The Back Story
In 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS. Other than commercials this was my first taste of Star Wars and I was hooked. I know that viewing this show today it looks really low budget but that is exactly what it was. A low budget TV special capitalizing on the success of Star Wars: A New Hope to introduce young kids who may not have seen or heard of Star Wars into become fans and have those kids ask their parents for a Star Wars toy. And it worked flawlessly.
I don’t remember if it was the same year as the special but shortly after I did get 3 Star Wars toys that I remember very fondly. The MTV-7 the Imperial Troop Transporter and the Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer.
It took me years to figure out that those toys weren’t actually in any of the movies with the exception of Darth Vader’s Star Destroyer in an albeit simplified way.
I did score a Luke Skywalker and Yoda action figure I had for decades until one time I moved house and lost them.
In 1984 The Ewok Adventure aired and I thought it was good.
In 1985 Ewoks: The Battle for Endor aired and I loved every second of it.
I have to point out that at the time I saw these two specials I had seen A New Hope but not Empire or Return of the Jedi.
There were a couple of cartoons I vaguely remember around the mid-1980’s, Droids and Ewoks.
In 2003 Star Wars: Clone Wars was released as 20 3 minute episodes in cartoon format, sort of a cross between an American cartoon and an Anime. I feel it wasn’t targeted directly to kids because I enjoyed it a lot. It showed me how much an absolute badass Mace Windu was.
Then in 2008 Star Wars: The Clone Wars was released. A fully 3D CGI masterpiece in my opinion. Ahsoka Tano was my favorite character.
In 2014 Rebels was released. I have to admit I didn’t follow this when it came out. When I found out Ahsoka was added in later seasons I decided to watch it and I am glad I did. Excellent series.
When Star Wars: A New Hope came out in 1977 I didn’t get to see it in theaters. It took till 1983 before I got to see it on Betamax as part of a grade school reward for good grades. The weird thing is I already knew every character in it and I had been asking for and playing with the toys for years. As I recall I learned about Star Wars from TV and friends at school. Among my classmates, Star Wars was nearly universally positive. There seemed to be 1 or 2 kids that liked some other show or movie and would give Star Wars a hard time. As a grade school kid, it was simple enough to ignore those kids and enjoy Star Wars with other kids who liked it as well.
When The Empire Strikes Back came out in 1980, again I didn’t get to see it in theaters. It wasn’t till 1985 when it was released on VHS tape that I got to see it. You would think the whole “No, I am your father” would have been spoiled for me. But it wasn’t and my mind was blown. A short time after I saw it I was talking with a friend about how it didn’t get spoiled for me when his friend decided to spoil as much of Return Of The Jedi as he could while I pleaded for him not to. As it turned out later he just made a lot of things up. ( I went over a year thinking Chewbacca died by ramming the Millennium Falcon into Slave 1 to avenge the death of Han Solo.) The thing I remember very vividly is how he took great joy in seeing that I thought he spoiled Return Of The Jedi for me. Just goes to show Trolls have been around way before the internet. More on this later.
In 1983 Return Of The Jedi came out and again I missed it in the theaters. I got to see it on Laserdisc in 1986. I was relieved that most of what I was told was not true.
I was a very big fan of Star Wars from the first time I heard about it. Think about that for a second. The entire trilogy had made it’s run in theaters before I got to see the first installment and I was already a massive fan for years.
As I recall most of my introduction to Star Wars came from other kids who said they have seen it in theaters and tried to explain to me the story of Luke Skywalker through the lens of a grade school kids eyes. Needless to say, before I actually seen A New Hope I had a rough idea of the movie. Even with that, I was not prepared for the experience of actually seeing it. The spaceships, planets, races, technology, weapons the scale of the whole thing.
When news broke that there would be a new trilogy set before the events of A New Hope I was determined to see it on the big screen.
In 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace was released I was right there in a theater to watch it on opening day. And I went to see it the next day and the next. I had seen it at the theaters 3 times the week it opened.
