S1: Right now.
S2: Charlotte, great paper.
S3: What’s in the box?
S4: Hello and welcome to the Slate Spoiler special On the Rise of Skywalker, Episode 9 of the Star Wars. I don’t know what a nine part all I got Saga.
S5: Is this the official word?
S6: Anology and. No, no.
S4: All right. So. Allergy of trilogies. The generation spanning, as you say in your review, Sam, conclusion or they say conclusion anyway to this cycle of the Star Wars saga. OK. Let’s introduce our big panel here. We have a group of people as large as the Congresss in the Star Wars prequels that met to discuss galactic matters. I’ll start with Marissa Martinelli, associate editor at Slate. Hi, Marissa. Hello, Dana. From my doughnut shaped pot, much like the Galactic Sun, we also have Slate’s culture editor for Wickman neighboors. Hey, Dana. And as mentioned, we have Samuel Adams, senior editor at Slate. And also, you reviewed this movie. So you’re gonna be our resident Star Wars expert for today.
S7: Well, yes, I think I sort of pale beside Forest and Bertha, but I’ll do my best.
S4: I think you have nerd cred enough to to carry me along. Yeah. I should mention that I guess I’m probably the least Star Wars of all of us, although I have seen every single movie except the second two prequels, which and that’s just because the first one was so terrible that there was really no new reason to return afterwards. But that also means that there’s some back that I didn’t quite get in this movie. And I need you guys to explain it to me as we go. But before we get into the very twisty plot and many, many plot devices and McMuffins that we have to explain in this movie, I want to quickly just go around and get your responses to it. Sam, I kind of know yours because I just read your review, but go ahead and summarize it for me first.
S7: This movie made me mad. It’s it’s actually bad, which I did not expect. There sort of like a grudging satisfaction that I got from the end. But even that is just sort of like having your, you know, favorite food like stuffed in your face. It doesn’t actually give him what I wanted. At that point, just a lot of sloppiness and capitulation and backtracking. You expected going into The Force Awakens. That would be fine. And it was fine. And I liked it maybe a little better than I thought. And the last Jedi was a big surprise. And then this. I was surprised by how much I disliked it. Forest.
S5: Yeah, pretty much the same. I’m sort of most curious what you think, Dan and I have a guess about it. The other three of us in the sort of discarded headline I’ve had stuck in my head as the rise of Skywalker brings false balance to the force, which sort of gets at what Sam was talking about and the way it undoes the revisionism of the last Jedi, which I really liked.
S8: And beyond that, it’s just kind of uninspired, which I could tell from literally the first shot of the movie, which we’ll talk about and rest that time, probably the most cliche Star Wars fan among us, and that I’ve seen a lot of the Star Wars content outside of the movies. And I think of myself as a mostly easygoing fan. I thought Solo was fine. Hated this movie. Hated, hated, hated this movie. I spent the last third of it rolling my eyes so hard I thought they’d get stuck.
S4: See, I really do need you guys in my corner because it’s not that I liked the movie. It’s just that I think that my response is probably somewhat similar to Tony Scott’s, which I just read about in his New York Times review, which is that he feels a little bit numb and resigned about the entire saga and maybe about Disney and Star Wars itself. And that there’s a little bit of a sense of, you know, sort of what’s the point of fighting the tide of the fan service oriented mediocrity of so much of what’s come out of this and other franchises. We can talk also about this last trilogy, right, The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi and the Rise of Skywalker and what that’s attempted to do with what a whole generation of people thought Star Wars was. But it’s worth pointing out, and I don’t think I’ve said it yet, that this is directed by J.J. Abrams, who also directed The Force Awakens. Right.
S9: So he provided the bread on the sandwich of this last and all too. True. We’re getting it just like fan fiction already won fairly tasty slice and then won apparently really stale slice.
S4: But maybe talk also just about what his vision or maybe lack of vision for the Star Wars universe has been over the course of those two movies. Right. Because this could have gone in a completely different direction had it been given to someone else. And the idea of giving it back to him rather than to Colin Trevorrow, who at one point was supposed to direct this seems like a move on the part of Disney that feeds into that resignation that I was talking about, like this guy got them into the theaters last time. He’s safe. Let’s just go with him.
S5: Abrams really specializes as a sort of Remax artist. He doesn’t bring a lot of originality to really anything he does historically, but he’s pretty good at twisting things just a little bit. And that’s kind of what the Star Wars movies have become at this point is a lot of just theme and variation. There’s all these things that have to repeat every single time, like you have to have a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. The crawl. Yeah. Then you have to have the big opening title theme in the Prall, which like still gave me goosebumps here. So I was ready to be entertained. Although the first line in the crawl the dead speak had me started to worry a little bit. And then the first shot of the movie. So. You know, the original Star Wars movie has this famous opening shot where the crawl finishes and the camera is just holding on these stars. And then this like tiny rebel fighter flies by. And then it’s followed by this huge star destroyer, which just sets up everything you really need to know about this world, which is that there’s this tiny rebel force against this giant empire and how are they going to win? And then Force Awakens, dude, like a very subtle twist on that. That was pretty good. Like it shows this planet and then the huge star destroyer comes, but it sort of blocks out the planets. All you see is the silhouette and the shadow of the ship. I was like, OK, pretty good. Like kind of the same thing as before, but a slight twist. Last night I did a pretty good twist where I like the camera just starts moving like a spaceship itself as soon as the call finishes this one. It’s just like the camera tilts down. There is a planet. It is red.
S9: Mm hmm. And that’s is how a lot of this movie goes. Just like you see a shot on a sitcom. Right. Laughs Here’s the house they live in.
S5: Yeah. I mean, Sam, you used a lot of sitcom comparisons in your view. So anyway, that’s already I was disappointed by this movie.
S10: It’s interesting to me that the dead speak is the phrase that tipped you off that something might be wrong with this movie as opposed to the other phrase in the opening crowd, which is the phantom empire, which is deliberately evoking one of the worst reviewed and received movie. Isn’t the entire franchise The Phantom Menace?
S11: Yeah. This is now officially the worst reviewed Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace said.
S4: Sam, you did mention that the opening sequence of this movie was one brief moment that you had a glimmer of hope for it. Can you talk about that opening sequence?
S6: Yeah. I mean, I to not to talk about the last that I too much. But I mean, one thing, that movie really does raise the bar on the series. Like visually there were shots in that that were like beautiful and surprising and and striking. And one of the things that was really looking forward to in this movie was how is J.J. Abrams kind of going to respond to the challenge that that movie posed to him and the way the rise of Skywalker opens? I really I thought like, oh, man, he’s really kind of doing this. First you get this kind of slow motion fight sequence of Kylo Ren going ham and a bunch of dudes in like a snowy forest. And then he picks up this little triangular prism thing, which eventually we find out is called a wayfinding. But the whole opening sequence actually takes place without dialogue, too. And then he flies through this kind of glowy red nebula that looks a little bit like he’s flying through like a giant space intestine or something and goes to this alien world where he’s walking under what looks to be this kind of giant floating mountain that somehow was 7 feet off the ground, but has lightning shooting out from under it. And it’s just all this really cool looking stuff. And it’s done without dialogue. And it really like strikes a tone that seems like pretty interesting and exciting. And then that was kind of the last time I felt this way, this movie.
S5: Right. Because he’s going to visit and this is like, I guess a spoiler because the trailers have sort of teased it. But Mara said, do you want to talk about who he’s going to visit?
S10: He’s going to visit. She’s Palpatine, better known as Darth City. Wow. That is actual God given first name.
S12: So this is also like a succession crossover, right? Yes. He’s better known as Darth sidious. And even better known to that, people who know Star Wars from the original trilogy as the Emperor. So that’s the phantom emperor referred to in the crawl right in the face.
S8: They it right at the beginning there because our villain for this trilogy, supposedly Snowy, was killed in the last Jedi.
S13: And so in this movie, they resurrect Palpatine, who has been holed up apparently on this planet, getting older and more wrinkly, sustained by the life force of all the villains who have come before.
S11: Right. And so we basically learned three things. I think the first is that he was somehow I think they use the term puppet master. He was like pulling the strings for all of the villains in the previous movies, which I’ve kind of get. I guess it seems a little hazy. How exactly do you fight that?
S7: Snook is like actually a clone, like you said, like I made snook and color and actually walked by like a big tank of like other schnook bodies. So it’s like he just rolled off an assembly line somehow.
S4: Well, that seems of a piece with something that comes much later, which is the idea that Ray contains every Jedi who’s ever existed inside her in some literal way. Right. I mean, it’s it’s sort of liberalized in some late scenes where it’s not just that the tradition lives on in her because of the teachings that have been passed down, but that somehow they consolidate in their bodies. All of these other beings, which seems to me like it points toward that weird eugenicist side that Star Wars can sometimes have.
