Category: Star Wars

More daft Star Wars Mary Sue claims

 

Some nonsense from the Castalia House Blog about The Force Awakens. Can you guess the character that upsets them the most? Ok that was almost too easy to guess: it’s Rey of course because she’s a girl – oops sorry because she’s a “Mary sue” (fair enough if you guessed Finn).

The writer, Jasyn Jones aka Gamergate’s ‘Daddy Warpig’, says they’ve watched the film twice yet oddly they seem confused about multiple details. Oddly it is the same details you’ll find in similar pieces around the internet. I can imagine somebody making a coherent argument that Rey is a Mary-Sue of one kind or another but, this isn’t it:

“When first she meets another primary character, Rey saves both their lives, even in the face of his bumbling machismo which threatens to get them both killed.”

Rey has grown up in a rough barter town and can surprisingly look after herself. OK, not actually surprisingly. As for ‘saving their lives’, she knocks over a couple of people with her staff and then helps Finn runaway when the town gets attacked.

“Then she flies a starship for the very first time (completely untrained)”

Huh? We know Rey is a pilot from the complex plot device where she says “I’m a pilot”. Why does he think she is completely untrained? Yes, when Finn asks if she has ‘ever flown this thing?’ about the Millennium Falcon that she hasn’t but that’s because ‘no one has flown this thing in years’. She clearly knows the ship and has been on the ship before and is very familiar with the layout of the ship. Nor is her flying faultless, she struggles initially, damaging buildings as she takes off.

Oh just watch the film:

“and—though a rank amateur—she pulls off several maneuvers Han Solo would have had trouble duplicating even on his very best day as a pilot.”

Yeah because Han would struggle because…, oh yeah we have no idea whether Han Solo would have trouble duplicating those moves because we have never seen any equivalent in-atmosphere chase in the original films. The most spectacular moves are when she pilots the ship through the remains of the ruined star destroyers – presumably very difficult but they are ruins that she knows well. Quite why he thinks Rey is a rank amateur is anybody’s guess (but probably because she is a woman).

 “Then she goes to repair the ship—no mention how an untutored scavenger from the back of the back of beyond knows how to service a damned starship, “

Good point. I can’t imagine where somebody who grew up surrounded by wrecked starships and who we meet finding salvage in a Star Destroyer and who sells parts of ruined starships to make ends meet and who knows the various parked ships in her town well, could possibly learn about the mechanics of starships. Seriously, has he even watched the TRAILER? What do we see Rey doing even before the movie was released? (Hint: it’s climbing through spaceships).

” gets to yell at Finn because he’s so damn incompetent.”

Finn who we know isn’t a mechanic or pilot.

“And she speaks droid,”

Again – hardly odd given her background.

 “AND she speaks Wookie. “

Lots of people speak Wookiee. I guess in the US, speaking multiple languages may seem like a freaky superpower but it really isn’t.

“And she releases monsters to kill bad guys (which she thought was the wrong thing to do, but turns out she was mistaken as the monsters eat up all the bad guys.”

So now messing up also counts against her?

 “(This is the only time she’s ever wrong, in the entire movie.) “

Aside from all the other times, like running towards the wrong ship when trying to get away from the tie-fighter attack (see above), getting captured after running away, or the whole staying on Jakku because her parents are going to be back for her soon – something which she has been wrong about ALL HER LIFE.

” Finn wants to flee like a coward, Rey wants to stand like a hero.”

Yeah guessed he missed the bit when Rey freaks out and runs off and then gets captured. Both the characters do this. Now, we know why – it’s because Star Wars has been obsessed with the whole hero’s journey thing since the original. So Finn has to turn away from the call and Rey has to as well and just as HAN FRICKIN‘ SOLO does in episode 4.

“She’s suddenly able to read people’s mind with The Force, as well as do that funky Jedi Mind Trick, all with absolutely no training. “

So not only has this guy somehow not seen episode 7, he seems not have seen episode 4. We all see the training Luke gets: a few swishes with a lightsabre in a blast helmet – that’s it. Yet before long, he uses the force to blow up the Death Star in an x-wing (something he has never flown before). And look – not only is Luke flying an unfamiliar spaceship but he is doing so as part of a formal military force on a life-or-death military operation based solely on his experience shooting wamp rats.

But how! Let’s ask Obi-wan: Use the force, let go.

Dippy hippy pseudo-Taoist claptrap it might be but Star Wars has always been clear about using the force: it is connected to feelings and emotional states. Luke’s training is even shown in episode 5 as a process of unlearning.

Rey doesn’t necessarily need much training to do what she does. Nor do the previous films imply that about the force.

