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How The Last Jedi saves the prequels.

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Adam812, Jan 3, 2020.

  1. Adam812

    Adam812 Rebel General

    May 16, 2018
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    I really loved this video essay. It expresses exactly what I appreciate about The Last Jedi.
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  2. Philo

    Philo Clone

    Jan 2, 2020
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    Interesting how the franchise called 'Star WARS' attracts many fans by the powers of the Force and the many fights and space battles. But in fact an overarching theme is NONVIOLENCE. A few thoughts:

    As a 39 year old man, I know some teenagers who love Star Wars too. I still hear their mother saying: "After watching episodes I-IV, I still don't understand. They want peace, but they fight."

    Luke's entire story arc from ANH to TLJ:
    - in ANH he is the promiseful, talented boy, strong with the force and a good pilot, who ultimately trusts the Force and blows up the Death Star. The episode ends in victory but it's ultimately a violent victory.
    - TESB: despite their victory, the rebels are on the run (you can't solve the problem by blowing things up, right?). Luke takes his weapons with him when entering the Dagobah cave (against Yoda's advice). At Bespin, he believes he can save everyone by killing Darth Vader, who for him is a simple demon he can strike down to bring goodness back. Luke is the first of the two to ignite his light saber. He learns that Vader is not a demon, but his own father.
    - ROTJ: Now Luke has to choose between violence and nonviolence many times. He is nonviolent when he can: He negotiates with Jabba, but uses his lightsabre when Jabba doesn't comply. With the Ewoks he sees a peaceful solution and succeeds using the Force in a creative way. Confronting Vader, his ultimate victory comes in throwing away his lightsabre.
    - TLJ: The bitter Luke had learned the message of nonviolence but at first confuses it with non-action. Ultimately he saves the heroes by being creative with the Force again. TLJ is the first SW episode in which two lightsabres don't hit each other. In a nonviolent way he confronts Kylo Ren and gives the heroes time to escape.

    What about TROS? Some might say it retcons the nonviolent message of TLJ and the destruction of the entire Sith fleet isn't quite peaceful, but some observations here:
    - Rey's arc: her lightning killing an entire transport and Rey suddenly fearing her own violent nature. Before that she saved the heroes by healing a wounded giant worm, not by killing it (she realized why the animal was dangerous). When she learns about her evil grandfather, she fears her own violent ways. She harms Kylo Ren and then heals him. She too confuses nonviolence with non-action motivated by fear. Ultimately she takes the lightsabre, but she doesn't use it to strike down Palpatine (which would have made her the Empress). She ultimately wins by deflecting Palpatine's evil powers back to him. Palpatine was killed by his own evilness, not by Rey's fatal blow.
    - the good wins not by advanced technology but by co-operation: the reason why there are so many (at first sight useless) supporting characters in this movie: defected storm troopers (thus abstaining from violence against civilians), smugglers, an old ally. Notice the contrast between the diversity in the Resistance Plus Army when Lando arrives and the uniformity of the Sith Destroyer fleet. Unity in diversity wins. The supporting characters are really 'supporting' in this one, they make the heroes believe they're not alone.
    - a detail: when Poe is at Exegol with only a small fleet: his orders to fly between the Star Destroyers so these SD's will hit each other. Their own violence used against them.
    - Finn saying to Rey that killing Palpatine is not Rey.
    Off course the victory of the good is still violent, it's not perfectly peaceful. But one could argue how well an entire fleet of Star Destroyers defecting to the good or Palpatine suddenly becoming a good guy would be conceived by the audience. But at least now there is a perspective in the Galaxy: Hope returned, many people will cooperate to build something new. Maybe that perspective was lacking at the end of ROTJ?

