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The Symmetry of The Last Jedi

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Jayson, Dec 23, 2017.

  1. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    PREFACE
    I love movies. I love intricate patterns in artistic expressions even more (OK, I love patterns in general - hell, I've broken down musical modes into interval patterns logarithms[*], and collected astral data on star system proportions just to run statistical analysis on the measurement samples in comparison to atoms[*], and plotted Dead Sea Scroll dating against listed dates of High Priests to see correlation of event overlaps[*] before).
    Decades ago when I was in High School, I once outlined and mapped out every rhythmic pattern, rhyming, and alliteration in The Raven. I once could cite you every shot in Citizen Cane (heck, I could've probably drawn you a full story board from memory), and its cinematographic meaning. I have translated books of the Bible by hand just to examine their original narrative structural approaches (as best as we have them) - and I'm not Christian; I just love the structure of how a carefully crafted piece of art is designed. I even make geometric art that explores various concepts of symmetrical patterns and simple "inherent" self-referential proportions[*].

    Of course this means that Star Wars is a huge playground for someone like myself.
    I have been deconstructing and analyzing Star Wars' visual and narrative structures for decades at this point.
    Though it was Indiana Jones that woke me up to cinema as a craft, it was Star Wars which I tore open with wild abandon to learn everything about how it was made, why it was put together the way it was, and what those choices meant (why this color, that angle, this line instead of something else, etc...).
    It was the film series (at the time, just the OT) which I learned mood and emotional narrative cinematography from. I hunted every correlating and influential shot or scene from other movies that inspired Lucas down and compared how he had arranged these different pieces (I've even seen Billy Budd; as obscure as that reference goes) - and I did this before the internet could help (like everyone else, that meant lots of books and tapes of anything to do with people talking about Star Wars behind the scenes or interviews).

    Now I know there's plenty of people out there with 8-Hate. I don't really care one way or the other about that here. With this kind of stuff; this is what it's like hanging around me as a Star Wars fan - this is me getting my geek on, what I love about Star Wars. I wasn't super jazzed about SW AOTC (I didn't hate it, but I wasn't grabbed by it - to be honest, I was that way about Empire for a long time as well), but I still loved deconstructing it. It made it more interesting.

    So I'm going to break out into my preliminary thoughts on the symmetry of TLJ.
    They are preliminary because I've only seen the film twice, and I haven't finished collecting my thoughts and picking my brain over these kinds of element juxtapositions. For example, I haven't yet examined the camera's juxtapositions in both halves of the movie, and Star Wars usually has plenty of that tucked in to enjoy.
    There's also even more than what I will cover, because I haven't been able to take the time to map all of the chiasmus relationships the movie has with the other films, and indeed it does in scores (I've already correlated quite a few).
    Once I get a chance to do that, I'm sure my impression of the movie will grow even more.
    Instead, I'm going to focus on the movie's structure in and of itself.

    So, here we go.

    THE SYMMETRY OF THE LAST JEDI
    In most versions of A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is given a set of choices in the first part of the story in which he chooses poorly regarding, then he takes an existential adventure of horror and sadness during the middle section of the story, and is wrapped up by returning to the same decisions he had previously but choosing well this time around.

    The Last Jedi is similar, but far more complex.

    Imagine a triangle and then imagine equidistant lines progressively down the triangle so that there are rows, and finally cut the triangle in half.
    Each row on each half of the triangle is an analogous scene block, and the other half of the triangle contains the opposite matching scene block to it.
    On the left, or first half of the movie, all of the choices will be poor decisions which result in moral learning and on the right, or second half of the movie, all the choices will be good decisions which resulted from the existential learning.
    In some cases, there isn't a poor decision or a good decision, but instead opposite ownership of a decision or offering up of a decision unto someone else.
    The opposite relationships are also sometimes purely visual, sometimes revolving around objects rather than individual choices, and in one special spot the individual makes the exact choices both times and both times it worked for them. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
    Firsts, some examples.

    Take the very first scene couplet. The first thing we see in the film is the traditional empty space, and then it zooms down to a planet as we pass the First Order's dreadful presence. We next see the Resistance spreading out in fear and panic.

    Now, flip to the end. The second to last scene is the Resistance survivors huddled together in relief and hope. And the lasts scene is a child looking up at space and pointing his mock light saber at the same direction (camera-wise) that the First Order ships would have been at the beginning of the film if we would have taken a ground to space shot back then on that planet.

    So we start on fear and panic, and end on relief and hope.
    This also defines our actual story. Our story is about many things, but the narrative is wrapped in the story of the escape of the Resistance survivors from the First Order. Everything that happens aside from that is a tangent to that primary motivator (even if Rey and Kylo's tangents are more important in the long run).

    The middle of the film is defined by three parts: Rose and Finn's entry and exit of Snoke's ship, Rey's light saber's path of ownership upon entry and exit of Snoke's ship, and Snoke being cut in half.
    More on this in a moment (more things in half as well).

