Episode Number: 106
Episode Title: The Last Jedi (2017) (listen to this episode)
Transcript by: Susan the Great
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Ana: Hi friends! I’m Ana.
Renay: And I’m Renay.
Ana: And you are listening to Fangirl Happy Hour: Special Star Wars Episode! [dun-dun-duhs the Imperial March]
Ana: Listen, Renay, you gave me carte blanche to start this episode.
Ana: Now you have to live with it.
Renay: [laughing harder] Well, welcome to our Star Wars episode. We have some feedback and updates for you and then we’re gonna discuss a Star War!
Ana: I’m so excited about this. I have so many questions for you, Renay.
Renay: How excited are you on a scale from one to ten?
Ana: A thousand space bees. Or should I say: a thousand midichlorians.
Renay: Oh no.
Ana: Or, space porgs. [gasps] Maybe space porgs should be our new thing?
Renay: We have to move on.
Renay: It’s time for feedback and updates. Ana, do you have any updates for us?
Ana: Yes! On December 19th, we released our new novella, Girl Reporter by Tansy Rayner Roberts, previous guest of this very podcast, and amazing co-host of Galactic Suburbia, and one of my favorite writers. And Girl Reporter is awesome! You should all read it. Go and buy it. Thank you.
Renay: So she’s writing all these stories in this universe. Is she gonna keep writing stories in this universe?
Ana: I hope so.
Renay: Are they ever gonna be collected somewhere?
Ana: Hm. Are you trying to give me more work, Renay?
Ana: It’s a good idea.
Renay: I like that idea.
Ana: Australian superheroes. [gasps] Oh my god!
Renay: I don’t even have to give you ideas. Or more work. Because once I suggest something to you your brain does it for me.
Ana: It’s been so busy lately. We have the short story call for our 2018 season of short stories under the theme “Awakenings” and we have received now over a thousand short stories.
Renay: You are a success! Congratulations.
Ana: Thank you. How about you?
Renay: Well, as you know, our annual survey is live. As of recording we have thirty-four responses. That’s a lot of responses, but I would like even more! Last year I think we had eighty-something.
Ana: Let me just remind you that even though we do the survey every year, the questions are not always the same, so you’re not taking the same survey that you did last year. It’s something different.
Renay: I mean, a lot of questions are the same, because basically we’re just shaking you down for recommendations, but there are some new questions. And obviously our show was different this year! There are places where you can tell us what you think about the differences and you can give us feedback about the work we did this year in particular. And there’s only one required question so you don’t have to answer everything. This is also a really good time for me to promote our Hugo Recommendations sheet, where myself and a bunch of other great fans put eligible items. It operates largely like a recommendation list. If you have things you love, stop by and add them to the sheet, see what else other people have added. It’s really great for finding new work.
Renay: Our very long wait has finally ended. The release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi has arrived. Ana loves Star Wars a whole lot, and I like it okay because I missed out on it when I was a child.
The Last Jedi follows our heroes as they struggle against escaping the super-evil space Nazis in the First Order; Rey goes on a search for Luke; and ladies get to be awesome. That’s what this movie was for me. Ladies get to be awesome. How do you feel overall about this film?
Ana: I understand there are lots of conversations around it and a lot of really big fans of the franchise did not like it. A lot of people have a lot of fair criticism. A lot of other people are just whiny babies. But I truly really loved it.
Renay: Is it better than The Force Awakens for you? Or is it equal to?
Ana: No, The Force Awakens is better, as a movie as a whole, but I loved it a whole lot. I definitely love it more than the prequels. I probably love it equally as I love the originals. How about you, Renay?
Renay: I did not watch any trailers. I did not look up any spoilers. I went into this movie knowing nothing except that the three characters that I loved—Poe, Finn and Rey—were back, Leia had a bigger part, and BB-8 was there. I also knew about BB-H8.
Ana: I didn’t notice that were how people were calling him!
Renay: They called the robot BB-H8 on set and it stuck. It has an actual name, I’m sure, but…
Ana: BB-H8. I love it. Okay.
Renay: Nazi robot.
Now, as everybody probably knows I did not grow up with Star Wars as a thing. I came to Star Wars really late in my twenties because my partner grew up with it and loved it and he introduced it to me. And I liked it okay. I don’t have a super nostalgic connection to these films.
Although I did go see the one film in the theater. I always forget which one it was, it was one of the prequels. And it’s the one where Anakin and Padmé are on a planet and they’re going through some kinda conveyor belt, and you always think that Anakin’s about to lose his arm, but he never does! I don’t remember which one that is, but that’s the one that I went and saw in the theater, having never seen the originals and having seen none of the other films. Because I was like, “Space movie!” No, Renay. No.
