A week after the release of Star Wars’ latest, and six months after the highly successful, while divisive episode 8, or The Last Jedi, here are some of the questions I had, answered by aficionado and hardcore Star Wars fan, Edward Peeler. You can check out his blog at dreadpiratesite.wordpress.com or subscribe to his video reviews on youtube.
Me: We spoke about how The Force Awakens stuck pretty closely to an old formula, echoing A New Hope essentially. We both agreed that we wanted to see some experimentation in The Last Jedi. How do you feel about what The Last Jedi did in terms of making its own path?
Peeler: Well, I think it did a little too much in making it’s own path. I think it kind of went off the rails. It feels like their making these movies with absolutely no plan in mind. J.J.
clearly had a direction he wanted to go in and then they just brought in Rian Johnson and let him do whatever he wanted with this one with complete and utter disregard to
everything J.J. had set up. It’s like they decided to handle the plot of a major blockbuster
cash cow franchise by doing one of those creative writing games where one person starts
a story and then another person writes the second part and someone completely different ends it. Those games are fun but not the kind of direction you need for a major film series like this. And Rian Johnson apparently hasn’t directed too many films. He did
Looper which everybody tells me is amazing, but to me looks like the most boring and
predictable time travel story I’ve ever seen, so I’ve never cared to watch it. He’s done
Brick which I’ve never heard of and a couple episodes of Breaking Bad including the
fly/contamination episode which admittedly was a good episode. But that’s it. So to
quote Mike Stoklasa of Red Letter Media, “They gave the 2nd film of this major franchise
to Just Some Guy.” Which is shocking. They let this guy do whatever he wanted
whether it made sense or not, whether it was satisfying or not. And it’s had a pretty poor
response from fans, including myself. Youtube is like on fire with Last Jedi hate. It’s
beautiful man. And the more Disney talks about it and tries to explain themselves, the
worse they look. And now J.J.’s coming out and saying if you don’t like the movie, well
that means you don’t like women. Which is bullshit. And we also have Simon Pegg
coming out and confirming that Rian Johnson completely ignored J.J.’s plans and did his
own thing but J.J.’s got to “support the party line” so he’s acting like it’s A-ok. My
personal experience I think echoes a lot of people. I had a good time watching it in the
theatre because it was Christmas time and I saw it with my Dad and it was a fun little
family event. I had an adult beverage. My theatre was offering a red drink if you
preferred the sith and I had A Blue Hope which I think was Dan Akroid Crystal head
vodka with a blue lightsaber straw in it. And so we watched it, and there were lasers and
explosions, so we’re having a good time and all the while I’m watching and asking “Where are you going with this? Where are you going with this?” And there were a lot of strange choices like the infamous “Leia Poppins” sequence, Admiral Holdo which was a character I absolutely detested, Luke drinking alien milk or possibly semen from an alien walrus, etc. The list goes on. I left theater having enjoyed myself, but when I started talking to my friends about it- in particular, my buddy Andy- I started thinking about it and I realized, I was not happy with what I saw. It actually gets worse the more you think about it. And I’ve noticed a lot of people saying similar things. It’s like the first stage of grief is denial and I’m noticing a lot of other people saying they initially enjoyed it but then it started falling apart for them. I think they were way too focused on “doing their own thing”. One of the early bad signs of this move actually predates the Force Awakens where J.J. announced the Expanded Universe, which is one of the major things Star Wars fans, myself included, adore, is no longer canon. I thought that was a terrible decision then, and it’s a worse one now. Disney wants the money from the fans of Star Wars without earning those fans’ trust and without respecting the material. They are also too lazy to hire an intern to skim Wookiepedia, so that they have a general outline of what the continuity of this series is. I think in an effort to do their own thing they have actually successfully killed the franchise. Nice job breaking its hero.
Me: Referencing Luke Skywalker’s dark story arc? So with the more surprising aspects of the film, you feel The Last Jedi was iconoclastic and undercut its old established momentum?
