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Were "fan expectations" the problem?

Discussion in 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' started by Jaxxon, Feb 10, 2019.

  1. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Sensitive

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    To preface: I really like The Last Jedi. I have some issues with it but overall I think it’s an excellent movie.

    That said, I’ve heard a lot of podcasts (including the excellent Resistance Broadcast, whose latest episode inspires this post) attributing negative fan reaction to “fan expectations.” Fans got so deep into speculation that they just couldn't take it when their fan theories weren't confirmed.

    But does this really happen? Did anyone really go "What?! Rey isn't a Kenobi?! This movie sucks!"?

    I don't think the negative reaction is due to fans holding onto SPECIFIC fan theories like this. That idea puts all the blame on the fans. I think the blame--I'd blame is to be had at all--falls a little more on the films themselves (which again, I really enjoy and do not hate in any way).

    The Force Awakens implicitly invites fan speculation. Various characters as "what girl?" Or "who's the girl?" about Rey. Snoke's origins are never given. And the reveal of Kylo as Han's son sets an expectation of future reveals.

    But the Last Jedi essentially provides non-answers. Who is Rey? It doesn't matter; in fact, you should feel bad for assuming that only a Skywalker or Kenobi could be a powerful hero. Who is Snoke? Doesn't matter.

    I don't think the problem was that fans held onto specific theories. I think TFA invited fans to theorize about specific questions. Then TLJ told fans that those questions just don't matter.

    I'm not trying to throw shade on the movies. More so, I'm trying to vindicate the fans.

    TL;DR Speculation is one of the best parts of Star Wars fandom. The pre-TFA days were so fun and speculation-filled. Don't blame fans for making theories. JJ's "mystery box" style is designed for just that. It's not about fans wanting specific answers, it's about fans wanting answers to specific questions--questions that the movies themselves led us to think were important.
     
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  2. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    I think there is some of that going on. People took "offense" at the lack of twists/theory confirmation.
    I don't blame fans for having theories, I blame fans for thinking they had the RIGHT answers to the questions of TFA.

    They aren't non-answers at all. That would imply their are no answers. They just aren't the mass theorized answers people wanted/expected.
    That feels like a slight mis-characterization of the film.

    No where does the film imply you should feel bad for assuming anything. That's you putting something of your own on it.

    And yes, Snoke doesn't matter....to THIS SPECIFIC story. The same way the Emperor didn't matter to the OT story.

    Not every question needs answered in the middle movie of the trilogy and not every answer has to be a major plot twist or contrivance

    Fans don't deserve blame for their theories, but they deserve blame for acting like jackasses post their theories being wrong.
     
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  3. KesselRunner

    KesselRunner Rebel General

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    Personally, I feel almost completely neutral on the film. It's got some good and some bad, but they kind of cancel each other out and it ends up right in the middle. But for me, I didn't really have any expectations going into it.

    I do feel that the lack of a satisfying resolution to certain plots that were set up in TFA damaged TLJ's credibility in some fans' eyes. I can't blame the fans for that. They were only working with what they had, and the proverbial door got slammed in their faces. I can feel their pain. It's a pain I've been feeling since April 25, 2014; the day Lucasfilm shut the door in my face so hard I think my proverbial nose got broken. Nearly five years later that pain still feels fresh to me, and it's only been a year for the people who feel that way toward TLJ. Me, I'm not the sort to bother other people with my problems, but there are very few people like me in the world. ;) With all of those other people, I must be patient, lest I begin slamming doors myself. :D
     
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  4. Rellum

    Rellum Rebelscum

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    To me there was a whole bunch of people who loved the film and, this is just my impression mind you, couldn't comprehend others who didn't like it so we got a bunch of theories about head canon and not getting the heroic Luke(even though that is what we got). Most people who didn't like the film I would bet didn't like it because they though the movie was bad, apart from I guess the tiny sexist element complaining about SJW and the like.
     
