A Summary Of Star Wars : Rise Of The Resistance And The First Order Era

Star Wars Resistance : Everyone’s Battle

Resistance is a bit of a tough story to place on the timeline as it begins in the six months leading up to the events of The Force Awakens, and wraps up around the events of The Rise Of Skywalker.

This show has a lighter touch in some ways than the very-heavy Clone Wars series or Star Wars Rebels. Still, it’s provides an hugely important perspective to the story line as a whole, especially for the new territory covered in The Sequel Trilogy.

A thought that was begun in Rebels, given a spotlight in Rogue One, and then extended into a primary theme in the Sequel Trilogy is this:

This fight belongs to everyone, and we all have something to contribute.

Resistance plugs directly into that theme with the main character of Kazuda Xiono. He’s a skilled pilot from the New Republic Navy and the son of a wealthy senator. He’s a nice kid but horribly naive and inexperienced.

Still, he’s got potential, potential that is recognized by everyone’s favorite hotshot, Poe Dameron, who recruits Kaz to become a spy for the Resistance. He is assigned to The Colossus, a large oil platform on a water-covered planet. Intrigue and shenanigans ensue, but the shadow of The First Order and the grievous events that are about to take place slowly move into the show’s plot.

The beauty of this series is that we get some new perspectives on a story where we, the audience, have far more information than the characters themselves. We know how all of the dots connect. We know what we believe about the Empire, the Jedi, The First Order, the Resistance, etc. Not all of our characters know where they stand on these issues. Most of them only have half of the story.

Watching the oh-so-normal character of Kaz progress from a raw recruit to someone who is suddenly thrust into a place of leadership under heartbreaking circumstances is actually rather encouraging. It’s a reminder of what each of us is capable of given the chance. We also see other characters that could easily be underestimated using whatever gifts, talents, and experiences they have to pool together into a common goal.

The key to defeating the Empire, and then The First Order was always one thing above everything else. This HAD to become everyone’s battle, the Rebels/Resistance could only keep this evil at bay for so long. Eventually, all kinds of people across the galaxy were going to have to rise up and do their part.

Star Wars Resistance does an excellent job of showing us how that kind of a movement begins, and how it feeds into a New Age of Resistance in Star Wars.

Everyone’s Battle.

The Force Awakens : Awakening, Old And New

I think this is my favorite Star Wars movie.

It was the first one I saw in theaters, it was an unforgettable experience and the wealth of emotions I walked away with were intense.

It’s an aptly named movie. The job that this movie had to fulfill was to blend into an already established story line but cover new territory. It had to give us a sense of nostalgia while also laying a path for new plots and characters. J.J. Abrams had to awaken a whole lot of stuff.

He was successful. This movie reminded me of the best parts of what I loved from the Original Trilogy, especially in how he brought back the physical elements of the settings, props, and alien characters.

Story-wise, we experience an awakening on multiple levels.

Finn discovers that the life of a Stormtrooper sucks and he isn’t okay with the job requirements. While we now know that he is Force-sensitive, so that makes him stronger in his will and choice to change, this was a big decision for Star Wars.

The Stormtroopers had been faceless minions for so long, I have wondered since I was a kid if they had any feelings or thoughts of their own. Finn proved the stereotype otherwise.

Finn instantly became a delight to me as I saw him not only fly in the face of brainwashing and discipline, but he also opens himself up to caring about another person (Rey) and facing his biggest fears to protect her.

Poe Dameron is a vital plot-mover in this chapter but he doesn’t experience his biggest challenges and growth until the following two movies.

Han Solo, Leia, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker. This movie is described as “Han’s” movie as he is the Original trio-member most featured here.

Clearly some poop has hit the fan in the past 30 years and Han hasn’t been at his best in a long time. Grief can do a lot of things to a person. But while we are saddened to discover how many things have gone wrong, we also see Han again decide to be the man we know and love. The guy who runs into a mess because he’s just crazy enough to think he can make a difference. He still loves deeply, and his actions still change lives around him. Even in death, Han’s presence still lingers in the air.

Chewie is Chewie forever and we love him to pieces.

General Leia is probably the OT character doing best right now, but even she has her regrets. I found the conversations she and Han share about their son and the choices they made honest and humble. They both made mistakes, they’ve both been hurting, but their love is still strong, and they want to fix it.

Luke Skywalker. He’s kind of a disaster. But at least we found him.

Clearly the strongest awakening that happens in this story is for Rey and Kylo Ren.

Rey was just minding her own business, scavenging in the highly-sought after resort location of the deserts of Jakku. She had a thriving community of fellow scavengers and people getting more than enough to eat, and her boss was in the running for Galactic Boss of The Year. Or…not.

The whirlwind of events that catch Rey up out of her lonely life and pull her into a world of myth-turned-reality, new friends, old emotions, and the awakening of her Force abilities is incredible. I love how Rey works her way through this movie, she responds well (mostly) to each thing; but it’s not like she planned for any of this. Everything is a surprise! She’s flying by the seat of her pants this whole movie. It’s kind of nice, she has no expectations and very little pride, so her reactions are genuine. It makes her victories sweeter.

In contrast, Kylo Ren’s awakening is a bit ruder and definitely more uncomfortable for him. He is reprimanded multiple times by his mentor, Snoke, he fails many of the tasks given him, and his family issues are all up in his throat. He discovers someone new who he is both drawn to and afraid of, because he can sense her power.

He kills his dad (not his finest moment) and then gets his butt kicked by a little lady who grew up in a junkyard.

It’s not exactly a fun few days for him, but the truth is something had to be stirred in order for him to advance as a character. We walk into his life and immediately see the amount of daily turmoil he exists in. Kylo Ren is not exactly a likable character in this installment, but we had to start somewhere.

Loss and victory, new friendships, old problems, and a whole bunch of X-wing fire make this movie both a familiar song and a new dance. It awakened the Star Wars fandom and reinvigorated the big screen story that had been silent for well over a decade.

Awakening, Old And New.

The Last Jedi : Challenging The Status Quo

The Last Jedi was controversial if nothing else.

Some people loved it. Some people hated it.

I have parts I love, and parts I’m not overly impressed with. But I think the real purpose of this movie and the strongest theme was this :

Challenge the status quo.

This plot of this movie has some very definable holes. Admiral Holdo’s BIG SECRET PLAN and Finn and Rose’s sideline mission are among the very worst.

Although, Holdo’s brilliant purple hair is definitely something to write home about.

Still, I think this movie did accomplish something important for the Star Wars universe.

Poe and Leia’s relationship. We have seen the mentor/trainee role played out with Jedi and their padawans multiple times, but rarely have we gotten to experience this relationship in a different context.

Leia’s disgust with Poe’s reckless behavior almost seems contradictory in the face of how many sacrifices we’ve seen her and other Rebels make. But perhaps that’s a part of the bigger picture, she’s matured enough to know what missions are worth giving your all, and when it’s time to live to fight another day. An idea that Rose Tico echoes. Perhaps it’s hitting close to home for her since we saw her sister Paige die in Poe’s reckless mission.

Obviously sacrifice and commitment is a part of any endeavor like this, but it’s wise to challenge the idea that we always must go as far as we can, especially when talking about how many casualties you incur. This new approach saves the Resistance’ bacon at the end of the movie where Poe proves he’s been listening by readjusting his mentality, and leading the Resistance out the back door to freedom.

The Force

Sometimes people over-complicate the problem. I’ve been one of those people before so I get it, but still. The Jedi are notorious for over-complicating the problem, and unfortunately Luke himself fell into that trap.

Did anyone else notice in the Sequel Trilogy that as soon as Han Solo contradicts Finn’s adorably naive “misconceptions” about the Force, suddenly everything about the Force changed?

That’s not how the Force works.

Uh, wait, maybe it does.

From Leia’s amazing space flight, Rey and Kylo’s strange “Force Time” calls, to Luke’s Force-projection of himself across the galaxy, some pretty wacky stuff happened with the Force.

I guess that sometimes the Force is more mysterious and bizarre than we think. And then again, sometimes you just use it to pick up rocks.

I know this offended some people, but I don’t see why it should. Just because something has been known about for thousands of years doesn’t mean it’s always understood, or used properly. We’ve seen that time and again throughout real human history, it actually adds realism to incorporate it into this fictional universe.

Sometimes mentors are wrong.

The status quo of wise older mentor training the overeager trainee was upheld with Leia and Poe, but it was contradicted with Luke and Rey. Rey earnestly seeks guidance and aid from Luke, but he has little to offer her. By the end of her stay on Ahch-to, Rey is the one schooling Luke. Her wisdom comes from her heart, much like he lived in his younger years. He’s been spending too much time in his head, and he’s tasted the bitter results.

Luke has the maturity and humility to admit his mistakes at the end of this movie and actually help Rey from making the same ones later on. But it was her example that helps to inspire him to action.

No, the good girl can’t always change the bad boy.

Rey and Kylo’s interaction throughout this whole movie gives you a hope that she might be getting through to them. They are tender and vulnerable with each other, Kylo’s betrayal of Snoke and their teamwork to defeat Snoke’s Praetorian Guards makes you believe he will change. It would seem the old belief that “good girls can save the bad boys” is real.

It’s not, Kylo isn’t ready to change yet, Rey can’t get him there. It’s a broken concept that is exposed here for its dangerous flaws. She does her best, it doesn’t work, so she leaves. #timetowipeyourownnosebuster

Even in the next movie when Kylo does change, he makes that choice on his own. Rey was definitely a positive influence on him, but she does not change him. He chooses to change.

You can lose everything and still win.

Failure is not an option. Does that thought ever echo in your mind?

Do or do not, there is no try. What the heck does that mean and does it even make sense? I’m not sure it does.

The Resistance is a disaster at the end of this movie. It’s the lowest point our hero characters have been at since Order 66 and Revenge of The Sith. Sometimes you think you’ve gone as low as you can go, and then you find out there is a sub-basement under the regular one.

That’s where the Resistance is at. Broken, but not beaten. This is a challenge to the status quo that we as humans carry as a great burden on our shoulders.

I can’t lose my house. I’ll die without this relationship. I’ve put everything into this business, it can’t end. I need my car to be okay. Etc.

We have people holding onto things for dear life with the belief that failure is not an option. And a lot of them are missing the bigger picture, holding the wrong priorities, and burning themselves up.

Losing things, relationships, jobs, etc, it’s not fun. But it’s not the end of the world, and you can come back from something like this. You are still alive and that is a gift. We would do well to recognize how many things do not actually define our success or our ability to go on. We would do well to be carriers of hope instead of fear.

The Last Jedi challenged many status quos for Star Wars and wrongful culture in general. Like it, hate it, you have to admit it accomplished that much.

Challenging The Status Quo.

The Rise Of Skywalker : Endings And Beginnings

The Rise of Skywalker was many, many things. Seriously, so much happened in that movie. Some of it was well done and some of it was half-baked. I neither love it to death nor do I hate its guts. I’m not going to try to unpack every detail of the movie, I’m gonna stick to a few specific things.

Endings

Leia’s Legacy Is Complete

This was “Leia’s movie”. The devastating death of Carrie Fisher a few years ago caused some major difficulties in giving Leia the ending she richly deserved. But with the miracle of modern technology and people who would not quit, Leia was honored properly.

Leia held on to hope when others lost it. She stayed in the fight when others ran. Leia forgave herself for her mistakes even while she felt the grief of them. Leia worked hard to instill good values and wise judgment into another generation.

Leia absolutely succeeded. She poured herself into people who were willing to receive what she had to offer. Poe was practically a second son to her. His love for Leia and respect for her leadership made him the right person to become her successor.

Rey had raised herself up to this point and did a decent job. But she was so, so hungry for some parenting! Both Han and Luke contributed to her growth, but Leia gave an entire year of her life to training Rey. She was the mother Rey had never gotten to experience.

Both for the Rebels and the Jedi, Leia kept the fire lit and passed on the torch to the next generation.

And even with her dying breath, she called out to her wayward son, and his mother’s voice brought him home.

Princess General Leia Organa Skywalker Solo is a legend, and the legend was honored well. Her legacy lives on in the hearts of those she loved and nurtured.

Chewbacca got a medal. It’s about time.

