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Okay I can’t keep it in anymore!!!

I have to speak about The Last Jedi!!!

The newest Star Wars entry is having its premiere tonight. This will be followed by tons of positive social media reaction since Disney will stipulate that you can only tweet if you loved the movie, with Patton Oswalt and Kevin Smith leading the charge.

The film will make 200 million opening weekend solely because it has “Star Wars” in the title.

But then what?

But then what indeed.

While I have my reservations about the film, I love that it’s given us no shortage of things to talk about.

For starters, what nobody’s discussing is that an entire new trilogy is resting on the fate of this film. Everyone’s acting like that trilogy is a foregone conclusion. But mark my words, it won’t be if this movie doesn’t hit 500 million domestic (half of what Force Awakens made).

The magic of Star Wars films has always been in their re-watchability. If a Star Wars movie delivers, nerds like myself will keep going back again and again, pushing that domestic number up higher and higher. If a Star Wars movie doesn’t deliver, someone who was planning on going eight times only goes one. Do the math.

Here are some reasons why this Star Wars may not deliver.

First of all, this is the only Star Wars movie so far that Kathleen Kennedy didn’t clash with the director on. She even clashed with JJ, for goodness’ sake, the nicest guy on the planet. From all accounts, her and Rian Johnson became best friends on The Last Jedi. That may be great for future Christmas Card lists. Not so for creating a good movie. Good movies tend to be born out of conflict. The battles between sides tend to result in the best ideas winning. When everyone’s copacetic, there’s no stimulation to push yourself. The original Star Wars was famous for these battles. I remember reading about a producer – I think the guy who produced The Bridge on the River Kwai – who so believed conflict produced greatness on productions, that if a production was going too smoothly, he would deliberately stir shit up.

Second, the casting on this movie isn’t just bad, it’s uninspired. The three new faces we got are… Laura Dern, Benicio del Toro, and someone named Kelly Marie-Tran. Is the casting of any of these actors getting you excited to see this film? Think about how exciting the casting was for Awakens, particularly Adam Driver, who was a nobody when he got the role. Del Toro is the most interesting of the bunch. But he was just in another space opera movie. Guardians of the Galaxy. Usually, uninspired casting leads to uninspired movies. Not a single sexy casting choice. That seriously worries me.

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Third, the running time. We’ve been told that this will be the longest running time of all the Star Wars movies at 2 hours and 30 minutes, which shows a decided lack of understanding of what makes a good Star Wars movie. The best Star Wars movies have tight running times (Star Wars, Empire). The worst have long running times (Phantom Menace, Revenge of The Sith). Long running times usually indicate a writer-director who’s undecided about where he wants to take the movie, so instead of making the hard decisions to focus the story, they instead leave everything in and let the audience make sense of it. This attitude is what led to Matrix 2 and 3, all three prequels, and numerous other bad films.

Is there anything that gives me hope? One thing and one thing only. The trailers are so decidedly average that I’m hoping a decision was made at the studio level to hide all of Last Jedi’s best parts until the movie came out. I imagine a conversation that went something like, “Empire, another second film of a trilogy, became what it was because of its surprises. Let’s do the same thing here.” So I’m hoping I walk into that theater and 90% of what I see is stuff that wasn’t in the marketing campaign. If that’s the case, not only will I be ecstatic, but I’ll give Johnson and Disney major props for doing something that not a single studio has had the guts to do in two decades.

Oh, and I want to see Luke and Kylo have an awesome lightsaber battle.

And I want to see Luke and Snoke have some sort of trippy Force-showdown. That would be cool, too.

Oh, and I want to see this thing kill someone.

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Okay, I’m done now.

And a Yoda sighting would be nice, too.

  • Lucid Walk

    FIRST!

    The Force is strong with me.

    • Scott Crawford

      Yeah, I had a feeling this was coming this weekend… I should’ve put a bet on it!

      I’m seeing the film on Thursday. I don’t think it’s going to be the greatest film ever made; i just want to see what happens next.