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  5. Use the Falchion

    Use the Falchion Rebel Official

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    The biggest takeaway from the podcast I got was how everyone sees Star Wars (and in Star Wars, the Jedi) differently. One of the biggest problems was Luke - a lot of anti-TLJ Luke fans focus on the fact that Luke ran away rather than the fact that in Luke's mind, he felt like the Jedi were a poison that needed to be removed, himself included. They focus on Luke's moment of temptation and weakness instead of the fact that he never gave in. Ben just happened to wake up at a bad time, and tragedy struck them all. They focus on the lack of Luke's green lightsaber (which, admittedly, I wanted to see too) and lack of "awesome combat" instead of Luke's last moment being the most Jedi thing he could have done.

    To me Luke to me never felt out of place - he was a stand-in for fans who were too hung up on THEIR canon/Legends Canon. His whole thing about "the sacred texts" felt more like a hardcore fan trying, desperately, to hold onto how they think the story should be. He was all the gate-keepers of the fandom, saying "this is how it HAS to be."

    Rey represented someone who was trying to understand and connect with Star Wars, but is turned down at every turn. Heck, you could argue how Kylo Ren was the personification of Disney - trying to do something different. "Let the past die, kill it if you have to." But is ultimately proven wrong.

    Overall, are fan expectations a problem? Yes and no. When an creator asks a question in their work, it is implied they will answer it. JJ has a chance to come back and answer those questions, but at this point, will it matter?
     
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  6. Mosley909

    Mosley909 Rebel General

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    I don't think you can really blame fans, The Force Awakens was designed to get fans speculating, theorising, you watch that film and you can't help but speculate who Rey is, who Snoke is......

    So when you spend so long setting up a mystery fans many fans are going to want an answer to an interesting answer. Last Jedi went the other way, it carried on building up the mystery's but then purposely gave really mundane answers. So when you do something like a two film arc of who a characters parents are, and then say ow they are no one and the character may have known that all along, that is bound to rub some fans the wrong way.

    Really it comes down to, The force Awakens set up a mystery box, Last Jedi went the mystery box is empty. Lots of fans went thats profound, others went what was the point of doing the mystery in the first place.
     
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  7. RogueRebel

    RogueRebel Rebelscum

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    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with TFA setting up the mystery box and TLJ saying the mystery box was empty and that being the issue. Fans theorising and getting carried away with their theories is not their fault because TFA set this up . Here is the mystery box , go and theorise ! And TLJ subverted this and said there’s nothing here . If fans had been given a tiny morsel of any of their theories I think the reaction to TLJ would have been different .Many probably felt like it was a slap in the face because the expectations after TFA and theories were sky high and it became like a frenzy online .
    I remember one journalist saying after TLJ that “this was the movie fans didn’t want but what they needed “. It was a wake up call to get back to reality and not to work yourself up into that state again as there might not be any answers at the end of it .
    So why did they create that mystery box in the first place only to let fans down? Because this is a technique that JJ uses - its what he does . He did the same on LOST series (check out the numerous fan theory sites that were set up for that and you’ll see it’s a similar reaction we are getting in Star Wars now )and we didn’t get many answers in that series by the end , just question answered by another question (great series and phenomenal acting but the mystery box technique was an enduring pain ). So l for one am not expecting any further answers in episode 9 regarding Snoke, Rey etc . If we get them that’s great , if we don’t then that’s exactly what I expect . It will be interesting to see if they subvert my expectations of giving us no answers lol! :D(yoda)
     
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  8. NinjaRen

    NinjaRen Supreme Leader

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    Fan expectations and speculations are a phenomenon which can ruin, but also enrich a movie and its community. Back then at the OT time (and also during the PT) there was no internet, and thus no exchange (at least not a huge one like nowdays) of expectations and speculations.

    If you talk about your theories and expecations day in, day out with other people all around the world, you will be disappointed much easier than without all this stuff. This point can be proven by the casual audience. People who just watch the movie (and don't really talk about it much later) are mostly satisfied and are even looking forward to the next installment.

    So yes, fan expectations are/were part of the "problem".
     
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  9. DailyPlunge

    DailyPlunge Jedi Commander

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    There's really no problem. There's no one thing you can point to lump people together. The overwhelming majority of people who saw TLJ liked. To the tune of 80%. It's a polarizing film though. 10% of people absolutely hated it and there's not one reason.

