shoulder and walks off. This is one of the most obvious points in the movie where it plays for a cheap laugh that just doesn’t work. Throughout the film, there are cheap and unfunny gags throughout. Whereas The Force Awakens had some heart, the Last Jedi just doesn’t, and the attempts at humour feel forced.

Slow motion chase

So, let’s get back to Po, Leia and the others. Their story arc is quite simply terrible. Leia’s ship gets hit by a missile promptly killing everyone on the bridge (including Admiral Ackbar who deserved a far better ending than this) and sending Leia out into deep space. Now, due to real life circumstances (RIP Carrie), this would have been the perfect time to say goodbye to Leia as a character and would add something to Kylo Ren’s story arc. We even see him hesitate to fire on his mother’s ship, so when it gets hit anyway that could have added some real pain to his character. Instead, Leia uses the Force (did she receive training? Why is this never mentioned?) and somehow manages to fly through space like Mary Poppins (no, really, she actually looks like Mary Poppins) and saves herself.

Following this, Leia and Po’s storyline literally turns into a slow-motion space chase for the entire movie while doing absolutely NOTHING to advance the story overall. Finn meets some random chick called Rose and randomly hatches a plan to save the fleet by boarding a First Order destroyer and disabling its tracking abilities. They take a shuttle and jump away. (If it was that easy for them to get away then why didn’t the rest of the Resistance personnel just jump into transports and all jump away to different locations? The First Order wouldn’t have been able to catch them all!)

As for Rose and Finn’s storyline, it is a complete waste of time. Their little side mission is dull, and as I was watching it, all I wanted was to get back to Luke and Rey. Finn and Rose literally serve no purpose in this film. Their plot was all over the place, and their trip to the dull casino planet was a complete waste of time. I don’t think what they did there had any impact on the plot at all save for them doing more harm than good.

So, let’s get back to Rey and Luke. Well, Mr Skywalker has turned into a whiny moody recluse who has turned his back on the galaxy and the Force. His reasons for doing so are quite frankly lame and belittle the character. Eventually, Rey wears him down, and he basically tells her she’s wasting her time and is afraid of how powerful she is. The backstory that was teased in The Force Awakens about the destruction of Luke’s Jedi temple is completely ignored. We learn nothing more about the Knights of Ren; we don’t why Ben was such an angry douche or how Snoke had influenced him.

Who the hell is Snoke? No answers here

As for Snoke, well, to me this is by far one of the worst parts of the movie. Rey goes to confront Kylo and is then promptly captured by Snoke. Plot twist! Kylo kills Snoke. Right, but who the hell was Snoke? We learn nothing about his character at all, and then he’s killed off way too easily. Now, at this point the movie’s plot could have been saved if Rey took Kylo’s offer and joined him (or the other way around), instead the sagas main villain is now whiny Ben Solo who isn’t really all that evil, he’s just a bit of a dick. We also learn at this point that Rey’s parents were nobody special at all. I mean I’m ok with this except for the way this plot point was hyped up so much in episode 7. It’s like the director decided to remove all the mystery that movie had established.

I could go on and on with the number of bad story choices in this movie, but this review would end up being an epic essay. I’ll just bullet point the other issues:

  • There is no real lightsabre duel.
  • It takes a dump on much of the lore established over the past 30 years or so.
  • Yoda appears and looks terrible.
  • Luke Skywalker dies for no reason save that he overexerted himself (I’m guessing)
  • They kill Luke Skywalker FFS!
  • The new AT-ATs, the cool looking things in the trailer literally do sod all.
  • The overall plot just feels like they were making it up as they went along
  • It doesn’t feel like the second movie in a trilogy more like the conclusion
  • No one suspecting Kylo of Snoke’s murder. What the hell?
  • The first order destroying the republic so easily.
  • The slowest chase movie ever. Why couldn’t the First Order send another ship far ahead of them to cut them off?
  • Why can Rey do things with the force even Master Yoda struggled with, with zero real training and no effort?
  • Why are those giant horse cats important? Why should we care about them?
  • Benicio getting 3 mins screen time, so his betrayal means nothing.
  • Phasma dying with zero development either. Her escape from Starkiller base in episode 7 is not explained at all!
  • Roses ‘we fight for what we love’ bullshit.
  • How did Rey get onto the Millenium Falcon in the final act?
  • By the film’s end, the First Order Fleet is destroyed, and there is only a handful of ‘Rebels’ left alive. Episode 9 is going to have the smallest battles in cinema history!
  • The last act is a betrayal of the entire saga.

A Betrayal of the Saga?

For all the hate JJ Abrams got from some fans, he managed to brilliantly create an endless amount of questions and theories about the characters he introduced. You could have literally gone 1000 different directions, and somehow Rian Johnson picked some of the most uninteresting and outright stupid resolutions and revelations. Rey is nobody. Snoke was cool and super powerful, but he died just like that so who cares about his backstory? Knights of Ren? Nope, doesn’t matter. Really no payoff for any character. The only backstory we got was how Ren turned against Luke. That’s all Johnson cared to think about. Luke dies for nothing. Suddenly Jedi can project their image thousands of light years away, and even have lightsaber fights with their projection. Why didn’t Yoda do that every time he wanted to help his men escape? You create these new OP force powers, and naturally, you’ll have people wondering hey, why didn’t they do this then, it would have solved everything.

Like why not drive a ship at lightspeed through the Death Star if you can just destroy Snoke’s Supremacy like that? The movie did have some good moments (space battles, some moments with Rey and Kylo, good acting by Mark Hamill), but overall a big waste.