Peeler: They basically drove this car one-hundred miles an hour into a brick wall. I wasn’t too crazy about the mysteries set up in the Force Awakens but many other people were. I think you were in particular. I just kind of trusted that it would be good because I liked the Force Awakens and Rogue One. I love the Marvel Movies, and Disney in general was making me happy. My friend Josh introduced me to Gravity Falls recently and I’ve been digging that. They just bought EVERYTHING of value from 20th Century Fox, including The X-men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four, which as a comic book fan I’ve been anticipating for several years. I’m so happy about that deal; they’ve got Aliens so Ridley Scott can’t make anymore shitty Prometheus sequels. They’ve got Terminator. They’ve got so much good stuff. They could make Dodgeball 2 tomorrow and it would be awesome. And all of a sudden they just shit the bed with The Last Jedi. I did not see that coming. Whatever they were going to do, I figured it would be good so I didn’t speculate. I wanted to wait and see. And they just did nothing with it. Rey’s parents are nobody, so
that was pointless. Snoke’s a nobody, pointless. The Knights Of Ren are Sir Not-
Appearing-In-This-Film. And Luke Skywalker’s a bitch now. Just why even bother
making a Star Wars movie if you’re not going to do it right. I definitely feel the classic
characters got shafted in this film after the ABYSMAL treatment of Luke, Admiral
Akbar’s off screen death, and Chewie being reduced to a terrible running Porg gag, but
also what was the point in getting me invested in Rey, Poe, Finn, and Kylo if they’re not
going to get any decent development either? It doesn’t matter what generation of
character they were, they both got treated poorly.
Me:You were apathetic towards General Snoke before The Last Jedi. Were your feelings solidified after watching his demise?
Peeler: The best part about the movie for me was when he got his dumb ass sliced in half. I’ve never been impressed with Snoke. And for the record, I’m super disappointed he wasn’t a giant. I’m serious. I think they missed a unique opportunity to show a new unique alien species that we’ve never seen before. He’s just a generic Sith lord. That’s it. He’s powerful and he can shoot lightening and whatever. Who gives a crap? And he’s old and CGI….because. Why couldn’t you just put an old dude in a chair? Why not just put Andy Serkais as himself, for once, not in mo-cap gear, in a fucking chair? He was just in Black Panther as himself a week ago and he was fine…..all ten minutes of him which is a rant for another day. Every Sith lord we’ve seen has got something going for them. The best of course is Vader. He’s the original big menacing bad guy played perfectly by David Prowse and James Earl Jones. Then you have Palpatine, who is deliciously evil and cunning and calculating played by Ian McDiarmid. Maul’s got a cool look and badass martial arts by Ray Park. Dooku has the raw power of Christopher Lee. And even Grevious is an unsettling alien monster. And the Expanded Universe is ripe with kickass Sith with their own unique looks and personality, whether its Asajj Ventress from Clone Wars, Revan from Knights Of The Old Republic, The Grand Inquisitor from Rebels, and even Star Killer from Force Unleashed and Mara Jade (I think she started off as a Sith and then became a good guy). Snoke just kind of blends in as a poor man’s Palpatine. I honestly don’t think there was anything there of value to begin with but it’s the job of the writer, to make something. Word on the net is that Snoke was either supposed to be or people feel he should have been Darth Plagueis The Wise, the Sith lord who can allegedly create or restore life and whom it’s heavily hinted at in Revenge of the Sith was Palpatine’s master. Palpatine betrayed and killed him and became the new master of the Sith Order and then orchestrated his plan detailed in the prequels to take over the galaxy. And honestly all the signs are there backing this up. He’s super old, he’s disfigured which suggests that Palpatine only thought he’d killed him but he survived. That would have been a more satisfying answer as opposed to nothing at all which is what we are given. It’s absolutely ridiculous that a Sith lord powerful enough to effortlessly bitch slap people with lightning and telekinesis without even getting up from his throne, powerful enough to link two separate people on other ends of the galaxy via a telepathic Skype, would need Rey to tell him anything about where Luke is hiding out. A guy that powerful should be able to find him on his own. And second of all, he should be able to see an obvious betrayal happening right in front of his face. The only justification I can see for this (which I’m sure Rian Johnson or another mouth piece for Kathleen Kennedy will use at some point) is that the Jedi in the prequels were oblivious to a Sith lord right in front of their noses for years and Sith lords are kind of portrayed as stupid back stabbers that betray each other so regularly that their can only be two of them at any given time. But that bullshit falls apart with some simple logic: if the Sith are that retarded (which they are not supposed to be if you’ve played Knights Of The Old Republic or read the Sith novels) then how did they ever at any point in Galactic History become a force capable of taking over the Galaxy. And also, if your mining the prequels to explain away your plot holes, your doing something wrong.
