Episode 19 – Interview with Author Michaelbrent Collings

Listen in as The Credulous Nerds sit down for a nerdy conversation with best-selling author, Michaelbrent Collings! We discuss his career and the many novels he has written and why he tends to gravitate towards the horror genre. We talk all kinds of nerdy franchises, Star Wars, Star Trek – films and TV, DC films, and the Wheel of Time. Check him out on writteninsomnia.com and you can support him on Patreon too!

You can listen in on SoundCloud.com or on Anchor.fm! All of our podcasts can be found at Patreon.com, on iTunes, and on Stitcher.


 


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Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Home Video

Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi is coming to home video on March 13th, 2018! This release will be on digital download. Then on March 27th, 2018, The Last Jedi will be released on Blu-Ray, and  4K Ultra Blu-Ray.

If you plan on ordering a copy from Amazon, please support Random Angst Productions and click on the pre-order/order links below!

 

Here’s the release trailer for the home video release:

From StarWars.com:

 

The latest film in the Star Wars saga is coming home. Star Wars: The Last Jedi will arrive, it was announced today, on Digital (in HD and 4K Ultra HD) and via Movies Anywhere on March 13, and on Blu-ray 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and On-Demand on March 27. And along with the number one movie of 2017 comes a galaxy of bonus features, including The Director and the Jedi — an intimate journey into the creation of Star Wars: The Last Jedi with writer-director Rian Johnson — as well as 14 deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and much more. The full list includes*:

  • The Director and the Jedi – Go deep behind the scenes with writer-director Rian Johnson on an intimate and personal journey through the production of the movie—and experience what it’s like to helm a global franchise and cultural phenomenon.
  • Balance of the Force – Explore the mythology of the Force and why Rian Johnson chose to interpret its role in such a unique way.
  • Scene Breakdowns
    • Lighting the Spark: Creating the Space Battle – Get a close-up look at the epic space battle, from the sounds that help propel the action, through the practical and visual effects, to the characters who bring it all to life.
    • Snoke and Mirrors – Motion capture and Star Wars collide as the filmmakers take us through the detailed process of creating the movie’s malevolent master villain.
    • Showdown on Crait – Break down everything that went into creating the stunning world seen in the movie’s final confrontation, including the interplay between real-word locations and visual effects, reimagining the walkers, designing the crystal foxes, and much more.
  • Andy Serkis Live! (One Night Only) – Writer-director Rian Johnson presents two exclusive sequences from the movie featuring Andy Serkis’ riveting, raw on-set performance before his digital makeover into Snoke.
  • Deleted Scenes – With an introduction and optional commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.
  • Audio Commentary – View the movie with in-depth feature audio commentary by writer-director Rian Johnson.

* Digital bonus offerings may vary by retailer.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi will come in a variety of packages, including the Multi-screen Edition (includes Blu-ray and a Digital copy), the 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition (including 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and a Digital copy), and Best Buy and Target retailer exclusives. The 4K Ultra HD version features the extraordinary color, contrast, and brightness of Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range, paired with fully immersive picture and sound with Dolby Atmos audio.

I’ll be buying the Steelbook exclusive version from Best Buy to go with my other Star Wars Episodes 1-7 and Rogue One Steelbook collection.


Final Episodes of Star Wars Rebels Are Coming Soon

The last half of the last season of Star Wars Rebels start Feb 19th, 2018! Lucasfilm has released this trailer for these last few episodes. We get the above mural with Father, Daughter, and Son from the Mortis trilogy of The Clone Wars, and then Darth Sidious makes an appearance! The trailer has lots of action, mystery, and hints at closure on some long running storylines. I can’t wait!

 

 

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review – Part II

The Women of Star Wars

Women have always been an integral part of the Star Wars Saga, and as our society has evolved into being more inclusive with women and minorities, this has been reflected even more so on screen with Star Wars. From Princess Leia to Mon Mothma, Mara Jade to Ahsoka, and Padme to Rey, women have played integral roles in the Star Wars galaxy and have had a lasting impact on the overall story. The Last Jedi is no different as it adds so much value to the overall story with it’s female characters and especially with the following.

 

Leia Organa Solo

The Princess who is now a General has had a long journey from the captured prisoner who stood her ground and talked back to Darth Vader, a Dark Lord of the Sith, back when we first met her in Episode IV: A New Hope. General Leia Organa Solo has suffered much throughout this Saga and has lost much that is dear to her. In The Last Jedi we see a Leia who recently lost a man she loved and who was the father of her wayward son. She hasn’t had much time to grieve as the First Order is knocking on her door step and she along with the Resistance has to flee their military base.