    First some more examples. On the left of that middle point, Poe forces a long-odds crack pot plan to happen which has drastic consequences, gets arrested, and causes a mutiny. On the right of that middle point, Poe is put in charge, takes leadership, and calls off a long-odds crack pot plan which the choice of doing so saves everyone on the mission. 'Poe learns the value of Leadership!' (Scott Pilgrim style narrator voice).

    At the first half, Rose stands back hesitant to approach an idol of hers, and has her idol destroyed right in front of her by watching him do what she sees as cowardly. Rose then arrests Finn, emotionally destroyed.
    At the second half, Rose saves Finn from doing what she thinks isn't needed, though noble, and can't get to Finn fast enough (rather than hesitant to approach), and is emotionally fulfilled; kissing the man and not the idol. She also literally did her line. Her first act against Finn was in hate, while her second act against Finn was in love.

    On the first half Luke refuses to help, and sees no point to interfering. Sardonically asking (paraphrasing) if Rey expected him to show up across the galaxy with a laser sword and stand down against the First Order.
    In fact, he does literally exactly this in the second half opposite scene of thus reversing his entire position from the first half with the move. Saying even some of the same lines to Kylo Ren that he first said to Rey. So the wrong decision was made with Rey, and the right decision was made with Kylo; which in itself is an exact reverse from his haunting mistake where he made the wrong decision with Kylo before, and now has (eventually) made the right decision with Rey.

    Even lesser central characters had their turns in metaphorical ways. In the first half, Holdo is running from the First Order and (seemingly) scared, while in the second half she's bloody well taking a cruiser at hyperspace right into Snoke's ship (man, poor guy can't catch a break on his stuff being cut in half).

    You can witness the midpoint because it's visually literally three things cut in half: Snoke, light saber, Snoke's ship. RJ was pretty on the nose with that one.

    So, then there's Mr. Neutral; DJ.
    DJ makes the same choice in almost the exact same situation in the first half as the second half - only minutes apart because his "sides" are so close to the middle.
    He doesn't change because he's like an orating narrator of Shakespeare plays. He's (not just this show's Lando, but) the voice of this movie's central message and says a version of it (almost practically to the camera) in both halves of the movie surrounding his decisions.
    He tells us that there's no good, no bad; just what is. He tells us that you can't have what is without one or the other, and that a good decision is the decision that works.
    In other words, he's saying this whole black and white, Sith and Jedi, Empire/First Order and Rebel/Resistance thing is just noise and that they're all rolled up into one thing; life.
    Further, that there's no real point in trying to just wipe out all of one or the other. To instead ride the wave and move with both.

    DJ might not be a Jedi master, but he's one wise guy in this movie's world.

    Rey's lightsaber travel is interestingly visually opposites around the middle. She arrives on Snoke's ship and her saber is with 'no-one' in holding, then delivered to Snoke, then used by Kylo, then by Rey, then torn apart able to be used by 'no-one' and then leaves the ship again. There's sub-tangent in there as well, but I'll hold off on that here for brevity.

    Right at the very narrow middle area, right before the exact middle (of the narrative), Rey tries to turn Kylo and fails. Then Snoke is cut in half, and then Kylo tries to turn Rey and fails.

    All of the energy of the movie builds to that middle point, and then it picks up steam as if from an explosion and uses it to go through the second half of the film repeating prior decision set up's and having everyone redeem themselves.
    Kylo is the last one to make a moral decision before the middle. And in so doing, he (unlike Vader) damns himself instead of redeems himself. In fact, Kylo's whole tangent is pretty much in reverse of the normal narrative. Everything in the first half redeems him a bit more each way (at the very least, seemingly), while every decision he makes in the second half condemns him further.

    In some cases, the opposite is more light hearted, like Rey saying her idea of a Jedi is (among other things) 'lifting rocks' and then she quite literally does that in the counter scene and everyone is awed.

    This arrangement is ever present throughout the entire movie, and that's not counting the interconnected chiasmus relationships it has with the other films (such as its direct relatives of Empire and ROTJ, as well as AOTC and TPM).
    And it has to wrap everything up to set up for Star Wars 9 to be less confined by the Star Wars chiasmus chains so that it can try to bring an end to the cycles (8 had to be the beginning of the end, so it had to pull all echoes full circle that came from 1, 2, 5, and 6, and because of how things are set up in those relations, that means a dash of 4, and 3, but not much).

    For these kinds of reasons, I consider it a narrative masterpiece. It's just impressively and beautifully crafted!

    For a movie-loving pattern geek, this movie was all smiles both times that I've seen it so far!
    I've already collected quite a bit of my thoughts about the chiasmus relations to other films and the meta-narrative that creates, but like I said at the top - that's for a different time. :)


    Continue Reading in the followup post: Part 2 - REY AND THE SYMMETRY OF THE LAST JEDI

    Also, be sure to read what I consider to be the Sister Thread to this one: LUKE IN TLJ: A MICROCOSM OF THE HERO'S JOURNEY

    P.S. I won't likely reply to posts that shrug this off and focus on speaking about how much the film was terrible because there's plenty of threads for that, and this is a thread about analyzing the symmetrical structure of TLJ - I will reply if someone writes about the symmetry being something that they disliked about the film, however.