S5: You’re right. Or she’s able to call on them. But the emperor tells Kyla Rahn that, quote, She Ray, is not who you think she is, which I guess we can wait to spoil who she is. But it’s another, as you might suspect at this point. It’s another instance of just like the forest is passed down via genetics, which sometimes I’m tempted to go sort of full Godwin’s Law, as you just heard, Dana, and say that if everybody’s powers are predetermined by their genetics and nothing else, it’s a little. Disappointing. And then the other thing he says is that he has this humongous army that I don’t know, Marissa. Does anybody have any idea how he conjures up this humongous army seemingly out of the water that’s called the final order.
S14: I guess kind of like the final solution. So there’s a little bit of that Hitler stuff in there.
S10: Specifically, it’s a fleet of ships that are basically a bunch of death stars, but not round because they’re all capable of destroying planets. They look like star destroyers, but they have like that star guns on them. Yeah, this was hazy to me because there is some material outside of the movie is about the rise of the first order and what happens after the emperor dies in the original trilogy and how he had a contingency plan, but supposedly it failed. So I can glean no explanation in canon for where this came from.
S11: And there’s not much in the movie, right? Like it’s not clear who the engineers are and what planets they mind to, like, build these ships. Right. And how it all happened without anybody in the entire galaxy noticing.
S4: But the cosmology of this movie, as it begins, is that Kylo Ren is in charge of all the bad guys. Right. Like having killed Snook in the last movie, he is now the equivalent of Darth Vader in the universe.
S8: The Supreme Leader. The first order. Right.
S10: And so then there’s this separate entity that apparently no one was aware of that was being put together by a man we thought was dead and built on the planet x Gaul.
S7: I should think I did. It’s hard to get the names of all the planets in this movie, but that is a planet. Yes, the planet x-com, which cannot be found without this. Like we find her. Do hicky, which is going to be quite important.
S4: Yeah. The way find it really becomes with the Gemzar in the Avengers movies. Right. It’s the object that everybody’s racing around the galaxy trying to find. There’s only two of them in existence and a huge amount of this movie, I would say the first third at least is spent just, you know, frantically flailing around the galaxy in search of the wayfinding.
S6: I think it’s even more than that. I mean, I’m really curious to hear the people who complain that last Jedi, the whole Kanto bite sequence was this sort of, you know, pointless diversion really cares what they’re going to say about this movie that I feel like is more like 80 percent fetch quests. It’s just all running around the galaxy trying to find this little triangle thing.
S15: Yeah, it’s very much just a McGuffin thing to be clear like that without rehashing the last that too much. The pointlessness of the Kanto bite thing was the point. Yes, but let’s move on from that.
S16: Well, that brings us to what Finn and Power are doing at this point. We have Kylo Ren on his own little quest.
S12: Meanwhile, Finn and Po are meeting with Messenger, who is telling them that there is a spy within the first order who is unnamed at this point. And while they’re meeting with the spy, Rae is training with Leya in the use of her Jedi powers.
S5: There’s yet another unimaginative callback here. So the way finder is one in a way. So just like everything being about getting an important map that tells you how to get somewhere to defeat the Empire is the original Star Wars movie. And it’s also The Force Awakens like J.J. Abrams that The Force Awakens, at least at that point, was like, okay. We haven’t done this for a while. Fun to do it again. And now it’s like five years or whatever. After The Force Awakens, this was like, oh, yeah, we got to get another map to tell us how to get to the thing at the end of the movie. Disappointing, but yeah. So with Ray, we get another unimaginative reprisal where she’s just lifting rocks, which the last shot I did a whole good funny bit about how the forest is so much more than lifting rocks.
S10: And in this she’s just lifting rocks. That’s all. This movie did not lose me at this point. I was okay with that. And the concept that Ray is a physically gifted Jedi who struggles with the spiritual side of the force.
S11: Right. So we get like a training montage with her, which I thought was fine.
S4: Is she supposed to be on the same planet that Luke was on in the last movie? Is she on the poor planet?
S5: No, it’s not that planet. It’s kind of like and–or from the end of Return of the Jedi. But I think it’s just a different planet.
S8: It is. It’s that new resistance space.
S6: Maybe there’s only so many different ideas for there’s no desert planted in Jungle Planet and ice planet. But there does seem to be like a lot of repetition here. I mean, like, you know, jacquou is kind of the new tattoo end and there’s like another third desert planet in this one. And yeah. So it’s hard to keep them all straight and maybe not entirely necessary.
S4: I wanted to spend more time on the planet with the partying, elephant trunk dancing, people who all seem to be doing the electric slide in their 42 year celebration.
S5: I’m excited to get to this Star Wars equivalent of Burning Man. The other important thing that happens during this ray training sequence is that she’s training under Laya. And you know, in advance of this movie, there had been a lot of hand-wringing about how they were going to finish off Labor’s storyline without having Carrie Fisher around to film it. As you said in your review, Sam, I thought it worked pretty well. Like, she’s a little laconic in a way that you can sort of tell if you’ve read anything about the movie, at least that they’re just reusing old line.
S4: So she shot no footage on this movie. She had no time on the set.
S7: No, I mean, she died before they had even named a director or completed the script.
S4: So they just found old bits of her outtakes or things that she’d said in previous movies that could be repurposed.
S6: Yeah, I mean, I think the reports at least were that it’s all sort of leftover Force Awakens stuff, although I’m sure there’s I mean there’s probably some embargoed feature that’s gonna drop about this in a couple of days explaining how they did the whole thing. Yeah.
S4: Yeah. That could have felt much more artificial than it did because she actually was an important part of the story of this movie. She wasn’t just placed in as decoration or for a couple of inspirational scenes. She really was on the ground kind of directing the action for much of the time.
S11: Right. She was General Laya. And then at the same time in the previous two movies, there were a lot of cutaways to Leah sort of closing her eyes and doing something with her mind really hard, which was sort of teasing like, oh, yeah, I remember Leah has the force. She’s Luke’s sister, you know, who knows what she’s doing or what she could do with the force. And and I always was hoping that there would be some payoff for all of that in this movie. And we get a little bit of that payoff. We get a glimpse of how Leah also went through Jedi training and stuff.
S4: So by a few minutes, in maybe 15, 20 minutes into the movie, we’ve revisited the gang. We know what Ray is up to, what fan and power up to what Kylo Ren is up to off slaughtering people to get his little wayfinding prison thing. Can you talk about Sam getting the gang back together in a spaceship and sending them out on this mission for the way finder?
S7: Right. I mean, one of the complaints about the last movie was supposedly that the sort of core Reno three friends didn’t spend enough time together, although somebody actually did a supercut online. Of all the scenes that Hohn, Luke and Leia are together in in the Empire Strikes Back. And I think it’s about 98 seconds or something like that. So there’s precedent there. But clearly, there was a desire to kind of regroup the friends so they all get packed together on this rebel base planet. Q Is there too many ways there to everybody and you were there. You were there. Yeah. So they do some very like. One of the things that really rubs me the wrong way about this movie is there’s this is really like forced banter between them, a lot of which is just kind of people repeating the same line. One characters that and actually slightly different inflections. And it’s just like placeholder humor, like it sounds like a joke, but they didn’t actually write a joke in yet. A joke, Lloyd, as the writers from Terminus, I think. Yeah, exactly. They’ve gotten this message from the spy that the final order is going to rise, that they have gets 24 hours before they’re sort of big attack and they’re going to blow up a whole bunch of planets.
S6: So they have to go retrace Carlgren steps, find one of these wayfinding, do Hickey’s and the place to go. The last time anyone was seen is on this one. I think we’ve been collectively calling the Burning Man planet yet another desert planet where they go. And there’s a big sort of like color festival going on. It’s the festival of the ancestors celebrated once every 42 years. wink-wink, which is the amount of time since the original Star Wars. They wade through this big festival of these sort of elephant looking people who are all very, very happy and thrilled about their ancestors. They get, you know, of course, tracked down by the empire and they are encountering a familiar face.
S11: So among the many people and creatures at the Festival of Ancestors is Lando Calrissian, played once again by Billy Dee Williams. And there’s a very brief encounter that’s a little bit unsatisfying in a way that I think tips off many viewers that probably there’s more coming and indeed there is. So we can talk more about Landow later, I think. And then they fall into quicksand, which is again, just another one of those things that J.J. Abrams already did in The Force Awakens.
