I finally finished the podcast and wanted to comment that I really enjoyed the Star Wars commentary. I would encourage you both to include this sort of discussion in the future whenever you feel compelled. I could have listened to another hour of it, and those that don’t need it, can easily avoid. I’m glad you didn’t trim it, though I do think you could have structured it better. You both alluded to some things you wanted to discuss, but some of them never got talked about,
I will say that at the end of the day, I think the polarization of this film largely comes down to how they handled Luke (with a smaller subdivision hating the Rose/Finn subplot). You both mentioned wanting and desiring a badass Master Jedi Luke beatdown, but instead we got 30min of Luke telling Rey to “go away.” Two of my friends absolutely loved seeing the broken and failed Luke, while I on the other hand was devastated with seeing that (especially after having to see a broken and failed Han Solo in TFA).
This probably goes back to a childhood of wishing everyday that Lucas would reunite the original cast, clinging to every rumor of episodes 7-9 through the 80s and 90s. Wishing to see those heroes in action just one last time. This desire was even further reinforced with everything from writing term papers on Star Wars to backpacking through Tunisia to follow in Luke’s footsteps (side note: I highly, highly recommend this to the intrepid when Tunisia is safe again. You will understand a ton more about George Lucas’s inspiration). So needless to say, I sometimes wish they hadn’t even brought Han, Luke, and Leia back, just to see them like this. What was the point?
I would imagine that you guys largely agree in some regard, as the only argument for the inclusion of the original cast is “to burn the past,” and yet, even here, you guys spent the entire portion of the podcast speaking about Luke, Yoda, Sidious, Kylo and Rey (which let’s be honest, is Luke 2.0 and Anakin 2.0- which is fine, I love them) and essentially zero mention of Poe, Finn, Rose. This is pretty representative of this trilogy’s lack of cohesion.
Which is where my biggest issue lies. This film only needed a handful more Luke scenes to make his contribution purposeful. A few more Yoda-like training sessions, or a badass confrontation at the end (I loved the astral projection at the time, until I found out he died doing it). But I think we can see that the whole point of Luke in LJ was purposeless. This is evident by something that nobody seems to be discussing. Luke offered to teach her three lessons, but I remember leaving the theater wondering what the third one was? Later research shows that the third lesson scene ending up on the cutting room floor!
THE LAST LIVING JEDI MASTER ONLY HAS THREE LESSONS TO IMPART TO REY, AND ONE OF THEM IS CUT FROM THE MOVIE?????!!!!! How short-sighed is this? How lazy is it when writing the Luke scenes (perhaps the most anticipated and important scenes of the movie) that they couldn’t get three lessons out of him? These should have been the three biggest moments of the trilogy (much like the quotables from Yoda/Luke training), and an excellent chance to build on our knowledge of the force.
Unlike you guys, I don’t think I’ll need to watch this movie too many more times. I didn’t get much out of it in subsequent viewings that I didn’t get out of the first, other than the gulf widending for my appreciation of any scene with Luke/Rey/Kylo versus every other scene. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful SW films and has some of the most powerful scenes, but I do expect to be skipping through most of the film.
I probably over-venerate Han and Luke, but as you guys mentioned SW has become almost a religion. If we had had a handful of other films with Ford and Hamill, I’d be more open to the whole “flawed hero thing,” but being as I waited almost 35 yrs for their sunset ride, it seems rather depressing. This did nothing for the legacies of two of the most memorable heroes in sci-fi history. I would have preferred their further adventures in my imagination. TFA gave me a ton of things to ponder. Last Jedi has given me very few. Maybe you truly can never go back.
Oops, it appears I’ve used my allotted word count for the month! :) Anyway, great discussion Kevin and Steve. I enjoyed it.
(Disclaimer: I too have stayed spoiler free for both films, and was probably the only person in America that didn’t see the Han death scene coming in TFA, so I might be a little oversensitive to these deaths, and maybe why after seeing the disappointing twilight years of Han, needed a huge Luke moment. Even now, two years later my wife likes to remind me how much consoling she did to me during our drive home from The Force Awakens :) It was a tough night. I hope they at least give Han’s death purpose in the final film.