    Cheers!
    Jayson
     
    #1 Jayson, Dec 23, 2017
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  2. Ammianus Marcellinus

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    And so is your entire post. Indeed it is a narrative masterpiece. I haven't really thought of all these examples of symmetry yet, but your analysis is spot on. I'm still digging into "meeting your heroes" and "who is Luke Skywalker?" themes of the movie. There are some concrete elements of symmetry there, especially when it concerns the relationships between Holdo-Poe, Finn-Rose and Luke-Rey. Or when you go and consider the question "Who is Luke Skywalker/ What makes a hero": its about don't being the brash hero but letting go. Luke throwing away the sabre in ROTJ. Obi Wan sacrificing himself in ANH. Han Solo 'helping' Ben in TFA. Luke dropping himself into the Cloud City abyss in Bespin. Obi-Wan and Yoda's self-imposed exile in ROTS as a mirror to Anakin's brashness (trying to be the hero). And last Luke's self imposed exile and final end in TLJ.

    I hadn't even thought of the moment when everything splits: the supremacy, the sabre, Snoke and the Rey/Kylo sympathy or unlikely alliance for that matter.

    The movie has an immense amount of narrative depth and its a shame that much of this is unfortunately going over the head of so many people. It is a very difficult movie.

    There is also a beatiful piece which touches upon this idea of symmetry in the introduction to the "ART OF THE LAST JEDI". The text shows some great examples of symmetry not only within the sequels, but more specifically in the entire saga. I will post it on this forum.
     
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  3. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Thank you!

    Another symmetry related to the Skywalker introspection/What makes a hero is that Rey's counterpoint is Kylo, Luke's is Snoke.
    Snoke physically gets cut in half by trying to yank the Force to one side, while Luke is broken and becomes whole by learning Yoda's lesson; letting go (which is the central refrain of the movie - letting go of pretension, basically, and embracing the muddy waters of reality).

    The central philosophical examination, Lucas has said, in Star Wars is whether the son can be free from the sins of his Father, or is damned to see them repeated. Can the son redeem his Father, or will the son just fail by saving the Father.
    More broadly, that expanded to generations rather than just paternal relationships.
    At first, it was the younger generation who was evil and the older generation who was bad, and then it was the older generation who was evil and the younger generation who was good, and now the same generations are good and evil.

    The entire structure of Star Wars is interconnected inversions of existential and ontological moments in the Prequels and Original Trilogy.
    The final trilogy of the Skywalker saga is all about reversals (if you watch the path of the lightsaber in TFA, it's opposite of the path in ANH).
    That is: everything that has been done, must be undone - that is; annihilated by its narrative antiparticle; not just its negative (like the difference between a Proton and a Positron in respect to an Electron; the proton was the original trilogy, the electron was the prequels, and the positron is the final trilogy).

    While TFA was about reversing the motives for the choices so that more noble reasons were employed (mostly centered around love), thus undoing the knot wrapped up around dues, betrayal, hate, and loyalty of the first trilogies, this one was all about undoing the idea of everything; the ideal.
    Kant and Sartre would have had fun here.

    Everyone in this movie is having their ideals just torn down - even Luke has his torn down, even while his ideals serve to tear down Rey's ideals.
    Luke's ideals are seemingly in step with the story - that everything was bad that tried to control it - that there is only the Force.
    And then his ideals are entirely destroyed and ripped apart by a few moments of sitting with his old Master who basically points out that Skywalker's general gist is on the right track, but as usual, his end conclusion is short-sided and clouded. Basically Yoda points out that for all his talk about not trying to be a side, Luke is still very sided and just really sulking over screwing up; that he needs to let go fully and stop trying to stop. He even claims this is the greatest lesson of being a master.

    Luke then stops virtualizing his death through exile and causes it in one last explosion of input - ironically, the biggest deception ever accomplished.
    It's also fun that here, he is a deception who is being straight forward, honest, and open with Kylo when they faught, while juxtaposed, he was not a deception (in the flesh), and was reclusive, dishonest, and closed when he "fought" with Rey. He lost with Rey, and won with Kylo.
    "Luke Skywalker learns Self Respect!" *Scott Pilgrim narrator voice*
     
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  4. Ammianus Marcellinus

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    Absolutely spot on! The gods of narrative deconstruction smile on you today. Just wow!

    I'm just wondering. What do you expect will happen in IX, if you would take your analysis of the narrative as presented in the two marvelous post you've just written? Or perhaps more specifically what would you do? What would be interesting? Where should the story go if it would be your decision? What should Episode IX be about and what sort of symmetry or forms of symmetry would you like to see? What sort of symmetry do you expect to return?

    Because I will not be the only one reading this ;)
     
    #4 Ammianus Marcellinus, Dec 23, 2017
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  5. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Pheeeeew boy.
    I normally steer wide on imagining future films because there's not really a, "what should happen?", but a, "what's their take on how this happens?".
    I really can't tell what the next film will be, but I can do as you say and outline some ideas it provokes in my head.