Ana: That’s not how it works.
Renay: Yeah, I really think that if somebody at that point in my life had sat me down and made me watch the originals, I would be where you are right now as a fan. But, oh well! It didn’t happen.
When I think about what Star Wars belongs to me, I really think it starts with The Force Awakens, because I love The Force Awakens. I thought it was wonderful. I love the characters, I love the plot, I thought it was super well done and well acted. So I was already predisposed to like this second film. But I also knew it was gonna have a lot of stuff to carry, because we lost Carrie Fisher and it was gonna be very emotional for a lot of people to have to watch this film and see her character knowing that she was gone. And we’re already living in pretty dark times, and this movie was always going to be dark, because just like in the original trilogy, that second film? At the end, it’s failure, right?
Renay: There are really hard revelations; really hard things to have to cope with. The characters mostly survive but they’re in a really dark place and I knew going into this film that it would be like that. So I came out of the film really happy with how they handled all these different moving parts and overall I agree with you that I think The Force Awakens is still a better film. This is very much a middle film that I think only really works as a connecting piece to a trilogy. It definitely feels very much like a piece of something bigger. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. As a Star Wars movie, I think they did a good job. And I liked it.
Ana: You don’t sound very excited about it.
Renay: I had some criticisms? When I’m watching it, I like it, but then when I pull back to think about it I’m just like, “Oh.” And I have lots of movies like that where I love them while I’m watching them, but when I have a discussion about them I’m just like, “Aw man, that didn’t work quite as well as I wanted it to.” So I think it’s one of those films. Which is not a bad thing. Not every film can be everything to everybody.
Ana: Yeah. I agree.
Renay: And I think the people who are having a lot of problems with this film might not really be having a problem with this film. They might just be having problems with the cultural moment we’re in?
Ana: I would say that this movie is…the word that’s coming to mind is “life-altering” and I know how dramatic that sounds. But this movie changes everything about the franchise. At the same time that it feels completely inevitable that it would reach this way. And anyone who has been raging against some of the things that happened in that movie has not been paying attention to this franchise at all with regards to the Jedi, with regards to the topic of heroism, and failure.
But yes, I would say this is a very specific, important part of the franchise, because they just announced there’ll be a new trilogy after this trilogy ends. And I think this will be the movie that everybody will be talking about at some point in time when everything changed. And everything that comes next will be completely different than it was before. Those are my hopes, anyway.
Renay: Well, The Force Awakens: a lot of people complained that it felt too much like A New Hope and critiqued how JJ Abrams is really good at mirroring how seventies and eighties filmmakers made films. A New Hope and The Force Awakens both have the same beats, and I think after this film, it’s going to be very, very interesting to see whether or not this third movie in this specific trilogy breaks out of that mold. Because JJ Abrams is back. So is he going to do the same thing he did with The Force Awakens? Or are we gonna do what you think is gonna happen and are we gonna shift?
Please don’t let him do what he did to Star Trek, that’s for sure. I don’t think I can handle that many lens flares.
But as a cultural object I really think that we’re gonna get more out of this film as time passes. But if you’re very unhappy about it that’s what they made fanfic for.
Ana: Ha ha!
Renay: Out of all of the characters, who is your favorite human character?
Ana: Okay, I’m about to say something that I never thought I was gonna say.
Renay: All right.
Ana: Luke Skywalker.
Renay: Whaaaaaaat!? Okay!
Ana: I actually for the first time ever cared about Luke Skywalker. This movie made this character one thousand times more interesting to me. And considering that he was the hero of the first trilogy I never cared for him that much. And this movie made me care. Made me a fangirl of Luke Skywalker. I finally understand! Even though it is his moment to fall it was the moment where he rose to me.
Renay: Totally unexpected.
Ana: What about you?
Renay: You’re gonna be extremely amused or horrified.
Ana: Please don’t say. Please don’t say it.
Renay: I’m gonna say it, Ana! My favorite character in this film was a hundred percent Kylo Ren.
Ana: Fuck. God. What happened to us? That we are naming the two dudes?
Renay: I can’t really include him as a favorite character without also including Rey, so it would have to really be both of them together and how their storylines interact. But I really found what they did with his storyline in particular, based on the first film, fascinating.
Because I was talking to Zach about this. In the original trilogy where Luke tries to convince Vader to come back to the light, and Vader decides that he just is gonna toss his boss into a pit. All right. Whatever. Sure. It mirrored that scene, but it also didn’t mirror that scene? I thought it was interesting and we’re gonna talk about it in a little bit, but I just loved how they handled that storyline in particular.
