The All New Branded in the 80s Podcast – Star Wars Then and Now

By Shawn Robare

On this episode of the show I take a minute to focus some of my thoughts about the latest chapter in the Star Wars film saga, Episode 8 – The Last Jedi.  I dig into idea of how years worth of official canon affect how we view the movies and characters, then and now.  I don’t dig into all aspects of the new film, but I do dwell a bit on some of the aspects that left me very conflicted.  This is intended to spark a conversation in a safer environment than that can be found on most social media now.  In a very sad turn of events the new flick is pretty damn divisive and though not everyone is falling into the trap, a lot of people are taking sides and a accusing the “opposing” side of being dumb for not agreeing.  That is kind of insane and is the worst kind of fandom.  If you love the movie, awesome, celebrate it.  If you hate it, great, hate on it.  But don’t hate on each other.  THAT is stupid.

  • Retromash

    A sane, level-headed way of looking at everything, amidst the chaos and hate out there in social media right now. Great episode, Shawn. I’m currently writing my blog post about The Last Jedi, and bringing a balance to my own Force whilst doing so.

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  • LordToastButter

    Liked your podcast. I too have been torn by TLJ. I agree with a lot of what you said. Luke is my definitive childhood hero. I always went back to Luke. In universe, in canon, Luke was the physical manifestation of hope, of optimism, etc. My dislike and/or hate is not directed towards the fans, but towards the production company, writers, etc…. From reading a lot of the behinds the scenes bits that have come out post LTJ it is really easy to see that Disney’s Lucasfilm is flying loose, Kathleen Kennedy is not what Kevin Fergi is to Disney’s Marvel productions. After watching TLJ 2x I got the impression that Rian Johnson did what he wanted to do, ignored what was setup in IX and just ran with it… I get it to an extant.. but it feels very trope-y… ie the whole don’t meet your heroes bit that was played out between Ray and Luke… Im sorry but Luke is our hero… we saw his arc… I know people can change BUT to say that he, that LUKE SKYWALKER did a 180….. RIGHT…. I could nit pic other points… the casino planet, leaving the ship on the beach…?, Rose… the fleet chase…. bit it all comes back to Luke… and yeah, you, me and all of us who fall into this fan segment of always wanting to see where Luke goes post RotJ since it debuted…. we have baggage…. preconceived ideas, etc… as Mark Hamil said, “that’s not my Luke”. And its not… and sadly, I don’t know how I feel now for the future of SW… I was pumped before… now I’m not… His death… was in some ways shallow… I blame poor righting, and a forced “destroy our past” element… but why? Why cant our hero… walk off into the sunset as a hero? Why did he need a force projection? Why not be there, physically? Why not own up, and face your demons? Why did Luke give up….when he never did before? It does not make any sense and it does not feel organic to the story or the character….. I would have accepted his death… if it was heroic…. but as you put it…. it was not…..How they handled this arc is upsetting, and how it appears they don’t really have a real idea of where they are going is even worse. They announce talent working on trilogies (the GoT guys, and Rian Johnson) but it feels that this trilogy is hap-hazardous mess. The Colin Trevero fallout, esp with what Hamill shared in regards to it is a real shame….

    • Yeah, I have still yet to see the film a second time, but the more distance I get from that viewing, the more I dislike a lot of the core theming in the movie. When I left the theater initially I was disappointed because I was about 50/50 in the like/dislike department. I was disappointed, not because the film didn’t meet my expectations, but because for the first time in 40 years I felt like the people who created the film succumbed to that idea that it was time for the franchise to change, to be different than what came before so that the brand could continue to be relevant for the future. I was disappointed in this because I feel like that was a change that the previous film kind of showcased didn’t need to happen.
      There are a lot of pieces of the film that I really don’t care for. And there are a lot that I love. But at the end of the day there is a loud voice in the tone and theme of the film that is shouting “Star Wars doesn’t belong to you, You are a tourist here, This is Star Wars now.” That is, granted, my personal impression, but I’m hearing it echoed in the response of those who both love this film, and seem to resent those who don’t.
      I look at what the new film accomplished in terms of taking the franchise in a new direction. It streamlines the focus of the story to skew away from the films that came before. Killing off Luke, breaking the lightsaber, downplaying both the Jedi and Sith orders as well as the master/apprentice relationships, culling the Resistance (Rebels) to a microcosm, destroying the Resistance fleet to weed out X-Wings, etc. I see the direction where Johnson is pointing, and while I appreciate the destination, I think the logic behind the journey is flawed. Johnson is looking at a world after the Skywalker saga. A world where the story can form a new saga without having to call back to the trappings of the old, yet one that still feels connected. Sort of like how Batman Beyond is in a lot of aspects to Batman the Animated Series. But rather than just shifting the focus of the story in a new direction without addressing all the fan-favorite aspects of the previous stories, he chose to show those aspects being destroyed.

      • LordToastButter

        “flawed” – Exactly. I was really excited when we heard Luke say “the Jedi must end” in the trailer. Being a fan of the old Dark Horse Tales of the Jedi series, and for seeing how the Jedi’s own hubris led to their downfall I was excited for the ending of the republic/prequel era order and a return to form so to speak to an earlier time… possibly found in the books where the order was not soo dogmatic… but alas… it was not meant to be……