Reflections on The Last Jedi

I can say, with little remorse, that I have not yet purchased The Last Jedi. This isn’t to suggest I never will. The need – not a want, a need – to place the film next to the other Star Wars films on my shelf will eventually take over. For now, I can fight that urge, pushing back against the feeling that my shelf looks incomplete. But why am I fighting this feeling? Why not give in and just buy the most recent installment in the Star Wars franchise? I am a die-hard Star Wars fan after all, so why haven’t I gone out of my way to purchase and obsessively watch the film? Good questions.

I don’t review films on this site. I don’t review films on this site because I am not a professional reviewer, a critic trained to offer an appraisal of a piece of work. I am a fan of Star Wars, I have opinions, but those opinions do not give me the authority to offer any truly nuanced or unbiased “take.” I don’t review films on this site, but I am never-the-less, here and now, ready and willing to offer my thoughts and opinions on The Last Jedi, doing so with as little bias as possible. But again, this isn’t a formal review, and I don’t get paid to say these things.

A Smattering of Things I Liked

Paige Tico
Paige Tico
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

I appreciate aspects of The Last Jedi. The movie has some remarkable moments, and to me none is more remarkable than the moment Paige Tico sacrifices herself to save the small Resistance fleet. Tico, a character who never utters a word, a ball gunner in a Starfortress Bomber blasting away at First Order TIE Fighters. In a desperate moment, with everything on the line, Paige climbs out of her gunner’s chair and performs an act of sacrifice heroism, unleashing the bombs that destroy a First Order Dreadnaught. The action saves the fleet; the action takes her life.

I appreciate aspects of The Last Jedi, and I genuinely appreciate the acting of Kylo Ren actor Adam Driver. I was captivated by Driver’s portrayal of Kylo in The Force Awakens. I was swept away by his portrayal in The Last Jedi. Kylo Ren is not just a villain in The Last Jedi, he truly is the “monster” Rey calls him. The Dark Side isn’t just strong in him, it consumes him in a flame that burns hotter than Mustafar. He is ready and willing to destroy everything to prove himself, to be like his grandfather, to be his grandfather, to be greater than his grandfather. Darth Vader, Lord of Death. Kylo Ren, Supreme Lord of Darkness. Redemption isn’t even on this guys radar. Only death, only destruction, only darkness, only power.

I appreciate aspects of The Last Jedi, and there are smattering of moments and characters and events I really enjoyed. I loved the design of the Resistance Bombers, the First Order Dreadnaught, the AT-M6 Walkers, the Resistance capital ships. I liked the geography of Crait, and the fact that Caluan Ematt is a General leading the Resistance forces on the planet. Laura Dern is great as Vice Admiral Holdo, although I wish her sacrifice – which is visually incredible – had been saved for Episode IX since it overshadows the sacrifice of Paige Tico. Carrie Fisher’s final portrayal as Leia Organa is  very moving (sans the weird space floating moment) and her final interaction with Luke, even though he isn’t physically present, is quite touching.

KyloRey
Kylo and Rey fighting together is a pretty cool sequence. Watch closely and you’ll notice that Rey should have easily been killed.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

I could list other things, other aspects of the film I genuinely liked. But I am not here to just list things, and I don’t think you want to read a list. The truth is, those aspects of the film I just listed – and a few others here and there – are all I can muster when it comes to this film. I can identify “things” about The Last Jedi I liked and that is all. I envy those who have been so moved by this film, who have elevated it into top place in their Star Wars rank lists. I wish I could do the same – it wouldn’t supplant The Empire Strikes Back in my list but #2 is a fluid spot – but sadly I cannot. I am a life-long Star Wars fan and this film just doesn’t move me, it just doesn’t feel right. There are a handful of profound moments but this movie just isn’t very profound.

Wading into the Shallows

I am well-aware that those who love The Last Jedi see incredible depth in it, that they believe this film has done something to Star Wars that is magnificent, breathtaking, groundbreaking. I understand what they are saying, I even understand how they are thinking. I just don’t agree. The common refrain I run into is that the writer/director Rian Johnson has “let the past die,” jettisoning aspects of the Star Wars saga – even aspects of The Force Awakens – to tell a unique and different type of Star Wars story. Perhaps nothing points to this more clearly than by Rian Johnson’s depiction of Luke Skywalker as a broken shell of a Jedi, a man determined to die in-exile.

