But then, this is always the risk—and the inescapable disappointment—of epilogues. When Disney very first acquired Lucasfilm and also announced a brand-new series of movies to take location after Return the The Jedi, it to be an implicit announcement the the win our heroes had achieved, the one that fans had actually been celebrate for decades as an example of light constantly winning out versus the dark, was about to be undone. Star Wars fans had dealt with this idea before in the post-Jedi stories that the increased Universe, in which brand-new threats arose to take it up the mantle that the not-wholly-vanquished Empire. But there Luke, Han, Leia, et al. To be still young-ish and virile, and also imbued with the lasting trust of your win. They—and we—knew over there wasn’t anything lock couldn’t handle now, and also there was little to challenge that notion—or to uncomfortable ROTJ’s perfect holiday photo ending of them every basking in their triumph while the Ewoks drummed joyfully on the hollowed-out skulls the the Stormtroopers they just ate. (They definitely ate them.) it’s why, when George Lucas determined there was more story to tell, he retract to the safety and security of history, learning there would still be the happy ending out there waiting. Nothing have the right to erase that.
You are watching: This is not going to go the way you think
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And yet, that’s not exactly how life works. Win fade, changed by new challenges. Heroes get older. They become broken-down and also kind the pathetic, bearded and also cynical. Sometimes they even end up all alone, stewing over decades-old fuck-ups, suckling at the nipples of sad, mutant cows. Happy endings are always undone since “endings” don’t yes, really exist. Time doesn’t stop as soon as you want it to. Her “destiny” can and also will be gradually eroded far by the plenty of small, cumulative abrasions that life that inevitably follow after you achieve it. This is real, and also it’s disillusioning, and also it have the right to fill you v righteous anger in ~ the unjustness of it all. And then, friend die.
In tackling this notion head-on—in gift willing to not only an obstacle Star Wars’ happy ending, yet to inquiry whether happy endings actually exist—these brand-new films are offering the saga something that it’s constantly somewhat lacked, even in all its constant grappling with themes the the heart versus the machine: humanity. That’s no always straightforward fit v the type of myths the Star Wars updates; rarely perform we talk about the reality that Hercules, for example, triumphed end his Twelve Labors, only to finish up a twice-married widower who acquired killed through a shirt. And the really idea of it pisses off civilization who cling to the illusion the their own hero’s trip will one day be “complete.”
And yet, that’s the story of life. We acquire to what seems choose a comfortable end—married through children, say, achieved in our careers, content to simply let things remain status quo forever. Then life intrudes, because we’re only one small chapter within its story. Those things readjust and on slide away. We might “fundamentally disagree” through what life decides because that us. Life write its epilogue anyway.
The last Jedi tells united state this explicitly, time and also again—even right there in the trailer. “Let the previous die. Death it, if you have actually to,” Kylo Ren states to Rey. “This is not going to walk the way you think,” Luke tells she earlier.
Most have actually rightly figured out these as meta commentaries ~ above the brand-new movies themselves: These movies aren’t going to play by the rule of familial destiny, favored One narratives, and all the various other myths Joseph Campbell deconstructed decades back and that George Lucas popularized for a new generation of films. In order for Star Wars to proceed at all, it has to undo, if no outright destroy, the story that came before—to burn the “sacred texts,” together The last Jedi walk in one of its other, an ext on-the-nose moments.
Otherwise, what story is over there to tell? Luke becomes even an ext the self-possessed, slightly new Age-y boring he was in Return of The Jedi, dutifully pass on his wisdom to a brand-new generation of Jedi trainees? Han and Leia’s marital relationship suffers the sometimes strains, but mostly lock happy in love? all of them need to intermittently band together against another Palpatine wannabe whom they—and we—know will eventually be vanquished, due to the fact that they already did this once? Star Wars: and Everything was Pretty lot Fine is no a an especially compelling tale to hang a brand-new generation of movie on.
At the very same time, regardless of how it could make united state feel—we “true” Star Wars fans, mark Hamill, anyone that aches for the death of our heroes and also the asterisk that now stands alongside their sacrifices—it’s end up being clear with time that this is the story the Star Wars saga was constantly trying to tell. The an initial film’s subtitle, A brand-new Hope, hints at its an extremely cyclical nature. In the prequels, Anakin to be that brand-new hope: “You to be the chosen One!” Obi-wan Kenobi shouts in ~ Anakin through all the disappointed of someone who thought this battle was finally about to end, the the lose of his very own friends and also mentors would at some point mean something. In Rogue One, “hope” comes in the form of the death Star plans, acquired at an excellent cost come yet much more lives, which space handed off to Princess Leia in the final scene—“hope” the then becomes around Leia cajoling Obi-wan Kenobi right into rediscovering his own, and in turn, happen it along to Luke. Also the “new hope” the Luke Skywalker stood for would need to be renewed number of times over, watered by the blood of countless soldiers and also Bothan spies. And it brought about what was, really, only the short-lived defeat of a planet-destroying fight station the the realm just went and also built a pair more time anyway.
In The critical Jedi, that brand-new hope comes full circle as Luke—in his own Kenobi-like, self-imposed exile—first rejects its pull together a “cheap move,” before he, too, at some point sacrifices self in that is name. By movie’s end, “hope” is the little spark it is still burn in the grasp of Resistance survivors who space once more beating retreat top top the Millennium Falcon, reconvening your decimated number to plot what come next, the hope persists, even as we room left with the crushing, real-world understanding that the last of ours old heroes up there on the display won’t be roughly to carry it through.
It’s depressing, and it’s galling, and also to part angry fans, that needlessly cruel. Yet it’s likewise the truest and also most crucial thing this space fantasy has ever before said. The need for “a brand-new hope” never ends, and that’s exhausting. That frustrating. It no seem favor it have to be that way—certainly not in the story we call ourselves come distract united state from such realities. Definitely not in a year where, for so many, that feels choose we just arised from a period of “hope” just to find ourselves right back at the bottom again, wait for a brand-new one come come along. In that same mark Hamill video, he even hits top top this note while discussing simply how easily the old ’60s hippie delusions faded: “There’ll it is in no an ext wars! fine end people famine! Hey baby, love is all you need… we failed! and also now the world is worse 보다 it’s ever before been.” We’re still in ~ war, people are tho hungry (and around to acquire hungrier), and Mark Hamill is having his own inspirational native thrown ago at the by Ted Cruz. This epilogue is pure garbage. It’s complete of plot holes and also senseless contrivances and also it sucks.
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But then, that’s life. That’s exactly how stories go—all of them. Us evolve, for far better and, probably more often, for worse. And also we are always at war. In being willing to tell us that, at a time when we arguably should hear the most—at a time once Star Wars’ original fans space entering middle age, and also our culture is increasingly feeding us the kind of nostalgic lull that deserve to leave us dangerously entrenched and also emotionally stunted, can not to cope with change—The last Jedi provided us this heartbreaking, enraging, utterly bullshit enrichment that Star Wars as one of our most an important modern myths. What comes following will surely also be tragic and moving and triumphant and, ultimately, meaningless. Ns can’t wait to view it.