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Why God, Why?
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Solo4114
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Joined: 18 May 2017
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Solo4114, you would probably enjoy my favorite EU author's book, Darth Plagueis. Despite the title, the central character is Palpatine. His narrative starts when he is a 17-year-old noble on Naboo. The story goes all the way up into events occurring during TPM but not seen in the film. It does a lot of what Lucas didn't do with his films. It supports the films. And it even gets you to almost root for Palpatine without being cheesy like Zahn's overt attempt to make Thrawn into a big hero in the horrible novel Outbound Flight.


That sounds like it would be interesting. I just kinda wish we had more of that in the films themselves.

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I disagree that Rian Johnson killed off Snoke because of a prediction that JJ Abrams wouldn't follow through on Snoke's background. This sequel trilogy had no overarching story plan whatsoever. Abrams was hired to do the first film. He created some mystery and walked away to let others deal with it. Rian Johnson was hired for the middle movie and began working on while the first one was in production. The two filmmakers met and shared their ideas, but neither party was beholden to the other for anything else. Abrams reported that Johnson asked him to change a few things in TFA and Abrams did most of them but denied a few because it felt wrong for his movie. Johnson moved Ren's scar, and had Luke take off his Jedi robes after the initial scene he had them on, revealing that he rejected the Jedi (which questions why he was wearing them in the first place - must be because Abrams wanted him to be).


I think that, in terms of narrative structure, TLJ is a pretty tightly focused film, at least in terms of conveying what it wants to convey. The thing is, what it convey is basically nothing that JJ's intro film set up, which is incredibly jarring. I hate JJ's "mystery box" style, and think it's a cheap parlor trick to generate faux interest in film. It's won him legions of fans, but I think that's mostly because they can't see the strings.

Let me take a quick sidebar here on the subject of the "mystery box." The "mystery box" is a meta-storytelling technique which withholds information from the audience rather than (necessarily) the characters themselves. It leads the audience to wonder what the answer to the mystery is, without bothering to think why the answer would matter to the characters. It matters a ton to the audience, because the audience wants to -- needs to -- understand the universe in which the story is set, and these types of mysteries usually flesh that out, but it often is completely irrelevant to the characters.

If the story is primarily Rey's story and that of the Resistance, then the questions of "Who is Snoke? Where'd he come from? What's he want? How did he get to the position he's in? How does he have Force powers? Is he a Sith?" are utterly irrelevant. Who is Snoke? Who cares? He's the loony who blew up the Republic by destroying the Hosnian system, and who seeks to bring back the Empire in all its glory. He's the guy the Resistance needs to defeat. If Snoke was revealed to be -- DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNNNNNN -- EZRA BRIDGER!!!!!! then Rey would say "Uh...alright. Who cares? Also who is that?" If Snoke said "I gained my powers by mind-melding with Emperor Palpatine just before he died! MWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" then the Resistance members would say "Um, great. We still have to stop him."

Moreover, apparently Snoke is known to the Original Trilogy heroes, so he is, in fact, not a mystery at all. He's just a mystery to the audience. The same is true of Rey's parentage. Who are her parents? Who cares? It doesn't matter. It matters to Rey only insofar as knowing her parentage provides her with an explanation of her abilities and perhaps some suggestion of the path she ought to take, although ultimately the choice is hers alone, so it doesn't even really matter. It matters much, much more to the audience, because Rey seems incredibly powerful and we don't know why, and the series has previously suggested that such abilities can be hereditary (although not necessarily).

JJ either doesn't understand this distinction, which means he's actually a really bad director (which I don't believe), or he understands it just fine and doesn't care, which means he thinks playing with these mysteries is more entertaining than a well-told story. Or it's just become a dramatic crutch that he can't let go of, a darling he can't kill (so to speak).

I think Rian sees that stuff for what it is (to wit, lame), and simply dispatched with all of it. Rey's parents? Nobody. Because it doesn't matter to Rey who they are, only that, dramatically speaking, their identities either guide her to a path forward, or force her to make a choice herself. I think her making a choice herself is way more interesting from a dramatic perspective, and I suspect that's why he did that with her folks. And the great news is that, if later on someone reveals that they are, in fact, former Jedi or whatever, it doesn't matter from a dramatic perspective, because Rey will have already done the big dramatic thing (namely, choosing her own fate, instead of having it being foisted upon her).

Likewise, it's why he killed Snoke. All those "mysteries" around Snoke are nonsense, and he serves no real narrative function. Plus, it's way, way more interesting and dramatically meaningful to have Kylo Ren turn on him (in true Sith fashion), and then be completely ill equipped to lead the First Order due to his own internal conflicts, which may in turn result in him being overthrown and/or getting a face-turn down the road. All of that is waaaaaay more interesting than Emperor Mk. II, which we've all seen before, and which is a dramatic cul de sac.

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Kathleen Kennedy said that each director had the freedom to make his own vision. Rian Johnson had almost completely free reign. I think it was obvious that he could not kill Rey or Ren. He also couldn't kill Leia because she was the trinity character that was supposed to be in focus for the final movie. It seems obvious to me that he killed Snoke just because he could kill Snoke (and Snoke is a horrible character). He killed Phasma because he could. He killed Ackbar because he could. Rey's background revelations and her vision may have actually been towards JJ's concept because Johnson didn't conclude anything there - But even with that, it was in the film because Rian allowed it to be in the film. Abrams is only back in it for the third film because they fired the original director and begged him to come back. I don't Rian did him any favors in TLJ except maybe for Rey. We'll see next year.


I think most of those characters were killed because they served no real purpose. Outside of the EU, Ackbar is no more or less important than, say, Raddus. He's a Mon Cal admiral who fights an important battle, and he's the father of one of the most popular memes of all time. His action figure couldn't even hold a blaster! Within the old EU, he's extremely important, but the old EU isn't canon anymore (until it is -- which is a whole other discussion), so who cares? I don't think Phasma is actually dead, though, and even if she's dead as of TLJ, she could be brought back with no real problems. Lost an eye, badly burnt, but otherwise protected by her armor and now is SUPER PISSED.

All that said, I think the "Eh, we'll just wing it like a relay race" approach has been a clear mistake. It's caused stylistic and narrative whiplash. Different styles can work from film to film within a franchise, but I think Kennedy has unquestionably mismanaged certain aspects of the franchise. On the other hand, she's made serious bank for the franchise, too, with TFA and TLJ both. The true Achilles Heel in her run helming LucasFilm has been the behind-the-scenes budgetary issues with Solo.

Solo is a fantastic film and way, way better than I ever expected it to be. When it was first announced, I could not have rolled my eyes any harder, and yet, when I watched it, I absolutely loved it. But Solo basically was a goose egg monetarily speaking. It went hugely over budget thanks to hiring the wrong guys to direct it (a gamble which did not pay off), the marketing for it was a total joke, and Ron Howard -- who did yeoman's work on the film -- could not have come cheaply. Of all the missteps we could debate about Kennedy's run, that one was absolutely the worst. If Ep. IX fails, she's out. If it succeeds, she'll have barely survived. Mind you, "failed" is a financial metric here, not even a narrative one or a "longtime fan approval" one. Your financials will get hurt in the long run if you piss off your longtime fans, of course, but convert enough new fans and it doesn't matter. That's a tougher tightrope to walk than it seems, though. Just ask the folks over at NuTrek.

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I've never seen Babylon 5 so can't contribute to that conversation. I heard that maybe Star Trek DS9 copied off Babylon 5 and there may have been a lawsuit, possibly settled out of court. That's literally all I know about B5. And before anyone tells me I need to see it, I appreciate the suggestion but I don't need to add another franchise right now! Sorry. I work full time and have a personal life - I just don't have the time.


Babylon 5 is, in my opinion, one of the best television shows ever in its class. Full stop. It's not prestige cable, it doesn't have the world's greatest actors (although they're all perfectly capable), it's F/X are quite dated now, and it's style is pretty dated, but in terms of it's structure, execution, and characters, it's absolutely top notch. It's an amazing feat of long-form storytelling, made doubly impressive by virtue of the medium in which it existed.

If you do find time, I cannot recommend it highly enough, with a few caveats about how to approach watching it and sort of orienting yourself towards being receptive to what it offers.

The series recently became available on Amazon Prime, I believe, although I'm not sure if that includes the (admittedly unnecessary) movies. If you decide to tackle it, give a yell and I'll give you the tips. It's 5 seasons of 22 episodes a pop, 42-ish min per episode. There's a "movie" that's really the pilot episode, a prequel TV-movie, and one side story that happens in the midst of the overarching plot, but which isn't really critical to the overall tale. The remaining two films can probably be ignored. One's just a random TV-movie, and the other was a pilot for a show TNT didn't pick up.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Side note: you could TOTALLY do a D6 game oriented around Babylon 5. It would work perfectly.
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Pel
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are your Signs and Portents.

There were several B5 books made with D20 modern, so yes, a D6 conversion is quite possible.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want this to turn into a film/Disney/Kennedy/JJ bash-fest.

Solo4114 wrote:
TLJ is a pretty tightly focused film, at least in terms of conveying what it wants to convey. The thing is, what it convey is basically nothing that JJ's intro film set up, which is incredibly jarring. I hate JJ's "mystery box" style, and think it's a cheap parlor trick to generate faux interest in film.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. I think your displeasure is disproportionately against JJ Abrams and his style when he did actually do exactly what he was hired to do. They never had a trilogy outline. So they planned on three separate directors with a promise of creative freedom for their film. That means you had someone to introduce mysteries, someone else to deepen or further the mysteries, and someone else to resolve the mysteries. JJ relaunched the film franchise and set up some mysteries. At the time, how they would be resolved would be someone else's problem. Then Rian Johnson came in and said screw most of that. Now JJ is coming back to pick up the pieces of the first two films when he had never planned on that when he made TFA.

You may not be a JJ fan, and TLJ may be my least fave SW film, but I feel it is very obvious the main problem with the sequel trilogy is not having any trilogy plot outline. This 'maximum individual creative freedom' for each director in a chain story is the issue. The mystery box is a common feature of chain stories. JJ didn't invent it. The chain story trilogy is the problem. And we can blame Lucasfilm for that, but I bet that was their only option because no director of any caliber wanted to do the entire sequel trilogy. Who would want to be responsible for the entire legacy of the classic trilogy characters? The prequels were one thing, but this is the sequel to the adventures of Luke Skywalker. Heavy. With a chain trilogy everyone can point fingers at each other. It is what it is.

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It's won him legions of fans, but I think that's mostly because they can't see the strings.

I've never seen Alias, Lost, or Cloverfield. Out of the movies he's directed, I've only seen Mission Impossible III, the two Star Trek films he did, and TFA. I loved them all. He co-created and executive produced (and directed some episodes of) my favorite TV show, Fringe. So I'm not very well-versed in his overall career, but I am a fan of what I've seen. I can't speak for all JJ fans, but I know that I don't appreciate this insult. I can see all the strings in TFA and still enjoy it anyway. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

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Your financials will get hurt in the long run if you piss off your longtime fans, of course, but convert enough new fans and it doesn't matter. That's a tougher tightrope to walk than it seems, though. Just ask the folks over at NuTrek.