As a side note. I was not a fan of the midi-chlorians concept and at some point, I developed a sort of headcanon that midi-chlorians were a way to gauge a person’s possible potential with the force and not a direct measuring of how powerful someone was with the force. A person could have a very low midi-chlorian count and be very adept at using the force and someone with a very high midi-chlorian could be useless at the force.
In 2002 Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones was released and again I was there on opening day and the next day and the next day and the next Friday.
In 2005 Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith was released and there I was on opening day and I am not sure if I saw it on consecutive days but I know I did end up seeing it 5 times in theaters.
Overall I enjoyed the prequels. The highs points for me were Mace Windu, Obi-Wan, and Jango Fett. I felt the last 15 minutes of Revenge of the Sith was just Lucas trying too hard to put everybody where they belong for episodes 4 and 5. Yoda’s decision to immediately exile himself to Dagobah after losing to Palpatine seemed very odd to me. As for Jar Jar I felt he was comic relief and it didn’t bother me at all that he was there.
If I had to rank them I would say The Empire Strikes Back I loved the most and The Phantom Menace would be at the bottom. But make no mistake, just because I put The Phantom Menace at the bottom doesn’t mean I hate or dislike it. I am just giving you the order of 6 things I loved from loved-the-most to mostly-loved.
At the time of the release of the prequels, the internet was still very young. No Facebook, no Twitter, no MySpace. While there were some social media platforms around, there were no giant social media platforms like today. If you wanted info on something you were interested in you had to actively track it down.
On October 30, 2012, Disney purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. Nearly everyone found out about it or heard about it on Social Media. I found out from Twitter, multiple people I followed re-tweeted various tweets about the acquisition. And almost immediately Social Media was a buzz of rumors and theories and just plan out made up stuff about where Disney would take Star Wars.
In May of 2013, we found out the name “The Force Awakens”.
Throughout 2013, we learned most of the main characters,(Han, Luke, Leia, Chewie, etc..) not only would be in the next movie but that the original actors would portray them.
And then Social Media happens to the new trilogy. Rumors of all kinds. Supposed spoilers of all kinds. So the closer to the release of episode 7 I got I had to avoid Social Media so nothing would get spoiled for me.
On release day there I was in the theater watching The Force Awakens. I watched very intently as the new characters were introduced. Trying to commit the new names to memory, as we would be seeing them in at least a 3 movie trilogy. (I must admit I had to keep reminding myself it was Finn, Rae, and Poe and not Finn, Jake, and Poe. No dis there meant. I am just a big fan of Adventure Time and mnemonically Jake follows Finn in my head. Took me a while to sort that out in my head.) Then Han and Chewie appear and the old star wars feels start coming. Then a few minutes later Leia, C-3PO, R2-D2 and then right at the end Luke.
I enjoyed the story but I was very well aware of how much like A New Hope it was but tried to overlook it. I was very happy to see Han, Leia, Chewie, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Luke. I left the theater genuinely wanting to see a sequel to all the unanswered questions. Where did Rae get her Saber training? Why did she forget about it? Are Finn and Poe actually force sensitive? What will Luke say to Rae?
I went the next day and seen it again. But this time something odd happened. When Han sees Kylo on Starkiller base I got a very bad bout of anxiety. I started to get emotional. I got emotional after I seen what happen to Han the first time I saw the movie but I knew what was coming this time and I didn’t want to see it again. I had multiple opportunities to see the movie again but didn’t because of the Han/Kylo scene.
I regarded The Force Awakens as a good first movie in a trilogy to come.
In 2016 Rogue One was released and there I was in the theaters watching it and getting very nostalgic for A New Hope. To see Tarkin on the screen again was very surreal for me. Seeing Darth Vader was a blast. Then Leia appears and I lost it. This movie is easily in my top 4 Star Wars movies. I loved all the characters that were created for this movie and genuinely felt for them as one after the other died. I did go and see it again about two weeks later and enjoyed it as much as the first time.