Heading into the film I knew Luke Skywalker was going to be broken in some form and I was perfectly fine with that reality. “Luke Skywalker has vanished” the opening crawl to The Force Awakens tells the audience in the very first line and to its credit The Last Jedi shows us that the line is not solely about being geographically lost. Heck, the film could have been titled “The Lost Jedi” because Luke Skywalker has completely lost touch with who he was when we last saw him in Return of the Jedi. “I am a Jedi like my father before me,” young Skywalker once proudly declared to the Dark Lord Sidious in the single most important moment in the Original Trilogy. “I’m ending all of this. The tree, the texts, the Jedi. I’m going to burn it all down,” he now tells Master Yoda (who appears as a Force ghost). Damn, the Luke Skywalker we knew really has vanished!!! It’s no wonder so many older fans of the franchise have lamented that this isn’t the Luke they remember…

Is This REALLY Luke?

In a guest post on this site – An Ignoble End to the Skywalker Saga – my friend Nancy  succinctly notes that the Luke Skywalker we experience in The Last Jedi “…could not cope with the crushing disappointment of Kylo’s turn towards the dark side and the guilt he felt towards letting Leia and Han down.” To this we can add that he feels equally guilty for Ben Solo’s ultimate turn to the Dark Side. You know, that moment when he stood above his sleeping nephew, ignited his green lightsaber and contemplated, momentarily, ending the boy’s life. When he recalls the event, Luke initially lies to Rey about what happened. Or rather, he offers a “Kenobian” point-of-view to his new protégé. But I digress. Ben Solo, frightened as he wakes and looks up at his uncle holding the blade, defends himself. Who wouldn’t? But then the young Solo does more, tearing down the Jedi Academy that Skywalker had built, killing the students (with the help of other students who had dark feelings?) and fleeing to the warmth, love, and manipulation of Supreme Leader Snoke.

That Ben Solo-turned-Kylo Ren destroyed everything Luke had painstakingly built in the years after Return of the Jedi makes sense. It was the story I expected after watching The Force Awakens. The surprising bit is that Luke Skywalker took a completely non-Luke Skywalker action which was the catalyst for Ben’s final step into the Dark Side. With the momentary ignition of his green lightsaber as he stands above his sleeping nephew, the scene from Return of the Jedi where Luke cast aside the exact same blade, refusing to kill his father, is itself thrown aside.

“This is not going to go the way you think,” Skywalker declares to Rey at one point in the movie. “Let the past die, kill it if you have to.” Kylo Ren tells Rey at another point in the film. Over and over again, The Last Jedi champions what it is doing: tearing down the foundations of Star Wars with something new and radical. The movie spends a lot of time self-referencing with quotes and metaphors (a building literally crumbles, burying Luke, when Ben defends himself) to prove this is the case, to make us believe we are watching a radically new and fresh version of Star Wars. The thing is…

I don’t buy it. From my vantage point, the self-references and metaphors – and the shallow depth of the film – are just clever tricks distracting us from the obvious. Namely, that we have seen this story once before:

A teacher takes on a gifted, young student who has incredible power. The teacher trains the student, but the student has dark thoughts and feelings, and those thoughts and feelings grow like a virus in the mind. Eventually, the teacher must confront the student, and the student fights back. While the teacher chooses not to kill the student, the damage is already done. The teacher is left feeling guilty and flees into exile. The student puts on a mask that represents their dark turn. Years later, the two finally confront one another again. The teacher is aware of their own shortcomings, that they failed the student. The student believes they are the more powerful now, but little do they know that their teacher is truly more powerful than the student can possibly imagine. Their final battle ensues, and in a critical moment, the student slashes a red blade through their former teacher…only to be left stunned and confused by their former teacher’s final lesson.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker?
Luke Skywalker and Ben Solo?
Rey and *insert the villain from Episodes X, XI, XII*

LukevsKylo
Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren face off on Crait.
Photo Credit – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi


We Need to Talk about Rey

Speaking of Rey, for being the heroine of this new trilogy, The Last Jedi goes to ridiculous lengths to build her up through Acts I & II only to have her be a non-factor in Act III. Her story is an interesting one and I genuinely like Rey, but for all of her training with Luke, her Force connection with Kylo Ren, and her (brash) decision to run off and try to save Ben from the monster within him, her story is effectively set aside in the Final Act. Why? Because this film isn’t about Rey. It is really about Luke Skywalker and Kylo Ren. Don’t get me wrong, Rey has a lot of cool character development and some intriguing bits happen to her. Never-the-less, from my vantage point, Rey is ultimately set aside in what is supposed to be her own story. 

