The Last Jedi has had quite the journey over its first week. It was anointed the boldest Star Wars movie ever before it came out. Initial reviews tabbed it as groundbreaking and “maybe the best Star Wars movie ever!” However, people began to notice a strange trend emerging. While the blockbuster had scored a 93% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score on the site was a paltry 55%. This led to rumors (even articles) attributing these reviews to a targeted campaign by everyone from original Star Wars fans still living in their basements to the Alt-Right. But as more audience members came away underwhelmed, it was clear that the latest Star Wars movie had problems.

How big those problems are depends on who you talk to. But it’s concerning that even the people who liked the film hated the Canto Bight plot line, which took up an entire fifth of the movie. One place to measure a film’s success is at the box office. The Star Wars franchise is hard to judge since they’re big enough to hit 500 million even with a bad film. But The Last Jedi is an enormous 170 million dollars behind The Force Awakens over the same period of time (first 11 days).

If the box office continues to fall at this rate, Disney will need to make a hard decision. They’ll either have to paint the film as divisive and cling to the narrative that the original trilogy’s second film was divisive as well. Or they’ll need to make a public apology about the way this film was handled, particularly with what they did to Luke Skywalker.

This statement may sound ridiculous. But if you alienate the hard core fans of your franchise, which The Last Jedi has done, there’s going to be a trickle-down effect. When the most vocal cheerleaders of your franchise begin cheering for its demise, it’s an indication that you did something wrong. This happened with both Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman and the result has left hundreds of millions of dollars on the table.

I’m still flummoxed by what Rian Johnson did with this film. He claims to be a huge Star Wars fan and yet nothing about his film speaks to that. He actively blows up all the major plot threads JJ put forth. And he handles Luke in a way that’s almost vindictive. Luke spends the entire film being bitter, avoids a final fight with the film’s villain, then dies alone. The indie film lover – the hard core cinephile who loves being challenged – gets high on choices like this. But the majority of Star Wars fans and moviegoers aren’t interested in “artistic street cred” choices. They just want a good Star Wars movie.

Rian Johnson isn’t completely to blame here. He’s pointed out in his interviews that Kathleen Kennedy let him do “whatever he wanted.” There was no “white board” with “all of the story beats laid out.” He had carte blanche. This is terrible management on Kennedy’s part. The second story of a trilogy is supposed to build on established plotlines from Film 1 and build towards an impending climax in Film 3. It’s arguable that The Last Jedi does neither. And if we’re to believe that what Rian Johnson is saying is true – that Kennedy didn’t give him any parameters – that’s a devastating indictment on Star Wars’s overseer, as it’s one of her primary jobs. That mistake has made the third story in this trilogy almost untellable.

To understand how to tell the middle chapter of a trilogy properly, one doesn’t need to look far. In The Empire Strikes Back, screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan builds up two major story threads by the end of his film. The first is that Han Solo has been captured and therefore needs to be rescued. The second is, will Luke defeat Darth Vader (and the Emperor)? In other words, Kasdan made sure his second film BUILT up two important questions that would make Return of the Jedi worth going to.

I’ve realized something about Johnson and it’s the primary reason we’re stuck in this predicament. He hates “mystery” or “question-based” storytelling. We saw this in the way he handled Force Awaken’s two major mysteries (Snoke and Rey’s parents), but you can also see it in the way he answers questions. One of the earliest mysteries fans gleefully speculated on was The Last Jedi title. Who was the “last Jedi?” Was it Luke? Was it Rey? Or, wait, wasn’t “Jedi” plural? Was it referring to multiple Jedi? When Johnson was finally asked this question, he shrugged out a, “Oh, it’s Luke,” the way a bully might march into your basketball game, take the ball, and boot it over the fence. Johnson has zero interest in the mystery/question storytelling form. And that’s fine. Every artist is entitled to their own style. But when the film you followed was built almost exclusively on that style, it’s confusing to the audience. This is something Kennedy should’ve kept closer tabs on.

All of this leads us to Episode 9, which has now become, if not the most difficult-to-write screenplay ever, definitely in the Top 5. You could go insane trying to figure out where the story should even start. Some people believe we’ll solve the problem of Johnson’s dramatically inert ending by jumping forward in time. Maybe pop in 5 years from now when Kylo has become as imposing as Vader and Rey is a Master Jedi. But would that work? The only thing The Last Jedi got right was the budding relationship between the two (whatever that relationship might be). You’re going to stop that cold and put five years in between their last meeting and this one? Not to mention you jumped between the first and second film instantaneously. Wouldn’t it feel jarring if, between the second and third film, we jumped ahead 5 years?

While the relationship between Kylo and Rey is interesting, it doesn’t have a story-friendly arc. The cool thing about Empire was that Luke was an ultimate underdog taking on two giants who couldn’t be beaten. But Rey is already a better fighter than Kylo. So there’s zero suspense in whether she’ll defeat him or not. I’m sure if Rian was making the third film, this wouldn’t concern him at all. He’d be more interested in Rey’s and Kylo’s internal struggles while they fought. That’s great for Sundance. But in a real Star Wars movie, we need suspense. We need to doubt that our hero will defeat the villain. Since The Last Jedi squashes that opportunity, I’m not sure what the audience is supposed to look forward to.

You could lay all the suspense on the Rebels vs. First Order plot. There’s a clear underdog in that scenario. But there are major challenges with that story as well. JJ can no longer use a super-weapon as a major plot device. It would’ve been nice, with the limitations on the character side, if we had a big weapon to alleviate some of that plot burden. But JJ used up the last super-weapon in the Star Wars bag on Force Awakens. So there’s no central “thing” to destroy anymore.

On top of this, Episode 9 has the task of explaining why two entire movies have gone by where the hero has become a trained Jedi without any training. And this is where Johnson’s and Kennedy’s mis-management has really placed the trilogy in a bind. There’s no question that Rey was related to a previous Star Wars Jedi in JJ’s version. That’s how he could explain Rey being as powerful as Kylo. With Johnson making Rey’s parents nobodies, it invalidates that reasoning, which means JJ has to come up with a new reason why Rey is so powerful without training. As a result we’re going to get some clunky explanation that will undo everything Rian set up, who ironically undid everything JJ set up. Watching these three movies in succession is going to be really jarring.

Where does that leave Episode 9? Is there any way to salvage the trilogy? Don’t get me wrong. I’d take the 7 figure check to give it the old college try in a heartbeat. But I don’t envy the job that JJ and Chris Terrio have. Here’s my best guess at where they’ll take it…

Episode 9’s opening crawl will alert us that a year has passed, enough time to fill out some of the Rebel ranks. On the character side, Kylo will be ruling the galaxy with reckless abandon, attempting to take over every planet in sight. He wants to do more than Vader did. And he’s gone even more nuts than Vader was in trying to accomplish that goal.

But Kylo will be lonely. His mentor is now half-and-half. His nemesis astral-projected himself to death. His parents are both goners. Which is why he’s consumed with getting Rey to join him. For this storyline to work, there’s only one place for JJ to go. Kylo and Rey have to be brother and sister. It’s going to be a miserable bout of exposition explaining how this happened (why her parents ditched her, or if Leia had a child with someone else once Han left), but it’s the only way this trilogy can be wrapped up nicely. Kylo and Rey need to be siblings.

Meanwhile, Poe and Finn (who’s hopefully left Rose in the trash compactor) travel to a planet known for having fierce but morally questionable fighters. They need soldiers to take down the First Order and they’ve come here to try and convince this planet to join the cause. They’ll have some adventures on this planet and eventually convince the people to come help. Yippee dee, the Rebels have an army again.

Now we have to destroy the First Order somehow. We don’t have a Death Star as an option. Trying to destroy an entire fleet of ships is too logistically complicated and wouldn’t play well. So I’m thinking that the goal will be to infiltrate the First Order’s base planet – wherever that is – and destroy it. This will mean coming up with an elaborate plan that will require pin-point execution from all our beloved characters: back in ground control, in the air, and inside the First Order headquarters.

That’s the plot I’m expecting. But what is the plot that I want? Here’s the way I see it. You don’t need to honor anything Rian Johnson did since he sure as heck didn’t honor your story. Kathleen Kennedy can’t fire you under any circumstances. You’ve always been tabbed as the “big idea” guy who can’t answer questions, only ask them. Why not make Star Wars Episode 9 your big bad JJ Abrams experiment?

Make it 3 hours long. Not just cause that’d be nuts. But because it’s needed. You have to spend the first hour undoing most of what Johnson did then build up a whole new set of circumstances to play out. Bring in a new villain. That’s insane to do this late in the game but remember, you’re proving that JJ can be just as experimental as Rian. And make him badass. Give us Darth Maul but with more meat. Then, of course, make the Knights of Ren a major part of the plot. Maybe they’re out there scouring the galaxy for more Jedi for Kylo to train. I don’t know. Next we need more aliens in key roles. All the key characters now are played by humans. We need new good aliens, like Chewbacca. And new bad aliens, like Jabba. Get some bounty hunters in there. The Rebels have no choice but to hire them. That should be cool. And just get weird. I mean, who cares at this point? The rule of thumb now is make whatever movie you want. You might as well take advantage of that. And there’s nothing more that I’d like to see than unhinged balls-to-the-wall JJ. Sign me up!

  • Poe_Serling

    Oh yeah, just what I’ve been waiting for … a new Star Wars article!!!

    ;-)

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      I feel ya, Poe. Your gentle sarcasm can’t be denied. HOWEVER, I have enough enthusiasm for the BOTH of us! Been getting shot at by the “Star Wars” guns I bought my two nephews all day long. Still, gooo Star Wars!

      • Poe_Serling

        Just me having some fun.

        If C wanted to turn this site into StarShadow – a 24/7 chitchat fest about
        SW – may the force be with him.

        ;-)

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          I don’t think someone of your sensitives would allow that to happen. You know more about movies and the rich history therein, then this country bumpkin ever will.

  • scriptfeels

    My take, copy return of the jedi beat for beat with rey as the lead saving kylo from a big bad monster in the beggining to having to take down kylo in the rest of the film. I disagree with kylo and ren being siblings i think that would cheapen whats been established. Wasnt jj involved in episode 8’s story development too? So he should have a good idea where 9 is going if thats the case

  • scriptfeels

    Episode 9, have a big finale of porgs ewoks and gungans fighting together to bring all 3 franchises together! Nothing can go wrong!