Not sure what you mean by tougher tightrope. The three newest Trek movies are the highest grossing Trek films. Star Trek Beyond had a budget of $185 million and grossed $343 million. In April they announced two "NuTrek" sequels are in development simultaneously. The franchise is still doing ok.

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Outside of the EU, Ackbar is no more or less important than, say, Raddus.

"We've got to give those fighters more time. Concentrate all firepower on that super star destroyer!" I extremely dislike the minimization of Ackbar's importance. Were you the one to say that in our TLJ discussions? Ackbar served no real purpose only because Rian Johnson didn't give him any real purpose in the plot. Ackbar could have survived and had the role that Vice Admiral PurpleHair did, heroically sacrificing his life to save the Resistance. Now his purpose was just to die early so he could be replaced by an original next highest ranking human officer because Johnson thought the Poe-Admiral subplot would be superior with Poe's actor acting with another human actor. Aliens are some of the best supporting characters. Take Chewbacca and Yoda, a muppet. Rian Johnson not making Ackbar important is lame, dull, uninspired, cowardly, and human supremacist. A good director and Poe actor could have made it work with an alien, but we'll never know. RIP Ackbar.

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I think Kennedy has unquestionably mismanaged certain aspects of the franchise. On the other hand, she's made serious bank for the franchise, too, with TFA and TLJ both. The true Achilles Heel in her run helming LucasFilm has been the behind-the-scenes budgetary issues with Solo.

Solo is a fantastic film and way, way better than I ever expected it to be. When it was first announced, I could not have rolled my eyes any harder, and yet, when I watched it, I absolutely loved it. But Solo basically was a goose egg monetarily speaking. It went hugely over budget thanks to hiring the wrong guys to direct it (a gamble which did not pay off), the marketing for it was a total joke, and Ron Howard -- who did yeoman's work on the film -- could not have come cheaply. Of all the missteps we could debate about Kennedy's run, that one was absolutely the worst.

There was no mismanagement of the Solo budget. That implies multiple, ongoing issues. The high Solo final budget was caused by only one single mistake, the hiring of the Lego Movie guys in the first place. Once they got rid of the directors and quickly hired Ron Howard, everything continued to be handled efficiently. All the reshoots (and sure, Howard's paycheck) came with a steep cost, so yes it was an expensive mistake, but not an ongoing general mishandling. The single mistake was made once before production even began on the film, and the additional cost was from the effective correction of the mistake. They saved the film from being a total bomb, so it was worth it.

Maybe Solo could have been marketed better, but the biggest issue was putting it out only six months after the divisive TLJ and Disney putting it up against box office juggernaut Disney's Avengers: Infinity War, whose $2 billion gross was only possible if it was still making a lot of money during Solo's run. These decisions were probably above Kennedy's pay grade.

As far as mismanagement of rest the franchise, perhaps the hiring of Colin Trevorrow for Episode IX was a misstep. But even with JJ's payday to salvage the trilogy, this will likely be a much less expensive mistake than hiring the Lego movie guys for Solo because this was handled way before production began on the film.

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If Ep. IX fails, she's out. If it succeeds, she'll have barely survived. Mind you, "failed" is a financial metric here, not even a narrative one or a "longtime fan approval" one.

This is simply not true at all. It has become public information that her contracts with Lucasfilm are not tied to success of movies. George Lucas hired her for a 6-year contract and it was a part of the Disney deal that they had to honor that. This year a bunch of rumors began that she was going to be fired, when in reality her contract was simply up. It was announced that Disney has re-contracted her for three more years. This contract will end in 2021 whether Episode IX succeeds or fails. I think she was hesitant to continue with the job now and will definitely not wish to continue in the position beyond three more years, no matter what happens.
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Solo4114
Lieutenant Commander
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Joined: 18 May 2017
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I don't want this to turn into a film/Disney/Kennedy/JJ bash-fest.

Solo4114 wrote:
TLJ is a pretty tightly focused film, at least in terms of conveying what it wants to convey. The thing is, what it convey is basically nothing that JJ's intro film set up, which is incredibly jarring. I hate JJ's "mystery box" style, and think it's a cheap parlor trick to generate faux interest in film.

Don't hate the player, hate the game. I think your displeasure is disproportionately against JJ Abrams and his style when he did actually do exactly what he was hired to do. They never had a trilogy outline. So they planned on three separate directors with a promise of creative freedom for their film. That means you had someone to introduce mysteries, someone else to deepen or further the mysteries, and someone else to resolve the mysteries. JJ relaunched the film franchise and set up some mysteries. At the time, how they would be resolved would be someone else's problem. Then Rian Johnson came in and said screw most of that. Now JJ is coming back to pick up the pieces of the first two films when he had never planned on that when he made TFA.

You may not be a JJ fan, and TLJ may be my least fave SW film, but I feel it is very obvious the main problem with the sequel trilogy is not having any trilogy plot outline. This 'maximum individual creative freedom' for each director in a chain story is the issue. The mystery box is a common feature of chain stories. JJ didn't invent it. The chain story trilogy is the problem. And we can blame Lucasfilm for that, but I bet that was their only option because no director of any caliber wanted to do the entire sequel trilogy. Who would want to be responsible for the entire legacy of the classic trilogy characters? The prequels were one thing, but this is the sequel to the adventures of Luke Skywalker. Heavy. With a chain trilogy everyone can point fingers at each other. It is what it is.


So, I agree with you that not having a clear plan going forward -- at least in terms of big-picture bullet points for where you wanted each film to start and end -- is probably the biggest problem with the new trilogy, when you set it against the competing notion that each director will have maximum freedom. Those two concepts don't work together.

My issue with JJ has less to do with the introduction of mysteries, and more to do with the use of...hmm...mystery "language" or head-fakes that XYZ is a mystery for the audience as a way of generating audience interest. Mysteries in and of themselves are fine. Allusions to something we don't see on film are likewise fine. But they have to be grounded in the reality of the film universe itself, rather than focused on the audience's meta-narrative experience.

For example, it makes sense that Obi-Wan explains the Force to Luke (and to the audience) early on in Star Wars. Luke has no real reason to know what that is, and certainly neither does the audience. Obi-Wan explaining it to him serves the purpose outside of the story of explaining the concept to the audience, but also remains organic to the story itself because Luke needs to understand this.

That's different from a question of "Who are Rey's parents?" Rey knows who her parents are/were, or at least who she believes them to be. The audience however, is clueless. The scene of young Rey being abandoned, for example, hides the faces of everyone but Rey. The purpose of that is to create the air of mystery about who her parents are for the audience. But you'll notice that, in TFA, Rey does not, herself, struggle with discomfort about how powerful she's becoming, how little she understands her abilities, or anything about "Maybe my parentage would explain this." The film doesn't develop that thread (although it's picked up in TLJ anyway). That's because -- in my opinion -- the film (and really, JJ) doesn't care about Rey's internal struggle with who she is and how her parents fit into that. But the film very much does care that the audience starts wondering "oooh...who might her parents be?!?!?!"

My issue with that is that I see it ultimately as lazy storytelling and cheap manipulation of the audience. It's like a jump scare in a horror movie. It simulates what the movie should be capable of doing on its own. The best horror movies genuinely leave you frightened enough by the idea that, for example, you unplug your computer monitor before going to bed, just in case that girl from the Ring tries to crawl out of it. (WHAT?! Everyone did that!! .....right?) Likewise, the best stories that involve mysteries make the mysteries relevant to the characters in the story, rather than just making it a mystery for the audience.

Moreover, I get the sense that JJ doesn't actually know the answers to the mysteries he introduced. I think it is an enormous mistake to create a mystery, but not know the answer or figure "someone else will answer it." If LucasFilm truly didn't have a plan about these things, AND they knew that each director was going to have their own freedom to tell whatever story they wanted, then it was deeply, deeply stupid to allow JJ to introduce questions to which he did not have the answers, or where his answers could immediately be wiped away and replaced with someone else's.

In the end, I wasn't bothered by the answers, but I totally understand why many were.

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It's won him legions of fans, but I think that's mostly because they can't see the strings.

I've never seen Alias, Lost, or Cloverfield. Out of the movies he's directed, I've only seen Mission Impossible III, the two Star Trek films he did, and TFA. I loved them all. He co-created and executive produced (and directed some episodes of) my favorite TV show, Fringe. So I'm not very well-versed in his overall career, but I am a fan of what I've seen. I can't speak for all JJ fans, but I know that I don't appreciate this insult. I can see all the strings in TFA and still enjoy it anyway. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.


It's not meant as an insult. If you like his stuff and you know how he does it, then bully for you. >shrug< I enjoyed TFA as well, on the whole, and left the theater thinking "Well, that seems like a pretty good start. Let's see where they go next." I do, however, think a lot of people don't distinguish between what makes sense for the characters, and what makes sense for themselves. In many types of storytelling, characters are simply audience surrogates, and so the audience's experience of a story is the character's experience of the story. That happens a ton, and so audiences are very used to simply assuming that they know what the characters know (unless it's made obvious that XYZ character knows more -- a la Obi-Wan explaining the Force to Luke). However, that means that when a storyteller uses a technique that is focused primarily on the audience itself and the audience's experience -- even where it's unnecessary and inorganic to the characters' experiences of the story -- the audience doesn't mind because they're so used to identifying with the character that they just assume the character doesn't know what the audience doesn't know.

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Your financials will get hurt in the long run if you piss off your longtime fans, of course, but convert enough new fans and it doesn't matter. That's a tougher tightrope to walk than it seems, though. Just ask the folks over at NuTrek.

Not sure what you mean by tougher tightrope. The three newest Trek movies are the highest grossing Trek films. Star Trek Beyond had a budget of $185 million and grossed $343 million. In April they announced two "NuTrek" sequels are in development simultaneously. The franchise is still doing ok.


I thought the last one had been a bit of a disappointment financially. I may be misremembering what I'd read, but I thought it had performed fairly poorly. Maybe that was only in some markets.

In terms of my tightrope comment, I think there's a tension in making films in a series -- especially a long-running one -- where you retain familiarity with the core material enough to consider the new film truly a member of the long-running series, but different enough to keep things fresh and have it appeal beyond just the core fan audience. But that's a whole other discussion.

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Outside of the EU, Ackbar is no more or less important than, say, Raddus.

"We've got to give those fighters more time. Concentrate all firepower on that super star destroyer!" I extremely dislike the minimization of Ackbar's importance. Were you the one to say that in our TLJ discussions? Ackbar served no real purpose only because Rian Johnson didn't give him any real purpose in the plot. Ackbar could have survived and had the role that Vice Admiral PurpleHair did, heroically sacrificing his life to save the Resistance. Now his purpose was just to die early so he could be replaced by an original next highest ranking human officer because Johnson thought the Poe-Admiral subplot would be superior with Poe's actor acting with another human actor. Aliens are some of the best supporting characters. Take Chewbacca and Yoda, a muppet. Rian Johnson not making Ackbar important is lame, dull, uninspired, cowardly, and human supremacist. A good director and Poe actor could have made it work with an alien, but we'll never know. RIP Ackbar.