Of course, one could argue that Rey’s connection with Kylo Ren is the most fascinating aspect of the movie. In fairness, I wouldn’t entirely disagree. The relationship between Kylo Ren (Dark Side) and Rey (Light Side) is where a lot of the philosophical “depth” in The Last Jedi comes into play. This depth is certainly interesting, but it is a depth that is knee deep at best. For all of the Ontological-meets-Ethical Dualism which Rey and Kylo Ren represent, specifically as it relates to the “Balance of the Force” (whatever the hell that even means at this point), any opportunity to truly dive into the mysterious abyss of the Force never really happens. An opportunity certainly existed, one where Luke  could have helped Rey work through her connection to Kylo (and vice-versa with Snoke helping Kylo work through his relationship with Rey). This would have been a prime opportunity to highlight Luke (and Snoke) as mentors, while shedding light on this intriguing and new conception of the Force. Instead, the movie gives us only fleeting glimpses of these deeper philosophical undertones while simultaneously distracting us from them (i.e. – Kylo being shirtless; the two awkwardly touching hands; Rey running off to save Ben). Then again, I’m not sure the film even knows how to take things into the deep end of the pool. In fact, I would liken it to this: The Last Jedi (and Rian Johnson) give off the impression of a college freshman who took Introduction to Philosophy, read snippets from the I Ching, the Avesta, the Gathas, and The Jedi Path, and is now acting like a pretentious know-it-all who has minimal grasp on what they are saying. Which leads me to this…

“Getting” The Last Jedi

As Nancy and I were chatting recently about the film, she mentioned that “…there is this attitude that if you didn’t like Rian Johnson’s vision then you weren’t smart or deep enough to ‘get’ The Last Jedi.” In other words, it is as if one must possess a gnostic knowledge to truly “understand” the esoteric depth at the core of this movie. If only Nancy, or myself, or others who do not love and worship the film as a gift to Star Wars had the special knowledge to understand it, we would finally see just how profound The Last Jedi truly is. But like I said earlier, I really don’t think it is very profound.

For over two hours, I watched a film I had already seen before. Or rather, I watched a film that took thematic elements from a handful of films that I have already seen before. Don’t get me wrong, there ARE things in this film that are new, and things in this film that are intriguing. I mean, I have NEVER seen the aliens in the Canto Bight Casino before (but I have been confronted by never-before-seen aliens in a casino/cantina-esque setting before). Yet, for all the new stuff in this film, as a whole it just came off as an amalgamation of ALL the Star Wars films, pretending to be something radical and fresh while simultaneously offering philosophical possibilities that are never really teased out.

I envy those who have experienced The Last Jedi as this new and fresh dive into the Star Wars universe. Truly, I do. I wish I had the gnosis they possess and the connection tot he film that leads them to see it as philosophically deep and spiritually mystical. Then again, I don’t really believe there is any there “there,” or at least not enough to elevate The Last Jedi to the top of the Star Wars pantheon. Rather, The Last Jedi is just a film masquerading as something truly special, a “child in a mask” playing Star Wars dress up. Does it attempt some intriguing things, even getting away with a handful? Of course it does. But the thing is, if I want to really experience Star Wars, I will watch the Original six films. Hell, I’ll even watch The Force Awakens – which is also a derivative amalgamation but is at least AWARE it is – and I will definitely watch Rogue One – which woefully lacks women but is never-the-less a stellar homage to A New Hope. On the flip side, if I feel like watching something that is “technically” Star Wars but that thinks it is way smarter and self-important than it really is, I’ll watch The Last Jedi. Granted, I’ll need to buy it first, and right now I have better things to spend my money on.