    • carsonreeves1

      I would so watch a Porg Ewok Gungan adventure. That sounds like a Saturday morning cartoon dream.

      • susanrichards

        Yeah, but sometime would add Jar Jar Binks and ruin it.

  • klmn

    So, Carson – how many times have you seen The Last Jedi?

    (Scott, you might want to take bets on this).

    • carsonreeves1

      Once. Not even the porgs could bring me back!

  • carsonreeves1

    Sorry in advance to those of who hate Star Wars. I actually wasn’t going to post anything this week but I can’t stop thinking about the state of Star Wars and Johnson’s bizarre entry into the franchise. I’ve never seen anything like this before. Playing a game of “figure it out as we go along” with a 20 billion dollar franchise. It’s so insane!

    • klmn

      Dude, you’re an addict.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Not insane. They can always go back to Lucas’ framework for the complete series–if they need to. Carson, they’re not flying blink. They’ve got LOTS of source material to draw off. Don’t be so weak knee’d about all this. Rather, have some fun with it. This is YOUR time to create.

    • Omoizele Okoawo

      Seems weird that Disney owns two companies, Pixar and Marvel, where serious oversight and planning storylines out was of a huge benefit and yet when it comes to their most popular and valuable property the only story plan they seemed to have was kill all the old cast on screen before they die and even that failed.

    • Andrea Moss

      They literally have no plan or scripts for their movies, just a bunch of cool set pieces that the director has to piece together. It worked for Rogue One because they hired Tony Gilroy to rewrite the third act, but Rian Johnson has a free pass. And I can’t understand why Gareth Edwards didn’t have the same privileges.

    • Scott Crawford

      Have you watched the Netflix series THE TOYS THAT MADE US yet, Carson? Star Wars toys have made FOUR TIMES as much money as the movies.

      What should be in IX? More cool vehicles and characters.

      http://www.hasbro.com/common/productimages/en_ZA/494a05ed50569047f574af27dafa90ec/494D01AB50569047F5A8C34CE3FF7E9F.jpg

    • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

      I can’t stop thinking about it either. This is the most contextually interesting movie ever. Everything is surrounding this – nerd culture, sjw, alt-right, corporate dollars, nostalgia, progressivism, etc. All of 2017 is in/around this movie. And its horrible. And to top it all off I think this movie is the first evil movie ever made (check my post). You haven’t even scratched the tip of this iceberg turd lol

    • ThomasBrownen

      I saw it! And I walked out thinking, eh, it was an okay-to-good movie, but it was a bad Star Wars movie.

      Several quick high level thoughts:

      –I agree with just about everything Carson’s written on this. Spot on. My only disagreement is that I wasn’t as disheartened to see cynical Luke. I have a feeling if you’re the most awesome person in the universes when you’re young and blowing up the Death Star at such a young age, the rest of life might be a little disappointing. But: that should only be where we met him. As in, we spent the first act with cynical Luke, and then Rey eventually brought him back to being white-knuckled, back-in-charge Luke.

      –Good screenwriting tip: When you have a bunch of exposition-y scenes, put in a ticking time bomb! The whole thing about running out of gas, losing less-important ships, etc. kept the first half of the movie from being a total snooze, and then had a climax at the end. (I actually thought this was what Carson’s article was going to be about when I saw the headline, about the one screenwriting tip that kept the movie together.)

      –RELATIONSHIPS. They’re the key part of any script, and ESPECIALLY in a Star Wars movie, which taps into the operatic, larger than life drama that only family drama can bring. Except here…

      –REY AND LUKE: Fizzled. For all of Rey’s “who’s my parents” drama, she should have found a father figure in Luke. Training sequences are in a gazillion movies. Study them, learn from them. Rey should have learned something about being a Jedi from Luke, and Luke should have re-emerged from being cynical Luke because of Rey. Instead, Rey learned nothing (they must have cut the full three lessons, I guess?) and then Yoda shows up to burn it all down. I liked seeing Yoda, but that character arc of bring Luke back to action should have come from Rey.

      –REY AND KYLO: For the first half — whoa! This was totally working. I mean, I was ready for them to start making out. Which is kind of weird, but not the first time siblings in Star Wars have done that. And then in the scene with Snoke — that was the highlight of the movie truly unpredictable. But here’s the thing: relationships have to go somewhere. There have to be consequences. Instead, we get: hey maybe we can work together, oh no we can’t, oh well, let’s fight each other, oh look, we’re right back where we started.

      For a brief second, I thought the story was going to totally blow me away after the Snoke scene. What if Rey had said, sure, let’s team up. Let the good/bad stuff be a thing of the past and just rule together. Start over. Is she being seduced to the dark side? Is she playing Kylo long-term? Is Kylo being seduced back to the good side? So they team up and let’s play that out. First thing, the Knights of Ren agree to work for him, and then Rey and Kylo order the attack on Leia’s convoy to stop. Well, they won’t kill Leia, like Kylo is thinking about doing, but Rey convinces Kylo to just lock them up for now. So we get a scene in which Rey and Kylo board Leia’s ship and lock her up. THIS ALONE WOULD BE WORTH TEN TIMES THE PRICE OF ADMISSION. You could have had the lamest dialogue, and the mother-son-murderer-capturer-sortofsister tension would still be off the charts. So they lock her up. Put her in a cell. Then… I don’t even need to tell you what happens next… Luke, who is recently re-engaged thanks to Rey, boards the ship and frees Leia. Cue the nostalgic, aren’t you a little short for a storm trooper one-liner rip offs. And then, I don’t know… Rey and Kylo try to work together, but Rey realizes that Kylo is truly evil and… somehow it all falls apart and Luke dies as a result and Rey blames herself, etc. That would nicely set up a comeback for the third movie. Just a thought. Oh well.

      –FINN AND POE: They were made to be the best buddy cop team since buddy cops were invented. And then… Rose.

      –AND OVERALL: This suffered from a serious lack of imagination and creativity. It’s like Rian took the stories from Episode 7 and just let them run their course by constantly choosing the least expected option, but it was unexpected because it was bad/unsatisfying. Besides porgs and the red salt, it was all very… bland. No new masks, no inventive light sabers, nothing… iconic. What’s to be a fan of here?

      And oh, the non-screenwriting people I saw this with were very disappointed in it. Most common refrain: it didn’t answer any questions. Nobody really believes that Rey’s not related, or if they thought that’s where it was going, they really disliked it. Easy fix: just have Kylo lying about it, and she discovers the truth later in Episode 9, no big deal.

    • Howie428

      There are two big cheats in The Last Jedi that stood out for me…

      Laura Dern going to light speed to blow up an enemy ship was admittedly cool, but it raises a giant red flag since we’re left wondering why this doesn’t get done all the time. Death Stars could have been routinely destroyed this way and since small ships have light speed capability a barrage of them could rip up any fleet.

      Kylo and Rey were both conveniently struck unconscious when the lightsaber between them split. Rey is not seen waking up and boarding an escape ship with both parts of the broken lightsaber. So Kylo was lying there unconscious and at her mercy, but we don’t see that at all? It’s a big cheat that bails the story out of having to complete their battle.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    Carson, you can’t please everyone. I think the franchise is going to be lower no matter what. So you have to pick your poison: be original or go for nostalgia; there is no middle ground.

    I think the FIRST question you have to answer is: are Rey and Kylo Ren are strong enough characters to carry the story through more movies? I say they are. And if they are, you don’t need Luke, you don’t need Leia, you don’t need Solo. Bye-bye nostalgia, let’s get back to some real story telling and story crafting.

    Episode IX should be EXACTLY about what I suggested last Monday, REBUILDING the VILLAINS. In that post, I suggested making General Hux a more real and central villain. I also think NOW is the time to go into Darth Maul’s origins and those of Palatine’s supporters from “Revenge of the Sith.”

    Personally, I don’t agree with you that the next Star Wars movie is going to be difficult to write. Rahter, I think it’s going to be relatively easy. Fuck, Scot Serrendell came up with a solid story, RIGHT, OFF, THE, BAT! Scott wasn’t stumped or nothin’. Dude just revved the accelerator, put it gear–and took off!

    You can’t be so worried about making everybody happy that you become paralyzed by fear and don’t come up with a damn thing. What do YOU wanna see happen? Let ‘er rip. Count me in the camp of those who want the First Order to continue. Phase in a power struggle and the emergence of the “Inquisitors”. Remember, at the end of “The Last Jedi” the rebel fleet was decimated. Time for the villains to hunt those who remain as part of the rebel alliance on a more personal level, imo.

    Since none of us are ever going to see a dime from this, may as well have some fun designing the next movie. No pressure. Any idea goes. It flows… it goes. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/2be7776a2e3912890e3734e4d275cfe3dda646eb8c180de6918a0a55f0dd13ac.jpg

    • Scott Serradell

      Thank you for the vote of confidence, compadre. Muchas gracias!

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        Always, buddy. I believe in ya as a storyteller, and can’t wait to read what you come up with for episode IX.

    • Henry WC


      Bye-bye nostalgia, let’s get back to some real story telling and story crafting.

      Episode IX should be EXACTLY about what I suggested last Monday, REBUILDING the VILLAINS. In that post, I suggested making General Hux a more real and central villain. I also think NOW is the time to go into Darth Maul’s origins and those of Palatine’s supporters from “Revenge of the Sith.”

      Darth Maul, Palatine and Revenge of the Sith were prequels to episode IV. Episode IV-VI is a prequel to this series episode VII-IX. I want to know if I’m getting this correctly or am I missing something. Would like to know how this works. Also Episode IX needs to wrap this story up and end this trilogy…

      • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

        (Being pretentious as all fuck) This is how you begin Episode IX.