Palpatine was destroyed by his own flesh and blood, and she was saved from death by the very family line he’d spent decades controlling. #poeticjustice

Kylo Ren is dead, Ben Solo is alive. Ben’s final choice to change and become the person he was made to be was triumphant and honest. He made selfless choices to do the right thing, he gave his own life to save another, and he helped repair much of the damage he had caused. He was forgiven, and he forgave himself. The son of Leia Skywalker and Han Solo was restored and put to rest.

The Voices of the Jedi Returned

It was a stunning moment when beloved voices from Jedi friends of the past were heard in Rey’s head. This nod to all the heroes who had come before her and done their best was a great way to bring this saga to a close. They’d done their part, now it was her turn, and they had her back. It was a nice fan moment that tied in all previous Eras of Star Wars.

Ships from every era of Star Wars could be seen when the mismatched fleet from across the galaxy arrived. I’m sure the super nerds have already torn that scene apart and you can find multiple YouTube videos on the subject. It was a great place to celebrate the larger universe.

Beginnings

Finn and Jannah both represented a group of people that have largely been viewed in one way – unchangeable, evil minions. But their transformations from Stormtrooper to Rebel warriors has proven that change is possible. Just like The Clone Wars series dove into the lives, ideas, and destinies of the clones as individuals, it’s possible that this move could open up new stories about redeemed Stormtroopers.

Finn is Force-sensitive. I’m kind of a Finn fangirl, I’m gonna talk about this a lot. Finn represents a character we’ve seen little of, someone who is Force-sensitive but does not have Jedi training. His growth from a scared deserter to a calm military leader was epic, and honestly, it feels somewhat unfinished. The potential that this character alone represents for future stories and Star Wars storytelling is immense.

The Galaxy is owning this battle for freedom for the first time. It’s no longer just a fight between Rebels vs Baddies, it’s everyone’s fight. I don’t even have to go into detail on this one, the potential speaks for itself.

Poe is a general. As we have learned the hard way from the Galactic Civil War and New Republic Aftermath, victory over an enemy doesn’t always mean life is easy. You have to have strong leaders in place to help with the messy rebuilding process. It would be neat to explore how someone rebuilds a galaxy and does it right.

Rey Skywalker. I’ve seen some complaints about this moment. One person who replied to my positive comment about this character choice said,

Right, because we can now just say a name and its ours. #sarcasm

Uh, yeah, buddy, that’s kind of how adoption works.

Part of the point of Rey’s entire character arc is that her family line and heritage should not define her, for good or bad. When she was an unknown she feared her own worthlessness. When she discovered she was a Palpatine, she feared her own power and importance.

Everyone kept telling her who and what she was and what that had to mean for her.

But Rey made a choice, and that choice was opposite of her blood, and in line with the people she had chosen to call her own: the Skywalkers and their Rebel family.

Rey taking the name Skywalker was her way of adopting herself into her chosen family, her chosen path, and her identity. It’s not like Luke and Leia were available to sign adoption papers, but an adoption it was.

This isn’t stupid, it’s beautiful. It was redemptive to the Skywalker line because their legacy will live on with this beautiful woman who took their name. The future of the Jedi will be directed by someone who has seen and tasted both the Dark and the Light, and she still chose the Light.

Rey carries herself with a humility and wisdom that is just what the doctor ordered. Her identity can not be blown away in the next sandstorm, she’s rooted in something bigger than herself.

The potential for what Rey could create, should anyone choose to continue her story, is something very fresh and inviting. She could create a whole new generation of Jedi who are far less trapped by useless tradition, and more involved with relationship and choice. She could help others who feel lost find a home and a family.

The Rise of Skywalker ended a saga that has stretched over 5 decades. It worked to try and bring a satisfying ending to many of those story lines, but also left us with a few tantalizing threads to discover in the future.

Endings and Beginnings.

For my full summary of Star Wars, check out,

The Prequel Era

Height of The Empire, Early Rebellion Era

Galactic Civil War, New Republic Aftermath Era

A Summary Of Star Wars : Galactic Civil War, New Republic Aftermath Era

A New Hope : The Seeds Bloom

When introducing someone to Star Wars, this is it.

If I wanted to show someone the entire story line with all of the details and timeline, I would go chronologically. I always like chronological when it comes to stories.

However, this movie WAS Star Wars! This movie changed history. If you only have time for one film to wet someone’s appetite, A New Hope is it. It can stand alone. The story is comfortingly cliche-filled about a small town farm boy who’s actually special and a band of mismatched beings who take on the evil local government, and win. A classic underdog story.

Star Wars proves that we don’t really fear cliches themselves, we fear them being done poorly. Star Wars plays with cliches regularly but it uses them well. The excitement of this movie is something special. Running up and down corridors shooting blasters! Han’s unexpected lines and bits of humor! The garbage compactor! Obi-Wan’s grand sacrifice! And that delicious space battle with the horrifying countdown is unforgettable! Timeless. This movie gets my heart pumping every time.

This is what the world fell in love with, and its magic continues to bring new viewers under its spell. Whether we had more than the Original Trilogy or not, this movie would not lose a single inch of its ground. It’s special.

But now we do have more than the Originals, so we can now view this story as a chapter in a larger timeline. What A New Hope represents in the framework of the larger story-line is the movie where the seeds planted in earlier, more tragic years begin to bloom.

Luke’s sheltered existence on Tatooine, as much as he hated it, accomplished Obi-Wan’s intended purpose. He grew up safe and strong, undisturbed by the Emperor or Darth Vader. His enthusiasm and big dreams for the future are a welcome open door for Obi-Wan to step into his life at the right moment and beginning training him. He learns fast and puts what he’s learned into practice almost immediately.

Leia, though a bit less safe, is already a backbone member of the Rebel Alliance. Her mother’s courage and ferocity for truth lives on in her daughter’s spirit. She is reunited with her brother and meets the future love-of-her-life and they form the trio that is required for every Star Wars trilogy. But they are the trio.

Han’s big heart is dug out of the drawer where he tries to stuff it and is dusted off. The boy we met in Solo is still in there somewhere, and his skills and, uh, really bad ideas that sometimes work are exactly what the Skywalker twins need to succeed. He completes them.

The Death Star plans that our Rogue One crew worked so hard to send to the Alliance have been recovered and will be put to use. The horrible sacrifice was not in vain. Can we also take a moment to recognize how incredible it is that this “overlooked plot hole” such as a small ventilation shaft was fixed with an entire, glorious movie nearly 38 years later? That’s cool!

Obi-Wan’s years of walking the galaxy in the flesh are gone, he sacrifices himself to join the Force and get to be a voice in people’s heads for years. This really stirs up things in Darth Vader that have remained dormant for a long time.

Add to that the defeat of The Death Star and this young pilot who is strong in the force, Vader’s sense of equilibrium is rattled. It’s the beginning of the end for Vader, and the beginning of the return of the Jedi, Anakin.

When seeds bloom you begin to see the tender green shoots sticking up out of the soil. It’s exciting after you’ve been staring at little heaps of dirt forever. For all you know that seed you buried died down there in the darkness and you’re looking at its grave. Maybe nothing will grow. But the baby plants, the little shoots of hope, they are the proof that life remains, and it is growing stronger.

A New Hope is aptly named, life remains, and it is growing stronger.

The Seeds Bloom.

The Empire Strikes Back : Success Born Out Of Defeat

This was one of my most favorite movies in the world. It’s one of the best sequels in film history.

At first glance this movie looks like, “The one where the Rebels get their butts kicked by the Empire.” And to some extent, that is true. However, most of the battles lost in this movie actually lead to the eventual overthrow and defeat of the Empire, so in truth, the Rebels win the war.

This plays out in a few specific ways.

Han Solo is clearly very attached to Luke and Leia and The Rebellion, but he has a divided attention. Understandably so! If I had a price on my head I’d be concerned about it too. They also really need him, Luke would have ended up as a popsicle without him. Still, there are questions hanging in the air about how long he’ll stick around and it causes some tension. Tension, and the cutest hallway argument + accidentally kissing your twin brother moments! #scruffylookingnerfherder #idratherkissawookiee #youcoulduseagoodkiss

But the events of The Battle of Hoth, the following chase across space, and the climactic loss at Bespin push Han to a conclusion.

I love you.

I know.

Even though both Han and Leia have no idea what happens next, Han has made a choice. These are his people, and if he gets the chance, he’s sticking with them. He’s resolved, and when Han is resolved good things happen. Now its his turn to be a popsicle.

Princess Leia is struggling with feeling that she can trust in the relationships she has built with Luke and Han, especially Han. She knows that she will be committed to the Rebel cause until she wins or dies, so that’s not a question on her mind.

Her adventures with Han and friends give her the courage to commit, “I love you.” As warmhearted as Leia clearly is, those words came hard. She’s probably scared to love deeply after all she’s lost, but she does. It’s a big moment for her character.

Her connection with Luke is established when Luke calls out for rescue through the Force and Leia hears him. While she doesn’t understand the full weight of this experience at the time, she will eventually. Progress has been made to fuller “twinhood” and their rightful inheritance as Skywalkers.

Lando Calrissian Joins Something Bigger Than Himself

Lando has a pretty scummy showing in his first introduction to this movie. No amount of cape swishing and pretty smiles can cover his betrayal. The double-crossing card shark we met in Solo seems alive and well.

But through the loss of an old comrade, Han, His oil platform being overwhelmed by the Empire, and a good punch/choking or two, Lando makes a new choice. No more going alone, no more pretending not to care, it’s time to be a part of something bigger than his own selfish desires. Another scoundrel (though not the scoundrel) has been brought on board.

Luke Discovers His Father

One of the biggest reveals in movie history, it’s a powerful scene. As shocking as this scene is to Luke’s character, it’s hugely important to his growth. The truth will set you free. As much as Obi-Wan and Yoda feared Luke knowing the truth, he really did need to know where he stood. The decisions Luke will make from this point on are entirely different because he now knows Vader is his father. And they are good ones, ones that will make a difference.

Still, at the exact moment that he is told the startling truth, Luke is bleeding, weak, and hanging off of a pole. Emotionally he’s a train wreck, Vader senses his vulnerability and tries to take advantage of it. It’s Luke’s lowest moment thus far, so what does the kid do?

He lets go and free falls into a shaft. It’s one of my absolute favorite Luke Skywalker moments. Funny, I know, he’s not exactly a pretty picture at this moment. But this choice to just let go and get-the-heck-out-of-Dodge is one of the smartest, humblest choices Luke ever makes. It takes wisdom and maturity to know when you are not strong enough for a certain situation and you just need to get some space and perspective.

Luke charged into Bespin all cocky and ready to take on Vader. He did fairly well, but he got his butt kicked, lost a hand, and he just got a punch right in the daddy-issues.

The choice to just get out of there is so wise. If only Luke had used this same humble wisdom years down the road when he faced problems with his nephew, Ben Solo. Rather than panicking and reacting as “the great Luke Skywalker should”, he could have gotten some space and requested some backup support. He didn’t, and so many suffered because of his arrogance.

Han’s frozen, Leia’s brokenhearted, and Luke has been put through the wringer. They’re all separated and unsure of what comes next. It feels like a crushing defeat, but the lessons they learn in this chapter and the wounds they are given become some of their greatest strengths. They are more united than ever and more determined to see this thing through. The days of the Empire are numbered.

Success Born Out Of Defeat.

Return Of The Jedi : Redemption

The very title speaks of such triumph. It’s one thing to win by just destroying your enemies, it’s another thing to actually be able to save one of them and restore balance to the Force.

The rise and fall of the pacing and victories in the Original Trilogy are well done. A New Hope contains some heavy losses and tragic moments, but it ends on a high note with the destruction of The Death Star and that iconic medal ceremony. The Empire Strikes Back picks up on that high note and delivers an action-packed sequel, but it ends on a low note where we are nervous for the outcome.

Return Of The Jedi does not start the strongest beginning. The whole sideline tour on Tatooine was rather slow. And don’t get me started on Leia’s disgusting outfit, that was a shameful choice on the part of Lucas! Carrie Fisher hated that outfit for the rest of her life and who can blame her.

We are shown a new Luke Skywalker though, one who is calm, collected, and peaceful. He’s confident in his capabilities as well as his compassion. This is the Luke that can face Darth Vader.