I know that’s such a shock. Everyone’s like, “What? Renay likes this Kylo Ren that she’s been complaining about for a year? Or more?” Yes, guys. I’m sorry. It happened. I’m not gonna go write Kylo Ren fanfiction.
Ana: We will have further conversations about this point.
Renay: All right! Favorite non-human characters, go.
Ana: BB-8 again.
Renay: It’s BB-8, our favorite robot pal!
Ana: I loved the porgs.
Renay: I loved the porgs. Me and Zach had a disagreement before we went to see this where I was like, “I can’t wait to see the porgs!” and he was like, “There’s just one porg.” I’m like “There is not gonna be just one porg. Give me a break.” And guess what? I was right!
Ana: [laughs] I mean, I guess Chewbacca does need a new best friend.
Renay: My feelings!
Ana: I know. I mean, if there was one thing that was disappointing to me, there was very little Chewbacca, but at the same time it really does fit with the overall storyline which is goodbye to the old generation.
Renay: I guess if you liked them a whole lot you can go watch the original trilogy again.
Ana: Maybe I will watch it just to see if my feeling for Luke Skywalker have changed to the point where I will engage with the original trilogy in a different way.
Renay: Well, at this point we’re going to tell everybody that if you have not yet seen this film. And I think we’ve established that we both think that you should see it in the theatre if you can, if you have the money and the means to do so. But now we’re going to talk spoilers so if you have not yet seen this film and you plan to and you don’t wanna be spoiled, you need to scoot.
Ana, we’ve arrived at the spoiler section and—
Ana: Oh my god. No, I need you to tell me all about your Kylo Ren feelings. Go. Start.
Renay: Apparently this is where we’re gonna start, okay!
Renay: So in The Force Awakens, I was like, “Oh, this again!” But I think adding the backstory of what happened between him and Luke changed things for me in a very positive way. Because in the first film it was like, “Oh, Snoke corrupted this kid and turned him to the dark side.” No, it wasn’t just that, and it’s not how it works, the Force isn’t some thing that changes you, you change yourself and this film and Kylo Ren’s storyline made the very clear statement that he chose. He made an active choice.
Ana: Multiple times.
Renay: Yes, Luke did what he did and that was wrong, but he didn’t have to make the choice that he did. Ben Solo made the choice to become Kylo Ren. At the very end when Rey is begging him not to turn away from the light again, he once again after he kills Snoke chooses Kylo Ren instead of Ben Solo. He does it again! He does it twice!
Ana: He does it multiple times in this movie. He does it when he knows that his mother is inside a ship and although he doesn’t press the button he also didn’t stop the attack and he knew she was inside that ship. And then again, he knew that she was inside that cave thing; he ordered Luke’s death—he didn’t know that Luke was a Jedi ghost at that point in time; and he ordered the death of the Rebels. There were so many times, people, his family, and Rey, tried to give him a chance, and he just effectively chose not to take that.
Renay: I also thought it was an interesting commentary on the Force and maybe I’m coming to this at a weird angle because I don’t really go here? But a lot of the commentary about the Force, especially in relation to other films where Jedi masters have been like, “Oh, I feel a darkness in him. I feel violence and hate and anger!” And Luke was both doing this but not using his words. I remember how Yoda felt Anakin’s…
Renay: Yeah. He felt it. But like, they never really talk about it? And that was in the prequels and you can argue the prequels are a hot mess, anyway, I guess. But I thought that that was really like a pertinent thing, especially since Yoda shows up in this film, too? Because Luke senses the dark rising in Ben. And then he sneaks into his hut at night to kill him?! Where are your fucking words, dudes? Where is your communication? Where is sitting down with somebody and going, “Hey I see you’re struggling.”?
Ana: That speaks to the flaws of Jedi as a religion dash military order, really, isn’t it? How could that possibly work for the good of the universe? It can’t. So we have seen over and over again throughout this movie, throughout the tie-in novels, that the Jedi are fuck-ups. You remove children from their family; you ask them to not have attachments to people; you don’t have conversations with your pupils; you only say the things like fear and anger turns you to the dark side, when they are very human emotions. What could possibly go wrong with this scenario? Everything! It has gone especially when you call up a force that is present in everything and everybody and allows it only a number of people to be knowledgeable about it. It’s a form of tyranny.
Renay: The thing that this movie really drives home for me is that Luke is right—but maybe for the wrong reasons—that the Jedi Order, Jedi religion, needs to fade away. And in the end, it doesn’t need to go back to what it was. He doesn’t see the reasons himself because he made the mistakes that are inherent to the Jedi Order, period, like the lack of communication. And I thought that was a very interesting tack for the film to take especially since in this film men are a mess.