        Storm Troopers everywhere sifting through wreckage. A dark figure in Kylo Ren battle gear among them. This dark figure sees a woman’s hand clutching onto something. The dark figure opens those fingers, it is that talisman that Leia was looking at in the Episode VIII. The dark figure is shaken, as a vision is received where Leia is looking at that trinket in a starship. Helmet off, see the head of Kylo Ren. He stoops down the wreckage where his mother was crushed.
        A couple neighboring Storm Troopers take note of Kylo’s emotional state and wave over others that are off screen. CUT TO:
        First Order Starship destroyer bridge, where General Hux is watching the video feed off one of the storm troopers. Seeing Kylo’s emotion response, Hux nods his head, “Once a Skywalker, always a Skywalker. The Supreme council must see this immediately.” “We are seeing this,” a dark voice from an OFF SCREEN monitor says. “And you know what must be done, General Hux. You have done well to alert of this attack. We not forget it.” Hux smiles.
        Down at the wreckage, multiple other Kylo Ren types are now seen looking at and approaching Kylo. Kylo ignites his light saber–only to be countered by the other Kylo Ren figures ignighting their’s and converging on him…
        One of the eight says, “I wouldn’t do it if I were you, Ren. Remember we all were trained just as you were. If you attempt to take on all eight of us at once, you will not live to fulfill your destiny as it was foretold.”
        With eight Inqusitor knights around him, Kylo relents and turns off his light saber.

        (More pretentiousness of full display: beats for the rest of the plot)

        Kylo is taken in bound custody to an inner faction of demonoid creatures who have hired the cloning people to hasten the process of raising up more Inquistors with preprogrammed Jedi and Sith fighting skills.

        The Inquisitors continue to cause problems for the Rebellion. For half the movie people in the rebel alliance think it’s all the doing of Kylo Ren, Rey however insists otherwise but is unable to prove her position.

        It is only after Rey kills one of the Inquisitor and pull it’s helmet off… Where at first she fears she has killed Kylo, but what is revealed is a Darth Maul like character face, that they all realize that the First Order is now aligned with a new power with ties to the dark side of the force.

        Kylo makes telepathic link with Rey. They talk, and Kylo tells her where she’s being held captive. At this point, however, right outside Kylo’s door is a creepy bald lady, who is using her supernatural powers to facilitate this think.

        Rey only manages to convince Finn to join her in trying to rescue Kylo. Poe, however, is conflicted as he finds himself starting to having feelings for Rey.

        Then she and Finn crash the site and do battle with a host of Inquistor bad guys. They manage to get cornered and it looks like all is lost as the Inquistors reveal this was their plan all along so they could off this disturbance in the force. All appears lost UNTIL Poe arrives with that cartoon lady with glasses who first exposed Rey to the force with reinforcements, and they help kill of this faction of Inquisitors that were holding Kylo hostage.

        THE END

        #whereismymillionbucks, #I’llbetScottsstoryisbetterthanmine

      • PQOTD

        … Which means ultimately defeat the First Order, restore the Senate, and bring balance back to the Force. That’s the endgame. The end of TLJ to there in 3 hours or less. Preferably no more than two and small change.

        Right, where did I leave my thinking cap?

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          That sounds like the right path, the right end-game. BUT it’s too straightforward. What are your twists? What are people going to be talking about?
          #takeittothenextlevel

          • PQOTD

            The twists are everything that it’s going to take to plausibly get from the end of TLJ to that point without a/ the thing sprawling into a 4 hour, horribly-convoluted mess; b/ neglecting how the hell the entire rebel force rebuilds itself from such a humbling retreat (a rebel force which has no fighters and no destroyers, and which can currently fit comfortably on the Millennium Falcon and has to achieve all of the above without Luke, Leia and Admiral Akbar); and c/ offers audience- satisfying concluding character arcs for Rey, Kylo, Poe, Finn and whomever else emerges as important.

            That’s no small ask. Whomever pulls all of that off is going to well and truly deserve the million dollar cheque.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            … that’s probably going to end up going to Scott Serrandell anyway. See ya tomorrow, its past 11 PST in Bonney Lake, WA; and I’m going to bed now. But in closing for the night let me thank Carson for providing this night’s entertainment for me. Usually I’m at work at this hour, but now I’m at home watching cable TV. WOW, what a piss poor selection to choose from. So many rebroadcasts of the same thing.

  • RBradley

    https://film.submittable.com/submit

    make $50 writing about filmmaking

  • Lucid Walk

    Hey, everyone. I’m back!

    I was in Hawaii with my family. I hadn’t seen Star Wars that entire time, so I avoided the internet like the plague. But I’m all caught up on everything, and it feels great to be back.

    First off, I enjoyed The Last Jedi, just as I did Force Awakens. Sure, I too hated the casino planet stuff. But I thought Mark Hamill gave his best Luke Skywalker performance to date. I was happy to see Yoda again. Kylo Ren is still a great villain. And Poe became the film’s MVP following his criminal underdevelopment in FA.

    At this point, I believe people are just gonna have to compromise when it comes to the franchise. There’ll be things we love (Luke’s reunion with Leia), and then things which leave us disappointed (Luke vs. Kylo Ren). We may never get a Star Wars movie that hits all the right cylinders the way the first two did. But I can live that.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Good to have you back! Just in time to write Episode IX, I hope…

    • Avatar

      I don’t think Kylo Ren is as intimidating as Darth Vadar and the Emperor. I think George Lucas was inspired there in creating villains you actually feared. Jaba de Hut was pretty intimidating too.

  • Henry WC

    I’m glad there is another Star Wars post as I can’t shake off the destruction of this trilogy either… And I’m a casual SW Fan. This is not failure of ambition or trying something new, this is reckless, narcissistic, destroy and blow everything up for one’s own gain mentality. Reports and Rumors about JJ liking it, yeah just general outlines and theory on paper, all the moves, ie. killing off Snoke, making Rey’s parents a Red Herring all sounds pretty bold and cool but the way it was executed and handled that was kept only to Rian.

    Chris Terrio, seriously!… He ruined the whole DC franchise… That’s a big concern right there. Bring back Kasdan. No more pretentious writers please.

    JJ has a huge x-factor, one single element that I believe can turn things around and has endless, exciting directions it can go. It’s very expansive and can do the heavy lifting for Episode 9…. Knights of Ren. Just in Knights of Ren you can have villians, heroes, Individual characters, as a cohesive unit, groups in conflicts… Many possibilities. I’m pretty hopeful, JJ can deliver, he has more fire and motivation now then ever.

    • carsonreeves1

      Seriously. Knights of Ren man. All the way.

      • Henry WC

        Amen Mr. C… It could be whatever the the story dictates, Kylo Ren could be fighitng against mentees, disciples, lovers, partners. To me it would be more exciting than another final showdown between first order and the resistance. Rey could side with certain members to go against Kylo, some members could be a third party, antiheroes. I know it’s 7 members including Kylo, but you can get creative (not too greedy) and have a jv team in the background. So many possibilities.

  • RO

    I’d say for episode 9, have it be opposite to the big explosion at the end deal. Have the first order defeated through propaganda. Have the idea be deconstructed; their entire regime in a state of arrested development. The fleet admirals disband their forces and focus on rebuilding their homeworlds that have been ravaged by this unstable climate over the last 53+ years (SW time). A physical fight was waged for nearly 60 years and did nothing, now it’s time for one of reason and education.

    The most effective way to defeat a dictator is for those that gave them power to take it away themselves.

    Side note: I find it rather funny that between the original trilogy and this current one, the heroes who are 17/18-ish in the original trilogy behave with more maturity and rationality where in the current trilogy the characters are clearly in the late 20s and early 30s are behaving more like adolescents. Something to think about.

  • Scott Serradell

    “Episode 9, which has now become, if not the most difficult-to-write screenplay ever, definitely in the Top 5.”

    I disagree. In fact, I may take that Pepsi challenge…

    A few of you read my “pitch” for Episode 9 that I posted a few days ago (and thank you to those who took the time to do so.) This was all totally done for fun; as someone who has digested and absorbed these stories all my life, how could I not? But may I confess something?

    I wrote the whole thing in 30 minutes.

    As confounding as “The Last Jedi” may have seemed it does not render this series unredeemable; it only presents a greater challenge. The conclusion is there, staring us in the face. We just can’t fully see it yet…

    Was my pitch perfect? Far from. A good starting point? I think so.

    So I’m going write the fucker and submit it to AOW.

    I mean: Why not?

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      You COULD get a cease and desist letter. I did after I wrote my “Planet of the Apes” movie. But then again I actually contacted FOX and asked them for permission.

      THAT said, I’d like to read it, and see what you come up with, wipersnapper!

      • Scott Serradell

        Could Carson even present it (legally)?

        Could it jeopardize my chance at landing professional work?

        I don’t know those answers…

        But after the madness that was 2017, I feeling a bit reckless at the start of this New Year.

        • carsonreeves1

          no. I did a whole week of Star Wars amateur scripts. no cease and desist letters. and believe me. they have my e-mail.

          if you write it, I can promise you it’ll have an uphill battle with me if Rose is in the story. full disclosure! :)

          • RO

            I think having another Star Wars week would be fun. Maybe after the Solo movie comes out?

          • carsonreeves1

            i can’t believe Solo is coming out in less than half a year! And still no trailer.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            That’s probably for the best. Wasn’t the lead actor being given acting lessons–while the movie was being shot!?!
            #notagoodsign

          • PQOTD

            Hopefully they have a script at least…

          • Avatar

            They do, but they’re trying to get the tone right. Funny, zany….or serious. I think they even changed directors because of it, but I’ll have to check. I know Disney wants to capitalize on these movies, but I want them to get it right and no do what DC did to the best comic book characters in the comic book world. Superman/Batman/WonderWoman/Aquaman and Flash are way better than some of the Marvel characters, but Marvel seems to do a better job of even doing the B team characters in their catalogue.

          • jaehkim

            Rumor has it, Disney is expecting Solo to bomb. Also it opens a week before Deadpool 2, which pretty much ensures its failure.

          • PQOTD

            Rose for Rancor brunch.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Didn’t she die at the end of Episode VIII?

          • Avatar

            Did they pull her to sick bay? I have to watch it again to look for that. there was a lot to unpack in this movie.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            I thought she kissed Finn and died there in the cockpit. Maybe if they’d allowed another scene with those two together they would have ended up in a total different kind of “cockpit”–at least that’s where their relationship seemed to be heading…

          • Avatar

            I glimpsed into the background and saw someone pulling her body to the ship. But, there were so many things happening on the big screen that I couldn’t be sure what happened to her.

          • PQOTD

            I thought that’s what happened. Could be mistaken.

          • Howie428

            Finn pulled her back to the base showing an amazing turn of speed to both cover that distance on foot and avoid the Luke barrage!

          • Lucid Walk

            It’d be cool if we did another Star Wars week.

          • klmn

            Your next contest should be for a Half-Llama Man script. You set the parameters and then sic the Script-Dogs on it.