I see no reason why they had to eliminate Ackbar as a character, other than the assumption that most people who aren't serious Star Wars fans wouldn't know who the character is beyond the meme. Within the context of the story itself, though, Ackbar and Raddus occupy similar positions of importance. Both were admirals -- Mon Cal admirals, no less -- who supervised critical space battles for the Rebellion, which resulted in (ultimately) major victories. Both were undeniably heroes. But I think long-time fans feel attachment to Ackbar and take umbrage at his death precisely because the character is an old (in the sense of dating back to 1983) character and played such a big role in the Legends canon. Ackbar within the Legends continuity is a huge character who is instrumental in many significant developments, breakthroughs, and successes of the Alliance. Without him -- within the Legends continuity -- it's possible the Alliance wouldn't have won.

But to general audiences -- non-hardcore Star Wars fans -- he's "that fish guy who says it's a trap." Could Johnson have made that character more important to the story? Absolutely. He could've completely taken over Laura Dern's role, and it wouldn't have made a huge difference to the story, and would've given him an heroic-sacrifice send-off. But the significance of the character in the new stories -- without the old EU background info -- is much diminished from what it was. And again, general audiences don't really care. Hell, a lot of general audience folks don't even care about Han not shooting first anymore! I think that's nuts, but their experience of Star Wars is dramatically different from my own.

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I think Kennedy has unquestionably mismanaged certain aspects of the franchise. On the other hand, she's made serious bank for the franchise, too, with TFA and TLJ both. The true Achilles Heel in her run helming LucasFilm has been the behind-the-scenes budgetary issues with Solo.

Solo is a fantastic film and way, way better than I ever expected it to be. When it was first announced, I could not have rolled my eyes any harder, and yet, when I watched it, I absolutely loved it. But Solo basically was a goose egg monetarily speaking. It went hugely over budget thanks to hiring the wrong guys to direct it (a gamble which did not pay off), the marketing for it was a total joke, and Ron Howard -- who did yeoman's work on the film -- could not have come cheaply. Of all the missteps we could debate about Kennedy's run, that one was absolutely the worst.

There was no mismanagement of the Solo budget. That implies multiple, ongoing issues. The high Solo final budget was caused by only one single mistake, the hiring of the Lego Movie guys in the first place.


Well, exactly. One single mistake which created a cascade of problems for the film, necessitating the hiring of a new director and reshooting (so I've heard, anyway) something like 70% of the film. That's an enormous cost-overrun that meant that Solo was nowhere near the profit it could or should have been, and it all goes back to two mistakes: (1) hiring Lord & Miller in the first place, and (2) letting them get as far as they did without pulling the plug sooner.

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Once they got rid of the directors and quickly hired Ron Howard, everything continued to be handled efficiently. All the reshoots (and sure, Howard's paycheck) came with a steep cost, so yes it was an expensive mistake, but not an ongoing general mishandling. The single mistake was made once before production even began on the film, and the additional cost was from the effective correction of the mistake. They saved the film from being a total bomb, so it was worth it.

Maybe Solo could have been marketed better, but the biggest issue was putting it out only six months after the divisive TLJ and Disney putting it up against box office juggernaut Disney's Avengers: Infinity War, whose $2 billion gross was only possible if it was still making a lot of money during Solo's run. These decisions were probably above Kennedy's pay grade.

As far as mismanagement of rest the franchise, perhaps the hiring of Colin Trevorrow for Episode IX was a misstep. But even with JJ's payday to salvage the trilogy, this will likely be a much less expensive mistake than hiring the Lego movie guys for Solo because this was handled way before production began on the film.


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If Ep. IX fails, she's out. If it succeeds, she'll have barely survived. Mind you, "failed" is a financial metric here, not even a narrative one or a "longtime fan approval" one.

This is simply not true at all. It has become public information that her contracts with Lucasfilm are not tied to success of movies. George Lucas hired her for a 6-year contract and it was a part of the Disney deal that they had to honor that. This year a bunch of rumors began that she was going to be fired, when in reality her contract was simply up. It was announced that Disney has re-contracted her for three more years. This contract will end in 2021 whether Episode IX succeeds or fails. I think she was hesitant to continue with the job now and will definitely not wish to continue in the position beyond three more years, no matter what happens.


Whoa, I had no idea her contracts were public. That's....pretty unusual. I would expect such a contract to contain a confidentiality clause that prohibits disclosure of the document beyond one's own agents (attorneys, financial advisors, etc.). That said, (1) you can always breach a contract and then the real question is whether the other side will sue for damages/enforcement, (2) the parties can always agree to terminate a contract if the relationship has gone south, and (3) I'd want to see the termination language (and really, the whole document, since that kind of thing can be scattered throughout a contract outside of the termination section itself) before saying confidently that she will absolutely be in place until 2021 no matter what.

I have no idea what she'll want to do moving forward, though.

To be clear, I've been quite happy with the Kennedy era on the whole. I like the new material, by and large, or at least what I've seen of it. I enjoy the new films, even where I see flaws with some of them. I'm excited to see what comes next in the franchise. I'm just saying that if Ep. IX tanks, I think the blame will fall at her feet, and that might lead to her exiting the job. I don't think Solo's performance or the fracas over TLJ is enough to push her out, though, because she's been financially very, very successful for LucasFilm and Disney.
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Whill
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Location: Columbus, Ohio, USA, Earth, The Solar System, The Milky Way Galaxy

PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solo4114 wrote:
Moreover, I get the sense that JJ doesn't actually know the answers to the mysteries he introduced.

Well, he knows now because Episode IX's production is well underway.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think it is an enormous mistake to create a mystery, but not know the answer or figure "someone else will answer it."

JJ Abrams did have answers to the mysteries in mind, but at the time he knew it would be up to Episode IX's director to answer them after they went through further development in TLJ, so Abrams' answers were not a strict plan. Now it is up to him, in light of TLJ. If my fan theory is correct about Rey, then Johnson adhered to Abrams' answer of Rey's identity (Rey's visions in each film have clues). Johnson didn't have to, but he wasn't going to be the one to answer it either, so he just went with it. I don't know if Abrams had different ideas for Snoke and Phasma, but I don't really mind them being killed off if they really were.

Solo4114 wrote:
If LucasFilm truly didn't have a plan about these things, AND they knew that each director was going to have their own freedom to tell whatever story they wanted, then it was deeply, deeply stupid to allow JJ to introduce questions to which he did not have the answers, or where his answers could immediately be wiped away and replaced with someone else's.

If there was going to be a strict trilogy plan with answers to TFA's mysteries, that would mean that someone would have to come up with this plan and it would have to be enforced. If that is the case, that would mean the someone's ideas would override someone else's creative freedom, which would mean it would not actually be ultimate freedom. Each director of the ST having ultimate freedom over their film is obviously a selling point to hire these directors. "We promise no studio interference." You call that deeply stupid, but what if that promise is the only possible way these films could even be made? Wouldn't it be more stupid for Disney to not be able to make these movies at all because no one wants to make them?

Unless you are saying that no film should introduce mysteries unless they are answered later in the same film by the same director. Star Wars has had mysteries not answered until future films since 1980. The prequels even had the mystery of "Who is the Sith Master?" that was pretty obvious to most of old school fans. I think it would be "stupid" for Star Wars to not have any mysteries.

This is not Lucas's Star Wars. He had the plans for the mystery answers revealed at the end of his trilogies and everyone else had to bow to his wishes. Lucas even changed his own plans because "the other" in TESB who was planned on being Luke's long-lost sister was not originally Leia but rather a new character. Lucas and Irvin Kershner butted heads a bit, and RotJ's director was basically a stressed-out puppet on strings for Lucas. No way they would get JJ Abrams to do either Star Wars film if he had to stick to anyone else's plans, and Rian Johnson was offered the same freedom over TLJ that Abrams had for TFA. If Lucasfilm couldn't get a single director to do the whole ST, or they couldn't get three directors without the promise of max creative freedom, then the only alternative is no sequel trilogy.

I don't even know if slowing down the release schedule would have helped them get a single director for 3 films or multiple directors who were willing to comply with someone else's plan. Release schedule is definitely above Kathleen Kennedy's pay grade, so we can blame Bob Iger for that. In light of Solo's lack of grossing a billion dollars, he pretty much admitted he had been rushing it so decided to slow it down after Episode IX.

You compare to ANH but no SW sequel will ever live up to the original. Every sequel is reprise of the original film to one extent on another. Even TLJ reprised a lot of classic trilogy stuff. And a lot of people care about who Rey's parents are as much as they cared about original trilogy mysteries. It seems like you are making negative assumptions about these mysteries out of your personal distaste. I didn't get the impression that Rey definitely knows who her parents really are. The filthy junk traders who seemed to have sold Rey for drinking money may not have been her actual parents. And Rey's memories could have been altered by a Force-user for her own protection. And Rey's parentage may not be important to her true identity. And Kylo Ben could be lying. He is named after Obi-Wan after all. But he could also be telling the truth, but not the whole truth, like when Vader told Luke who his father was.

Solo4114 wrote:
In the end, I wasn't bothered by the answers, but I totally understand why many were.

The end? The answers? The end hasn't occurred yet. We won't have the answers until Episode IX.

Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
Not sure what you mean by tougher tightrope. The three newest Trek movies are the highest grossing Trek films. Star Trek Beyond had a budget of $185 million and grossed $343 million. In April they announced two "NuTrek" sequels are in development simultaneously. The franchise is still doing ok.

I thought the last one had been a bit of a disappointment financially. I may be misremembering what I'd read, but I thought it had performed fairly poorly. Maybe that was only in some markets.

It's true that Star Trek Beyond didn't perform as well as the last Abrams one. "Disappointment" is relative and tied to expectations. A movie can perform fairly well at the box office and that could still be "disappointing" to the studio. Solo was "disappointing" because it didn't gross over billion like the other Disney SW films. Justice League grossed over $650 million but it didn't make Avengers money so it was a "disappointment". None of these movies were flops - They all made a profit. "Disappointing" to studio execs and film investors often means, "I'm rich but I didn't get nearly as rich as I wanted to from that film."

Solo4114 wrote:
In terms of my tightrope comment, I think there's a tension in making films in a series -- especially a long-running one -- where you retain familiarity with the core material enough to consider the new film truly a member of the long-running series, but different enough to keep things fresh and have it appeal beyond just the core fan audience.

Like Disney Star Wars films. They can't possibly live up to the original SW so I don't expect them to.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think long-time fans feel attachment to Ackbar and take umbrage at his death precisely because the character is an old (in the sense of dating back to 1983) character and played such a big role in the Legends canon.

That could be true for some fans, but I am as long-time as they come and my feelings for Ackbar have nothing to do with his role in the EU. My feelings are 99% based on his role in RotJ alone. The fact that Ackbar is only meme to a lot of fans does not in any way excuse Rian Johnson's mishandling of the character. Ackbar could have had a dramatic, significant, heroic, sacrificial death and it could have been great for all viewers of the film, die hard old timers and new fans alike. Introducing a new human character to replace him is lazy filmmaking.

Solo4114 wrote:
it all goes back to two mistakes: (1) hiring Lord & Miller in the first place, and (2) letting them get as far as they did without pulling the plug sooner.

Right, but that is not mismanaging the budget. That is just the reason for a higher budget that was then managed very well.

Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
It has become public information that her contracts with Lucasfilm are not tied to success of movies.

Whoa, I had no idea her contracts were public. That's....pretty unusual.

