The Star Wars Problem

Possible spoilers for the film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Proceed with caution.

I wanna preface this – as a massive Star Wars fan, I love the original trilogy, I have some vague respect for the prequel trilogy, and I have thoroughly enjoyed The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, despite their glaring issues. I don’t dislike any of the film’s – I really don’t even hate Phantom Menace.

My issue that I’m starting to have with this new, corporate, Disney Star Wars is that they seem to lack depth. Whether it is or not, it seems to have a major issue of ‘making it up as they go along’, which for a franchise with such a rich, deep, extensive history and plethora of lore at their disposal, seems to stick out more than should be acceptable.

TLJ was a great movie. I really, really enjoyed it. But looking at the movie as a whole, I start to feel a little underwhelmed. Snoke was underplayed – supposedly this big, powerful, deeply evil villain – that they do zero with. Rey, this character that teases depth and intrigue – never delves beyond what is teased. It seems like a movie that is focused on teasing and setting up without ever paying off – and not in a way where it builds excitement and curiosity for the next film, but where it feels lazy and unfulfilling. All these characters are teased to be these great characters, but sadly end up staying in this little box of personality that doesn’t show anymore growth than when we first met them. They go in circles – we meet them, they show that there may be more than meets the eye, we reach the climax that should affect and change the characters, then they plateau into the same people they always were.

Take Rey, for example. In the last film, we see a desert scavenger that is shown to have a strange connection to both the Skywalker’s, and the Force as a whole. She is shown to be immensely powerful and a natural with the Force, proving to be a more than fair match to Kylo Ren, who has been training in the ways of the Force for years.

What’s her lineage? What’s her connection to the Force? Why is she so powerful? Who or what is she really?

Flash forward to TLJ. Rey is an incredibly powerful user of the Force, shown to be an equal to Kylo Ren and almost Luke Skywalker himself, is able to feel both sides of the Force, walk into the Dark Side and back out again – and is a desert scavenger born to two drunkards. None of it pays off. None of this grows her character in any way – she’s powerful and shown to be an embodiment of the Light Side of the Force to match Kylo’s embodiment of the Dark, but neither she, Luke, or us as the audience have any clue why.

Anakin Skywalker was a child born of the Force to fulfill a prophecy that would bring balance to the Force – in a world where the Jedi ruled as a ruthless, arrogant system of government, Akakin’s descent into darkness throws the Jedi off of their high horse and proves that their arrogant ways have led to their downfall. As Luke states in TLJ, the Force does not belong to the Sith, or the Jedi – it belongs to every living thing. The Force uses Akakin to end the Jedi’s narcissistic hold on the Force, and then uses his child, Luke Skywalker, to bring down the Empire and restore peace within the Galaxy and within the Force, completing the circle. It’s all one prophecy that fulfills itself over the span of about forty years or so, starting with Akakin’s life and ending with his death.

This is what was intended. George Lucas may not be a brilliant writer, but they was a plan in place, there was a story to be told, and the pieces (mostly) fit together.

But what is Rey? What is her purpose? What is she trying to accomplish? So far, we’ve had nothing to tell us why she is what she is. Why she’s as powerful as she is, or even what her connection to Luke and the Skywalker bloodline really is. She’s very well acted – but in the grand scheme of things, it feels like she’s pointless. It doesn’t feel like she’s that important to the world and to the rebellion around her – while, once again looking at Luke, he was a key player in the Rebellion. A brilliant pilot who was instrumental in the destruction of the Death Star, a powerful Jedi, and the son of the second-in-command of the Galactic Empire. He had purpose. There was a reason why he was important to the story and the people around him. And each installment built on his importance with an extra layer to who he was.

Rey? She means the exact same from TFA to TLJ – hardly any growth, and nothing explained as to why she is what she is, or really even what for that matter.

To me, the only characters that make sense are Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and Finn. Ben Solo really should have been the focus of the trilogy – born of Skywalker blood, lured in by the Dark Side of the Force, yet unsure of himself and how evil he actually he is. He just wants to be something – and to prove himself to those around him and the galaxy. He’s seen as a temperamental child, and he acts the part – but while Anakin had been totally torn down and rebuilt in the image of the Dark Side – both metaphorically and literally – Ben is just a conflicted young adult.

Why wasn’t he the key focus of the trilogy? A Skywalker torn between the image of Darth Vader and the reality of Anakin and Luke. Desperate for power and a place in the world but still unable to kill his mother and only driven away because he thought he had been betrayed by his uncle?

And Finn, a meaningless, nobody clone who had always been in the First Order but pulled himself away knowing that he wasn’t like them – and chose good over evil.

They have purpose. They have reason. They can be built upon – but where’s the foundation for Rey, our main protagonist and the keeper of the flame of the Jedi after TLJ? It isn’t there. There isn’t a point, at least a point that is planned out, thought out, and then executed.