            Better make it a pilot contest, because that’s a much larger potential market than the film industry.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          At least you got the BALLS to put yourself out there. First create the plank on the pirate ship. Next walk out on your own plank. Then prove to the world that you can do the amazing: namely, write a good, Episode IX. Which is something that Carson said would be very hard.

  • Michael Weldon

    Episode IX might be the most difficult screenplay to write, but my god, you’re free to do anything you want. Last Jedi was the *best thing* that ever happened to this franchise. It was as good as dead the moment they said “midichlorians” in PHANTOM MENACE

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      I like this guy!

  • Henry WC

    Regarding the unhinged balls-to-the-wall JJ movie, you’re mentioning, there is no need for that to make a great SW movie. No need to defeat pretentious filmmaking with even more pretentious filmmaking. As a JJ fan almost all the interviews he has always mentioned how much he loves limits and restricitions. I have always believed TFA was an overlooked masterpiece. What an experience.

    JJ and the rest of Disney just have to believe and have confidence that people love this new trilogy because of the new characters from TFA (Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Snoke), not because of the legacy characters and movies. I believe JJ created these amazing and great characters. Everyone including Lucasfilm credits all the success to everything but the new characters… They don’t truly believe how amazing the new ones are, they only believe, it’s been a long time, nostalgia, the legacy characters and storylines…… I just want Lucasfilm and JJ to truly trust and believe in their new characters.

    So no, I don’t believe it’s the hardest screenplay, there is already great characters setup with great actors.

  • James Michael

    You don’t really think that they filmed Ep VIII without having a plan for Ep IX? This is Disney we’re talking about. They planned out the entire Marvel universe in advance (once they realized that it was viable thanks to Iron Man). This isn’t George Lucas deciding that it might be cool if Darth Vader was Luke’s dad and Liea and Luke are twins (both choices he made after ep IV was filmed).

    So although Ep VIII might have seemed a bit odd and random and a spit in the face to some, Im an optimist. I really do think that they will have a plan for where the story is going and where they want it to end up. I’m sure that they had a plan before JJ write Fade In for EP VII. Let’s all have a little faith here… or at least ‘Hope’

    • RO

      Actually Paramount created the plan up to Infinity War. Disney just purchased it, and I thought Paramount was stupid to agree to the deal then, as I do now. Pixar was huge on refining story before going into production because CGI was incredibly time consuming and expensive.

      Disney does not have the infrastructure to create long term plans with film franchises, and all the outlines and story elements they purchased from Lucas film were tossed. Disney is learning the hard way about preparation. Remember, there was a time not too long ago when they were a very low level studio. I think if memory serves, Pixar owned them for a short time. Disney will be content with the money TLJ is bringing in, and will over saturate the press with how happy they are, but it is not the numbers they want. They wanted to clear half a billion by the start of the second weekend domestically. We’ll see how the Solo movie plays out and that’ll be four SW films that should paint us enough of a picture to really see how things are going.

      With regards to Lucas’s choices for characters, they were made up far closer to the filming dates of each movie than we’d like to think or Lucas would like to admit.

      Vader being Luke’s father was solving a motivation problem for the character of Vader. Luke blew up the death star, so Vader wants him is kind of weak. But if it’s because Vader realizes he has a kid, then we have a relatable motivator. One that was a huge risk, but came with a great payoff and a foreshadowing of where Luke could go in follow up stories.

      Leia being Luke’s sister came after Lucas was shunned by the directors guild. He couldn’t get his friend Spielberg to direct the next installment because of it and with his personal life kind of falling apart because of how much time building Lucasfilm, Skywalker ranch, ILM and Star Wars took, he felt it better to wrap this story up and become a background producer.

      As of the conclusion of Empire, his ideas for 6, 7, 8, and 9 was a story of defeating Vader, finding his sister and them working together to defeat the Emperor and thus the Empire.

      Once Lucas knew he was going to get a sequel, that’s when he started to jot down ideas for the series and they never fully materialized until pre-production was confirmed, and a lot of the stuff he worked on with other writers and Irvin Kerschner. He had a good team, but the hollywood system fought against what he was doing ironically (as now we see a lot more movies with multiple directors and films that don’t introduce the directors name before the title, or films without title sequences all together).

      • Avatar

        I am kind of concerned about Disney buying up everything. They are going to make everything into a bottom line corporate profits four quadrant movie. There will be very few risk takers out there.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          Don’t worry. The last Star Wars movie should help ease those fears. If Disney “dumbs down” all movies, eventually people will catch on, and stop going. I think they’re smart enough to realize and deliver a range of emotional experiences. If not, it will be to their loss.

          • Avatar

            People still show up to those Marvel movies, even though at this point, they are just cash grabs. There’s no reason for Infinity War. It’s really just another cash in movie.

          • Justin

            Actually, I’d argue that Infinity War is absolutely necessary to resolve the Marvel film universe. After that, though, the future films (phase four, I believe) are unnecessary. I’d 100% agree with that.

  • Avatar

    Before I was going to watch Last Jedi, I was in a foul mood. When I heard rumors that Rian Johnson had turned the mythology on it’s head, I was ready to track him down and string him up by his feet. But, strange thing happened when I saw the Last Jedi, I totally side with the critics. I loved this movie. The Cimena score for this is an A. Rotten tomatoes is like 93% or so…. The only outlier was the Rotten tomatoes audience reviews, but some news organizations are reporting that 94% of those reviews were fake accounts. and this alt right group claimed credit for down voting it because it had a female lead and diverse cast. When there’s such a huge disconnect between someone trying to convince you to hate something, you go see it and loving it, then I don’t know…the audience I saw it with clapped. I’ve talked to hardcore Star Wars fans, some of the same ones you see line up for no reason (there’s reserved seating, no need to line up)….they loved it. It’s made 800 million dollars so far and will do better than Rogue One. This movie was more in the spirit of Star Wars as it tackles light v dark that George Lucas tackled…not the silly mystery box Where’s Luke Waldo story JJ Abrams had because JJ Abrams was too scared to take a risk. In fact, I don’t want JJ to tackle the 9th. I’d rather Rian do it or some other filmmaker. The Last Jedi wasn’t some daring reinvention ripping the past…it’s more in line with the originals.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Only the alt-left pulls stunts like you’re describing. They’re the enemy of independent thought.

      • PQOTD

        The alt-left and the alt-right are two fringe-dwelling sides of the same totalitarian coin, EC.

        One person, one vote, one time to gain a patina of legitimacy, then it’s all about staying in power, whatever the cost.

        The playbook you’re talking about comes straight from the Nazi Party, and they were very much from the reactionary right side of the political spectrum.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          Absolutely not! In the alt-left are the anarchists, and those who can only bring loss to the economy, America, and the world. Their plans and programs are economically unsound and based on pie-in-the-sky, a chicken for every pot, programs that can never work on a mass scale. Many of the members of the alt-left succumb to bribery and violence.

          The right has values and wants to improve America with a SUSTAINABLE economic plan that work. It’s in the right that you find the hard-working Americans that are the backbone and hope for not only this country, but the world.

          Lumping the political left and the political right in the same boat is NOT FAIR. They are not the same. Not at all. Not even close.

          • PQOTD

            Keep drinking the kool-aid, EC.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            I’m a free thinker. If the right was NOT RIGHT in theology and practice, I would not follow them.
            But what I compare what the political right has to offer vs. what the political left has to offer in terms of SUSTAINABILITY and moral values, it really is an easy choice.
            The ONLY way I can see someone going to the political left is if they’re on the take, or they are very naive.

          • PQOTD

            Your choice in the last presidential election was between one candidate who had been raised as a devout Methodist by moderate Republican parents who had been small business owners, who has stuck with a flawed but intellectually capable spouse (because she took a vow for better, for worse, until death do us part), and who had a proven track record in the Senate of reaching across the aisle to work with moderate Reps and Dems alike; and then there was the candidate who’s a confirmed adulterer on his third marriage. who has a track record of trampling small business owners and independent contractors who did work for him, and whose faith seems… convenient, at best.

            Hypocrisy is a value the right is welcome to.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Not that I’m political
            but you mentioned all the good of one
            and all the bad of the other.

          • PQOTD

            Yeah, I did it deliberately, Malibo. EC was exhorting the virtuosity of the political right and its ‘values’ without caveats so I was trying to make a point that ‘values’ is a very malleable and subjective concept. Like most anything, ‘values’ is a word that can be spun any old how you want.

            If aliens were studying American politics and drew conclusions only from what they saw, they’d think adultery was a value that brings rewards like wealth and political power, and traditional marriage is held in lesser regard. Go figure.

            For the Nazis on the extreme right – as for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge on the extreme left – political purges, slave labor, concentration camps and mass exterminations of all who opposed them were important party values. They have more in common with each other than EC is perhaps aware of. Our friend Feckless Leader Kim has more in common with the Nazis than he does with liberal capitalist democracies, and he’s out on the looney Stalinist fringe left.

            EC’s opinion that anarchists are all out on the revolutionary alt-left is mistaken. Some are, but other groups are certainly not. Many reactionary right-wing skinhead movements aspire to tearing down the machinery of the nation-state also, therefore meeting the definition of anarchism.

            The thing that worries me about anarchists of any stripe is what they’d replace representative government “by the people of the people” (and theoretically “for the people”) with if they ever got the chance to tear down the nation-state. Anarchists would only create a vacuum the strong and the criminal would rush to fill, which is exactly what happened in post-WWI Germany after the collapse of the Weimar Republic. It’s also what happened in France after the Revolution: they ended up with a dictator called Napoleon.

            I guess the moral of the story is that those who are ignorant of history’s lessons are doomed to repeat its failures.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Don’t think we need to worry about Nazis, Pol Pots, or Little Kims
            in this country.
            (Not until the liberals take away our guns.)

          • PQOTD

            The Democrats held majorities in both the House and the Senate for the first 2 years of President Obama’s term.

            I find it curious they didn’t use that opportunity to take away your guns.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Go after the nutcases, NOT the guns. Again, you lefties can’t every seem to properly identify the root cause; it’s called crazy people. Here in the U.S. we RIGHTFULLY have the 2nd amendment; the right to bear arms. Another TRUTH you fail to realize is that almost all gun bearers do so respectfully and without incident. I’m for more gun, not less. Let’s put the fear of God back into the criminal element.

