Adam Driver in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

My Favorite Scene: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) “Rey & Kylo vs. Snoke’s Praetorian Guard”


Six months removed from the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, fans have some perspective but little direction.  For a film that did so well at the box office, it sure vanished off the cultural and geek landscape quickly.  After The Force Awakens, people were still buzzing about the film a year after its release.  Most fans I know put it behind them, or are looking to JJ Abrams to somehow make sense of Rian Johnson’s film in Episode IX.  Not even Star Wars fans seem very pumped about Solo’s release this week.  Whether you thought it was brilliant (which passes my understanding) or, like me, thought it was an incredible misstep that broke characters and plot lines irredeemably, the point of these columns is to highlight the best of a film.  Maybe the thing about The Last Jedi that most frustrating is that there is enough coolness in it to not be able to hate it straight out.  However, in every bit of greatness in the film there’s something embedded that makes nitpicking Star Wars fans (and we do love to nitpick like no others) wince.The Praetorian Guard from Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I think the coolest, most iconic new characters introduced in TLJ were Snoke’s Praetorian Guard.  They’re a visually arrested evolution of Palpatine’s Royal Guardsman.  The fight between them and a briefly aligned Rey and Kylo Ren is the best action piece of the film (and the closest to a real lightsaber duel the film contains).  I absolutely love everything about the Praetorians…except that this bit of film is all we’ll ever see of them.  The fight takes place in the wake of Snoke’s shocking death.  Shocking both because it happened period and because we learned absolutely nothing more about this figure who assembled a force on par with the Empire’s.  Whoever Snoke was, Luke, Han and Leia knew him.  He was close enough to their circle at some point to twist Ben to the Dark Side.  Whoever he was; he mattered.  Except Rian Johnson didn’t like the character or the Knights of Ren concept, which is why the Praetorians were put in place to begin with, and Snoke was snuffed.  There are dozens of places in the film where Johnson just shows utter disregard for his film’s place in the Saga’s continuum, and if the film had a resounding message it was that Johnson didn’t think any other Star Wars film but his mattered.  So, yes, this is an incredibly cool scene….BUT….you can’t watch it and not start to spiral out into “what ifs?” and “whys?”.  It’s more enjoyable in a vacuum.  Like The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, it’s easier to pull the cool scenes out than re-watch it wholesale.  I’m afraid that neither of those films, botched as the were, did half as much damage to the franchise in the long run as The Last Jedi will.

Snoke's Throne Room in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

3 thoughts on “My Favorite Scene: Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) “Rey & Kylo vs. Snoke’s Praetorian Guard””

  1. Every. Single. Element in this entire movie was calculated. Johnson was given a mandate. Kill the past, bring SW into the modern age and beyond. Give your Disney overlords a blank canvas. Admiral Ackbar was casually killed offscreen so that Holdo, a character with no past, could come out of nowhere and become a Christ figure. Rey’s parents were nobodies. Yoda told Luke the ancient Jedi texts were useless, then torched them. The entire movie was shot in the style of a modern blockbuster, not in the style established by George Lucas. Luke discarded a sacred talisman like it was garbage, then whined for two hours before sending a mere illusion of himself to simply distract the bad guys while Holdo, she with no legacy preceding her, did her full-on Christ thing. The lame new character with pink hair acted more nobly than Like Skywalker. Why? Kill the past. No other reason.

    Snoke was not killed because Johnson didn’t like him, Snoke was killed because his ties were to the old generation, not the new. TFA, while recent, was still a part of that past that needed to be killed. This entire movie was a stunt designed to give Disney full ownership of SW, and to turn Disney into the sole author. And it backfired, because SW is not the trappings, it is not the lightsabers and the Force. After 40 years, SW is defined by the tradition behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Please, Voldo was not a Christ figure unless you think Christ was an idiot with a suicide complex and a communications issue, which I happen to know you do not lol. And the idiot was purple haired not pink. ONE sentence from her to her subordinates and we cut 30 minutes from the film, never go to Canto Bight, and don’t ruin Poe and Finn’s characters. I honestly have no idea what Disney is thinking. If it’s as sinister as you think it is, I can’t explain the care they took with TFA and Rogue One to mesh with canon pre-Disney. From what I know Abrams is going to try to move as away from TLJ as he can, there’s obviously going to be some kind of time-jump. I’ve even heard rumors that they’ll add another episode to try to straighten it out, though that seems unlikely. JJ has a script done and they’re going to start filming IX. Even Hamill is now indicating he might be open to returning, which given what was done to him, he’d have had to seen the script and agreed with the direction. So IF he does return, I would see that as a very positive sign given he hated TLJ more than anyone. I’m fine with Disney advancing SW, but the Saga is NOT the place to do it. Have new stories and new trilogies, but if you step into the Episodes, you better play by the rules. Johnson didn’t, and Disney may have lost the generation of new fans and kids who fell in love with these characters in TFA. The thing about TLJ that bothers Disney the most is no one bought toys, costumes, books, MERCH. The things that indicate a stamp on the cultural landscape. The things that indicate that you have your fans rabidly obsessed. Instead, die-hards like you and me, are so exasperated we want a break just to let our heads vent, and I haven’t seen any kids in my orbit watching TLJ at home, playing with lightsabers, or pretending to be Rey or Kylo Ren like they were after TFA. That’s the panic that might turn Disney back from their course IF Johnson and Kennedy just didn’t go off the reservation on their own. I’m kind of dreading Thursday night and Solo, which is so far removed from how I went to TLJ, it seems like it came out in a different era instead of six months ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course Holdo isn’t a Christ figure, but I think there are one or two people at Lucasfilm who saw her in that light.

        The care taken with TFA and R1 was either because Disney was trying to suck people in with the old before ringing in the new (that would be the super sinister explanation) or because Kennedy and Co. got swelled heads after the success of TFA (more likely).

        I think Solo will be fine. I actually do. The Lando thing is not that bad. Captain Kirk romanced non-humans. If he were around today they would put a label on him, too. My sense is that Solo will walk back TLJ’s quirks (charitable language) in a major way. I’m worried that it will take NO chances, not that it will go off the reservation.


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