Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. It’s the only way to become what you were meant to be.
Kylo Ren speaking to Rey
We are what they grow beyond.
Force Ghost Yoda speaking to Luke
I wrote about the fact that, even though I went into The Last Jedi completely spoiled ( I watched tons of spoiler videos before going to the film) but I still felt that the movie was battling with the movie I made in my head.
One thing that struck me reading the comments is that many people are struggling with the fact that the movies we see are not the movies that we make in our heads. Most of the time, the movies in our heads is better. This is even harder in films like Star Wars.
Star Wars has been a part of popular culture for 40 years. That is two whole generations of children growing up with these stories and characters. In the years and decades between movies, people created entire worlds to fill the void. Popular books expanded the world and characters. I remember someone in high school telling me that many people felt that the Heir to the Empire trilogy of books were really Episodes 7, 8, and 9.
While George Lucas gave people episodes 1, 2, and 3, most people really wanted episodes 7, 8, and 9. They wanted Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia back but we never got to see those films. And we never will.
This is not going to go the way you think.
Luke Skywalker to Rey
I don’t think that fans ever accepted the fact that we will never get those films. I think that this is the most important motivation in killing Han Solo. They are trying to get fans to move on from the characters of the original trilogy but we are stubborn. There’s a moment when Kylo Ren, yells at Rey in frustration. “You’re still holding on!” At that moment, I felt that Kylo Ren was speaking for Rian Johnson (and J.J. Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy) at that moment. They seemed to be breaking the fourth wall to express their anger and frustration.
Moreover, I think that they want fans to let go of the way that they have read these films. I think that fans were so trained from watching the prequels and the books into expecting the new films to take certain paths. I remember a reviewer last year saying that he expected that this trilogy would end with Rey turning dark and that she would be redeemed at the end of episode 12. (Grrr.) We see this in the obsession over the identity of Snoke and Rey’s parents. Fans expected Rey’s parents to be rooted in the past of the trilogy (a post about Rey’s parents is forthcoming) because Luke was related to Darth Vader and Princess Leia was related to Luke.
I quoted in my previous post that the Star Wars universe is a small, limited universe with which not much can be done. I don’t know if that is true. True, the prequels were unbelievably terrible, but that’s because they were written and directed by George Lucas. They should have ripped the screenplay out of his hand and given it to a good screenwriter and a competent director. If a great Star Wars screenplay was directed by Alfonso Curon and it still sucked, then it would be definitely be true. I hope that this is not true, and the only way we can test this is to embrace new stories and new characters.
This is is necessitated by the fact that Carrie Fisher is dead. We will never get the sequel trilogy of Luke, Leia, and Han, and we need to be OK with that.
Buddhism stresses the impermanence of everything, even ourselves. We need to accept the mourn the loss of the films that we wanted and accept the films that are.
I leave everyone with two musical selections. First up, Pie Jesu from Fuare’s Requiem, recorded by Barbara Bonney to help us mourn the loss of those films.
Up next, I leave you with Sand Mandala from the movie Kundun, composed by American composer Phillip Glass. The song draws upon the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, and refers to the creation of sand mandalas. Buddhist monks create beautiful works of art from sand and then destroy them.
In summation, let’s mourn. Then let’s sit under the Bodhi tree.