          • PQOTD

            Malibo raised the subject of gun ownership, not me.

            First, I don’t now, nor have I ever had a problem with law-abiding citizens owning guns. I grew up in New Zealand where many farmers keep firearms to shoot possums with because possums carry tuberculosis which can infect the dairy herds. There are also feral pigs, goats and deer which cause enormous damage to the native forests, and sporting shooters help keep them under control. My brother and sister both served in the military, and as far s I’m aware, me brother still has a firearm.

            In Australia, where bushfires can maim livestock and native animals by the thousands, farmer need guns to humanely put down those animals that are too burned to be saved.

            Second, the Las Vegas shooter had no history of mental illness.

            How do you propose to deny access to weapons to the mentally ill if you cannot identify them until they go on a killing spree? Only in your mind does that make any sense.

            Sometimes, EC, I can’t figure out if you’re just having a little fun with me, or if you really are a complete f***wit.

          • Malibo Jackk

            Yeah, that guy didn’t play by the rules.

          • PQOTD

            Lol, that’s completely true: we do indeed kill more roos by car than by gun. It’s actually quite sad on the rural and outback highways early in the morning seeing the carnage after the previous night.

            Roos are completely mad bastards. I nearly hit one when I was on a motorbike some 20-ish years ago. Luckily I’d spotted it jumping parallel to the road so I’d taken up the slack on the brakes. Then the thing changed direction in one bounce and landed in front of me. We saw the whites of each other’s eyes. They’re usually not so lucky when they take on vehicles.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Well, at least I got you thinking. All this talk about the Republican party being a bunch of supremacists and Nazis is IDIOT talk; completely false rhetoric. The racial divide in America is a product of the left. They’re the ones trying to take this country backwards into the days of Segregation, not the right. If Donald Trump was little screwder he could easily expose that. I just hope those who have left bends will eventually come to their senses and see what their party is doing. Politics needs to be more than just snarky talking points, it needs to provide the people with a construct that allows society as a whole to thrive. The right provides that. The left provides unrest and destruction.

          • PQOTD

            EC, I do more thinking in an average day about topics beyond most people’s understanding than they’d do in a month. I even dream about my Ph.D. research. What’s more, I’m so privileged that I get to spend my days with people who are smarter than me, and learn from them.

            As for you, what on Earth do you mean by “If Donald Trump was little screwder”?

            By considering the context of adjacent sentences, it doesn’t seem like your intent was “a little more screwed”.

            Or do you mean ‘shrewd’ as in astute?

            If the latter was your intent, your sentence should read “If Donald Trump was a little shrewder…”

            Your basic premise is also contestable. ‘Shrewder’ is the comparative form of the word ‘shrewd’, and he’s shown little evidence of politically shrewd judgement to date.

            He has, however, mastered the art of dog-whistle politics, and when he whistles, you and your fellow Fox News-worshipping travelers run.

  • Avatar

    One thing that surprised me was the look of this film. It was incredibly visually stunning. I never really considered Rian to be a visual director. Maybe it was his visual effects team, but whoever created those shots…they looked great. Especially liked those big ships able to hyper space within a split second.

  • Malibo Jackk

    OT:
    Please ignore if you HATE that Hollywood makes so many sequels
    but can’t stop talking about Star Wars.

    Heard someone the other day say they found another logic issue with a movie they watched.
    While I firmly believe there should be no logic issues under any circumstance,
    I’m also wondering — shouldn’t we keep track of how many millions
    these logic issues make?

    • Avatar

      Sometimes, they are not logic issues, sometimes the viewer just didn’t catch the story right or they envision it in a different way. That is however a lesson for screenwriters to be as clear as possible because the casual viewer doesn’t care to follow every detail that the filmmaker carefully lays out. I’ve watched It’s a Wonderful life a million times, but I only realized what that guy in the end was ripping up. I was always so taken with the humanity of the final scene, I didn’t realize what that guy was rippping up.

    • klmn

      People need something to bitch about. If everything in a movie made sense, people would have to invent something.

  • Doug

    The only thing that will save Star Wars is if it gets mashed up into an even bigger and more awesome cinematic universe. That’s right, I’m talking about Mad Max.

    Here’s my scenario: the rebels build their own Death Star, which goes head to head with the Empire’s Death Star (they had one in reserve because they got a state-based tax incentive). Then Mad Max turns up and says to the rebels (in a deep Australian accent), “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll drive that Death Star.” This pisses off a character called Mary Sue who wanted to drive the Death Star (being Mary Sue, she knew how to drive Death Stars before she was even born), so Max allows her to be co-pliot. But unbeknownst to Max, The Humongous is now driving the Empire’s Death Star. So Mel and The Humongous drive their Death Stars towards each other in an interstellar showdown. They collide and destroy the entire universe (only Mary Sue survives, because she’s Mary Sue and knew how to do so before she was even born). That’s the only possible way this joke of a saga can end. Even Rian Johnson couldn’t screw that up.

    • romer6

      I was into that until I read “Mel”. I was expecting Mad Max to be a mad version of Max Landis…

  • andyjaxfl

    I think I know all I need to know about the First Order — to use JJ’s description, imagine if the Nazis who fled to South American post WW2 regrouped over the next thirty years — but I’d like some clarity on the good guys, aka the Resistance, in Episode IX. I’m still trying to wrap my head around it, and book explanations don’t count!

  • andyjaxfl

    re: Rey’s parentage.

    Seriously, not even TFA makes that big of a deal about who Rey’s parents are. Check out the scenes in Maz’s cantina and the vision she has after touching Luke’s saber.

    She’s about six or seven when her parents abandon her, so she clearly knows who her parents are unless it’s Jesse James (Jesse James and his wife hid his true identify from their children so they would not have a slip of the tongue that led to his capture/death. We can’t rule that out, but it seems unlikely at this point. And no, Kylo did not put her on Jakku. That makes zero sense. She’s young and he could clearly bend her to believe whatever he wants her to believe like Hitler did with Hitler Youth).

    And Maz even tells her “I can see it in your eyes. You know. Whoever you are waiting for on Jakku, they are never coming back.” That seem to fit RJ’s “reveal” in The Last Jedi. Luke’s saber calling to her is also easily explainable. She’s force sensitive and the Kaiburr crystal that powers the saber is a force-sensitive. Since we’ve had sixty years with 99.99999% of force sensitive folks never receiving any training, and since she has the strongest raw power Luke has ever seen, it makes sense that she’d be drawn to a force sensitive artifact like the Kaiburr crystal.

    Here’s the full scene from The Force Awakens.

    • AstralAmerican

      So why were Han (in ESB) and Finn (TFA) able to use a lightsaber if it’s only for the force-sensitive?

      • andyjaxfl

        It’s a weapon made out of a force artifact (the crystal) but anyone can use it — it’s not force lighting and its use is entirely dependent on a physical object.

      • andyjaxfl

        It’s the crystal within the lightsaber that is drawing Rey, not the actual lightsaber. It’s like a bullet calling someone to a gun, not the actual weapon.

  • -n8-

    Ick, man… Just ick. All of it. Full disclosure– Yes, I’m a big Star Wars fan (Ep 5 is kinda the movie that got me into movies). And no I didn’t hate rian’s Star Wars flick. It’s not horrible. But it’s not good. It’s meh. Just meh. And what’s left for this trilogy…

    Ick.

    It’s gonna be a diff screenplay to write for one reason…

    No place for the characters to arc.

    Say what you want about these paint by numbers marvel flicks but each entry into the MCU has pushed their central characters further along in their arcs. Full disclosure pt 2– I am not a huge marvel fan, But Thor losing an eye is a great example of arcing a character. Or tony stark removing the reactor from his chest. Stuff like that shows us how the characters growth/decisions have forever altering consequences for them. Physically. As well as mentally n emotionally.

    Everyone thinks that the big decision of empire was making Vader Luke’s pop. And sure it’s a game changer. But an equally emotionally affecting decision which somehow flies under the radar (even for us who study screenwriting)– Luke gettin his hand laser sworded off. Yeah, it’s not as flashy as the big twist but it does the better job of getting the viewer completely invested in the danger of our hero’s task AND making sure we don’t get too comfy with the character cauz he could (surprise surprise) lose.

    None of that has happened in ep 7 + 8. Part of my ambivalence to the recent movie is simply cauz I don’t feel the danger/peril of the characters. And honestly that’s cauz they’re safe characters… in a safe world… basically doing safe shit.

    Boring.

    Carson has said this a bazillion times but keeping your characters safe is like the total opposite of character development. The more the audience feels like your main characters are in real danger, the more we are invested in the movie. Completely.

    I honestly haven’t felt any sort of danger for Rey, Finn, Poe or even kylo. After that floating space shit with Leia I’m not sure I feel any danger for peeps in this universe anymore. No sense of danger, no place for the characters to go.

    Luke losing his hand reminds the audience that anything can happen. That we could lose this character we love before he gets the opp to fulfill his destiny. It puts us back into the universe of the movie in a very visceral way.

    To me– thats awesome character development.

    We get none of that in these new ones. No real moment of peril. Killin off Han n Luke do nothing to raise the stakes for me with Rey, Po and Finn. I’m not sayin they have to lose an eye or a hand. But they have to lose something of consequence to them. Something that will make me as an audience member go– “whoa, wasn’t expecting that at all.”

    Small scars don’t cut it (Kylo)

    Losing mentors don’t cut it (Rey 2xs)

    Having potential love interest in comas don’t cut it (Finn n Rey)

    Star Wars rebels (the Disney XD cartoon) knew enough about this concept to blind one of its major characters in a light saber battle in its season 2 finale. And anyone who’s followed that show knows how great that character arcs.

    Finding ways to arc the central characters into real peril is what will make writing ep 9 the biggest challenge. They (terrio n JJ) don’t have to go all BvS and kill superman but we need more character arcing then what we’ve gotten by both mystery boxing (ep 7) and thematic preaching (ep 8).

    Where is Rey’s character gonna go now? A bad ass Jedi? She’s already that.
    Where is Kyla’s character gonna go now? A mega bad guy? He’s already that.
    Where does Finn’s character go now? A self sacrificing hero? He’s already that

    We need peril.

    That’s the only hope.