    To me, this is extremely unlikely to happen, and it's a really good thing I'm not writing 9 because I would anger many people, but Rey and Kylo need to die in the style of Hamlet, and from their ashes the phoenix of the new free era rises.

    All the baggage would be obliterated, and the galaxy would be truly free of the Skywalker era (like Egyptian's must have felt at the end of a royal lineage reign).

    You know how Rogue One ended with everyone dead; making it one of the few big war films (sci-fi or otherwise) to have a suicide plot that is 100% lethal to all characters?
    Well, I'd probably end up with something along those lines but in the tonality of Braveheart (brutal battles, big finishes; "holy ****!" moments), but predicate the entire cocktail on Rey and Kylo causing the entire thing and realizing that they didn't want to at the last moment and a bit too late and die trying to stop the war they spawned while both sides armies and heros go full force except for a few of our loved characters who are tangled in there in further misunderstandings that cause them to die also trying to stop whatever their misunderstanding theme was.

    Perhaps even riff on Sartre's "Hell is other people" and "We are damned to be free" explorations, juxtaposing Sartre's existentialism on the Sith side - Kylo basically blames the galaxy upon him and sees no wrong in his positions because there is no right or wrong - no meaning - we are damned to make our own meaning. The galaxy just misunderstands him. He just wants to end the chaos. Rey inversely blames Kylo for the state of the galaxy and sees that there is no right or wrong; no inherent meaning in the Force, that we are all free to make our own meaning. And that Kylo misunderstands the galaxy.

    I would probably chiasmus off of all prior movie's third acts (their concluded prose), so that the themes of these would be reviewed from the perspective of their moral points being misunderstood, with the film resolving in everything being destroyed and picked up with fresh eyes without teachers or leaders by yet another generation; a newer one incapable of misunderstanding anything because they will not grow up under any of it. They will rediscover anew.

    So instead of resolving in vindication, vengeance, despair, fear, hate, love, and hope as the others, it would resolve in a heavy stone that says all that hell and heaven was done to vent the system, so to speak. It was inevitable, a Force burp if you will. But now it moves free of ownership. It resolves in understanding - hint at a new trilogy in a galaxy full of Force balanced people.

    Ask the question with that trilogy: can a people, generations removed from old stains of mistakes and violence, refrain from repeating the same mistakes, or is human nature confined by its biology to eventually behave in similar mistakes and violence, and are they mistakes; is it just inevitable? Is there a perfect balance, or is the balance in teetering imbalances?

    Anyway...yeah; probably not a lot of thrilled fans walking out of theaters if you Hamlet the cast in the finale of a 9 movie-long saga and effectively say it was basically all for nothing like a neilist.

    And I'd probably drop a line at the very end of the credits:
    "For George Lucas. Greatly talented. Greatly misunderstood."
     
    #5 Jayson, Dec 23, 2017
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  6. Ammianus Marcellinus

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    This idea that Rey and Kylo have to die intrigues me. It corresponds to the feeling I have of where the VIII is pushing us. Though Rey dying would probably be hard to digest for many after Han, Luke and Leia have died. :p

    ^Thematically this would be perfect for the final act of the saga: it reminds me of that passage from the force awakens novelization about the 'resolving of gray':
    "First comes the day
    Then comes the night.
    After the darkness
    Shines through the light.
    The difference, they say,
    Is only made right
    By the resolving of gray
    Through refined Jedi sight."
    ―Journal of the Whills, 7:477

    Of course this counts for TFA and TLJ, but it would be nice if it would be expanded to IX in some fashion
     
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  7. Darth Wardawg

    Darth Wardawg Force Sensitive

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    Wow. Wow wow wow. Did I say Wow? Wow. :)

    I can't say that I got all of this, or even most of it, from watching the film twice. Some of it you get from seeing it, and you know there is something there, but until you read it you don't get it (if that makes sense?). The lightsaber splitting and the splitting of Snoke's ship I got (I loved how there was about 10 seconds of silence at that point).

    I did get how the film starts off with despair and ends with, dare I say it, A New Hope for the galaxy. Sorry, but I couldn't resist.

    I also picked up on Kylo's arc being one of condemnation. He has damned himself through his choices, at least so far. I'd like to see him survive IX and become the main villain in a new trilogy (maybe the Palpatine type of X-XII), but then you posted your idea for IX. Jesus man, that would be flipping awesome!

    What I loved about Rogue One was the fact that, in the end, it was a suicide mission. I loved that. I loved the grittiness. I felt very sad at the end for all of those who died, even though you could say their deaths were worth it. My favorite Shakespeare play was Hamlet, so I love the idea of the stage being littered with bodies at the end.

    Unfortunately, I agree with you in that it is probably too heavy and too deep for most fans.

    If I could give you great post x10 I'd do so. One of the best posts I've ever read on here. Good job!
     
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  8. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I think it will expand in some way, but I'm really not sure where JJ will go with all of this.
    Habit of the genre and series tells me to expect Kylo to die and Rey to win, but then there stands 8 reminding me that we're not playing by the same set of rules anymore so I really don't know what to expect.
    Which is, personally, exactly how I want it.