“And then free-climbs an infinitely high wall without a HINT of vertigo or hesitation. “

You mean like the way she climbs through the innards of a wrecked Star destroyer IN THE TRAILER which apparently the author missed. Again, it’s right there – a fact established about the character (she can climb stuff and is used to climbing stuff) from BEFORE THE MOVIE WAS RELEASED.

Now I’m stuck with an image of Daddy Warpig standing at the bottom of the cliff face shouting ‘Mary-Sue’ at this woman as she climbs:

“And then she defeats the super-evil, super-competent, been-training-in-The-Force-for-over-ten-years evil Sith dude in a lightsaber battle.”

And then she… in the actual movie rather than the weird version Daddy Warpig appears to have watched (twice!) she defeats, by the skin of her teeth, an emotionally unstable Kylo Ren (with erratic powers) who has already just had one fight and who wants her alive AND the planet is falling to bits. She spends much of this fight sequence RUNNING AWAY from him.

“And, oh yes, the orange-nerf-football-headed alien they meet in the cantina has found Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber (last seen falling into the vast and unplumbed depths of the cloud giant Bespin), but the lightsaber of the famed and legendary LAST JEDI is psychically calling… FOR REY! And it gives her SPECIAL SNOWFLAKE STRONG WOMAN FATED TO BE BETTER THAN EVERYONE ELSE AND NEVER BE WRONG VISIONS! Just for her.”

Gosh a character in a Star Wars film having some sort of *destiny*? I mean the only possible reason is that she is a Mary-Sue and it can’t possibly be because that’s one of the major themes of all three of the original films and all three of the prequels (twice over with the prequels in that the destiny also carries over to the original three).

WOW! Obviously Rey is the bestest thing that has ever been. She’s never wrong, better than everyone at everything, and the most special, unique, coolio-awesomest person in the entire galaxy.

Nope. She is repeatedly wrong. She makes errors, other characters misjudge her, she doubts herself, she runs away, she gets captured and so on. She displays some remarkable abilities but not substantially more than Luke Skywalker and unlike young Anakin Skywalker, doesn’t accidentally fly a spaceship for the first time ever as a child and destroy the key spaceship in an orbital blockade thus ending a robot invasion.

[OK, yes I reckon R2 did all that but then I think BB-8 probably is running everything in Episode 7. Hey, let’s leave my delusions out of this]

“In other words, Rey is the Mary-Sueist Mary Sue to have ever Mary Sued. Ever.”

Aside from Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace you mean and only marginally (on points) ahead of Luke Skywalker in A New Hope, you mean? Why, it’s almost like there was some intangible quality to Luke and Anakin that makes Daddy Warpig OK with THEIR remarkable abilities (in a sci-fi fantasy film series based on magic-using chosen ones) but not OK with Rey’s. Oh what, oh what could it be?

She is the single best example of modern Hollywood’s “Strong Woman Character What Don’t Need No Mans” trope. The kind of strong, but sexy and quintessentially feminine characters played by the likes of Katharine Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Lauren Bacall are like, yesterday’s news daddio. Get with the times—today’s strong women are Rey all the way.

I also start to suspect Daddy Warpig hasn’t even watched any movies by this point – just heard about them via vague rumour, but also I now want to see a Star Wars film with Katherine Hepburn piloting the Millenium Falcon with Humphrey Bogart.

Some less typo ridden debunkings of Reyrysue

https://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2016/01/04/no-rey-from-star-wars-the-force-awakens-is-not-a-mary-sue/#7c7e16821b9a

https://www.quora.com/Is-Rey-from-The-Force-Awakens-a-Mary-Sue

https://www.inverse.com/article/22906-rey-mary-sue-daisy-ridley-wrong
 

Couples, Star Wars and Rogue One

The Star Wars films use characters to play common roles and functions within the franchise. By ‘roles’ I mean less plot central aspects of the story such as ‘comic relief’ and by ‘functions’ I mean more directly plot relevant tasks such ‘character who delivers secret message’. To make the films both different and yet familiar roles and functions are repeated between films but divided between different characters (and/or objects).

This approach begins with the original Star Wars film (‘Episode 4’, ‘A New Hope’, or if you wish to troll two fandoms simultaneously ‘The Original Series’). Lucas takes roles and functions from other films but creates new characters around them. Lucas draws upon films like The Dam Busters, 633 Squadron, The Guns of Navarone and takes aspects of those films and reworks them into his film. The fjord in 633 Squadron has a function that is shared by the trench on the Death Star that leads to the exhaust port for example.

The most substantial source though is Akira Kurosawa’s Hidden Fortress. The roles (Princess, former general, former general’s rival on the enemy side, a hidden resistance base etc) are lifted from Kurosawa’s tale of rival clans in feudal Japan and placed in a new setting. However, there is not a simple mapping of Hidden Fortress to Star Wars, mainly because new characters and plot points are added but also because functions map out differently or brought in from other films.