This is my problem with a great deal of the new Star Wars’ movies – a lack of a point. The Death Star had a great deal of history and gravity. Starkiller Base? Not so much. The Galactic Empire had a reason and a purpose – the First Order? Just being evil, I guess, led by a villain who never got to make their point before being Darth Mauled into irrelevance. They build up these things as huge, important plot points and never pay them off – and that’s just not fair to the audience.

Now, this could all be rendered null by December 2019.

The 9th film may show us that Kylo and Rey were being utilized by the Force to create a union between the Dark and the Light, forcing the end of the Jedi and the Sith, who have caused too much pain, war, and death in the universe. It might explain that after all these years, the Force was trying to bridge that divide – the Force is a force of life, after all, and having two religions that create a divide between Light and Dark just make death. Kylo and Rey were the vessels to do so – and together, instead of toppling the First Order, they rule it together and restructure it, creating a new Republic that isn’t fixated on the ideals of the Sith or the Jedi. No more old religions, no more Empires and Rebellions – just unity.

Or, it might not. It might be vague plot points and pointless exposition or not enough exposition and a lot of fighting without any purpose or reason to fight and end without any satisfying resolution to lead to another trilogy where they do things just for the sake of doing them – without any rhyme or reason or story to back them up.

Like I said before, I do enjoy the new movies – quite a lot, if we’re being honest. But I’ve just been thinking a lot about these things and wanted to voice them a bit and get my thoughts out so they weren’t just echoing around my head. I’m hoping that I’m wrong – that come 2019, all will be revealed and everything will come full circle and we’ll be able to look at the trilogy as set of movies that tell a specific story for a specific reason. It’s just that beforehand, each movie told a specific story while contributing to an overarching trilogy plot point – which is something that, as of right now, the current trilogy of movies can’t very well say.

But I’m optimistic – if not with life, than at least with Star Wars, haha.

And as with everything else, here’s looking to the future.

Happy holidays.

 

 

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Edge of the Overpass

Floating in the overpass
I see your city through the fog
And I wonder if you see me
through pictures colored rose
or in some dark, corporeal dream
Just like you do.
Am I in your thoughts
or even in the shadows at your bedroom at night?

I wonder if anyone has over fallen off the edge –
of the overpass –
or of their thoughts.
Wanting a dream so bad
they forget the rest.

Through my windshield wipers
I can see your exit
But I’m sure the town
is as empty as you
So the rain pours on
as I drive forward

Winter, the Lover

(Open to Close)

It’s been cold for days
But that’s fine by me
I’d be numb anyways
I yearn for the violent wind
the punishing slaps to my face
the feeling of a thousand needles
I never get sick of the taste
I don’t want to walk
I don’t want to find a flame
Because I’ll just grow hot
And miss Winter my lover again
Her chill is so sweet
shattered glass on a carpet floor
blood stains the fabric
until you can’t feel anymore
She has me run to her
to feel her embrace
the flurries of dark wind
highways of empty space
no light in the distance
cities miles from the rearview
The windows rolled down
so she can tell me what to do

Two hands turn to one
one foot turns to two
as I pass eighty miles
just like she asked me to
I’ll only stop running
when I have a place to go
Alone in an empty apartment
or face first in the snow

I was never meant to make it
She told me that from the start
Warm from some other man
Because she got tired of a cold heart
No more anxiety, or worry
No more wondering left
She was like Winter
and I was, at best, blue
As I slept alone she told me
I should look the same on the outside too

One hand turns to none
Dim headlights turn to empty night
She howls from the window
“I’ll be yours forever – you know that it’s right.
Let me hold you on these empty roads.”

Winter was always there – the only lover I had ever chose
From the beginning to the end
Open to close.

 

Turn Right

Stuck on the highway between a semi and an oversized truck
Nothing left on the radio besides the terrible
and the so over played it sucks
I’m going twenty miles more than I should
Though my exit is only five away
And it kills me knowing that even though I’ll turn right
I could so easily drive right by

Wait until I find a better station, find a better song
Maybe just drive until I can admit to myself
that I know something wrong.
But you know as well as I
try though as I might
hours of miles or states away – I’ll never feel the same
All I do is turn right

I don’t know what it would take
After nights of rushing thoughts
and written admission a hundred ways
It doesn’t matter the time or place
It’s just not the same
I could run and hide and change my hair
Write a million words – no one would care
I’ll never go fast enough
to not still be me
and there’s not enough gas in the world
to change what I’m meant to be

In the Dim Red Light of a New Mexico Dive Bar

See through the smoke and spot those hazy Autumn eyes
Every fallen leaf is another year gone by
Trying to turn back time and forget about the lies
But the world refuses to forget
The seasons change
But the world, it won’t forget.

