I don’t often go into spoiler territory but I’m going to make an exception on this one occasion to talk about Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi, so if you haven’t seen it yet, you have been warned.
Now there appears to be a bit of an uproar about this film which I gather revolves around the creative choices made around the development of certain characters as well as the inclusion and exclusion of plot twists, both those that are resolved and those that aren’t.
Thinking back to release of Episode VII: The Force Awakens where the Star Wars franchise was going to come back, bigger and better than ever. Fans were expecting new characters and stories but they got a glorified remake of Episode VII and complained. Now they expect a film that would see Rey being trained by Jedi Master Luke Skywalker whilst Finn and co. went on an adventure against the First Order but complain when the predictable plot points that would have riffed off Episode IV: Empire Strikes Back didn’t happen. I mean, make your mind up!
From looking at forums I think that the main point of criticism surrounds Mark Hammil’s Luke Skywalker – the once hero and ideological rebirth of the Jedi turned hermit and reluctant teacher. After my first viewing, I assumed that Luke had gone off to follow in his predecessors footsteps: Obi-Wan Kenobi’s retirement to Tatooine where he would keep an eye on Luke after killing his apprentice, friend and brother; and Yoda’s self-exile to Dagobah after failing to stop The Emperor. But upon closer inspection during a second viewing it was a far simpler reason that that.
After failing his apprentice and pushing him towards the dark side, he knew that he had effectively killed him, killed his nephew, murdered the son of his sister and best friend and he couldn’t come to grips with that. Maybe he moved to his secluded island to think of a way to fix the problem he had created at first but the longer he stayed there, the harder it must have been to go and face his sister and apologise for what he had done. The longer he stayed there, the easier it must have seemed to forget about the past and the galaxy and hope that it would forget about him. So when Rey comes demanding that he become the legend that the galaxy perceives him to still be, he simply takes the easy path and says no.
It’s only the presence of Leia – courtesy of smooth talking R2D2 – that spurs him into trying to fix the problem that he caused, seeing some form of redemption in Rey.
So would you rather the character that you grew up watching have an interesting personality that has caused real-life levels of damage or for him to have become the cliche sensei that we’ve seen a thousand times.
On a separate note, the important question shouldn’t be Rey’s origins – to which I hope that she is a nobody, showing that it’s not just Skywalkers that can ruin/fix the galaxy – but Finn’s origins. He mentions his janitorial background again in this film but if he was a janitor, then why did he become he a stormtrooper under the direct command of Captain Phasma all of a sudden? How come he knows how to effectively use the Stormtrooper stun batons? Why does he want to run away from the First Order so much? Who was he and what did he do because I’m not buying this janitor nonsense anymore.