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Star Wars, Episode 8: The Last Jedi


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You're not trying to be thoughtful and serious, you're trying to make the fact that you didn't like a thing a malicious act by the party that made it.  Your specific hangups about myths (myths are far from about "perfect heroes") or the intent of anyone making something in this series are specifically your own.  These things you saw in Star Wars are great but you made them up yourself and the only person you have to be mad at that they weren't kept is you, so your habit of turning that anger outward at people for not adhering to a system that you invented is the very picture and definition of toxic fandom.  There's meaning to be found in this series but perhaps you should look to the intent of the artists rather than what you invented in your own head.   The narrative mythologies are not mutually exclusive and they never were, it's time to grow up and learn that you don't own Star Wars.

 

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Something important that had been made, has now been rendered less, due to what is being done now, because of its nature. 

 

So exploring the deeper philosophical meanings and implications of what has come before is now making less of the series because the characters aren't "perfect" (they never were) and it's "dark" (it always was.)

 

So yeah, fuck you too, child, at least I can accept my dislike of things as dislike and not a crime committed against me on a personal level.  It's true, you're not alone, why don't you go and harass Rian Johnson on twitter like all your perfectly reasonable and sane pals.

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The humor's fair, though dumb jarring humor is a hallmark of the Star Wars series at large, even Empire so getting pissy at this one for doing it is a weird hill to die on.   But this:

I never said I owned it; we were all invited to participate and emotionally invest in this intellectual property and I feel burned by what has happened to it, so I'm done. And from the numbers coming off of the Solo film it would appear that I'm not alone in feeling this way.

 

Sure, TLJ may have made 1.3 billion at the world wide box office, but it burned the franchise doing so. Future entries to the continuity have been suffering ever since and I don't expect things to get better for them for a while. True, it is with no small amount of satisfaction that I point out one of the most fundamental flaws with how things are being handled by the current owners of the franchise, their baffling logic about what's happened ("we created division and strife amongst the fanbase, we must be making powerful art! We're gritty, grr!"), and the consequences there of.

 

And I ask, how are the two series, taken at face value, not antithetical in spirit to each other when presented as a singular continuity? How does the message of hope and promise of the ending of the first series align with the hopeless shit-world that is the setting of the new series?

 

It really can't and so I've ceased to consider them such, they're each to be measured on the strength of their own merits and their own merits alone. And one of the things that has been discovered is that without emotional investment on the part of the audience, studios are not going to guarantee a very large monetary return on these films anymore. They can cry me a river for all I care.

 

3 hours ago, Iambaytor said:

So exploring the deeper philosophical meanings and implications of what has come before is now making less of the series because the characters aren't "perfect" (they never were) and it's "dark" (it always was.)

 

This is in the context of fictional characters filling the need for myth in modern culture. The characters need not so much be perfect as incorruptible. But that's not proven to be the case, which is where the internal conflict and disappointment comes in. If you forgive the grandiose metaphor; it is like if the Catholic Church of the Vatican (being the greater authority over Christendom) were to keep adding to the stories of Jesus Christ, to conflate doctrine with things that were never part of what was originally written. And worse, add things that some feel debase the spirit and message of the faith... well, some of the fans seem to have nailed about 95-these to the church door of Lucasfilm... so yeah, that metaphor was way, way too overblown but the underlying sentiment is similar when you reduce it to its base.

 

3 hours ago, Iambaytor said:

So yeah, fuck you too, child, at least I can accept my dislike of things as dislike and not a crime committed against me on a personal level.  It's true, you're not alone, why don't you go and harass Rian Johnson on twitter like all your perfectly reasonable and sane pals.

 

I really don't care enough, and I actually had to look up who that was, I almost thought his name was that of one of the female actors that was in the news for being undeservedly harassed. That also made me realize how much I've really been put off by this whole slow dumpster fire. And here's another funny part. ‘Star Wars’ Director Cheers Fan Campaign To Remake His ‘Last Jedi’ Film

 

So now toxic fandom has become me taking offense at being insulted and belittled for lamenting that I'm pissed-off at not giving a fuck anymore. That's almost a Koan.

