There was lots of red in The Last Jedi, from the blood-coloured soil of Crait, to Snoke’s crimson throne room. And while critics were in raptures – Rian Johnson is an auteur after all – a lot of hardcore fans were left, well, seeing red.
After watching the film on preview night, I came soaring home like Princess Leia through space. VIII had laughs, lightsabers and a brooding Adam Driver.
Yes, it felt like Star Wars. Like the OT, the sequels are funny (levity is actually good in a movie like this.)
The only thing I hated was Luke’s treatment. I understand from a franchise perspective he had to go, but did they have to make him so repulsive? The only way they could have made him more disgusting would have been to have him hit on Rey.
Still, I get the people bewildered by the backlash. Frankly, certain fans needed to get their heads out of their half-cocked theories.
Silly theory #1: Rey’s parentage.
Sure, before Awakens, I thought Padmé-lookalike Rey was Han and Leia’s kid (sadly for them, it was Kylo), and that Kylo was a Vader-obsessed loser (lol true) wanting to continue the bloodline with Rey (also true).
But if trailers hinted at Rey’s Skywalker identity, it was only to protect the Ben Solo reveal. Half an hour in, a guileless Rey turns to Finn and says: “Luke Skywalker! I thought he was a myth.” Neither Han nor Leia knew her, plus she had intriguing romantic tension with Kylo.
I watched Flashback Rey and thought: “That kid’s old enough to remember who her parents are.” When Rey told BB-8 her parents would be back, “one day”, you can tell from Daisy’s delivery that Rey was in denial. As Maz said: she already knew the truth.
So going into VIII, I was quietly confident who her parents weren’t.
But hey, there were people who thought Palpatine wasn’t Darth Sidious right up until Revenge of the Sith. This time around, fans insisted Rey was either Kylo’s twin (duh, age gap), or Luke’s child with an unknown woman – perhaps Obi-Wan’s daughter!
‘Cousins fighting’ never struck me as having the pathos of duelling father and son, but those theories got entrenched, and ‘Reylo’ shippers got attacked (“Yuck – they’re related!”). So presumptuous.
Silly theory #2: Snoke = Darth Plaguies
When I first saw Return of the Jedi, I couldn’t believe the Emperor got chucked down a shaft. Now like the Emperor, Snoke was a powerful Force user. Like the Emperor, he was physically damaged and protected by his guards. And like the Emperor, he could be killed. Yet many fans thought he was ‘a cool bad guy’ and were more excited by him than Rey and Kylo.
Pet theories – that he was Darth Plagueis and/or a force-sucking vampire from beyond the known galaxy – became canon. But the movie was never about Snoke, just like the originals weren’t about Palpatine. The story is about Rey and Kylo, and in order for Vader’s heir to reach his capacity to get worse, he had to smoke Snoke.
Conclusion: Kill the theories
I’d buy a ticket for Episode IX for Driver’s performance alone. Abrams will be back, book-ending the trilogy, although people hoping he’ll roll back the Reylo romance, or still insisting Rey is a Solo(!) might be in for further disappointment. Perhaps there was some explanation for the Kylo-Rey connection held back from Jedi, but I’m not going to hold my breath.
There are only two theories I’m prepared to stick my neck out for – the good guys will win, and there’ll be another incarnation of the Death Star.