  • ChadStuart

    I’m still flummoxed that people believe this is a trilogy and the story will end with IX. That’s not why Disney paid 4 billion dollars for this property. Sure, people involved in the production keep saying trilogy, but there’s a very good reason the “end” hasn’t been mapped out. We will keep getting films in the saga storyline for as long as audiences show up.

    • Avatar

      Just based on this film, it seems like they are starting from scratch. (spoilers) just based on the last scene where that boy was sweeping…. they are going to start with a whole new crop of Jedis…. Last Jedi is misleading….It should be A whole New Jedi. The entire movie mirrors what’s happening in the world. Chaos disrupting the world order…and the forces grappling for control of waht’s going to be the new world order. Kylo Ren is just as erratic as some leaders, based on his own impulses, rather than on a defined set of values.

    • andyjaxfl

      My hope is that once they get these fan service series out of the way — wrapping up this new trilogy, the young Han Solo, Obi Wan solo movie, Boba (snooze) Fett, and whatever else they need to gross $1.5 billion in the next three or four years — that they’ll evolve into different eras of the Star Wars universe and play around a little bit.

  • Eric

    There’s just no pleasing a rabid fan base. And it’s unfortunate how oblivious the fan base is to the fact that they cause their own problems. Take the Alien franchise. When Prometheus came out, Ridley Scott took a bunch of crap over the movie not being “Alien” enough. Fans were underwhelmed by the spin-off, so when Ridley Scott and the studio set about making Alien: Covenant, the creature was brought back and featured prominently. How did the fan base react? By complaining that it felt like two different movies and that Ridley crapped on everything they liked about Prometheus.

    Liked about Prometheus?!?! Where was this supposed affection when the movie was actually out? Where was this passionate defense when Ridley and the studio needed it? I suspect people just like to complain, or they aren’t even sure exactly what to complain about. Just that they don’t feel the way they hoped they’d feel.

    Now with Star Wars. The key complaint about Force Awakens was that it tried nothing new and was all fan service. Now with Last Jedi? They “destroyed characters” by doing something new with them and didn’t “respect the fan base” (ie service it) enough. Once again, no true insight into where the movies fall short. Just a general sense that it has somehow.

    The lack of self-awareness is astounding. The fans want to enjoy the new Alien as much as the first. The fans want to enjoy the new Star Wars as much as the originals. You won’t. You CAN’T. In fact, you can’t enjoy most new things as much as you would’ve enjoyed them in your youth. Time marches on and more and more, you’ve seen it all. Realizing and accepting this reality is key to taking ANY enjoyment from life as you grow old.

    So if you don’t think you have the capacity to accept and enjoy a new Star Wars movie for what it is, please stop asking for it and rewarding its appearance with money.

    (PS That’s not to say there can’t be legitimate criticism of a movie. Just that those criticisms shouldn’t be directly opposed to your criticisms of the last movie)

    • Avatar

      Well, I don’t think it’s reflective of a fan base. Watching it with an audience is so different than reading on the internet. In the theater, audiences will clap and really appreciate a movie….and reporters asking them what they think. On the internet, it might just be a few angry fans with multiple fake accounts just bombarding a site. Making a film based on fan advice is dangerous anyway….it’s like sorting through a junkyard. Some criticism might be valid…other times, the suggestions are just ridiculous. Kevin Smith is passionate about comic books, but when studios put him to the test and had him write scripts on these characters, his scripts were terrible and made no sense.

      • RO

        Kevin Smith, as much as I adore him, likes EVERYTHING. He doesn’t have his own particular taste. I can’t think of a movie he dislikes. Because of that, his narratives and ideas are mundane.

        All writers need to have a taste and a bar for what makes a quality script/movie for themselves. It’s having this bar that gives us a target to hit and hopefully surpass. If you’re a writer who likes everything to the point where others think you’re just a blind movie fan, then I would find it difficult to believe you’ll be able to grow as a writer; you have too many movies you love to help you argue, “Well, I love this movie and they did what I did here in my script, so I’m going to keep it!”

        • Avatar

          I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to read his scripts…but it reads like a fanboy just fan dumping all the stuff he loves, rather than having a focused narrative. His stuff is actually worse than the filmmakers that get criticized. I forget which filmmaker said it, but they said that at some point you have do draw the line at being a fanboy and have a clear vision of what story you want to tell.

          • RO

            I’ve read a bunch of his scripts. They would be better plays you’d see at a comic convention rather than a feature film.

          • Avatar

            LOL, yeah. Agreed.

      • Eric

        I agree. I remember seeing Jurassic World in the theater. It had problems, but the audience reaction was great. Usually I try to watch movies with small crowds cause I’ve had good movies distracted from by bad ones. But seeing Jurassic World in that crowd reminded me of how good it can feel to watch a movie where everyone is on board and feeling good.

        Then I went on the internet, where everyone acts like a little b***h about everything. It’s odd trying to figure out where these people were at in my theater. It’s almost like a hangover. When they’re drunk the night before, everything seemed great and felt good. Now that they wake up the next morning, the rush of being in the moment is replaced with a headache and real doubts about the quality of experiences had the previous night.

        “I’ll never drink a sequel again” we promise ourselves. The promise never lasts.

    • RO

      I didn’t pay to see the last jedi and I’m glad I didn’t lose 18 bucks on it. The Luke in TLJ does not fit with the Luke of the series, or to be more accurate the reason for him behaving the way he behaves was too weak to warrant the result. I had no issue with Leia using the force, but it would have been better pacing and more of a moment to have her use it as she’s being vented out of the bridge; not a few minutes after she’s floating in space. Wasn’t impressed with the light speed through the ship; that was an idea I was playing around with for a remake of Episode 1, but a ship crashing into the capital world to instigate an investigation amidst a ticking clock to a declaration of war. The casino stuff was irrelevant.

      The fault with this film is that Rian wrote himself into a corner with his slow escape idea. There should have been another choice aside from a chase. Maybe something to address the fallout of those 5 planets destroyed in the previous film?

      Regardless, I found it a rather boring watch.

      • Eric

        I’ll admit I haven’t seen Last Jedi. Seeing it today. But simply by observing fan reactions from afar, it seems to me like the fans play just as big a role in destroying the thing they love as the directors and studio do. There’s no real path forward for those attempting to take their notes from the fans. I’ve heard people say it’s a good movie but not a good Star Wars movie. Seems like a cumbersome way to complain about having just watched a good movie.

  • RS

    I didn’t read the whole article, but I’m not sure I need to. Any SW movie is going to be hard to write because the script is not that important to the studio. They check a whole bunch of boxes first. This was evident from the time the first trailer for The Force Awakens appeared. Go back and watch it. Young, female lead: check. Minority character: check. Funny little robot that the kids will like: check. Millenium Falcon and original characters for older audience: check. New characters for the current generation: check. Stormtroopers, blasters, light sabers and action sequences: check. Probably a few things I’m forgetting.

    And then when all that stew is in the pot, they bring in the writers and say make something of it. No one can. Lawrence Kasdan cannot. Tony Gilroy cannot. Rian Johnson cannot. The best they can do is save something that could be terrible and maybe bring it up to mediocre. I thought The Force Awakens was a horrible script and very little about it at all interested me. The only great part of Rogue One was Darth Vader trying to get the plans, and that was about two minutes. The rest was a yawn. I’m putting off Jedi as long as I can, but I expect more of the same.

    The only way to do SW right is to have all the pressures a studio is putting on this franchise removed. I mean, I can’t watch a NFL game without ten commercials having a SW tie in. That tells you something, which is the script is maybe #10 on the list of things that is important to each installment, so I don’t think the poor writing is confined to IX. It started with I and has continued and will continue, especially if BO receipts are large because then there is no incentive to change course. The studios will conclude –and rightly so– that audiences don’t care about good writing and a solid story and they’ll just give us more of the same.

    • Avatar

      I think suits should have no part in the creative decisions. Kathleen Kennedy shouldn’t be in there demanding how the movie is made–she’s not creative. The best they can do is pick the right people to put in and trust their vision. What you’re describing is exactly how Michael Bay makes films….he will have decided what set pieces he wants and then tells the writer to string together a story–that’s why his movies are so clunky. JJ Abrams instructed his writers to pretty much take beat for beat the stuff that was good in the trilogy–of course, they couldn’t come up with something original. I would say go and see the Last Jedi yourself and make up your own mind. I was pleasantly surprised that I loved it—I was becoming disillusioned with each disappointment of the sequels after the original trilogy. JJ Abrams was so afraid to tackle the hard questions of Star Wars that he designed the entire movie as a series of questions to be answered by Episode 8.

      • RS

        I think JJ Abrams is much like Bay, and I haven’t liked his movies. He’s a showman but not a storyteller, and TFA seemed like a great big show without a compelling story. And I do agree that suits should not decide, but unfortunately they do and that’s why we see such poor screenplays.

        I hope to be pleasantly surprised by Jedi, but if history is a guide it will be more of the same I believe. We shall see…

        • Avatar

          Well, I went in with the benefit of thinking it would suck, so everything was up hill from there as with each frame I discovered that I was loving it….the group I was with had the same reaction. They wanted to hate this movie before it started. I think a lot of filmmakers succeed in spit of suits rather than because of them….and when they do succeed, suddenly, the suits claim credit for it. Francis Ford Coppola had to fight suggestions from Robert Evans about casting non-Italians as Michael Corleone. Coppola insisted on Al Pacino and Italians in a movie about the Italian mob. There are countless filmmakers that had to deal with interference from suits that threw in suggestions that hinder a movie.

          • RS

            I think Don Corleone’s wife was played by a Jewish woman, at least my father keeps telling me that.

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          In Michael Bay’s defense, isn’t storytelling the SCREENWRITER’S contribution? I LOVE directors and will ALWAYS pay my respects and defend them, because they’re the one carrying out THE VISION. Get the vision wrong, and you make the director’s job of salvaging something memorable out of that much harder.

          I’m not a fan of “Transformers”, but that has NOTHING to do with Michael Bay, and his technical skills. Imo, “Transformers” suffers from it being at its core a child’s cartoon story, which for some reason that still escapes me got some people to think they could transform it into adult fare. (Pun intended) Didn’t translate. Hard sell. Especially if you bring your brain into the theater when you go see it.
          But in my opinion, none of the “Transformers” movie’s intellectual deficiencies are really NOT the fault of the director or any of its actors. Rather it’s the fault of people trying to pound a square object into a circular hole.