However, one of the earliest points at which both films map is the classic shot of the bickering couple trudging through a desert. In Hidden Fortress the couple are the the two peasant soldiers Tahei and Matashichi, survivors and runaways from a battle. In Star Wars the couple are C3PO and R2D2, who have just escaped a space battle. The role of the couple are similar in both films – comedic banter and commentary on what the main characters are doing. In that latter role they provide a bridge between the main characters and the audience, wondering aloud (in Star Wars only C3PO actually intelligible) what is happening. The function they couples play is different. R2D2 has a very specific Star Wars role – carrying the Death Star plans to the Rebellion that does not have a simple parallel with Hidden Fortress.http://www.scene-stealers.com/wp-content/uploads//2014/04/hidden_fortress_blu-ray.jpg

In the sequels and prequels to Star Wars the couple role becomes less attached to the two droids. At times it passes to Anakin and Obi Wan in parts of episode 2 and 3, to Han and Chewbacca, Luke and Yoda but rarely lingers for reasons I’ll get to. In the Force Awakens (episode 7 or if you prefer ‘Star Wars:TNG’) the couple role bounces around multiple characters but is often centred on Finn (Finn and Bo Dameron, Finn and BB8, Finn and Rey, Finn and Han etc).

The couple role naturally connects with comedic relief. It turns up in classic comedy duos (Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy), buddy-cop movies and isn’t confined to male-male pairs. Nick and Nora Charles in the Thin Man series, Lucy and Ricky in I Love Lucy, Abbey and Martha Brewster the ageing sisters in Arsenic and Old Lace. https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/11/01/cf/1101cf64a6acf86304650b57510d5508.jpg

The pairing can be platonic or sexual but the familiarity of the role/trope is the married couple – two people who have known each other a long time. The role is not about sexual tension but it doesn’t preclude two characters between whom there is sexual tension sometimes playing aspects of the role (Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd in Moonlighting, even on occasion Mulder and Scully in the X-Files). The issue is not that the couple cannot ever have other emotional aspects to their relationship but rather when those other aspects come to the fore they play a different role. It is for this reason that the Star Wars prequels never maintain a consistent couple role in the way that Star Wars Original Recipe does with R2D2 and C3PO.

Rogue One passes the comedic relief role to K2-SO and the delivery of Death Star plans function to Bodhi Rook. R2D2 and C3PO get a cameo (of course – and establishing that R2D2 is busy controlling the rebellion on Yavin…). However, it also reinvents the couple role with Chirrut Iwe and Baze Malbus. Their role is less comedic but it is essentially the couple role. You can, if you wish, take it as a platonic friendship but as a supporter of the principle & traditions of marriage, I prefer to assume they are actually married (mind you I assume the same about R2D2 and C3PO so I’m easily persuaded towards this position).

As a pair, they have both overt differences from both the Star Wars IV couple and the Hidden Fortress couple but also distinct similarities.

Unlike Tahei and Matashichi they are season warriors who are brave and face danger. They are selfless and eager to help. They are competent and highly skilled. They both show wisdom and personal insight.

However, like Tahei and Matashichi they are found in desert surroundings amid (sort of) a battlefield. They are allied with the losing side in a conflict but have become separated from it. They are drawn back into the centre of the conflict by a woman protagonist. They form a nucleus of a small army under that woman’s leadership.

Likewise, they have a similar alternate-reality relationship with R2D2 and C3PO. The similarities are weaker than those with the Hidden Fortress pair. Most notably is the related but muted colour scheme of the pair that mirrors the droids.

noescapefortheprincessthistime

Chirrut is dressed in blue and white (with a small amount of red). Baze is dressed in yellows/beige. They are not, of course, the R2D2-C3PO of Rogue One – they are different characters and have different functions but their role has distinct parallels with both the Droids and Tahei and Matashichi that also highlights the extreme differences.

rogue-one-2

“Wait, “you say, “this is somewhat convoluted. Where are you going with this? It’s not another…oh it is, isn’t it? For goodness sake…”

Yes, yes! This blog has only the one official fan theory and we will use any and all means to promulgate it.Chirrut is the R2D2 analogue in Rogue One *and* he is, as we also contend R2 is, a force user!

Chirrut is the R2D2 analogue in Rogue One *and* he is, as we also contend R2 is, a force user!They even both use the force to do the same thing!

Chirrut uses the force and personal focus to walk through a volley of blaster shots unharmed. R2D2 does the exact same thing only a few hours later (in-universe) on Captain Antilles ship!

No, don’t walk away! I’ve all sorts of other proofs to show you!