With about a year to the release of The Last Jedi social media was a flurry with all kinds of theories about virtually everything in The Force Awakens and what might be in the next film. And then the DARK SIDE of social media starts to get involved. To be honest it was there all along but now it was impossible to escape from it.
I started seeing quotes from people working on the new films saying some very odd things.
The head of Lucas Films shared a photo of herself and a couple of other women wearing shirts that read “THE FORCE IS FEMALE”. My first reaction was bewilderment. Then I did some investigation and found out it was actually an ad campaign by NIKE that didn’t appear to have anything to do with Star Wars. Although this has gone on to be a rallying cry from a very vocal group of people on the internet.
But the internet will be the internet and the “THE FORCE IS FEMALE” comment has been used to great effect to damage the Star Wars brand.
There was the tweet from the director that showed him holding a card that read “Your Snoke Theory Sucks”. At the time I honestly don’t know if he was having fun with the fans or poking the hornet’s nest.
I very distinctly remember reading a tweet about the fact that the three “main” characters were not white males and how that was a good thing. And I thought what an odd way to put that. Sure MORE diversity is a good thing but celebrating the exclusion of white males or any other group is not what Star Wars was about for me.
The original Star Wars was diverse long before there was a #DIVERSITY.
There was a moisture farmer on a desert planet, a space smuggler, a literal princess, a Wookie, an administrator of a city that harvested gas from a gaseous planet/retired smuggler, a hermit who turns out to be a Jedi Knight, a 900-year-old two foot tall Grand Master Of the Jedi, one of the most powerful Sith Lords to ever exist who is part robot, and two mechanical beings known as Droids as some of the “main” cast.
Only in the age of Social Media would someone celebrate the fact that the three main stars didn’t have a white penis. Let that soak in for a minute.
Thanks to social media I am introduced to the concept of a Mary Sue and how it applies to Rae. I am willing to give Rae a pass on this in The Force Awakens, we still have 2 more movies to flesh out her character.
Before the release of The Last Jedi, Carrie Fisher dies. And I mourned her passing as if she was a family member.
We were informed by Disney that all of her scenes for The Last Jedi had been finished and they would be included in the film.
I remember thinking that naturally, Leia would hopefully meet a respectful end in The Last Jedi.
Then in 2017, The Last Jedi comes out. There I was in the theater ready to have a good time. Not even 15 minutes in and we get to see Luke, literally right where A Force Awakens ends and we get to see Lukes reaction to Rae and his dad’s saber and…… he tosses it over his shoulder like it was nothing. Now I am not sure what the director wanted our reaction to be but dead silent disbelief couldn’t have been it. Because that’s what happened where I was, the entire audience was completely silent for a very uncomfortable amount of time.
Then about 30 minutes into the movie “it” happens. Everyone who seen The Last Jedi knows what I am talking about. While it is true Leia was Force-sensitive, flying thru space like Marry Poppins is not the way I want to remember Leia. This sets up the first impossible hurdle for Episode 8.
The whole movie became a series of disappointments.
The movie turns into a slow speed space chase because of fuel. While the First Order has thousands of TIE fighters at there disposal that can catch up to the resistance but they don’t send them because the resistance shot down 3 that went with Kylo. Keep in mind these 3 TIE fighters nearly destroyed the resistance’s biggest capital ship on there own.
Who is Snoke? Where did he come from?
Answer: Who cares, he is dead now. Or so the director wants us to believe. This sets up the second hurdle for Episode 8.
Why is Rae so good with a lightsaber? Who are her parents? Whats Rae’s story?
Answer: The Force choose her to be powerful. Her parents were nobody. She IS a Mary Sue.
The character assassination of Luke was unbearable.
Finn’s side quest was pointless.
Rose was an ill-conceived underdeveloped character.
Poe was punished for Holdo’s inability to be a leader.
Phasma was wasted, again.
Admiral Ackbar was killed for no reason.