Once we get back to the Rebellion things start to pick up, and fun adventure leading to an epic battle of the mind and galaxy ensues.

The Force is strong in my family. I have it, my father has it. My sister has it.

The moment when Luke and Leia discuss their twin-hood and legacy in the Force is one of my favorite scenes. It’s tender, gentle, and raw. Luke loves Leia as he loves no one else in the world. He also comments on the fact that should he fail, Leia is the future for the Rebel Alliance. And she is strong. Down the road in the Sequel Trilogy we see just how accurate his predictions are about her.

Luke’s confrontation with his father is a bit of a gamble, and it’s not easy. The Emperor never makes anything easy; his arrogance, his manipulation, and his touching every tender and dear thing in Luke’s heart is its own form of torture.

This part is made even more angering by Vader’s submission to his sick master. It’s like there is no will in him, he’s never looked weaker. In contrast, Luke has never been stronger.

My favorite moment is when Luke chooses to throw his lightsaber away, refusing the temptation to end his broken father.

I’ll never turn to the Dark Side. You’ve failed, Your Highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.

One of the best lines in film history. He’s not struggling, he’s resolved. He affirms his faith in his father and his love for him even though Vader is a pitiful mess on the floor. It’s beautiful, it’s redemptive, it’s loving. And Palpatine doesn’t know what to do with it.

It’s truly delightful that love conquers hate. Luke’s love for his father and Anakin’s love for his son brings him back to the Light. The satisfaction of seeing Palpatine throw into a chasm while screaming is fantastic.

I could see how some people would want to throw this whole movie out after the events of the recent Sequel Trilogy. What good did it do? Palpatine survived! The First Order emerged, Luke became Oscar the Grouch!

They’re missing the point. This moment was about conquering the evil before them, and about Anakin’s redemption. None of us knows exactly what comes down the road, we aren’t supposed to! All we can do is do our best with the times we’ve given. #lordoftheringscrossoverline

And our friends do their best and they do well.

They destroy the Empire. Anakin Skywalker dies in his son’s forgiving arms. Han and Leia succeed in their mission on Endor (not bad for a popsicle and a princess), the Millennium Falcon emerges unharmed, and Leia gets to have a moment of peace with the people she loves. Anakin rejoins his friends in the Force and all is well for the time being.

You can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Palpatine spent years trying to drag himself out of this pit he was thrown into, he wasn’t a threat for a long, long time. The Empire was overthrown, the Rebel Alliance gained ground, and new potential emerged. It was a victory.

Redemption is often a messy road, but it is always a road paved with love. There is no other way to get there. Return of The Jedi is a triumph for the individual characters we love and the galaxy as a whole.

Victory isn’t defined by never having to struggle again, it’s defined by ground that is gained. Ground was gained, redemption happened, and love paved the way.

Redemption.

The Mandalorian : Meaning In The Midst Of Chaos

A stark truth is focused on in this brilliant Disney+ series that reveals a whole new side of Star Wars.

Just because something good happened doesn’t mean that the hardship is over. The Empire has been defeated, the Rebel Alliance won, and the New Republic has been formed. And the galaxy is a hot mess.

It’s a discouraging thought, but I have experienced this reality in my own life in some painful ways. Just because you conquer one hard, long-lasting thing doesn’t mean that life is immediately all sunshine and roses. There’s cleanup, there’s rebuilding, and there’s trauma to work through. The whole galaxy is in that place, everyone is trying to survive or one-up each other. It’s madness.

The Mandalorian himself is a character who carries and represents trauma in multiple areas. To some extent, he’s still the brokenhearted little boy who’s parents were murdered in The Clone Wars.

Still, he’s tried to make the best of it. He’s an A+ bounty hunter who strikes fear in the hearts of all of his quarries and those who oppose him. He’s holds to the Mandalorian creed, but his profession doesn’t make him the most popular person. There is a sense of emptiness to his life that no amount of cool moves or successful bounty missions can fill. He’s a lost soul wandering.

Enter, Baby Yoda.

I wrote an article on fatherhood and how Mando steps up to the plate to care for a child who is entirely dependent upon him. He exhibits sacrificial love when he puts his own needs/wants and sense of freedom aside to care for someone else.

In this drastic choice, Mando finds a whole new level of peace and purpose. You can live your whole live just trying to survive, but you may not like the person you become or the decisions you make. Mando is surrounded by people who make all kinds of horrible, selfish decisions in the interest of survival. He once was that person.

But at the same time, Mando as a character seems to find the characters in the galaxy who are living for more. Kuill, Cara Dune, Omera, even the other Mandalorians who hold fast to the creed. These individuals have all suffered in one way or another, they are all faced with hard circumstances, but they are making different choices. They stand up for the little guys, and they don’t back down from a fight if it’s for a good cause. Sometimes they do the right thing just because its the right thing.

In Episode 6: The Prisoner, we see the kind of life Mando used to lead. And it was naaasty! The kindhearted, measured person he is now shows just how far he has come. More than any other episode to me, this episode shows how Mando has chosen to live for more than money or bloodlust.

They could have a made a show about this incredibly cool character and his adventures as a bounty hunter, and people would have watched it. But it wouldn’t have had the impact it did.

By adding in a sense of responsibility and the glorious and hard journey of fatherhood, The Mandalorian struck home to our hearts in a special way. The chaos of the galaxy we love is brought into balance with a reminder of what really matters.

We are all looking for meaning in life, and true meaning is found in being loved and loving.

It’s a testimony to the strength of the storytelling that we can learn such a precious and tender message from a man who’s face we’ve barely seen, but who’s heart we’ve already fallen in love with.

Meaning In The Midst Of Chaos.

Next up, Rise Of The Resistance And The First Order Era.

Check out, Height Of The Empire, Early Rebellion Era

Check out, Prequel Era

The Rise of Skywalker : My Thoughts In No Particular Order

I know, its been months and I am just now am writing about The Rise of Skywalker.

I actually missed it in theaters due to what we will call “a series of unfortunate events”. I did not see the movie until a week and a half ago.

I was frankly terrified.

I really do like The Last Jedi movie, but some decisions were made in that film that I found disappointing.

Add to that the fact that Disney has severely let me down in some areas recently *coughs* ENDGAME! Stories and characters that meant the world to me were not given their proper dues. It’s hard when you invest in something so deeply and then find yourself disappointed.

However, I am happy to report that I did enjoy The Rise of Skywalker and many of the choices made for the movie. It’s not a perfect movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a good movie. Here’s what I liked about it.

Finn is a Force User.

Years ago I wrote an article where I stated that I believed Finn would also become a Jedi in the future. That did not happen, but I was correct on my belief that he was a Force user. To me, the way that the character of Finn was handled in The Rise of Skywalker is one of the most satisfying aspects of the whole movie.

Finn was an exciting and great catalyst character in The Force Awakens. I fell in love with him in about 2 minutes of him being on screen. His energy was contagious, his commentary hilarious, and the chemistry created between him and Rey made me a hard and fast FinnRey shipper.

I felt that Finn was severely underused in The Last Jedi. His sideline arc with Rose felt unnecessary, and while it did help his character reach a more confident decision about being aligned with the Resistance, it was still disappointing.

The Finn of TROS was the Finn that I wanted. He still had his boisterous spirit and deep, abiding loyalty, especially to Rey. And yet, he was more confident. I was actually surprised and delighted to see him being the grounded, more moderating character that bound the trio of Poe, Rey, and himself together. Even the way the three hugged at the end of the movie, he wrapped his arms around both of them.

Finn is a character with a powerful love for those around him. And that love continually draws them in and grounds them. Finn is a character who will forever draw people in, give them a place to call home and a person that they can always count on. Those people are a rare and precious breed.

Yes, the elephant in the room, FinnRey. I’ve been a very verbal FinnRey shipper since Day 1.

I still am. Here’s my current take on that duo following The Rise of Skywalker.

I think FinnRey is still very much alive and well. You are welcome to see that as a legendary friendship or as a potential couple somewhere down the road. I feel that both have legitimacy.

Finn did a fantastic job being there for Rey in this movie, having her back, and showing compassion for where she was at emotionally. The fact that he is also a Force User and could sense what was happening with her just cemented the bond that they already have. He’s going to be able to understand things about her that others cannot.

Finn was the person Rey could talk to and trust he would listen and care. He didn’t hold things against her, he had her back 100%. He cried for her. He verbally affirmed her. They spoke in a raw and honest way with each other that was beautiful.

I loved the moment when he sensed her death. The confirmation of his Force-sensitive instincts was so satisfying. And then his joy when he saw her alive was completely consistent with everything Finn has done with Rey since the moment they first met.

I fully acknowledge the beauty of the connection between Rey and Ben Solo. It was powerful and redemptive, more on that later. But I do feel that Finn and Rey have a lasting love for each other that can remain as is or grow.

In terms of the character that connected best with the other people of this movie, I think Finn gets the MVP award. Well done!

Humor

The dialogue between our primary trio was adorable. I didn’t expect that feisty static between Rey and Poe with Finn being the more mellow member. But it was darling and brought a great human element to a very intense, larger than life story.

The banter is what really reminded me of the original trio of Han, Leia, and Luke. But the Sequel 3 definitely had their own flavor.

Droids

We love our two-legged Star Wars heroes, but we all know the truth.

The droids have kept the galaxy running for years and it’s only because the villains overlook them that we’ve survived this long.

Reylo Vs Ren

About a year ago I wrote an article taking to task the idea that something as abusive and inappropriate as the Reylo ship could be romantic. It’s been one of my most-read articles and also received the most controversial responses.

I still stand by that article. I wrote it for the Kylo Ren that we had seen on display in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. The choices the character was making and the way he approached Rey were very perverted and wrong. Therefore the value of that article for the context that it is written is still standing.

True love involves sacrifice. It’s not about control, it’s about loving another person for who they are. It’s not all about what you can get out of them. Ben did not understand this previously. He had tried to control and manipulate Rey multiple times, and would often rage when she refused him. He wanted her to join his agenda. The above image shows who Ben was, and that was YUCKY!

Ben Solo thoroughly redeemed himself in The Rise Of Skywalker. And he proved his love for Rey to be true by pulling a move worthy of Eugene Fitzherbert himself…he sacrificed himself for the woman he loved and for the galaxy he had previously tried to rule over.

This Ben is a night and day difference from the person he once was.

Ben didn’t run from this mess he’d helped create. He didn’t cower uselessly in the shame of his past. He didn’t cave in yet again to the lies and Darkness that had haunted him for so long. No, he ran straight into the Light and gave everything he had to do the right thing.

The beauty that was Ben Solo’s redemption was very simple and straightforward in the writing. The transformation was shown in his costuming and outward actions. And the heart of it was conveyed through Adam Driver’s stunning and emotional performance. He had never looked so glorious, and while I have had so many mixed feelings about this character since the beginning, I have never loved him so much as I did at the end of this movie.

I really love that it was his mother’s voice that called him. He thought he’d gone too far, he could never come home. A prodigal who was unsure of their welcome often stays a prodigal. His mother’s voice opened a door, Rey’s compassion to heal him after she had mortally wounded him softened him even further. And the final gift came with his father’s memory (HELLO, HARRISON FORD) that gave him the courage to make the switch.

It was gentle, humble, and beautiful.

Oh, my lands, the Ben Solo that emerged! His face was soft and beautiful, he wasn’t swaggering or trying to look bigger than he was. His presence itself became enormous and filled the room. Light has a way of doing that. He was wearing all-black but the man was practically beaming!

Just look at his beautiful smile. It’s so gentle and sweet.

A Nod To Han AND Leia In Ben’s Redemption Story

3 people brought Ben back. The 3 people who loved him the most.

His mother, Princess General Leia Organa Skywalker Solo.

Rey.

And his father, Han Solo.

While I understood the symbolism in Ben throwing away the Kylo Ren lightsaber, my practical side panicked. “What are you doing? You have to go into a warzone, you need that, babe!’

But then I found it a wonderful tribute to the Solo blood running through his veins that Ben entered into the Emperor’s lair in a fashion exactly like his late father would have. Sneaking in boldly with a good blaster at his side.

The body language was so similar, he even pulled off that signature, super macho Han Solo move of picking off an enemy with a stray blaster shot over his shoulder. No looking necessary, it’s in the genetic code. Yes, he’s Han’s boy alright.