Leia has to now lead a Resistance that is under attack and rein in Poe Dameron, a hot shot pilot who probably reminds her of a young Han Solo. Leia is attacked and blown into space and only through her strong will to survive and her connection to the Force is she able to rescue herself and receive medical attention. What strength she has shown just in the last 24 hours (movie time)!

Once she is contacted through the Force by Luke, she is able to recover and once again lead the Resistance in their escape. They eventually are able to escape to the Rebel Base on Crait, at the cost of many lives under her command. On Crait, Leia sends a distress signal to allies for help against their foes, but to no avail as there was no response from her allies. After a failed ground battle between our heroes and The First Order, Luke Skywalker intervenes and is able to distract The First Order long enough for his sister, Leia, to escape. Along with Leia, the newly self-proclaimed Rebellion members are able to locate a back way out of the base and escape on the Falcon with Rey and Chewie. Aboard the Falcon, Leia promises Rey that they will rebuild the Rebellion.

Leia is the epitome of try, try again and has learned throughout her life the lessons that Luke has been unable to learn throughout his. Leia has learned from her failures and has also learned the value of never giving up despite the Death Star-sized odds that she has constantly faced. Like her father, Anakin Skywalker, Leia has lost loved ones and has suffered so much grief. But unlike her father, she has not turned to the Dark Side nor has she sought revenge for the wrongs done to her. Always at the center of the Galactic Conflict, whether it is in the Rebellion against the Empire or in the Resistance against The First Order, Leia has used her talents and gifts to liberate others and strengthen the cause of freedom.

Despite not being as strong in the Force as her brother Luke has been, Leia has had just as big of an impact on the Galactic fight for freedom as Luke has. When she passes, she will be just as much of a legend as Luke Skywalker has become.

Tragically the real Leia, Carrie Fisher, has passed away in real life in 2016 and Princess Leia’s on screen story ends with The Last Jedi. Initially the over arching plan for this new Sequel Trilogy was to have Episode 9 be Leia’s story, just like Episode 7 was Han Solo’s final story and Episode 8 was Luke’s final chapter. A new story will be written to close out this final Trilogy and ultimately I am glad for the character of Leia and for the scenes she had in The Last Jedi. However, Carrie Fisher and Princess Leia will be missed for so many reasons. May The Force Be With Her – Always.

 

Rey

Rey again takes center stage in The Last Jedi and ultimately the title of this movie is hers. As Luke Skywalker becomes one with the Force at the end of this movie, he has passed the mantle of The Last Jedi to her. He proclaims to Kylo Ren that Rey will be the last of the Jedi. Which is surprising in more than ways than one. Luke has resisted teaching Rey the ways of the Jedi and ultimately only teaches her two lessons in an attempt to dissuade her from becoming a Jedi. He teaches her that the Jedi were wrong in what they did and that they were responsible for Darth Vader and for enabling Darth Sidious’ rise to power. And that he, as a Jedi, was responsible for the new Vader, Kylo Ren. So everything that Luke had done to prevent her from becoming a Jedi was overturned by his own declaration that Rey is now a Jedi.  A second surprise that Rey is now a Jedi is that she has hardly trained to become a Jedi. I can see her as a strong light side Force user, but to be called a Jedi was surprising. While Yoda did declare that Rey had all she needed to be a Jedi, I thought it was a stretch to declare her a Jedi. Rey did take the ancient Jedi texts from the first Jedi Temple with her when she left Ahch-To in the Falcon, so I think the ability to learn the ways of the Jedi and to ultimately bring back the Jedi Order; I believe that these building blocks are in place for the Jedi to be reborn. Maybe it’s just semantics at this point.

Rey’s journey takes another twist as she is tempted by the dark side. She and Kylo Ren are able to see and talk to each other through the Force while she is on Ahch-To. I believe that there are two reasons for this, one is that while a captive of Kylo Ren in The Force Awakens, Rey and Kylo have a battle of the minds as they use The Force to read each other’s minds. I would like to think that this connection carried over to allow this trans-Galactic Force conversation. Also I think that being on Ahch-To had something to do with amplifying this ability. It would appear that Ahch-To is a location strong in The Force and is able to boost The Force. (I also think Ahch-To also helped Luke project himself through The Force to Crait by amplifying his Force abilities.)