Me: You were also always apathetic towards Rey’s parentage as you mentioned. Do you believe Kylo when he says that her parents were these nobodies, or do you believe there’s more to that subplot? Do you care anymore about it or can it be salvaged in your eyes?
Peeler: I’m going to skip the first question for the moment and go directly to the second one. I don’t care anymore ☺ lol. Again I didn’t care initially but apparently everybody else did. And I was expecting SOME kind of explanation given how hard it was set up in the Force Awakens and it should have been addressed. Not addressing it or claiming it was all bullshit is just bad story telling. Truth be told, there’s nothing wrong with her parents being nobody. The galaxy is full of force sensitive people who have the potential to become Jedis and to me Rey was always just a role player playing the D20 Star Wars table top game who started play as a level 5 Jedi Guardian (which by the way is a class so powerful it will make a Paladin blush). It also explains why she’s over-powered; sorry Finn. That’s what you get for leveling up as the Soldier Class. And poor Poe wanted to take the Dog-fighter Class from D20 Future but that’s a prestige class so he had to level up as a Fast Hero first and that’s why he sucks. That’s why all of them suck compared to Rey which is another problem with her lineage not being explained. Since the Force Awakens, the character has been accused of being a Mary Sue. These were concerns I mostly ignored and over looked since I liked the Force Awakens. But the fact of the matter is that in that movie, she’s a master of hand to hand combat, so techno-savy she can completely fix, fly, and expertly man the guns of the Millenium Falcon having never seen it before, is kind of a bitch to Finn when she first meets him for no reason, and can expertly use the Force and a lightsaber within approximately one day of learning she may have some connection to the Jedi. In this movie she’s more powerful than Kylo Ren whose trained for years, beats up Luke Skywalker with a stick, and can break the ground and lift rocks with the force with absolute NO TRAINING. If that’s not a Mary Sue, I don’t know what is. That or the bitch is fudging her character sheet and gave herself 10 extra levels while everybody else is at 5 and gave herself 18s in all stats. Explaining that she’s the long lost child of Luke and Mara Jade or Han and Leia or Obi-Wan’s grand daughter or the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker or Darth Revan would at least be a satisfying explanation as to where this unbridled power is coming from and I think it would have also made the fans who’ve been speculating for two years a little happier too.
Me: The biggest complaints I’m hearing, and you’ve addressed them slightly, have to do with Luke Skywalker. Mark Hamill himself spoke about an uneasiness he felt towards this arc. What are your thoughts on The Last Jedi’s Luke Skywalker?
Peeler: The mishandling of Luke Skywalker is hands down the worst thing about this movie. Sometimes the first reaction is the correct reaction and I 100% support Mark Hamil’s original criticism of the film. The only reason he has “expressed regret” at his earlier comments is because Kathleen Kennedy told him to keep his mouth shut. I have no respect for her whatsoever. To quote Mark himself “How does the most optimistic person in the entire galaxy just give up and stop being a hero?” I don’t know, but I don’t buy it. I also agree that “This is not my Luke?” My Dad described Luke in this film as a pussy and coward. Not only do I agree, I think it’s worse than that. You’re telling me Rian Johnson, that Luke Skywalker, the most optimistic man in universe who literally went through hell and back to bring his father back from the dark side, his father who was the 2nd most evil man in the galaxy and guilty of genocide, is also the same man who years later entertained the notion of MURDERING A CHILD, not just any child but his nephew and best friend’s son, because he MIGHT do something bad in the future? This is the same guy? Bullshit! This is character assassination. I don’t know why Kathleen Kennedy doesn’t like Luke Skywalker but she’s in the wrong business if this is the best thing she can think to do with him. We’ve been waiting two years to see Luke back in action. Actually longer than that. I’ve been waiting since like 1987 to see to see a new live action adventure with Luke Skywalker. I was 5 years old. Return Of The Jedi was my first and favorite Star Wars’ Film. I will never forget the heroic stand Luke made against the Emperor when tempted to cut down his father! Looking at his father’s broken mechanical hand and then looking at his own cybernetic replacement. I will never forget as he threw down his lightsaber, looked the Emperor in the eye and said, “Never! I’ll never join the dark side. You failed your highness. I am a Jedi! Like My Father Before Me!” That’s a hero. That’s Luke Skywalker. I don’t know who this homeless guy drinking space walrus semen is but it ain’t Luke Skywalker. Now I’m not saying Mark did a bad job. Mark Hamil was the best thing about this movie. Hands down the best actor and hands down the best performance in the movie. He was a professional and he performed their garbage script like a professional which is a damn shame because he didn’t get a chance to do anything cool in the movie. He didn’t fight anybody. He didn’t use a lightsaber. He didn’t go on an adventure with Rey which would have made me love and appreciate both of them. Meanwhile, Harrison Ford got a chance to do everything he wanted to do. He got to shoot the bad guys, fly around the galaxy, be a cool dude, and finally kill off a character he’s been trying to kill of for years but do so in a cool dramatic way. Luke was too lazy to leave the fucking planet he was on. And I’m sorry, but the moment he died and faded away at the end of the movie, I felt this sinking feeling in my chest and I realized that Star Wars had just literally died. To me it’s dead now.