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Then quit acting like you own it.  You set up an expectation that it could not live up to and you got mad when it didn't, that's your problem not the movie's.  It didn't "burn the series" because the series isn't even over.  Your narrative that they did this just to split the fandom sure sounds like you're accusing them of mounting an attack on your series.  Any story they told would have "split the fandom", which was never united to begin with so lose the narrative that somebody did this to you.  No they didn't, grow up.

 

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Future entries to the continuity have been suffering ever since and I don't expect things to get better for them for a while. True, it is with no small amount of satisfaction that I point out one of the most fundamental flaws with how things are being handled by the current owners of the franchise, their baffling logic about what's happened ("we created division and strife amongst the fanbase, we must be making powerful art! We're gritty, grr!"), and the consequences there of.

 

 

Suffering how?  Are you really buying into the narrative that that Han Solo movie that nobody wanted when it was announced did poorly because of fallout from The Last Jedi and not because nobody wanted the Han Solo movie when it was announced?  The baffling logic of telling stories that resonate and have depth?  There is literally nothing gritty about the new movies beyond the fact that they're taking your beloved toys off the board.

 

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And I ask, how are the two series, taken at face value, not antithetical in spirit to each other when presented as a singular continuity? How does the message of hope and promise of the ending of the first series align with the hopeless shit-world that is the setting of the new series?

Well, you see, in the act structure of a story you introduce an event wherein the heroes suffer defeat, this increases drama and tension so that you have the momentum to push into the final act when the heroes triumph.  In the original trilogy this was done by having Obi-Wan die, the rebels all-but defeated, Luke losing his battle to Darth Vader and having his hand cut off, and Han Solo frozen in carbonite (perhaps never to be unfrozen) and taken to Jabba the Hutt as punishment for the dept he had accrued.  In the film's final moments, despite this, Luke, Leia, Chewie, and Lando all have a hero moment as they fly off into an uncertain future.  This is exactly how The Last Jedi ends, except Luke joining the force was born of peace rather than a realization that he was going to die, our heroes escape broken but alive.  Finn has learned that the rebel cause is worthwhile and he and Rose have learned that there is no glory in sacrifice if you lose what you love along the way, Poe has learned that the brash heroic philosophy he employs is harmful and that there are smarter ways to be a hero that don't get people killed, Rey has helped Luke reconnect and join the force and discovered that it doesn't matter who she is only who she chooses to be and that the teachings of the Jedi will live on in her.  Literally the entire ending scene is about hope.  The only truly dark moments of the various movies are the deaths which are mostly by randos we don't know, and by Han Solo who we all knew was going to die anyway.  If anything The Last Jedi saved the next movie from leaning on Return of the Jedi as a crutch since he incorporated all the resonant beats of that movie into this one.  There's nothing hopeless about the new world and the characters realizing that is the entire thesis statement of the movie.

 

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This is in the context of fictional characters filling the need for myth in modern culture. The characters need not so much be perfect as incorruptible. But that's not proven to be the case, which is where the internal conflict and disappointment comes in. If you forgive the grandiose metaphor; it is like if the Catholic Church of the Vatican (being the greater authority over Christendom) were to keep adding to the stories of Jesus Christ, to conflate doctrine with things that were never part of what was originally written. And worse, add things that some feel debase the spirit and message of the faith... well, some of the fans seem to have nailed about 95-these to the church door of Lucasfilm... so yeah, that metaphor was way, way too overblown but the underlying sentiment is similar when you reduce it to its base.