Whoa, I never said her contracts were public. Earlier this year, there was a clickbait rumor that she was on the verge of being fired for Solo. The truth of the matter came to light that her original Lucas contract was just up. Disney could have just chosen not to renew her contract and let her go if they really didn't want her anymore. But Disney renewed her contract. That all became public information. Lucas hired her for 6 years, and Disney renewed her for 3 more. You indicated that her job is based on the success of Episode IX - That's what I was replying to. Her contract is primarily based on 'We pay you X amount of money for X amount of years'. Sure, she could leave early or Disney could fire her early and there could be breach of contract lawsuits, etc. But I think that would be fuel for the fire of this anti-Disney movement, so I doubt that will happen. Disney renewing her contract is a public vote of confidence in her and optimism for the franchise. They really need that in light of firing the original directors of Solo and Episode IX. Will people blame her if they don't like Episode IX anyway? Of course they will, whether it is warranted or not. I think she will do these three years and that's it no matter what happens.
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Solo4114
Lieutenant Commander
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Joined: 18 May 2017
Posts: 227

PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
Moreover, I get the sense that JJ doesn't actually know the answers to the mysteries he introduced.

Well, he knows now because Episode IX's production is well underway.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think it is an enormous mistake to create a mystery, but not know the answer or figure "someone else will answer it."

JJ Abrams did have answers to the mysteries in mind, but at the time he knew it would be up to Episode IX's director to answer them after they went through further development in TLJ, so Abrams' answers were not a strict plan. Now it is up to him, in light of TLJ. If my fan theory is correct about Rey, then Johnson adhered to Abrams' answer of Rey's identity (Rey's visions in each film have clues). Johnson didn't have to, but he wasn't going to be the one to answer it either, so he just went with it. I don't know if Abrams had different ideas for Snoke and Phasma, but I don't really mind them being killed off if they really were.


This might require a different thread, but what's your theory? I'm curious. Personally, I think they could make her the offspring of someone powerful or whathaveyou and, while it would undercut one of the best messages in TLJ (that the Force isn't about bloodline and even a nobody can be a somebody), it still wouldn't hurt the importance of Rey's decision that her heritage matters less than her will.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
If LucasFilm truly didn't have a plan about these things, AND they knew that each director was going to have their own freedom to tell whatever story they wanted, then it was deeply, deeply stupid to allow JJ to introduce questions to which he did not have the answers, or where his answers could immediately be wiped away and replaced with someone else's.

If there was going to be a strict trilogy plan with answers to TFA's mysteries, that would mean that someone would have to come up with this plan and it would have to be enforced. If that is the case, that would mean the someone's ideas would override someone else's creative freedom, which would mean it would not actually be ultimate freedom. Each director of the ST having ultimate freedom over their film is obviously a selling point to hire these directors. "We promise no studio interference." You call that deeply stupid, but what if that promise is the only possible way these films could even be made? Wouldn't it be more stupid for Disney to not be able to make these movies at all because no one wants to make them?


I don't think it's necessarily a problem, and you can still allow for freedom to be creative, while still wanting the director to maintain a "house style." Marvel seems to manage this fine, and seems able to recruit some real talent. Dunno why something like that wouldn't work for Star Wars.

Whill wrote:
Unless you are saying that no film should introduce mysteries unless they are answered later in the same film by the same director. Star Wars has had mysteries not answered until future films since 1980. The prequels even had the mystery of "Who is the Sith Master?" that was pretty obvious to most of old school fans. I think it would be "stupid" for Star Wars to not have any mysteries.


Not at all. I'm not suggesting mysteries shouldn't happen in the films, or that they should be wrapped up within each film, but rather that if you're going to introduce a long-running mystery, you have to know the answer to it, and it shouldn't be something others can contradict. That's just providing minimal guard rails on the story, though. How you get to the answer can be left up to individual creators, as long as the answer itself is what you planned it to be. Having a common destination point is, I think, essential because you have to know what you're ultimately working towards.

I'm not sure how much of the story was mapped out, if any. I'd want to see the information that confirms the answer either way. Like, was there ZERO plan whatsoever? Did they have basic bullet points and gave the directors freedom for how to get from A to B? Was there something more planned, but directors could scrap it? I don't know.

What I do know is that it's simply bad storytelling to introduce a mystery to which you do not know the answer, or to which you aren't going to hold the next guy in line to answering, whatever the level of mystery may be. These films are being handled like a relay race, which is fine. I used to run track, and did the 4x100m and the 4x400m relay. And you know what? We still had to know what lanes to run in, and where the finish line was. Wink

Whill wrote:
You compare to ANH but no SW sequel will ever live up to the original.


What I compared to in ANH is nothing all that special or unique to ANH. It's a technique that's used throughout storytelling. Hell, it's the very reason there's a companion on Doctor Who: to act as the audience surrogate. All I'm pointing to with ANH is an example of information a character in a story doesn't have, which matches the audience's lack of information, and which likewise makes the revelation of the information important and meaningful to both.

For example, let's take Snoke and his backstory. In actuality, Snoke's backstory is utterly irrelevant to Rey and her journey. Where'd Snoke come from? How did he gain power? How does he have Force powers? What's his connection to Palpatine and to the OT characters? What's up with his face?

None of that is really relevant to Rey in TLJ. It might have been relevant in TFA for her or for Finn if Han had given them the real story of Snoke. Say, to contrast the indoctrination info that Finn had been given in his stormtrooper training, but by the time we're at TLJ, "Who is Snoke?" isn't important to anyone....except the audience who is still in the dark about it all. Understanding Snoke and his backstory is important for world building and for alleviating a sense of disorientation among fans of the films as to "Whoa, how'd we end up HERE?" but it's not important to the characters. The OT characters know, so they aren't going to spend time talking about it, and the ST characters don't care because they're dealing with other stuff.

Contrast that with the "Rashomon" nature of Luke's and Ben's stories about the fall of Luke's academy. The revelation of that information IS relevant to Rey, because it directly colors her ability to trust Luke and his guidance, as well as her ability to trust Ben's take on things. Plus, it motivates her decision to try to redeem Ben, which also serves the purpose of placing her alongside the remaining Resistance fighters for the climax of the film. On top of that, each of the versions of the story "fit" the character telling them at the time they tell the story. Luke's initial version is sanitized and hides his true shame. Ben's version speaks of Luke's willingness to kill him, and reflects Ben's own rage-driven perception of events. And Luke's second version (likely the closest to the truth) admits his mistake and his shame, which is part of his growth as a character in the film.

The information is withheld not simply from the audience, but from Rey, and it's withheld for reasons that are meaningful to the characters, not just to the audience. Those are, in my opinion, fantastic examples of how to handle a mystery (and one which JJ introduced).

Whill wrote:
Every sequel is reprise of the original film to one extent on another. Even TLJ reprised a lot of classic trilogy stuff. And a lot of people care about who Rey's parents are as much as they cared about original trilogy mysteries. It seems like you are making negative assumptions about these mysteries out of your personal distaste. I didn't get the impression that Rey definitely knows who her parents really are. The filthy junk traders who seemed to have sold Rey for drinking money may not have been her actual parents. And Rey's memories could have been altered by a Force-user for her own protection. And Rey's parentage may not be important to her true identity. And Kylo Ben could be lying. He is named after Obi-Wan after all. But he could also be telling the truth, but not the whole truth, like when Vader told Luke who his father was.

Solo4114 wrote:
In the end, I wasn't bothered by the answers, but I totally understand why many were.

The end? The answers? The end hasn't occurred yet. We won't have the answers until Episode IX.


Oh come on. You're being needlessly literal about my choice of words. "In the end" in this case is simply meant as a turn of phrase, and not as a definitive statement of the as-yet-uncompleted trilogy. If I said "Ultimately, I wasn't bothered by the answer presented in TLJ," would that satisfy you? Because that's all I was getting at. And you're right that the "answer" in TLJ could easily be undone in Ep. IX. I actually expect it to be, at this point, just given all the backlash about it.

But I think there's a more meaningful message and a greater importance to the characters, given how TLJ played out. A big part of Rey's journey is her willingness to stand on her own two feet and accept the mantle of "hero," which she repeatedly rejects in TFA and the early part of TLJ. Rey doesn't want to be the one who has to save the galaxy. She wants to hand that job off to Luke. In TFA, she fights to save her friends and for her own survival, not to stop the First Order. By the end of TLJ, she has decided to take on the responsibility of protecting the galaxy herself, instead of looking to others to save her.

One of the hardest things for her to overcome in the film is the internal dilemma of accepting her fate and charting her own path. Rey doesn't believe in herself enough early in the film to do so. Her response to her power is fear and confusion. She doesn't know where it came from, and it freaks her out. I think the scene in the cave is actually one of the best in the film, and possibly in the franchise not merely because it disrupts the audience's expectations, but because that disruption is deeply meaningful to Rey. Rey goes into the cave looking not merely for answers, but for a ready-made identity. She wants to know that her parents were...I dunno...part of an elaborate Jedi breeding program to create a Super-Jedi, and that she's been mind-wiped to forget it all. But the reason why she wants to know that (or something like it) is because having that information will (she thinks) tell her the path forward. It will provide her with a ready-made identity and a ready-made destiny.

As the audience, we're also primed to expect that. The big reveal that she's the Chosen One, and a thumpin' good 'un at that, or whathaveyou, which sets our expectations and lays out the path forward. This is a common trope in heroic fiction where the hero learns of their heritage and that heritage doubles as identity for them. But in Rey's case, she has no heritage (that we know of), and thus no clear path forward.

And that's what makes her ultimate choice to act so much more meaningful. Rey is, in essence, a self-created hero. When she looks into the mirror in the cave and sees only herself and not her parents, that's the message. Her question is "Who are my parents?" and what she wants is an answer that tells her both who she is and what her destiny is. Instead, she sees only herself....and then chooses the path forward in the absence of some greater destiny.

I think that's ultimately a far more heroic act, in some ways, than being told "It is your destiny to do X, because you are the child of Y who had the fabulous powers of Z which you have as well." All of that gives a ready-made identity and a ready-made destiny. But it also means your choice to step up is perhaps a bit less daunting than if no such path existed and you simply answer the call for no other reason than because you can.

Interestingly, Rey's search for a ready-made identity is nicely juxtaposed against Ben's attempt to escape from his own ready-made identity. You'd figure in a more common trilogy that Ben would be the "chosen one" because he's Leia's son and Luke's nephew, but instead Ben has fought against any such destiny, and wants to destroy all ties to the past -- I would argue to free himself from it. And yet, without that identity to follow or rail against, I doubt Ben even really knows who he is. Rey, on the other hand, has made her choice. She's Rey. She's the last Jedi (for now). And she will protect those who need protection. That's her path; that's her identity. And she chose it for herself. I think that's one of the most powerful messages of TLJ, but it only works if Rey isn't told in that scene that she's a Kenobiwalker or whathaveyou.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
Not sure what you mean by tougher tightrope. The three newest Trek movies are the highest grossing Trek films. Star Trek Beyond had a budget of $185 million and grossed $343 million. In April they announced two "NuTrek" sequels are in development simultaneously. The franchise is still doing ok.

I thought the last one had been a bit of a disappointment financially. I may be misremembering what I'd read, but I thought it had performed fairly poorly. Maybe that was only in some markets.