14 comments

  1. Well said! Your opinions are as valid as anyone else’s, as we all bring in our own preconceived notions of what we feel is true to Star Wars, when we view any of the movies. That this franchise still has fans passionately debating the movies 40+ years after the first movie was released is a credit to George Lucas and his original vision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Nancy! I really tried to give this film a chance, having seen it a few times in theaters, but it just doesn’t do it for me. I agree with you though that it is great that fans can still be passionate about the franchise after so long. It would just be nice if those of us who didn’t love everything that has been made were given a place at the table.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My Star Wars experience is a little different than most, having not grown up watching them until I was much older. So my experience might give me a different perspective. I totally get where a lot of people are upset that Luke didn’t act like himself. I agree with that, and I think we missed out on a big story that wasn’t developed enough to know why Luke had run away, etc. I think maybe developing that part of the story more instead of Canto Bight (which was still cool in my opinion, but probably should have been left out for some other things). That was probably my biggest issue with the movie. Also the fact that Holdo just sort of came out of nowhere to command the fleet. Yes, she is in the books, but for the casual fan you might be a little confused.
    I agree with you in that Driver’s execution of Kylo Ren’s character is phenomenal! He is hands-down my favorite “bad guy” of the movies now. His character depth is amazing, and he portrays so much emotion and conflict.
    I enjoyed Last Jedi. It definitely wasn’t a favorite, but I did like it. But I appreciated your reasoning as to why you didn’t like it, and I totally understand it!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comment! I tried to be fair whenever I could to the film, identifying things that I could acknowledge were interesting even if I didn’t fully agree with the execution. There are some genuinely good things in this movie, and I hardly take issue with someone enjoying it, having had an experience I didn’t. One could make an aesthetic argument for liking the film quite easily, as the look of the film is praiseworthy (the blood red color being the obvious example).

      I agree with you as well about Canto Bight. I thought it was entirely unnecessary and distracted from the rest of the narrative. I want to say I understand why Finn and Rose heading to Canto Bight was included, but honestly I don’t think I really understand it. This is probably because the more I think about it, the more I am pretty certain (with a tweak here and there) that the entire Canto Bight arc could have been excluded from the film with little problem. Besides, Canto Bight was also used to throw in a bunch of heavy moral/ethical issues without actually developing them in a meaningful way (the knee deep issue I constantly raise). The topic(s) are worthy of being addressed in Star Wars, but they just felt like one-off mentions – “Children in slavery is bad, now back to the spaceships!” “Animal cruelty is wrong, now let’s see what Kylo and Rey are up to!” I will probably write another, shorter piece reflecting on all of this at some point (I just didn’t want to distract in my own piece with a trip to Canto Bight).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I had mixed to bordering on negative feelings for this movie and I think you thoughtfully described many of the issues I had with it. For someone accused of being a “Mary Sue”, Rey had less impact than she probably should have. Maybe, despite being the protagonist, the movies are truly about the Skywalkers, their legacy and their end, rather than being about her. This would be sad, since it makes her more of a tool of conclusion. Also, to add to the student/teacher similarity of Luke/Kylo to Obi-Wan/Anakin, they both end up performing “the Jedi’s Sacrifice” to both teach the new student the true meaning of being a Jedi and allowing the new student’s escape.
    Your thoughts are definitely justified and I appreciate all the time you went through to write and express them. In an odd way, I actually think my view is a little more positive than before reading your post .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tommy! Good to hear from you sir. Hope things are well. Mr. Miller says you are finishing your first year in college, and I hope you have enjoyed it.

      I had mixed feelings as well after seeing the film, and it took me quite a while (obviously) to articulate some of my thoughts. In my old age – if 33 is considered old – my enjoyment of Star Wars is a bit more mellow and thoughtful. I have to sit and digest things before truly understanding what I am experiencing, and how I feel about it. That isn’t to say I don’t have any visceral or gut reactions. Watching Paige Tico sacrifice herself was incredibly powerful, and Adam Driver pouring himself into Kylo Ren was captivating. But, as a whole, after a lot of reflection, I could only identify collections of “things” about this film I truly loved, but couldn’t piece it all together to say I loved the entire product.

      In regards to what you say about Rey, I think you are absolutely right – she does feel like a tool being used to finish the Skywalker Saga. While it is supposed to be about her, I really felt like The Last Jedi did her a major disservice by taking her out of the Final Act. Hell, she doesn’t even fly the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Crait (which could have been a nice nod to her flying the Falcon on Jakku and the fact that she will be taking Han’s spot in the pilot chair). This is hardly to suggest Chewie can’t pilot the ship, but I just felt like there was an obvious, missed opportunity. But I digress. As a whole, The Last Jedi goes out of its way to focus on Rey only to give us Luke and Kylo Ren, to have that teacher/former student meeting take place.