Ana: Oh my god! That is a whole thing that we need to talk about, but before we do that let’s go back to the Kylo Ren conversation and I want to ask you: so you say that he was your favorite character in the movie, but is it like a favorite in terms of how well it was written? Or do you like the character as a character in terms of do you still believe he can be redeemed? Are you rooting for his redemption? Do you think that there is something that will even happen? Or have they firmly set in stone that Kylo Ren is Kylo Ren.
Renay: No, I think that’s why I like his character. I like his character specifically in this film, because he makes active choices and the film shows him making active choices. It shows other characters making active choices, but since those characters start out on the quote-unquote good guys side, we expect that from them. We expect their active choices to continue being, “Oh, I’m siding with the Rebels, oh I want freedom and peace and none of this Nazi bullshit.” So I think he was my favorite character because it was really complicated and I thought that Adam Driver did an amazing job, for example. So when I think about like emotional resonance that’s where it came from. Whether I think he can be redeemed or not—I don’t know if that’s the most interesting question. The more interesting question is what’s he gonna do now that he is the Supreme Leader? What’s he gonna do with that choice?
So going back to Return of the Jedi where at the very end, Darth Vader scoops up Evil Mushroom Dude and tosses him down a pit. Suddenly there is no leader of this group. Vader wasn’t really the leader! He was just a lackey to this Evil Mushroom Dude.
Ana: But at the same time, what is really interesting there is that you think that you vanquish the enemy and everything is gonna be okay and obviously we see now that nothing was okay. That things got actually worse after that so it’s not about one person. So I am not sure that Kylo Ren becoming the Supreme Leader will make any difference because there is this whole apparatus around the First Order.
Renay: So I’m just curious what he’s gonna do with that, because remember in that first trilogy we didn’t see what happened. It was just like, “Oh, Evil Mushroom Guy’s vanquished, Vader’s dead, we win.” In this one, Kylo Ren deliberately takes the mantle of the First Order, so in a lot of ways he is the First Order now. And so what is he gonna do with that specific choice?
Ana: Well, he says goodbye to Darth Vader, because during the first movie it felt very childish in a way, because he was living up to his grandfather’s personality—wanting to be like him. And this time he actively says goodbye to that and he tells Rey to join him so that they can change everything. So he just wants to destroy tradition, destroy the past, get rid of the Jedi, get rid of all of that. But of course in a way that it is less than ideal. But I don’t know how he’s gonna use the First Order to do that.
Renay: He wants Rey to give up everything and destroy the past and let go of connections, but Rey doesn’t want to let go of her relationships. She doesn’t find any value at all in going it alone, and that’s pretty much Kylo Ren’s mode of operation at this point. Alone at the top! And is a fresh start really that valuable in that case?
I mean I really do that I liked him the most because I think his character arc has the most to chew on in terms of being able to explore motives?
Like Zach made the point of, “Who the fuck is Snoke and where the fuck did Snoke come from? How did Ben Solo end up in the clutches of these people?”
Ana: Especially with the family that he has.
Renay: Was he targeted? Was there some kind of weird coup? Was there was some spies? Like how did that happen? And that’s just really unclear and since we don’t have his origin, while we do have like Rey’s origin and Finn’s origin and to maybe a lesser extent Poe’s, there’s just a big question mark there. And so I think that’s why I came out with him as my favourite character.
Ana: Are you gonna ship him with Rey?
I did also like that the film made a point of having Kylo Ren tell Rey that her parents just threw her away, because there was all those big debates about, “Oh, who are Rey’s parents?”
Ana: This was the best part of the film. We talked about my favorite development was Luke Skywalker but for me the best moment in the film, the best development in the film was that bit of knowledge because it changes everything. We had been so involved in finding out, “Oh Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter!” or being, Han Solo and Princess Leia’s daughter long lost and mind-erased, blah blah blah and people just talking about, “Maybe there’s another Skywalker out there somewhere!” And then she’s—but she’s a nobody.
Renay: Or, the other theory that I saw, was that she was somehow related to Obi Wan.
Ana: Always the big names! The big heroes! And she’s just nobody like all of us. It just opens up for just about anybody to become a hero in this world.
Renay: Yeah, I liked that they made that point specifically because at the very end of the film where there’s a little boy and he’s sweeping at the stables where Finn and Rose escaped from. He’s sweeping and he uses the Force to pull the broom back to his hands.