S9: But this time it looks like black beans. So changing it. Oh, is it okay? Yeah, let’s see. Gravel soaking into black beans. Do you Cuban restaurant? Yes. Yeah. Like silica gravel or something.
S17: You think it’s out at REI? I have to tell you, I’ve always. And then plummets.
S18: Would you never write tells her? Right. That’s right. The movie never follows. Yeah. We we did it that well because they’ve been crushing on each other for two movies or at least he’s been crushing on her for sure.
S5: Right. Meanwhile there’s a I guess a couple of semi important things that happen underground. The first one is that they find this scythe knife that is just like yet another MacGuffin kind of in it in some way points the way to the location of where the emperor is. And the important thing about that is that C3PO can translate it, but because it’s Sith, his programming won’t allow him to actually like verbalize the translation to his friends, which is a kind of a funny joke. And it gets us to our next location later. And then there’s a brief encounter with a giant snake or a sort of sand worm, which to me was only interesting in that this is the Star Wars movie that’s the most influenced by Dune since any Star Wars movie since the original one. There’s both the sand worm that Ray learns to tame, just as happens in Dune and one of the most famous sequences. And. And Doone, in a way that sort of suggests that she’s the chosen one.
S7: They definitely failed to walk softly. Is that a down reference? Walk softly and you won’t attract the worm?
S4: Yeah, I have no idea whether this could possibly be a Star Trek reference as well. But given that J.J. Abrams has also had some involvement in directing Star Trek franchise, to me it called Back to a moment in the original series of Star Trek in that famous episode, Devil in the Dark, where there’s this wounded creature. Do you remember does anybody remember this, that the rock lay down? Yes. And find this wounded rock creature that’s been killing all these people and they discover that it’s because it’s a mother and the mother is wounded and she’s trying to protect her eggs. And there’s a very similar kind of moment of empathy where Spock is the empath, communicates with the creature and is able to call it.
S11: Yeah. So, I mean, it’s possible he wasn’t thinking of Dune, although there is a lot more talk of space trading. And this one of space in general, which is something that Star Wars probably took from doing, obviously was the thing in the real world, too. But that was a very, very popular series of novels that had come out of a decade before the snake is wounded.
S10: Ray can sense that it’s mentally upset about something and she tells everyone, don’t shoot it, don’t shoot it. And as she approaches, she sees the wound and she reaches out and she heals it, which is a concept that was actually very common in the expanded universe of Star Wars that was thrown out when Disney bought Lucasfilm marriage and can do it.
S13: Kate Skywalker can do it, but it has not been introduced in the canon since. And so it is a brand new concept that, not coincidentally, was also just introduced to the Mandar Laurean in an episode that came out this week. Baby Yoda demonstrates healing powers in the same way. So they they really just roll that out in a coordinated effort. Okay. Now we have forced healing.
S19: It’s Jedi Healing Week in the X-ray and then a movie that pushes the boundaries of the force in a lot of ways, some of which I think are, yeah, this one really bothered me.
S11: I didn’t really know about the expanded universe stuff. I don’t think or it wasn’t at the top of my mind anyway. And it still seemed like a logical sort of extension of what we’ve seen people do before. I like it a lot. So I don’t like it. You know, it just reminds people of various religious concepts from our world.
S13: I think it’s also a non-violent use of the force, which is nice and refreshing because mostly in these movies we either see the force used in terms of fighting in meditating and lifting rocks and such or in terms of like face timing from planet to planet force type timing.
S19: You might say.
S4: We have to mention the force timing incident that happens on the elephant people’s planet where it just seemed to me like the rules were changing so fast about what the force could do. And I realized that when Kylo Ren and REI are involved, you know, the force goes to the next level and they can do some intense stuff because of their connection. But that moment when they kind of mindscape on on the planet and and he actually telekinetic Lee removes that necklace that she has on. Right. The aliens have given her this almost like a lay in Hawaii or something, this kind of honorary folky necklace. And in this intense conversation that she has in her mind with Kylo Ren, who’s off on another planet somewhere, he’s able to somehow mind… reach through space and yank this thing off of her body, which seemed like such a huge power that it almost seemed weird to me that they ever needed to fight with lasers later on. Right. I mean, they can harm each other and touch each other essentially without it being in the same place.
S8: They did set this up in the last Jedi, because not only do the two characters talk from planet to planet, but there’s one scene where Ray is standing in the rain and Kylo Ren gets wet. So this was something that was at least introduced earlier.
S11: But there is another annoying thing like. So if I can push up my glasses on my nose for a second and push a man up, there is a way that even if you are a Star Wars nerd who just rewatched The Last Jedi. A few days ago, like I did, this is still a little bit annoying and pushes a suspension of disbelief because one of the big twists at the end of the last Jedi is that in fact, they weren’t force timing with each other sort of voluntarily or via their own connection between each other. But Snowcap was doing it as a way of sort of luring in Ray and I guess sort of like tricking them into thinking that they had some special connection together. And then in this movie, we find out, oh, no, no, no, they actually do have a special connection together. It’s this thing called Fourth Dyad, which basically just means they’re the one true pair for each other.
S20: I think those words ever said in the movie The Dyad is that a couple were a dyad.
S7: And the fourth, they’re like force besties, basically. Yeah, they’re destined.
S4: And yet Kirstie’s because they’re constantly trying to kill me. It’s a dialectic, okay. For us to save us from the cave where they have fallen and found the Sith knife after falling through the black being quicksand. Get them back above ground and let’s let’s get them to their next destination because these guys have a lot of planet hopping still to do.
S11: Yeah. I dunno if I even remember how they get above ground, but we don’t need to get too into into the weeds here. That more thing is they end up back above ground on this desert planet and that’s when they encounter. Around this time, I believe in the flesh, not just for the first time, not just be a teleconferencing, and he’s like, he’s actually flown there, right? And he crashes in his like, special edition Tie Fighter. In fact, this is one of the best moments of the movie. I think it’s kind of pointless, but there’s a brief, very good showdown that was also shown in the trailer where he flies straight at her in his special dish and black tie fighter thing. And all she has is her light saber. And she does this back flip over the tie fight. It’s I mean, it’s awesome, right?
S13: It’s so indulgent. I mean, it’s a great scene visually. But the fact that she turns on the light saber before she flips, it’s just such a terrible strategy.
S19: Any sense she’s going to put an eye out?
S7: Safety first mentioned if she’s going to be was like cut through the strap that holds on the wing. You could do that from the ground just as easily as like flipping over top. This is just like a much cooler looking way of doing the same thing.
S4: Yeah, it’s one of those moments of showing off her physical prowess. Right. And having sort of a matrix like really cool, slow motion flip.
S11: Right. And this scene is sort of a force pissing contest between the two of them where they’re seeing who has the most powers. And it leads to after two he gets arrested and taken away in this pod. He’s flying away. And then Ray and Kyla ran have the sort of forced tug of war over the spaceship where they’re both forced, pulling it back and forth. And then Ray is exerting herself too much and she accidentally shoots lightning from her fingers, which might remind us of the emperor. The only other character I think we’ve seen do that, or certainly the character most associated with doing that in the movies, and she accidentally blows up the transport which were led to believe contains Chuey. And can we just briefly say, where was this other transport like? Of course, two isn’t dead. And later they say, oh, yeah, he must have been in a different transport.
S16: Where was the other transport? Right. The idea was we definitely think he’s on there. There was no hint that he was not on the ship, although you could kind of figure they wouldn’t kill off such an importer.
S11: But I would just wish there was like and maybe there is another transport in the background, just like something to set up the rug poll, right?
S4: Yeah. They should have set an escape pod or something like that, which would have been more believable. Right. I mean, if there’d been something within the ship that he could’ve escaped on because we all saw him get on it and when we all saw it blow up. So it’s just one of those moments that you have to suspend your head.
S18: He didn’t he didn’t get out of the Crocker duty car. Yeah.
S21: I was really interested in the concept of Ray using Force Lightning. It didn’t so much suggest me the emperor specifically did for me, although perhaps it should have. As much as that being something that the Sethji I’ll write something that in her anger. Yeah. She let the feelings get the better of her. And this is the result. And it was destructive. And I like that side of Ray to actually see her struggling with the dark side because I feel like a lot of these movies, she’s being tempted and I never really buy it that she’s tempted to actually turn to the dark side.
S10: So here we at least saw something internally rather than external forces saying, breh, join me, take my hand where she might actually have the potential for the dark side inside her. Yeah, the sequence works. It’s also just fucking cool. Like that’s such a fun visual.
S19: Lightning from fingers, lightning from fingers blasting a ship out of the sky and Kylo Ren being like what pandered to a better look cool.