While a cool effect, Holdo’s light speed ramming the Supremacy just flat out breaks Star Wars to its core. Oh, look the Trade Federation just set up a blockade with a giant space station, light speed ram it. Oh, look the Empire just built something called the Death Star, light speed ram it. Oh, look the Executor just showed up, light speed ram it. Oh, look the Empire built another bigger Death Star, light speed ram it twice. Oh, look The First Order just created a planet-sized Death Star, light speed ram it till it blows up.
The “message” of this film is incoherent. It is not good to sacrifice a few to save many when Poe does it but ok when Holdo does it but not when Finn tries to do it and ok when Luke does it to save the last 10 or 15 members of the resistance.
Its ok to free the space horses on Canto Bight but the slave kids can fend for themselves.
One of the biggest problems was Kylo’s line of “Forget the past, kill it if you have to”. I felt this was a direct message to lifelong fans that this wasn’t our Star Wars anymore. Shortly after that line when the resistance is on Crait setting up in the trenches for the eminent First Order attack, a soldier takes his finger and swipes the red ground then tastes it and spits it out and says “salt”. At this point in the movie, I am already not happy and I distinctly remember saying under my breath “Damn right I am salty”, and I felt that was a message from the director asking “You salty yet”. I later found out that the salt scene was actually a cameo for Gareth Edwards, the director of Rogue One. No, he wasn’t the guy saying salt he was the guy who said nothing next to him.
The biggest problem with The Last Jedi is that it is actually a decent SciFi movie but a horrible Star Wars movie. You just can’t ignore the previous movies and call yours a Star Wars movie.
If I had to rate this movie it would be dead last. There is nothing in this movie I enjoyed from the point of view of a lifelong Star Wars fan.
After The Last Jedi’s release, the director and some of the cast took to social media to engage in arguments with people that didn’t like the movie. Regardless if they had the moral high ground this did nothing but damage Star Wars as a brand.
In the months before the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story movie there simply was no good coverage of Star Wars on social media. It was just people arguing over every little thing possible about the future of Star Wars.
The more I heard the less I cared to see Solo.
After Solo was released I didn’t care to see it or if I heard spoilers or not. I still haven’t seen it and from everything I have heard about it, I am sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.
There are a few hurdles that will have to be jumped in order to make a profitable episode 9.
The 1st hurdle is Leia. We all know now that there never was a preconceived arc to this trilogy. Each director was given full control to do whatever they wanted. So for episode 9, they decided to resurrect Carrie Fisher not because they had to for story reasons but because they want to. Think about that for a second. They are going to use footage shot during episodes 7 and 8 and CGI to put her in a film where they are likely, if not definitely, going to kill her off on screen. Am I the only one that thinks that is a little disrespectful.
The 2nd hurdle is Snoke. I am convinced that Snoke was not in The Last Jedi. At least not the Snoke we saw. I think he was a force projection just like he used to connect Rae and Kylo and what Luke used to fool Kylo. If this is the case then one of The Last Jedi’s biggest moments didn’t happen.
The 3rd hurdle is Rae. If they decide to not give her a backstory that explains her near perfect abilities then she is simply a Mary Sue and I am not interested. If they decide, no she actually has a reason to be so adept at the Force because of this or that. Then in The Last Jedi, Kylo and the Force itself conspired to convince her otherwise for … reasons?
The 4th hurdle is the biggest. Narrative and public perception. Disney and Lucasfilm have lost control of the narrative. The narrative of Star Wars is being controlled by social media now. No matter where you go on the internet the topic of Star Wars is being used by ALL sides to push some personal agenda. You have the alt-right saying it’s being ruined by SJWs and feminism. And the left saying there are too many white penises are in it. There are the clickbait sites that just want you to click their article. There are the trolls who simply want to see something burn down. The director arguing with critics and calling them names.
Star Wars wasn’t a toxic cesspool 10 years ago but that is all I see now.
Disney bought the Star Wars brand with its built-in fan base for $4 billion and have decided to dump the lifelong fans and build a new fan-base from who knows where.
I simply have no desire to go and see Episode 9.
To end this long rant my final thoughts on Star Wars from The Last Jedi on is