As Rey is talking with Kylo through The Force she sees that there is a chance Kylo can be turned back to the light. We later learn in Snoke’s throne room that this was a trap set by Snoke to bring Rey to him (much like Darth Sidious did in Return of the Jedi to Luke as he sought to turn his father, Darth Vader, to the light side. In all fairness, Luke did warn her that it wouldn’t work).  Ultimately, Kylo kills Snoke and in an amazing melee, Kylo and Rey team up to defeat the Praetorian Guards. Rey tries to convince Kylo Ren to come back to the light and to work together to save the Resistance from The First Order. Kylo instead tries to convince her that she needs to join him and they will rule the galaxy, just as Anakin tried to convince Padme to do in Episode III. Just like Padme, Rey declines as it goes against her nature.

In a last ditch effort to convince Rey to join him, Kylo tells Rey that he knows who her parents are. That they are nobody, drunks that sold her for drink money, and that they are dead on Jakku. Personally, I don’t believe Kylo and I believe that he was using whatever tactic he could to try and convince her to join him by trying to strip everyone of value from her, such as Han and Luke and her parents. Also this explanation doesn’t match up with what we saw previously in The Force Awakens with a young Rey calling for her parents to come back as they flew away on a starship. I do believe that Kylo thinks that if he can convince her that she is alone then she wouldn’t want to be without him. But thankfully Rey is stronger than that and doesn’t fall for it.

I think the question of Rey’s parents and Rey’s growing up needs to be addressed definitively in Episode 9 due to her importance in the Saga, as well as her strength in The Force. Whether she is a hidden Skywalker or a daughter of Jedi that’s been in hiding for years or a anomaly such as Anakin Skywalker, it needs to be defined as I believe it goes to overall character development for Rey. The dark side cave under the island where Rey goes to find the answer to who her parents are, up to this point was not very helpful in answering that question. Just as in Empire Strikes Back, the scene of Luke going into the dark side cave made more sense once we saw Return of the Jedi, I hope that this dark side cave scene from The Last Jedi will make more sense after seeing Episode 9.

Rey’s journey to becoming the last of the Jedi starts in this Episode and she still has much to learn. I think she learned a lot during her encounter with Supreme Leader Snoke and Kylo Ren. I think she realizes that she has more to learn, as evidenced by her final scene on board the Falcon with Leia. While holding the broken remains of Anakin’s lightsaber, she asks Leia how they are supposed to rebuild? I think the question is two fold, one part for the newly created Rebellion and one part for the Jedi Order and Leia’s answer is sufficient for both the Rebellion and the Jedi Order.

 

Rose

Rose Tico is a new character introduced to us in The Last Jedi. She is a new voice for the Saga, a voice of the common person, the non-Force user, and a voice that is just as important as the other characters. Rose represents those that want a better life and who have been oppressed by The First Order and the Empire for so long.

By the time we meet Rose in The Last Jedi, she has been through so much heartache. She and her sister, Paige, have escaped The First Order’s ruin of her home planet and have joined the Resistance. Paige was killed during the Resistance’s escape from their base in the Elenium system. Rose now has nobody to lean on and is feeling alone. She meets Finn and after a fan girl moment of meeting The Finn,  together they join up and create a plan to help the Resistance escape The First Order through hyperspace.

Rose is the person that Finn needs to meet in order to become a more rounded person. Rose is down to earth and a no nonsense type of person. She is able to teach him what’s important in life and that relationships matter. Finn has become used to running away, as we see in The Force Awakens he is constantly running from others and responsiblity. Rose grabs hold of him and doesn’t let go and in doing so teaches him a valuable lesson. One of the best lines in the movie comes from Rose, “I saved you, dummy.” She does indeed save Finn in more ways than one.

Rose is a great addition to the story and adds a lot of value to The Last Jedi. While I never questioned her character, I initially questioned the Canto Bight side story with her and Finn in which she plays a big role in this side story. Initially I thought it was a distraction from the main story that eventually doesn’t go anywhere as Finn and Rose don’t get the hacker they are looking for, then their mission fails before they can complete it and are captured by Phasma, and then that hacker eventually sells them out and they are set to be executed. I didn’t understand the reasoning for this side story until subsequent viewings. I learned that this side story is just as important for Finn as Ahch-To is for Rey. Rey learns things on Ahch-To from Luke Skywalker and Finn learns things on Canto Bight from Rose Tico. Finn’s character would remain stagnant without Rose’s influence and the Canto Bight adventure. Thanks to Rose, Finn learns not to run anymore and that people matter and can do great things, and that this is one of the reasons Finn left The First Order in the first place. Rose is a voice of reason in the crazy and chaotic galaxy.

