I admit, my ramblings often take the long road before becoming blog post, Kindle book, website, or printed tome. Inspiration, for me, is a slow-moving slog. This one came back from the archive. So, I show appreciation when those tormented souls push to bring any work to life. Creativity is hard. Rabid fans are impossible to please. Even harder? Well, put on your Luke Skywalker boots and walk a mile wearing George Lucas’ shoes. For Episode VII, Rian Johnson deftly walked a fine line highlighting those leather boots, being careful not to show footprints in the red sand. After, I drafted a theory of how the new saga would take a bow and come to a close. But … well … I admit … I never finished. Perhaps, I didn’t have the courage to put my fan theory out there; so, you’ll have to take the trust leap with me. I had two hunches I bantered about on how the Skywalker Saga would come to a definitive close (And despite my skepticism, I was excited to see the end):
My Original Convoluted Conspiracy Theory
During Episode VII, the lightsaber calls out for wayward Rey, wanting her to wield Anakin’s blade. The flashback is revealing and draws attention to Luke’s robotic hand. Note, the hand looks drastically different, not hand like at all from the Empire Strikes Back ending.
How did that lightsaber find the way from cloud city? I had no idea. But the reason for the calling? Well, Rey is a clone from Luke’s hand.
At the time, I didn’t think this was so far-fetched. The Emperor experimented with the technology, years of comic book lore hinted from the Dark Empire series. Why wouldn’t he find Luke’s hand floating in space and try to create a Luke Skywalker army? And more importantly, I never felt the Big Bad could fall to his own hubris. Always lurking in the shadows, why else would he come out of hiding at the end of Episode VI? Why did he laugh when Luke tried to strike him down? Well, because he had a host of bodies lined up ready to go in case of emergency. This is the greatest Sith Lord of a generation. He’d have contingency plans for his backup plans.
And Rian Johnson’s mirror scene of Rey foreshadowed this ultimate conclusion.
The Simple Theory
Simply, he survived the fall. Hey, why not?
I wrote this article dubbed the Moon Landing and Occam’s Razor years back after watching this ridiculous conspiracy show about how the US never landed on the moon. This show took unusual leaps detailing abandoned movie sets and cities of folks sworn to secrecy (this is my favorite; the Federal Government leaks worse than a sieve). Building a rocket to land on the moon and returning safely seems like an easier bet. Heck, Elon accomplished a similar feat in a little more than ten years.
And Rey clones? And clones upon clones … This felt lazy to me.
What Actually Happened
I’ll place the typical spoiler alert here, which is somewhat silly as the movie launched in 2018 and is now available on Disney Plus for the world to view. Long story short, Rey turned out not to be a perfect replica. But about those long lost parents … well one turned out to be a copy of our good friend Palps. On the prediction scale, I give myself a solid B for calling the clone angle.
Logic Leaps and A Failure to Communicate
I struggle with the sequels, mostly because of the ultra-bad dude Snoke. Perhaps, the dark lord should have checked in with his boss. Instead, he’s like the guy at work you forget about. And then, one day he closes a large deal, fixes a massive code bug, or thinks up a new business line. The first Star Wars alluded to the Emperor running errands in the background with a simple callout from the great Grand Tarkin, The Emperor has disbanded the Senate. And we’ll rule the galaxy through fear of this battle station. Then, Darth Vader used his force choke trick to illustrate how powerless a laser toting planet killer can be. Heck, even Darth checked in with his boss in Empire.
Nope, he was a juiced version of the Emperor, but nobody knew until the opening with a bunch of Snoke heads in a tank of goo. Whoops. Didn’t mean to kill him or say anything about him. Why? Because nothing mattered in this story. Sloppy.
Palpatine returning works, but Abrams had to cover too much ground quickly. And, in doing so, we create massive logic leaps in the plot.
- The first planet sequence. Where is it? Who the heck are these guys? At the beginning, Kylo is wailing on the locals wielding axes and spears. Great scene. That being said, nobody cares because we don’t know what the Knights of Ren do, except for a brief scene where a Storm Trooper says, _Cool.