    Every year Star Wars comes out, I do the same thing: I never watch any preview, I drop off social media and forums for a month, and I avoid eye contact with store merchandise and posters. I seriously try to leave one damn thing in this life as a true surprise and just enjoy wherever the hell it goes.
    I don't need to be enticed to see Star Wars, lol. I'll go, regardless.
    I like to try to recreate the first time; so I always go ignorant as possible, and at the time the biggest crowd (my schedule permitting) will be present. If we're going to "boo", then I want that crowd level booing. If we're going to cheer, I want the same.

    But I agree...there is some sort of massive tension and counterbalance revolving around Kylo and Rey as a relationship (I don't exactly mean romance) that will be interesting to see where they go and what the plan is, since typically the bad guy dies (or is virtually killed) and the good guy walks away getting medals or at the least succeeding in some form. But this time...we don't have that generational difference - we're looking at equals with equal wills (like when Obi Wan and Anakin Force pushed against each other, but in this time around they Force pulled).
    I really am excited to see 9 hit and show us the finale. :)

    About the only thing on my honest docket of wishes (of things that are capable of being done...because Hamlet just isn't), is that Rey remain a nobody. I find that just beautiful. I loved that where Luke saw his Father - who would be himself; who he could become, and Anakin saw his Mother - who he could never now have back; all that he truly wanted (in the "tombs of fear"), and both gave in to their impulse and lashed out (Luke cutting his Father's head off, Anakin killing the whole camp), Rey saw only herself and talked her way out of it calmly.
    If I was a monastic monk, I'd be pointing to this movie and say, "See? Family leads to hate and rage. Better without them. ;) ", lol
    --- Double Post Merged, Dec 23, 2017, Original Post Date: Dec 23, 2017 ---
    Well thank you, and I agree it would be too much.

    Of course, I have sitting around a re-write of SW 4 that I did that's still slightly unfinished which I did to see the film re-written with the view of only that film ever existing (ignoring all other factors) and making Luke more functional since he's pretty much useless in the whole movie - I've always said that movie wasn't about Luke; it was about Han. Han has the largest character arc; not Luke. Luke tags along, whines a bit, learns some stuff, helps here and there, whines a bit more, shoots a torpedo using the ... Force?...for...something he said that...um...he could do back home .... easily? ummm... Anyway, and Han's the one who saves the day repeatedly - even at the end Luke's about to be smoked and it's Han to the rescue.
    Point is, I would even consider my re-write to be terrible. I just do these things to see what happens if...
    What happens IF, you remove Obi Wan Kenobi from the film entirely and make it work so that Luke's already a learning Jedi before the film kicks off, Obi Wan's dead, Leia faces Vader instead of Obi Wan, Luke saves her with a Force push rather than an inept "No!", and etc... more and more things like that.

    But I'll be happy with whatever way things go....though I do hope they don't leave Kylo lingering around for another trilogy down the road because I really feel like the Skywalker saga needs to be closed.
    We need a whole brand new Star Wars saga - a...brace for it...whole new world. *ducks projectiles for the Disney pun* ;)

    Cheers!
    Jayson
     
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  9. Darth Wardawg

    Darth Wardawg Force Sensitive

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    If you don't mind my asking, what do you do for a living? You can message me if you don't want to say publicly.

    I actually like your ideas about IV. I agree, that Luke is pretty useless. Like you said, he brags about hitting wamp rats back home in his T14, but needs the force to launch the torpedo??? He was pretty whiny and cringeworthy, but lets face it, that seems to be a hallmark of George Lucas's writing. He brought in Leigh Beckett to do Empire, and while she didn't come up with the final version, she did get it started (I think she died during the writing phase).

    Heck, I'd love to see your version of IV. It sounds quite fascinating.
     
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  10. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Yeah, Lawrence Kasdan ended up on the writing for Empire, and is the one who annoyed/provoked Lucas to think the Force out a bit more. He's actually now who the Disney team turns to for understanding the SW universe. They turn to Lucas for the big conceptual guidelines for the overall narrative arc, but if they want to become familiar with the inner-workings of how the SW universe works, and why things go certain ways; they turn to Kasdan. JJ was practically joined at the hip with Kasdan during TFA so he could be sure to really get a full understanding of what he was doing. That was a big reason why Kasdan was co-writer on TFA - so that JJ could feel more confident that the ship was set off from the harbor on the right course. (funny how everything was JJ's fault for the backlash on that and the holy Kasdan name was just overlooked as if he had nothing to do with it...anyway, I digress)

    My career day-job is that I work for one of the evil empires; a cable/telephone/cellphone/internet provider up here in Alaska.
    I've been with them for 11 years, so I've bounced around a bit. Currently, I work in their maintenance regulatory control department.
    Basically, it's a department where any and all maintenance requests spread across the state funnels in, then we look things over, audit the risks, costs, compare logistics against other work to make sure no one bumps elbows and that contracts aren't violated...since we're expanding things, part of my job currently is also to help design and develop procedural and software solutions to keep pace with everything.
    But I don't stick to one thing. I basically scan through the company, looking for who has the biggest mess that needs to be cleaned up, then I apply there. Then I go to town cleaning up the mess and once I'm happy with everything, I start prepping my resume for a different department with another mess. Before I was in this department, for example, I was over in their call center for technical support cleaning up that giant mess and getting them all of the tools and procedures they need to manage their staff and call volume...I might have done things a tad bit too well though, as now they've had a 30% reduction in call volume (because no one's hanging up and calling back while waiting now) which makes it harder to justify the department (business politics).