  • moog

    Second! The force is less strong with me.

    Don’t want to hate either, but if I didn’t have a limitless card for the cinema, I’d skip this one until it was on-demand.

    And talking about repeat viewings? The Force Awakens popped up on Netflix, zero interest in seeing it again…

    • Scott Crawford

      Are you a Star Wars fan, moog, or a Star Wars hater or somewhere in between?

  • Nick Morris

    Kathleen Kennedy has a producer credit on almost every widely beloved movie of the last 40+ years. I really don’t think she’d allow Rian Johnson to turn in a shitty Star Wars movie just because she perspnally likes the guy. The fact that Lucasfilm have given him the keys to the franchise gives me great hope that THE LAST JEDI is gonna deliver.

    Carson, you’re just nervous because they haven’t given us much to go on with the trailers. But I love that I have basically no idea what to expect and the release is almost upon us. Lucasfilm has done a remarkable job of keeping the plot details under wraps.

    Here’s my shirt for the show Thursday night. It sums up my only real fear for the movie. :)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e77afa8669b800fb3ac73b7dbbc53127b0bb58277d6e3a9e806be7c84ce08d24.jpg

    • carsonreeves1

      lol I love it.

      I hadn’t thought about that question, actually. I assumed Luke would live. To kill him off feels cheap. We just had a big character death in the first film. A second death would feel really unoriginal.

      The more I think about it, if you give me a great Kylo Ren Luke Skywalker lightsaber battle, I’ll probably leave the theater happy.

      • Scott Crawford

        Han, Leia, Luke. One per movie. In that order.

      • Nick Morris

        When Luke flashes up his old green lightsaber, I’m gonna lose my shit. You know he still has it and the blue one is Rey’s now.

        But I’m a little nervous about R2. I can see them thinking that they have a suitable replacement in BB-8. R2 is the real hero of the saga. He can and should live forever.

        • carsonreeves1

          I KNOW! I hate how R2 & C3PO have been scooted out low-power mode style. R2 is one of the greatest movie characters of all time!

          • Nick Morris

            He’ll have a bigger role in this one. But if he dies, we will also riot.

          • Scott Serradell

            I assume you have an accompanying pair of pants that states this?

          • Nick Morris

            Of course. :)

    • carsonreeves1

      And I want a Sarlac Pit cameo.

    • RO

      “Kathleen Kennedy has a producer credit on almost every widely beloved
      movie of the last 40+ years. I really don’t think she’d allow Rian
      Johnson to turn in a shitty Star Wars movie just because she perspnally
      likes the guy”

      Really? She’s 0 for 2 with TFA and Rogue One. Not very good Star Wars movies. Better than the prequels? Sure. But we shouldn’t be measuring the current movies on the prequels. They have to be measured against the best of the franchise.

      I’ve heard from people that have worked directly under Kathleen Kennedy that she’s a great boss. She challenges, encourages and asks questions. Lucas did the same thing when he started with the Star Wars animated shows, something I feel he wish he had for the prequels now.

      I started meeting people that worked with George Lucas on Maniac Mansion and Young Indiana Jones in college (during the last two SW prequels) and each one of them said the same thing: “He’s not taking the risks that are true to himself.”

      I suspect that he was so impressed with the stuff ILM was able to do, his desire to experiment with the toys of filmmaking overwhelmed his want to experiment with interesting stories. I’ve often asked myself, if the Prequel Trilogy had built on the Original trilogy adding to the mythology instead of being a political talking heads story filling in gaps, would George Lucas have sold Lucas Film to Disney or left it an independent studio?

      The Prequel trilogy is ripe with unintentional conflict, and this current trilogy is currently uninspired. We’ll see how it moves this weekend. I’m crossing my fingers. But like Carson, I’m not a huge fan of Rian. The only film of his I like is ‘Brick’.