Ana: Like it’s nothing! Like it’s absolutely nothing, right?
Renay: And part of the problem with the Force is that it was held so closely by this really protective, abusive order, and you could only use it in certain contexts. But if you give it to everybody what changes? Although Rey did steal the books and so of course Yoda wasn’t going to have a big stress out about burning down the tree! Who gives a shit! The books aren’t even there. But I really think that Rey is somebody. Rey is herself.
Renay: Rey has values and morals and people care about her and she cares about people. And she doesn’t need to be somebody famous or important to matter.
Ana: Or be of a particular bloodline which this entire franchise has been so involved with the Skywalkers. Everything has been about the Skywalkers in one shape or form. And I think it’s fantastic that we are completely moving away from this! And I guess like so many people growing up with this, with Luke Skywalker as their hero and then as their idol, all of a sudden he’s no longer.
Ana: He kind of like falls from grace, because he makes such huge mistakes and then he’s so ashamed and feeling so guilty that unlike a true hero, quote-unquote, he just moves away from the world to hide out.
Renay: Who was teaching these people emotions? Your gonna worry about your nephew going to the Dark Side, and your answer is going to be to try to murder him instead of just sitting down and having a conversation? Like, seriously, the old Jedi ways need to just die. It’s time. Goodbye. Forever. Let Rey reinterpret it for a new age. Let the Jedi Order be about not trying to excise emotions from ourselves but to be full of emotion, because when you care about people, when you have compassion and empathy, that’s always gonna win out over emotional distance.
Renay: The Jedi Order made a massive mistake when they rooted their whole religion in this idea of emotional purity where you just didn’t have emotions or feel emotions. You didn’t have connection to the world. You can’t be above the world but still be in the world. Needless to say I’m not a fan of the Jedi Order, I guess.
Ana: No, no, I am not either. So the two biggest themes of this movie I would say are failure.
Ana: Which is again a thing that has run throughout this entire franchise so far. It’s nothing new. But the other one is toxic masculinity that is so in your face to the point where I know exactly what they were doing with Poe, but oh boy did I hate him in this movie.
Renay: I was a little conflicted because number one, he was being hot-headed and rude and insubordinate.
Ana: Yeah, and I know that many times we have rooted for the exactly same character. And I wonder if the generals had been men if I would have felt differently. But because they were two women I felt it very personally.
Renay: I just thought whoever wrote the screenplay maybe didn’t handle it well, because what was the benefit of not telling Poe the plan?
Ana: There’s absolute none whatsoever. That was a mistake. From a character that shouldn’t have made that mistake. From everything that we know about her that mistake should have not happened, but they needed it to happen so the story could flow.
Renay: This goes back to communication. You have to communicate. But here, the communication breaks down. It just doesn’t work. And that was my biggest problem with Poe’s storyline was that they just didn’t tell him and everybody else on the fucking ship what was going on. Like what’s our plan!? What are we doing!? I don’t understand why it had to be such a big fucking secret.
Ana: No, it didn’t have to be, but it created drama. It felt forced, and it effectively led to the destruction of the Resistance completely. That lack of communication. That then led to Poe’s actions, Poe and Finn’s. It was Poe and Finn’s actions that destroyed the Resistance because it delayed the evacuation.
Renay: And then because Finn and Rose were on the ship, and Poe knew they were on the ship and the guy that Finn and Rose got to help them was a turncoat, and they told him fucking everything. It was just this awful mass of miscommunication or a lack of communication. You have to communicate!
Ana: Lack of competence, really. And in the beginning too with Poe’s decision to go against Leia’s orders and he lost all of the bombers. I don’t think that he has faced the consequences of his acts at all. Instead the movie used it as a learning curve for him to learn from these two ladies. Which I love! I loved that Laura Dern’s character and Leia use this to teach Poe to be a better man and a better leader and a better commander, but also this dude made some terrible mistakes, ladies. I don’t know. But he learned a huge lesson, I guess.
Renay: So my problem was both basically that Holdo didn’t tell Poe, or I guess anybody else on the ship. Because otherwise how would Poe commit mutiny if the other people understood what was going on? what they were doing. I don’t understand why they didn’t tell him? But then on the other hand why did Poe tell Finn and Rose what the fuck was going on so they could spill the beans to turncoat guy, who they don’t know whether they can—I don’t know, it’s very complicated and I’m not sure I would have done it this way. Like maybe they didn’t tell Poe because they were afraid of exactly what happened! That he would go haring off to do another plan and spill the beans, which happened, anyway.
Ana: The thing is I’m really tired of the hot-headed hero, anyway. And even though I loved Poe’s character in the first movie, in this movie it just felt wrong. Not only for his decisions, but because his decisions… Ugh, I dunno.