    But where the fun happens in my life is in my hobbies. I'm rather analytical, so my home life (aside from being a family man) is filled with science papers, texts of various kinds, notebooks full of all sorts of weird thoughts (what would it look like if a biological life form thought linguistically in 3 dimensions and organized their language structure into metaphorical cubes of relationships rather than linear paths of relationships between prose and parts of speech...yeah, I've got a quarter of a notebook sketching that weird crap out...lol).

    My main jams are anthropological textual analysis, astrophysics (specifically fractal geometry of astrophysics, and self-symmetry, and the nature of gravity - side dipping into general relativity), music composition (electronic music of various kinds - dashed about with some cinematic styles), and once in a while I tinker with writing and drawing (or the odd project with the kids like this summer we built a small catapult to use this winter for tossing snowballs).
    Originally I had wanted to be in the movie industry, but right when I was ready to head off my merry way, I happened to chance into a camera woman who had been in the business for 20 years and after that reality check of how hellish her experiences (even if rewarding) had been I opted with...well, damn...never mind that crap (I originally wanted to start as a camera operator and work up to cinematographer, but that was before I started learning the business side of things...that's when everything changed...the business side of this industry below the gold belt of stars is....pretty deplorable, really; all feast or famine and tons of dues to pay).

    If I get a chance sometime, I'll see if I can work up the juice to finish off that rewrite just for kicks. If I do, I'll message you a copy if you want.

    Cheers!
    Jayson
     
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  11. darth sputnik

    darth sputnik Rebelscum

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    Jayson: Have you read about Star Wars ring theory? It seems very much up your alley. http://www.starwarsringtheory.com/

    also...EXCELLENT posts! best I've seen on any forum in some time. Kudos!
     
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  12. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Oh yes, I was blown away with his presentation.
    I had been tracking the "ring" structure for quite a long time (I stumbled on it via Lucas' comments after I caught a waft of it naturally from my textual analysis hobby where I learned of chiasmus structures in ancient literature and religious texts - though I was probably already primed for this due to Lucas also having talked about poetic resonance back in the original trilogy on a smaller scale - ROTJ bounces against previous themes in mirrored reflections of camera shots, phrases, results, etc...), but I hadn't gotten around to tracing them all down and drafting it all out.

    That's a wonderful site, and I periodically read it just for the quality of how well it puts the information together, and the breadth of the endeavor!

    Also, thank you! :)

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  13. Bossky

    Bossky Clone

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    I just wanted to say thanks for starting this thread with a very in depth perspective, Jayson. I really like this kind of stuff. This'll definitely give me food for thought when I see TLJ again. Thank you!

    I was wondering if you guys could help me out here with an idea I've been mulling in another thread:

    For me, I thought of DJ as a nihilist. The whole Canto Bight subplot seemed to be the one 'outside world looking in' settings where we are taken outside of the war and get to see how the rest of the universe is reacting and adjusting.

    The question I have for you, and what I hope to add to this discussion, is I'd like to know if this can be considered a type of chiasma that follows through the trilogies, and if it could be considered as, narratively speaking, the 'greek chorus' of these tales.

    The main conflict are the Wars and those fighting in them, but in every film we get an Outer-Bubble look, a respite usually a bar, this time a casino.

    It's usually referred to as a vile place where the outsiders hang out, drink and there's usually gambling.

    TPM -- Podraces
    AOTC -- Outlander Club
    ROTS -- Galaxies Opera House??? (Any help? It's the weakest part of my theory)

    ANH -- Cantina
    ESB -- Bespin
    ROTJ -- Jabba's Palace

    TFA -- Maz's Cantina
    TLJ -- Canto Bight

    I'd like to hear your perspective on this possible chiasma chain and if it is in fact integral to counterbalancing the larger story or just filler/creature service. It feels to me like something different this time around; it hit a nerve this time as something off from the usual we're used to being shown as the universe-at-large, and how it is affected/effected by these overarching Wars in each trilogy.
     
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  14. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I'll write more later when I have more time, but what you're looking at is itself a theme. Now, it has chiasmus narratives written into it around our characters, but mostly we're looking at themes in the places themselves.

    Also, I think there's some conflation possibly.
    For instance, the AOTC Bespin, Canto Bight equal would be Kaminoa.

    The cantinas are different than the neutral betrayers - each SW has its neutral betrayer part, but that isn't the same as 'the seed of scum' concepts of cantinas.

    I'll circle back later when I have more time.
    Good topic, Bossky!