 

Phasma

Phasma is my personal favorite character in this new Sequel Trilogy, unfortunately she doesn’t get the screen time she deserves (in my opinion, lol). She has so much potential and is such a cool looking character, I’m sad that she only gets a few minutes in each movie to shine. I’m hoping she survived the fall into the fiery depths of Snoke’s mega starship, so as to make a comeback in the next movie. Hey, she survived the destruction of Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens! We didn’t see her hit the ground and die, it’s possible that she landed in a soft spot, a trash compactor maybe, and was able to escape in time. I think JJ Abrams should put Phasma in Episode 9 to show her tenacity in that she is able to constantly survive these crazy situations. We’ll see what happens.

UP NEXT:

Finn Grows Up, Poe Becomes a Leader, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, and more.

13 Reasons Why Attack of the Clones is a Great Star Wars Movie

13 reasons why Attack of the Clones is a great Star Wars movie:

I have to admit that up until recently, Attack of the Clones was one of my least favorite Star Wars movies. I would alternate between Episode II and Return of the Jedi as my least favorite of the Saga. However, during a recent re-watch of the Saga, I realized just how good Attack of the Clones really is and how many important and critical moments there are in this Episode of the Saga. I wrote down a few moments from the Episode that really stood out to me and why.

(*I just re-discovered this article I had written in 2014, but for some reason never published.)

 

  • Anakin and Obi Wan’s relationship

We see Anakin and Obi-Wan as Master and Padawan for the first time since it was first discussed by old Ben Kenobi in Star Wars A New Hope. We see how Anakin is headstrong and how Obi-Wan is constantly having to rein him in. We see how they both frustrate each other and respect each other at the same time. We see how Anakin is more powerful than Obi-Wan and how they both know this and how Anakin struggles with this, but is still willing to accept Obi-Wan’s mentorship. This is one of the key relationships in the whole Saga, one that ends up having a strong effect on the whole galaxy. Up until Obi-Wan’s death in Episode IV, the Star Wars Saga is much of an Obi-Wan Saga as it is a Skywalker Saga. Their relationship, just as much as Anakin’s and Padme’s, is front and center in Episode II.

 

  • Anakin and Padme’s adventures

From their departure on Coruscant on the unregistered transport, Anakin and Padme get to spend some alone time together for the first time in ten years! They arrive on Naboo and spend a day or two there. They depart to Anakin’s childhood home, Tatooine, and track down Anakin’s missing mother, Shmi Skywalker. Padme is there with Anakin when he brings home his deceased mother and is also there for the little funeral at the Lars homestead. From Tatooine, they then travel to nearby Geonosis to help Obi-Wan who is in trouble.

Anakin and Padme learn to work together in the rescue of their mutual friend, Obi-Wan. They both have their strengths and have to figure out how to step back and let the other take charge when needed. In doing so they are able to survive the first battle of The Clone Wars.

 

  • Chancellor Palpatines manipulations

We see more of Darth Sidious’ machinations and how he is now playing both sides, the Separatists and the Republic, not only against each other, but ultimately against the Jedi. Chancellor Palpatine also is laying the groundwork to eventually have Anakin join him as a new apprentice, much like Count Dooku is in this Episode. Palpatine is playing the long game and the Jedi are unable to see it.

 

  • Clones!

Finally, the clones make an appearance in the Saga. We see how they were created, who they were created from and how Boba Fett fits into the story. We get to see the clones in their first battle and how well they work together and how their training is exceptional in battle.

 

  • Anakin is too late to save his mother

This is a key moment in the Saga and we see how even the best Jedi can give into hate. Who wouldn’t feel the same as he did? Having such anxiety and angst over the safety of his mother for years and then finally finding her, Anakin arrives only to have her die in his arms. That’s heavy stuff. Hayden Christensen plays that scene perfectly, as he goes from joy to heartache to anger all in a matter of moments. This is one of the scenes that I’m sure George Lucas had in mind when he picked Hayden to play Anakin and he plays it more than perfectly.