S7: And the two of them having this like big, you know, psychic tug of war over this spaceship like hundreds of feet above them is like, well, I’ve not seen that before. Yeah.
S4: I have a question about Daisy Ridley and Ray for use and it’s a little bit of a sidebar, but you mentioned it in your review and you have this sentence where you say something like Over the course of this trilogy, Daisy Ridley’s limitations have become Ray’s obstacles. And I was fascinated, but I didn’t quite get what you mean like. Are you talking about Daisy Ridley’s limitations as an actor or the way the character is written?
S7: Yeah, no. I mean, I think that the two of them very kind of like moulded to each other and they’re sort of like memory foam where like, I don’t think anyone comes away from these movies thinking that Daisy Ridley is a sort of all purpose actress who you desperately want to see and like lots of other things. But I think that she has really kind of either grown into the part or that part has grown to her or something else. And her sort of emotional limitations have come to me to feel like part of Ray’s character, like she’s someone who kind of keeps a lot down, who is has reason to be afraid of kind of just letting her emotions free and is still kind of coming to terms with or even learning who she is. So I feel like some of the kind of indie sneakiness and the way that the Daisy Ridley for me as an actor kind of comes most alive in this sort of physical aspect that the performance like it’s really interesting to watch her like and also just like cool shit, but it just like I enjoy watching her like swing a light saber. Were around and like jump over tie fighters and stuff. Yeah. Her athleticism is a huge, huge part of her performance. I think she’s the only actor with like a personal trainer listed in the credits. Mean, there’s definitely like a good investment on the productions part.
S4: Okay, Forrest, I’m going to throw it over to you to get us to the planet K.G.B., which is the next place that the gang, the Scooby Doo like gang and they’re painted mistery van in-space goes to resolve, among other things, this C3PO problem that he contains in his memory, the Sith ruins and the knowledge that they need. But because it’s a forbidden language, he has been programmed against exposing it. So how do they solve that problem?
S11: Right. I mean, basically, they solve it with one of my favorite new characters in this whole movie, perhaps my favorite character, who is Babou Frick who? I mean, you guys, please help me describe Barbu Frick to me. Barbu Frick is kind of halfway between Gizmo and the Gremlins. Like, so it’s like Gizmo has maybe had a little bit of snack after midnight or like a little bit of water or something. And so he’s kind of small and like a little slimy and hairy, but still has big eyes. He is kind of cute and disgusting at once in a way I really loved. And I guess Barbu is voiced by Shirley Henderson. So far as we can tell, though, it doesn’t seem to be confirmed on the HDB page or anything. They’re holding back certain credits, so Barbu hacks into C3PO and kind of, well, briefly wipes three P.O.S. memory, although R2-D2 puts three year old memory back into him later. And then we also meet this character has already played by Keri Russell, who I thought looks pretty cool and was pretty good, but I don’t have a whole lot to say about sorry, about sorry.
S4: Why didn’t they ever lift her mask? Like you get an actress like Harry Russell as recognizable and beloved. And yeah, you just show a little bit of her eyes. And I had no idea it was her until the credit.
S5: I think this maybe makes somewhat more sense to people who’ve been watching them. And the Laurean, which has this whole long running theme where the Mandl Orian is this, you know, bounty hunter and sorrys, kind of a mercenary. And the Mandl Orian never takes off his mask because that’s part of the sort of warrior culture where one must never show any vulnerability.
S10: I took it as sort of in that vein, I think, given the timing of the release and how tight in this is to the Mandar Laurean as those being the big Starwars properties right now, that’s a fair assessment.
S4: Also later in the movie, she flips up part of her helmet, Soozie her eyes. And that’s still not enough to know it’s Keri Russell did that Adrianne’s unless you maybe want to knowing.
S7: I knew that she was in it. And so I pieced together. I think you can see like a few sort of telltale strands of hair. If you’re looking for draping the helmet. Yes.
S4: The thing I liked about her character is that it gave Oscar Isaac’s character, WPO, a little bit of chance to express some desire. He knows one of the bombers. I mean, everybody’s always off on this whole series for being so sexless. You know, at the very most there’s a little bit of flirtation, but there’s just not really any sense of like in erotic spreading through the Star Wars Universe Sufferin The Last Jedi, which is super sexy. Yeah, a lot. Which is why the last yet? Not to get into it too much. Part of why it stands apart since. Oh yeah. It’s got some some thirst moments. And being someone who has a massive crush on Oscar Isaac, especially since seeing him as Hamlet when he wore no pants in one important scene, I was just eager for any moment of sort of some suggestive eyebrow lifting on the part of Oscar Isaac. Of course, I wish it had been in the direction of John Boyega because I would happily be a fin po shipper if this saga would give me any chance to be. But in the absence of that, if he has to be straight, let him make Isaac Keri Russell. It’s all good.
S7: They do introduce like female characters for opposite both fit in Poe in this movie. Just kind of make sure that you don’t think that they’re like gave for each other.
S4: Yeah, which again seems like part of this movie’s battening down on conservative Star Wars universe, although as you notice, there was a woman on woman kiss of two completely random characters who we dont know and the final celebration.
S7: Despite these 7000 articles touting that moment in advance, I didn’t notice it at all.
S19: I noticed it because I was looking out for it. Yeah, yeah. I think Zuri is character.
S22: She’s fine in that she hadn’t said PO’d MRN having a sordid past as a spice runner, which kind of flavors his character in an interesting way.
S17: I did not need them to make googly eyes or him to make Aguais and her to have a blank helmet at each other.
S9: goo-goo visor really didn’t add anything for me.
S17: They don’t actually end up together.
S22: It just seemed egregious in light of how both actors Oscar, Isaac and John may have said that they were playing romance in earlier movies.
S17: And then JJ Abrams explicitly squashing that to give him a female love interest just seems like a slap in the face.
S11: Yeah, I thought it. I don’t know that I was that mad. I would great it maybe a little bit more on a curve and say that one slight positive other thing about it is that not only are they the same age, but carry out Russel’s actually like very slightly older than Rostker Isaac. How often does that happen in movies?
S6: I’m just generally in favor of carousel playing. Characters who clearly seem like they could, you know, kick the ass of the man that they’re doing the scene with. So that’s always a good thing.
S4: Marissa, you said that your favorite fight sequence in the movie happens here in this Kouji Me era of the film. Can you talk a little bit about what that is and then we’ll get them to their next destination?
S17: That’s right. So as Kylo Ren is pursuing Ray across the galaxy, he comes to Kouji me with his Knights Iran, and he has Chewbacca on his ship as a prisoner.
S16: And Ray is devastated because she thought that she killed Chewbacca. And when she sensor’s him, she goes after him. And while on the ship, she gets a forced time call from Kylo Ren to be like, Hey, girl, my g._p._s tracker’s nearby.
S19: You up?
S23: And in continuing their new extra strong connection where they can actually touch each other across distances, although they’re not quite as far this time, I guess they actually have a light saber battle while in totally different locations. And it’s not like the battle in the last Shaddai between Kylo and Luke, where you learn that Luke was never actually there and he was just a projection. They make contact. You get these beautiful visuals of the white of the ship with, you know, Kylo Ren is in a marketplace and he knocks over some berries and they spill onto the floor. It’s just really, really cool.
S11: Yeah, it’s a pretty good sequence. And then we learn something very, very important here. The probably the biggest spoiler of the movie, which is that Rae is who? Marissa.
S19: She’s not Palpatine. Dum dum twist is what it is.
S15: It’s not Luke. I’m your father. It’s I’m your grandfather, I guess.
S7: There’s actually a moment in the middle of this fight scene where Kylo stops to explain how this isn’t actually a retconned of the last Jedi. And he says, technically, when I said your parents were no one, I meant that they became nowhere in order to save you. And it’s always good to have like a huge explanation in the middle of a fight scene about why you’re technically not rewriting the last movie. That’s super dramatic.
S15: And they were not no one, because at least one of them was played by Jodie. Come not no. On to me.
S24: Killing Eve CMC will occur as the mom was really one of my favorite. Just surprises in this movie. And just somehow extrapolating that character villanelle. I mean, that could account for Ray’s trauma right there. Mom was villanelle.
S19: This twist had no buildup. It came out of nowhere. It was just like the forest lightning and stuff. But yeah, it comes out of nowhere in this movie, right? It comes out of nowhere. It was not set up by the rest of this trilogy. It was a fan theory on Reddit.
S13: And so much of the last act of this movie feels like it was cobbled together out of social media fan theories and like slash fiction.
S7: It’s like, what do you what do you want to see? Yeah. Put that in.
S10: It just also doesn’t make any effort to explain when or how this could have happened. Dadis Palpatine have sex or did this in fuck got like an manikins Skywalker situation where he impregnated the force and the force gave birth?