Rey passed him the lightsaber, Leia’s beautiful saber (such a pretty weapon) through their special Force connection that freaked me out until that exact moment. The sarcastic little nod to the coolness of what he just did to the Knights of Ren confirmed it yet again. THIS IS HAN AND LEIA’S SON!

Han and Leia were honored in Ben’s redemption in such a special way, it was appropriate and brought a lot of restoring grace to a previously tragic family story. Their gifts, the examples that they were, it was not all lost on their son, it did make a difference.

It Was A Palpatine AND A Skywalker Who Ended Him

It only seems fair that after all of the pain these two families have either purposely or inadvertently caused the galaxy that a representative from both should defeat the biggest foe, Palpatine.

I like poetic justice. Palpatine started the Force-sensitive Skywalker line when he used the Force to impregnate Shmi Skywalker with Anakin. And apparently (ahem, severe lack of backstory here) Palpatine actually had a son himself! How and why that happened wasn’t apparently considered necessary information. Either way, Rey was his actual biological granddaughter.

Clearly, her pretty genetics came from Mom’s side of the family. #yograndpasouglyhelostto70scarpetinabeautypageant 

Palpatine has always been an arrogant poop. His sense of superiority and control over everyone and everything has been almost as consistent as his success rate. Luke/Anakin Skywalker really threw a wrench in his plans in one of the most glorious upsets in cinematic history, but this guy is a cockroach who won’t go away.

It was time for him to be finished. How lovely that his own flesh and blood is the one who finished him.

The Voices Of The Jedi

My inner nerd was so pleased with this. Well-beloved Jedi characters from every era of Star Wars we’ve seen on screen, both in movies and shows, was given a moment of honor when Rey drew strength in the Force from them.

I rejoiced to hear Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan, Ashley Eckstein’s Ahsoka Tano, Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker (he deserved this honor), Freddie Prinze Jr.’s Kanan Jarrus (still a bit emotional over that one), and notably, Liam Neeson’s Qui-Gon Jinn. And of course, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill as the Skywalker twins.

Old and dear friends uniting in spirit and voice for Rey, a character I have loved and admired since I first met her. It was a kind gift to the Star Wars fandom.

A Proper Ending To Reylo And Ben’s Death

True love is unselfish, and it involves sacrifice.

Ben Solo was not capable of this level of love when he was still wholeheartedly choosing to remain in the Dark Side. What he believed was love for Rey was tainted and perverted by his selfishness and control issues. It was pretty disgusting to me, but I gave them room to redeem him.

When Ben Solo goes charging into the Emporer’s lair, he’s not there for himself. He’s there for her, and to do the right thing. He’s running full force #punintended into the Light he has been running from so long.

I don’t know that Ben even believed he was going to make it out alive. I don’t know that he really cared. His actions had nothing to do with what he could get, and all about what he could give.

And he gave it all, he gives his very life Force to bring Rey back from the dead. The way he cradled her in his arms and looked at her with such gentleness and compassion won me over. Yes, dear boy, yes, this is what love is.

One sweet kiss, and then he was gone.

I’m not going to say whether or not that was a wise choice on the filmmakers part. I can live with it, I can also feel the grief of it.

If Ben Solo were a real person, I think it’s possible he may have been reconciled to the concept of death. In his reality, he wasn’t really ending, he was just going to go on into the Force…afterlife? He would be redeemed in the eyes of those who loved him, and he would be reunited with his family. It’s not that he committed suicide (nor would I ever advocate for that), but I think he was at peace with himself either way.

Rey is really the only person he had a connection with in the land of the living. I feel it may have been very hard for him to integrate into a friendship with the people he had tortured, killed, and hurt for so long. The troubled boy was finally at peace.

Rey grieved over him, there is no doubt of that. But I think their connection as special as it was will not be a burden or a regret to her, rather a sweet memory that gives her courage and strength in the future. I think she would be open to loving in that way again.

He finished well.

Kiss Poe Already

I feel that there may have been too much thrown into the basket for this movie. It didn’t wreck it at all, but it did mean that several new characters were created that were not given proper follow-through. We got a hasty introduction and not much more, it was a bit sloppy.

Zori Bliss is one such character. Keri Russel still shone through her brief moments on screen, and I loved the scene where she removed the visor so we could see her drop-dead gorgeous eyes.

But really? Really, girl?

Strange Planets, Space Battles, Bizarre Creatures, And Battles In Lit Corridors

Setting-wise, The Rise of Skywalker did extremely well in capturing the texture and landscape of Star Wars in a very vivid way. My mom even remarked when Finn and Poe were racing along the corridors on the flagship cruiser,

This! This running and fighting in corridors, THIS is Star Wars!

And given that her little five-year-old self was there in the theater at the beginning of all things, I believed her.

Rey Skywalker

I think it was a gift that Rey chose to become a Skywalker. And I loved it that her two masters, Luke and Leia were beaming at her as she took that name. In a way, I feel that she was raised by all 3 of our originals. Han, Luke, and especially Leia all had a hand in teaching and guiding her.

We are not supposed to hate the Skywalkers, for better or worse, we have seen this struggle through their eyes for 5 decades and multiple generations. They are a part of us. We are supposed to see them with honesty, grief, compassion, and resolve.

Rey has chosen to take the best pieces of all who came before her and will carry those things faithfully through her life.

Leia

I feel that Chewie’s inconsolable reaction to Leia’s death captured what we all felt at Carrie Fisher’s passing.

Leia, beautiful, strong, intelligent, compassionate, ever-faithful Leia. She’s the best the Skywalkers had to offer in my opinion, and she was and still is the Star Wars sweetheart of the world.

It’s only right that she is the one who completed the training for the last Skywalker and the ultimate Jedi, Rey. She brought her son back from the Darkness and left behind a Rebel legacy strong enough for others to pick it up and carry it.

The Rise of Skywalker

My sister pointed out the meaning of this title.

Rey was rising to become a Skywalker.

Ben Solo rose from the Darkness into the Light to reclaim his place of honor in the Skywalker line.

It’s very satisfying.

For 9+ Movies and Multiple Series Our Heroes Have Been Trying to Save The Galaxy…It Was About Time The Galaxy Saved Them

Star Wars has one consistent theme, a common thread that runs throughout every chapter and story.

Hope.

No matter how dark, no matter how heavy the grief, no matter how much larger the enemy being faced, hope lives eternally in the Star Wars story.

And despite the fact that among the Star Wars “fanbase” you can find some pretty nasty specimens of humanity, I believe that the franchise as a whole has been uniting people since 1978.

People from all corners of our world’s “galaxy” love Star Wars. People with different skin colors, backstories, occupations, and beliefs. A shared love of Star Wars can instantly close a generational gap or create a common ground for different people.

I felt that both of these special parts of Star Wars were honored in this beautiful, beautiful scene where the galaxy came to save the Resistance and defeat The Last Order.

And yes, I will find out all of these Easter Egg ships hidden in this moment. I was geeking out about Star Wars: Rebels ship The Ghost and that’s about as far as I got.

It was about time the galaxy quit cowering before the bullies while letting someone else take all of the hits for them. It was time that they stood up and fought back.

They did, and it was glorious.

……….

I’m sure there is more to be said, but I’m going to end it here. It was not a perfect movie, it felt like it needed another 30-45 minutes to fill out properly. But apparently, there are some people who won’t sit through a 3+ hour movie. Clearly, they are not Lord Of The Rings fans.

I can watch this movie and all of the movies proceeding it and not feel disappointed or feel that something I love has been tainted.

I know some people were thrilled with this movie, some were devastated. I fall somewhere more in the middle, but I can live with that.

And the best part is, it’s not over yet. The Skywalker Saga may be finished, but Star Wars storytelling is alive and well. I would love to see some more movies featuring my favorite Sequel characters, but I am also deeply enjoying the storytelling featuring non-main Saga characters. #bringbackezrabridger #themandalorian

So, what were your favorite parts? Did you agree with the choices they made? Can we all at least celebrate the fact that Chewbacca finally got the medal he so richly deserves? Would you like to see future movies featuring Sequel characters?

Bless you, friends.

The Rise of Skywalker Trailer – 9 Things

Did you all catch The Rise of Skywalker trailer during the football game tonight?

So, our final trailer leading up to the movie premiere in December. In honor of it being the 9th and final movie in the Skywalker Saga, here are 9 things I noticed about it – for better or worse.

1. Finn…and Rey?

I’ve not been shy about how much I want Finn and Rey together. Their immediate connection and relationship in The Force Awakens are one of the things that made me fall in love with the movie instantly.

They are two broken people who have come together and are helping each other heal. Rey gives Finn something to believe in, Finn is the first person who comes back for Rey in her entire life – showing her that she is indeed valued and loved.

finn

The first voice we hear in this trailer is Finn’s.

I am so glad, I felt like Finn took a bit more of a backseat in The Last Jedi and FinnRey wasn’t even a feature of that movie at all! I deeply missed their dynamic of being together, but that ending hug we got on Crait was a huge indicator that none of the love between them had grown cold.

Not only are all of our characters back together, but I get the feeling that we will get to see once again that Finn and Rey dynamic that we fell in love with from Moment 1. I can’t help but believe Finn’s stirring line,

It’s an instinct, a feeling. The Force brought us together.

is likely aimed at none other than Rey. He’s speaking with a softer tone, as you might if you were talking to just one person or perhaps a small group of people.

Whether this line is aimed at Rey or not, it’s a beautiful testimony to the entire heart of this Saga as well as how far Finn has come as a character.

He’s a believer, 100%. 

reyyyy

Excuse the blurry image, but even with the lower image quality, it’s not hard to read what Finn is saying here (plus you can hear it in the trailer). This image is almost an exact copy of his face and body language in The Force Awakens when Kylo takes off in his ship with a kidnapped Rey. Finn is screaming her name in desperation.

Given that this appears to be the same place we have seen Kylo and Rey clashing in a lightsaber duel, I imagine whatever follows this image is pretty dramatic. #bringiton

This character wears his heart on his sleeve, and I love him for it.

Finn and Rey are right back where they belong – together.

2. The Ghost

the ghost

As a big Star Wars Rebels fan, I would be remiss if I didn’t give this a shoutout – The Ghost is actually flying directly to the back right of The Falcon. This is huge for the Rebels’ storyline!

Ezra disappeared right at the beginning of the Original Trilogy timeline. It’s 30+ years later, so he would be in his late 40s. Other characters will be even older.

Is this a much older Hera still flying her ship with the Resistance? She’s just the type of warrior to stay in the fight for the long haul.

Is it her son flying his mother’s famous ship? Did Sabine and Ahsoka find Ezra like he asked and are they the ones piloting the ship????

It’s a really, really big reveal, and I’ll just bet we get Dave Filoni to weigh in on it before long.

3. This Movie Is Beyond Gorgeous

Would you just take a moment to soak in the number of textures, landscapes, colors, and movement of this movie??? There are about 3 different things happening in this image below.

gorgeous shot

This iceberg planet is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in Star Wars.

iceberg star wars

Even the “getaway” device is filled with bright, colorful yellow powder! It’s almost like the filmmakers are celebrating the joy that is this Star Wars story all throughout this movie!

color explosion

4. C3PO

I think Anthony Daniels is about as adorable as they come – C3PO? Not so much.

3po

I’ve never been a huge 3PO fan (although I do have a pair of 3PO socks that I love). He always seemed to be bumbling his way through situations (or slowing everyone down) while R2D2 did the actual heavy lifting.

Seriously, if R2D2 had been taken out a long time ago the Emperor would still be ruling and every one of the heroes would have died.

But over time I have come to appreciate this incredibly “British” droid. He was made to be a human companion and helper, far more suited for aiding a senator (as he does Padme Amidala in The Clone Wars) than he is for fighting in a scrappy Rebellion.

But he’s made it this far, he’s done his best, and it would appear in this trailer that our old and sometimes annoying Gold Friend may be saying his final goodbye.

And I cried. Dadgum it, 3PO! I. CRIED! Han SOLO would have cried at that! #manytissueswillbeharmedintheviewingofthismovie

bye 3po

5. The People of the Resistance

One thing I deeply appreciated about The Last Jedi is there were scenes with “background” characters such as Paige Tico’s brave sacrifice that made sideline characters feel like the feature character for their moment. 

