The Romulan Republic wrote: ↑
Stepping away from the Holdo debate for a moment, I'd like to talk a bit more about how the Force is portrayed in TLJ, in particular three main points:
First off, there's the "balance" thing, suggesting an equivalency between Light Side and Dark Side. That is something that I very much disagree with, and believe is very much at odds with the OT. However, its minor and ambiguous enough that I think its open to interpretation. Fortunately, as this otherwise might have been a deal-breaker for me with this film.
I thought it was pretty clear Lucas had some eastern leanings put into the Force, or at least his interpretation of them. There is only one Force, it has light and dark, you can't have light without dark and cannot have dark without light. I take an almost B5 look at it in that the Light is stable, unchanging, while the dark is change, chaos. They intertwine. Being stable is good, but if you're unwilling to change to new things, new ideas, new realities, then you're not stable, you're stagnant. Change can be good, but it is also painful and to much leads to no core stability. You need both.
But also Starwars is a good versus evil tale, where you can't have good without evil and vice versa. It's a contrast issue.
Secondly, there is Snoke's claim that when a strong Dark Sider emerges, a Light Side champion will rise to oppose them. Some have argued that this makes the Force a sinister force that is setting Light and Dark Side Force users against each other endlessly, though I think that that's drawing a rather large conclusion from very thin evidence. After all, we only have Snoke's word to go on here, for the most part, and even he doesn't state weather the Force creates both Light and Dark Side champions, or simply brings forward Light Side champions to correct a Dark Side imbalance. If the latter, then this is really just a restating of the Prequels' Chosen One concept.
Again, I view it as a contrast and I'm pretty sure Lucas has his idea of eastern philosophy here. You can't have a good unless you can contrast it with evil to set it apart. A slightly evil thing and a slightly good thing still look pretty gray, but a really good thing contrasts with the gray or the black so you can tell it's good.
And, while I'm an atheist, I do think the Force is just the place holder for a God in the SW universe. It has a plan and executed it. It was almost Asmovian. The Republic is broken, the Jedi arrogant and attached to the hip of the Republic that is corrupt. Send in a Darksider with power and just enough visions of the future to sack the whole thing and bring it down, then set up a pressure relief valve in Vader and his kid, to get rid of the grand pooh-bah bad guy and start afresh.
It's a pretty well used theme for... like all of human history in story telling. yeah, some moral problems with it. All the people who died in the conversion, free will, etc...
There is an obvious KotOR 2 parallel here, though. I've heard that Johnson acknowledges KotOR as an inspiration, and I'm inclined to believe it (I think the influence of KotOR on the ST in general doesn't get nearly enough attention).
What's more interesting here to me, though, is the implication that there have been multiple "Chosen Ones", and that Rey is, if not a blood descendent of Anakin, possibly a reincarnation, spiritual successor, or new Chosen One in the same vein. That is likely partly my bias, because I felt that Rey claiming Anakin's lightsaber from Kylo in TFA set her up symbolically as Anakin's rightful successor, and I grew to like the "Rey is a reincarnated Chosen One" theory. But it would explain some of her more high-end abilities (remember who piloted an unfamiliar star fighter to victory at nine?) in a manner that fits so neatly with established canon.
That causes a problem, at least for me then, in that what is a 'chosen one' supposed to be? Luke was the chosen one because only he could redeem Vader. Thematically, he wanted to be cool like his dad his whole life till he found out his dad was a piece of shit and became something better than his dad. He stepped up and made the choice his father could not make. He choose good for the sake of good, even if it meant sacrificing himself. Then live his life in... well in TLJ we find out his chosen one status was just for that moment.
Anakin was the first to try to make that decision and failed, he chose to do bad for goods sake and ended up fucking everything up.
What's Rey going to do? Chosen to do what? She is the 'grow into a hero' character that they just spent an entire movie doing a deconstruction of hero movies on. Does she save Ren? Who cares, he killed his dad and the actress who played mom is dead so...kind of hard seeing how Leia is going to be in anymore movies. Luke's story was good because he wanted to be adventurous, wanted to fly like his dad, wanted to be a Jedi like his dad when he found out about it, found out his dad was a major ass and decided he was going to be more than his dad, be what his dad should have been and then try to get his dad to become something more as well. Not sure how Rey can do this with Ren or anyone. Not saying they can't come up with something, but thematically it's hard to see where they can go from here. They kind of painted themselves into a corner.
The third point is the subtle repositioning of how the nature of the Light and Dark Side are depicted.
In the PT, the Old Republic Jedi shunned attachment as leading to fear, thus to anger, and thus to the Dark Side. This is an interpretation that I strongly disagree with (so I am doubtless biased here as well), and I feel that the OT showed a progression by the Jedi away from this attitude.
Meh, the PT showed that the Jedi were kind of right. Anakin could not let go, and because of that fell, and because of that the Jedi Order fell. I don't think the Republic is on Anakin's shoulders, but the Jedi Order sure is. Now we can discuss if the Jedi Order needed to or deserved to fall, sure. But you are right that there were other ways they could have institutionally handled it as well. I do believe that in the novel, Yoda admits he was wrong. He was the one who steered the Order to be like this, who continued the traditions of the Jedi from 800 years ago. He saw that the Sith had changed and the Jedi had not and it cost them everything.
On the one hand, Luke's failures with Ben, and Ben's fall, could be seen as reconfirming the Prequel Jedi view somewhat. But I don't think so, ultimately.
Yeah, this was handled so poorly it's hard for me to comment on your point. Luke Skywalker, who stood in front of the Emperor, who stood up to the Emperor, fought Darth Vader and redeemed him, never felt as much evil and power that scared him as he did in his nephew and Rey?
I guess maybe Luke did read to many old books on Jedi and followed their mistakes.
Look at Rey: She is passionate, attached, often seems angry when she fights. She's tempted- but she doesn't fall. Throughout TLJ, Rey retains hope- she never gives up, no matter how hopeless the situation seems. She tries to persuade Luke to keep fighting. She believes Kylo can be saved, and while she's wrong about that, she doesn't despair when she is proven wrong. When Yoda says that she has what she needs to be a Jedi, it is immediately after she refuses to abandon hope that Kylo can be saved, and walks out on Luke for doing so. When Snoke describes her as a true Jedi, he notes that it is because she still has hope, even when she is hopelessly outmatched. This all fits with the film's overall theme of retaining hope, as echoed in Holdo's rhetoric, and in Luke's last stand and the Resistance's escape inspiring further resistance, to name the most obvious points.
I'm actually a Rey fan, that said she's been a Jedi-ish for like less than a week. Hardly time to develop into a Sith by fighting with aggression. I will agree with you that she is the good for good's sake character. She is the one who kindles hope.
In contrast, what does the Dark Side offer in Rey's vision in the Dark Side cave? Nothing. Just a reflection of Rey herself.
I would argue that the film is subtly redefining the Light and Dark Side as being defined, not by the presence or absence of attachment, but by the presence or absence of hope. The Light Side is the side of hope. Implicitly, therefore, its opposite the Dark Side is the side of nihilism and despair.
Nah, I don't think it has changed it much at all.