NOTE. Spoilers follow!
A couple of days since I saw The Rise of Skywalker, my desire to see it again keeps getting stronger. Our middle son gets back from university this afternoon, so the plan is to watch our DVDs of Episodes VII and VIII, then go back to the cinema to see IX.
The same day I first blogged about this film, my long-time friend and colleague Matt Wedel also wrote about it (amusingly, leading off with the same opening image), and he has already followed up with a second post: I recommend both.
WARNING. This article will be full of spoilers. Don’t read it if you haven’t seen the film yet. Or, if you do, don’t complain. Spoilers follow the spoiler space.
Back in March, I and my eldest son Dan both got Lepin STAR PLAN kits — from the same Lego-alike manufacturer that made my STAR WNRS Super Star Destroyer. I got a Tantive IV blockade runner, a kit I’d wanted for years but which Lego long ago stopped making.
This looks like a Lego 10221 Super Star Destroyer, from the Ultimate Collector’s Series (UCS) Star Wars range.
But it’s not. It’s a Lepin 05028 Super Star Destroyer, from its Star Wnrs range — an original space-adventure series, like Ricky Rouse and Monald Muck. (Slightly closer to the camera, a third of the way back, is a Star Wnrs Imperial Star Destroyer, to the same scale.)
In deference to those who found it puzzling that The Last Jedi didn’t give us more on The Force Awakens‘ Big Bad, I concede that we’re entitled to wonder whether Snoke was a Sith, and if so, how he fits into the always-two-there-are model. One might profitably muse on whether Sith-ness is in fact constrained to the always-two-there-are model, or whether that was just a story Plagueis/Palpatine, Palpatine/Dooku, then Palpatine/Vader told to make themselves feel special.
What I don’t concede is that the film has to explore that. I rather think we’ll have more fun speculating on such things ourselves that we would get from being told the what The Answer is. Because whatever The Answer turns out to be, the only possible response will be “oh”.
With the whole family, I saw The Last Jedi at the one-minute-after-midnight showing on the day of release, at the wonderful Cinderford Palace Cinema (£2.50 on weekdays, £3.50 at weekends, snacks £1). I loved it and I’m keen to see it again. Almost everything I want to say about it, Matt Wedel has already said in his review over on Echo Station 5-7.
But there is one important thing that I’ve not seen mentioned anywhere yet: not in Matt’s review, or Matt Zoller Seitz’s review on the Roger Ebert site, nor in Mark Kermode’s in The Guardian.
WARNING: MANY SPOILERS.
Every Star Wars fan knows that, contra George Lucas’s revisionism in the Special Edition of the original movie, Han shot first. The moment I came out of seeing The Force Awakens, I knew I wanted to make this T-shirt, but I held off for a month so I could avoid spoilering anyone who wanted to see the film:
Above we see my good buddy Matt Wedel modelling the shirt as only he can. Want one of your own? Course you do! Buy the Kylo Stabbed First shirt here!
As my buddy Matt noted, The Force Awakens nails the, “They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Naturally, they became heroes” quality of the original Star Wars — something that the prequels completely missed.
In December 2008, after years of unrequited desire, I bought myself a second hand Lego UCS Imperial Star Destroyer, kit 10030. Because it was missing a handful of pieces, I got it surprisingly cheaply, for the ridiculously cheap price of £160. (That’s the £145 that I bid, plus £25 P&P, minus a tenner that the vendor very kindly unilaterally refunded on finding that it was less expensive to post than they’d thought.)
I topped it up with 77 pence worth of spare pieces from Lego’s pick-a-brick facility (plus £3.25 P&P) and suddenly I had a whole Star Destroyer for £163.25:
I’ve read a couple of reviews arguing that Jackson is making the same mistake in the Hobbit that Lucas did in the Star Wars prequels — filling in details that the original only hinted at (“the Senate has been dissolved”, “the Clone Wars”, etc.) with concretised versions that aren’t as interesting as what we independently imagined. But in the case of Tolkien the exact opposite is the case, and the “back story” is actually the primary story that the well-known parts were made up to sit on top of and, if you like, act as an advertisement for. By foregrounding these, Jackson is arguably being more true to Tolkien’s original vision than J. R. R. was himself in writing The Hobbit.