- The Indiana Jones Knife. These are my favorite movies. Glad we could work in a random MacGuffin that serves as an odd map to find the Wayfinder device to track down the evil Emperor. Moves the plot forward.
- I can heal, with no backstory from previous movies. We found a way, new force power. Kylo is saved.
- Lando flashes a winning smile, and random folks from nowhere fly across the galaxy to fight this massive fleet.
- Speaking of ginormous Star Destroyers, how did we build so many without nobody noticing?
- At movie’s end, where did these odd chanting folks come from? Did the Emperor need people to shout you are great in a Sith language to complete the ritual? Who knows? Hey, just accept them.
- Win the war! The side characters made me smile, easy to write. No need to develop.
- The Rey flip is incredible. Leaping abound in this movie makes a fan of the Princess Bride watch on and cheer.
- Lightsaber battles are sights to behold. The palm trick at the end, despite the only purpose of the Knights of Ren is to juice Hasbro’s earnings, worked.
- Leia back from the dead, except for the strange scene where she says it was always him. But hey, what can you do really? Might have cleaned this up with a little digital magic, Grand Tarkin style. They had this incredible tech but decided not to leverage because of some odd Hollywood labor unions.
- Assuming the scene is inside Kylo’s head, glad to have Harrison Ford come back and play the role I love, and he despises. However, part of me believes this should have been Anakin somehow. Meeting his grandfather to put him on the true path might have been a better play. Grant, the scene wouldn’t have played out as well. All hail Harrison Ford.
- Lando and that winning smile, “Wookie’s stand out in a crowd.”
- No lightsaber, but the Emperor knows how to juice the force steroids.
- Cameos. The voices at the end.
Random Baffling Moments
- Just keep skipping … what the heck did Disney do to the laws of light speed in this movie?
- What’s with the axes? Strict gun control regulations passed? Perhaps, the Knights have an e-commerce site and sell these to the locals.
- The Chewie switcharoo felt like a David Blaine magic trick gone wrong.
- A restored Emperor with a lightsaber. All the Sith is dumb. You’d think he’d know to avoid a repeat of the Mace Windu problem. Lightsaber trumps force lightning.
Watching for Logic Leaps
This is what happens when you rush. And would George rush? As an author and screenwriter, he works tirelessly for perfect symmetry, thinking through additions and subtractions. These tales require decades for a reason. Take the climactic battle between Obi-Wan and Anakin. At the end, the Jedi proclaims he has the high ground, “Don’t try it, Anakin.” There are memes built around this small hill, which the plane looks like a 2.0 setting on the treadmill. But, go back to the first trilogy and re-watch Darth Maul with the same high-ground. How many times did Obi rewind this moment, weighing in mind’s eye? Years? Thousands of times? Why didn’t the Sith slash his sword above his head or simply turn? If you look at the character progression of one wise Jedi Knight, that 2.0 incline becomes 10.0 plus. Anakin had the disadvantage.
And that is why I miss George. In his mind, he had worked through a story meticulously about siblings and family. The Heroes Journey stands time’s test.
Sadly, we never saw his complete vision of the tale. Disney shelved the script. And although I enjoyed parts of the new trilogy, the movies are more of a collection of scenes to satisfy fandom. Yes, the showdown between Luke and Kylo in VII is worth sitting through a two-hour slog about a fleet running out of gas after the opening battle scene. But ask yourself, how often do you watch the full movie? I take in the first half-hour the last, covers the high points.
Taken as a whole, Star Wars will stand time’s test (it already has, technically) but not because of these movies. Books, comics, and other side projects have come to the rescue slowly and surely. The broader lore saves the day by filling in the blanks of Snoke’s ascension, Lando’s run to gather help, and how Kylo stumbled upon the Wayfinder device. Additional world-building would have made these moments carry more weight. The solid additions turn into greatness. Alas … May the Force be with Disney. Perhaps, we will get there years down the line and appreciate the new trilogy. Our imagination and love for Star Wars lore will fill those leaps, making the misfire evolve.
But why not bring back a tortured George? I’d pay a hefty sum to see the what could have been remake. Meanwhile, watch for leaps in your own work and close the gaps in the Hero’s Journey. Always writing.