S18: Is it his son then that child gave birth to his daughter? I can’t even remember. Is it? I mean, but you just imagine. Oh, I don’t think we know that.
S13: I took that as being his daughter only because I felt a little more of the focus was on her. But it’s definitely not establish.
S7: I just I just I want to see more.
S25: She’s like you, dad. You know, I can’t believe you ever heard of this movie covers characters.
S18: Do you always have that? Yes.
S10: I mean, Ray’s main struggle has been that her parents abandoned her and she doesn’t know why. And that explanation that, you know, they were nobodies who just left her. I mean, that’s cruel and harsh, but life is harsh. This is what happens with Luke, right? Right. But in this case, they left her to keep her safe.
S16: And yet the flashback scene we see is them talking to like a jet hunter. And they’re like, oh, she’s not on jacquou anymore. She’s gone. And then they’re both murdered.
S19: And like, what? So no one ever followed up on that. They were just like, oh, she’s not on Jackie. They said Saffioti, common sense.
S7: Yeah. They were like, my shift’s over. It’s just never right.
S4: So I have a maybe larger thematic question about this. And it maybe goes with the fact that I’m not super clear on Palpatine and what he represents because I didn’t see those second to the shitty prequels. So to what extent is this acknowledgement that she’s the granddaughter of Palpatine, a betrayal of, you know, the world that Ryan Johnson tried to open up in the last Jedi, where parentage is not everything and there’s no middeck Laurean’s blowing in anyone’s bloodstream. And you know that we are not only the product of our families, but also the product of the world.
S5: I mean, the answer is that it is 100 percent a betrayal of one of the biggest twists. It’s basically the biggest twist and revision of the last Jedi, which she is straight up told that her parents were nobody. She searches her feelings in order to confirm that it is true. She confirms that it’s true within herself.
S11: And then there’s even other little things like the last shot of the last Jedi. Is this random little boy who has been inspired by the resistance and uses the force a little bit, just kind of on his own, which, you know, raises big questions that are unclear what the answers would be. But it’s just a much more democratic and inspiring vision of how people gain power and make change in the world than just saying like O’Nan. Now you have to have it in your DNA.
S7: Yeah. And for me, the issue is not that like the last Jedi is sacrosanct. And how dare J.J. Abrams? I mean, you can make a pretty good argument that this is not so different from what Ryan Johnson did to The Force Awakens. And he clearly in The Force Awakens is like, oh, race-baiter, you’re gonna be somebody important. And then Ryan Johnson was going to like, haha. What if they’re not? It’s just that then be like. Ha ha. But actually, they are. Is. Like the most obvious off the shelf twist, quote unquote, you could possibly make. And it also just makes nonsense of both the last Jedi. And this movie, nothing in either movie makes any sense if you know you have the skewed just not even like misdirection to straight up like lie in the movie before it.
S11: Yeah. It turns all these movies into like she’s not to do. She’s not.
S9: Maybe she’s born with it. There’s also the added factor of maybe she’s Palpatine.
S17: There’s also the added factor of like the villain now of all of these movies is one specific guy who’s been pulling the strings and who has always been the most boring villain of all of them.
S18: I mean, that’s maybe a little strange, but I think I might tie defensive in regard like a little bad. I mean, he has unlimited power. Yeah, right.
S17: But I don’t love the fact that it or all of our heroes and villains come from the same two bloodlines. Because what I did like about the new trilogy is that even though once it thought was wiped out, another one rose and I know that people hate the prequels for all their talk of taxation.
S10: But I do like the way that they show how, you know, Palpatine is an evil space wizard. But how does he take over the galaxy? By crushing the democracy, by using propaganda, by manipulating the political system.
S23: And the idea that after he falls, a new order rises and that there’s always evil out there in the galaxy beyond this one person who is, you know, at the most extreme version that was very appealing. And so now to find out that, oh, no, it’s not just that fascism rises again. And you always have to be vigilant. It’s literally this semi eternal being who will always come back and is pulling the strings. This is the moment when the movie lost me. Okay. For us, take us to the huge wave Flandreau.
S11: None of us remember of the huge wave plant it’s called, but it’s just a planet with huge waves. I think it’s basically that planet from Interstellar. I don’t remember what planet is in Interstellar, where there’s that humongous tsunami waves that just move extremely slowly. And I found it both a little familiar from that and also pretty effective. Like there is some good production design in this movie. The one big new character we meet there is Naomi Yackee as this character who I.A.B. Tells me is named Jannah. And she is a possible love interest for Fehn because as you were saying before, everybody has to get their heterosexual love interest in this movie, except for the one minor, nearly nameless character who flashes by in the closing scene. And this leads to yet another light saber battle. I don’t know how many light saber battles are in this movie, but I think at least for well, specifically, it’s on the wreckage of the original Death Star. Yeah, it seems like a pretty well staged, pretty cool looking light saber battle where Ray keeps sort of doing these jumps over each of the waves that have a sort of like Muja, you know, wire work feel to them that I thought was pretty effective.
S7: Oh, I have to say, like the part where she has to, like, charge into the surf and like just climb one wave after inevitably get to the Death Star is likely to be accurate to say things from frozen to. Yeah, it’s like others in a Disney movie. Like, do we.
S10: Yes, yes. Yeah. On the wreckage of the Death Star, as this is happening, we see Leya with the resistance and she is using the last of the time she has left, it suggested for a fourth time call for a for an extreme force time call where she communicates with her son, Kyle Iran.
S13: She says one word she says. Ben and Adam drivers whole face changes. And all of a sudden he is no longer Kylo Ren. He is Ben Solo. And it is so powerful and moving. But I gotta say, it’s very funny to me that in The Force Awakens, the hansell across the galaxy looking for his son and plead with him face to face and got calls adapts. Yeah. And a hole that lay ahead to do with say one word from a distance. All of a sudden he sees the error of his ways.
S11: Yeah. The scene fell a little flat to me, and in fact the only way they’re able to resolve that a little bit is pretty clumsy, which is Ray flies away and Han Solo shows up and starts talking to Kylo Ren and basically just tells him what happened and in turn tells the audience. He says, My son is alive. A.K.A Ben Skywalker is alive. Kylo Ren is dead. They have a brief conversation to confirm that Onsell is not actually alive. He’s just a memory. And it’s a kind of like Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter Book 7 kind of thing where his memory is talking to him. It’s very weird. I mean, they could have just done a force ghost thing.
S7: I feel like not not the only Harry Potter book seven moment in this movie. We’ll get to that in a moment.
S16: Yeah, I think in a galaxy where there are forced guys, this was really confusing. Yes. And I don’t think they should have made him a fourth ghost, because that’s part of the problem with this whole trilogy, is that nobody stays dead. Yeah. And so for Han Solo to come back, even if it’s not really him. It just cheapens his actual death. Yeah.
S4: Clarify what a force ghost is real quick. I know, but gets forced and I talked about it last night.
S11: But in case our listeners don’t, it’s when former Jedi is appear as glowy hologram ese silhouettes. It’s what Obi-Wan Kenobi does in Empire Strikes Back. It’s what Yoda does in return of the Jedi. And now, like all of the Jedi, I do in Return of the Jedi special edition. So, yeah, that’s the force ghost thing. But it’s not a memory. It’s literally just the spirit of the person sort of materializing in the force. And that’s not what happens down so here.
S4: But just to clarify it, that moment that lessens the brain wire to deben and kind of converts him back to bend or a moment she dies. Right. That’s the moment when she expands her life force and dies. That’s right. Right.
S8: And it’s suggested that she knows she’s going to die if she does it, which is not really explained. But they had the constraints of the actress dying. So it’s a little handwaving. There is OK.
S6: Right. But it’s a little bit I mean, it sort of parallels like Luke’s, you know, a force protection thing at the end of Last Jedi, where he sort of like using his last breath and all his energy to make this one last stand on a different planet. So it it kind of jibes with that. And, you know, all the latest stuff in this, I mean, none of it like 100 percent works. But this is one of those things where, like, I just wanted it to work so badly. Like Terry Fisher dying was just gutting for me in a way that I really didn’t even anticipate. I have a 10 year old daughter who like only wants to see this movie because layers in it. And, you know, like the character needed it ending for her story. And I wanted one. And I feel like that was enough to get me over the parts where it doesn’t really work.
S11: Yeah. And soon after that, they cut to, you know, Chewie shows up and finds out that Leo has just died and Chewie just crumples down on the ground at that moment. Really got me because there was this realization of I think I was realizing along with Joey, that like all of his old friends were dead.
