Sun, 21 January 2018
The Last Jedi provides no shortage of topics for discussion, and this month’s episode of Hyperspace Theories provides the first opportunity for Tricia Barr, B.J. Priester, and Kay to dig deep into the story told in the movie and the storytelling decisions behind it.
First, though, we kick off with a brief Spoilers Beware segment to share our first reactions to the mid-season trailer for Star Wars Rebels. The trailer previews the final seven episodes of the animated series, which concludes its four-season run with two episodes on Monday, February 19, two more on February 26, and a three-episode Rebels “movie” finale on March 6.
Our meta segment about how to speculate wisely often delves into topics such as the storytellers who are creating Star Wars and the sources that inspire them. This time, we have the opportunity to lift the veil after the fact and examine the creative process behind The Last Jedi after the fact. The lens for our discussion is the book The Art of The Last Jedi by Phil Szostak, published the same day as the movie’s release with a foreword by Rian Johnson. The book is filled with a wide variety of intriguing concept art from the film’s production, and its prose provides a behind-the-scenes look at how Johnson’s story came together.
The world-building segment considers the balance that every new Star Wars movie must strike in the new era of annual film releases: the balance between tapping into the power of fans’ nostalgia for the Star Wars stories already told and the need to tell a story that stands on its own within the franchise. Although conventional wisdom suggests that The Force Awakens leaned too heavily on nostalgia and the story structure of A New Hope while The Last Jedi took more risks and broke new ground, we use Episode VIII’s dramatic under-performing at the Chinese box office as an angle to discuss the ways The Last Jedi, and particularly its use of Luke Skywalker, may have relied too much on nostalgia and the expense of the new characters.
Our storytelling segment returns to another idea drawn from The Art of The Last Jedi. In the book, Rian Johnson explains that the character dynamics in the film are structured around three “triangles” of characters, with a principal hero (Rey, Finn, or Poe) at the apex of each. In this episode we discuss Finn’s triangle, in which his character development takes places between the contrasting influences of Rose and DJ in urging him to face and choose his destiny.