It's true that Star Trek Beyond didn't perform as well as the last Abrams one. "Disappointment" is relative and tied to expectations. A movie can perform fairly well at the box office and that could still be "disappointing" to the studio. Solo was "disappointing" because it didn't gross over billion like the other Disney SW films. Justice League grossed over $650 million but it didn't make Avengers money so it was a "disappointment". None of these movies were flops - They all made a profit. "Disappointing" to studio execs and film investors often means, "I'm rich but I didn't get nearly as rich as I wanted to from that film."


Yeah, I think that's what I was thinking of.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
I think long-time fans feel attachment to Ackbar and take umbrage at his death precisely because the character is an old (in the sense of dating back to 1983) character and played such a big role in the Legends canon.

That could be true for some fans, but I am as long-time as they come and my feelings for Ackbar have nothing to do with his role in the EU. My feelings are 99% based on his role in RotJ alone. The fact that Ackbar is only meme to a lot of fans does not in any way excuse Rian Johnson's mishandling of the character. Ackbar could have had a dramatic, significant, heroic, sacrificial death and it could have been great for all viewers of the film, die hard old timers and new fans alike. Introducing a new human character to replace him is lazy filmmaking.


Yeah, but they're making these films for general audiences, not just for hardcore fans, and general audiences don't know him at all, really. Even if they've seen ROTJ, I doubt general audiences have any particular attachment to the character. And as I said previously, if we're comparing one film to another, then Ackbar isn't that much more important than Raddus. The only difference is outside of the narrative of the story, namely that audiences have had 30+ years to watch and rewatch ROTJ and the big space battle at the end that Ackbar helps win. But within the story, if there's nothing other than the films to go by, I'd say Raddus and Ackbar are roughly on par in terms of importance to the overall war effort. Without Raddus' support, Rogue One would never have been able to get the plans for the Death Star, and the Empire likely would've kept wiping out systems until there was no way to effectively stop them. Raddus brought the fleet in and managed to get the plans transferred while helping to provide cover for the mission, and all when a significant portion of the Alliance high command was thinking they should simply fold up shop and go into hiding. Raddus and Ackbar almost act as bookends to the main action of the OT, because without either of them (and a whole lot of other people), the Empire wins.

I don't think Johnson mishandled Ackbar any more than he mishandled Raddus. I mean, yeah, he could've swapped out Holdo for Ackbar, and it wouldn't have been an issue at all, but there's no reason why he needed to do so. And I don't have a problem with Ackbar being killed, nor with the film not taking the time to take a beat and mourn his loss specifically, or the loss of the various command crew in general; the Resistance was on the run and trying to get away from the First Order, and didn't really have time to mourn their dead. Maybe the next film will have the Rebellion Military Ship "Ackbar" and that'll be the acknowledgment. I think that'd be fine.

Holdo as a character didn't bother me. Actually, hang on. Let me back up. Holdo as a character did bother me, but I think the way she bothered me was by design. She's supposed to be a confusing foil to Poe whose style contrasts with Leia. My main gripe about Holdo was that we didn't get enough time with her for me to really be all that affected by her death. Her character was here, was an obstacle for Poe, and then was gone. I think her role as someone whose conduct imparts a lesson to Poe could've been handled better, but I think the irritation with Holdo is sort of the point.

Actually, here's a thought. What if it had been Ackbar after all? Would it have had the same emotional impact? I wonder. Holdo engenders a sense of "This person is an idiot and Poe is clearly in the right" initially, when she basically dresses Poe down and just tells him to follow orders without explaining herself. It's only later that we realize Poe's (and Finn's) impetuousness has once again cost the Resistance dearly. But if it had been Ackbar, I think at least a decent potion of the audience would've been more likely to take Ackbar's side from the get-go and view the entire mission that Poe concocts as a mistake. In that sense, the audience wouldn't have what I think was the intended emotional journey that matches Poe's, where you start by thinking the superior is the incompetent and the hotshot is the hero, and learn that the superior had the better view of the situation and the hotshot was the guy who screwed up.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
it all goes back to two mistakes: (1) hiring Lord & Miller in the first place, and (2) letting them get as far as they did without pulling the plug sooner.

Right, but that is not mismanaging the budget. That is just the reason for a higher budget that was then managed very well.


I think failing to step in sooner and say "You guys are fired" is mismanaging the budget in the sense of making choices that necessarily result in a significant increase in the budget of the film. Basically, to the extent that Solo was anything approaching a failure (and really, it's more of a "break even" at the box office that probably eked out a bit more cash thanks to home release), I think the fault lies with Kennedy and her choices.

That's not to say I think she's bad at her job, mind you. She's been wildly successful for LFL, in spite of the fact that some fans have picked her as the focus for their ire with the new series.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
It has become public information that her contracts with Lucasfilm are not tied to success of movies.

Whoa, I had no idea her contracts were public. That's....pretty unusual.

Whoa, I never said her contracts were public. Earlier this year, there was a clickbait rumor that she was on the verge of being fired for Solo. The truth of the matter came to light that her original Lucas contract was just up. Disney could have just chosen not to renew her contract and let her go if they really didn't want her anymore. But Disney renewed her contract. That all became public information. Lucas hired her for 6 years, and Disney renewed her for 3 more. You indicated that her job is based on the success of Episode IX - That's what I was replying to. Her contract is primarily based on 'We pay you X amount of money for X amount of years'. Sure, she could leave early or Disney could fire her early and there could be breach of contract lawsuits, etc. But I think that would be fuel for the fire of this anti-Disney movement, so I doubt that will happen. Disney renewing her contract is a public vote of confidence in her and optimism for the franchise. They really need that in light of firing the original directors of Solo and Episode IX. Will people blame her if they don't like Episode IX anyway? Of course they will, whether it is warranted or not. I think she will do these three years and that's it no matter what happens.


I think that Disney cares most about the bottom line and if Ep. IX is a financial failure, then they will probably look to replace Kennedy with new leadership. Solo was handled poorly. The film itself is terrific, but from a financial perspective, Kennedy's decisions and/or failure to step in sooner meant that Solo didn't make as much money as it should have (by "make" I mean profit, not just how much it made at the box office). If Solo's budget had been $150M instead of the $275-300M it was, and it had made the same $393M at the box office, it'd be seen as a solid success. Instead, it barely made more than its budget, which I suspect was a pretty serious disappointment for Disney, and all of that can be traced back to Kennedy's selection of two guys who were not capable of doing the job, and whom she allowed to get way far down the rabbit hole before pulling the plug on them.

Now, set against that is the staggering success of the relaunch of the Star Wars franchise as a whole, two big hits (financially) in TFA and TLJ, and a solid success with Rogue One. TLJ, however, wound up being quite controversial and -- unlike TFA -- its performance may have turned off some of the old fans to the point where you can't count on them to come see Ep. IX.

Ultimately, I think Ep. IX will likely do just fine, and a big part of that is the strength of the Star Wars brand itself. Fans will debate the merits of this or that aspect of the film, but it will probably make a ton of money at the box office (not as much as TFA, of course) and her job will be secure.

But if it doesn't do well, if it performs much worse than expected, then yeah, I'd be betting they'd look to let her go.

Two things to remember about contracts and contract law:

(1) Both parties can always mutually agree to terminate the agreement and can come to an agreement on how to do that. She could be asked to resign and given a "golden parachute," for example.

(2) If one party really wants to breach the agreement, they'll breach it, and then what matters is (a) what the agreement says about how such breaches are to be handled, and (b) the other party's desire to sue to enforce the agreement. Contracts aren't "ironclad." If Disney wanted to breach, they could. Hell, if Kennedy wanted to breach, she could. More likely, though, I think they'd just reach a negotiated settlement and walk away from each other IF it came to that, which I think is unlikely.

Whatever she decides to do whenever that contract is up, I can't begin to guess at, but I think Ep. IX's performance will play a role in any decision about her future, whether it's an affirmation of her ability as a leader because of good box office performance, or whether it's the proverbial nail in the coffin if the film tanks.

But seriously, I doubt it'll tank.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh come on? OK, forgot "the end". I maintain my objection to you stating TLJ had "answers." It only has answers if you accept what is there as answers. I feel TLJ didn't answer much at all, mostly just pressing the snooze button on TFA's mysteries.

And I don't disagree with your distaste for the sequel trilogy being a mega million dollar chain story. I merely said that it wasn't JJ's decision to do that, and that it was unfortunately the only way to get the trilogy made because no director of any caliber was stepping up to take over the whole trilogy. Why else be stupid and make a chain story? It must be the only option. No studio interference is almost unheard of in the film industry so I think they would only do that if it was the only way to get the film made.

Bob Iger admitted his failure at trying to run Star Wars like the Marvel franchise, so they are going away from that not towards it. They are two different beasts anyway. Marvel doesn't have much continuity to worry about or questions asked by one director being answered by another. Individual franchise characters/teams films are handled by the same producers, and the cross over films have a minimum of coordination. You can't kill off the characters intended for future films... Scratch that, these are CBMs. You can kill off half the characters in a big event film, and bring them back in the next big event film, no prob. The killing off and return of the characters is being handled by the same directors in a two-part story. I'm sure they had no trouble getting the Winter Soldier and Civil War directors to agree to do two Avengers movies with a single two-part story.

JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson both said they had complete freedom over their films, but let's be realistic. Of course there had to be a minimum "You can't kill off..." bullet point list for the first two films. Obviously, they couldn't kill off Rey or Kylo Ben before Episode IX (I'm pretty sure the actors had 3-film contracts). I think it is extremely likely they couldn't kill off Finn in the first two films either. Poe actually was going to be killed off in the first film (when he and Finn crashed in the desert of Jakku), but they rewrote that, perhaps to further say he is a "trilogy character" now also. I think it is safe to say they could not destroy Threepio and Artoo before Episode IX (if ever), despite them being more minor characters in this trilogy. JJ Abrams absolutely had to kill off Solo in the first film because it was the only way Harrison Ford would do it. So outside of these character death requirements, I feel it is very believable that Abrams and Johnson did have complete freedom over their films. I think Johnson killed Snoke, Phasma, and Ackbar simply because they weren't on the no-kill list and he could kill them. I do feel killing Snoke was a great move because Snoke is a horrible character, and Kylo Ben is the Supreme Leader now and it puts the emphasis on him now. It's like, What if whiney Anakin had become Emperor? It's something kinda different.

We'll have to agree to disagree on Ackbar. You think they shouldn't have had a meaningful death for Ackbar just because he isn't important to casual fans, when I think a well done death for Ackbar could have been meaningful to all fans and made new fans of the character. However, that is just a gripe about Ackbar's meaningless death. That doesn't mean that Poe-Holdo plot made any sense in the first place. There is no reason Holdo couldn't have let Poe in on the plan. Poe's rebellion feels good when first watching it, but later it is a big let down when you realize later that it was overly contrived just to give Poe something to do in the second act of the film. Ackbar merely substituting for Holdo would have given Ackbar a dramatic kamikazi death fitting to an existing war hero instead of creating a brand new unnecessary character, but it likewise wouldn't have made any sense for Ackbar to keep the plan from Poe.