    I don't fully agree with the idea that Yoda and Obi-Wan were manipulating Luke to use violence. I understand they wanted him to confront Vader, not necessarily kill him. Obi-Wan lied to him to protect him, sometimes not telling the truth can be morally better (example: in WWII telling the nazis there are no Jews hidden in your house). Nevertheless the old Jedi Order wasn't flawless: the rigidity and severe dogmatism. The fact that they weren't allow to love, which probably pulled Anakin closer to the darkside (while the love between Rey and Ben was an important factor in victory), Yoda using the clones and immediately regretting it ("Not victory, begun this clone war has"), the dogmatic aversion of emotions like anger (sometimes a very human emotion originating in a sense of justice which can lead to the right action if dealt with correctly like Rey seems to do multiple times in the ST).
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  3. Angelman

    Angelman Servant to the Whills & Slave to the Muses
    1030th Junior * (Mod)

    Dec 2, 2014
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    This was a very good video essay by a very talented young man. I’m impressed! :D He has very good points, I think, and he also communicate his arguments with clarity and strength. And the video itself is very well done. Kudos dude! :cool:

    I do, however, think he’s a little bit wrong about what the Jedi were supposed to be in the OT. As I see it, the failure and corruption of the Jedi was not a given in the OT where they WERE meant to be a force of goodness and wisdom. In my interpretation at least, Yoda & Old Ben refrained from telling Luke the truth because he’s the son of the most powerful & quick-to-anger emo in the history of the entire galaxy and the tired old masters just assumed Luke would follow in his father’s footsteps and go right to the darkness if emotionally challenged before he had received the training to handle the shock of his origins; I mean, Yoda blatantly states this as his explanation, right? Well, that’s how I see it at least.

    Yoda (RotJ): "Unfortunate that you rushed to face him... that incomplete was your training. Not ready for the burden were you. Remember, a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware. Anger, fear, aggression. The dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny."

    Now, my next point might very well be wrong, but I THINK that Lucas never originally intended his favorite space-wizard-samurais to be evil and stupid. He might have wanted it this way from the start, but I rather think that the story got away from him a bit and he was forced to adapt the message and tale to what he thought would make the most powerful impact. Even when expressly painting them as semi-villainous, Lucas seems to like his Jedi the most; the Jedi & the Light Side are still the good side, except when they ain’t… Lucas, I suspect, tried all along to have the Sith folks be the badies who destroys everything, with the Jedi being only manipulated, but he couldn’t find a way to follow through on it and instead had to resign – a little by little, film by film – to the Jedi themselves & their teachings to being inherently flawed and wide open to corruption.

    Likewise, I think Rian Johnson had no other choice but to draw the ultimate conclusion that Lucas couldn’t bring himself to state, that yes, the Jedi were bad (‘cause… you know, they obviously are pretty poopy in the Prequels), and make that the crux of Luke’s redemption and the rebirth of the new Jedi (which, now that the ST is completed, I assume will come to be known as the Skywalker Order, or something like that). Johnson’s Jedi & Yoda are not the Jedi & Yoda that Lucas originally intended, but they very much are the Jedi & Yoda (and Luke) that Rian Johnson inherited from Lucas' PT (and to a lesser extent the OT). Johnson, to a greater extent than Lucas, takes the Star Wars story absolutely seriously (and not just as a vehicle of popcorn entertainment and technological innovation). Johnson’s internalization of the fact that the past Jedi failed, and the way he uses this to make his movie about bringing hope for a brighter future, is one of the many, many reasons I count TLJ as easily the best, strongest, and most powerful film in the franchise.

    But yes, this was one of the better SW essays on YouTube! :)
    #3 Angelman, Jan 3, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
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  4. LadyMusashi

    LadyMusashi Archwizard Woo-Woo-in-Chief
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2015
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    "In The Last Jedi, we finally meet Luke who went home and binged prequel trilogy and he's kind of shook." - This made me laugh.

    While I don't agree on every point (mainly Yoda and Obi-Wan), this is truly an excellent piece, well written and reasoned, positive without the need to compare it to something else. Luke redeeming the entire Order and inspiring the next generations is what made TLJ so powerful for me. By the Force, I love this movie. I guess I know what I'll watch next. :)
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