 

This I also don't understand, for one it betrays a complete lack of understanding about myth.  And hoo boy you picked a problematic example to hang your hat on.  Among the books removed from the bible there were two instances of an adolescent Jesus straight up killing people out of petty anger and even in the "final" cut he's tempted at the Garden of Gethsemane (also it would be argued that the selective editing of the bible is a big part of why Christianity is such a horrible fucking mess.)  Mostly though, there's no doctrine to conflate because Star Wars is not a religion but even if it were the story of Luke Skywalker sticks to the internal philosophy of myth, Luke shutting himself off from the force and going to die alone is not only in-character for him based on the events we've seen (as was his moment of darkness when looking at Kylo) but it's his Garden of Gethsemane moment, it's Hercules after Hera has made him kill his family, it's Samson after Delilah has cut his hair.  Not only does Luke realize the error of his way and come to help when he's needed most, he does it in the way that shows not just a mastery but an understanding of the light side of the force.  Luke holds an army at a standstill with passive resistance, the light side isn't about violence and revenge, that's why the Jedi fell in the first place.  And in that moment he truly became one with the force, the fact that anybody finds his "death" scene to be upsetting is ridiculous, it's the most hopeful and triumphant moment of the movie.  It's Jesus ascending to heaven.  It's the happy ending Luke deserves and I'll be surprised if he's not in the next movie.  And I know you love to harp on the dissolution of Leia and Han's marriage/ Kylo's fall from grace but none of that betrays the spirit of the characters from the previous trilogy and it's a good first-act twist.  Myth is about loss and betrayal, the true successors to the old gods are superheroes and their stories are all filled with tragedy.  Superman, easily the most platonic ideal of the mythic hero, is the last survivor of an entire planet, it doesn't get more "gritty" than that.  Besides, the expanded universe had already added more chapters to the bible as it were, I rarely hear people who hate Rey's "lack of character" complain about Mara Jade.

 

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Um... he's making fun of them, I would think that that's obvious.  And I really can't overstate how patient and diplomatic Rian Johnson and Mark Hammil have been in explaining to folks like you why they made the choices they did because they could (and should) just tell you all to go fuck yourselves. 

 

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So now toxic fandom has become me taking offense at being insulted and belittled for lamenting that I'm pissed-off at not giving a fuck anymore. That's almost a Koan.

No no, see toxic fandom is you gong "I FUCKING KNEW IT" when somebody posts an unrelated video of the movie's director talking about how he likes to make daring movies that inspire strong reactions from people.  (The "I like to make movies that people love or hate" video Nemo posted a few days ago.)  It's entitled shit-headery that makes you think fan reaction played any part in the decision making process, these movies were made by people who wanted to tell a good story that they as a viewer would enjoy.  The only dividing of the fandom that Rian Johnson wanted to inspire was to scare all the misogynists and racists out into the light (which totally happened, unrelated to this discussion).  I want you to be offended at my belittlement, that's why I'm doing it beause you really don't seem to comprehend how obnoxiously childish and horrible you're being, I'm not belittling you for not liking a movie, I'm belittling you for thinking that that dislike has some greater deep signficance.  If you truly don't give a fuck then stop talking about it.

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On 6/22/2018 at 8:37 AM, Iambaytor said:

Would you get off that fucking dumbass horse, there was no deliberate decision to split the fandom...

 

Achually... it's not far fetched theory by any means.

 

 

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
Achually.
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16 hours ago, Iambaytor said:

That's not what he's talking about at all, but keep on carrying that torch if it keeps you from accepting the fact that you're a shithead.

Tsk. So nasty. 

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I suppose I say I kinda do and don't give a fuck about this new series. I both want to and I can't, which makes me sad. This new series wants to be Star Wars so bad that it's clubbed it over the head and is wearing it's face in some sick pantomime. I do give a fuck over how I don't feel I give a fuck when I feel I want to give a fuck. Like I've been denied giving a fuck and am very unhappy about being blue-balled. I don't give enough of a fuck that I feel I should. A diet fuck, all the feels, half the cares. At this point, I'm just in it to improve my communications skills. Can I properly convey the delicate balance and irony of distasteful disappointment and retributive indifference?