My crazy fan theory? It's already stated in the TLJ threads, but I think it is possible that Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. That way, bloodline means nothing and her parents could be alcoholic junk traders, Ezra and Sabine, or whomever. She doesn't have to be a Kenobi or Skywalker genetically, but she is still a Skywalker by spirit and the Chosen One of this trilogy. It would make sense with her visions in both films and Maz saying the blue lightsaber had been belonged to Luke and his father, but now calls out to her. It would explain why in her Maz's castle's vision's recreated Cloud City shot, Rey is standing in Vader's exact spot with Vader's view - Because she was Vader on Cloud City. It would explain why when Rey went into the dark cave on the first Jedi planet seeking her origins, she saw a long chain of "herselves" representing her many reincarnations over time. And her finger snaps cycling around from in front of her to behind her showing the cycle of life and the reincarnation cycle. She may have originally been the first Jedi and/or the first Jedi to turn to the Dark Side. And in Snok'e throne room, Rey gets injured on her shoulder in the same spot that Luke landed a blow with that lightsaber on Vader on Cloud City. Although Abrams and Johnson were not beholden to each other, they did share their ideas for the TFA mystery answers. I think that TLJ's Rey vision may have furthered Abram's concept because Johnson wasn't going to have the conclusion in his film anyway so why not. Yeah the vision could be interpreted in multiple ways which I'm certain was intentional, but it does keep with the reincarnation theory.

As for Kylo Ben, he may learn about Rey's true spiritual identity and since he idolizes Vader he becomes enraged because it should be him, not her. Or perhaps in this final incarnation, as a result of his last incarnation Anakin's soul has split into two souls, one for Kylo Ben and one for Rey. Rey got the Jedi Anakin and Kylo Ben got Vader, the Dark Side of the soul. So Anakin's internal struggle in Return of the Jedi could be played out externally between separate characters in Episode IX.
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Oh come on? OK, forgot "the end". I maintain my objection to you stating TLJ had "answers." It only has answers if you accept what is there as answers. I feel TLJ didn't answer much at all, mostly just pressing the snooze button on TFA's mysteries.


The reaction of most fans has been as if TLJ either "answered" most of TFA's mysteries (e.g., Rey's parentage), or basically rendered them moot (e.g., Snoke and his background). I think the jury's still out on Rey's parentage, but if the answer of the film (they're nobodies) is, in fact, the truth, I'm cool with it for the reasons I stated above. If there's more to it, I'd prefer it not be some grand bloodline destiny thing, but I'd be fine with her parents being more than she fears them to be. It won't change her choice, though, which is the more meaningful part for me.

As for Snoke, I mean, someone could end up explaining his deal, but it'd have to be done properly in context, rather than as just an info-dump intended primarily for the audience, rather than the characters.

Quote:
And I don't disagree with your distaste for the sequel trilogy being a mega million dollar chain story. I merely said that it wasn't JJ's decision to do that, and that it was unfortunately the only way to get the trilogy made because no director of any caliber was stepping up to take over the whole trilogy. Why else be stupid and make a chain story? It must be the only option. No studio interference is almost unheard of in the film industry so I think they would only do that if it was the only way to get the film made.


Maybe. They might have thought that a more free-form approach would actually benefit the story overall, though. I think it could work fine in theory, provided that you don't introduce questions at the start where you don't know the answers. If you're doing that and you're also doing a relay-race/round-robin version of chain storytelling, then you need to at least say "Ok, but it has to end at this point here" and ensure that nothing anyone does can contradict that end point.

Quote:
Bob Iger admitted his failure at trying to run Star Wars like the Marvel franchise, so they are going away from that not towards it.


I thought Iger's comments were more about scheduling and trying to pump out a story every single year. In that respect, yes, I think trying to run Star Wars like Marvel was a mistake, chiefly because Star Wars doesn't have 70-ish years of comicbook stories from which to draw inspiration.

Quote:
They are two different beasts anyway. Marvel doesn't have much continuity to worry about or questions asked by one director being answered by another. Individual franchise characters/teams films are handled by the same producers, and the cross over films have a minimum of coordination. You can't kill off the characters intended for future films... Scratch that, these are CBMs. You can kill off half the characters in a big event film, and bring them back in the next big event film, no prob. The killing off and return of the characters is being handled by the same directors in a two-part story. I'm sure they had no trouble getting the Winter Soldier and Civil War directors to agree to do two Avengers movies with a single two-part story.


I mean, Marvel does have a kind of continuity. They build towards a general direction with each of their phases, and they plan out the movies they'll be doing in each phase in advance (to some extent -- obviously, Inhumans wound up being a sub-par TV show), but while they don't have continuity in the sense of questions lingering from one film to another (other than the end-of-film teasers about Thanos), they do have a "house style" that they enforce. Let's not forget that Edgar Wright was kicked off of Ant-Man for failing to adhere to that style. And at the end of the day, they still have a general end point towards which their films build.

What I was talking about with respect to "It works for Marvel, so why not Star Wars?" was the notion of studio control over aspects of production overriding director preferences, while still largely giving directors a free hand to make their mark, and still being able to recruit top talent. There's no reason that Star Wars couldn't do something like that: enforce a "house style" in broad strokes, and have a specific end point towards which films should work or at least not contradict. I don't think it's impossible to lure top talent while saying "Yeah, but just make sure you color within the lines. Use whatever colors you want, though."


Quote:
JJ Abrams and Rian Johnson both said they had complete freedom over their films, but let's be realistic. Of course there had to be a minimum "You can't kill off..." bullet point list for the first two films. Obviously, they couldn't kill off Rey or Kylo Ben before Episode IX (I'm pretty sure the actors had 3-film contracts). I think it is extremely likely they couldn't kill off Finn in the first two films either. Poe actually was going to be killed off in the first film (when he and Finn crashed in the desert of Jakku), but they rewrote that, perhaps to further say he is a "trilogy character" now also. I think it is safe to say they could not destroy Threepio and Artoo before Episode IX (if ever), despite them being more minor characters in this trilogy. JJ Abrams absolutely had to kill off Solo in the first film because it was the only way Harrison Ford would do it. So outside of these character death requirements, I feel it is very believable that Abrams and Johnson did have complete freedom over their films. I think Johnson killed Snoke, Phasma, and Ackbar simply because they weren't on the no-kill list and he could kill them. I do feel killing Snoke was a great move because Snoke is a horrible character, and Kylo Ben is the Supreme Leader now and it puts the emphasis on him now. It's like, What if whiney Anakin had become Emperor? It's something kinda different.


So, here's the thing. I think they had freedom to tell their own stories. We initially got into this debate over the fact that JJ introduced certain mysteries in TFA that were either punted, answered in a manner that people found unsatisfactory, or rendered moot by Rian Johnson. That caused predictable frustration, with many blaming Johnson for throwing out JJ's ideas and doing his own thing. It's true that both have remarked that they had real freedom in making their films. I don't know how far that actually extends, what kinds of "You can/can't do XYZ" missives they got from studio execs, nor what they coordinated about with each other in any detail.

My point in all of this has been that someone thought it was a keen idea to introduce certain questions, and now some in the audience are frustrated at the fact that those questions were either answered in a way they don't like or simply not answered at all, or (as I said) rendered moot via bisection. I think a lot of the frustration is misplaced, but I think it's also entirely predictable, and I lay a lot of that frustration at JJ's feet.

It's like this.

1. IF you have a film franchise where each director is given total freedom,

2. THEN introducing a question which you don't answer in the film in which you introduce it necessarily hems in the next director in line,

3. OR, the next director has to punt on the question, or disregard it altogether.

And I think that's a mistake. It's a mistake to both give total freedom to directors, and to allow them to add stuff that they then hand off to the next guy with no idea what he's gonna do with it and no intention of saying "You have to do X."

In fact, I think that JJ doesn't actually introduce a lot of true mysteries in his films, but he likes to make things seem mysterious to keep people interested, so they treat them like mysteries. He likes leaving questions open even if they aren't ones for which he absolutely NEEDS an answer right on the spot.

Example: Why did Ben destroy the academy? In TFA, that question is introduced. We know the basic answer of "Because he fell to evil," but not the how or why of it. That's a BIG question that JJ introduced! Did he know the answer? Maybe. Maybe not. I'm guessing not, but he liked introducing it.

And therein lies the problem.

When you set audience expectations by introducing a question, especially one packaged so they'll pore over it and examine it from lots of different angles or speculate on it, you are setting the audience up for serious possible disappointment if you don't know the answer to that question. And if Disney knew that each director would be free to do whatever, then maybe they should've ridden herd on JJ a little more closely so he didn't pepper his work with tons of interesting little questions that'd end up going unanswered or which were ultimately unimportant to the larger narrative.

Quote:
We'll have to agree to disagree on Ackbar. You think they shouldn't have had a meaningful death for Ackbar just because he isn't important to casual fans, when I think a well done death for Ackbar could have been meaningful to all fans and made new fans of the character.


No, that's not what I'm saying. I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar isn't actually necessary and is more about nostalgia for people than it is about the character or his importance to the story, especially the story of TLJ itself.

Quote:
However, that is just a gripe about Ackbar's meaningless death. That doesn't mean that Poe-Holdo plot made any sense in the first place. There is no reason Holdo couldn't have let Poe in on the plan. Poe's rebellion feels good when first watching it, but later it is a big let down when you realize later that it was overly contrived just to give Poe something to do in the second act of the film.


I don't see it as a way to give Poe something to do. I see it as an important part of his character development, or at least setting up the opportunity for him to develop a lot more. Poe's the classic hotshot pilot. He thinks from the small perspective of the cockpit. "We have to destroy this dreadnought! It's our only chance!" Yeah, but in doing so, you sacrifice the entire bomber corps of the Resistance, get good pilots killed, and achieve not a whole lot in the larger scheme of things. You blew up a big ship. Hooray. But the First Order has more, whereas you do not have more bombers. At best, he's won a Pyrrhic victory.

In the situation with Holdo, Poe feels he's entitled to information which Holdo is under no duty to share, and which she has no inclination to share. But she's in command, she has a different perspective, and Poe should have followed orders and minded his own business. Instead, his risky side mission ends up resulting in the Resistance forces being targeted due to Finn & Co. being captured and the Resistance escape shuttles being revealed when they might've slipped away unseen. If he'd been patient, if he'd followed orders, if he'd not questioned his superior and not staged a mutiny, the plan might have succeeded. But because he acted on impulse again, good people died. Presumably, in the final battle, he's learned better, and that's character growth.

Now, you could argue that the entire thing is unnecessary, and he could've just been chastened sufficiently by the loss of the bomber corps. You could've had Finn just go off on his own, without involving Poe. But you would've lost Poe's own character arc.

Quote:
Ackbar merely substituting for Holdo would have given Ackbar a dramatic kamikazi death fitting to an existing war hero instead of creating a brand new unnecessary character, but it likewise wouldn't have made any sense for Ackbar to keep the plan from Poe.


Right, but again, I see that as more about a sop to old school fans and their sense of nostalgia about Ackbar than about anything intrinsic to the story itself. I mean, sure you could do it. Probably would've made some old time fans happy. But Ackbar could've also had the exact same reason to keep info from Poe: it's none of his damn business, and he needs to sit down and follow orders, especially after getting the bomber corps killed with his stunt. That's how I see the interaction between Poe and whoever his superior officer is.