 

  • Anakin and the slaughter of the Tusken Raiders

His first act of hatred, and to be honest, it’s one that I understand. How can you condemn a man who takes justice into his own hands on the lawless planet of Tatooine? These Tusken Raiders kidnapped and tortured his mother until she died, I get it. Anakin’s follow up conversation with Padme at the Homestead as he describes to her how he killed the Raiders is another great Hayden Christensen moment. The anguish, the guilt, the lack of remorse, the shame, all of these conflicting emotions that he feels at the same time as a result of Anakin’s act is portrayed perfectly by Hayden and shows why he was chosen for this role.

 

  • Padme admits she loves Anakin

Now this is a tricky one. But the key factor in this moment just before they are taken into the arena, is that they both think they are going to be killed in the arena. (We all know they won’t be killed, because of the OT, but obviously – they don’t) But since they believe that they are going to die a horrible death, so what has Padme got to lose at this point? We all know she is attracted to Anakin, she admits as much on Tatooine. The “reasonable Padme” knows it can’t work if they want to live in the real world. But if your real world is about to end, why not at least tell the one you love that you love them in your final moments? Again, I get it. Plus, at the end of the film, they get married in secret creating even more drama for the Prequel story! In this Episode we are treated to the most romantic Star Wars theme, and in my opinion one of the top romantic themes in all of cinema. I would also argue that Across the Stars is one of John Williams’ best Star Wars themes.

 

  • Battle of Geonosis

One of the best battles in the Saga! First we are treated to 200 Jedi fighting battle droids and Separatist Geonosians in the Arena battle. How amazing is that moment?! Another moment we have been wanting see since the beginning. From there we move outside of the Arena and see the Clones fighting droids with the Jedi leading them to victory.

 

  • Dooku and Obi Wan’s talk

So much information is disclosed in this scene. First of all the set up of the scene is just plain cool, with Obi-Wan held prisoner in a energy field, with Dooku taunting him with Obi-Wan’s helplessness. Then Dooku straight up tells him all about the Sith plan! Darth Sidious is in control of the Senate and is running things. Dooku brings up Qui-Gon Jin and how Qui-Gon would have joined him. He reveals to the audience that Qui Gon was his padawan.

 

  • Yoda’s duel with Dooku (his Padawan)

Not only are we amazed that Yoda can throw down with a lightsaber, but we see more of how powerful he is in the Force. It is also revealed that Dooku was once Yoda’s padawan! How emotional of a moment is that for Yoda, knowing that his padawan is now a Sith Lord and is responsible for the Separatists and this Clone War, and now he’s having to try to kill him.

 

 

  • Mace Windu

After not doing much in the previous Episode, we get to see Mace Windu in action in the Battle of Geonosis. We get to see him face off with the bounty hunter, Jango Fett, as well as multiple battle droids. Mace is a powerful Jedi Master.

 

 

  • 3PO and R2’s first adventure

C-3PO and R2-D2 go on their first adventure together and we see how from the get go they are always blasting each other, but we see they become “friends” real quick. While they were introduced to each other in Episode I, it is in this movie that we get the groundwork laid for their antics and bickering in the Original Trilogy.

 

  • Death Star plans

It is revealed that the Death Star plans were developed by the Separatists and that the Geonosians had a big part in their design. We see that the future Empire’s devastating planet killer has been in development for over 20 years. It makes one wonder what took so long? I don’t doubt that we will see this dilemma explored in upcoming Star Wars stories. (*Update from 2017 – read Catalyst to find out why)

These are a few reasons why Attack of the Clones is so appealing to me and how it plays a major role in the whole Star Wars Saga. I know that it gets criticized a lot and is the butt of many jokes. One of which is sand and how it gets everywhere, I’m sorry, but it’s true! Sand is irritating and it does get everywhere! Haven’t you been to the beach and had to constantly clean sand off of you? Then when you get back home and wash your clothes, guess what? The sand is everywhere and it’s very annoying. I can’t imagine living on a planet of sand, such as Tatooine, for years and liking sand.

But anyways, again I think Attack of the Clones is unfairly criticized and firmly belongs in the Saga as major Star Wars story events occur non stop in this film. I challenge you to re-watch Attack of the Clones with a new mindset to see how pertinent it is to the whole Saga and how important these events are to the overall Star Wars story.

