-->

– by Kyle Malone

Welcome to The Cantina where we definitely serve your kind. I’m your bartender Kyle Malone and I’m serving up tall glasses of nothing but Star Wars.  By now you know I am the dedicated, well versed in the EU, experienced gamer, and open-minded fan this world needs. I see the flaws in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, but also the great moments too. I know the importance of The Empire Strikes Back but see how strong Return of the Jedi is. I see that the prequels… well… we’ll get there… maybe. There’s nothing more satisfying than a great Star Wars story, and I want more! 

RECENT NEWS

With the holidays it is no surprise that very little new information was dropped. However we did learn about a droid gone hunter of bounties will be in The Mandalorian, and that everyone’s favorite cradle robbing Queen will sit this next film out. And despite the anticipation of a trailer or name drop, we remain trailer and nameless. Have no fear though, I ‘ll help you through these dark times.

The Mandalorian is coming… eventually, but he won’t be alone! According to the series’ writer and executive producer, Jon Favreau, the droid bounty hunter IG-88 will be in the show. This is a cool idea to me because it will help put small ties to the past. I really want this show to its own thing, be smaller in focus, and tell us an engaging story. None of that can happen if we’re dealing with intergalactic politics, the Jedi and Sith, or major characters from the Original Trilogy. However, having characters we only saw allows for a touchstone of familiarity without being beholden to stories that already exist. The fact that IG-88 was one of the bounty hunters going after Han Solo for the Empire means the thing must have some skills. Believe it or not, there’s very little this character has done, even with the de-canonized Expanded Universe.

The character has had some minor appearances in the new canon since The Empire Strikes Back including comics and the female-oriented Forces of Destiny, but he is essentially a blank slate for the writers and directors to work with. A familiar yet blank page is a good thing to have. I don’t think I would have him as a primary character, but the assassin droid could make a decent secondary character who is eventually dismantled by the shows titular character.

RELATED: The Mandalorian To Feature Bounty Hunter IG-88

Ok… I can’t be the only one relieved that past rumors of Natalie Portman’s Padme showing up appear to be wrong, can I? In a recent interaction with Buzzfeed the actress responded to a question about such rumors saying:

“I don’t know anything about that, I’m guessing that’s not true because I don’t know about it yet.”

Now, that’s not a definitive “no” but given her claims at having trouble finding work after first taking on the character and there being no fan desire for her to come back, I think it’s a safe bet those rumors were wrong. I don’t see what type of purpose she could serve unless it was some sort of flashback scene between her and Anakin. Episode IX needs to focus on finishing Kylo’s story, and other than Padme being his grand-mammy I see no other connections to be made. Luke and Leia didn’t even know her… thanks to George Lucas contradicting his own story. Remember in Return of the Jedi where Leia mentions memories of her mother, but in Revenge of the Sith Padme dies after giving birth?

Or did she??? What if it was all a ruse and a very old Padme does show up to speak sense to her grandson?!? You heard it here first folks….

This will probably be the last time I talk about the pending Episode IX teaser or trailer until it actually drops. If we go back to The Last Jedi we didn’t get a trailer until the April of release year, and the name reveal came in January of that same year, 2017. Now, I know we got a teaser for The Force Awakens 13 months prior to it’s release, but you have to think that LucasFilm is taking extra time to ensure they catch our attention. The Last Jedi was divisive and Solo was horrible, I don’t care what people think would be different if it had just come out this month instead of May. With a divided fan base, with both sides foaming at the mouth for validation of their points via the next film, the studio would do well to give us a solid 90-second teaser that lets us know where we’re heading.

I can see a scenario where this is the lowest grossing opening of the New Trilogy. There are so many people that feel wronged by the last film, that it’s going to take a great PR campaign to drive interest up to the same levels that The Force Awakens had. I do think a name drop would be nice, and I’m not against “Son of Darkness” but I think there’s probably better out there too.

LAST CALL: New Trilogy Reflections

If you’ve been following along with me these last few months, you know that there are moments of the New Trilogy that I love, and some that I hate. I walked out of The Force Awakens on preview night with feelings of joy and confusion. I knew what I watched was a soft reboot, but I also knew I had more fun than I did with the Prequel Trilogy. However, after repeated viewings on home video, I found Episode VII dropping in standings with me. I knew it was the safest way to reintroduce the world to Star Wars, but the huge Expanded Universe (Legends) fan in me was left unsatisfied. I still put The Force Awakens in my top five, but that’s because the bad in The Last Jedi is worse than the bad in the former. I know some of you will swear that  Revenge of the Sith is underrated, but between the techno dancing final lightsaber battle, horribly aged digital effects, and an Emperor Palpatine whose neck looks like it wasn’t glued down right I can’t stand it. Check out LRM Ranks Star Wars Part 1 and Part 2 to see where and why I, and our Editor in Chief, place each film.

Speaking of The Last Jedi I loved everything with Luke, Rey, and Kylo. I think this Luke makes sense and if you consider how Yoda and Obi-Wan went into hiding, it isn’t so far fetched that Luke did too. I will admit there’s not enough explanation on screen, but as an EU fan I remember when Luke was exiled following his nephew, Jacen Solo, went dark and became Darth Caedus. I don’t have an issue with Rey being so powerful, because I know that the Force is strange and that there have been those born to Jedi with no powers and some born to normal parents that are incredibly strong in The Force. Palpatine is one of the strongest Force users ever, in the EU he even organized entire battles and increased effectiveness of pilots and soldiers through the Force, but he has no special lineage.

However, I think that either Poe or Finn need to go in order to have a smoother story. I don’t think they can both exist and have good stories told. Let’s not forget that Poe was supposed to die in Episode VII. I also think the ignorance of tactical planning in TLJ is aggravating! Canto Bight was completely pointless and the attempt at messaging was lost because the “heroes” freed animals instead of the sentient slave children. There are issues with Episode VIII that are glaring, but it isn’t all bad.

So what happens next? I don’t know! I don’t want the next film to spend all of its time making “corrections” to the prior film. I don’t mind Rey not having a strong bloodline and I want Kylo to be the big bad so I don’t need Snoke’s background either. I want something that actually feels planned, entertains me, and wraps the Skywalker saga up. I don’t want anything to do with the Skywalkers anymore after this movie. To be honest I want more stuff like The Mandalorian where we see smaller more focused stories. I think this is the way forward for our beloved galaxy far, far away.

Next week will be another Star Wars Moments here at The Cantina. I want to share stories of our favorite Star Wars toy(s). Whether it’s your first one ever or the one that meant the most. E-mail me at KyleM@LRMOnline.com and your story could appear on next week’s article.

Well, that’s it for today folks. What do you think about this week’s news and rumors? What are your feelings on the New Trilogy so far? Let me know in the comments below, and as always, May The Force Be With You!

Don’t forget to share this post on your Facebook wall and with your Twitter followers! Just hit the buttons on the top of this page.

SOURCES: Jon Favreau, The Express (Via BuzzFeed)

Kyle is the Weekend Editor for LRM Online and a business school graduate who loves movies, comics, and video games. He shares his passions with his wife and is raising a next-generation geek.