Quote:
My crazy fan theory? It's already stated in the TLJ threads, but I think it is possible that Rey is the reincarnation of Anakin Skywalker. That way, bloodline means nothing and her parents could be alcoholic junk traders, Ezra and Sabine, or whomever. She doesn't have to be a Kenobi or Skywalker genetically, but she is still a Skywalker by spirit and the Chosen One of this trilogy. It would make sense with her visions in both films and Maz saying the blue lightsaber had been belonged to Luke and his father, but now calls out to her. It would explain why in her Maz's castle's vision's recreated Cloud City shot, Rey is standing in Vader's exact spot with Vader's view - Because she was Vader on Cloud City. It would explain why when Rey went into the dark cave on the first Jedi planet seeking her origins, she saw a long chain of "herselves" representing her many reincarnations over time. And her finger snaps cycling around from in front of her to behind her showing the cycle of life and the reincarnation cycle. She may have originally been the first Jedi and/or the first Jedi to turn to the Dark Side. And in Snok'e throne room, Rey gets injured on her shoulder in the same spot that Luke landed a blow with that lightsaber on Vader on Cloud City. Although Abrams and Johnson were not beholden to each other, they did share their ideas for the TFA mystery answers. I think that TLJ's Rey vision may have furthered Abram's concept because Johnson wasn't going to have the conclusion in his film anyway so why not. Yeah the vision could be interpreted in multiple ways which I'm certain was intentional, but it does keep with the reincarnation theory.


That's interesting. I kind of like the notion of Anakin being less "Anakin" and more "the Force made manifest," (and therefore Rey being basically the same) but I also like the Mortis arc on The Clone Wars and the implications it has for how the Force works. I dunno. I guess we'll see where it all goes. I'm enjoying the ride so far.

Quote:
As for Kylo Ben, he may learn about Rey's true spiritual identity and since he idolizes Vader he becomes enraged because it should be him, not her. Or perhaps in this final incarnation, as a result of his last incarnation Anakin's soul has split into two souls, one for Kylo Ben and one for Rey. Rey got the Jedi Anakin and Kylo Ben got Vader, the Dark Side of the soul. So Anakin's internal struggle in Return of the Jedi could be played out externally between separate characters in Episode IX.


See, I think Ben has been seriously set up for a face-turn in later stories. My sincere hope is that they don't try to do this all in a single film (Ep. IX) and instead have Ben only begin his turn back to goodness in Ep. IX with his character appearing in later films.

I also kinda wish they'd abandon the trilogy format. I think it unnecessarily constrains the storytelling and forces a certain approach that tends to rush ideas instead of letting them breathe and develop at a more natural pace.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 10:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
I extremely dislike the minimization of Ackbar's importance.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar isn't actually necessary.

I accept that statement about yourself. I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar was actually necessary for the movie for me to not criticize it for Ackbar having a non-heroic death just to be replaced by a human in the plot. We'll agree to disagree there.

Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
You think they shouldn't have had a meaningful death for Ackbar just because he isn't important to casual fans, when I think a well done death for Ackbar could have been meaningful to all fans and made new fans of the character.

No, that's not what I'm saying. I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar ... is more about nostalgia for people than it is about the character or his importance to the story, especially the story of TLJ itself...

I see that as more about a sop to old school fans and their sense of nostalgia about Ackbar than about anything intrinsic to the story itself. I mean, sure you could do it. Probably would've made some old time fans happy.

While I do think it is possible that I could have been made happy and it could have also been pleasing to casual fans too, I am primarily speaking for myself. *I* am not motivated merely by nostalgia or love for the EU Ackbar, and I'm a little offended my criticism of TLJ is being trivialized as such. And it's prejudice because you are making an assumption of why old school fans didn't like his meaningless death and replacement in the plot, and you are incorrectly lumping me in with all old school fans.

See, here's the thing. The only SW movie I can truly appreciate on an individual basis in ANH because I am a first generation Star Wars fan, and for the first three years of my fandom, it was the only movie. A time when Vader and Luke's father were two separate characters, and Obi-Wan didn't lie to Luke. This admittedly is deeply infused with nostalgia for that magical time when I first became a Star Wars fan and a single viewing of the film was alive in my mind for three years before TESB.

But the other nine films cannot exist in my mind in a vacuum. They are intertwined with each other. I was bit disappointed Tarkin only got a cameo in RotS, Mon Mothma got deleted, and Ackbar didn't appear at all. Were they necessary for that movie's story? No, not at all. Padme's major subplot in the story was the early basis of the Rebellion featuring Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. But runtime was long and Lucas edited the film down to a focus on Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. I get that Lucas did what he did for the sake of that film. But was my minor disappointment out of mere nostalgia for the characters? No, not in the slightest. Those characters were important in other movies, and these movies are all supposed to take place in the same universe. Each film has a moral responsibility to the films that came out before it. Tarkin was the main protagonist of ANH, not even Vader. Rogue One went a long way to satisfy my need for more on the main antagonist of my favorite movie (and Mon Mothma and Bail were nice touches). Still no love for Ackbar though. Lando is a much more important character than Ackbar and I am mad that he wasn't in TFA or TLJ. And Episode IX was supposed to be focused on Leia and can't be now, so it seems we are now only getting Lando because Carrie Fisher died, which p!sses me off even more.

Younger versions of classic trilogy characters not having their importance emphasized by prequel appearances is first world nerd problems compared to having chronologically subsequent appearances of important heroes of the Rebellion. You are dealing with their legacy. Ackbar was a much more important character in RotJ than Mon Mothma. He earned a heroic death. TLJ owed it to RotJ to give him one. If the story of this movie didn't have room for Ackbar to be in it at all, then the character could have been cut. A line of dialogue could have established he was off with Snap recruiting support for the Resistance. I would have been a little disappointed by his absence, but it would have been better than what we got. Ackbar deserved better. And no we don't need funeral scenes for every character death. That's taking what I am saying to an extreme I don't. That would hurt the pace and tone of the film leading up to Luke's heroic sacrifice.

You may not feel Ackbar was mishandled in TLJ, but you can't deny that Ackbar served no real purpose in the plot other than to die and be replaced by a human to interact with Poe. They could have done the same thing without killing him. Ackbar could have been written out of the movie and Holdo still took command after Leia became incapacitated. Or even better, Ackbar heroically braves the vacuum to save Leia, but becomes incapacitated with her or dies in the process - That could have eliminated the Leia Poppins scene, gave Ackbar something heroic to do, and still went forward with the Poe-Holdo plot. And don't get me wrong. I do see Poe as a more significant character than Akbar in the movies. But since Poe's second act story and Holdo's role didn't work for me anyway, there is just no justification in killing off a legacy alien character unheroically just to be replaced new human character. My disgust with this has nothing to do with nostalgia for the time I first saw Ackbar at age 11. I am not speaking for all old school fans, but I have talked about this with several others who feel like I do. Please don't trivialize diehard Ackbar fans.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think Ben has been seriously set up for a face-turn in later stories. My sincere hope is that they don't try to do this all in a single film (Ep. IX) and instead have Ben only begin his turn back to goodness in Ep. IX with his character appearing in later films.

I also kinda wish they'd abandon the trilogy format.

They aren't completely abandoning trilogies, but they are abandoning a strict adherence to trilogies. Kennedy has stated there are currently no plans whatsoever to continue the narrative of the sequel trilogy beyond Episode IX. They have two new unrelated film series in the works (a trilogy and another series of indeterminate number of films). They have abandoned a rushed annual release schedule. There is still the possibility of one-off anthology films in the mix here and there. Considering these things, I believe her that they aren't planning more Rey movies. However no current plans doesn't mean they won't ever circle back to it. It could be 20+ years from now when Rey is middle aged and a mentor for the next generation.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think it unnecessarily constrains the storytelling and forces a certain approach that tends to rush ideas instead of letting them breathe and develop at a more natural pace.

The whole one-film-a-time thing is more conducive to the chain message movie-making we don't like. No, series don't need to be only three films and won't always be, but having a series story planned out in advanced means you need to know how many films the series will be. Letting it breath and develop as it goes seems to open the door to "OK, another Star Wars movie. What do we do next?"
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Solo4114
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Whill wrote:
I extremely dislike the minimization of Ackbar's importance.

Solo4114 wrote:
I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar isn't actually necessary.

I accept that statement about yourself. I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar was actually necessary for the movie for me to not criticize it for Ackbar having a non-heroic death just to be replaced by a human in the plot. We'll agree to disagree there.


Ok.

Whill wrote:
Solo4114 wrote:
Quote:
You think they shouldn't have had a meaningful death for Ackbar just because he isn't important to casual fans, when I think a well done death for Ackbar could have been meaningful to all fans and made new fans of the character.

No, that's not what I'm saying. I think that having a meaningful death for Ackbar ... is more about nostalgia for people than it is about the character or his importance to the story, especially the story of TLJ itself...

I see that as more about a sop to old school fans and their sense of nostalgia about Ackbar than about anything intrinsic to the story itself. I mean, sure you could do it. Probably would've made some old time fans happy.

While I do think it is possible that I could have been made happy and it could have also been pleasing to casual fans too, I am primarily speaking for myself. *I* am not motivated merely by nostalgia or love for the EU Ackbar, and I'm a little offended my criticism of TLJ is being trivialized as such. And it's prejudice because you are making an assumption of why old school fans didn't like his meaningless death and replacement in the plot, and you are incorrectly lumping me in with all old school fans.

See, here's the thing. The only SW movie I can truly appreciate on an individual basis in ANH because I am a first generation Star Wars fan, and for the first three years of my fandom, it was the only movie. A time when Vader and Luke's father were two separate characters, and Obi-Wan didn't lie to Luke. This admittedly is deeply infused with nostalgia for that magical time when I first became a Star Wars fan and a single viewing of the film was alive in my mind for three years before TESB.

But the other nine films cannot exist in my mind in a vacuum. They are intertwined with each other. I was bit disappointed Tarkin only got a cameo in RotS, Mon Mothma got deleted, and Ackbar didn't appear at all. Were they necessary for that movie's story? No, not at all. Padme's major subplot in the story was the early basis of the Rebellion featuring Bail Organa and Mon Mothma. But runtime was long and Lucas edited the film down to a focus on Anakin's fall to the Dark Side. I get that Lucas did what he did for the sake of that film. But was my minor disappointment out of mere nostalgia for the characters? No, not in the slightest. Those characters were important in other movies, and these movies are all supposed to take place in the same universe. Each film has a moral responsibility to the films that came out before it. Tarkin was the main protagonist of ANH, not even Vader. Rogue One went a long way to satisfy my need for more on the main antagonist of my favorite movie (and Mon Mothma and Bail were nice touches). Still no love for Ackbar though. Lando is a much more important character than Ackbar and I am mad that he wasn't in TFA or TLJ. And Episode IX was supposed to be focused on Leia and can't be now, so it seems we are now only getting Lando because Carrie Fisher died, which p!sses me off even more.

Younger versions of classic trilogy characters not having their importance emphasized by prequel appearances is first world nerd problems compared to having chronologically subsequent appearances of important heroes of the Rebellion. You are dealing with their legacy. Ackbar was a much more important character in RotJ than Mon Mothma. He earned a heroic death. TLJ owed it to RotJ to give him one. If the story of this movie didn't have room for Ackbar to be in it at all, then the character could have been cut. A line of dialogue could have established he was off with Snap recruiting support for the Resistance. I would have been a little disappointed by his absence, but it would have been better than what we got. Ackbar deserved better. And no we don't need funeral scenes for every character death. That's taking what I am saying to an extreme I don't. That would hurt the pace and tone of the film leading up to Luke's heroic sacrifice.