          Just curious RS, how much do YOU think the director is to blame for the story? I always that movie directors were the true magicians in the movie-making process; who’s job it was to bring outlandish, complete-and-ready-to-roll scripts to life. I don’t think it’s fair to expect movie directors to fix a given story’s plot-hole and logic deficiencies. Screenwriters provide the vision. Directors carry out that vision and have the inherent sensitivities to carry out that vision, maximise its potential, and create true, movie-going magic.

          That’s why I love Ridley Scott so much. I NEVER faulted him for plot holes, but rather lauded him for the affects he was able to deliver on screen. #2ndtonone

          • RS

            Bad script director’s fault? Situational. JJ Abrams was never going to write a better script or pressure writers to do better, so in that sense he was following studio lead, just like the writers. For fun, let’s say they asked Spielberg to direct SW. Then you might have a fight or conditions on your hands because he’d probably insist on higher quality.

            So it really depends. Some directors will go along, others will balk. Bay is perfect for Transformers because he knows it’s not about the script and didn’t try to do anything too artistic (though I think there is an artistry to directing a big action sequence). He knew what they wanted and delivered. Good for him.

            My main beef –and this is going sometime back– is the amount of pro writers I recall defending the Transformers script. It was stupid and any writer of half way decent skill who knew the cartoon could have been hired to write that mess, but they had to circle the wagons and sort of pretend it takes a certain kind of talent to write that movie. I think it was a defense crouch: admit a script like that could be done by any amount of people and you jeopardize your paycheck and shine a light on the system a bit–that is, writing, especially at the blockbuster level, need not be the domain of inspired people, but those who know how to give the studio/director what it/they want.

            This does not mean those writers don’t have skill and have not written great scripts. I’m sure they have, but it bothered me the defensiveness I saw around the Transformers script. It was dumb but rather than say so or just admit the writer had little flexibility, they acted as if it was some task only achievable by a gifted few. That’s what bothered me most about Transformers: it’s like a form of political correctness where you can’t call junk junk but have to pretend it’s otherwise.

          • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

            Great post, RS. I totally agree.

          • RO

            A director is really a double edge sword position on a film. Many have made a career on four phrases: “action!”, “cut!”, “do it a little faster”, and “do it a little slower” and still get work. At the bare minimum that’s all a director has to do. If you have the best cast, crew, post production team you don’t need a director because all of those people, if they are indeed the best, know what they have to do.

            But a real director is responsible for the product as a whole. Meaning, if there is something not working with the script, they’re responsible to get it fixed. If they don’t, they’re failing at their job. If there’s a problem with an actor, it’s the directors responsibility to get it fixed, either helping the actor or re-casting (IE: All the money in the world). If there’s a problem with a location, it’s the directors responsibility to find an alternative that works. The director has a team of people in the production to assist in all of those issues, but the final call comes down on the directors shoulders and if the director isn’t doing that job properly it’s up to the producer to get them on board or kick them off.

            Unless reports can confirm studio meddling, the onus of the final product will always land on the director.

            For TV, those responsibilities weigh in on the show runner/producers. So when a season of tv really stinks, it’s on them and not so much the director that came in to work one episode.

  • r.w. hahn

    Just because she was told she came from nobodies, doesn’t mean it was true…Consider the source.

    • Avatar

      Yeah, I was kind of thinking that too. Up until the end of the Empire, Luke was told that Darth Vadar killed his father.

    • PQOTD

      She could be Qui-Gon Jinn’s great-niece or something. Perhaps the Force runs strong in that bloodline, too.

  • Avatar

    Well, I liked this one way better than the Force Awakens, which I felt
    was afraid to tackle the hard topics. I would argue that this film
    does have character arc. JJ Abrams left the trilogy in a bind, by
    making Rey a badass from the start and posing a bunch of questions
    without answering them. That left the tough task for the following
    filmmaker to clean up. In this one, Luke has lost his faith….he’s
    grappling with it. Rey is looking to him for guidance, instead of
    getting it, she’s left to herself to grapple with her own faith. Kylo
    Ren is grappling with his own issues and he comes to the realization of
    why answer to anyone when he can destroy everything and establish a new
    world order with himself as the head. Kylo Ren and Rey make very
    different choices. Kylo Ren decides to use his dark power….while Rey
    decides to be the resistance. It’s almost like they are twins
    fighting each other….which I wouldn’t be surprised would be the big
    reveal in episode 9. I feel like the storytelling was much stronger in
    this one. I am going to watch it some more to decide where I rank
    this, but it’s certainly an improvement over the Force Awakens and Rogue
    One. The greatness of the original trilogy is that George Lucas
    tackled the area of faith, but did it in a very entertaining way.
    Conflict, in of itself, is not that interesting. You can look at all
    the DC movies as example A….it’s the execution of how show that
    conflict that separates the good from the bad.

    As for box office, this movie will have made over 800 million by today. Avengers, Fast and the Furious 6, the Twilight movies, and the Fifty Shades of Grey movies all had similar dropoffs. No one’s freaking out about those not making money. If a franchise makes well over a billion dollars…that’s not a travesty…it’s just bean counters being too greedy. Movies like this are always front loaded because it was sold out with advanced tickets months ago. The only thing that will decide how many billions this makes is if the people who sample it have repeat viewing. I think the controversy has actually driven some people to go out and watch it because they want to see it for themselves; possible trainwrecks attract people and they do not want any more spoilers to ruin their experience.

  • Avatar

    For those that watched the movie, did you feel like the acting improved. Daisy Ridley, Boyega, Adam Driver….all seemed to be much better in this movie. Their performances in the previous one was pretty shaky…or it might have just been the script.

  • Nick Morris

    I totally assumed that they were gonna go the siblings route with Rey and Kylo. My theory coming out of TFA was that Han had taken off before Rey’s birth and wasn’t aware of her existence. Leia had Luke hide her on Jakku to protect her from Snoke/Kylo/Dark side etc with Max Von Sydow watching over her from afar ala Obi Wan. Chewbacca would have been in on the secret possibly stashing the Falcon there for Rey to inherit when the time was right.

    Perhaps that would have mirrored the Jacen/Jaina Solo story from the books too closely and I imagine Rian would have found that narrative too predictable and neat.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      WOW, real cool thoughts, Nick. Plausible too. Good job, you must have already had your morning coffee.

    • Avatar

      I think Rian realized it would be too predictable if he did what they did in the Force Awakens and copied the exact same storyline. Rey might very well be the twin, but just like with Darth Vadar, who knows if the truth won’t be revealed later.

  • Avatar

    Btw, I don’t think most of the filmgoing public really cares about what we care about in here. Maybe, a few might hear about the controversy and go check something out. The hardcore fans will already have their opinion and be bickering amongst themselves. Older viewers might be somewhat affected by reviews, but that’s usually for the 3rd or 4th movie choice like a Molly’s Game or Greatest Showman, not a tentpole like this. They will be most affected by what their family and friends think of it and what they think of trailer or whoever movie stars they have the hots for. It’s so different when you speak to moviegoers who are not screenwriters….they look at you like wtf are you talking about, when you discuss character arc, emotional wound, structure of a movie. They’ll be like huh? They either thought it was well told or it it isn’t.

  • Altius

    “there’s only one place for JJ to go. Kylo and Rey have to be brother and sister.”

    – No. As someone who loved both TFA and TLJ, I have to say one of the things I appreciated the most was the decision to tell us that Rey is NOT of any royal or special lineage. Move this franchise away from the Skywalker family saga, which we all know and love, to “nobodies” making something of their inherent gifts. I’m glad they didn’t give us the cliche we were expecting. Make bold choices. And sure, Episode IX will be hard as hell to write, but that has everything to do with fan expectations rather than just storytelling decisions.

    IMO, IX was set up to be a final showdown between Kylo and Leia, not Rey. His mother, the one person he couldn’t face or pull the trigger on. I think the loss of Carrie Fisher provides more of a challenge than anything else in this trilogy. There was an intention behind Ford starring in the first film, and Hamill featuring so prominently in the second. The third film would have put Leia at center stage with a storyline integral to wrapping up this saga. I don’t envy JJ this position, but I trust him to do right by the characters and fans alike.

  • http://dlambertson.wix.com/scripts Eldave1

    The answer to the question is a resounding no! The heroes and villains are already baked in. Mix in some cutesy robots, add any planetary crisis that you wish, and spread storm troopers in generously. Ugh – friggin – ugh.

    The original story telling was great in the very first trilogy. After that, the franchise just joined the dustbin of the movie sequel generator machine and is no different than Rocky V, VI, ……

    I will continue to be amazed by the amount of oxygen wasted on Star Wars.

  • http://vimeo.com/adamwparker Adam W. Parker

    The Last Jedi is an evil movie.

    Maybe the first evil movie ever.

    Lol it sounds crazy right. It’s true. Even Nazi propaganda framed their cause as righteous. But we clearly hear the villain say “destroy the past” and that is exactly what the movie does. Every other moral statement made by our ‘good guys’ is contradictory and nullified -“don’t destroy what you hate, save what you love” is said following a self-sacrificial attempt. I’ve been thinking about this, and I still would like to hear more thoughts but I’m fairly certain.

    I’m laughing as I write this but I’m dead serious. Did we just witness an evil movie? Do you think it was intentional or were his choices so horrible that he just ended up here.

  • Kirk Diggler

    Because Disney won’t and can’t put a fork in it….

    The new villain has to be Kylo Ren’s apprentice. Since Ren has proven to be a pale imitation of Vader, his apprentice has to be all sorts of bad ass fuckery to the point that even Ren becomes disgusted with his behavior. Who is Ren but just a spoiled brat who couldn’t live up to his famous parents? Boohoo, his Daddy didn’t love him. Ugh.

    The next film should concentrate on the one decent idea in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren and Rey teaming up. In the 3rd installment, they join forces to destroy the new, more powerful, more evil apprentice. Darth Maul’s skill crossed with the cunning of Palpatine.

    The only way for Kylo Ren to be redeemed is through the goodness of Rey, similar to what they did with Luke/Anakin. It’s a bit of a retread but let’s face it, there ain’t anything new under the double sun of Tattooine. Screw Finn and Poe and everyone else, they are minor characters who mostly serve to annoy the audience. As someone pointed out, collectively those two had almost zero affect on TLJ’s plot. Concentrate the story on the simple arc of Rey and Ren having to overcome a greater evil than Vader himself. If done right, I might even pay to see it.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      You’re following the tracks of the past a little too closer, Captain Kirk. I think the new master villain should be General Hux, with Kylo Ren oscillating between being a good guy and a bad guy. New villains should emerge from Snoke or Palpatine’s associates. That’s the black box that has yet to be opened.