 

Even if the 'splitting of the fandom' was unintentional, their response of "We've created division and strife amongst the fanbase, therefore we must be creating powerful art. We're gritty, grr!" is as off-putting as it is tone-deaf and not a great sign for the future of this franchise. I admit I was overzealous in pointing this out, but who doesn't love to get to say "I fucking called it?"

 

Several properties since the release of The Last Jedi have had lackluster performances, while there have been no reviews for the second season of Forces of Destiny and Resistance hasn't premiered yet, I do know several game expansions have not performed well, even in the face of improved quality. Reasons why are varied and hard to pin down, but while the over-saturation of the franchise or fucking EA may be a primary driver, I will also point out the mass psychology of the fanbase, and how many of the more die-hard fans that were the targets of these products have vocally expressed recently feeling burned by the powers-that-be and that, that may be playing a larger part in the drop off in interest than many care to admit.

 

I am also familiar with the tropes of how the protagonists need to be beaten low for them to have a larger triumph later and I have no issue in The Las Jedi  being the second darker entry into the new series. What I have been questioning all along is the choice of the writers to not base the premise of these films - as shown in the previous film The Force Awakens and now doubled-down on by The Last Jedi - not to base the premise and setting on the ending of Return of the Jedi. The actions and consequences, trials and tribulations, the entire meaning of the first trilogy has been rendered so moot by this new series that if you kept absolutely everything the same and just changed the names of a few characters you could have set these new movies hundreds or thousands of years after the first films and it would have made just as much sense, probably more.

 

I also have no doubt that the director was in some way making a dig at his detractors, but in this day and age... what happens if the fans raise enough money? Also, the mere fact that such a thing like this exists in the first place says a lot. I however, don't believe, as you've intimated, that it is because a bunch of homophobes and misogynists are pissed.

 

You seem focused on the obnoxious minority of Dude-bros, Bigots, and Space-Nazi wannabees and equating any criticism of these new films with approval of the shit they say. Not so. And I too have been concerned for some time that the evil empire has been undergoing some kind of PR image rehabilitation, where they're literally genocidal, there are defenders of the dark side, and how 'a different point of view' has been co-opted from justifying semantic interpretations to deliberately misinterpreting facts with no regards to morality and principles. This is why I dislike all that bullshit about 'Gray Morality' and 'Balance' which are all well and good, but when you start giving cover to a bunch of homicidal, gay-bashing, sexist, xenophobic fascists, you've done fucked up.

 

As for 'deeper meaning' I'm just generally upset that either unintentional or by design, I have been presented with a benign but annoying choice over something that I took great joy in; and that it has been so poorly handled that I'm actually putting undue effort into resolving a rather pathetic internal conflict over the premise of a fucking film series. Why is this important at all? For me, it's simply because something I've enjoyed when I was young, a fictional story that entertained me and portrayed virtues that I admire, has been dealt a disservice. For others, who fucking knows; the need for myth is a powerful instinct and anything that inspires it's own religion shouldn't be dismissed outright, though I am loathed to equate New Age Jedi-ism with Scientology. There it is. And you're still being an ass about it.

 

I should make a essay thesis on the nature of fandom.

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Well we have two diverging conversations going on here, I'll put plot discussion in spoilers since most people could give less of a fuck about that.  But we'll talk fandom first.

 

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I suppose I say I kinda do and don't give a fuck about this new series. I both want to and I can't, which makes me sad. This new series wants to be Star Wars so bad that it's clubbed it over the head and is wearing it's face in some sick pantomime. I do give a fuck over how I don't feel I give a fuck when I feel I want to give a fuck. Like I've been denied giving a fuck and am very unhappy about being blue-balled. I don't give enough of a fuck that I feel I should. A diet fuck, all the feels, half the cares. At this point, I'm just in it to improve my communications skills. Can I properly convey the delicate balance and irony of distasteful disappointment and retributive indifference?