Rogue One was an entire movie made about the “little people”, the behind-the-scenes heroes who lived, loved, fought, and died for this cause of freedom. They are the foundation our bigger heroes stand upon, without them none of this exists.

It is my great hope that in this movie that theme will be continued.

Rebellions are built on hope…

And they are built on beautiful, normal people who stepped up and said, “Count me in.”

dom and rose

Shoutout to whoever gave Rose this fantastic new hair look (I couldn’t stand her old one even though I liked her). Also, it looks like we have Billie Lourde’s character as well as Dominic Monaghan’s character shown in the background. I am anticipating awesome things!

6. Palpatine Is STILL Being A Huge Drama Queen

creepy throne

Isn’t this throne just a bit…extra?

Not really. For all his evilness, Palpatine has a work ethic even I have to respect. Plus he’s been sitting in the shadows somewhere, scheming and planning for 30+ years. A guy’s gotta have a hobby.

But what’s his angle here? I suspect he’s interested in bringing Rey and Kylo together, this line seems to point to that idea,

Your coming together is your undoing…

Did you notice that it appears both Rey and Kylo are searching for something in the shell of this ancient Death Star? What are they hoping to find?

rey and kylo death star

 

It also appears that Rey and Kylo have laid their differences aside for a moment to join forces to destroy the Emperor? 

kylo and rey

Hmm, given that this creepy little old man has the stamina of a cockroach with a rotten life insurance policy, I find his easy demise hard to believe.

This floating chair throne is giving me major Thinker vibes (Season 4 of The Flash). The dark stillness of the room and the slow floating towards Rey is somehow the creepiest thing ever and her body language says that she agrees 100%.

rey and palp

I don’t know what Palpatine’s game plan is, but he is fascinating and an extremely cunning villain, so a final takedown of this menace will be beyond satisfying.

It’s time. Your day has come, Palpatine. We will get the last cackle.

7. Poe Dameron and The Spark

chewie, poe, finn

We’re not alone, good people will fight if we lead them.

The purpose and meaning of the Rebellion/Resistance have never been put into words and ideas more clearly than in the Sequel Trilogy. Despite the huge setbacks of the Original Trilogy, the numbers have never been lower for the heroes than they were at the end of of The Last Jedi.

And yet, they flew away from Crait with their shattered band of 7.5 people with a hope burning in their hearts because they knew the truth.

poe dameron hope

Star Wars may be a fictional world, but it is based upon reality. There is a gem here that we all need to hold onto.

Friends, we aren’t alone! Good people will fight if we lead them! So many people in this world are just waiting for someone to be brave enough and step up and say, “Let’s do this.”

That potential is inside all of us, regardless of the odds. We love Star Wars because it reminds us that no shadow, no Empire, no First Order can keep us from standing up and fighting back…and winning.

Light will always win over Dark, Light has the victory. The very music of this trailer is the music generations of us have been in love with for decades, but it has never sounded more hopeful than it does in this movie.

8. Rey And Her Identity

rey they know me

Everyone keeps telling me they know me, but no one does.

I do.

Seriously, Kylo? Are we still on this?

One of my absolute favorite things about Rey is that she doesn’t stay under a Lie for long.

It’s an old and tired song, but an effective one.

I know who you are…and it totally fits my evil agenda for you to believe everything I tell you.

Palpatine did it to Anakin. Maul tried to do it to Ezra. Palpatine tried to do it to Luke. Kylo tried to do it to Rey.

Our identity is everything. If we don’t know who we are then we get nowhere. We need to know who we are, why we are here, and where we belong.

Rey’s background makes her terribly vulnerable in this area, and Kylo tried to prey upon this vulnerability in The Last Jedi.

You come from nothing, you’re nothing…

…but not to me.

He tried desperately to get Rey to place her entire sense of purpose and value in him.

kylo

And she said no.

Rey always says no.

Confronting fear, it’s the destiny of a Jedi.

Rey’s biggest fear is that she is worthless. Everyone in her entire world until BB-8 and Finn arrived cemented the Lie that she was the dirt beneath people’s feet.

But the fire, the spirit inside of her knows better. 

And rather than running from this fear, rather than hiding from the world and her life, she has embraced it and jumped in with both feet.

I am worth something. I do have a purpose. I can make a difference. I won’t give up. I don’t have to believe what anyone says. 

I know who I am…

Rey is can be a role model to all of us. She’s stunningly beautiful in her vulnerable and confident humanity.

force with you always

9. So. Much. Joy.

Can you feel it?

Can you hear it?

The heartbeat of hope. And hope and joy often hold hands.

Star Wars has always been about hope. But joy has not always been present. We’ve seen beautiful moments of celebration.

Han and Luke returning to Leia after they destroy the Death Star.

The triumphant parade in The Phantom Menace.

The bonfire and dance in the Ewok Village.

finn woo yeah falcon

But we have had some pretty horrible lows.

“You were my brother, Anakin, I loved you.”

Han’s death.

Losing Caleb Dume.

Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order.

Luke’s final kiss to his sister.

We have faced devastating grief in this story.

But the way this trailer made me feel?

Just look at the characters, look at their faces.

smiling at chewbacca

Han used to look at Chewie like that. #iamfeelingsomanythings

They are still fighting for freedom, for survival. They still might die.

lando and chewie

But they are doing it together.

fighting together

They are going to enjoy the ride for however long it lasts. They are going to celebrate the victories, no matter how small.

They are going to live to the fullest in every moment.

whoooo

They are going to find strength in each other.

leia and rey

And they are going to charge into the battle strengthened by the truth of what they believe in.

riding horses

The gift that Star Wars has been to the world is immeasurable. The joy, the connection, the hope, and the delight it has brought people is beautiful.

Star Wars is timeless because it is the story of us, told in a galaxy far far away.

I love it. I am so excited. I’ll see you all in the theaters.

leia and rey 2

I can hardly wait for December to arrive, but in the meantime, we have a nice little consolation prize in The Mandalorian that will be available on Disney + November 12th. 

Other articles you might enjoy…

Star Wars: Every Story in the Galaxy

Star Wars Resistance: 10 Reasons Every Star Wars Fan Needs To See It

Solo: A Star Wars Story

FinnRey Is True, Sacrificial Love

*Note : This article was written post-The Last Jedi and before The Rise of Skywalker. Clearly new developments have taken place in the storyline and with the characters of Rey, Ben Solo, and Finn. I have discussed those events and character arcs in a recent article covering The Rise Of Skywalker. You can read it here.

That being said, this article still has value as it points out what a truly kind, loving relationship (romantic or platonic) involves and is a great character break-down. Keep that in mind as you continue reading. Thank you!

……….

Yesterday I covered why Reylo needs to be seen for what it is, abusive.

Abrams and Johnson gave us a brilliant example of what-not-to-do to win and keep the girl.

blow that piece of junk

At the same time, we were also given a beautiful example of what true love looks like.

FinnRey

finnrey hug last jedi

I cannot remember falling in love with the idea of two characters together faster than I fell in love with Finn and Rey. I was sold within the first 3 minutes of their interaction, the chemistry is that real.

Finn

Finn is a glorious character to me. He gave a face to the face-less stormtrooper and showed us in a new way how heroes can come from anywhere. Finn often stumbles or stutters his way through his actions, but his heart is so noble and fierce that it always wins out. Finn is simple and powerful as a character.

finn the last jedi

Rey

Rey’s heart of compassion was shown the moment she rescued BB-8 and let him come home with her (we all know he slept at the end of her bed that night). True, she was grouchy about it at first, but let’s give her some grace, it had been a long day. She proved how true her heart was when she was offered 60 portions for BB-8…and she turned Unkar Plott down. This sets her apart from every other creature scratching for survival on that junkyard planet and points to the fact that she’s nobler, higher, and destined for more. Her principles out-weight her fear for her future needs.

rey and the baby

Rey and Finn, unlike Kylo and Rey, are not actually as similar…on the surface. However, in their hearts, Rey and Finn are cut from the same exact heroic cloth.

Rey and Kylo are both strong in the Force, they are the light and dark sides of the same coin, but that does not mean they fit together.

Finn is an ex-stormtrooper, a fact that he hates. However, his military training and insider knowledge of the First Order prove invaluable during the progression of this story and his involvement with Rey. He knows military history, First Order Equipment, and battle strategy. He uses this knowledge for key missions in both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi.

The thing that Finn hates most about his past is actually the thing that he uses time and time again to save his future.

Rey hated her life on Jakku, but it taught her valuable skills. She’s smart, quick-thinking, an athletic warrior and a genius mechanic.

Like Finn, the most painful parts of Rey’s past have become the keys and tools to unlocking her future.

Practically speaking, their strengths and weaknesses complement each other. They are a shockingly good team, a fact they discover within just a few minutes of meeting each other.

And then there is the cuteness of this “you’re awesome” “no you’re awesome” session where BB-8 is feeling like a third wheel.

im finn

im rey

This is only the second time Finn has connected with a human being in his life. For Rey, this is the first time. They look at each other with amazement because they didn’t know nice humans like this existed.

Finn and Rey are not the same in their giftings like Kylo and Rey are. What Finn and Rey have is the same heart, which is vastly more important than the same skills.

True love happens when two people who have the same heart and intentions towards life find each other. They are not the same person, they have different skills and stories, but they are pointed in the same direction and care about the same things.

We attract what we are. Rey and Finn are attracted to each other and brought together because they are pointed in the same direction and have the same heart.

rey and finn

Kylo’s first introduction to Rey was him knocking her out and kidnapping her. #howromantic

Finn’s first introduction to Rey happened when he moved to help her once Unkar Plott’s thugs began attacking her. Read the difference between Kylo and Finn here. One came to kidnap and use, the other came to help with no thought of personal gain.

finns sense of justice

Finn is on the run, wanted, and in an easy-to-spot location. He lost his only friend, has no experience or resources, just spent hours in the desert wearing all black (that’d take me down), and just drank water full of Happobore snot.

Finn has nothing. He’s on a godforsaken planet where everyone is rude or doesn’t speak his language. A person who is only concerned with their own survival would keep a low profile, stay out of trouble, and certainly not get involved in a fight without a weapon.

finn to the rescue

Finn does NONE of the above, strategically, he does the dumbest thing. He sees some thugs hassling a girl, and he runs over to help, “Hey!”

He doesn’t know the story here, who the ruling class is, nothing! All he knows is someone is being attacked and he’s not okay with that. Finn to the rescue!

Stupid? Maybe. Noble? Totally. Our first scene with Finn showed his horror for cruelty and his unwillingness to be a part of it. But this moment goes even farther to define his character. He is not just going to remove himself in protest, he’s going to get involved when someone needs help. What is it they say about evil?

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.

Finn is not going to do nothing, even if that’s what he thinks he wants, his actions keep contradicting his surface-level fears and beliefs.

rey kicking rear

He runs to help…but, wow! This girl can kick-rear! He pauses in his heroic charge. This facial expression is just the cutest. His face says #impressed and he glances around to see if anyone else just saw what he did.

finn impressed

This may seem like simple fangirling on my part, but it’s so much bigger than that. This detail ties into one of my absolute favorite aspects of Finn and Rey’s relationship.

Finn absolutely loves Rey for who she is. He is immediately attracted to her heart, desires her good opinion, and believes 100% in her capability, sometimes more than she does. 

Kylo Ren wanted Rey and what she had to use for his own gain, whenever she refused him he became angry and fearful because her strength threatened his control.

Finn delights in Rey because he loves everything about her. He enjoys her, admires her, and celebrates her strength.

True love does not fear someone else’s strength, rather, true love values a person and celebrates all that they are.

Finn is so excited that Rey exists, the moment he meets her he has someone he loves to fight for. Over a short time that love grows bigger than his fear of what he fled.

Finn displays his appreciation for what Rey can do throughout The Force Awakens. When they are about to be boarded (they believe Han and Chewie are actually The First Order) he asks her to unfix the gas leak to conquer the Storm Troopers “..their helmets filter out smoke not toxins.” Again, pairing his knowledge + her skills = effective team.

