Say you lived in a household amongst whom the last full viewing of a Star Wars movie was somewhere in the 1980s. Imagine also, within this culturally retarded environment, a moment of parental carelessness, resulting in the accidental, partial screening of Phantom Menace, and the resulting blanket rejection of the entire franchise across key target demographics.
Lastly, within this barren, isolated landscape, picture the tender, green shoots of curiosity – germinating in the swampy midst of the younger populations – for The Last Jedi.
This is a delicate and sublime moment, when the force awakens in the darkest and remotest recesses of the empire. And yet, precisely because of the chronically malnourished environment, this moment presents itself with complex needs.
Does we rush to the nearest cinema, light sabres blazing, and pick up where the rebel alliance left off? Or do we subject ourselves to discipline and training, immersing ourselves first in the histories of legend? Both have risks. With something like 16 hours of screen time to catch up on, we fear that the first option may be too much for the young initiate, who may be overwhelmed by the labyrinthine narrative of false alliances, swapped identities and oedipal complexes.
On the other hand, sitting through all that just to catch up? Good grief. The force would buckle under the sheer weight of the task, before it even tasted battle. Besides, it won’t leave her any the clearer: the backstory barely stands on its own two feet, even if we skip the entire first reboot trilogy.
And, if we were to attempt the entire series, where exactly ought one to start? Is it best viewed in the order in which it was first produced, or in the diegetic order of the narrative?
I mean, we could always just go see the movie. But I don’t know if we’re going to get another shot at this. If we get it wrong, we may be forever marooned on Tatooine: the worst second act of all time.
Tatooine haunts the entire franchise, much as the two term Lange government haunts the Labour Party. Every time the franchise gets another outing, it’s there in the background, like a shipwreck, a warning to everyone that the forces of darkness could emerge at any time.
It’s a big risk. In the words of Robert McKee “Why the fuck should I waste my two precious hours on your movie?”