Goooood morning everybody!
So now that there are a whole bunch of trailers, T.V. spots and interviews out, I thought I’d do my analysis/predictions of where everybody’s going to end up in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. This is part one, the Main Four. Villains will be tomorrow, and the Old Fogeys on Sunday.
Most of this will be fairly high-level stuff, I won’t get down to the nitty-gritty. More beneath the cut!
All right guys, here’s some Star Wars analysis for you all:
- First, the title: The Last Jedi. Much ink has been spilled on this already, but to me it is clear that it refers to Luke Skywalker, who has been identified as the last (of the) Jedi at several points: by Yoda, in ROTJ and in the opening crawl of The Force Awakens, to name two. And yet, the foreign translations are in the plural. Does that mean more than one Jedi survived the massacre? Possibly. I would be hesitant to trust translations, even official ones. They can be misleading, even deliberately.
- Who it does not refer to is either Rey or Finn. Rey is clearly in training to be a Jedi, but like Luke before her is not one yet. And Finn, based on what we’ve seen so far, is neither.
- To elaborate: the Force is strong with Finn, this much is true. His empathy and skill against Kylo indicate that much. But the Force was strong with Leia, too, and ultimately she never did take up the lightsaber. So it remains to be see what fate ultimately befalls Finn.
- The box art:
- First, Rey. Like I said before, Rey is clearly in training to be a Jedi. She’s wielding a blue lightsaber, presumably Anakin’s, and wearing what appears to be Jedi robes. She isn’t a Jedi yet, though, and her continued use of Anakin’s saber proves that. Luke wasn’t considered a Jedi by either Vader or Yoda until he had constructed his own lightsaber and confronted Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. Given that Rey’s story so closely parallels Luke’s, and that constructing one’s own lightsaber is a vital part of Jedi training, Rey will almost certainly go down the same path.
- Her black under robes: personally, I don’t think this means all that much. Black undergarments, so I’m told, are often worn by women for eminently practical reasons and it’s entirely possible that these reasons apply here, too. If it does mean anything, it signifies her maturation and growth, as Luke’s black robes in ROTJ signified his.
- Her hair: this is much more important. In Rey’s Survival Guide, it’s explained that Rey kept her three-buns style in order that her family would recognize her after being left on Jakku for over a decade. That she has found it indicates that she has found her family, namely in the person of Luke Skywalker. Personally, I believe that this is biological family, but it could be found family, too. Though if it is biological, it tells us that new!Mara is apparently an elf, ’cause man, does Daisy Ridley look like Arwen of Rivendell here.
- Finn: Finn actually has the least amount of details here. We can surmise that he’s awoken from his coma, and that he has fully transitioned into a soldier of the Resistance: he’s ditched the black stormtrooper undershirt for a white shirt, possibly robes, and has either repaired or replaced the jacket that was destroyed in the final fight. Not much to go on, really.
- Poe Dameron:
- Poe is much more interesting because of what his presence implies, rather than anything in his actual costume. Mainly, that he has continued his narrative promotion from glorified extra that he was in the early drafts of TFA into a fully-realized member of the main trio. This is important for a number of reasons:
- In the original drafts, Poe was supposed to die and Kylo Ren was supposed to be a member of the main trio. This is a terrible idea.
- Firstly, there’s the problem of interacting with the other members of the trio. Kylo Ren is the villain, his interactions with the other heroes is going to antagonistic. Not friendly, supportive or even just good-natured bantering. Further they’re going to be limited: Kylo Ren simply cannot be hanging out with the heroes ’cause he’s busy being the bad guy.
- So in order to fix that interaction problem, you have two choices: you can redeem Kylo in TFA, which leads to the same revolving-door dragon symptom we had in the prequels. I get why George did that, but that doesn’t make it a good idea. Especially not twice in a row.
- Or, you could do what they did in Buffy which was neuter Spike so bad he became a bad joke. It wasn’t until season seven of Buffy and season five of Angel that he became a character worth watching again, and the ‘romance’ between him and Buffy was pretty terrible. So for Kylo’s sake, please don’t do this to him. Modern villains are pathetic enough, can we at least keep Kylo vaguely threatening?
- Poe Dameron, then, as an already bona fide badass hero in the lines of Philip Marlowe and Chris Adams (played by Yul Brynner in the The Magnificent Seven, a much better film than the 2016 remake, although that one’s pretty good too) comes as an easy fix for these problems. He’s damn fun to watch, being fast talking, gutsy and empathic, connecting with Finn easily while having himself some good fun at the villains expense. Poe also connects swiftly with others, Finn being the most notable example but also most likely extending this connection to Rey. A good match, in short, for the other two members of the trio and just way better character dynamic than Kylo Ren.
- Note: Kylo Ren is still going to be important. Like Vader, and unlike the dragons of the prequels, Kylo is The Heavy: he is going to drive the plot. Not Hux, not Phasma, not Snoke, but Kylo Ren. It’s his redemption or death that will consume the final volume and it will his power the need to confront it that will drive Rey into becoming a Jedi. Just like Darth Vader before him. He’s just not a part of the power trio. He’s off being a badass villain in his own right.