Saturday I was reading through some fan reviews of Star Wars The Last Jedi and noticed immediately how polarizing this latest movie seems to have been. When I checked, only 57% of the fan reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were positive. That surprised me, so I dug in a bit to see what people were saying they didn’t like about the film. This brought me to a conclusion about the problem with Star Wars fans, and it’s been a problem for a long, long time.
After the original trilogy came out there were 16 years before the prequels began. That’s a long time for people to grow and develop from their childhood memories, and so when Episode 1-3 came out they were roundly reviled by the fans. I wrote about this a few years ago in fact. People remember the original trilogy mostly through their feelings about it. Those memories were formed in childhood during impressionable ages, and so when something new comes along that doesn’t make you feel the same way, you feel disappointed.
However, the prequel episodes gave fans exactly what they had wanted. We wanted more Star Wars, and Lucas gave it to us. As we watched the original movies again and again we wanted to know more about Anakin and the Emperor. We wanted to know more about the Jedi and the Sith, and all those things that were only briefly touched on in the main trilogy. The prequels did just that. They showed us the story of Anakin, the Emperor, the Jedi and the Sith. They showed us the story that happened before, and filled in all the gaps that we had been imagining in our minds for years.
In many ways the prequels were simply fan service. We all knew how the story ended, we had seen it dozens of times. But we wanted the backstory, and when we got it, it didn’t feel like the original movies. The original trilogy had plot holes and and mystery. They had vague references to events and characters that left us wanting more. Yet, when we got what we asked for, people decided they didn’t like it. Suddenly we had all the explanations that we wanted. We had the dreaded midichlorians, an image of young Vader, the fall of the Jedi, and the rise of the Empire through the deeds of the evil Sith lord Darth Sidious.
What people fail to realize is that the original trilogy was beloved, despite not giving us answers. When we were 10 years old we didn’t care about long explanations about how the Jedi fell. In our imaginations we created those stories dozens of times. That’s why when the prequels came about, I saw them for what they were. The explanation of what we had all been creating in our heads for 16 years.
Now, a whole new rise of complaints are rising up regarding The Last Jedi, and it’s mostly because people are saying that they want exactly what they said they didn’t want before.
I’m going to put a SPOILER break in here, because I’ll be talking about the latest film.