 

Your feelings are fair and you're clearly still processing them, the problem is not that you feel this way it's the way you project it.  You're very disappointed by this movie and its predecessor and that's upsetting to you because you deeply wanted to love this franchise again in a way you haven't since childhood.  I see where you're coming from, the issue with you argument is this:

 

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Even if the 'splitting of the fandom' was unintentional, their response of "We've created division and strife amongst the fanbase, therefore we must be creating powerful art. We're gritty, grr!" is as off-putting as it is tone-deaf and not a great sign for the future of this franchise. I admit I was overzealous in pointing this out, but who doesn't love to get to say "I fucking called it?"

 

Also, the mere fact that such a thing like this exists in the first place says a lot. I however, don't believe, as you've intimated, that it is because a bunch of homophobes and misogynists are pissed.

 

You seem focused on the obnoxious minority of Dude-bros, Bigots, and Space-Nazi wannabees and equating any criticism of these new films with approval of the shit they say. Not so. And I too have been concerned for some time that the evil empire has been undergoing some kind of PR image rehabilitation, where they're literally genocidal, there are defenders of the dark side, and how 'a different point of view' has been co-opted from justifying semantic interpretations to deliberately misinterpreting facts with no regards to morality and principles. This is why I dislike all that bullshit about 'Gray Morality' and 'Balance' which are all well and good, but when you start giving cover to a bunch of homicidal, gay-bashing, sexist, xenophobic fascists, you've done fucked up.

 

Rian Johnson is being characterized in how he has said he wants this to be polarizing.  Fandom is pretty much the worst thing about any bit of culture because it brings a lot of diverse and strong opinions about a thing together, but while all these people love something about one thing they don't love the same thing.  There are a large contingency of fans that are racist, there are a large contingent that are sexist, some are homophobes, some are all of these things, some of them are none but they're unpleasant people who do their level best to menace anyone who doesn't love the thing they love in the exact way they love it.  You see this in comic books, you see this in video games, it's a well documented thing.  Star Wars for some crazy ass reason cranks any emotions tied to it up to 11, sure it was groundbreaking but the vast majority of the people who care about it care about it waaaay too much.  So when you have menacing hatemongers for your average fandom, the ones for Star Wars are several factors worse.  Those are the people who Rian Johnson was intent on stirring up, he wanted to piss them off and alienate them because fuck those people and everything about them.  And he didn't make any specific plot decisions that caused this either, he told the story he wanted to tell regardless of whether it would make people angry or not but he was unapologetic in casting more women, more people of color, increasing the villain's creepy MRA vibe, and making the facist overlords no less dangerous but certainly less dignified.  None of this tanked the plot, but it did serve as a dog whistle to these people that stirred them into a frothing mad rage. 

 

As for the sane contingent, he introduced no division and strife amongst the fanbase, at least none that wasn't there to begin with.  The Last Jedi didn't invent Star Wars nerd infighting because the fanbase has been divided and contentious ever since it has existed.  There are first movie purists who insist that the original Star Wars was a grand cultural event that could never be duplicated and all following films were cheap imitations, some hate Empire for a lot of the same reason that a lot of people hate Last Jedi and others think Empire is the best of the franchise, some people think Return of the Jedi is the best others think it's a stupid toy commercial for babies, there are people who prefer the books, people who prefer the old Marvel comics, people who only like the video games, some of them only like Phantom Menace, some think Revenge of the Sith is the only good movie after the first two, others prefer the prequel trilogy and dislike the original films.  Some just like The Clone Wars show or the theatrical movie based on it.  This is nothing new, there is no fandom that is unified in its love of a thing the very concept is ludicrous.  If you were given the keys to the franchise and you made your own movie that is everything you love and cherish about it, there would be entire websites dedicated to trashing your vision and decrying your very existence.  And that is where the problem lies, fandom is a poison because it goes from "I like this thing" to "I own this thing."  Once it becomes "mine" in the mind of a fan it is suddenly a precious talisman that must be protected at all costs, as shitty and hyperbolic as it is when people say that something "raped my childhood" they're basically summing up how it's making them feel.  Michael Bay's Transformers aren't the same as the Transformers I grew up with, he didn't just make stupid movies based on the stupid toy commercials I watched when he was a kid, he has attacked my childhood and this will not be tolerated.  It's an irrational emotion but one that everyone experiences but it's something we have to get past, maybe Rian Johnson could've played it safe and made the movie you wanted but that wouldn't fix the problem, he would still be creating contention and division within the franchise you would just be on the side of the glass where you would be happy while others would be frothing at the mouth somewhere else.