– Justin

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Review – Part One

Star Wars History

As a life long Star Wars fan, the Star Wars Saga has been a part of my life since I was 4 years old. I can remember bits and pieces from seeing Star Wars in the theaters in 1977, the Death Star shootouts between our heroes and the Stormtroopers, the Tusken Raiders, and Darth Vader. I can remember seeing The Empire Strikes Back for the first time and just being enthralled with the Tauntauns and Hoth and everything I saw on screen especially the duel on Cloud City between Luke and Vader. Interestingly enough, I don’t remember my first time seeing Return of the Jedi in theaters, but I do remember seeing it for the second time with my cousins and how they kept asking me when Darth Vader takes off his mask.

As a young child, my friends and I loved Star Wars as did many other youth of our era. We played the video games, watched the movies on HBO, played with the action figures, and made up our own adventures in the fields behind our house. I couldn’t comprehend a world without Star Wars growing up, and even when the “Dark Times” were happening, ie. the post-ROTJ era, we still had the novels and video games to help us revisit the galaxy far, far away.

Then the Special Editions were released in 1997! Then the Prequels were announced! I saw The Phantom Menace multiple times in theaters in 1999, as well as Attack of the Clones several times in 2002. In 2005, I was able to take my son to see Revenge of the Sith in theaters and the circle seemed to be complete as this last Star Wars movie was released and I was able to experience Star Wars with my then 4 year old son. Life was great.

I am one of the oddballs who enjoyed the Prequels and still watch them religiously. Sure, they have their faults, but so does the Original Trilogy (OT); to me that’s just how Star Wars is. It’s fun, awe-inspiring, and cheesy all at the same time. I’ve never understood why my fellow fans, mostly my peers, could hate the Prequels so much. Dislike them? Sure, why not. However, the level of hate and spite that was and is spewed forth at the mere mention of Jar Jar Binks or Hayden Christensen is remarkable.

As much as some love the Star Wars OT, others have come to hate the Prequel Trilogy (PT) just as much. It’s almost like the balance in the Force, the light and dark must balance each other out (Plus check out Mike Klimo’s ideas on the Star Wars Ring Theory to see how the Prequels are just the Originals in reverse and the hate of the Prequels starts to make more sense) Just like the OT, not everyone was a fan. My father couldn’t understand the Star Wars hysteria that took the world by storm in the ’70’s as it wasn’t his type of movie, my mother thought they were fun movies, but didn’t see the long lasting appeal. Star Wars appeals to different people in different ways and that is just fine.

Now, here we are in the latest era of Star Wars, the Sequel Trilogy (yes, the ST), and now instead of having George Lucas to blame, as everyone did with the Prequels, the new perpetrator is Disney. But yet the same hatred is still out there. While overshadowed by Episode VII – The Force Awakens’ success of $2 Billion dollars made worldwide, there was a small, vocal group of fans who still spewed the same hatred that we heard during the PT. Now, with the release of Episode VIII – The Last Jedi, the grumblings and criticisms have returned and have grown louder.

I am not one of those fans.

Rian Johnson

Rian Johnson is the one responsible for The Last Jedi. He wrote the script and directed the movie with Lucasfilm’s blessing. Rian Johnson, a self proclaimed super fan of Star Wars with a similar path of fandom as I described previously, turned the Star Wars Saga, and it’s fandom, on it’s head. Some say he is the next great Star Wars storyteller, and Lucasfilm tends to agree as he has already been awarded the opportunity to create and direct a whole new Star Wars trilogy with all new characters and situations. Rian can be considered George Lucas 2.0 and he has an opportunity to have a similar impact on the filmmaking world. Others claim he is the newest Sith Lord and like Darth Sidious usurping The Galactic Republic in Episode III, Rian Johnson has ruined Star Wars Canon from within. A petition has been created to remove Episode VIII from official Star Wars Canon! The hyperbole from these Star Wars fans is laughable at best and mostly just disrespectful.

With The Last Jedi, Rian has crafted a Star Wars story that is fresh and engaging for the fans. Upon first viewing, I didn’t know exactly what to think, in fact I had to take some time to think and process what I had just seen. There was so much that happened that was unexpected, (Like Luke tossing his long lost saber over his shoulder) that it took time to let it sink in. In the first weekend after my first viewing, I spent hours talking with friends and family about what happens in Episode 8. After these conversations and subsequent viewings, these new ideas began to coalesce together along with old ideas, as well as with the previously established mythology of both the Star Wars Prequels and Originals, combined with what we saw in The Force Awakens to ultimately create something new and unexpected. With one movie, Rian Johnson has unified ALL eras of Star Wars just in time for the final chapter of the Skywalker saga!