Neither do I.

See you through the mirror
Looking just like the photographs you showed me years ago
Just another reprint of the imitation
Like everyone else in the room you know
You bring the cigarette to your lips – pale pink from rubbed off lipstick
Knees vaguely wobbly
Face wondering if you’ll be sick

“I thought I’d never see you here.” You mutter, to me or not at all
Perhaps it’s just the thick nicotine perfumed air
You stumble once, then twice – and I reach to grab you before you fall
“Do you know how many times I tried to call?”

I look down at you and realize I don’t recognize the hair, or the piercings, or the clothes you wear that you used to hate
I don’t recognize the beat poet friends falling out the front door with men smoking cloves and wearing turtlenecks even though they promised to wait
But still the same are those Autumn eyes I always knew, still perched in the same still silent sadness
crying tears that roll down your cheeks
to the floor beneath us
It never changed – what you were running from never left
For the world refuses to forget.

I held you for five minutes
No longer
before I returned you to your chair and I walked out the backdoor
to rid myself of the angsty overly introspective menthol air
I didn’t know if you were drunk
or if you’d even remember me in the morning
If you’d recall me crying softly
and telling you I was sorry.
But you are who you are now
And I’m all set to go
You may forget me in the morning
Yet I remember your eyes – cursed to always know

The Sun at 8 PM

Reaching, outpouring
Wanting to forget about never knowing
Falling or sleeping
Or dreaming of being awake
I can’t find someone to give back
All this regret I continue to take
Wake me up
Before I go under
I want to remember the way
You looked up at me in wonder
There’s silence in the trees
And a lack of air at night
And no matter what medication i take
Nothing I stick inside me feels right
All the depressive
Without a manic to be found
I reach for your hand
But i’m not safe
when you’re around
And across my eyes
There’s a forest burning
They all cry for help
Because the earth keeps on turning
I don’t think they get the monopoly
Humans have on hate
Because even with loss
They just want to get away
So the sun melts
And you walk out the door
And at long last I remember
That you weren’t there anymore
There’s been years since your touch
And the trees are now ash
And when I get a little better
I’m just close to another crash
But in the cinders and dust
From that old wood
Life will rise again as it should
Yet only in a dream
Will you come to me
And my life is always fleeting
Just as it should be

Circular Anxiety

Sitting idly
No silence in the air
So I’m left in my head
Thoughts in rotation
Every word I’ve said
Autonomously moving
Like the changing of the clock
Tick tock
Tick tock
Why did I?
Why did I not?
If there’s reason for the Viewmaster in my head
Constantly changing between the scenes
Of fixated regret
I can’t make it out or try to get it to change to a different reel
There’s no choice or chance or change to American monuments or creatures of the rainforest
Just monumental fuck ups
And the list of people I’ve made dislike me
I wish I could stop the flash
The fleeting thoughts
But they come and go and tick away
Tick tock
Click of the reel
Constantly in motion and when it stops it begins again
Circular anxiety

Glaring Omission

(red curtain)

don’t forget
we all fall
and there’s nothing left
at the final call
to leave behind
or store away
because we can apologize
some other day
i won’t please you
you can’t speak to me
we don’t understand
the language of being
softer words
than the touch of your tongue
and my mouth writes monologues
that your lips haven’t sung
yet despite the lack
of oxygen
between you and me
i still find far too many allusions

to our own soliloquy

Under the Skin

(no more)

Under my skin
You fell so deep
Lips like honey
Against my skin your kisses seep
Dripping like rain
On tear soaked diary pages
Leave it all to me
Running off as the storm rages
Left to find solace in empty memories
Recalling what you’ve remember a thousand times before
It’s time you realized that what you picture
Isn’t there anymore
You make your way under my skin
And I yearn for those sugar soaked eyes
And warm embraces made of gin
I want to remember
What I want you to think of me
But what’s in my head – the dreams that I see
There’s nothing there that is based in reality
Nothing that we can reach to, from under the skin
Anything that we can make flesh
Anything we can begin

Seasonal Ineffective

(sun sickness)

 

Caught up in a tangle of ninety-three individual days
Circadian cycles passing in some heatstroke haze
Catch up just to fall behind
And see the water fall beneath
In our heads – the only images lies
In some dusty, dried creek
Ripples of forgetful
You take what you can get
See what you still remember
Crowded pathways of those
Just waiting for December
And we sit and wait because
The global warming feels so nice today
The ice caps can melt
But we all take swimming lessons anyway
And why look over the rim of the bomb shelter
To see what the observers have to say
Oh well
We all have to die some day

 

Ninety-three days pass
And I still don’t know when we begun
I’m just waiting for the world the end
Because I’m getting just a little sick of the sun