 

There is more driving the creative destiny of this franchise than just pissing you off.  You aren't a victim of these movies and neither is anyone else, even Johnson's targeting of shitty fans is just him weaponizing their own shitty attitudes against them, which they need that rude awakening and if they can't accept that awakening then fuck them.  Because toxic fandom has real world consequences, people become damaged due to backlash to films.  Look at poor Jake Lloyd, he nailed a lead role in a fucking Star Wars movie, that would've been any kid's dream but the movie sucked and he got needled and now he's a fucking disaster.  And the case could be made that wasn't just fan bullying, he was a child actor they often go off the deep end, but being treated like shit all the time certainly didn't help.  You see this shit with the Stranger Things kids or Chandler Riggs on the Walking Dead, you see it with the cast of the most recent Ghostbusters or Anna Gunn on Breaking Bad.  And no, you aren't harassing cast and crew, and you're not advocating for personal or emotional harm to these people, but your sincerely held and stated belief that this movie has victimized you is part of the problem.  You are contributing to this even if you aren't participating in the uglier aspects.  Your feelings about this movie, no matter how contentious they may be, are yours and you are entitled to every single one of them, but you are not entitled to make those feelings anyone else's problem.  Keep repeating: it's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie.  Criticize away but be mindful that you criticize the work, not the artists and and not those who appreciate the art.  Be mindful where you fling your venom.

 

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I also have no doubt that the director was in some way making a dig at his detractors, but in this day and age... what happens if the fans raise enough money?

 

Well first of all, they won't.  Disney has never been much of a fan of being told how to handle their properties and they're not about to start because of this.  But there are similar petitions to release Zach Snyder's fabled cut of Justice League that supposedly fixes all problems the movie had or stop the Disney-paid bias of film critics toward DC movies.  Just because some of these people aren't bigoted toward race, religion, sexuality, or gender doesn't make them any less of vile parasites.  Art is already a committee endeavor in the mass market and releasing it to the hooting masses isn't going to make it any more pure or better.

 

I honestly think Bioware caving and changing the ending to Mass Effect 3 opened these floodgates.  It's a terrible system and embodies a level of entitlement that has always existed but has become depressingly emboldened in the internet age.  Art belongs to the artist and everyone who takes contention with art should be provided with a little baggy containing some sneakers and dildo so that if they don't enjoy that art they can take a hike or go fuck themselves.  Mind you, they can still criticize the art, that's always on the table, but criticizing is rarely where people stop when they're mad at a thing, they must see the object of their ire crushed like so many paper cups in their hands.  People create art because they like art, even if they're work-for-hire, if you don't care for it well then kindly collect your consolation baggy.
 

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As for 'deeper meaning' I'm just generally upset that either unintentional or by design, I have been presented with a benign but annoying choice over something that I took great joy in; and that it has been so poorly handled that I'm actually putting undue effort into resolving a rather pathetic internal conflict over the premise of a fucking film series. Why is this important at all? For me, it's simply because something I've enjoyed when I was young, a fictional story that entertained me and portrayed virtues that I admire, has been dealt a disservice. For others, who fucking knows; the need for myth is a powerful instinct and anything that inspires it's own religion shouldn't be dismissed outright, though I am loathed to equate New Age Jedi-ism with Scientology. There it is. And you're still being an ass about it.