Onboard Han’s freighter ship Finn and Rey are hiding while Han “talks his way out” of trouble with the gangsters. Hearing that the situation is getting out of hand, Rey comes up with a mechanical solution.

finn proud of rey rathtar

Look at his cheesy grin. He thinks she’s just the dadgum smartest thing and doesn’t even question that her trick worked.

Uh oh…

What?

Wrong fuses.

Later on during the escape from Starkiller Base Finn leads Rey to the precise spot where she can remove the whatcha-ma-call-it (she’s the mechanic, not I) to get Han and Chewie into the core for some explosive activity.

In The Last Jedi Finn and the other 7.5 Resistance members remaining head out in the equivalent of rusted soda cans to take on the best The First Order has. They’d be toast, but who should show up at just the right moment? Rey!

While Kylo is screaming “Blow that piece of junk OUT OF THE SKY!” Finn is having the exact opposite reaction.

finn woo yeah falcon

Wooo! YEAH!

The man is screaming in pure glee. His face is at first shock, next glee, and then proud certainty. He knows exactly who is on that ship and he knows his girl is gonna kick some First Order butt!

When Rey uses the Force to move rocks (oh the poetic humor of that) she’s never done this before and holy cow I cannot believe that worked!

rey holy cow that worked

Poe is amazed. Finn is also amazed, but it’s different. Poe is gaping and Finn just accepts the obvious of course she can do it and goes running to her.

rey can move rocks

Which leads me to my next thought.

Finn and Rey are constantly reaching new heights in their abilities and character growth because their desire for the other person to be okay is bigger than their fear or comfort zone.

Finn and Rey really care about each other.

rey resistance fighter.gif

Finn’s immediate desire to impress Rey and have her think well of him is really cute. Finn is kind of like an adorkable puppy, so at first glance, this looks like puppy love.

finn i am with the resistance

Everything following that scene, even events that take place within just a few hours of their first meeting confirms that Finn’s crush is more than just a crush.

He hears the approach of the tie-fighters and grabs her hand, she’s not gonna die today if he can help it.

FinnRey

An explosion sends both Finn and Rey to the ground. Rey recovers first and reaches over to her fallen companion.

Hey!

Finn starts and instantly turns to her with a look of true concern.

finn are you ok

Are you okay?

Rey stares at him like she hadn’t heard him correctly. Wait, what?

rey are you ok

Finn is the first person in Rey’s entire life to ask if she was okay. No one has ever cared before.

Can you even imagine?

I already covered the cuteness of the following scenes above (I know this is not chronological but there is a method to my madness).

finn and rey rathtar gif

When the Rathtars escape Finn shows yet again that he truly cares about Rey. Like Rey, Finn has been emotionally starved his whole life, however, his reaction to that lack is to instantly wear his heart on his sleeve. Rey is far more reserved about her responses in the beginning, but it doesn’t take her that much longer to start showing her affection in return.

Nooo, noo, noo!

Finn! Finn!

REY!!!

REY, RUN!!!

Poor, terrified Finn is about to be eaten quite violently, but he’s screaming at Rey to keep running.

Rey is a stayer, not a leaver, so she uses the same trick that got them into this mess to get them out of it again, saving Finn.

On Takodana Finn’s fears overwhelm him and he walks away from the mission to get BB-8 back to the Resistance. Maz is disappointed. Han looks sympathetic and sad. Rey…Rey is devastated.

You can’t just go, I won’t let you. (She’s been left before, not again, she cares too much.)

I’m not who you think I am.

Finn, what are you talking about?

I’m not Resistance! I’m not a hero.

He’s looking at her with so much shame.

finn im a stormtrooper

…I made a choice, I wasn’t going to kill for them. So I ran, right into you. And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But I am done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

Rey, come with me!

Don’t go!

finn take care of yourself

She didn’t even blink at him being a former Stormtrooper. She just pleaded don’t go. She’s found someone real, please, please don’t go.

He’s still too scared, you can see how much he wants to be with her, but he leaves anyway. This is his low point as a character. Still, he asks her very sincerely to take care of herself.

rey don't go

The fact that Rey would even be tender enough to let herself grow attached to someone so quickly, and then ask them to stay is incredible. It speaks of her tender heart and of the true connection she and Finn have.

True love makes you braver.

It’s brave of Rey to open up her heart. Right now, it looks like that decision is about to get her hurt again. Finn thinks he can just walk away…but…

Where’s Rey?

Finn needs a t-shirt with this phrase. Rey disappears into the forest after her terrifying visions and the rest of Takodana stares at the skies in horror as Starkiller Base destroys the New Republic. Finn runs up to inform Han of what is happening and then stops where’s Rey?

The explanation from Maz Kanata (this girl gets things done) and the arrival of The First Order get things in motion.

Go! Help your friend!

She’s figured out Finn’s motivation, so she plunks that lightsaber in his hand and sends him off. And he goes.

I’m done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

He literally said that like an hour ago and now he’s charging into the ranks of a warzone, wielding an unfamiliar weapon with courage he does not believe he possesses. He’s doing it because he knows that Rey needs him, and that need is stronger than his fear.

finn horrified

The horror in Finn’s eyes when he sees Rey limp and being carried off by his worst nightmare is legit. I was already sold on Finn, but the acting here of pure devastation and anguish sold me on John Boyega as an actor. WOW!

Finn goes running and screaming (again, bad battle strategy) towards a horde of Stormtroopers and Kylo Ren. He’s not thinking, it’s pure emotion right now.

The rest of the movie is Finn acting in direct contradiction to what he says he wants, and that is to get as far away from The First Order as possible.

This guy, this scared, inexperienced guy comes up with a plan to get himself behind enemy lines and sneaks himself, Chewbacca, and Han into the base. Once there, he confronts and conquers his former slave driver, Phasma, to accomplish the mission. Next, he comes up with a plan to save Rey. It’s a terrible plan, but an incredibly brave one that actually includes him running in to draw fire. He may not even live another hour but as long as Rey is okay, he’s okay.

finn im just here to get rey

I’m done with The First Order, I’m never going back.

When Finn first fled The First Order his only goal was freedom and escape. Now that Rey is in his life, his only goal is making sure that she’s okay, this goal is to the detriment of his original goal.

Actions speak louder than words. After Han’s death Rey and Finn attempt to make their escape back to the Falcon. Kylo shows up (can the man portal jump, how’d he get there so fast?). Rey yells, Kylo knocks her against a tree, Finn is devastated again.

Rey is down for the count. Finn takes up that lightsaber again and engages in combat with a vastly superior foe, one whom he has been terrified of from the beginning.

It is Finn’s screaming that awakens Rey, she opens her eyes in time to see Kylo slash his back open and leave him still and cold in the snow. Kylo reaches for the lightsaber with the full expectation of it coming to him, but it goes to Rey instead.

rey lightsaber scared

You can see the utter shock in Rey’s face, it is the same shock she has when she is actually able to move the rocks on Crait to save the Resistance. She’s shocked, she’s scared, but she is doing it because she has to.

In The Last Jedi Finn awakens with one thought.

Rey!

Where’s Rey?

His motivation for most of the second movie is to ensure Rey has something to return to. He knows she will come back, and he’s going to make sure it’s safe for her to do so. Rey is on a personal mission, but even bigger is her knowledge that the people she loves (like Finn) are counting on her to come through for them. She goes to the scariest place to face the scariest people to accomplish this mission.

True love fights for the other person.

True love is focused on giving, not getting. When two people in a relationship are both focused on giving, more needs are actually met.

True love never stunts growth, it creates growth organically.

This is so true for FinnRey. They both face their greatest demons and reach new heights because of their interaction with each other.

And now for the biggest, most beautiful thing of all.

finnrey

She’s lived a life of misery waiting for one thing…someone to come back for her.

He’s never had anyone to care for in his life…until he met her.

The last thing Rey heard from Finn was that he was leaving. Like the survivor that she is, she escapes from Kylo’s clutches and starts creeping around the base, looking for an exit strategy. She’s on her own, like always, and doing well. But she’s scared. She’s been scared her whole life and this is the worst time yet.

She turns a corner…

And there they are. There he is. Han asks,

Are you alright?

Yeah.

Finn is relieved but still concerned.

What happened, did he hurt you? (clearly he was imagining the worst and who can blame him)

We came back for you.

*Chewbacca noises. Guys, I think Chewie is a FinnRey shipper.

Rey stares at Finn in utter shock.

What’d he say?

He said it was your idea.

The Hug Part 1

rey hug tfa

This look, this hug, wow. Finn has no idea just how much his actions mean to Rey. He came back for her, she matters to someone.

He cannot fill every hole in her heart, but he just healed some major ones.

finnrey hug Starkiller base

And he holds her like she is so precious to him. The amount of peace and hope these two find with each other is vital for the next movie, The Last Jedi.

Kylo Ren tries to reinforce Rey’s feelings of worthlessness so she will turn to him for a sense of value, and he can use her power. 

Finn risks everything to go and save Rey because he already loves and values her apart from anything he can gain from her. This action tells her for the first time in her life that she is loved. 

*From a deleted scene in The Last Jedi, BB-8 shows Finn a recording of Rey’s parting words to him. Pretty sure BB-8 is also a FinnRey shipper.

finn reys goodbye

The most disappointing part of The Last Jedi to me was that Finn and Rey spent most of the movie apart. John and Daisy felt the absence, the fans felt the absence, the characters felt the absence. But they never forgot each other, they just did their best to work towards the same goals in their separate locations. They loved each other from afar.

There was value added by Rey’s interaction with Kylo and Finn’s interaction with Rose. These new characters not only added the lucrative “love triangle” edge that is super annoying, but they brought something fresh to Finn and Rey that they could not get from each other.

Finn couldn’t fully commit to his future until he stopped running from his past. Rose pushed him to that point.

Likewise, Rey could not have the proper perspective on her future until she had faced her past and chosen not to let it define her. Kylo pushed her to that point.

Even so, Finn was never in love with Rose, and Rey was never in love with Kylo. I mentioned in the Reylo article that Rey felt compassionate empathy for Kylo, not romantic love, which is part of why she was able to walk away when he refused to do the right thing. Finn had respect and appreciation for Rose, but c’mon, have y’all never seen a one-sided kiss before?

chewie finnrey shipper

See? Chewie ships this! I am DYING to know what he said here, somewhere in some drawer there is a sheet with Chewie’s lines in English. It’s a National Treasure and someone needs to steal it.

Finn and Rey both care about people and their stories (remember, cut from the same cloth?)

Rey cared about Kylo as a person and took the time to hear his story. Finn cared about Rose as a person and took the time to hear her story.

The chance Finn and Rey took with these new people actually moved them past their greatest hurdles and fears to the next level.

And then…

The Hug Part 2

rey moves rocks

This is Rey’s face as she sees Finn running towards her.

finn hug tlj

The amount of non-verbal communication happening here is breathtaking. Finn’s face has so many emotions. Relief, exhaustion, and deep, deep love. He lets out a sigh like he’s been holding his breath this whole time. He’s finally home.

finnrey hug tlj

Rey’s face says one thing, peace. Her face has not been this way for the entire movie. Resolved? Yes. Brave? Focused, determined, angry, afraid, sad, it has been all of those things, but this is the first time she’s been at peace. She’s home.

You are at home with someone who truly loves you.

Finn and Rey are a beautiful picture of how two people with broken places can bring healing to each other. They help each other grow. They give courage to the other one even when they are not together. They appreciate each other for who they are. They are willing to sacrifice for the other person. Finn and Rey show each other true love.

Ladies, don’t be afraid to hold out for a Finn, you will NOT regret it.

Gentlemen, a girl like Rey is the kind of girl you can spend forever with. Keep that in mind.

And the last one is just me indulging my fangirl feels.

rey in finns jacket

She was dressed for the desert. This is a snow planet. He gave her his jacket. I’m done!

See you at the movies!

Reylo Is Dangerous, Stop Glorifying It

The Last Jedi: Where No One Had Gone Before

Reylo Is Dangerous, Stop Glorifying It

*Note: This article was written post-The Last Jedi and before The Rise of Skywalker was even in theaters. Clearly some changes have taken place in the character arcs of Ben Solo and Rey. I have addressed those changes in a recent article written about the events and character developments of The Rise of Skywalker. You can read that here.