  • Scott Crawford

    OK, Mr. Positive here. Not going to hate on it til I’ve seen it. However…

    … bit disappointed with the toys this year. See, Force Awakens had a big toy line, so did Rogue One. But for Last Jedi… not much.

    https://amp.thisisinsider.com/images/59bc147de517bd29248b4847-750-375.jpg

    Ass-kickin’ Leia, pretty cool. But why doesn’t it say Last Jedi? Maybe a long-term marketing thing I don’t know about. But it suggests a lack of faith in the movie. Here’s all the figures:

    https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/t_original/of2q1nruntnieiucqbp4.png

    Mostly just the same characters as the first movie, though I suppose that’s to be expected. The biggest new character is this guy:

    https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/91F3xnU5ncL._SL1500_.jpg

    Hmmmm. Vehicles, I always liked the vehicles:

    https://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s–zzmCOh9y–/c_scale,f_auto,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/q2ekra4axg3qqzdhhnx1.jpg

    The bottom two, Kylo’s Tie Silencer (cool name) and Poe’s snow skier (or whatevs), seem the more interesting. There’s also a new AT-AT, but I think it’s a Revel model (I’m more interested in action figure size):

    https://ttpm.com/anb-img/products/24698/24698_300_300.jpg

    What does this tell is about the movie? Firstly, as I said, strange that they’re not going wholly behind the name THE LAST JEDI. Maybe they want something that will last beyond the movie’s three months in theaters. Dunno.

    Second, are we just going to get a rerun of Empire’s Battle of Hoth? I defended TFA against charges that it was a remake because I felt there were ENOUGH changes. It makes sense that the new Empire would build a new Death Star. But another ice planet battle? Do we get a high-speed forest chase in the next one?

    Sorry for all this, it’s just that I like toys!

    • carsonreeves1

      Despite my mean-ish post, I’m pro-Porg. I think they’re adorbs.

      • Nick Morris

        My 6 year old son is basically going to see the porg. He LOVES that thing! He’s getting that electronic one for Christmas. ;)

  • andyjaxfl

  • andyjaxfl

    Sort of on topic is Disney’s potential acquisition of 20th Century fox (or is it 21st century fox now?). It’s easy to get excited about Disney owning the rights to mutants and Fantastic Four so they can expand the already crowded MCU, and Disney now has the rights to all Star Wars movies, so the original purists can likely expect the original trilogy theatrical editions in 4K within a few years, but…

    What does this mean for writers? Is this now one less place to sell spec scripts? Make that two fewer places as Fox 2000/Searchlight might get disbanded. Or is the consensus that Disney will keep the studios intact and continue to release movies that they don’t want to associate with their brand (i.e. hard R-rated fare).

    Personally, I hope the overall deal doesn’t work out. Marvel can take the mutant-verse and the original Star Wars movie for all I care, but Fox is responsible for producing quite a few “against the grain” movies, and some financially risky ones, in the past ten years and there’s a good chance we’d lose that in favor or safer spectacle (I like most of the Marvel/Star Wars stuff, but I do want to see films other than MCU and Star Wars).

    • RO

      My understanding was that the Dinsey/Fox deal wasn’t to buy the studio, but parts of the studio. Mainly specific film properties, hence why this negotiation is taking so long compared with mergers.

    • carsonreeves1

      Fox was always pretty in-house with their stuff. They’d buy specs every once in awhile. But they were a tightly-wound group.

      I like the idea of X-Men coming into Avengers universe. It’s kinda genius when you think about it, since we’re just about staling out with the Marvel movies. They needed to inject them with something.

  • RO

    For Carson and any other huge SW fans I strongly suggest checking out this series from SF Debris.

    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/herosjourney.php

    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/shadowsjourney.php

    and

    http://sfdebris.com/videos/special/hermitsjourney.php <– still releasing more volumes.

    This guy goes deep in research talking about George Lucas's film career and Star Wars. He does crazy research, and while his narration does have a verbal slip here and there, it's a fascinating examination of an iconic person who changed movies as we knew them.

  • carsonreeves1

    Not enough Jar-Jar or podracing.