 

Look, I understand your conflict but it's just something you're going to have to parse on your own and this won't be the last time you'll have to do it.  This is all your baggage and you trying to make it someone else's baggage is a dick move.  I understand it and even though I'm being a dick to you (and I acknowledge this, I'm totally being shitty to you because you really don't realize how nasty you're coming across. I'm gonna slap you in the face with this one last time and you're either going to to see the error of your ways or you're going to double down and all my further replies to your complaints are just going to involve me copy pasting your rants over pictures of Annie Wilkes, for serious) I get where you're coming from.  You would absolutely hate someone for behaving how you are behaving right now, I implore you to take a step back from this and realize that your current behavior is a poison to you and others, it is neither productive nor cathartic and you're behaving like a spoiled child who has just had his toy taken away. We have ample myth in this day and age, a great variety to fulfill a great variety of people and you can find it if you go looking for it.   And yeah, I'm going to dismiss the actual Jedi religion and people who over-rate Star Wars, it's a fucking intellectual property, if you want philosophy and religion look into the things it's based on not the franchise itself, to do otherwise is some Canticle for Leibowitz nonsense.
 

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Several properties since the release of The Last Jedi have had lackluster performances, while there have been no reviews for the second season of Forces of Destiny and Resistance hasn't premiered yet, I do know several game expansions have not performed well, even in the face of improved quality. Reasons why are varied and hard to pin down, but while the over-saturation of the franchise or fucking EA may be a primary driver, I will also point out the mass psychology of the fanbase, and how many of the more die-hard fans that were the targets of these products have vocally expressed recently feeling burned by the powers-that-be and that, that may be playing a larger part in the drop off in interest than many care to admit.

 

 

 

There's a million and one reasons that could be.  We're living in a golden age of science fiction saturation and Star Wars is in many ways an old-fashioned franchise, while the movies went away for a long time the games have been legion and the handling of them by a shitty company is going to turn off new buys regardless of how good the reviews are.  EA poisoned that well, and also we've had a Star Wars film every year since 2015 and they stupidly put Solo out a mere six months after Last Jedi.  The most logical explanation is that people are just getting sick of Star Wars full stop.  X-Men Origins: Wolverine still did decent box office after X-Men 3: The Last Stand so I'm skeptical that Last Jedi could've possibly poisoned the well so much that the franchise is dead less than half a year later.

 

Now for boring nerd shit, no others need read this:

 
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I am also familiar with the tropes of how the protagonists need to be beaten low for them to have a larger triumph later and I have no issue in The Las Jedi  being the second darker entry into the new series. What I have been questioning all along is the choice of the writers to not base the premise of these films - as shown in the previous film The Force Awakens and now doubled-down on by The Last Jedi - not to base the premise and setting on the ending of Return of the Jedi. The actions and consequences, trials and tribulations, the entire meaning of the first trilogy has been rendered so moot by this new series that if you kept absolutely everything the same and just changed the names of a few characters you could have set these new movies hundreds or thousands of years after the first films and it would have made just as much sense, probably more.

 

I think this may just come to a generational difference.  The media you consumed as a child is very different from the media I did, black and white morality was a big thing in the heyday of Star Wars.  We went to war with the evil Nazis and the evil Japanese and we saved the world for freedom and goodness and everything was okay.  The autobots were good the decepticons were bad, GI Joe was good and Cobra was bad, He-Man was good and Skeletor was bad.


But then the 90s came and to a certain extent not much changed, but in some cases it did.  Media for children became different, I don't have hard data to support my thesis but I theorize that this was because cartoons and kids shows were made by old men in the 80s who still believed the myth of World War II that just because the Axis was evil meant that the Allies were good.  While kids shows in the 90s were people who grew up during the cold war and Vietnam and knew about the pile of corpses that that brilliant flag was anchored in.  My childhood has stuff like Gargoyles, Animorphs, Beast Wars Transformers (and later Beast Machines), Reboot, and Roughnecks the Starship Troopers Chronicles.  These were entertainment that taught that evil sometimes wore a smile and pretended to be your best friend, that the most evil people were often those who thought themselves heroes, and that war no matter how righteous has a cost.