For the context and time that this article was written, I still 100% stand behind my words. The character of Kylo Ren by the end of The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi is NOT a safe person nor are his intentions/actions romantic. The type of person and relationship he represents is entirely abusive and inappropriate. Therefore, keep these things in mind as you read this article. Thank you!

……….

Prepare for a very bold post, because this needs to be said. Warning, not all parts of this post are PG.

Reylo, the ship for Kylo Ren and Rey in the recent Star Wars trilogy is very popular.

I’ve seen fanart, posts, and social media buzz about “Reylo”. How “sexy”, how “gorgeous”, how “hot” it is, etc.

its a trap gif

Please, please, PLEASE just stop.

I am a die-hard FinnRey shipper. I will not apologize for that. But my reason for being so vehemently opposed to Reylo is not directly tied to it being in opposition to my ship.

The entire idea of Reylo is stomach-turning to me because it is abusive, controlling, and all-too real for thousands of men and women in the world. What people are fantasizing about and hoping for onscreen is an actual nightmare reality that is destroying lives every day.

Kylo Ren

Kylo Ren is an utterly fascinating villain. I’m even going to venture to say he is one of the most interesting villains in the Star Wars universe.

Kylo is conflicted, a mix of human and monster. He’s vulnerable, he’s powerful. He’s full of contradictions. Adam Driver has done this character justice. I have looked into Kylo Ren’s big, beautiful brown eyes and in my heart, I have begged Ben Solo to come out; even after Han Solo died at his own hand. I love Han Solo, so that’s some powerful storytelling right there.

I look at Ren and I see him as his mother and father would love to see him. I see him as Chewbacca must remember seeing him. I see him as who he could be. I hate how lost he is.

kylo ren the last jedi

I feel all of that, but that does not change who Ben Solo is choosing to be.

Despite his conflict, Ben/Ren continually digs himself deeper into the hole of darkness. He is obsessed with control, driven by fear and bitterness. His power and pain make him both weak and cruel. He can appear incredibly human, even reasonable at times. But the moment he is told “no” Kylo Ren descends into rage and hatred, often towards the very person he was trying to win.

Rey

Rey is also a mixed bag of vulnerable and powerful. She lives with the raw wounds of abandonment and lovelessness gaping in her soul at all times. Her incredible skills as a fighter, mechanic, and pilot were all born out of survival. Imagine what she must have suffered, what must have been taken from her as a child to bring her to this point?

Rey is desperate for someone, anyone to love her and come back for her. She wants to belong, to know that she has value. She has been treated as worthless waste her entire life.

rey

Despite all of the tragedy and pain of her past, Rey has still emerged with more compassion and courage than anyone would expect given her past. Her heart is tender, her sense of right and wrong are intact, and she chooses to fight for those things at great personal cost. She boldly says “no” when evil tries to manipulate her into saying yes.

These two are meant to be a dark vs light reflection of each other, they are meant to be similar.

ben and rey

But these two do not belong together!

Kylo Ren and Rey are similar, but their entire life perspective and goals are diametrically opposed. His pain has made him cruel, her pain has made her kind. He wants to control his world, she wants to free hers. He burns connections, she creates them. He uses his power to hurt, she uses her power to rescue.

These are the black and white practical reasons why Reylo will never work. These would be enough, but let’s look at the biggest reason why Reylo is wrong.

Reylo is abusive.

kylo ren rey takodana

Before Rey knows what she is capable of, she is incredibly vulnerable. She has no control. Kylo has a predatory interest in her like Snoke had in him before his seduction to the Dark Side. He senses she is special, he wants her power.

Abusive people want what you have because they believe they can use it to increase their power/self image/control/happiness etc.

Upon discovering she knows the location of the map, he knocks her out and kidnaps her. Why is any of this attractive? If I walked in on this scene I would shoot first and ask questions later. This is “Reylo’s” first meeting; helpless Rey, controlling Kylo. *gags*

kylo ren creep

Next up we have this scene.

As a woman, the first half of this scene made me extremely uncomfortable. It’s basically every woman’s nightmare scenario of being restrained and helpless in the hands of a ruthless man. The body language Kylo uses as well as his intimidating words,

…you know I can take anything I want…

made me feel ill in my soul. I felt violated on Rey’s behalf.

A fan pointed out this scene felt like an assault upon Rey, something that J. J. Abrams confirmed was his intention. This is a “mental assault” scene. We are meant to feel disgusted in our core.

Rey blew me away. She refutes his mental assault, overpowers him in the Force, finds his greatest fear, and leaves him shaking on the ground.

The joy of this scene has everything to do with Rey’s victory over her kidnapper and nothing to do with any Reylo chemistry.

Dear Reylo Shippers, are you really finding this kind of interaction romantic? Do you want your romantic partner to treat you this way? Really? 

That’s not a relationship, that’s a crime.

Kylo Ren reports back to Snoke an emotional basketcase.

“She is strong with the Force, stronger than she knows!”

“Supreme Leader, I can get the map from the girl, I just need your guidance.”

The anger that we see written in every line of Kylo’s body as he marches back to his prisoner speaks of his true heart. Kylo does not like to be crossed, when he is refused what he desires he becomes angry.

Abusive and controlling people are made angry by someone standing up to them.

After the dreadful scene where Kylo Ren kills his own father, he meets with Rey again…

…where he flings her backward into a tree (thank heavens her hair buns take the brunt of the impact!). Rey falls into the snow unconscious where she would once again be at Kylo Ren’s mercy if it were not for someone who truly loves her taking up the lightsaber to fight and protect her.

Jedi Finn

Don’t worry, the FinnRey post is coming.

Our final Kylo Ren/Rey moments in The Force Awakens take place over an absolutely gorgeous lightsaber battle.

Kylo recognizes (like the rest of us watching with gaping mouths) that this girl Rey is a one-of-a-kind person who is going to change the galaxy with her power. He wants in on it, so he tries to manipulate her inexperience and desire to belong,

…you need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!

confronting ren

Big mistake, he just helps Rey unlock even more power by reminding her of Maz Kanata’s wise words about letting the Force in. Rey leaves Kylo bloodied and beaten in the snow.

In The Force Awakens Kylo Ren wanted Rey’s power, but by the end of The Last Jedi, he also wanted her heart. 

I do not blame anyone for falling in love with Rey, good or bad.

Rey is the kind of person who infiltrates people’s armor and gets to their heart. She’s magnetic. So let me say, I do not blame Kylo Ren for falling for her.

I do not think Rey was ever in love with Kylo Ren, I think she had compassionate empathy for him. There is a huge difference between the two, and it is because of this difference that Rey does not end up a victim of a bad relationship, instead she wisely walks away.

One of Rey’s strongest virtues is her compassion. She herself has suffered, therefore she recognizes and has sympathy towards others who have also suffered. It’s why she is so willing to help the Resistance. It’s why she opposes the First Order. Rey also cares about the truth.

Rey seeks out Luke expecting one thing, a wise mentor who will save the day. Instead, she finds a bitter old man with a jaded view of reality and no desire to help the ones who need him most. It’s pretty disappointing.

And then this happens.

ren and rey force bond

This series of Force Time calls were very powerful, and I can understand why some people were drawn into the connection between Rey and Ben. Ben shows some of his most broken, hurtful places, and Rey allows herself to see him as more than a monster. Redemption is a powerful force, the idea of love changing someone and healing brokenness is a good, good thing.

If only Ben Solo had actually decided to change…

kylo ren, I want you to join me

I really thought he might. The conflict in his eyes was real. The emotion he had when he looked at Rey was real. The revelation of what truly happened that dreadful day between Luke and Ben needed to come out into the light. Rey was right to give Luke a smackdown and call him out on his lies, bitterness, and false humility.

When Rey goes to Ben, she is going with the hope that he can be redeemed, thus changing the tide of the war and saving the Resistance. She wants a better future for him as an individual, as well as completing her mission. She never forgets that she loves people who also love her, and they are depending on her! She is not just doing this for herself, she is doing this for them.

She goes into the very jaws of the Dark Side. She faces Snoke, Snoke does his obnoxious “I know all” bit…and then this happens.

snoke the last jedi

Ben/Ren kills Snoke.

I was shocked. I was delighted. For the first time, I didn’t really feel like I knew what was coming next, I actually believed Ben Solo had returned. And then this glorious scene happened.

And I believed it. I truly did. I believed that Ben Solo had been redeemed. He had me fooled.

Unstable and abusive people are often very good at pretending to change while actually staying the same. That, or their view of reality is so twisted they see themselves as the hero and everyone else who opposes them as the villains. Such is the case with Ben Solo.

Rey believed as I did, bless her heart, sweet girl! She believed it had worked, Ben Solo was redeemed.

The fleet! There’s still time to save the fleet, order them to stop firing!

Ben?

He turns, and she sees his face. He’s not going to save the fleet, he wants to let it all be destroyed. He’s decided what his own version of “redemption” looks like and it looks like him killing off her friends and controlling the galaxy. He wants to let everything burn down, The First Order, the Resistance, burn the pain!

She pleads with him, and he begins to get angry.

No! You’re still holding on! Let go!

Kylo see Rey’s grief, he truly believes he understands it, he believes he has the answer. So he goes for her deepest wound, being abandoned by her parents.

It’s entirely possible Kylo truly thought he knew who Rey’s parents were. We have yet to see if the revelation that her parents were “filthy junk traders who sold her off for drinking money” is true or not. Kylo believes himself to be a hero, he may even believe himself to be Rey’s hero rescuing her from her attachments or ideas that are holding her back from “true growth”.

He’s either intentionally evil or massively deceived, either way, his next words left me feeling incredibly upset. Many Reylo shippers find them romantic, I see them for what they are…a trap.

You have no place in this story, you come from nothing.

In this statement, Kylo reinforces Rey’s feelings of utter worthlessness.

you are nothing kylo ren

You’re nothing…but not to me. 

Abusive/controlling people often isolate their victims from anyone or anything that could speak truth into their lives. They want their victim’s whole sense of worth to be derived entirely from them. They hold all the cards, they are their victim’s everything.

It’s pretty nauseating. Look at it in the face, Reylo shippers, I know it’s ugly, but it needs to be seen for what it is. This is NOT romantic, this is evil. This is a lie. Even as Kylo is saying this it is a boldfaced a lie! Rey wants to save the people in the fleet because they matter to her. Those people don’t see her as nothing! He’s smart enough to figure that out, but that would work against his beliefs and his agenda.

And then Rey resists.

Rey is an incredible person. Even at her lowest moment, she has come far enough to see the truth for what it is and to value herself regardless of her circumstances or past. Throughout this movie, she is brought face to face with grief, failure, disappointment, and rejection (some of her worst fears and wounds) and she does not give in. The strength this young woman possesses is utterly astounding.

She resists lies and evil where Ben Solo could not

She gets up after failure where Luke Skywalker remained on the ground…

Rey actually emerges even more powerful in character and ability.

rey moves rocks

And Kylo Ren hates it.

Abusive people hate being told no. They hate and fear someone who is stronger than them. Finding something beyond their control is repulsive to them.

True love leaves room for discussion and compromise, for change. There is no “it’s my way or the highway” in true love. True romantic love involves two people in partnership, not one person who decides all, even right and wrong.

If there was any shred of hope left for Reylo after Rey point-blank tries to take the lightsaber from him, Kylo utterly destroys that shred in what is the most disgusting display of a toddler tantrum I have ever seen on screen.

First, Kylo tells Hux that Rey is responsible for all of the Snoke pieces lying around.

Abusive people love to blame people for their own actions.

Next Big-Man-In-Control Kylo takes The First Order down to Crait to utterly obliterate whatever is left of the Resistance. The hatred in his face is clear. He probably would have succeeded too…

But who should show up in that glorious hunk of junk to kick him in the face? That’s right, Rey.

“BLOW THAT PIECE OF JUNK OUT OF THE SKY!”

*Can you feel the love tonight?* No, please, tell me again how much Kylo loves Rey. Tell me as he tries to have her blown to pieces (you cannot tell me he doesn’t know who is on that ship).

Next up we have good old Uncle Luke showing up, an action that Rey motivated. Kylo orders some overkill I want every gun we have to fire on that man…you know you have made a fool of yourself when Hux looks like the reasonable adult in the room.

kylos tantrum

That’s enough!

Do you think you got him?