      Glad to read this post’s got you thinking. That’s a good thing! Happy holidays!!

    • wlubake

      There’s no way they can introduce anyone new in Episode 9 as a legit villain. You brought Kylo as your date, and now you have to dance with him.

      Kylo’s whiny, petulant child act could be just what we need. He now has the training wheels off. No Snoke to order him around. No Luke to threaten him. He becomes ruthless, wreckless and unpredictable. He quickly dispatches of his “brother” Hux at the start of Episode 9. Then he uses the Knights of Ren (a bunch of freaking trained Jedi knights) to wreak havoc on the galaxy. Shunned by Rey, disgraced by her, he makes every kill a tribute to her. Every base he levels, every hero he kills, he makes sure she knows it was done for her. His power explodes, as Snoke was holding him back, rather than setting him loose.

      Now Rey has a team of bad Jedi (Knights of Ren) and one mega bad Jedi (Kylo) to defeat, all while still trying to find the good in Kylo.

  • Howie428

    As has been noted, this new trilogy had a Luke Skywalker problem… for a new hero to be needed the old one had to have fallen. The unfortunate thing is that with about five minutes of thought an answer to the problem became obvious to me.

    The Return of the Jedi ended with Luke being zapped near to death by the Emperor, and after that he does not use his powers much. So that was the solution… Luke was changed by his battle with the Emperor. Once you decide to use that you get two choices…

    Either, Luke’s powers have been weakened and he chooses to hide so that he can remain a source of hope, even if he is unable to help.

    Or, Luke has gained too much power, and whenever he uses the force the electrical power comes out of him. He’s a danger to anyone around him and risks decaying himself if he uses the force. This would have set him up as a one use super-weapon for the final battle, a battle during which he’d be wielding the force at an out-of-control level.

    That second choice would have been really cool, and would have allowed Luke to remain the same character he had always been, but with a clear conflict preventing him from getting involved.

  • Poe_Serling

    “Is Star Wars IX The Most Difficult Screenplay to Write in History?”

    Nope. Not even close.

    It has to be the screenplay for the Creature from the Black Lagoon remake.

    That particular project has been in development for nearly 40 years. Over the
    years a who’s who of directors (Reitman, Carpenter, del Toro, etc. … even the
    original director Jack Arnold was once back in the mix) and a ton of screenwriters
    have gone through that revolving door.

    Before people get all riled up by my ‘bold’ statement, I’m just joking around a
    bit.

    No one really knows the answer to the above ?… it’s just a fun conversation
    starter.

    ;-)

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      I like the “Creature from the Black Lagoon”. I think a fusion with mythology from Atlantis might have been the magic elixir to a stronger movie. Ie. introduced “taboo” cloning and bio engineering being done on Atlantis that resulted in it’s God-imposed destruction. “The creature” was one of those in-process experiments who escaped after his captors/creators died off following the exodus from that place.

      Just spit-balling there, Poe; but that’s where my mind went to build up the world where “the creature” could have come from.

      But in all honesty, “Star Wars” has TONS of source material for screenwriters to springboard, whereas “The Creature from the Black Lagoon” would only have past draft of un-produced screenplays that haven’t been seen by most people.

      So… you’re right! I think doing a re-write of “Creature from the Black Lagoon” IS a harder task then writing the next installment of “Star Wars”, THOUGH based on the relatively sparse response to Carson’s challenge I’d have to say most at Scriptshadow aren’t ready for a challenge of that magnitude. Baby steps… So thank God we have Guillermo del Torro and Vanessa Taylor to pick up that ball and run with it!

      • Poe_Serling

        Forget Atlantis and the Star Wars universe…

        Your neck of the woods is already a hotbed of source material to jump start
        a truck load of potential film projects.

        Exhibit one:

        Skystone (aka the mysterious Astro-rock).

        ;-)

        • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

          My family and I were JUST talking about a potential alien base in Mt. Adams. NO, I didn’t start that conversation, fyi; my younger brother did. He is wayyyy more into conspiracy theories than I ever was. Mt. Adams is tall mountain which real close to Mt. St. Helens which had an explosive ash eruption in 1980. The only fun experience I had with that place was visiting the Mt. Adams ice cave, which was an underground cave that quickly turned into ice.

    • brenkilco

      Yeah, Star Wars IX. A Finnegan’s Wake adaptation would be cake next to that.

    • klmn

      Would it be harder to write than a Half-Llama Man script?

      • Poe_Serling

        This is just my guess…

        The underlying problem with C’s legendary, unproduced “a man who was half-llama” project?

        He was mining a creative vein in a subject matter of so-so appeal and very similar to a host of other mythical creatures already featured in numerous
        flicks:

        >>Half man, half bull

        The Minotaur, the Wild Beast of Crete. Wonder if Andyj ever checked that one out as he strolled through the many arched gateways of his sword-and-sandal genre.

        >>Half man, half horse

        The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Probably the pic with one of the most
        memorable Centaurs in film history.

        >>Half woman, half fish

        Mermaids have been a staple of flicks forever. From big budget efforts
        such as Pirates of the Caribbean series to B-pics Night Tide to golden
        oldies Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid.

        Please refrain from any jokes… this is a super serious screenwriting
        topic.

        ;-)

        • klmn

          I’m thinking more like Spiderman. You know, like his superpower is spinning webs and swinging around like a Flying Wallenda, Half-Llama Man’s power would be spitting.

          Hmm, maybe it should be a comic book before it hits the big screen. First issue: Half-Llama Man Versus The Skunk-Man.

  • wlubake

    I think Disney will avoid the guy rushing in to save the girl with all its might. Rey is the hero. Poe is window dressing.

  • Avatar

    I still think the Emperor is the scariest villain in the Star Wars universe. Darth Vadar is the most charismatic villain in the universe—so bad, yet, so cool. Kylo Ren’s kind of interesting in this one….but, he sure is not as intimidating as the Emperor, who scared the crap out of me when as a kid… Someone so evil and powerful that he could make Darth Vadar subject to him.

  • carsonreeves1

    Are people just talking about the director change when they say Solo is in trouble? Or is there new information?

  • JJ

    Split Episode IX into IX and X (they did it with Hunger Games), because to make any plot work at this point and not feel rushed would require the time.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Depends on what you wanna do. Like I’ve said several times now, I think the next episode needs to re-establish who the villain is. Know the villain, know the story. You wanna have these heroic moments, get set that up first. A good villain will give Rey, Finn and Poe something to do. You don’t want them to take up knitting, do you?

    • PQOTD

      They did that with Harry Potter, too, and the Deathly Hallows finale.

  • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

    I actually like where Rian is taking the franchise. You can’t live in the past. Gotta have the BALLS to try something different, and he did.

  • Midnight Luck

    I fucking love article titles like this:
    “Will Smith’s ‘Bright’ is terrible, but that doesn’t matter to Netflix”

    All it does is support my belief in the shit twister Hollywood has become.
    Who CARES if anything’s GOOD!?
    As long as people buy and show up and talk about it, even about how shitty it is, fuck them if they’re looking for good movies, we’ll give them garbage instead, and they’ll LIKE it!

    Like this, a very telling snippet: “hype matters more than quality.”
    Fuck. Cesspool has arrived.

    https://www.engadget.com/2017/12/27/bright-netflix-will-smith/

    • Malibo Jackk

      White bread is the most popular bread sold.
      Coke and Pepsi are billion dollar companies.
      Junk and processed food – an industry in the trillions.
      Before the internet the most popular magazine was TV Guide.
      Most of what’s on radio and 500 channels of TV is trash.
      And the news is about what Kim Kardashian got for Christmas.

      Not sure what you’re talking about.

      • klmn

        Did you ever get your bitchcoin, Jackk?

        • Malibo Jackk

          Still waiting…

      • 1st10

        It’s like you have two choices in Hollywood: appeal to the masses or try to get nominated for an Oscar.

        • brenkilco

          Once upon a time there were movies that could do both. But we were a better class of masses back then.

      • brenkilco

        And Star Wars gets about a million times the exegesis of The Collected plays of Shakespeare, The Bible, and every other work of literature since Beowulf combined.

    • JasonTremblay

      Bright is NOT terrible.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      Don’t swear, it’s not lady like, especially not twice in the same thread.

      • PQOTD

        Really? Gender policing from Mr. Free Thinker himself?

    • brenkilco

      Still don’t quite get how Netflix can succeed by spending ninety million on a movie that won’t make a dime in theaters. Or on the one hand how it has allegedly reduced lowest common denominator appeal to an exact science while on the other producing something as risky and/or peculiar as Mindhunter or Alias Grace.

      There was an awful lot of crap produced during the golden age of Hollywood. But the demand for product was so great that studios could afford to take some chances and occasionally indulge their talent. Sometimes a classic resulted. At the moment Netflix would appear to be in the same overheated position. Sure, we’ll get Bright 2. But I’m still cautiously optimistic about what else might sneak through. And if The Irishman should turn out to be an autumnal masterpiece….

      • Malibo Jackk

        Irishman – gonna be HUUUUGE.

  • Midnight Luck

    This trilogy of dadada-Star Wars-dadada-Star Wars, would’ve been awesome had it been the internal struggle of Luke as he fell into madness while being consumed by the dark side.
    Had the most horrific horrors befallen him, which slowly stole his belief and trust in the good side, to the point where, he turns and then finds that “YES it is totally true what they were saying before, the complete and all consuming power of the dark side IS better than the power of the good”.
    At which point Luke Skywalker starts morphing into a California Raisin looking bad ass NEW version of The Emperor.
    His whole path has led to this.
    The best BAD guys were once good and believed with their heart and soul in the power of the good. Until the world took everything from them.

    Personally, I think it would’ve been awesome to have Luke circle all the way back round and end up being the baddest of the baddies and end up taking over king of the hooded raisins Mr. Emperor’s clan of the dark side.

    • http://insideechenrysbrain.typepad.com/inside_the_brain_of_ec_he/ E.C. Henry

      You’re twisted, Midnight Luck. What’s wrong with you? It’s Christmastime!