Suffice to say, and it’s been over two weeks now, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was met with not the greatest audience response.
A 51% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes , 6% lower than Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and a sharper box-office drop than the Rogue One standalone film.
The reception is understandable: Nobody asked for a Star Wars movie with yo momma jokes, a crazy ghost Yoda that can call lightning from the sky by giving a thumbs up, or Porgs trying to make Chewbacca a vegetarian. Nor a scene where Luke milks Lena Dunham.
There are people to blame for this franchise stumbling so early, but the most important of all is the Star Wars story group. This group, led by Kathleen Kennedy, the president of Lucasfilm, is supposed to rule over the franchise’s canon, story and make sure the continuity and consistency is seamless.
It seems they were busy promoting the diversity on their team instead of guaranteeing success for the franchise. In an interview with Fortune, she explained:
“Fifty percent of our executive team are women. Six out of eight of the people in my Story Group are women. I think it’s making a huge difference in the kind of stories we’re trying to tell.”
While she ran around with “The force is female” t-shirts and staffed her story group with women, she apparently forgot to actually plan out this franchise.
In an interview with Deadline, director Rian Johnson revealed that there was no big outline on the trilogy, and that he had full creative freedom to do whatever he wished in The Last Jedi. Meaning Disney and the Star Wars story group left the fate and success of this multi-billion dollar franchise to chance and at the whim of whichever director & writer happened to be directing at the time.
It doesn’t help matters that Disney apparently temporarily scared off director and writer J. J. Abrams who is a big Star Wars fan and the safest bet to direct this new trilogy. It is unlikely that his absence in writing and directing The Last Jedi was planned.
It is unknown why he is returning to direct and write the finale of this trilogy, but fans speculate that Disney got cold feet after the shoot for the latest film was completed.
The characters in The Last Jedi mirror this mess. Admiral Holdo, nicknamed by critics as Admiral SJW, is the definition of leadership as explained by someone with critically low testosterone: a person who must not explain herself, is expected to be followed blindly and without question, and must not be upstaged.
This character’s utter failure to show she deserves to be in charge, that she has some sort of plan, and failing to build-up the rebels confidence, leads to a chain of events where countless rebels die. All because she could not be bothered to explain that she has everything under control and a plan in motion.
But not before she has to finally sacrifice herself in a move that invalidates all other movies as she breaks the universe of Star Wars by hyper-space ramming a dreadnought.
It is no wonder that this same character believes in astrology –a children’s game focused around tarot cards and zodiac signs that is about as valid as the reading of chickenbones and pig guts.
Whether some female writer thought inserting some hocus pocus she believes in into Star Wars to validate herself, or somebody confused astrology with astronomy, is unknown.
The question remains, which one is more pathetic?
The final character, Rose, a small asian woman isn’t much better as we spend 30 minutes with her on a casino planet sequence that is ultimately pointless and ends with them saving space-dog-horses and Rose pretending that this effort was worth it. Interesting note, that was preferred to saving the enslaved children who cared for these pod-race replacement animals.
In the finale, Rose blocks a certain male character from sacrificing himself to save hundreds of rebels, dooming them all to their death and stopping said character from having an actual arc. She explains her reasoning in a line that rivals Anakin’s famous monologue about sand in idiocy:
“We’re going to win this war not by fighting what we hate, but saving what we love.”
It seems Disney went too far in a few places, and already their newly flagship franchise is stumbling. If the executives at Disney wish to course-correct and not end up like DC’s cinematic universe, it would be wise for them to start with the person who did not plan this trilogy ahead of time, and the team who failed to do their job in securing consistency from one movie to the next.
Marc Geppert tweets as @Darian_Wolf.
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