Luke Skywalker

Luke Skywalker has been my hero from the beginning. He was the one I identified with growing up and his hero’s journey was mine. Not only as a youth, but with repeated viewings as a grown up, I watched his journey with satisfaction as he left his unfulfilling farm life on Tatooine and eventually grew to become a powerful Jedi. So to see his situation in The Last Jedi and where Luke was at physically and emotionally was very hard to watch. How could my quintessential boyhood hero just run and hide and not help his sister and best friends in their fight against the First Order?! I was appalled as Luke hid in his hut and and rebuked Rey’s pleas for help.

As the story and Luke’s reasoning for being on the island of Ahch-To unfolded and as Rey engaged with Luke as to why he was a hermit on Ahch-To instead of coming with Rey to get ‘back in the mess’, it began to make sense to me. Luke, my hero, had failed miserably and was ashamed of his failure. He was responsible for the galaxy’s newest Dark Side villain, Kylo Ren. Everything Luke had fought against in his hero’s journey, to overcome Darth Sidious and Darth Vader, was back and it was his fault. Just like his nephew, Ben Solo, was striving to become the new Darth Vader, Luke was now the new Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Jedi who trained Darth Vader. Similar to Obi-Wan and Yoda, Luke decided the best course of action was to go into hiding. But instead of training the new hope to become a Jedi, Luke reasoned that that would be just perpetuating a cycle that was too dangerous to repeat. Hadn’t he just tried to do the same as Obi-Wan and Yoda had done with him and failed? (Interesting that as Rey leaves Luke on Ahch-To, she claims that Ben Solo is the galaxy’s only hope against defeating Snoke and in the end, she was right!). Over the years, Luke had come to the conclusion that the Jedi must end for this cycle to be broken.

Enter R2-D2 and as in previous Episodes, he plays a pivotal role in the story. Luke reunites with R2 on the Falcon and in his droid wisdom, R2 replays the message that started Luke’s hero’s journey, “Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”. This was Leia’s plea for help to Luke’s former Master so many years ago and it is just as pertinent now as it was back then. You can see it on Luke’s face as he realizes, it is now his turn to take up the mantle and help Leia, just as Obi-Wan did. I believe he also comes to the realization that just like Obi-Wan, he doesn’t need to be the one to do the deed, but he is to be the one to put everyone on the right path and then let the new generation handle the rest. Luke’s angst and inner conflict in this moment is palpable as he decides to do what for years he said that he wouldn’t do. He decides to teach Rey about the ways of the Force. Luke commits to teach Rey three lessons about the Force, but in an effort to help her understand why the Jedi must end. He helps her understand how Ben Solo succumbed to the Dark Side and his involvement in Ben’s downfall and provides Rey with a cautionary tale. However, just like Luke in Empire Strikes Back, Rey is drawn away from her training before it is completed by a vision of the future in the Force. Rey thinks she can turn Kylo Ren back to the light, just as Luke thought he could turn his father to the light in Return of the Jedi. Luke warns her that Kylo Ren and Snoke are too powerful and that Kylo will not turn.

Luke stays on the island while Rey leaves with Chewie and R2 to confront Kylo Ren. Luke decides to burn down the first Jedi Temple and the ancient Jedi texts contained within. But he is unable to bring himself to do that, as he is holding too much on to the past. The Force ghost of Yoda appears and Yoda again teaches Luke a valuable lesson, failure is a harsh but necessary teacher. Through the Force, Yoda uses lightning from a storm to ignite the Jedi Temple on fire and together they watch it and the Jedi traditions burn. Yoda scolds Luke for not heading his advice and not passing on what he has learned to Rey. Yoda tells Luke that they must not lose Rey to the Dark Side.

At the end of the film, we see Luke arrive at a pivotal battle on the planet Crait and he is able to say goodbye to Leia and C-3PO one last time. Luke confronts Kylo Ren on the plains of Crait. We find out that Luke isn’t physically there and that through the Force, Luke is projecting himself across the galaxy to make it appear that he is there on Crait. Luke doesn’t engage with Kylo Ren and avoids Kylo’s saber attack to buy enough time for the newly christened Rebellion to escape. We then find out that Luke is still on Ahch-To and that the effort of using the Force across such a great distance is too much and Luke becomes one with the Force, in the same way that Yoda did on Dagobah in Return of the Jedi.