During his enraged confrontation with Luke, Kylo screams,

I’ll destroy her!

This guy is making Mr. Darcy’s first proposal to Elizabeth look like a Pulitzer winning speech.

Rey rescues The Resistance. Luke gets the last laugh. Kylo Ren is left alone (technically victorious) and utterly miserable in an empty base.

A Force time call with Rey opens up…he looks up at her, pleadingly… (I know I just tried to kill you but I’m so lonely)

kylo on crait

…and she shuts the door in his face.

rey on crait

No, no, Ben.

Rey has the wisdom to know she cannot save someone who does not want to be saved. She is moving on with her life, she did her best, but now it’s time to let it go and fight.

Ben Solo/Kylo Ren represents far too many people in real life. These people are truly broken, hurting, and yes, they do have value. These people were made in the Image of God. Yes, these people do need to have other people come into their lives and love them through the ugly.

  • Before a Kylo Ren type person can be helped, that person has to see their need for help and be willing to accept it, until that happens you can lose yourself trying to “save” them when they do not wish to be changed.
  • Once this type of person actually desires to receive help, the kind of people who should be involved are trusted mentors, sometimes doctors, counselors, and peer level friends. All of these people need to be strong enough in their own character to create healthy boundaries and call their friend on the carpet when something is wrong. These people need to hold their patient/friend/client accountable.

This kind of loving help should NEVER be in the context of a romantic partnership, because partnerships require trust. And you cannot trust someone like Kylo Ren.

We have a responsibility to point out evil things for what they are. We need to teach our children what trustworthy people vs. unstable and abusive people look like. We need to learn this ourselves.

Reylo is so much bigger than just a movie ship, it’s a broken and overly-romanticized type of relationship that leaves nothing but wreck and ruin for both parties involved.

If you are with a Kylo, know you are worth more! You are not worthless, you are not useless, you are not a mistake, YOU ARE LOVED! There is more for you in this life, please seek help.

If you are a Kylo, know that giving and receiving real love is vastly more satisfying than control, there is more to be had in this life than you are currently experiencing. YOU ARE LOVED, please seek help.

Next up, how FinnRey shows what true, sacrificial love looks like.

rey and finn

The Last Jedi: Where No One Had Gone Before

The Last Jedi: Where No One Had Gone Before

The Last Jedi went into uncharted territory. It scared the crap out of us. It broke the “rules”. It challenged our expectations and cliches. It was bold with the Force. It took our characters and tossed each of them into their worst-case-scenario. It showed broken heroes and villains.

Can I even venture to say?

The Last Jedi was the deepest main saga Star Wars movie to date.

It is not a perfect movie with zero flaws, nor do I say the most beloved. There is something magical about A New Hope. My personal favorite for a long time was The Empire Strikes Back (best time ever), and now TESB is tied with The Force Awakens in my affections.

The most basic piece of writing advice storytellers are given is this…

Find out what your character wants…and then do everything in your power to keep them from getting it.

Harsh, huh? And yet, it’s compelling.

Kylo Ren wants peace.

Ben Solo aka Kylo Ren feels thrown about by his life. He wants to finally feel he is in control of his destiny. The turmoil inside of him is eating it up. He believes he can reach this place of “peace” by resetting the game board and crowning himself king. Control everyone and everything…that’s the answer, right?

Rey wants a sense of belonging and identity.

Rey has felt abandoned her whole life. She’s been waiting for people to make her belong, to give her worth. Now she has this whole new can of worms called The Force and she wants someone older and wiser to guide her in it. Secretly she is hoping that Luke as her mentor can give her that sense of belonging and value.

Leia wants a legacy.

She’s been in this fight since the day of her birth. She has sacrificed everything. Her beloved husband is gone. Her son is now her enemy. Her brother is missing. Her people are few in number and on the run. Will there be anyone to take up the gauntlet and continue this all-important battle for freedom that has been her life’s work?

Poe wants his people to survive.

Poe has natural giftings as a leader. He’s brave, he’s kind, he’s insanely talented. He knows he can make a difference in this fight that he’s grown up in. He’ll give his last drop of blood to ensure that happens.

Finn wants the one person he loves most to be okay.

Finn has found one thing to fight for up to this point: Rey. She’s his primary object and sole focus. Rey has to have somewhere safe to return to.

Luke wants to die alone and bitter. He wants to punish himself for his failure.

At least…that’s what he thinks he wants.

Rose wants her sister’s sacrifice to count for something, and she’s sick of people dying.

She’s lost everything up to this point. She’s done with that.

Hux wants respect.

He gets treated like a buffoon…huh, wonder why that is?

Snoke wants…uh…he wants…control?

Yeah, ahem, Mr. Rian? You kinda left us hanging on that one. Hoping Abrams can fill in the gaps here, Snoke was too big a presence to just disappear from the story after one highly efficient lightsaber stroke.

Vice-Admiral Holdo wants her people to survive.

Huh, sound similar to anyone else we know? How about SHARING SOME INFO UP FRONT WITH YOUR PEOPLE ON THE SAME SIDE??? C’mon, Ellie!

Chewbacca wants a new friend.

*aggressive sobbing*

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BB8 wants to be a part of everything.

Our baby droid is really the only one who gets what he wants from start to finish and has an utterly fantastic time all the way through.

bb8 thumbs up

It was like pulling teeth with pliers for every character to attempt to reach their goal in this movie. It was almost like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day made into a Star Wars film.

Somehow, if it could go wrong, it did go wrong…right until the very end.

Because here is the follow-up piece of writing advice to the one I mentioned previously.

The characters must prevail, and they come out having defeated the obstacle, lie, villain, etc, and have grown in the process.

Let’s start with the heroes. How did they end up?

Rey chose her identity apart from her past or any other person.

rey the last jedi

She wanted a mentor. She wanted a dad. I get that. But people let you down, sometimes you cannot find what you want. What do you do then? You decide. “Who am I going to be regardless of what happens around me?” Rey decided, and she emerged as a shining beacon of new hope and the future for the Jedi.

Leia has a legacy.

leia on crait

We see it in the mentorship she gives her surrogate son Poe. She trains him on how to become a leader that will last. We see it in the determination of new Rebel recruits such as Finn. We see it in the enduring fire of characters like Rose and Holdo. We see it in the gleam in Rey’s eyes as she rejects Kylo Ren’s offer of power and instead chooses freedom. Leia’s life work has not been in vain, the fight will continue.

Poe leads his people to survival.

Yes, there are like 7.5 of them, but…

poe dameron hope

Poe was pushed far beyond his comfort zone, and he rose to the occasion. He’s already got incredible talent but in the end, he was going to lead his people to destruction if he did not learn the wisdom required to lead. He learned, and the future of the Rebels will now be secure.

Finn’s original goal was to make sure Rey was safe. He at first believes that to be his only mission. By the end, he chooses to join the Resistance for his own sake. This does not mean he loves Rey any less, it just means he has finally come into his own.

finn the last jedi

And as a delightful bonus, because Finn chooses to stick with the Resistance despite the “loser” circumstances, he was right where he needed to be to reunite with the person who feels like home to him.

finnrey hug last jedi.gif

Yes, a FinnRey post is totally in works. And no, I will not disclose how many times I have watched this hug. That’s none of your business.

Luke dies…but not the way he thought he wanted to. He instead dies in peace, a legend who has forever changed the galaxy. This is the fulfillment of the original goal he had as a youth who stared off into the sunsets and dreamed of adventures.

luke skywalker the last jedi

It’s poetic, it’s epic. Luke dies, but he is not completing the shallow and self-piteous arc of his elder years. No, instead he completes the much deeper and meaningful arc that we began in A New Hope. We have come full circle. And in all honesty, can we actually say that this giant of the Force is actually gone?

Rose saves the people she loves, making her sister’s sacrifice and everything up to this point worth it.

rose the last jedi

Rose is a simple and straightforward character, but she represents a new attitude for this fight. Surviving to fight another day is just as if not more valuable than sacrifice.  We’ve watched single to entire casts of beloved characters (*coughs* Rogue One) sacrifice themselves for the cause. FYI, I’m still hurting over Caleb Dume.

We admire and respect their sacrifice, and those deaths had their place. But winning is also about life, not just death. Rose represents life.

Ahem, yes, she saved the people she loves. Yeah, I saw that kiss too. That one, tiny little kiss that sent a whole crowd of people like sheep to the slaughter with the belief, “Well, I guess she’s with Finn now?” C’mon, guys, don’t be so gullible. If a single one-sided kiss was enough to seal the deal then half of you would be married to your little crush from kindergarten. More on that in the FinnRey post.

Vice-Admiral Holdo’s people survived. Barely. In spite of her. Really we all almost died but hey, she did that cool lightspeed thing! Plus, I have never seen purple hair look so chic.

holdo the last jedi

Holdo as a character, or rather, the idea and look of Holdo was utterly fascinating. She represented a larger group of people who like Leia, have fully committed themselves to this fight. Supposedly she’s another kind of Force-sensitive character who uses her abilities outside of the Jedi method.

I do not believe her character was done proper justice, she was fascinating in the creation, less effective in the execution. Her character was responsible for the biggest plot holes in the movie, and that’s a crying shame. Still…did I mention that awesome purple hair?

Chewbacca kept his new friend.

chewbacca the last jedi

We were amazed that he was willing to drop his new girl off to meet up with Ben Solo after how splendidly that went the last time, but Chewie is loyal to a fault. He obviously trusted that she could handle it. Chewie is one original character that we can rely on sticking around.

BB8 was a part of EVERYTHING.

Can this droid get any cuter?

Onto the villains.

DJ and Captain Phasma barely get an honorable mention. They got exactly what they signed up for.

DJ’s only purpose was to serve as a darker reflection of what Finn could have become, someone who is only in it for themselves. He was not useless, per se, but he was also not deep.

Phasma had the character arc of a yardstick. She served as a great few seconds of external conflict that made for some really hot Finn fight scenes. *golf clap*. Nice, but nothing to write home about.

Now for the REAL villains.

Hux is still a laughingstock.

hux the last jedi

In true villain form, Hux was thwarted yet again at the moment that should have been his triumph. He’s a rather interesting figure to me, he’s both fanatically frightening and laughably ridiculous all at once. He’s both bold and cowardly. He’s just weak enough to be dangerous and I think Kylo Ren is wrong to underestimate him. Hux’s defeat in this movie is going to make him even more dangerous in Episode 9. 

Snoke is dead. So, there’s that.

snoke the last jedi

Unexpected, cool, and also disappointing? Snoke was too malevolent and overpowering to just be forgotten. We need more information on what his bigger picture was. At the same time, he’s dead, so any agenda he may have had is in pieces. Literally.

I saved the most intriguing for the last…Kylo Ren aka Ben Solo.

kylo ren the last jedi

Like the heroes of this movie, Kylo Ren gets exactly what he wants…control. And yet, he ends the movie more desperate and villainous than he began it. Why?

What Kylo/Ben actually wants deep down inside is peace. Peace cannot be gained through murder and control, that only creates more chaos. Kylo’s blazing path of bloodshed and fury have not given him what he thought they would. Instead, he is left angrier and emptier than before. He’s a classic case of trying to achieve what you want/need the wrong way. This approach always leaves you in a worse situation than you began.

The Last Jedi went deep on multiple characters. It took our oh-so-familiar Star Wars moments such as the Darth Vader redemption scene and added a new twist to them. What if Vader kills his master but then decides to take control for himself?

We ended this movie where our heroes had nothing more than a hunk-of-junk and a smile to their names, and yet they felt that they had won while their enemies were left licking their wounds. Why?

Not all victories begin physically, the battle between good and evil is a battle of mindsets, ideals, and endurance. Our Rebels are winning this war, and the First Order knows it.

The Resistance is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi.

I truly value the previous main saga movies that have led us to this point, but Rian gave us a fresh perspective on an age-old battle. He highlighted characters outside of just “the big three” and somehow managed to leave us full of hope after a dreadful day. While there are glaring mistakes in this film, I am also amazed by all he accomplished.

Our heroes went through the fire and emerged as legends. Our villains went through the fire, some of them burned, and some of them now burn with a vengeance. The stage is set for an epic conclusion to this saga.

the last jedi poster

More in-depth on aspects of this film coming soon!

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