star wars

Why Palpatine’s return made perfect sense (+ redeeming the Jedi Order)

Hey it’s time for the the Star Wars Blogathon!

And I decided to write about a Star Wars twist I very much liked.

So…Palpatine’s return in The Rise of Skywalker was… a point of contention among most Star Wars fans, I know. And some of the criticisms I agree with! It wasn’t executed well at all. (If you have to both read the novelisation and play Fortnite to get the whole story, something’s gone wrong.) But…

Palpatine actually being there in the first place? In terms of the overall Star Wars story, it makes sense!

Palps has always been the Big Bad of Star Wars. He’s not really a person in a way, more just the embodiment of evil in the world. (Sometimes I think of him as the Star Wars equivalent of the One Ring.) But the prequel trilogy makes pretty clear that the Jedi allowed that embodiment of evil to rise, via neglect, ignorance, arrogance or all three. Like – the individual Jedi are great people, but their system is so very broken. They don’t free slaves, they don’t intervene where they should, they don’t understand Anakin’s connection to his mother… they’re part of the reason for Anakin’s fall. Not on purpose obviously, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

This gifset sums it up really well I thought:

And in the movies – I’m not counting all the secondary material here – it’s something the Jedi never really get to make up for. Anakin’s throwing Palpatine in the pit is a redemption for him but it doesn’t quite redeem the Jedi for their part in things. They just get to die.

Until The Rise of Skywalker! The Jedi are able to finally redeem themselves by assisting Rey. It’s a wonderful scene because it does the thing Star Wars has always been about, making up for the mistakes of the past.

Windu: Feel the Force flowing through you, Rey.

Anakin: Let it lift you.

Adi Gallia: Rise, Rey.

Qui-Gon: We stand behind you, Rey.

Obi-Wan: Rey.

Yoda: Rise in the Force.

Kanan: In the heart of the Jedi, lies her strength.

Obi-Wan: Rise.

Qui-Gon: Rise.

Luke: Rey, the Force will be with you. Always.

I dearly wish we had seen the Jedi in uh… the flesh? In physical form. But hearing their voices was powerful as well. When Rey says “And I am all the Jedi!” to Palpatine it feels deserved, to me at least, because now these other people have finally got the same thing Anakin got – a chance to make up for their mistakes.

And that’s why I liked Palpatine’s return. :)

gifs of my favourite scene in TROS, which wasn’t in TROS

From this magnificent edit by jon h on YouTube.

Every time I see it I feel so annoyed that the Jedi were in the movie as voices only. I loved the scene with them all talking to Rey, but – look how damn easy it would have been to have them show up in physical form!

But to some extent I think franchises are a democracy, so in my head this is what “really” happened.

Some Star Wars behind the scenes shots

For JulieG! Some of these photos I’ve had stored on my hard drive for LITERAL DECADES ahahaha.

explanation of the finn-ale!

I decided to post this Star Wars fanfic-like thingy on Reddit. It didn’t go down well (sigh) but I did explain in the comments why I had Finn and the others face those particular obstacles. So I thought I’d write that explanation here as well:

*

Here is my thinking: I want Finn and Rey to do more to fix the mistakes of the generations that came before them. They don’t really get that in the movies, even though the whole original Star Wars trilogy is about redeeming the past.

So in this scenario Rey represents Anakin. She’s hotheaded and she’s blinded to the long-term consequences of her actions. But instead of giving in to the dark side because of the desire to keep a loved one alive, she respects the wishes of her loved one while Anakin did not.

Finn represents Padme. He understands what evil is and has a strong sense of justice. Rey turning to the dark side would be a path he could not follow. So he refuses to let her do it, even if it means his own death. We already know he’s a self-sacrificing person (see: the Battle of Crait) and here he gets the agency in death (or not death as it turns out) that Padme did not.

Kylo/Ben represents… well, himself, but also Vader in a sense. But here he’s posed with a choice different to the one Darth Vader had all those years ago. It’s easy to save your own child. It’s less easy to save a person who hates you, who the woman you love would chose over you in a heartbeat. Saving one person isn’t necessarily a redemption, I never thought it was with Darth Vader either. But I think that for Kylo, saving Finn would be more of a redemption than saving Rey was. There is after all absolutely nothing in it for him.

I left it open as to whether Finn is Force-sensitive or not because I feel like it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jedi but it does matter if you’re a good person, and that’s the other thing Finn represents here. That’s the most important thing he represents here – it’s not your lineage that makes you important, or your Force sensitivity, it’s whether or not you’re willing to be heroic.

And to me that was always one of the biggest things of Star Wars, and I feel like the sequel trilogy dropped the ball there a bit. That’s also why Han is there at the end. It always really bugged me, the idea that non-Force users would never become ghosts, might not even have the same afterlife as their Force-using loved ones even.

(I have absolutely no idea if this was covered in the wider Star Wars universe. I pretty much just stick to the movies.)

Now the galaxy is saved and if a new Jedi order does go forward it will be a very different one. Why? Because an ex-stormtrooper decided to stand up and fight even though he had almost no chance of survival.