Renay: I just wanted him to admit he fucked up.
Renay: And he didn’t admit he fucked it up.
Ana: I don’t think he did, yeah. I don’t think he did at all.
Renay: The women told him he fucked up, but he never like admitted it himself I think that was my issue.
Ana: That’s it exactly.
Renay: He finally learned his lesson at the end when he pulls the fighters back away from the front line and Finn is like “No, no, I’m gonna kill ’em,” and then get Rose hurt because she’s gotta save his ass.
Ana: The women did a lot of emotional work. Rey, Rose, Leia. A lot of it. And Rey did it with Ben Solo and with Luke Skywalker. And Leia did with Poe. And Rose with Finn. And I loved the ladies. I love the ladies so much, don’t get me wrong! And I loved that the movie examined that toxic masculinity, but that left the ladies in a really difficult position, and they were like so—such awesome characters, awesome leaders, but again taking care of the guys. So in a way is this movie too gendered?
Renay: I don’t know. I’ve never seen a film deliberately address that the women are doing emotional labor and I think this film does? I thinl Rose specifically at the end where she tells Finn that they’re not gonna win by fighting what they hate. Although on the other hand, listen: I want dudes to stop trying to write romance.
Ana: [sigh] Yeah.
Renay: My girl Rose deserved a better romance than that! What the fuck?!
Ana: Yeah, there was no actual build-up and I didn’t feel any chemistry between them either.
Renay: And they could’ve put it in there. It would’ve been fine! They’re good actors and they could have made it work. Rose deserved better. Finn deserved better, too. They both deserved better!
Ana: Are they writing a love triangle?
Renay: I don’t know what they’re doing, but if they’re trying they’re fucking it up. Give it to fandom. Let them fix it. Come on, hire some fans, guys.
Ana: So what did you think of Rose?
Renay: I loved Rose. Oh, she was lovely.
Ana: She was so nice, wasn’t she?
Renay: She was both compassionate and empathetic, but also hard as fuck. Did you see how she took down Finn with that shock thing? [laughs]
Ana: She was like, “Uhh, excuse me, you’re doing something wrong.” Boom.
Renay: I loved her connection with the kids on that planet, even if that whole interlude felt strange. It didn’t feel the same as the rest of the film?
Ana: No, at all. At all.
Renay: Also I would like you to explain a scene to me, because you know this franchise. What the fuck was going on with the scene of Rey with all the mirrors?
Ana: I have no fucking clue.
Renay: Why was that scene there? Why was it there? What was it trying to accomplish? I’m asking about the franchise because I’m thinking, “Well maybe there’s something that explains this in the mythology?”
Ana: Well to me it looked like Harry Potter looking in the Mirror of Erised to try to find his parents which was exactly what she’s trying to do right? And she was looking at herself, and she felt that she could find her parents behind that screen, behind that mirror. But then in that mirror she just saw herself, which I think is a prelude to the realisation that she’s just herself. She’s not her parents. I didn’t think there was anything in particular with regards to a piece of mythology within the story, but if there is I would like to know more.
Renay: I was very confused by that scene. Also, I was very…not confused, that’s not the right word. When Luke is trying to teach Rey to reach out for the Force, he is just really terrified when she reaches for the Dark and doesn’t shy away from it. But I think that’s the problem: going back to the Jedi Order because he saw that sort of raw power in Ben and he’s seeing in Rey, and it scares him. That fear? What is the line? Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Well why are you so fucking afraid of the Dark Side? I mean I get it. I get why you’re afraid, because they’ve done some shitty things, but why do you teach fear of the Dark Side to people that you don’t wanna have any emotion? Because when you teach somebody fear, you give the thing they’re supposed to be afraid of more power.
Renay: I don’t know.
Ana: I feel like maybe Rey will be a superior Jedi, a superior Force user, by knowing the Dark Side. Because when you are afraid of something—you don’t know it—it has more power over you. If she’s not scared of it, if she knows it, she makes a choice. Just like Ben Solo chooses the Dark Side having known the Light Side of the Force. Are we assuming then that Luke Skywalker was not the last Jedi?
Renay: I think he was the last Jedi of the Order.
Ana: Of the Order.
Renay: Whatever Rey decides to become, whatever the people after her who use the Force decide to become, I’m not sure they’re gonna be the same type of Jedi if they keep the name that that Order specifically was. The Jedi Order that Luke knew and Anakin knew, that Obi Wan knew? I think that order died. Because you said in Brazil that the title’s plural.