    Cheers,
    Jayson
     
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  15. Boushhdisguise

    Boushhdisguise Jedi General

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    Yeah, Canto Bight was the upside down Cantina, rich scum this time, but a mystery. The thing it didn't have was bounty hunters, but the codecracker could be have been a replacement? The second act was Mystery, Love story (less blatent, the Rose/Finn thing and the Force Bond was probably close), Bounty Hunters, (Both ESB and AOTC had asteroid fields) Betrayals and ended with the "Good Guys" down. One thing that turned everything upside down was this and I'm not sure it has ever been mentioned. Every single Star Wars movie so far (EVEN ROGUE ONE) has ended with a Skywalker in the last scene. This one did not, unless broom kid is something we don't know.
     
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  16. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Alright, I had some more time to work this out.

    * = The indulgence which devalues sentient life to chattel
    + = Neutrality which betrays you
    @ = The rejected misfits contain a gem at the price of danger

    TPM - Podracers*
    AOTC - Kaminoa+ / Outlander Club@
    ROTS - none

    ANH - Cantina@
    ESB - Bespin+
    ROTJ - Jabba’s Palace*

    TFA - Maz’s Cantina @
    TLJ - Canto Bight +*
    IX - unknown

    First, the organization.
    TPM is the parallel of ROTJ because Lucas wrote those parallels in true chiasmus fashion where the "outer" chapters align together, and the "inner" chapters with each other.
    So TPM is modeled upon ROTJ, so instead of Jabba The Hutt, we have Podracing - where Jabba is also at.
    AOTC actually contains both the neutrality betrayal location theme of ESB, and the dangerous and rejected misfits with a gem of ANH, while ROTS actually drops the theme entirely.
    I think here is an example of how Lucas sees the chiasmus more fluidly and not as strict as the really obvious correlations would have us conceive maps of arrangements in our head (for example, the Ring Theory site).

    Lucas shifts some elements around at times to make room for new elements that need to come in, and ROTS had to change footing off of ANH because it's rather a considerable challenge to write a third act based on reversals of first act themes, and more specifically when you set yourself an outline to recreate most of the scenes in a slightly different iteration from the first act but render them as a third act.
    Consider that one is designed to introduce, and the other is designed to finish.
    Lucky for Lucas he did write ANH entirely self-contained in case that was the only chance he would get, so it does have a climax that can be leveraged for a third act movie, but still, there's some themes that probably just didn't belong there as far as where his head was at for the flow.

    We're seeing a similar thing a bit in the new Trilogy where there's a bit of drift here and there around the edges - for example, TLJ would - by Ring Theory's extrapolation - only link to ESB and AOTC, but it's principally locked with TPM and ROTJ as well because it's making room for a third act which now has more freedom to parallel to really anything as all primary parallels have been completed.
    Not only this, but it drifted into ANH as well, so even with its adjusted scope of being an act 2 & 3 parallel in one act 2, it's still tagging just a bit here and there outside of that exact strict ideal that Ring Theory caught onto.

    On the other hand, here's where some of the mastery really comes up in the chiasmus control in TLJ.
    The reason that we have Canto Bight containing two themes in one location is basically a parallel to AOTC containing two themes in two locations instead of one like the OT has, but we've flipped them around because the ST doesn't run in reverse title order for the parallels, so TFA is linked to ANH and ROTS, which means it gets one of these themes. They went with the rejected misfits theme; probably for several narrative reasons, but one that is interesting beyond that conceptually is that this inverts the theme pairings with the prequels.
    The prequels run in an order of the indulgence which devalues sentient life to chattel, and then the neutrality which betrays you coupled with the rejected misfits who contain gems at a price.
    The sequels run in an order of the rejected misfits who contain gems at a price, and then the neutrality which betrays you coupled with the indulgence which devalues sentient life to chattel.

    Again; it's mind boggling how well crafted TLJ really is due to how many minute details had to be attended to in the structure, let alone attempting to weave functional character development stories through it.

    Oh, and the gem of the rejected misfits who contain a gem at a price in AOTC is a bit obscure (because Lucas doesn't really care if anyone notices what he's crafting, and generally assumes most people aren't aware; unlike the ST crew who want to hit the method on the nose pretty openly - I'm assuming because they think it's a really cool method that should be shown off, or enjoyed [I don't disagree]).
    It's bounty hunter Zam who runs into the Outlander Club, but this time, our gem is destroyed before it pays dividends (because Lucas inverted many themes in the prequels), and also because - yeah, he was this literal at times... - in ANH they went into the cantina to meet the gem who was already in there, and so now the gem came from outside and was chased into the club. The gem in ANH's cantina was needed to deliver a return on a message after the identity was known and succeeded, while the gem in AOTC's club was needed to receive information about an identity and that identity ended up remaining unknown because of the failure.

    I think the rest are discernible from their own, so I'll leave it there.

    Cheers!
    Jayson :)
     
    #16 Jayson, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2017
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  17. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    Hey, look at that!
    Though bite-sized, Nerdist, touches on this subject vicariously through noting the intentional paralleling taking place in ROTJ and ESB.
    It's a good little taste of the continent sized amount of narrative technical detail that there is buried into this film.