S7: Sorry, droits, then, you know, I mean, some behind the scenes, him in the actor who played Chewy as died in between movie. Right, too. Yeah.
S4: Right. And so that’s present also in Q.E. Crumbling to the ground. Right. That he is channeling some grief for Peter Mayhew. I agree that that moment of Chuey being sad, even though you only see it from a distance and is not punctuated with a close up or anything, was one of the few emotionally moving moments of this movie to the cutaways to Chuey always work.
S11: I mean, when Hohn dies and Force Awakens and Chuey cries out always. I mean, Chewy’s basically he’s a big dog like mean. They do say in this movie that the clue you in on how Chewy is maybe the most intelligent of all of them, or at least is the best that hollo chest. Which I kind of liked. But, you know, fundamentally, he was inspired by George Lucas’s Alaskan malamute. You know, more than 40 years ago. And if you’re a sap for dogs, you’re probably a sap for you.
S20: So now we’re entering what I would call the last act of the movie. Right. We we have the big battle for the ending set up. We’ve lost Leah. And and we have this emotional ambivalence about what’s going on with Kylo Ren, where he seems to be able to be transformed back into his old Ben solo self, but is also still on the fence and and still has this kind of drive to to make Ray his own and to join her on the throne. And you know, that they will rule the universe equally together. So, Forest, I’m going to throw to you for the wrap up at the end.
S26: Right. So basically, as in the end of return of the Jedi, we get two sequences simultaneously. We get one big space battle between all of the forces of the emperor. In this case, they’re the final order. And all of the rebels. One slight twist is that there’s a recurring theme throughout the movie about how the rebellion actually is larger. They have more sort of allies around the galaxy than the empire does. So they’ve put a essentially a distress call out to call on all of those people who have been hanging out, waiting for the right moment to join the battle. And then we cross-cut between that and a showdown of sorts between Ray and the emperor. And, you know, I think we know that Kyla Rahn is on the way. And again, it’s just like the end of return of the Jedi, where the emperor is talking to Luke and trying to persuade me to go to the dark side by showing how badly the aerial fight is going. And kind of like looking out his window. And and that’s the emperor kind of opens up the ceiling so that they can see that. But it’s it’s the exact same sequence.
S21: Even some of the dialogue is repeated because the emperor is asking Ray to strike him down, much like he was tempting Luke, except in this case, he seems sincere. He wants Ray to strike him down so that she, as a member of his bloodline, can rule the galaxy as the new empire in this dark force that she’s come coming to.
S15: Right. They’re having this showdown while surrounded by just like a stadium full of Sith who are like maybe some spirits or maybe real people. It’s really unclear. All we know is they’re very good at coordinated chants.
S4: Like a great soccer audience, their they reminded me of a Nuremberg rally or something, right? I mean, they’re filmed in that same sort of symmetrical, sinister way.
S10: This masked group of indistinguishable people that that Nazi rally attenders were it suggested, maybe even just imply that they’re all past SIFF because that’s how Palpatine has his power, which is such a retcon of how the Sith work, because the whole point of the Sith is that they didn’t survive. They the Sith are a religious order that are like the Jedi. They split off from the Jedi. They feed on emotion, conflict, hatred. And so they kind of didn’t work out as an order. And so because you can’t really cooperate that way. And the whole point of the system is that there’s always to a master and an apprentice, and that’s how they carry on because they can’t have this big order. So the idea that Palpatine is drawing on his predecessor’s power, the idea that they’re all there cheering him on it just doesn’t track.
S26: Yeah. This movie just becomes more and more handwave.
S20: I think as it goes along, I will say that that moment when and I think you said this is a callback to an earlier movie, that moment when just rag-tag vessels from all over the galaxy come in mass in the sky to help them was another cards. were kind of left on the table because we could have gotten to know a little bit who the weird creatures were in those ships. And it would have been fun to have, you know, a classic Star Wars moment where you saw all sorts of oddball aliens piloting their ships, but it had this kind of Dunkirk thrilling quality of, you know, the real people of the galaxy, the real creatures pulling together to help each other.
S11: Yeah, I thought of Dunkirk. And then the next thing I thought of somewhat more disheartening, LEIGH, was that how almost the exact same thing happens at the end of Avengers end game, where at the moment where they’re about to lose all of the heroes in the galaxy suddenly show up at the exact moment. And it’s, you know, it’s older than the end game. But given that were in the same year as I’m game and these movies are both owned by the same company, like having the rebels build on your left and then show up was pretty familiar.
S7: I thought of it as like the Spider-Man 2 beat, you know, when the moment when he is like you’re not out and that all the people like rally together. Don’t you touch Spider-Man like, yeah.
S8: But anyway, what was really strange about it isn’t a movie full of fanservice. That would have been a great opportunity to show a lot more characters from. Not the movies. From the TV shows. From the comics. From the books.
S24: Exactly. You want to see like baby Yoda and some tiny little spaceship.
S7: We’re like, yeah, we’re like him in the first kind of big battle in The Force Awakens when it’s sort of like, oh, like women and people of color get to like fly ships now to like that.
S16: A lot of those characters are in the TV shows and this would have been a wonderful moment to tie them in a God forbid, Rose Teco could have jumped into a vehicle as the movie Davros Dirty.
S7: Apparently wedgies in there somewhere. I think I missed.
S13: He is in there and he actually even gets, I think, a line. But you don’t see nearly enough. I mean, if you’re closing out a massive saga, because supposedly this is the end, why wouldn’t you take that moment to pull an end game moment?
S9: Yeah, I feel like that was left on the table. Just needed to fit in. Greg Grunberg and Dominic Monahan, basically J.J. Abrams. Oh, my god. We didn’t even talk about the moment where Junto Gleason confesses he’s the spy and summarily destroyed by Richard Grant.
S11: I think it’s all only also appropriate that we forgot Hucks is currently forgotten. Did you say that you guys saw it coming right? They said they set it up like Oh, it could be Richard Grant I think is the sort of slight misdirection, but I knew it was going to be hucks. I think I didn’t care enough to do it.
S24: I think the biggest laugh in the theater, though, we also saw it together I think last night. Right, was maybe when hucks suddenly suddenly turned and said, I’m the spy. There is do something. So Sochi’s Donald Gleason is green, these movies.
S10: He deserved a better death than he got. He went he’s just like suddenly shot by a superior. Is he really dead? Morrison No one stays dead and he’s the dead speak.
S4: So there’s another big fight we have to get to, which is, of course, the final laser battle.
S11: Yeah. I mean, by this point, Dan, I think you were saying that like maybe Kylo is still got half bad inside.
S5: I think there’s maybe some ambiguity about whether he’s truly turned to the good side. But Han Solo, Harrison Ford does show up to be like not and you’re good now.
S9: And I think from this point on and he’s made the total to around, he’s basically become good.
S11: He’s like, he doesn’t have his helmet. He’s like changed his clothes. And as MRSA, you were saying Adam Driver has changed his performance a little bit. So he’s just kind of softened. And drivers, I think, pretty good in this movie as he so often is. But, yeah. I mean, he shows up and so suddenly Ray is not alone. And then, Marissa, maybe you can walk us through the battle a little bit.
S10: Kyla has run to raise aid and he is confronted by. I can’t tell if they’re the emperor’s followers or they’re like the knights of the brand. Yeah. In any case, the Knights are sovereign.
S23: They’re wearing the. Yeah, they’re wearing the Knights of Ren costumes and he’s surrounded by. What used to be his own forces, and he is unarmed because he threw his bad guy red light saber into the waves planet. So he has nothing to fight with and he’s taking a beating. Meanwhile, Ray is talking to the emperor. They start forced timing again, even though they’re not that far away and they actually use their connection to have Ray pass him a light saber.
S10: It’s pretty cool. I’m not a big fan either, but I think it’s pretty good. And so he is able to fight his way to come to her aid. Then there’s a really sequence that’s almost exactly like what happens in the last Chennai, where the emperor takes both of them and sort of like dangles them. So it kind of doesn’t matter. And he’s like, I have all the power anyway. Yes, you are a force dyad, which is a concept that has been sort of teased in Star Wars, but never really.
S23: I’ve never heard those words used to it. The idea that there’s this destiny and they’re sort of the embodiment of dark and light. And they have this extreme connection. And he uses it, the emperor, to restore his withered form.
S11: He, like, sucks up their life. Force me, he says, vampire Ecklie. And so he’s gone from kind of the husk of his former self to being his whole self. And he starts walking around. It’s really telling. I think that we’re all having trouble remembering, like what even happens.
S9: That’s a very socially silly, disappointing.