Ana: It was, yeah.
Renay: We know from the film because Leia survives that attack on the ship, right? She uses the Force herself to pull herself back into the ship.
Ana: Which, by the way, did you like that scene?
Renay: I cried a little.
Ana: I loved that scene.
Renay: She’s not a Jedi. She’s a Force user, but not a Jedi. Luke is a Jedi. He’s a Force user, but a Jedi specifically. So I really think what the title meant was the end of this Order. The Order itself has fallen and now they get to make something new. Because this movie is about failure and we see the failure of the Order because once again Luke doesn’t communicate with Rey and he storms in on Rey and Kylo Ren having their little Jedi connected mind-moment and is kind of a asshole about it. And then Rey leaves so he’s failed again. And I really feel like that’s what that means. She steals the books and she goes off to make her power her own. To make something new.
Ana: Taking a detour to try and save someone else.
Renay: Mm-hm, and I think we see that mirrored as well in the little kid, who at the very end uses the broom? UIses the Force to pop that broom back into his hand. What better way to show a new beginning than to show a kid with that power?
Ana: Oh yeah, absolutely, which makes me wonder what’s gonna happen next. Because the Resistance is done. It’s a handful of people. Luke Skywalker, the last hope, has died. Are we gonna see a huge jump in time?
Renay: I don’t know what they’re gonna do next, although I did like that Luke’s last statement to Kylo Ren was, “I’m gonna fucking bother you the rest of your life.”
Ana: That was so great, man. That scene, that fight, and then Luke not being there
Renay: I did not call that at all.
Ana: I did call it because at one point, Kylo Ren moves his feet and you can see the red and then Luke did the same and you couldn’t.
Renay: Oh, I didn’t notice that.
Ana: So I said, “Oh there’s something happening here.” And Russell was like “I think he’s already dead,” but he wasn’t dead. Yet. At that point, he was just projecting. But he dies later, looking at the two suns from Tatooine and saying goodbye to Leia. That was so sad, but I’m so happy that they got to have that scene between Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Imagine watching that being Mark Hamill.
So I don’t know what they’re going to do with the next movie with Carrie Fisher because part of me feels like maybe she should have died in this movie. Maybe not in that scene where she’s flying off with like nothing, but maybe she could have taken the role that Laura Dern had and sacrificed herself in the big ship and big huge exit. Because Han Solo had his movie. Luke Skywalker had his movie. But we’re not gonna see a Leia send-off. That makes me so sad. I don’t know how they are gonna do it. If they start well in the future, it is possible that she’ll just be dead.
Renay: It’s not gonna jump to the future. Not that far. So it’s in pre-production right now.
Ana: That was my understanding.
Renay: I don’t know what they’re gonna do. I assume maybe that they’ve already filmed some stuff, and probably they’ll just rewrite it around the reality. I mean it sucks but that’s how it is. I don’t want them to put her in there CGI. No, thank you.
Ana: It’s such a shame. She was so great in this. I loved to see her as a mentor. I loved to see her talk with Holdo. I loved to see their last conversation of two commanders having a talk about their last actions and that was so beautiful and made me cry.
Like Laura Dern’s character felt incredibly awesome, but I don’t think the movie did her justice that much? Maybe possibly because Poe was such a big head. I just came out of it not liking Poe at all. I understand what they were doing with his character but—but anyway! So. Ships. Do we have any non-canon ships?
Renay: I mean I still ship Finn and Poe pretty hard. Like at the very beginning where Finn is waking up and Poe is like, “Oh god, let’s get you some clothes” and then gives him his jacket!
Renay: And his droid. Again!
Ana: I think they have more chemistry than Finn with the other two.
Renay: I really love how much Finn and Rey care about each other, though.
Ana: It’s just so cool because they just kept trying to find each other through the movie, which I really loved that, too.
Renay: Listen, I don’t hate the idea of Finn and Rose! I just wish the movie had done a better job!
Ana: Yes, I agree.
Renay: Men. Stop trying to write romance. Hire a romance writer. There are millions of them and they will help you. Just hire consultants.They will help you with the awkward sexual tension, the lingering gazes, they will help! They will help you.
Ana: Yeah, but didn’t you think that Finn was caught by surprise by that kiss and the declaration from Rose?
Renay: Yes, I know, and that’s why I think it sucks. I watched Rose’s story really closely, like where did that come from?
Renay: If it was only from her side I wanna see it from her side.
Ana: Yeah, but there was nothing there. There was like a buddy relationship.
Renay: We see plenty of her perspective, so why wasn’t that included? I don’t know! I’m just really picky with romance in non-romance movies.