    As an extra toss in, I love how Kylo purposefully spins his ship into a barrel roll, and - eventually - purposefully decided not to shoot at his target who was his parent, unlike his dear old granpa who got knocked into a barrel roll and thus prevented from shooting his target who was his child.

    Wait, but Darth Vader barrel rolls in A New Hope; not Empire Strikes back or Return of the Jedi - I'm confused.
    I know. I won't go into this at the moment, but the tetherings between films' chiasmus relations is pretty fascinating at this point and it's not a straight forward connection all the time because the PT made it's connections in reverse order of film, and the ST is making the connections to the OT by order of chiasmus theme order of the PT (yeah, one day I'm going to draw this all out because it's a bit confusing to hold an image of in your head...my wall will end up looking like I'm chasing a serial killer, lol).

    Anyway,
    Cheers!
    Jayson :)
     
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  18. Lock_S_Foils

    Lock_S_Foils Red Leader

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    @Jayson Just incredible!! Thanks for your superb insight and thoughtful analysis. This thread needs to be saved forever in canon somehow - how about a new book of lore that Rey can keep on the Falcon - can you get to work on that?

    Also, not sure how much you enjoy your current job, but I think you are in the wrong line of work. You need to be on tenure at a University somewhere teaching "An Analysis of the Visual and Narrative Structures of Star Wars" - sign me up for your first class!!!
     
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  19. ralfy

    ralfy Clone Commander

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    NT borrows from OT based on the premise that what made OT successful should also make NT successful. The same took place for recent films in the Alien, Mad Max, and Star Trek franchises.
     
  20. Jayson

    Jayson Force Sensitive

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    I get what you're saying, but in the case of Star Wars, there's far more to it than marketing security.
    Lucas has long, long since embedded what's called a chiasmus structure into Star Wars - starting all the way back with ROTJ where the themes of ANH were mirrored and answered and Empire Strikes back answered it's own chiasmus themes by being a perfectly symmetrical story (yep - this symmetry gig goes all the way back to the very beginning).

    Lucas has talked about this quite a few times, which is pretty impressive considering that Lucas doesn't tend to like explaining his work, nor does he generally have a high opinion of the general public's ability to intelligently recognize his craft. He's often stated that most of what he puts into Star Wars structurally goes right over the public's head because it's too high brow.

    Repeating ideas that worked before again is one thing (e.g. every Terminator film), but Star Wars simply goes far beyond this.

    The new trilogy doesn't borrow from the original trilogy. It, to use Lucas' words, "echoes" events and themes from both the Original Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy and the Prequel Trilogy "echoed" events and themes in the Original Trilogy.

    One thing that has been kept in the transition from Lucas to Disney is this very structural form for the Skywalker saga portion of Star Wars - it's part of the DNA of what makes Star Wars, Star Wars.
    And that's because Lucas very specifically wanted to write like old epics - which were written in chiasmus structure (commonly referred to as "ring" structure), and also jump straight into the middle of a story rather than starting all the way back at the beginning, and fill in the pieces as they go.

    If it doesn't mean anything to someone; that's fine.
    However, it is a reality of the Star Wars trilogy films and it's for more than just repeating marketable patterns - it's because that's how the story is suppose to be written and made.

    It's why we had the young generation fight the old generation in the OT, then the old generation fight the young generation in the PT, and then the same generation fight each other in the current trilogy.
    It's also why we have Kylo and Rey, because Kylo is the Anakin "echo", and Rey is the Luke "echo", as the ST has to answer both since both were created in the previous two trilogies and the ST is about resolving all variations of "echoes" that have been created by the previous two trilogies.

    If you're only noticing OT connections, look again. There's lots of PT connections taking place as well and if you look at the scenes and compare them against the previous two trilogy scenes they mirror, you'll see a narrative between the three that tells an allegorical message by looking at all three together.

    Cheers,
    Jayson :)
    --- Double Post Merged, Jan 3, 2018, Original Post Date: Jan 3, 2018 ---
    Thank you, very much!

    Hey, if they had a job like that, I definitely wouldn't mind filling the position. lol
    At one point, I considered piling on the workload and working towards being a philosophy professor at a university, but there's this thing called reality and when you look at the reality of what it takes to get there, and you look at the return on investment, it um...well...sucks.
    So I ditched that dream (which was a dream following several previously ditched dreams, lol) and stuck to a day job with a steady paycheck that will suffice until the kids are out on their own - then...who knows?
    I was a roaming gypsy-like person in my 20's, and so was my wife, so once the kids are gone...*shrug* anything's possible, lol!

    I've long wanted to one day map every relationship that exists in Star Wars, but the amount of time is insane for doing that.
    I mean, the Ring Theory only goes into the basic build of the connections and it took Mike 2 years as a thesis to complete.
    Imagine doing all 9 films for every narrative match and structural deconstruction?
    Five years? Ten? I don't know how long; some jerk owl bit the magic 8 ball when he got to the count of three, so now I'll never know. :p

    Cheers!
    Jayson
     
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