Welcome to The Cantina where we definitely server 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. I love Star Wars and I want more! More books, comics, games, and movies that take place in a galaxy far, far away. Now here’s the lum you ordered, have a seat and listen.
We had a fairly busy week since the last column. We’ve had set photos and some casting news for Jon Favreau’s new Star Wars series, heard about Kathleen Kennedy signing on for another three years at LucasFilm, and we heard about some trolls getting up a lot of hate for The Last Jedi.
First, let’s go over the Kathleen Kennedy news. Since Disney bought LucasFilm their movies have generated over 4.8 billion dollars worldwide. There is no doubt that three out of the four films they are responsible for have made money. Yes, Solo did not do as well as they had hoped but they are still ahead of the game. It comes as no surprise to me that they kept Kennedy on. Now if you have been following my column you know that I am not a fan of Solo and that I had issues with The Last Jedi, but the business school graduate in me thinks that it was smart to keep her on. The fan in me, however, is a little bit more torn.
From a business standpoint, Kennedy has been very good for LucasFilm and Disney. Having her stay on to complete the current Saga will provide some continuity for production on Episode IX. Changing up studio heads in the middle of a project can have dramatic effects as the new person may want to shake things up too much. While there has been fan backlash against the last two films, those involved with the next film can take that into account in discussions with Kennedy. We also know that most of the spin-off movies are on hold and the studio is slowing down its ambitious Star Wars every year plan. This means that Kennedy may only be overseeing Episode IX and may be in discussions for what comes next. Overall Disney has little to lose by keeping her on… from this particular point of view.
Now I’ll tell you what the fanboy thinks. I don’t like some of the choices Kennedy has made, specifically her decision to not have a planned cohesive arc before filming The Force Awakens. If there’s one thing we all, lovers and haters of the Sequel Trilogy, can agree on it is the obvious fact there was no plan. I also think that Kennedy has no idea what will make a good spin-off movie. With thousands of years to play with and dozens of EU books to draw inspiration from, she decided on two movies to take place in three already crowded 17 years between Episode III and Episode IV. Neither Rogue One or Solo really expand on much. They both tell stories that we are already well aware of from the original trilogy. That’s not to take away from how great Rogue One was in my mind. I am not quite sure how much writing decisions and influence she made on any of these four movies, but I do have issues with all four of them. Specifically, I wish they had been a little bit more bold with The Force Awakens, but I see the smarts and making it a soft reboot. I also cannot stand some of the story elements from The Last Jedi such as Canto Bight, Holdo withholding tactical information, and the chase. To be fair I am a huge EU fan and a lot of my feelings and opinions are informed by that.
In the end, the film industry is an industry and making money is the point of the game. I would like to think that as a business manager I would make the same decision, but as I’ve said before there’s a fanboy inside of me screaming at the top of its head.
Next up we have the reports on Russian trolls and or bots being responsible for a large chunk of hatred The Last Jedi got. I will say that after reading the paper, an article by our own editor-in-chief Joseph Jammer Medina, and other articles across the internet, that many websites had clickbait titles. They made it seem like 50% of all hate spewed on the internet about that film was Russian Bots, this was not the case. I highly suggest people at least skim the academic paper and read what the Boss Man had to say. (Is that enough plugging for you, Chief?)
The fact the angry internet reactions they are talking about our only those directed at Rian Johnson’s own Twitter account. There is a lot of math that goes into it and in the end, you can see that it is a small sample size but the group responsible for anger were much more active on social media than most others. This means that a small group of people was making more noise in a large group, but it does not mean that The Last Jedi was not as divisive as most of us know it to be.
I know for a fact that there are foreign entities that are constantly meddling in America’s business and politics. There is money to be made, secrets to be stolen, and division to be sewn. However, I am not certain that division within our country was the goal with this Episode VII bit. I believe these trolls just wanted to troll for kicks. Out of a handful of close friends, not counting my friends here at LRM, I know a few that love some parts and hated others, one that hated it with a passion, and one that loved it with a passion. The makeup here at LRM is actually quite similar. Knowing these two groups and surfing the internet I can assure you that The Last Jedi is hated by many and has divided the fandom.