Ana: Me, too. So, what was your your favorite surprise? For example, Yoda showing up. Leia using the Force to get herself inside a ship was awesome. Luke being a ghost during that fight.
Renay: BB-8 using a a giant fighter to shoot people.
Ana: [laughing] That was so awesome! [laughs]
Renay: I loved BB-8 in this movie. He shot people with coins!
Ana: I know! He was so cute!
Renay: Also probably all the jokes.
Ana: I loved all the jokes, too. And so many people saying it was too jokey, and I’m like, “First, have you seen any Star Wars movies before? Because they’re all like this. Terrible jokes. And two, I loved them!”
Renay: The whole scene with Chewie and the Porgs, where he was trying to eat and they’re just—
Ana: It was adorable. It was hilarious.
Renay: You’ve seen my jokes; my level of joke skills, so of course I love all the jokes in this film. And when Luke was like, “Where are you from?” and Rey is like “Nowhere.” and he’s like “No really” and she’s like “Jaaku” and he’s like “That IS nowhere.” I’m like [laughs]
Renay: Listen I laughed and had to like smother it because nobody else in my area of the theater laughed. That was a good one guys! What are you doing!
Ana: It was a totally good one, I loved that one, too.
Another disappointment I had was there was so much build-up for Phasma, because Gwendoline Christie does so much marketing publicity for these movies. And she’s awesome! But Phasma was in this movie for like two seconds, and she did nothing.
Renay: No, she got to be super mean.
Ana: But I wanted more of Phasma.
Renay: I mean yeah, but she’s gonna come back. Don’t worry.
Ana: I hope so. And how about Hux? He was so ridiculous throughout.
Renay: OH MY GOD! That was my favorite scene. That was it. The very beginning where Poe calls the ship and talks to Hux. I almost peed.
Ana: Did he call him Captain Hugs? He totally did, didn’t he? I’m pretty sure he called him Hugs, just to troll him. [laughs]
Renay: But then again, one of my favorite scenes is where Luke and Yoda had a big discussion. That was also a great scene. But then also there was the shirtless Kylo Ren scene where I was very conflicted but interested!
Ana: Agreed. I will have to admit that for that about two milliseconds there when Rey and Kylo were fighting back to back I think I might have shipped them. For two seconds. I stared into the Dark Side.
Renay: But you came out. You came out the other side.
Ana: Yeah, victorious and on the Light Side and I say no to Kylo Ren and Rey.
Renay: I’m sure there’s plenty of great Reylo fic out there.
Ana: But yeah, I think those are my basic thoughts.
Renay: All right. How many space bees are you gonna give this film?
Ana: Four space porgs. How many do you give?
Renay: I’m also gonna give it four space porgs.
Ana: Yes! [laughs] I win!
Renay: Okay. Before we continue discussing Star Wars: The Last Jedi for another hour and a half, we’re going to end this episode here. It was a great movie. We definitely think you should see it.
Ana, do you wanna tell everybody what we’ll be discussing next time?
Ana: Next time we’ll be back from our holidays and our hiatus, and we’ll be talking about everything that happened during the holidays, and our thoughts about the upcoming year’s media. And then we’ll discuss what stuff we’ll be looking forward to reading and watching in the new year! And then we will start a very special readalong in which we will read one story each time belonging to the Robots vs Fairies anthology.
Renay: I hope that everybody who was awaiting Star Wars enjoyed watching it. I know I did.
Ana: It was great. I cried. I laughed. I actually started crying the moment that Leia showed up on screen.
Renay: At least we’re still on brand! Our show art is by Ira and our transcripts are by Susan. You can read all the available transcripts up to now at fangirlhappyhour.com. Our segment break music is by Chuki Beats and Boxcat Games.
Ana: If you had any thoughts about Star Wars or anything else, you can send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please come chat with us at @fangirlpod on Twitter, too.
Renay: You can also support us on Patreon for as little as one dollar a month. If you get a level above one dollar, there are cool rewards. Like choosing Vault episodes!
Ana: Our annual survey is available for all space bees to take. We would appreciate your thoughts very much.
Renay: Drink some water and think about making a 2018 resolution that you’ll drink some water before every meal, too.
Ana: I have an exercise for you, too. Think about what you would name your Porg. Mine would be Mr. Darcy.
Renay: Thanks for listening, space bees!
Ana: See you next episode.
Ana: You said I wouldn’t have to do that anymore!
Renay: No, I said you would have to do it next last time. This time you have to do it.
Ana: My god. [crying]
Ana: Your face. Is giving me the heebie-jeebies.
Renay: Time, time is too hard!