WARNING: The following will contain MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Like, catastrophically huge spoilers. You have been warned!
Unless you’ve been living under several large comfy rocks complete with en-suite bathroom facilities and free WiFi for the last few weeks, you’ve probably heard that there is a campaign under way to crowdsource a ton of money and remake The Last Jedi. Let’s be real for a second. The chances of Disney actually allowing this to happen are smaller than Ant-man’s freckles. But the movement has gained some significant momentum; at the time of writing the campaign’s website has ostensibly received just over $400 million in funding which they hope will persuade Disney to allow them to go ahead, the incentive being that Disney will not need to put their hand in their own pocket. Now whether or not this remake will actually see the light of day (which I’m pretty much darn sure it won’t) isn’t really the question I want to ponder. What I’m really more concerned with is: should the The Last Jedi be remade?
In my opinion: no.
The thing is, as much we all love Star Wars, it isn’t public domain. As fans, I don’t think we have any real right to demand that the creators/copyright holders of a beloved franchise take their creation in the exact direction that we desire. Fanfic? Sure. But it’s a whole other ball game to completely decanonize an entire film and replace it with something else, just because we feel the writers made some poor choices.
So is there any legitimacy to the remake campaign?
Honestly, I’m not too sure. I know a lot of people say that director Rian Johnson overstepped his boundaries when he more or less disregarded the general direction that Disney wanted him to take. Mark Hamill was even quoted as saying in a conversation with Rian months before the release:
I fundamentally disagree with every choice you’ve made for this character [Luke].
Hamill was later forced to backtrack from this statement a little.
But remember, the final version of the film would never have made general release had it not been given the green light from Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm under Disney. So the highest-ranking Disney employee in relation to the Star Wars franchise saw the final version and gave the go-ahead, despite any concerns over the shift in creative direction. That more or less seals the deal for me in terms of whether it should/shouldn’t be remade.
But I also want to address some of the plot points that a large percentage of the fanbase took issue with, as it’s important to see just why so many fans are supporting the remake campaign. So let’s take a look at these issues, in no particular order:
It’s easy to see why this riled up a lot of the fans. In Return of the Jedi, Luke prided himself on sensing the small, latent goodness still residing within Vader, the most feared and reviled tyrant in the galaxy, and reached out to it. Fast forward a few years: how then did Luke, even for a split second, contemplate cold-bloodedly murdering his own nephew in his sleep instead of reaching out to the goodness in him? Very, very strange.
Supreme Leader Snoke’s backstory was hotly debated and deeply theorized on in the run-up to TLJ. We know from his age that he’s been behind the scenes for a long time, perhaps as far back as the days of the Republic. Who is he, where did he come from, and has he been manipulating events in both the original trilogy and the prequels? Then, with little fanfare and no questions answered, this supposed ultimate Sith Lord succumbed to a mind-trick from Kylo Ren and dies rather unceremoniously! Needless to say, the fans felt pretty cheated at learning nothing surrounding one of the most compelling characters in this trilogy.
Ok, this actually really triggered me, more so than any other point on this list. Phasma was a figure of intrigue in The Force Awakens; the chrome armour, the fact that she was the first confirmed female stormtrooper, I think all the fans were in general agreement after TFA that she didn’t get anything like the screen time she deserved. We wanted to know more. When the rumours circulated that she’d be a bigger character and be getting more lines in TLJ I couldn’t wait, so much so that I went and bought the book detailing her backstory: Star Wars: Phasma (which I wholeheartedly recommend). Phasma is a freaking badass, way more so than TFA let on. So to see her again get so little screen time and then die (presumably) so meekly towards the end…..well that didn’t sit well with me. Hugely disappointing.
Wasn’t too miffed about this one. I actually love the fact that her parents were nobodies, signifying how the Force can arise in anybody in the galaxy. That being said, it’s very odd that TFA was chock full of teasers and possible hints about Rey’s heritage. From the Force Vision of walking the same pathway as Luke on Cloud City, to Luke’s theme music playing when Rey wields his lightsaber in the final confrontation with Kylo Ren, it definitely appeared that TFA was going somewhere with all the clues. Then TLJ came along and threw a spanner in the works. Weird.
The Knights of Ren
Maz owning Luke’s Lightsaber
When Maz gives Luke’s lightsaber to Rey in TFA, she says that the story as to how she came to possess it was ‘a story for another time’. Taking that as something to be addressed further in TLJ, the fans were disappointed. No story. You actually have to consult The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary to find out how it happens. (It’s not that exciting.)
Leia goes from Force-sensitive to Force-user
So Leia can manipulate the Force now. Ok….it’s just weird that she goes from being just ‘sensitive’ to the Force to being an outright user, as displayed when she flies back to the airlock after being jettisoned into space. You need to build up to that. If there had been some earlier scene where she uses the Force is some tiny and meaningless way, for example subconsciously pulling a pen to her hand in order to write something with, that would have been acceptable. But it’s hard to believe that Leia pulled a stunt like that with little or no training.
Casino Planet scenes
…..were they really necessary? Did they actually accomplish anything?
So more than a few gripes, true. But does this really give fans to right to demand a complete remake of the film? I imagine if you’re reading this you’re probably a Star Wars fan, so what do you think? Did I miss out your favourite ‘worst issue’? Does the campaign have merit? Or did you enjoy the film and you’ve been shaking your head and waving your fists the entire time you’ve been reading this? Let me know in the comments!
(Header image source: https://movieweb.com/last-jedi-remake-poster-fan-made/)