As mentioned previously, I was initially confused and disappointed as to why Luke would not fight and join the conflict. Then I remembered a lesson taught to Luke by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the most beloved Star Wars film of all time, that a Jedi only uses the Force “for knowledge and defense, never for attack.” This put the whole hermit on Ahch-To idea into perspective. Luke is actually living the Jedi teachings, something the Prequel era Jedi were unable to do due to The Clone Wars.

Even when Luke confronts Kylo Ren on Crait, he still took a defensive approach in the confrontation. How can Star Wars fans, myself included, fault Luke for being the ultimate Jedi and doing what all of the Prequel Jedi, even Master Yoda and the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, could not do? How can some Star Wars fans criticize Luke for not being a great Jedi warrior and not confronting the whole First Order with his laser sword, but yet at the same time condemn the Prequels for not being real Star Wars movies as the Prequels show us the downfall of the Jedi because they didn’t follow their own Jedi codes?

Luke had completed his hero’s journey in Return of the Jedi when he defeated Darth Vader and threw down his lightsaber at Darth Sidious’ feet. Luke stayed on the hero’s path by not being drawn into the Galactic conflict once again and not repeating the mistakes of the Jedi Order. As a result, Luke became the ultimate Jedi Master, even more so than Yoda and Obi-Wan Kenobi. In the end Luke Skywalker became the Legend the galaxy needed.

 

UP NEXT:

Leia’s Final Chapter, Rey is the Last Jedi, Finn Grows Up, Poe Becomes a Leader, Supreme Leader Kylo Ren, and more.

 

– Justin

Random Angst Podcast Episode 13 – The Last Jedi Review

Listen in and join us as we delve into Star Wars: The Last Jedi and what our initial reactions are about this new, highly anticipated Star Wars movie. We discuss our likes, dislikes, and some unanswered questions that we have.


Star Wars: The Last Jedi Soundtrack Track List Revealed!

The soundtrack track list for Star Wars: The Last Jedi has been updated on iTunes. While there’s nothing too spoilery, the movie hasn’t been released in theaters until later today (as of this posting). The soundtrack is due to be released tomorrow, Dec 15th, 2017.

 

             

Episode 12 Avengers vs Justice League

Random Angst Podcast Episode 12 is up for your listening enjoyment!! Check out the new episode and let us know what you think!
Join us for Episode 12 as we talk about Salt Lake Comic Con vs San Diego Comic Con and who owns the words Comic Con? We also talk about the upcoming Marvel movie, Avengers Infinity War and who has the last Infinity Stone? We also rehash Justice League and how WB dropped the ball on this movie. Marc and I talk Star Wars Episode 8 The Last Jedi and what our predictions for this movie are, a few days before we actually see the movie. #StarWars #JusticeLeague#SaltLakeComicCon #Avengers

Check out Episode 12 on iTunes, Soundcloud, or on this website!

Yes! More Star Wars!

In a Disney shareholders call, Bob Iger, announced that Rian Johnson will direct a whole new Star Wars trilogy, and that a new Live Action Star Wars television show is to be produced to be streamed online by Disney in 2019.

For director Rian Johnson, Star Wars: The Last Jedi was just the beginning of his journey in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce. 

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

“We all loved working with Rian on The Last Jedi,” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft The Last Jedi from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”

“We had the time of our lives collaborating with Lucasfilm and Disney on The Last Jedi,” Johnson and Bergman said in a joint statement. “Star Wars is the greatest modern mythology and we feel very lucky to have contributed to it. We can’t wait to continue with this new series of films.” 

Johnson’s upcoming Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrives in U.S. theaters on Dec. 15, 2017.

No release dates have been set for the new films, and no porgs were available for comment.

Hopefully more info on this new trilogy will be released soon!
Variety.com is also reporting a live action TV show to be produced as well and will be released in 2019.

Disney has just closed a deal with director Rian Johnson to develop a new “Star Wars” trilogy, and it is planning a live-action “Star Wars” TV series to air on its entertainment streaming service that is expected to launch by the end of 2019.

Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger announced the “Star Wars” news during the company’s quarterly earnings call. In addition to the “Star Wars” TV series, Disney is working on TV adaptations of Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.,” the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise and an original series from Marvel.

Johnson helmed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” which is due out next month. He’s set to write and direct another trio of “Star Wars” theatrical pics with his longtime collaborator Ram Bergman.

“We all loved working with Rian on ‘The Last Jedi,’” said Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm. “He’s a creative force, and watching him craft ‘The Last Jedi’ from start to finish was one of the great joys of my career. Rian will do amazing things with the blank canvas of this new trilogy.”