Author: Nick Wisthoff (www.nickwisthoff.com) Date: 01/11/21
It’s been almost a full month since the release of The Mandalorian’s season 2 finale, and still, it’s a hot topic of discussion amongst the Star Wars fans. There have been countless articles, social media posts, and videos made about it–most of them commenting on the appearance of a young, Luke Skywalker (Chapter 16: The Rescue). Which reportedly crashed Disney Plus servers the night of its release, according to some Twitter users.
But it seems two distinct factions, concerning the return of Luke Skywalker to the Star Wars universe, has materialized online. Some appear to believe the return of Luke as a Master Jedi is merely lip service to fans, and adds nothing to the story of The Mandalorian, nor the future direction of Star Wars–as his tale has been done before, and Rey and new spin-offs are the future of the franchise. While others loved Luke’s appearance–strongly arguing that Luke Skywalker is at the heart of Stars Wars and should be treated with respect. They lobby on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for the return of their hero in a “respectable” light. And hate the depiction of Luke in The Last Jedi.
Where do I fall in this conflict of artistic opinion? Well…I must admit…I personally did not like Luke Skywalker’s character in The Last Jedi. Perhaps, it was my own childhood-bias influencing this position–since I loved Luke’s arc in the original movies. But to see a hero reduced to nothing as a person, just to prop-up new characters, felt…for a lack to better words…icky. Instead of the teacher role, which I expected, Luke Skywalker was a bitter old man who guzzled green-milk, tried to murder his nephew in his sleep, and had basically turned his back on everyone and everything that was important to him. He didn’t resemble anything from original trilogy, and in my opinion, added nothing to the story–other than showcasing how amazingly good and powerful Rey was as a Jedi.
But Disney does not seem alone in this new trend of storytelling. Big franchises like The Terminator, Doctor Who, and Star Trek (Discovery), have all taken similar directions in expanding their universes. They demoralized original characters and retcon established lore to highlight the amazingness of new plots and characters. This focus seems to be a method to bring diversity and representation into a storyline–which is a good thing–but when done this way it showcases tokenism, and rubs loyal fans the wrong way, because it betrays the original concepts which made it popular in the first place. Don’t believe me? Check the ratings and merchandise sales for any of these franchises. It’s no secret that original fans hate the new course of these stories.
So, how is any of this relative to the title of this blog post? Well, according to various YouTubers, such as Dicktor Van Doomcock with the channel Overlord DVD and others like him, there is a “civil war” going on at Lucasfilm. Doomcock explains how an inside source at Lucasfilm–one that has been credible to him in the past–has given him information as to the creative division within the company–a splitting of two factions. One group–headed by Jon Favreau, Dave Filoni, and George Lucas–seeks to repair the Star Wars cannon by focusing on The Mandalorian and other spin-off series with the overall goal to erase the sequel trilogy movies through time travel (The Veil of the Force). And the other alleged faction, which is led by Kathleen Kennedy and her loyalists at Lucasfilm Story Group, want to move away from the original Star Wars canon, and seek to concentrate their efforts on identity-politic-based-stories (In Star Wars or other in other media).
All rumors and speculation, of course. But when I notice Kathleen Kennedy spearheading an adaptation of the fantasy novel, Children of Blood and Bone, and Lucasfilm execs like Pablo Hidalgo attacking Star Wars puritans on Twitter (past and presently), it makes me raise an eyebrow. Could there be truth to Doomcock’s rumors after all? And if so, was Luke Skywalker’s utterance in The Mandalorian, “talent without training is nothing” a shot at Rey Palpatine-Skywalker and the sequel trilogy?
To possibly answer this question, let’s look at the character of Rey. In the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey he has not even met a Jedi–let alone been trained by one–yet she is somehow able to figure out the force on her own and use it in sticky situations. She utilizes: force vision (seeing into the past by touching Luke’s lightsaber, blocking Kylo Ren from seeing her mind, and then infiltrating Kylo Ren’s own mind), the Jedi mind trick (manipulating Stormtrooper into letting her go), force pull (overpowering Kylo Ren’s force pull to get Luke’s lightsaber from the snow) and of course, lightsaber knowledge (she beats Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel). Yes. Rey actually defeats a fully trained Jedi-turned-Sith the first time she turned on a lightsaber. Could you image being this blessed? The first time you play basketball, you defeat an NBA superstar? Or the first time you play chess, you outwit a grandmaster? Awesome stuff, right? Seems like a relatable character.
The next two movies seem to follow this theme. With little to no training from Luke Skywalker, Rey goes on to use the: force jump, force push, force bonds (and therefore teleporting objects between herself and Kylo Ren), force heal, and even force lightening (a power of the Sith). Wow! She’s powerful, huh?
But this is a big reason most fans don’t appear to like her. Rey breaks the canon established by Episodes 1-6. She is extremely powerful without training, and even more insanely powered with minimal training. And because of this, her set-backs seem minuscule.
So when Luke uttered those words in his statement of Grogu, “talent without training is nothing,” I couldn’t help to think of Rey. And then the Star Wars fans on Twitter–begging to once again see Luke in this light and have Star Wars canon restored. And then my mind drifted to the rumors from Doomcock. All these things mixed together, I heard what sounded like a shot a Rey and the sequel trilogy. Maybe not a direct strike, but a passive-aggressive-jab at the failures of such a character, and a subtle way to let Star Wars purists know…we heard you and we’re trying to fix this.
Perhaps I’m seeing connections where there are none. Who knows for sure? Unless you’re employed at Lucasfilm, one can only speculate. But I will say, I do like the new direction of Stars Wars. I’m incredibly excited to see The Mandalorian (season 3), and a few of the new shows such as: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ahsoka, and Rangers of the New Republic. Right now, the future looks promising for Star Wars.
Thank you for reading my rant and may the force be with you!
Disney Plus (www.disneyplusoriginals.disney.com)
IMDb (https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8111088 )
StarWars.com (https://www.starwars.com/news/future-lucasfilm-projects-revealed )
Twitter (#TheMandalorian and #StarWars)
Overlord DVD (https://www.youtube.com/c/OverlordDVD/featured)