And he never was, and probably never will be.
This is a rant about rants, particularly Star Wars: The Last Jedi rants, but I’m sure there will be spillover into the dozen other facets of American culture that have spawned squabblers and detractors.
This is an opinionated reflection on how we’ve been reflecting our opinions on the latest Star Wars film. (This is also my return to blogging after quite some time, so I’m a bit rusty with words.)
You’re right, it’s not your Star Wars.
Many of the negative reviews of The Last Jedi resonate with similar themes. They’re either overtly accusative, claiming that the film reeks of SJW (social justice warrior) overtones and agendas, or they simply claim in so many words that “it’s not my Star Wars.” (As an aside, I’m not even going to get into the SJW stuff. It’s too silly.)
Luke Skywalker is a Jedi. He would never act like this!
This film defecates on the original essence of Star Wars!
Rian Johnson robbed us of every reveal J.J. Abrams teed up.
The qualms go on and on.
You see, The Force Awakens didn’t have this problem. It hit all the same story beats as A New Hope. It showcased a spectacular balance of old and new, delivering all of the “now there’s my Star Wars” moments any fan-boy would dream of.
Ooooh. It’s the Millennium Falcon! WHAT!? It’s Han and Chewie!
Lookie there… it’s Vader’s helmet!
and finally… OMFG, it’s THE MARK HAMILL returning as my Luke Skywalker, the reclusive Jedi Master prepared to train Rey and save the friggin’ galaxy once again!
Don’t get me wrong– The Last Jedi is a wildly flawed film. It’s full of plot holes, questionable character development, and it’s quite a long flick. But it’s both great and terrible on its own merits, not because it didn’t intentionally tickle your nostalgic bones in all the right places.
The truth is… Star Wars was never yours, or mine.
For decades, Star Wars was George’s. It was his story. His universe. He dreamed it, he built it, he blessed it, and he shared it with all of us. Then one day, as he so wished, George sold it to Disney. The story is now in their hands to tell as they choose.
It’s still not our Star Wars, and it never will be.
We’re entitled to nothing.
Listen. It’s just a movie. Also, it’s a kid’s movie. It’s a soap opera set in space. If you’re engaging in serious heated digital Facebook debates over this, you might be missing the point.
In fact, I almost didn’t write this piece because at the end of the day, I don’t really care that much. I have other things I could do with my time than rant about rants.
Though with each troll comment I consumed about The Last Jedi, I started to hear echoes of other issues that have been popping up on the web over the past 12 months. I started to see a trend in how people complain publicly about the world. I noticed how entitled certain people felt. Where does this entitlement come from? Why do we feel that we’re owed certain things?
I saw this with trivial stuff in video games and television.
Certainly not MY Zelda! (oh, my bad, did you develop the first Legend of Zelda?)
And I saw it with political and social issues.
That’s not MY NFL! (well, again, it never was yours.)
Don’t take away MY healthcare… MY job… (for better or worse, healthcare is not a constitutional right, nor is a job.)
Nope, not MY President. (Do you live in the United States? Yes? Well, like it or not, that is your President.)
We’re entitled to have our own opinions, and our own worldview, but none of us are entitled to our own world. We share it, as others share it with us.
The NFL and its many moving parts share the sport with us. We all shared in the democratic process that elected Trump.
The same can be said of creators and story-tellers. We’re not entitled to our perfect ending, our ideal story arc, or our desired portrayal of a character or theme. We’re not entitled to things being “exactly as we remembered them.” Our world will change, the story-tellers will change, and because of that, the stories will change.
We can’t control that, and shouldn’t. The creator chooses to share his/her story with us, and we can then choose to listen. We don’t have to. No one is forcing us. (No pun intended.)
If you don’t like the story being told, simply stop listening, and focus on telling your own story. That’s the only thing you own– tell it well.
Let’s be more mindful of how we express entitlement.
Note: This is not directed towards everyone who vocally didn’t like the film. I’ve read a lot of great negative, well-stated and considerate criticism of The Last Jedi. Many people eloquently bashed the film on its own merits, and I respect that.