    - There were people who hated The Force Awakens and everything Disney has done.
    - There were people who were super invested in Rey being related to Luke/Leia.
    - There were people who were desperate to know the history of Snoke
    - There were people who wanted Finn to be a force user
    - There were people who wanted a different Luke
    - There were people who didn't like the tone or humor

    There were indeed people locked into their theories. We saw that here with some of the Rey theories in this forum. There were at least a handful of people who said that if Rey was a random they'd quit Star Wars. It's going to be impossible to keep people who think like that happy.

    Star Wars is a massive IP so even though it's a tiny minority that's millions and millions of people. It's unfair to single out one thing.

    At this point we should just move on... the vocal minority is getting for too much attention.
     
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  10. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Sensitive

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    But that's what I'm asking. Does this "fans are mad because their theories were wrong" thing actually happen? Can you point to any significant group of fans who's mad because their specific theory wasn't confirmed?

    I've seen a lot of TLJ haters, but none of them have expressed anger that Rey wasn't a Kenobi or Snoke wasn't Mace Windu.

    Force Awakens was a mystery box. It intentionally left is wondering about Snoke and Rey. Yes, TLJ gives "answers," but the answers are all along the lines of "it doesn't matter."

    And that's my theory. People aren't mad because their theories weren't confirmed. People are mad because TLJ doesn't answer the questions that TFA made important.

    And of course, lots of fans express this anger in awful ways (as you point out). But I don't think they got the idea of a "right" to answers from nowhere. I think TFA invites is to seek answers.
     
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  11. DailyPlunge

    DailyPlunge Jedi Commander

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    How do you point to a significant group in a group that's so small?
    What important question asked in TFA wasn't answered? The biggest question was Rey's parents. That was answered. Why did Luke leave? That was answered.
     
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  12. RoyleRancor

    RoyleRancor Jedi General

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    Go on youtube.
    Search The Last Jedi.

    You can absolutely find people who are mad Rey is a nobody. Snoke didn't matter. Luke wasn't an all powerful Jedi.

    The answers are not all along the lines of "it doesn't matter" that, again, is your spin on it. The answers absolutely matters. You taking this approach more or less shows that people were practically incapable of accepting a less than popular fan theory on who Rey and Snoke were. By saying that Rey Nobody means it doesn't matter is to dismiss the entirity of the film itself. The whole point is that it DOES MATTER who Rey is, but her last name doesn't matter.

    TFA doesn't make any question important. It makes EVERYTHING important because that's how JJ makes stories. If every question/mystery posited in TFA got a significant grand answer, then TLJ would be nothing but exposition dumps explaining them.
     
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  13. Sparafucile

    Sparafucile Rebel Official

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    It's hard to say that it's THE reason. I think it's safe to say it's A reason, at least for some.

    Speaking for myself, who had very little expectations or theories that I felt needed to be delivered on, and I avoided spoilers and trailers to get the full surprise, I still didn't like TLJ. I think the only thing I expected to get in TLJ was an explanation to Rey's powers (it came out in a book that she downloaded Kylo's skills in TFA, but was never explained on screen). The rest I was pretty open to. I expected a jaded Luke, I just thought they took it too far and lacked exposition for me to believe what they portrayed. I expected a radical Hux, not the wretched cur idiot he was in TLJ. I could go on, but I don't want to make this about arguing or hating on TLJ. I'm tired of it lol.

    I guess what I'm saying is that for almost everyone I know personally, it wasn't expectations in the sense of fan theories that ruined TLJ for most of us. From what I've read since before I was here, it's certainly possible it was an issue for some. I have to think it's a minority of us who dislike TLJ for that reason though. I think it's multi varied. Here's a list of what I've gathered, I don't agree with all of them.

