Star Wars: The Last Jedi covers this week’s Entertainment Weekly, to remind us that not every Star Wars film is a behind-the-scenes clusterf*ck. The Last Jedi, in fact, is the smoothest operation LucasFilm has run in this new Disney era. It’s kind of nice to have this in front of us and enjoy a worry-free Star Wars movie. It doesn’t hurt that EW officially introduces us to the Porgs, the ABSOLUTELY ADORABLE gerbil-penguin alien things that live on Luke Skywalker’s abandoned Jedi planet. They’re SO CUTE. At this point, I’m less interested in the story of The Last Jedi—I really don’t care about Rey’s parents and I hope they’re nobodies because that would be funny—but I love the world-building and expansion going on. Give me more new stuff like the Porgs.
They do try, interviewing Kelly Marie Tran, who plays new character Rose Tico. I’m sure Kelly Marie Tran is a lovely person, and New New Star Wars has a demonstrated ability to make us love new characters right off the bat, so probably Rose Tico will turn out great and wonderful. But I cannot shake the feeling she exists solely because The Last Jedi is not delivering on the promise of The Force Awakens, which is Rey, Finn, and Poe being super space best friends and going on adventures together. Rose is made in the same “practical tomboy” mold as Rey, and from what is teased in EW, her plot with Finn sounds EXACTLY like Rey’s plot with Finn in TFA. Oh you’re not as much of a hero as you say? Go on this adventure with me and become the hero you were all along!
There’s the mystery of what Luke Skywalker is doing in his self-imposed exile. I do love the photo of Luke and Rey, it’s very “get off my lawn”. Luke has clearly grown up to be a grump. Star Wars is big epic drama, but it always boils down to emo teens and their grumpy father figures. Although Rey is not emo. Kylo Ren is the emo teen angsting in the corner in New New Star Wars. Rey is too busy getting sh*t done to mope. This is probably the dynamic of her relationship with Luke—her determination against his mopey Jedi loneliness. But Luke has a temper, so it should be interesting to see how that plays out. We spend a lot of time debating whether or not we think Daenerys Targaryen will break bad, but we should also be considering how far Luke Skywalker is willing to go to end the Jedi.
And then there is General Leia Organa. The Last Jedi has turned into her swan song, and everyone involved knows it. Oscar Isaac offers a sweet memory of waltzing around the set with Carrie Fisher, and whenever Fisher is brought up, there is a palpable sense of doing right by Leia and by extension Fisher, for the two have become fused in our pop cultural consciousness. Director/writer Rian Johnson sounds particularly determined to do right by Leia and Fisher, and this is rapidly becoming the emotional backbone of the movie. And it kind of sounds like, based on the info dropped about Poe Dameron being mentored by Leia to help him grow as a leader, that maybe Isaac will step into the role of Resistance leader in Episode IX. It would be fitting, and he would keep up the tradition established by Leia of Rebellion leaders having totally fabulous hair.
You can see all the new Last Jedi images here.