A brief aside. I’ve been watching the hell out of Ash Vs. Evil Dead recently and first of all, it’s an awesome show. Go check it out! I had the pleasure of meeting Dana Delorenzo a couple months ago at Pensacon and she’s awesome. I bring the show up because that’s how you properly do a legacy show. Bruce Cambell’s Ash Williams is just as awesome as he was in the movies, but also his supporting cast is just as awesome as him. Dana Delorenzo, Ray Santiago, and Lucy Lawless play great characters that elevate Bruce’s performance and he elevates them. Their characters are so good that I don’t just tune in for Bruce, I tune in for them as well and fully accept them as heroes (or awesome villains) in this world. The show is definitely a team effort and it shows. The Last Jedi does not do this. There is a genuine effort to make the classic characters look bad that makes everybody in the movie look bad. Classic characters don’t get anything to do. New characters have arcs that are either insulting or go nowhere and nobody develops.
Me: Reylo has somewhat of a weird cult following. Did The Last Jedi do enough to make you interested in their arc at least?
Peeler: As I said before, I did enjoy the movie while I was watching it the first time and well, yes. I felt this was intriguing at the time. I definitely shipped Rey x Kylo Ren while I was in the theater. I don’t know. Maybe it was Adam Driver’s sparkling abs, but yeah, I thought those scenes between the two of them were romantic and kind of sexy. In the long run? No, because again, I don’t care anymore. But the real shame of it is, I feel this was a missed opportunity. Let’s ignore the obvious criticism that these two might be brother and sister (it was my speculation that they were Jaina and Jacen Solo from the real Expanded Universe). I think what really should have happened is that after the fight with the praetorian guard, which I think is universally enjoyed even by people like me who didn’t like the movie, when Kylo asked Rey to join the First Order with him declaring that, ” she’s nobody but not to him. To him she’s special”……she should have joined him. That would have been cool. That would have been compelling. That would have been unexpected. And they could have taken this series in a whole new direction that we’ve never seen before. Imagine, a Jedi and Sith Lord as not just lovers, but as the new king and queen of the Galactic Empire! Two people drawn to each other on the opposite sides of the spectrum of good and evil, learning from each other, compromising who they are in an effort to make a better galaxy one way or the other. Maybe they could have focused on demilitarizing the First Order and turning it back into the Galactic Republic, building a new galaxy together but dealing with harsh opposition on all sides of the argument and completely outside (the Hutts, the Mandolorians, the Black Sun, the Yuuzhan Vong,etc) and struggling with the temptation to switch to either side of the force and perhaps never fully trusting each other. That would have been a great movie and it could have satisfied that bold new direction itch that they’ve been trying to scratch. But you know, that’s a complicated and interesting high science fiction idea with no clear idea of who to blow up in the movie, so they’d never do it. At least this Brain Trust of a Star Wars team wouldn’t do it. So yeah, they just blew up the lightsaber. Rey stayed good. Kylo stayed bad. And my erection got bored. They killed any interesting romance for me before it got started. It’s a shame. I found Daisey Ridley very sexy in the Force Awakens and I could have written such lovely, nasty fan fiction about her and Kylo Ren. And just so you know there is plenty of great porn of Rey out there on the inter-webs if you know where to look.
Thanks again for having me here dude. Hope everybody enjoyed my rantings. This is the Dreadpirate signing off.