    1) tone
    2) humor
    3) pacing
    4) Canto Bight
    5) Holdo/Poe story line/Dynamic
    6) Diversity (there definitely are some racists/sexists ect who dislike it for that reason alone)
    7) perception of pushing diversity in SW like it's something new or intentional in past SW
    8) Luke's not being kick ass
    9) Luke being too dark, lack of exposition it didn't make sense, too much of a leap to accept from past Luke's
    10) Leia Poppins
    11) Some technical issues (bombers, Leia's lack of airlock, ect... I'm sure there's more, it's all I got off the top of my head)
    12) Force Skype
    13) Force projection
    14) FG affecting living world
    15) Roses preaching/telling the audience
    16) Snoke dying
    17) Kylo succeeding in becoming Supreme leader (Joffrey effect here, I think some people just really hate Kylo, not so much Drivers performance, thus they hate seeing him succeed)
    18) Shirtless Kylo
    19) Rey's boulders, triple shot TIEs,
    20) perceived lack of respect for the OT, in lightsaber toss, no reaction from Luke to Han's death, Ackbar's unceremonious death among others
    21) Chewie feeling bad about eating Porgs... perceived as pushing PETA/vegan message ?
    22) Hyperspace jump attack
    23) slow motion chase

    I'm sure that covers around half of them at least lol. I'm sure other people can come up with more. Again, not trying to start a debate, I don't think we'll see eye to eye, but I just put this up so you see some if not most of that has little to do with expectations. A lot of this I probably wouldn't have had an issue with had I not taken issue with so many other aspects. Some of those I never had an issue with but noticed debate around them, so some obviously do have an issue with it.
     
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  14. Wolfpack

    Wolfpack Rebel General

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    Fan expectations were not the problem other than the fact that fans were expecting a good movie.

    45% score on Rotten Tomatoes proves more fans disliked it than liked it. Solo's abysmal box office only confirms this.
     
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  15. Corn Cream

    Corn Cream Rebel General

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    When I walked out of TFA. I thought JJ set up a big movie with plenty of things to be explored. I don't know what speculation was like after ESB, because we didn't have the technology that we have now, but Vader being Luke's father doesn't compare to all the questions JJ set up in TFA. JJ's approach made the galaxy larger. Rian's version closed it off.

    I had questions for all 3 major characters going into Episode VIII, but Rian went with force skype, and all of those questions went right out the window.
    I wanted to know how Kylo became what he was. I wanted to know why Rey is so capable, because everything about her tells me clone. I wanted to know how Finn was able to break his conditioning. Any answer to these questions would have expanded the galaxy.
     
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  16. Messi

    Messi Force Sensitive

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    I was not excited at all with TLJ during the trailers, and I don't know why. I was not excited for this movie before its release.

    When I saw the movie everything changed. So, I had no problems with the expectations.
     
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  17. Darth Wardawg

    Darth Wardawg Rebel Official

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    For me the problem was not the fact that RJ didn't give me what I wanted... That would be impossible as I didn't go in with a theory I hoped would be fulfilled. So I'm with you on that. The little things, which added together become big things, are the things that bothered me. How is it that within what, 2-3 days, the first order is in control of the Galaxy? How is it the resistance is using bombers that are seemingly a step (or three) down in development from those used by the rebellion? Holdo maneuver, the Canto bight thing, the slowest space chase in all of film history... I could go on and on but I won't. Those are the things that bugged me.

    Having said that, I think there were some good things in the film. I liked the cinematography. I think Johnson was able to get some great performances out of the actors. In a weird way this film, for me, was the opposite of the PT, especially TPM and AOTC. In those I think Lucas had a great story and did an incredible job of "world building" but the performances, dialogue and effects were blah. The CGI was too much. In this film I thought the world building lacked, the story was lacking and (IN MY OPINION) undid much of what came before with what it did (Holdo maneuver).

    And I don't think I'm the only one. As @Wolfpack said, the score on RT is pretty abysmal. I'm sure some will decry it as fake, but they have no evidence for that. As a high school teacher I can say that none of my kids last year were impressed. No one came back from Christmas break talking about it the way they came back and talked about Infinity War. Out of 130 kids last year only 2 went and saw Solo (this is an early college high school so the nerd/geek factor is quite high and a ton of kids were excited about The Last Jedi). Again, a very small sample size, but there is plenty of evidence that all is not right with the GFFA. Hopefully IX gets us over this and we have a great film to talk about come December.
     