I would have honestly been happier with JJ Abrams directing all 3, at least we’d get one clear direction. It’s like Johnson wanted to tell a full story in this one movie because you could easily leave it here and pick it up 10 years from now with a new trilogy. There certainly isn’t much left to explore; everyone’s dead, there is no big bad guy, just a Rey vs Kylo deal to look forward to. Frustrating and disappointing.

Apparently, Rian Johnson the director of The Last Jedi has been given the green light to do a whole new standalone Star Wars Trilogy. If this is the best, he can do then god help the franchise. It has well and truly fallen to the Dark Side. I think I’ll stick to the old Expanded Universe and regard these movies as non-canon from now on.

The Last Jedi is a well-shot movie with some good action scenes, but it shits all over the franchise that does no service to any of the characters. It had so much potential but threw it all away. A massive disappointment and what’s the point of episode 9 now?

Overall score: 5/10

Star Wars: Rogue One Review (Spoiler Free)

Like many diehard Star Wars fans I was a bit nervous when Disney announced that they would be making stand alone movies that were separate from the main saga, but after seeing Rogue One all of those concerns were blown away. It…was…awesome!

Featuring the best battles of the entire saga and a plot that answers a few of the biggest questions raised in the original trilogy, Rogue One is what every fan wanted. Sure there are no lightsaber duels (except for an amazing scene with a certain dark lord of the Sith at the end of the movie) and the music isn’t Williams iconic score, but it still manages to feel like Star Wars.

With some fantastic cameos from characters that appeared in the original trilogy and a really good cgi version of Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin (and a not so great version of another iconic character) the movie is both an homage to a New Hope and a worthy setup to it.

The cast of new characters was done well and whilst none of them were as memorable as say Han, Chewie or Luke they were likeable enough. Felicity Jones’s Jyn Erso could have done with a bit more development I thought and I’d like have to seen or learnt a bit more about the back-story of the other Rogue One members. Donnie Yen did a fantastic job playing the (not jedi) warrior monk and Diego Luna was pretty good as the Rebel intelligence officer who’s had to perform some dark deeds in the name of the Rebellion.

It was those scenes that depicted the Rebellion as an organisation that had committed morally questionable acts that gave the film some grounding and removed the issue that the rebels are purely good, Empire purely evil that Star Wars has always suffered from a bit. A Rebellion in real life is often a shady thing, a thing that often requires dirty work to be carried out in order to succeed. The saying that one person’s freedom fighter is another person’s terrorist is addressed surprisingly well.

The battle scenes were some of the best in the whole saga and we get to see plenty of ground battles and space battles involving dozens of capital ships and fighters. Episode 8 now has a lot to live up to in that area as Force Awakens lacked in this area. Also, look out for some familiar faces in the X-Wing and Y-Wing cockpits, and we finally see how Luke just jumped into the Red 5 seat in a New Hope.

My main niggle with the movie was the pretty weak musical score. You don’t realise just how much you miss the iconic music of Williams until it’s not there! A movie about the Empire at the height of its power should have had iconic music to go with it. Also, there is a scene near the end between Jyn and Luna’s characters that felt out of place and appears out of nowhere. Forrest Whitaker’s character and scenes were also probably the weakest parts of the movie for me.

All-in-all  Rogue One was a really good movie and if you’re a Star Wars fan definitely go out and see it. Now the long wait begins for Episode 8!

Overall score – 8/10

 

My Take On The New Star Wars Trailer

Unless you’ve been living under a rock there is a very good chance you’ve already watched the latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (I’ve watched it dozens of times btw).


As a lifelong fan of Star Wars I have to say that it blew me away and I’m not afraid to say that I was even a tad emotional. All the fears I had when the movie was first announced have been blown away. Classic characters from the original trilogy, the music and Han Solos words literally sent a chill down my spine ( a good sign!). Check out this fan made trailer –


 My plot Theories

The trailer was incredible in a variety of ways not just because of the epicness of it all but also because it revealed so little of the plot and was so gripping. Most modern movie trailers often show all of the best scenes and basically shows the entirity of the movie.

So what do we know? We know that the villain is a guy called Kylo Ren, a guy who reveres Darth Vader and the Darkside. Whether the knights of Ren are Sith is impossible to tell at this stage but perhaps they are simply dark jedi (the two are different).

luke-skywalker-the-force-awakens-costume-revealed

My theory on Ren is that after Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker embarked on a mission to reform the Jedi order. Along the way he failed, perhaps he told his pupils of his father and the Darkside and Ren fascinated by the stories looked into a little bit too far. He fell to the Darkside, taking other pupils with him. Luke, horrified at his failure is either defeated by his pupil or chooses voluntary exile due to shame or to meditate on the force for answers. Personally I don’t think Luke will make an appearence until the end of the movie. I don’t buy the speculation that Ren is Han and Leia’s son, I think it will more Ren is Luke’s pupil.

Kylo_Ren_art

Who is Rey?

_1429212045

Now this character I think is either the offspring of Han and Leia or a Skywalker. The first words in the new trailer however make me think that she perhaps isn’t a solo. Leia asks ‘who are you?’ if she was her mother you would have thought she would know her own daughter. It’s not known if Luke has been apart from his freinds and sister for 30 years, but if he has been absent could Rey not be his offspring?

This is all speculation of course but either way I am way too excited about this movie! Let me know your theories in the comments. I will leave you with this fun little video 😉