S11: I mean, you kind of hope for a big light saber battle or something, but it doesn’t work that well. I don’t think so. Yeah. He like sucks up there. Life for us. What he at some point he throws Kylo ran into an abyss and Kylo Ren is quote unquote dead.
S24: But as one resource it out getting thrown into an abyss.
S4: And the Star Wars universe is just is essentially like falling in a hay pile or something. The worst way to try to kill someone.
S26: Yes. Darth Maul survives that. The emperor survives. Who else survives that? There are more. Luke survives.
S13: Jumbling survives that, and Kylo claws his way back out after Ray is dead.
S4: There are some exchanges between Palpatine and Ray that I think are worth remarking on in this big final showdown and also, of course, the final fate of Emperor Palpatine. So, Sam, do you want to take us through a little bit?
S6: Well, basically, the emperor has told rtÉ perhaps he shouldn’t have mentioned this beforehand and blown his own plan. But he tells rtÉ that, yes, his whole plan is for her to be filled with hate and kill him. And then he and all the other thousand Sith who live him will flow into her and she will truly become a Palpatine and take over the audience. So I’m sitting there watching this and going, well, clearly, he’s got to die. She can’t kill him. Are they gonna Voldemort this thing? And then they completely Voldemort. The thing she has to lightsabers now because she has laywers and Lukes. He is shooting his force lightning at her. She deflects it with one light saber and pulls out the other one and forms like a cross, shoots it back at him. There’s electricity just like dissolves him, basically. And then he just kind of blows up. It decimates the whole kind of SIFF temple that they’ve got underground here. The big statues come crashing down and smush all this sort of faceless, robed people who have been lurking in the darkness. And that is presumably the end of the Sith and where she gets the strength to do this.
S21: It comes from when Palpatine says to her, I am all the Sith. She responds, I am all the Jedi. And she’s motivated by the voices of Jedi past who some of whom she’s never even met, who fill her with inspiration. And some of them are recognisable and even more listed in the credits. You have Obi-Wan Kenobi.
S18: You have quite a lot in Liam Neeson, right. You have major news events. You have us so Catano, who has never been in the mainstream Star Wars movies, but is in the Clone Wars and I love her one very recognizable voices, of course, Yoda.
S11: Yeah, I think maybe Luke’s in there. Basically, they’re all in there. It’s like the whole ending the movie is. It’s basically we got to bring out all the toys, all the ships, all the Jedi eyes. And yeah. And so it kind of kills both of them simultaneously raised dead.
S13: Okay. They were really clear about that in the movie. She’s completely stiff. She’s not dying. She’s dead.
S10: And Kylo crawls his way out of this hole and he embraces Ray and he brings her back to life. Yeah. He force heals her, which is just insanity and undermines.
S18: No, I mean, your anger.
S16: Well, told Sam in his reviews said that this movie ruins the trilogy that it’s in. And I would go even further. I would say that it totally undermines the entire saga. The whole reason Darth Vader becomes Darth Vader is because Annacone Skywalker couldn’t save his mother from dying and he was afraid that his pregnant wife was going to die. And Palpatine, who would become the emperor, promises him that he can teach him to stop people from dying. And this is an impossible pursuit, right.
S4: It’s still an evil thing to want, right?
S15: I think what you’re saying is it ruined the prequels, which meant basically anybody above 20 year. Or so would just be like well ruined. But I hear you because basically everyone under 28 or so would be like, oh my God, he wrote the prequels.
S4: But Star Wars aside, just a suspense based universe where death is not meaningful or permanent has no stakes. Right.
S9: Well, in fairness, this is a power you get to use once, right.
S16: Because you die if you’re supposedly he was giving Ray his life force.
S26: Well, wait, no. Right. I mean, Ray did it with the sand worm slash, but that was healing.
S7: And she says, like, I gave it a little bit of my life. So presumably, you know, the degree of the healing is proportionate if you want to actually bring life back to someone who has lost their life. You need to give them all of yours.
S16: I think just way we don’t really clear that he brings her back to life. They have time for one kiss so that the Railos shippers can go nuts. And then he dies as a result of the exertion.
S10: He basically died to save her. And that’s his redemption. Much like Darth Vader saves his son Luke by sacrificing himself.
S19: But I mean just the implications for the universe. Also, Palpatine kept himself alive, feeding on the power of the set. So he was also right in that respect, like he really could thwart death.
S7: It’s possible to thwart hooked up like some by some like little machine with all these like tubes. And it is like a lever against Alpha Teen. Pop it on.
S16: It was your balls to be a false promise. It was supposed to not be possible. And pursuing it was supposed to be the downfall of the people who go after it. And it it just I was disgusted with the only the Borg and make sense of this is like.
S26: And the reason it did not drive me quite as crazy is that there are sort of new force powers introduced periodically throughout all of the Star Wars movies. And I think there is a. It’s not always clear to me which of them are kind of old powers being rediscovered. And some of them, I think, are new powers being developed. And so I could imagine a world where lay off, for example, during her Jedi training, just being like wiser and less sort of Russian to battle violent than everyone else, like developed this power and taught it to her son and to Ray later.
S10: For example, I find with the healing power, I don’t like the bringing people back from that dead power. I think that lowers the stakes on everything across the franchise.
S26: I think the reason that didn’t bother me quite as much is also that to me it was more like somebody who had just died and it was just an EKG. In other words, he gave her just like his last spark in order to give her just enough spark to come to life after she had only recently died, rather than just like straight up going into a tomb and just like Frankenstein shit, which we know is doomed.
S5: So I hear you. I think that would be what how the movie might defend itself.
S19: I’m not satisfied.
S24: I kind of agree with Morris. I am. I just know in opposition. I mean, I even not knowing all of that BackStory and Star Wars universe.
S4: I just felt a basic moral repulsion at the idea. I mean, it’s just such an ancient idea and history and literature and myth, right. That it’s like to go against the gods and try to bring someone back to life is an evil thing to do. I think that’s now.
S15: I do not expect to become the rise of Skywalker defender. I think that is sort of true. And then also in Christianity, you know, the central story of Christianity is Jesus coming back to life. And there is a decent amount of Christian imagery in this. And I think in my mind, especially perhaps just as somebody who is raised Christian, like having this character redeem himself by bringing her back to life, having the sort of new messiah figure of this universe, be somebody who was dad momentarily and then came back to life, like all of that resonated with me in a way that did not remind me of Frankenstein so much that I like.
S11: I think that’s a fair connection to me.
S4: We’ve journeyed so far in this galactic travel through the movie, but we have to get a couple of things still talked about. For one thing, the big sort of happy party reunion scene back on whatever the planet was, that’s the base that lay it was operating from. Right. When essentially this is just fanservice central, right. All the characters just basically come together and hug and cry and talk about which fan friendship means to me. And. And then also the this sort of teaser at the end as to what the future of the Star Wars universe might hold.
S15: You should first go through all of the cases, Rissa. I trust that you are the person who will best remember all of the kisses. Who are the Kesey’s, Poe and Zori re? The reason they don’t kiss. They don’t write. There’s a Poe tries to get her to kiss.
S24: He gives her a look. He gives her the grades. A pretty good sequence. It’s like a can I just write down his look as a longtime Oscar Isaac analyser. The way the look he gives her is not just sort of, you know, will you kiss me or are we getting back together? He actually sort of jerks his head in the direction of the nearby show. It’s almost as if he’s saying, like, can we find some sort of place in the forest to go get it? I’m like, are we gonna do this thing or what? Yeah, but.
S20: He turns him down through her mask, so he is not to be satisfied.
S15: OK. Wow. All right, Dana. Vivid memory of that. Who asked Marissa? We have the exquisitely gay Star Wars moment. Do you even remember the name of that one character of here that I think we know? We know who she is. Sorta.
S18: Do we? I mean, she’s been in the other. Yeah, she was in my shadow. It’s the actor who played Angel and Angels in America. Wow. Yeah. I remember her. Did not even pick up on that.
S11: She was like a sort of number three under like Lei and Laura Dern’s hold.
S8: The problem with this kiss is that it is so brief and sort of in the background as part of a larger sequence that you really don’t have time to take in.
S10: Yes. Who it is. And you have it’s not a relationship. It’s one of those moments that if J.J. Abrams had not specifically brought it up in an interview, then it would have been a nice little surprise. But because he brought it up as a counterpoint to not having Po and Finn together, it just doesn’t really do anything. It’s so.
S4: I would say if I if I was going in as a gay viewer who is excited to maybe see some hint of that in the Star Wars universe after 42 years, that combined with the complete sidelining of Kelly Marie Tran’s character, Rose Taeko. Right. Who is not coded as gay specifically, but she’s not a girly girl, female love interest rate. I mean, she has a sort of like a shine boy history. She’s she’s straight.