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  18. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Sensitive

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    I feel like there's nothing I can say to make my point perfectly clear.

    TLJ is a great Star Wars movie. I truly enjoy it. It's beautifully shot, acted, scored, designed--all of it. The plot choices are great in the context of the movie itself.

    My argument is only this: the Force Awakens raises specific questions. It shrouds Snoke in mystery. It asks "who is the girl?" about Rey multiple times. JJ intentionally sets up a mystery box for fans to speculate about.

    But after TLJ, it feels like Star Wars pundits are poo-pooing fans for the very speculation TFA encouraged. As if fans were foolish to expect answers to the questions explciitly raised by the mystery box. As if we could have anticipated that the questions raised by TFA wouldn't matter in TLJ.

    Before TLJ, we had no reason to expect that the questions raised by TFA wouldn't matter. We were playing by the rules of the game laid out for us. Don't make us feel like idiots for speculating with what we had.
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 11, 2019, Original Post Date: Feb 11, 2019 ---
    And as another clarification:

    I'm trying to draw out a difference between expecting specific answers (i.e. Rey IS a Skywalker, Snoke IS Plagueius) versus expecting answers to specific questions (i.e. "Who is Rey?" or "Who is Snoke?")

    I could be wrong, but I haven't actually seen fans mad because their specific theories weren't confirmed. People aren't saying "TLJ sucks because Snoke isn't Plagueius!" or "TLJ sucks because Snoke isn't Mace Windu!" They're saying "TLJ sucks because Snoke's origins don't actually matter."

    I don't see fans doggedly clinging to their specific theories which must be confirmed. I see fans who expected answers to the questions raised in TFA.

    I could be wrong. And again, I don't think the TLJ hate is justified.
     
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  19. KeithF1138

    KeithF1138 Rebel Official

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    Few items:

    1. Yes TFA put forward mysteries/questions. TLJ had no responsibility to answer them. People being impatient to get all the answers in the middle of a 3 picture arc and acting on that impatience in a negative manner isn't good. That being said a middle film should answer some and TLJ did.
    2. Not liking answers is not the same as questions not being answered.
    3. Not liking a film is fine, but getting mad and trying to make others mad isn't a good thing. Trying to make money off of anger isn't a good thing and we have seen an explosion of that.
    4. I have experienced very vitriolic behavior towards me online since I love TLJ. The more viewings the more I love it and it is now my favorite of all time. I said before Star Wars fans not liking TLJ makes me sad because I absolutely love it. I have been back and forth with people who judge it in ways they never judge other Star Wars film or other media the same way. I can only think they are trying to drag others into their thought process.
    --- Double Post Merged, Feb 11, 2019, Original Post Date: Feb 11, 2019 ---
    I understand this, but if many disgruntled fans who really are very vocal also chose to ignore other lines in TFA or what JJ said about Rey. Maz says her family is never coming back. Her future relies on a stranger (Luke). JJ said that Rey's parent did not appear in TFA shortly after TFA was released. So many just ignored this and got angry when the answer given to them wasnt what they wanted.
     
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  20. Jaxxon

    Jaxxon Force Sensitive

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    1&2) I think this is what I was trying to convey with the term "non-answers," but my meaning wasn't clear. I agree: TLJ didn't have a responsibility to answer the questions. And it really DOES give "answers" in a strict sense. My point isn't that the movie didn't give any answers, but that the answers are all to the effect of "the question doesn't matter." TLJ had no obligation to answer these questions, but it did, and it did so by saying the questions don't matter. Which is fine by me, but I think that's a big reason some fans were left cold.

    3&4) I'm sorry you've had this experience. Please don't interpret any of my comments as trying to convince you to dislike TLJ. Enjoy what you enjoy. It's a wonderful movie. It's not my fav SW but it's definitely not my least favorite, and I'm glad you've found such enjoyment in it!


    And just because I can't say it enough, *I'm not trying to put down any Star Wars films or podcasters. I'm just trying to say that fans shouldn't be made to feel stupid for speculating*
     
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