 

That's certainly the cultural standpoint that informs the transition from Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens.  The DNA was there the whole time, there is a great deal of darkness hiding in plain sight all throughout the original trilogy but Lucas decided to toyify his final movie and cut most of the grit out.  There's certainly a version of these movies where the empire lies in tatters and Leia and Han rule over the galaxy as strict but just rulers, Luke trains a new Jedi order and they wait for a new threat to come.  But that story has already been told in the prequels and it didn't end well for the people involved (while I will heavily criticize the prequel trilogy for most everything I will stand by the arc of the story where a group of just people lose everything because of seeds of fear and doubt sewed among, leading to warmongering and their eventual downfall.)  A story of these characters who were interesting because of their many deep flaws being in a place of triumph doesn't have a lot of places to go.  Either they remain at their best and perish to heighten drama or they fall apart and the tragedy of their fall is used to heighten drama, neither is going to be satisfying.  This is also avoiding the elephant in the room that to pick up where we left off we have to travel back in time several decades to when these actors were much much younger.  So they instead opted to pick up the story somewhere in the middle just as the original did.  Had Lucas not set the precedent that all episodes would be literally explored I would have supported the idea of The Force Awakens being titled "Episode 10".  The happy ending you envision did happen, the Empire became weak, Han and Leia had a happy and beautiful life together, Luke trained new Jedi, there was balance to the force but then a new conflict happened and we're coming in on the midst of that conflict.  The reason it's important that this involve people who were in the original trilogy is because there's a thematic message about how everything is cyclical going on.  The plots of the new trilogy are comparing and contrasting themselves to the plots of the original trilogy and, to a lesser extent, the prequel trilogy.  But in the case of Rey, and I'm speculating because we're only at 2/3 of the story here, Rey's role in this will be to break the cycle.  If they do this right, Kylo will serve a part in that too but it's anyone's guess how J.J. Abrams will handle the denouement of this story, it's entirely possible that he may eat it on the landing.  Hope is still a large component of this story (I would argue that Last Jedi is the most hopeful of any of the films) but rather than a hope for conquest it's a hope for peace.
 

Edited by Iambaytor
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Well, academically, it kinda is important: an actual cultural milestone. Star Wars literally jump-started modern fandom. There were always authors and series with cult followings, Asimov, Tolkien, etc. but it was the commercial success of Star Trek that brought them into the forefront of popular culture. Heck, it wasn't until after the success of the first film that Roddenberry was able to convince studios that the torch-bearers of Star Trek were a viable market and was able to engineer a resurgence. Star Wars is the template and artists, writers and media conglomerates have been trying to emulate that success ever since. It's all rather quite fascinating.

 

At work now, I'll get back to baytor in a bit.

 

8 hours ago, The NZA said:

well shit, now i gotta look up Canticle for Leibowitz 

It's a good trope, if you don't have the time a good short example you should be able to Youtube, Babylon 5 Season 4 finale The Deconstruction of Falling Stars one of the vignettes with two monks discussing things is a good portrayal of the premise and theme.

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4 hours ago, Drifter said:

Well, academically, it kinda is important: an actual cultural milestone. Star Wars literally jump-started modern fandom.

 

this does not strike me as a net positive in our current timeline 

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1 hour ago, Drifter said:

You know, I find this attitude rather bizarre for a bunch of convention-goers.

 

you shouldn't be? i go to hip hop shows, watch boxing marches, spend far too much time playing games & reading comics and i don't fuck with their respective fanbases much 

 

i love the culture of certain mediums of pop art, but the unbridled problem of toxic fandom isn't being overstated here - if left unchecked, you get things like gamergate. we all know where this goes. 

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