I just saw Solo. I want a sequel. But what I really want is rant about The Last Jedi right now.
There’s a saying I heard somewhere about that the only thing Star Wars fans hate more than Star Wars’ critics is Star Wars itself. Might be true for me as I reflect on The Last Jedi.
The more distance I get from The Last Jedi the more I am pissed off about the resolution of the Finn/Rose/Poe conspiracy. To be fair to the movie, I really enjoyed the Rey/Kylo/Luke story arc. But the more distance I get from The Last Jedi, the more this one thing really grinds my gears.
- Poe asks for information from his commanding officer
- She deems it unwise to share with him, given his reckless behavior
- Pissed off by the slight, he proves his recklessness by defying orders in two huge ways:
- He sends two people, a mechanic and an ex-Stormtrooper, on a crazy one-in-a-million-shot mission
- He mutinies and captures his commanding officers
Let’s pause here
The one-in-a-million mission was a failure. That’s fine. It’s actually pretty good and it’s nice to have some realism (for lack of a better word) play out, as opposed to a non-stop barrage of one-in-a-million things panning out all in the same movie.
I don’t have a problem with the mission itself. Even the entire casino planet being a pointless diversion except to maybe play out a freedom-from-oppression allegory and introduce us to the new character, DJ. That’s fine. Whatever.
And the plans fail. That’s great. Better yet, they get betrayed by the morally-absent new character, DJ. That was fantastic. In your heart of hearts, you were secretly excited for a “new Han.” A scruffy, stuttering, hacking genius was there to tease us and to make us think we had a new Solo who was going to join up and save the rebels, flying out of the sun to blast the baddie at the last minute. Admit it, you thought it, you hoped it. I did. But no, the tables turned on him and he turned on his new friends. That was a great twist.
Not only does DJ turn on the two misfits he brought on the ship, but he turns on the entire rebellion by helping The First Order track the loadlifter ships that were fleeing in secret. The First Order otherwise would have never noticed. That’s Crait salt in the blaster wound right there.
Fast forward a bit
- Leia wakes up from her near-death and blaster-stuns Poe
- The rebels begin their evacuation on the loadlifter ships
- Holdo stays behind
- First Order starts shooting down the evacuation ships
- Holdo sacrifices herself to shred the mega-class Star Destroyer (fucking amazing BTW)
- Finn, Rose & BB8 escape to join the rest of the rebels on Crait
It’s at this point that I’m starting to become the True Star Wars Fan. My transformation is nearly complete.
Poe, along with Finn & Rose are put right back into the rebel troops. And Poe still holds his position as an officer.
In what universe would a mutiny leader be left in a commanding role? Shouldn’t he have been spaced? (I’m crossing universes with that jargon, but you know what I mean.)
Not only did Poe lead a mutiny, but his actions along with those of Finn, Rose and BB8 led directly to the deaths of hundreds of the (already severely diminished) rebel fleet. The escape to Crait would have gone of perfectly smoothly, without the First Order ever noticing if Poe had just followed orders of a commander who was wiser and less self-absorbed. There would have never been a Battle of Crait, and there would be hundreds more alive, ready to continue the rebellion another day.
I’m not saying this because I think there shouldn’t have been a Battle of Crait. Quite the opposite. The battle was awesome. Nor am I saying the plot line was bad. It wasn’t; it was fantastic. Everything coming together in the rebel’s last stand.
I’m saying this because there was an opportunity to enrich the plot by holding Poe, Finn, Rose, and even BB8 accountable for mutiny, treason, and the deaths of a hundred or more fellow rebels. Instead, they’re back in the ranks like nothing ever happened.
The character arc of “Poe learns his lesson” and decides at the last minute to call off the frontal assault against the battering cannon is pathetic. He mutinied! He was responsible for hundreds of deaths! That doesn’t phase him or anyone else, at all. Anywhere.
There’s a great chance to add some distention to the ranks, for the rebel alliance to have internal divisions to overcome. There’s an opportunity to turn from black/white characters and add some layers of complexity. Is BB8 a fun party droid, or a mutiny conspirator partially responsible for hundreds of deaths. Is Finn a reformed Stormtrooper, or mutiny conspirator partially responsible for hundreds of deaths. They are both. And that would make them better characters.
Instead, it’s brushed under the rug, and we all escape in the Falcon singing kumbaya without acknowledging that major mistakes were made, that a mutiny—no matter how well-intentioned—led directly to the deaths of hundreds of fellow rebels.
None of that got addressed. At least for now. Maybe it will get addressed in the next film. Maybe.
Until then, my transformation to True Star Wars Fan is complete.