S18: Because, like, kind of she’s male attracted six-story. I mean, listen, I’m the vibe person on the podcast.
S9: So there’s you know, there’s never any indication that she’s interested in women. OK.
S4: But at the very least, I would say that she is one of the characters who upset viewers of the last Jedi. Right. Who brought a different kind of feeling. Right. Because she’s Asian, because she’s a woman and yet not necessarily love interest into the universe.
S7: And like a greasemonkey, you know. Exactly. Yeah. Yeah.
S4: So to have her sidelined in that way, combined with this, you know, just throwing a tiny little bone of lesbian kiss in the background. I mean, I would be really offended.
S7: Disney just cannot learn to shut up about these things in advance and let people discover them for themselves, which would be a moment like. I mean, this is legitimately cool thing to have in a Star Wars movie. It’s just when you sell this, it’s like finally some representation. Look out for this thing. And it’s like this is the world’s most powerful entertainment company. And they’re telling us this is the best they can do.
S16: Yeah. I also just think this movie and this trilogy as a whole are bad at romance. Not that the prequel trilogy is anything to brag about, but like the original trilogy, langhorn are a great couple and they’re actually interesting. And in this movie it’s like they can’t decide who wants to be with who. There’s so much unrequited crushing going on. Finn never confesses his feelings to Ray as it’s suggested that he’s going to. He doesn’t end up with Rose, who explicitly kisses him and says that she loves him in the last movie.
S13: There’s a lot going on and none of it’s really resolved. The only truly romantic moment is when. Ben Solo kisses Ray and they have like 30 beautiful seconds before he dies.
S11: Yeah, there’s not a lot of it. And I just think we’ve railed on this movie probably enough. But one last thing I would note is another way of looking at everything we’ve just said is that like the white people get to kiss and no one else does. Given if we’re really grading all these things on a curve, it would have been kind of a little bit maybe exciting to have like one of these possible interracial relationships and instead Rose and Fan just like get their platonic. What this movie ends with not the last shot, but what is almost lost out of the movie is just a big group hug, right?
S15: With what? It’s Poe and Finn and Ray and Julie. Julia is there for people.
S4: I think he’s just a big yeah, it’s just a big pylon of feel-good cosiness, which, you know, I guess if you really did just come to this to see those characters and feel good about them, I guess could be a satisfying ending. But yeah, it feels very sitcom as well to end on a group hug. We do though get one little coda after that, which may also be some sort of gesture at where the universe might go next, which is Ray taking a solo trip to tattooing to Luke Skywalker’s home planet. You won’t talk about that for us, sir.
S14: Each of the previous two trilogies have spent more time in tattooing, and I think each of the previous two trilogies end at tattooing, watching the suns go down, which you don’t see here, you don’t see the two sides.
S9: So I think it’s I think it’s a long shot of the movie again. I could be wrong. It doesn’t on the two set. It does.
S11: It’s basically that they all have the same shot more or less as I recall it. So specifically she goes and she buries Luke’s and lays light sabers, which as somebody who has a lot of attachment to those characters, I found somewhat moving.
S8: And then he sees their space ghosts, right? Force goes. If someone asks her, her name is and she says, I’m right. Right.
S12: And it’s a callback to an earlier point in the movie where someone asks her her family name and she says, I don’t have one. And she’s since learned that she’s a Palpatine by blood and she’s gone through this whole identity crisis. And so she looks off into the distance and she sees space ghost.
S10: You know, Luke and Leia, Leah’s wearing a white hood from a new hope. But it’s like Carrie Fisher at the end of her life, which is a nice little tie in.
S19: And she says that her name is Ray Skywalker, which I got to say, like, if that’s a nice moment. But it really brought to mind the scene and so low or hands like I don’t have a family name and someone’s like, your name is so low now, it kind of robbed it of meaning like you can pretty much make up your own name in the Star Wars Galaxy.
S11: Yeah, right. I think I thought of it as a sort of like there’s a there’s a sort of chosen family theme going throughout this where at some point I think the emperor even says, like, those people aren’t your real family or something like.
S14: In other words, all of the good rebel people that she’s tried to be with. And so, yeah, at the end she’s like, no, those people are my family. That worked pretty well for me.
S11: It didn’t work for me. And we should say it’s so. And thus Skywalker, who it turns out was Ray Skywalker in a way has risen, including from the dead.
S10: This to me brought back the idea of Luke in the return of the Jedi, where he refuses to turn to the dark side. And he says, I am a Skywalker like my father before me. I’m a Jedi, like my father before me. And sort of explicitly aligning himself with his family. And to me, like we never really get to know Ray’s parents. And so the rejection of the name Palpatine really reads as a sort of rejection of them also, even though she’s had this beautiful dream of connecting with them. The whole trilogy just don’t understand why you would cast that aside. Can’t she be the first or the second? Good. Good. Palpatine, why does she have to be a Skywalker?
S4: I guess I think I probably would have felt a little better at the ending if she had just said just Ray, you know, I mean, I think I still like the idea. That’s right. Johnson would have ended her embracing her serve scavenger status as somebody who’s a self-made Jedi, right?
S7: Yeah. It’s this weird kind of back and forth that it goes where, you know, the last shot I said, you know, you’re no one who you are. Doesn’t matter. This movie says, you know, oh, actually, it matters that she’s palestinains daughter. But then there’s something stronger than blood. And then she gets to pick her name. So it’s like it doesn’t matter who you are, actually what matters a lot. But and actually there’s something else that matters more than that. And it’s like you got to pick a lane.
S4: Okay. We’ve been talking practically as long as these guys were leaping around the galaxy looking for their triangle thing. But let’s just glimpse at what Star Wars might become in the future since this is the end of this particular saga. But obviously, given how important the franchise is to Disney, it’s not the end of Star Wars. So what do you guys know about what’s happening to Star Wars next? And what do you surmise might happen next?
S14: I mean, I think there’s a lot of question marks. At one point, it was announced that Ryan Johnson was going to get his own trilogy. And there’s been a lot of light pushing on the brakes around that lately. And I think we don’t really. Well, what’s going to happen, maybe Disney is watching the box office of this movie and seeing how it does relative to the last ad or something. The Game of Thrones, guys, we’re gonna do a movie or movies for a while and then now they’re not doing that. We have the Mandel Laurean going, I think, outside of the main line. And I think there’s basically a lot of question marks.
S8: There is more coming up on TV and specifically filling in the gaps rather than looking forward. So Disney plus has a live action Obi-Wan Kenobi series in the works. And then Star Wars, the Clone Wars, my beloved show is coming back for a sixth season. But both of those are set long before the rise of Skywalker. So we’re really looking backward rather than looking forward.
S6: Right. It feels to me what happened in some of this is to anybody does like all the ins and outs of what’s going on like inside Lucasfilm. But it definitely feels like the reigns have been jerked since, you know, some point in the last that I think, you know, Laura Miller getting fired off solo and Ron Howard being brought in to basically do something totally uninteresting, which kind of killed the idea of all the spinoff movies. Abrams turning in this thing that just feels like don’t screw it up. Brian Johnson is now kind of saying like, well, I might be doing three movies. I might not be like, your guess is as good as mine and wait to hear. And the fact that Disney seems to be maybe setting up like Marvel’s Kevin Foggy, you do a trilogy instead, who’s another just kind of, you know, like franchise guardian. The fact that there’s also seem to be turning their attention away from movies entirely and towards Disney plus where they can keep all the money and not have to cut. Theater owners in and below expectations are lower because you only have to hold people’s attention for half an hour at a time. It really just speaks to like a huge shrinking of the ambitions for this whole franchise. And even though, you know, I kinda like the Mandl Orian is just like something to do with, you know, 30 minutes. At the end of the day, it really feels like we’ve gone from this hugely kind of ambitious and exciting new thing to really just we’re just going to kind of, you know, spackle in some of the gaps that you really didn’t care about beforehand.
S14: Yeah, less filmmaker driven, fewer big risks. That seems like where we’re going and I’m not excited about it. All right.
S9: Well, that Spirit side has truly won this conversation.
S27: OK, well, I hope whatever sputtering gasps there is in the future of more Star Wars content, you guys will come and help me understand it. Thanks for listening to this. Ladyboys unpriced. Skywalker, our engineer today was ashira solution. Our producer is Rosemary Bellson. If you want to write us about future movies or TV shows, you think we should spoiler. You can always drop a line at spoilers at Slate.com for Boris Buchtmann, Samuel Adams Martinelli. I’m Dana Stevens. Thanks so much for listening and we’ll talk to you soon.