You may not feel Ackbar was mishandled in TLJ, but you can't deny that Ackbar served no real purpose in the plot other than to die and be replaced by a human to interact with Poe. They could have done the same thing without killing him. Ackbar could have been written out of the movie and Holdo still took command after Leia became incapacitated. Or even better, Ackbar heroically braves the vacuum to save Leia, but becomes incapacitated with her or dies in the process - That could have eliminated the Leia Poppins scene, gave Ackbar something heroic to do, and still went forward with the Poe-Holdo plot. And don't get me wrong. I do see Poe as a more significant character than Akbar in the movies. But since Poe's second act story and Holdo's role didn't work for me anyway, there is just no justification in killing off a legacy alien character unheroically just to be replaced new human character. My disgust with this has nothing to do with nostalgia for the time I first saw Ackbar at age 11. I am not speaking for all old school fans, but I have talked about this with several others who feel like I do. Please don't trivialize diehard Ackbar fans.


I'm not trivializing it. I'm saying that the arguments you're making have nothing to do with the story itself and are more about your own investment in the story, based on the previous films, rather than the story of this particular film. Look, it's fine if you dig Ackbar. Go ahead. I'm not that attached to him, but I get really enjoying a minor character. I've always been partial to Dennis Lawson's Wedge, myself.

What I'm saying is that there's nothing intrinsic to the story of TLJ -- or even to the series as a whole -- that necessitates Ackbar receiving an heroic death, nor even featuring heavily in the films. And let's be honest: Ackbar basically isn't in TLJ. I've not watched it recently, and have only seen it twice, but I don't recall anyone referring to him by name, even in passing. All we have is a Mon Cal character who appears alongside other command crew on the ship, who apparently dies in the explosion when the bridge is destroyed. If they'd said "Oh, that wasn't Ackbar. That was actually one of his assistants, and he's actually on another planet entirely during the action of TLJ," there'd be literally zero difference in terms of impact on the story of TLJ. Hell, they could retcon the whole thing and say that it was Ackbar's 2nd cousin and nobody would know the difference.

I'd have likewise had zero problems with Ackbar being the admiral instead of Holdo, and acting exactly the same. It wouldn't matter to me at all, one way or the other. You'd get the heroic self-sacrifice from him, while Poe learns a lesson and realizes he has big shoes to fill. But the fact that they didn't use Ackbar only matters in a meta-story sense, and then only to people who are fond of the Ackbar character.

Let me put it this way.

There's a lot in stories that isn't required by the story itself. For example, there's no real requirement in TLJ that the Holdo character exist at all. In terms of the role she plays in the story, you could easily fill that with one of the OT characters. But nothing within the story itself requires it be any particular character.

The need for it to be a specific character is based on audience members' feelings about that character. You think it should've been Ackbar for reasons you've stated above. Ackbar's an important character, he plays a big role in the previous story, and you think he deserved a hero's death. I'm saying that nothing within the story of TLJ requires that happen to him specifically, as opposed to any other character.

For example, like I said, I'm a fan of Wedge. Wedge has yet to appear in any of the ST films. Maybe Dennis Lawson isn't interested. I don't know. I think Wedge would've been a great character to sub in for Holdo if you're looking for OT characters to fill that role. As a former fighter jock, he'd be in an even better position to take issue with Poe's impertinence, and it could've set up a really interesting inter-generational spat between them. But it's not a flaw in TLJ that the film didn't use Wedge, at least in the sense of "The story really required that they use Wedge." If I were disappointed that the film didn't use him, that'd just be based on my own attachment to Wedge's character (who, I'd argue, played a much more prominent role in the original films than Ackbar).

If Wedge had died in the bridge explosion, I'd have been annoyed at the fact that they included him apparently just to make zero use of him and kill him, so I get that level of annoyance. Like, why bother even mentioning "Oh yeah, that was Ackbar who got killed" when there's no need to do that, either? But honestly, it probably wouldn't have bothered me all that much. And if it did bother me, the thing that would've bothered me is more my attachment to the character than anything wrong with the story itself. That said, I do think it's kind of pointless to just say "See that guy in the background that the camera passed by who had no lines and then got blown up two seconds later? That was [OT character.]" What's the point? Just leave it alone. You're just needlessly riling up old school fans.

But all that aside, I see that more as a flaw in the management of the fan community by the filmmakers than as a flaw in the story itself. The story still works fine. Irritating the fans for the sake of claiming some easter-egg appearance by a character is stupid and just generates ill will.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
*I* extremely dislike the minimization of Ackbar's importance.

Solo4114 wrote:
I'm saying that the arguments you're making have nothing to do with the story itself and are more about your own investment in the story, based on the previous films, rather than the story of this particular film.

You still misunderstand. I'm not giving any arguments about Ackbar. I'm just stating opinions with some facts here and there as relevant to the discussion. Yes, my statements are about my own investment in the story. I am using the pronoun "I". I am writing from my own view. I even emphasized this in my previous post, but you still think this is a debate? And I stand by the body of my 5000+ plus posts here that I am not one to express my personal opinions as objective truths.

My criticisms of TLJ are mine. I'm not alone in most of them, but they are mine. A lot of people love TLJ even stating it is the ultimate Star Wars movie. There's no objective view on it, or any movies. Some people love Ackbar. Some don't. I do. I have a friend who loves all Star Wars, except that he categorically despises Ewoks, Gungans and Threepio. Yes, Threepio. He is not at all sad about Threepio's reduced role in the sequel trilogy, but he is a little annoyed that he is there at all. I completely own my dislike of how Ackbar was handled in TLJ. But you assumed incorrectly by saying my this opinion come out of mere nostalgia.

Solo4114 wrote:
I'm a fan of Wedge. Wedge has yet to appear in any of the ST films. Maybe Dennis Lawson isn't interested. I don't know. I think Wedge would've been a great character to sub in for Holdo if you're looking for OT characters to fill that role. As a former fighter jock, he'd be in an even better position to take issue with Poe's impertinence, and it could've set up a really interesting inter-generational spat between them. But it's not a flaw in TLJ that the film didn't use Wedge, at least in the sense of "The story really required that they use Wedge." If I were disappointed that the film didn't use him, that'd just be based on my own attachment to Wedge's character

Opinion: I'm a fan of Wedge too and I agree he was more important than Ackbar. He helped Lando blow up the Death Star!

Fact: Dennis Lawson was invited to be in TFA and he declined. When interviewed for another film he was in he said, and I quote, "I’m not going to do that. They asked me but it just would’ve bored me."

Opinion: I'm a little disappointed Wedge isn't in the ST, but no it is not a "flaw" of the films that he is not in the ST. I feel it would be wrong to have him in it just to have a couple lines of dialogue, die an unheroic death, and be replaced by another character. I feel it would have been better for Ackbar to have not been in TLJ at all than to go out the way he did, and I blame Rian Johnson for that.

Fact: We know that an early draft of TFA script had Wedge in it but the actor was offered the part and declined, so Wedge got written out of the story. We know that in the Aftermath novel, Wedge was captured and interrogated.

Speculation: I think it is likely that the character of Poe was a replacement for Wedge when Dennis Lawson declined TFA. And when Wedge wasn't going to be in TFA, they put him in a vaguely similar situation in Aftermath, part of "The Journey to The Force Awakens" marketing line.

Opinion about the speculation: I'm actually happy about this because I like the young hotshot pilot character being in the ST. I think it works better than an aging pilot like Wedge would have been.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 9:16 am    Post subject: Re: Why God, Why? Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

Why does anyone think we need this series?


Welcome to corporate monoculture. Personally I wish it was still a beautiful mess that made no sense. We didn't really used to care that the assorted available materials didn't make sense as a coherent story. We picked the parts we liked and that was fine.

We "need" this series, by the way, to sell more toys to an audience that's too young for the live action films.

The recent exacerbation of several disturbing trends is threatening to turn Star Wars into what it's worst critics unfairly accused the OT of being. Namely, just a crass vehicle for selling merchandise.

There has been too much unfolding in too little screen time. I have no idea how they can do a good job at wrapping up the current trilogy with just one movie to go.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill,

My apologies if I misunderstood you. Many of the discussions I've had elsewhere about TLJ and the ST in general have been about what people think are objective failures of the film as a vehicle for storytelling, rather than just subjective things that didn't work for the particular viewer. If all you're saying is "It didn't appeal to me," who am I to dispute that? Every audience member's experience of any piece of art is entirely subjective, even if there are objective things that one can discuss about art. If you didn't like it, no amount of someone pointing out the objective strengths of the piece will convince you that you do like it, any more than if you like it having someone point out the objective failures will make you suddenly dislike the piece. (I'm speaking generally here, not just about TLJ.)

Anyway, sorry if my posts bothered or insulted you. That certainly wasn't my intent.


TauntaunScout wrote:
There has been too much unfolding in too little screen time. I have no idea how they can do a good job at wrapping up the current trilogy with just one movie to go.


I absolutely agree. Too much stuff happens off-screen, not enough is done on-screen, and even though much of the stuff that happens off-screen is irrelevant to the instant story or characters, it's still part of what I see as necessary world-building to help bring your audience along. The First Order's rise, in particular, was and remains fairly confusing to me, mostly because it's never really explained in the films. Sure, you can read the comics/novels/whatever, but...you shouldn't have to.

I also agree that they've left a TON of stuff to handle in Ep. IX, which is a big part of why I hope they simply don't try to resolve everything, and instead set up additional stories to be told. Like, I don't want a "Return of the Jedi" style ending that implies the good guys win, the bad guys lose, and all is right in the universe again. That's a big part of the problem with the trilogy structure. Because you're trying to cover all your bases, there's a tendency to rush the end and just wrap it up with a bow and move on, even if you're talking about material that could support an additional three films or more.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Solo4114 wrote:
Whill,

My apologies if I misunderstood you. Many of the discussions I've had elsewhere about TLJ and the ST in general have been about what people think are objective failures of the film as a vehicle for storytelling, rather than just subjective things that didn't work for the particular viewer. If all you're saying is "It didn't appeal to me," who am I to dispute that? Every audience member's experience of any piece of art is entirely subjective, even if there are objective things that one can discuss about art. If you didn't like it, no amount of someone pointing out the objective strengths of the piece will convince you that you do like it, any more than if you like it having someone point out the objective failures will make you suddenly dislike the piece. (I'm speaking generally here, not just about TLJ.)

Fact: In "The Chase" the Resistance and First Order capital ship fleets were traveling the same exact speed, but a FO character erroneously said the Rebel Fleet was "faster". Objectively, that's dumb. If the Resistance was actually moving faster, they would have eventually outran the FO before they ran out of fuel.

Argument: I don't think the script was meant to portray the FO character who said that was an idiot, and I don't think Rian Johnson is an idiot who doesn't understand the word "faster". I find it extremely unlikely that all capital ships from both fleets should just happen to have the same exact max speed, so the evidence strongly supports that by using the word "faster" in the dialogue, Johnson was just trying to use the Jedi Mind Trick on the audience as in Yes, that word explains the non-sensical situation I contrived in the film (waves hand like he is some kind of last Jedi). You're mind powers don't work on me, boy.

Opinion: It's insulting and disgusting that Johnson did that.
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