A Voyage Round The Kerfuffle Sea While Watching Star Wars 7

mapofthepuppykerfuffleV0.4I linked to a positive review of the new Star Wars by Brad Torgersen in my last round-up and over at File770 I was discussing John C Wright’s negative review.

There seems to be a real difference of opinion on the film that divides between Sad and Rabid and I’m wondering to what extent a major SF event such as Star Wars says about SF as a whole. To that end I hopped into my memetic boat, put the cat into a life-vest and set sail again.

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Rewatching Star Wars: Return of the Anakins aka Revenge of the Ewoks

returnofthejediposter1983NOOOOOOOOO!!!! Was the last we heard from Darth Vader near the end of Revenge of the Sith. The Machete order really works neatly by placing Revenge next to Return. Our last sight of Darth Vader and the Emperor is them gazing at the half built Death Star I. We’ve seen Anakin fall from grace and we now know who Leia really is.

For the first time the text crawl at the start is a genuine reminder of where we are up to in the story. Han has been captured by Jabba and the Star Wars pals have to save him. Meanwhile… (only a standard three dot ellipsis this time)
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Rewatching Star Wars: The Franchise Strikes Back

220px-sw_-_empire_strikes_backStar Wars aka A New Hope, used a variety of strategies to tell a fairly shallow tale. Lucas applied every trick he knew borrowing from multiple sources to create a visually complex film that still feels fresh today.

The Empire Strikes Back avoids many of these same strategies. The film is still very visually appealing but it now assumes that the audience knows what needed to be stated previously. In terms of space being big, the seemingly never ending shot of an Empire ship is not repeated, nor the shot in which a planet is too big to fit on screen. The only shot which cleverly invokes relative size is when we see an Empire ship become eclipsed by shadow. Initially it isn’t clear why the lighting is changing over this ship until we are shown that it is below and even bigger ship.

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Rewatching Star Wars: The R2Sith Cannon

R2-D2_SithI very much doubt this is original but a long running joke at Felapton Towers is that R2-D2 is a Sith. Now it is important to note that when I say ‘Sith’ I don’t mean he is in league with Vader, Maul, Sidious or the Empire. What I mean is that R2-D2 is a disciple of the Dark Side of the Force and manipulates events to his own ends.

The current consensus is that he is the former master of Darth Sidious, whom was believed to have been murdered by Darth Sidious to gain all his awful Sith secrets. In reality he transferred his Sithy-Soul to an astromech droid and started working to bring about the downfall of Sidious/Palpatine.

Assuming R2 is behind many of the events in Star Wars allows for some easy rationalization for:

  1. His odd ability to be around key events in Galactic History
  2. His odd ability to not get blown to smithereens
  3. Why Luke keeps hearing and seeing Obi-Wan Kenobi after he is very much dead (one of the first things we learn in Episode 4 is that he can project holograms and voices – I mean, seriously, isn’t it obvious once we know that?)
  4. Why R2D2 is quite so awesome

As I may make regular mention of this when discussing Star Wars I thought I’d better mention it up front.

Rewatching Star Wars: Phantom + Machete

So I’m re-watching the Star Wars movies in preparation for new movie and naturally the issue of what order to watch them in arises. I’ve decided to go for Phantom + Machete order.

For those who don’t know, Machete order was first suggested here: http://www.nomachetejuggling.com/2011/11/11/the-star-wars-saga-suggested-viewing-order/ and the case is made compellingly. Essentially the order suggested is this:

  1. Episode 4: A New Hope aka Star Wars. Start with where the story actually starts.
  2. Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back aka Everybody’s Favorite. OMG! Darth Vader is ….
  3. Episode 2: The Clone Wars. The story goes into flashback mode to explain the big reveal at the end of Episode 5.
  4. Episode 3: The Revenge of the Sith. We learn about the Emperor and we see Darth Vader come into being.
  5. Episode 6: Return of the Jedi. Han is rescued. The Emperor is killed. Vader is redeemed.

The order is clever because it keeps major twists and surprises from the first trilogy as twists and surprises and it all makes dramatic sense. The problem is The Phantom Menace doesn’t sit well anywhere in that order, mainly because it isn’t terribly relevant to most of the story. Obi-Wan is introduced better in Episode 4, Anakin has to be re-introduced all over again in Episode 2 because he is now grown up. Qui-Gon and Darth Maul die and don’t appear again. Really only Padme is introduced as a reoccurring character played by the same actor and even with her she has a different role (Senator) in Episodes 2 & 3 than in 1 (where she is a Queen Amidala).

So I’m treating The Phantom Menace as a introductory film – a prologue to the main story. In it we learn about the Republic and Jedis and the Skywalker family. The only twist spoiled by The Phantom Menace is that the weird green muppet guy in Episode 5 is the Jedi Master Yoda. I think we will cope.