It was the 20th Anniversary of Jar Jar Binks being inflicted on the world last weekend. Well, more than that. The Origins of The Empire/Clone Wars/Imperial Senate/Jedi and Darth Vader are all introduced here. All the brief hints/mentions from Episode 4, 5 and 6 get fleshed out in the Prequel Trilogy.
There is more than meets the eye going on, while Podracing/trade disputes and Binksy are just distractions and toy marketing opportunities for Lucas, the deeper story is of Palpatine’s machinations and manipulations of the Senate Trade rules/ the Jedi and the Sith-coming out party with his alter ego Sidious and sacrificial Sith Darth Maul.
While it was something unexpected, it did set the scene for the rest of the saga. The shocking death of Qui Gon Jinn was like the execution of Ned Stark at the end of Season 1 of Game of Thrones.
I Might have to look for some cosplay ideas- Trooper Bob hasn’t made an appearance recently, but something new sounds good. Though Dewie the Wookie went down well at Widnes Library and Comic Con, so heaving him around looks like it may become a new thing for TVP this year, oh yay!
While one of the best films of all time is Star Wars Episode 5- The Empire Strikes Back. I was initially disappointed with the release of the Last Jedi in December 2017.
I went to see it twice, once by myself and then with my nephews Andrew and Ben.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and The Force Awakens was released, there were comparisons drawn with A New Hope, but TLJ seemed to be a complete rip off of Empire Strikes Back.
I felt conflicted about both the story and characterisation. Especially Luke. The opening battle looked like it was in slow-motion. Then, partway through. After the bridge was blown out, Leia suddenly comes back to life and flies across space. Then over halfway through the film a new character turns up, takes over and belittles one of the main new characters in a shockingly sexist way while there’s a slow chase, a very slow chase, like two tortoises racing takes place.
And they were just a few niggly-wiggly plot points that should have been weeded out in draft form or at shooting stage or even edited out of the final cut.
So I didn’t know what to make of it. Fast Forward to the summer and Youtube is on fire with critics and fans ranting about this, that and Solo. I guess it was easy to follow the bandwagon, seemingly betrayed by Lucasfilm and Disney.
Anyway, I read the novelisation and it seemed to make more sense. Luke’s story is expanded, Leia’s training is alluded to and the moment I referred to as ‘Mary Poppins in space’ is actually described quite well, from Leia’s point of view. It isn’t the first time someone has used The Force to do something extraordinary and impossible- how about Luke scoring the bullseye with those Torpedoes against The Death star? Stretching out a hand to make his Lightsaber fly out of the ice and disarm a Wampa? Acrobatics on Dagobah and Bespin and other examples? Even Yoda spinning round fighting Dooku made me gasp, other people cheered and a few jeered. The Cinema was packed for Episode 1, but not for 8.
THE major difference with the novelisation is that everything is given a backstory, an explanation or a reason to happen. Even Holdo is more sympathetic. It’s more rounded and deeper- actually seeing the events unfold from each Characters Point of view, not something that can be done easily in a movie.
And yes, having seen the DVD again, it does make better sense; even Laura Dern’s Holdo is a bit more likeable, with the sexist put-down line cut.
Still not the best of the bunch, but after reading the book version, it’s okay.
So, question becomes- what’s next? There’s enough material to cherry-pick from Legends to make a few new Trilogies and Series from. Old Republic/origins of the Jedi/ Sith War/ Founding of the Republic etc. The new trilogy could be episodes 10/11 and 12, but Prequels-to-the-Prequels or something else. With the 50th Anniversary in 2027, perhaps Lucasfilm should adapt the MCU Model- have films out in phases, this is phase 1 still. Phase 2 could be set in Another Galaxy far, far away, phase 3 the cluster of galaxies and so on.
It may be the Creative direction the franchise has needed.
Just a thought.