      Speaking of which, I like what you said about the “Jedi sacrifice.” This film has a lot of sacrificial moments, and this is absolutely keeping in line with that theme. And along that line, I would again return to the issue of Rey and suggest that she should have been watching this moment play out. While she was off blasting away at TIE Fighters, she could have, instead, been learning a really profound lesson about the Jedi, about failure and forgiveness, about the Light Side and the Dark Side, and could have been absolutely blown away when she watches Luke disappear. Most importantly, she could have heard Luke actually say that he is not the last Jedi, the mantle being passed to her in that moment (like Yoda does with Luke in RotJ). Le sigh, if only…

      I am glad to hear you have a more positive look on the film after reading this. I would hate to think what I wrote would unnecessarily drag down the experience of others. Instead, I think it is perfectly normal and acceptable to work through the difficulties we have with a work (a film, a book, a song, etc) and identify reasons for the way we feel. This post hardly encompasses everything I think about the film, but it is certainly a start. I can accept the film as it is – there is no way to change it – but I can also be vocal in wishing things had played out differently in moments, or that opportunities were missed.

      Thanks for commenting! Hope to hear from you again soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Last Jedi for me was a lot like Return of the Jedi – some great stuff involving the conflict with the leads with weaker bits in between that drag the film down from where it should have been. My feeling honestly is that they needed to do one more draft of the script to tighten the focus on what was really important and iron out the character bits.

    I actually do buy the characterization of Luke, but I admit I’m torn on his ending. On the one hand, the return of Luke Skywalker is almost impossible to execute without disappointing fans who’ve had time to imagine exactly how awesome such a thing could be. On the other, I don’t see a more fitting end to him than looking wistfully at the sunset having single-handedly saved what’s left of his family, the Resistance, and the legacy/future of the Jedi. It’s hard to say without knowing what the plans for IX are, but I wonder if saving that scene for the third movie might not have been more satisfying on a narrative level. They probably were worried it would mirror the death of Yoda too much, but if that was the case then there really should have been more with Luke and Rey on the island to build to that moment.

    And while this was meant as a joke, I’d be lying if I said I don’t like the idea of this ending with Luke and Rey as much as the one we got: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCB8DUGpYQQ

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment! I would agree with you, I think the film could have used a bit more polish to tighten up some things. And it is fascinating that you liken it to Return of the Jedi because it almost seems like Rian Johnson and Co. said to themselves “what if we combine a lot of the elements from ESB and RotJ into this film?” So we have walkers marching towards a defensive position AND a throne room scene where an apprentice kills a master. We have the Yoda-esque disappearing moment AND we have the Canto Bight = Cloud City angle. Plus, all of the other elements that were left over/unused from The Force Awakens mirroring A New Hope (Kylo slashing through Luke). Honestly, the “new and fresh” film that I think we will end up getting is in Episode XI precisely because they have basically run out of the really big, juicy parallels at this point. But who knows, maybe the Resistance will go ask the Gungans for help…

      Anywho, I agree with you that the way Luke’s final scene played out was quite good and even gave me some chills. In a way, I saw a lot of Anakin in Luke in that scene (my brain read a lot of things into it, and I am pretty sure it had to do with his hair billowing in the wind). I am with you though, it was an appropriate way for Luke to “ride into the sunset” and if nothing else it passes the torch to Rey, even if that torch passing was done thematically instead of literally with Rey and Luke present in the same moment. Oh well.

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  5. What’s interesting is that I think the rest of the movies will always have polarizing sides. There were people who strongly disliked The Force Awakens and said the same thing to fans like me – “I envy that you can enjoy it so much.” And here I am on the other side.

    I appreciate Rian trying to break away and give us something different. But, weirdly, I think I would have appreciated this more if it was the first film in this new era. By giving us TFA, and bringing us back to what we “know” and the familiarity of Star Wars – it set up a different tone for the new trilogy. And then with TLJ, we have such an abrupt departure that it does not flow well. It’s the same characters, yes, but it leaves you shook, for lack of a better way of explaining it.