I think a lot of the outrage on the internet came from inappropriate titles and bylines that and people not reading the paper itself or thoroughly going through the articles they clicked on.
Lastly, we have Jon Favreau’s upcoming Star Wars show, the Mandalorian. We recently got some photos from the set which appeared to be under construction and caught a rumor that Pedro Pascal will be in the show. I for one and happy that it is not happening in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, however, I don’t really care about what one or more Mandalorians are up to in between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. Here’s Favreau’s post about the story:
I do like Jon Favreau, I think he has a good eye for film, as seen in Iron Man, and I think he does okay with writing. While I am not on the edge of my seat about this, I will give this series the obligatory three episodes to catch my attention. That’s what I give all TV shows and comic books, because three episodes or three issues should be enough for me to determine whether or not you’re worth my time. What I do hope for story-wise is that it is focused and not very broad. There is so much that goes on in the galaxy far far away that I want to see more than epic than a civil war and Jedi vs Sith. I think by going small and focused you can work more on character development and give us something that leaves us wanting more each episode.
I was actually hoping for a show geared towards starfighters. Those of you who have been reading know I am a huge fan of the X-Wing books and the old X-Wing and TIE Fighter games. I think the life of a starfighter squadron could be very interesting to play out on screen. We know that dogfights can be done well as they were in the imagining of Battlestar Galactica and it’s been quite a few years since that show so I’m certain that things can be done even better.
Either way, we’re getting this show coming to Disney’s streaming service… whenever that is.
Star Wars Moments
When I first started this column I gave you all a rundown of how I got into Star Wars and what it’s meant to me. This week I will tell you a specific story, and if you guys like this in the column then once a month I will ask others at the site to join me in telling a personal Star Wars story too.
Do you remember where you were at when you first saw the trailer for The Phantom Menace? I was living on an Army Installation my father was stationed at and in Middle School. I was not big on using the internet for pop culture research at that time, instead, I was busy playing Team Fortress classic and Starcraft, and I missed out on a lot of signs this was coming. So the first time I saw the trailer was in front of another movie at the theater on base. I remember the LucasFilm logo and the fog before the first notes of music played, and when the music did hit… my heart leapt out of my chest. The whole theater erupted! That trailer had me hooked.
After my movie I rushed home to get on the internet, which was AOL and dial-up at the time, to watch it again. IT. TOOK. FOREVER. to load, but I watched it at least 10 times that evening. I remember going to bed and imagining what I would learn from this new movie, what the lightsaber fights would be like, and how Anakin would become Vader.
When the movie was released I was at the midnight preview. I was alone because mom and dad had to work, but I didn’t care. When the room went dark the theater was filled with incredibly loud cheers and applause, and when that crawl hit…. magic. After the movie ended I felt odd. I was young so I enjoyed it, but it felt so off. I skipped school the next day, thanks for the cover mom, and thought “I need to see it again.”
I saw that movie eight times on the big screen. I know, I know… HOW?!?! Well, I was a 14-year-old geek… that’s how. I finally got to see it with my dad too, which was great. However, over time I realized how many issues there were with that movie. That doesn’t detract from the memories I have or the feelings inside. I never quite got that feeling with The Force Awakens. I was so cautious because we had been burned before. But here’s hoping Episode IX recaptures the spirit.
Alright, that’s it. Time to go. Be sure to take that Trandoshan out with you before it stinks up the place. Damn things can never hold their lum.
What do you think of the news this week? What about your personal story with The Phantom Menace? What else would you like me to do with this column? Let me know in the comments below!
Be sure to come back for another drink at The Cantina next week, and as always, May The Force Be With You!