And that’s what I wanted to happen with Finn.

A Finn-ale

So after the John Boyega interview where he rightly complained about Finn being sidelined, I wondered, there must have been a way to write him into the Rise of Skywalker finale and de-sideline him, surely?

So what I would have done is this:

Finn goes with Rey to Exegol. (From here on, Finn’s original role in the movie is taken by Rose.) He has a lightsaber with him, Luke’s lightsaber, which counts as his now. Rey has Leia’s. He’s completely untrained but willing to fight to defend the galaxy anyway. Even if he’s not necessarily Force-sensitive, he’s still willing.

There, Palpatine immediately captures Finn, realising right away that he must mean something to his granddaughter. He torments Rey by telling her this wouldn’t be the first time he’d turned someone into a Sith by using their love for another.

Palpatine shocks Finn once with Force lightening and this is enough to make Rey crumble. She tells Palpatine that he can do whatever he wants, just spare Finn. There you go, almost the exact same way Anakin fell…

…except Finn isn’t having it. From behind whatever Force-field Palpatine has him in he tells Rey that he would rather die than see her become a Sith and the galaxy in darkness. He tells her he’s spent all his life trying to find agency and he’s damn well not about to let it go now, even in the face of death. Hey turns out Rey and Finn were the Anakin and Padme of their generation, not the Han and Leia, except they’re not about to make the same mistakes.

Palpatine just laughs evilly at this, as he usually does, and is about to deliver the killing blow to Finn but THEN Ben Solo enters the picture! He strikes Palpatine from behind, causing enough damage to free Finn from his clutches. Now the game has changed! Rey, Finn and Ben go 3-1 against Palpatine (albeit probably with some confusion on Finn’s part as to why Kylo Ren is there.) They’re doing pretty well for the first few minutes! Then Palpatine aims some lightening at Rey. Finn somehow deflects it away from her but instead it hits him full-on.

Rey thinks he’s dead and is horrified and grief-stricken, but she can hear the voice of Anakin Skywalker in her head telling her not to give into her rage. She listens, and Ben can not only feel her emotions but suddenly hear the voice of his grandfather as well. This distracts him so much Palpatine is able to shove him into the pit and remove him from the fight.

NOW Rey, all alone and thinking her true love (Finn, not Ben) is dead, finds herself able to do what it took Anakin a lifetime to understand. With all the ghosts of all the Jedi working through her, she calls on the Light Side and defeats Palpatine once and for all. Only then does she run to Finn and allow her emotions to take over. He definitely appears to be dead and she sobs while holding him.

Then Ben comes climbing up out of the pit. He looks at the scene before him and realises what he has to do. Without a single word said, he kneels down and he Force-heals Finn. Rey watches in bewilderment. Finn sits up with a gasp, instantly falling into Rey’s arms. Rey exchanges a look of intense gratitude with Ben and then realises he’s given all of his lifeforce over to Finn. He’s dying. She takes his hand, but does not kiss him, as he dies and disappears.

At the end of the movie both Rey and Finn (and BB8) return to Tatooine. Finn wonders how he was able to deflect the lightening away from Rey back on Exegol, and Rey ponders that maybe it’s a person’s willingness to sacrifice, rather than any training or even any Force sensitivity, that makes them a true Jedi. She names herself “Skywalker” and Finn says he would like that name as well, which sounds an awful lot like a proposal.

The sun sets as Luke, Leia AND HAN watch the new generation from the afterlife. All is finally well in the galaxy.

-The end.

John Boyega/the Star Wars sequels

An interview with John Boyega came out yesterday and he had some pretty pointed words for Disney.

The reaction to The Last Jedi is something I remember – there were a LOT of black fans who criticized Finn being sidelined, but they all got shouted down relentlessly. Whereas at the same time there was another group of people very loudly saying, “Only white diehard Star Wars fans who don’t like change could possibly have a problem with this movie.” There was just a complete erasure of the complaints of black fans.

I saw comments saying “Only white people think The Last Jedi/Star Wars is racist.” And in the media any backlash to the film was portrayed as bigoted white guys ruining it for everybody else, which was true, but it was also true that black fans were disappointed, with good reason. And I really hate that it all got framed that way. There was this sense that white fans were saying to their black counterparts “Well there’s one black lead character there so what more do you want, now shut up, you’re ruining this progressive film!”

Sigh…

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Meet Younger Yoda in STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC — Nerdist

The lifespan of a Yoda:

-Baby Yoda

-Younger Yoda

-CGI Yoda

-Puppet Yoda

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Even before Star Wars: Jedi Temple Challenge debuted this summer, just the first glimpse of Ahmed Best in Jedi robes — as host and Jedi Master Kelleran Beq — was inspiring fan artists with his twinkling eyes and steady demeanor. On the Star Wars Kids game show, which released its season finale today, Master Beq…

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I’ve said this before but I am SO pleased to finally see Ahmed Best getting his due. I hope it can make up for all the horrible things he had to face after The Phantom Menace.