    After watching it again this weekend, I was left with the same feeling after I left the theater the first time…namely that it was really boring until Rey leaves Luke. I don’t like what they did to Luke, whatever, I’m trying to get over it. But the first 1-1.5 hours is so scattered and all over the place and I felt no real connection to anyone NOR could I understand motivations for the characters. I couldn’t understand why Luke acted like he did, I couldn’t understand why Poe, Finn and Rose thought they had a good idea, I couldn’t understand Holdo’s complete reluctance to share information with anyone (I understand not sharing it with Poe – I don’t understand her not sharing it with anyone else), I couldn’t understand why Rey left so quickly. But – when Rey did leave and the decision was made to save Ben (why? horrible idea), the movie got a lot better. I cried at the end, when Leia and Luke talked and when Luke faced the two suns and let himself be one with the Force. I felt like the movie got a lot more focused after the Yoda/Luke scene and I enjoyed it.

    I don’t mind that Rey’s part trailed off at the end. It’s her movie, and it’s not, at the same time. It’s more about a conclusion for Luke so I liked that she came in at the end with the Falcon and then used the Force to save the small Resistance.

    I understand a lot of what you say – and agree with most of it. I haven’t been confronted with anyone yet who thinks I don’t “get it” because I’m not smart enough. I think they know I could own them in Star Wars. Or, maybe, I just haven’t had the chance to really discuss the movie with anyone as I work out of my house and barely have social interaction LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So far, a lot of the “get it” crowd seems to be running around online (Twitter in particular) defending Johnson’s vision. I don’t really understand the motivation. If someone “gets it” then that is fine, but the film hardly needs a handful of fans trying to argue that they have some special relationship with the movie that others (meaning me) do not. Then again, I DO see what they are pointing at, I just don’t actually believe what is being laid out – again, Johnson’s vision – is as deep as people think it is. It is almost like the need to defend the film is done as a way of convincing oneself that the film is actually good. I LOVE the Thrawn Trilogy with all my heart, but I don’t need to convince other people that the Trilogy is great because all that matters is that I love that it is great. But whatever, I guess I shouldn’t be all that surprised to see people getting their hackles up on Twitter. Isn’t that just the point of Twitter these days?

      Anywho, I am with you on the boring stuff. In fact, I think what really added to the boredom is the Canto Bight bit with Finn and Rose. It just felt like this massive “who gives a shit” adventure that, in the end, really doesn’t have any meaningful significance on the plot. If it was Johnson’s way of having Finn and Phasma face-off, well, there were a lot of easier ways to do that.

      I agree as well that the film got more focused after Rey left, and Luke/Yoda had their little chat. I can’t help but attribute that to real action taking place – the Walkers on Crait, the tension of the Resistance fighting a last-ditched battle – but also because the film stops trying to be so damn philosophical at that point. The Final Act of the film is definitely the strongest, but it just took way too long to get there.

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      1. “It is almost like the need to defend the film is done as a way of convincing oneself that the film is actually good.”

        That’s it exactly.

        Like I said, I personally buy Luke’s character in TLJ, but I can easily see why other people don’t. I’ve had similar problems in the Doctor Who fandom when an episode has the lead so out of character that I cannot enjoy it despite Matt Smith or Peter Capaldi acting their asses off. It’s a sign of weak writing when you can’t get the audience as a whole on board with characterization.

        I gave some thought to how I’d change the Poe, Finn, and Rose plot elements. Instead of a plothole filled chase, make it a siege. The Resistance jumps to a pulsar or some other cosmic phenomena with crazy gravity so that once inside the system, you can’t go to hyperspace and turbo lasers don’t aim properly. You still have the fuel problem, but now the First Order keeping their distance makes sense because they’re trapping the Resistance and jamming them so that there’s no chance of calling for help. You can have either then have Poe, Finn, and Rose go to Canto Bight to try to get a signal out (they broadcast those races around the galaxy on a bitchin’ transmitter), or have a tense stalemate until Leia wakes up and contacts Luke via the Force. If you go Canto Bight, you can have Phasma pursuing them and thereby do something with her character, and if you must keep Benecio Del Toro, you can introduce a Talon Karde type character who’s been dealing to both sides, but finds himself growing a bit of a conscience throughout the escapades. Make it a Republic base instead of an Alliance base to explain why Karde or Luke might know about it when Leia doesn’t, have Holdo do her sacrifice to buy them time to leave the system and make the jump to it, and the final act can play out without too many changes.

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