The Last Jedi: A Way Out Of The Galaxy Far Far Away?

The legend franchise ever has released maybe the most ambivalent episode in its long-lasting history. The audience has split into two camps: the ones who accepted Episode VIII positively with all its exceptions from the Galaxy Far Far Away, and those who stood sceptical about some innovations. Anyway, there is no one indifferent to Rian Johnson`s vision of Star Wars. With numerous surprises inside, the film undoubtedly received four Academy Award Nominations this year and pretends to win some if not all of them. But what does these surprises mean to the future of Star Wars, and were these last Jedi the very last drop in the ocean of Star Wars canon? No spoilers, just some thoughts out loud.

Episode VIII has left even more misty impression than the previous one, that was full of irrational logic, phony plotlines and hardly possible contexts. How did the First Order manage to build the enormous Starkiller base in thirty years while the much smaller Death Star had required twenty years to be completed? How come the regular stormtrooper, a normal nobody, took a lightsaber like any forcer? Etc. The prelude of the new trilogy left a row of questions that were expected to be responded in the new episode. But The Last Jedi`s intrigue lies in new puzzles, not in answers.

The Last Jedi deflates probably all the classic Lucas`s Star Wars. Unpredictable things happen instead of evident stamps, questions rise instead of answers being given, timely jokes exaggerated hundred times, along with pretty pathetic and philosophical matters generously tied into the plotline, diving deep into the Force, its different edges and new opportunities. There is a feeling that the film is 50/50 made of election campaign and a stand-up show.

New characters are far pale, comparing to charismatics of the good old days. The situation is quite similar to Rogue One: the whole film was made by fanatic and heavy-metal cruel Darth Vader, smart guy and big boss Orson Krennic, cunning digital Tarkin and humane and humorous droid К2SO, who have left the squad of main heroes in the shadows. The same story is here in The Last Jedi, excluding maybe Benicio Del Toro – his character is a kind of a mystery himself, and, for sure, his shiny talent can`t be hidden. New heroes undoubtedly expand the Star Wars universe, but no Force speculations will make their lines deeper if they basically lack charisma to become universally acclaimed and adored.

The old school fans like me are to be surprised and astonished, someone maybe will support the petition for excluding Episode VIII from the official canon. But haste make waste, let`s first attend to the hundred percent advantages of the film: it is made with visual effects of highest quality, despite of its length it is very dynamic and captivating, and it provides many evident and hidden links to the original trilogy. Maybe in this case leaving the path of following the canonic standards is not a bad idea: the audience expects something familiar, but all analytics, fans and Star Wars geeks failed to predict the Episode VIII plotline. A brilliant but underrated trick in modern filmmaking – to provoke the audience`s emotions in all their edges. Rian Johnson managed to fantasize so many new fantastic worlds using the legendary and magic landscapes of Skellig Islands in Ireland and cinematically famous Dubrovnik Castle in Croatia. Moreover, his planets and creatures look so amazing that there is point in rewatching the film, and for me it`s a sign of a well-done picture.


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This unpredictability and intrigue is not the only peculiarity of Episode VIII. The Last Jedi has turned to make a record in the franchise`s history: the length of the film, the longest starting titles (yep, those ones with the lines flowing into the space with taaa-taa-ta-ta-ta-taa-taaa-ta-ta-ta-daaaaaa score), possibly the biggest amount of celebs cameo in one Star Wars movie (Rogue One`s director Garreth Edwards, one more film director Edgar Wright, actors Justin Theroux, Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Lewitt, writer Joe Cornish, Mark Hamill himself who did the voice work for countless characters, aliens and creatures except Luke Skywalker, and even two Princes William and Harry, whose scenes were unfortunately not included into the final cut). Besides this there is a record amount of “Easter eggs” and links to the original trilogy, Episode VII and even Rogue One. In this respect let me give you an advice if you have not seen The Last Jedi yet: make yourself a Star Wars marathon first, rewatch all the movies in right order, and then – that`s important! – watch The Last Jedi very attentively, a good eye for details and puzzles will be needed while all of us, critics and the audience, are waiting for Episode IX.

But what`s next? It`s a well-known fact now that the another, fourth, trilogy of Episodes X, XI and XII approved lately by Disney and Lucasfilm will start from blank page. Will it be Star Wars or something else, who knows. The old school fans might be disappointed, since Star Wars has become a unique genre with its own canonic rules and must-have characters and plotlines. Destroying the base may ruin the whole franchise. It might be easier to elaborate a totally new screenplay with new characters under a brand-new label, in no connections with Star Wars as the classics of its own. This is not my idle curiosity: bringing new characters to such a saga (and making the old ones quit as well) is never an easy task. Harrison Ford just paid his respect to Han Solo in The Force Awakens using Judi Dench`s so called “I`m fed up” trick as in James Bond, and that wasn`t difficult. But what a massive apocalyptic attack will be needed in Episode IX to eliminate all the characters at once for clearing the path to the fourth trilogy? The simple statistics shows that the most nine-lived Star Wars heroes are the two droids, and Chewbacca. And the Millenium Falcon, for sure. Well, three guys aboard – not bad for a fresh start.

Show must go on.




P.S. Episode IX is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019. Earlier in February 2018 J.J.Abrams announced that he has completed the screenplay for the new episode and would start filming this summer in London. Pinewood, as usual.



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