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Ep VIII FAQ on character and plot

Discussion in 'Star Wars: Sequel Trilogy (Released Films)' started by Ender_and_Bean, Dec 24, 2017.

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  1. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    This is a Manager-approved initiative aimed at reducing board clutter, typing and replying to the same topics over and over again, and hopefully the reduction of question and answer threads. It will be periodically updated as new questions related to character motivation, or potential plot holes, seem to repeat and are analyzed by the forum, and/or there are official updates from Lucasfilm employees.


    Q: How is the Resistance in such a dire situation following the destruction of Starkiller base?

    A: StarKiller base is the most powerful weapon ever seen in Star Wars before. Near the end of The Force Awakens, when StarKiller base is still operational, it fires and destroys much of the Hosnian system, including the Republic capital, and a significant portion of its fleet, resources and leadership. This display of power sends a message throughout the galaxy that opposition to the First Order will be met with swift violence and helps establish why other allies are afraid to answer the remaining Resistance efforts calls for assistance. While scouting out StarKiller base a Resistance ship (Wexley’s) is tracked back to the Ileenium System and provides Snoke and the First Order sufficient location information to send the other considerable resources beyond Star Killer base itself to the the Resistance location on D'Qar. The Last Jedi opens with the Resistence attempting to evacuate and escape, knowing that the First Order will soon arrive. The First Order catches them mid-evacuation and immediately begins further decimating the Resistance and forcing them to retreat without as many supplies or resources as what would have been ideal.

    Q: How do bombs fall in space?

    A: The Star Wars visual dictionary clarifies that the bombs don't technically 'drop' in space, but are instead impelled from their racks by sequenced electromagnetic plates in the clip which eject them on a trajectory. Beyond the trajectory they’re send out on, the bombs are also then drawn magnetically to their unfortunate targets. If you look closely you can see the bombs sliding down racks and being ejected out.

    Q: The First Order are incapable of catching up to the Resistance ships unless at hyperspace. Why are some ships slower?

    A: If you want to apply real physics to this you need to do it properly. If we look at this realistically, a starship's sub-light engines are going to continue to accelerate the ship. That's how vessels, or any object that is propelled by a powered source will behave in space. When the Rebel ships run out of fuel they will continue moving under their own inertia. However, without the engines they will not be accelerating at the same pace. The FO ships, still with their engines at full capacity will be. Therefore they'll catch up & overrun them. Visually, on diagrams this will make it appear as though the Resistance ships have stopped but really it’s just that the FO ships have gained on them in speed. The Resistance got the jump on them, achieved a "safe" distance, which was growing, but as fuel ran out on certain ships the FO’s ships continued to accelerate and catch up to them and were able to destroy those ships.

    Q: Why didn’t the FO send out all of their faster TIEs to fight the Raddus? Most Star Wars battles before this involved only fighters.

    A: Not really. Even back in ANH the TIE was referred to as a short range fighter. The FO saw no point in risking fighters that would be operating outside of their capital ship's effective firing range. In other words, their policy is a combination of fighters & heavy bombardment. Not just fighters alone against large vessels. The FO saw themselves in a no-lose situation. Victory seemed assured & no losses would be suffered in less than a day if they simply stuck to their plan and were patient. They had to reason to believe they would not be victorious and were taking out Resistance ships through patience after initially being aggressive and losing a Dreadnought and all the people on it. Assets are not to be wasted unless absolutely necessary and the FO, under Snoke, was driven more by protocol than Resistance-like instinct. They felt they had the Resistance on a string.

    The Last Jedi seems intent to incorporate more naval strategy into its warfare logistics with some considerations related to efficiency of shooting range, and some crafts being larger and less mobile than others. Re-fueling and cover for Tie Fighters is also explored more in depth than in some of the other Saga films. These considerations remind of some of the logistics that occurred during naval warfare in WWII, including those in the Pacific Theatre. Operations such as Operation Ke, which involved the evacuation of 10,000 people on naval ships comes to mind. There, Japan’s tactics successfully baffled US military minds who failed to recognize some of the evacuations that had been occurring through a series of distractions. The Battle of Coral Sea, where the fight was mostly relegated to the smaller ships, limiting the power of each side’s larger vessels and staying out of successful weapon’s range. Design supervisor for “The Last Jedi”, Kevin Jenkins, has also gone on record stating that the Dreadnought was inspired by a variety of sources but most notably the Japanese battleship Yamoto.

    The inspirations from war on earth extend into the air, too. Some military historians have likened the opening Poe Dameron sequence as a combination of the surprise, preventative, and controversial attack of Operation Opera as well as Operation Bolo.

    Q: Why didn’t the First Order or even the Empire earlier track ships in hyperspace? Seems like a game-changer in war.

    A: It is a game-changer and Rouge One revealed that the Empire had been investigating this concept for decades. Mid-war tech advance is not uncommon and the First Order seemingly decided to be beta test this technology in the here and now, much to Hux and Snoke’s delight.

    JYN: Hyperspace Tracking, Navigational Systems.
    K2-SO: Two screens down. Structural Engineering, open that one!
    JYN: Project code names: Stellarsphere. Mark Omega. Pax Aurora. War-Mantle. Cluster-Prism. Black-Saber.
    CASSIAN: What?
    JYN ERSO: Stardust. That's it.
    CASSIAN: How do you know that?
    JYN ERSO: I know because it's me

    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  2. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: Why was the Resistance looking to employ a master code breaker?

    A: Cryptography has turned the tide of several battles, including many in WWII. The Resistance were desperate to evade the First Order to better escape and rebuild and were exploring desperate measures. Poe was presented with a plan that made sense to him that he hoped would buy them time and impulsively decided to take the risk.

    Q: Why wasn’t the First Order controlling Canto Bight?

    A: The inspiration for Canto Bight appears to be Monaco in WW2 in some regards. Monaco avoided occupation and remained a neutral safehaven for the wealthy, and a luxurious place to unwind with casinos and resorts.

    Q: Wasn’t this Canto Bight plan a risky plan from the start?

    A: Absolutely. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Maz Kanata convinced them that this Master Code Breaker was the equivalent of a James Bond. The scene mirrors in some ways the desperation Han, Leia, Chewbacca and C3P0 had following Hoth when on the run and fleeing to Cloud City where they were also betrayed.

    Q: Why did Holdo want to evacuate?

    A: Holdo had intended all along to go down with the ship and attack the Supremacy but she only trusted her inner circle, including Leia with this plan.

    Q: Why were they interested in Crait?

    A: They knew it to be an old Rebel base that they believed the First Order did not know about and hoped to arrive undetected, using the old equipment there to send out a distress beacon to the allies they felt were more likely to come to their aid in the Outer Rim. Holdo hoped that the kamikaze effort could turn the tide of the battle and buy them time.

    Q: Why hasn’t Kamikaze been part of Rebel or Resistance warfare before?

    A: It has in canon. Just not on this scale. Kamikaze is also part of modern warfare on Earth and in any war there are always new techniques utilized that will be studied and analyzed by future military strategists in the future. Essentially, there’s a first for everything. It’s a final stand decision that sacrifices considerable resources and leaves the ship vulnerable to counter-attack or escape.

    Q: Why were the small escape ships so much more vulnerable to gunfire than before? It seemed like all the shots the First Order took were easier despite them being far away.

    A: Dialogue by Poe Dameron in the film explains that these ships are unshielded and unarmed.

    Q: Why doesn’t the First Order shoot at them as much as possible then?

    A: They did. They destroyed many ships with direct hits, shrinking the resistance fleet considerably.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2017
  3. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: How could Leia survive the attack on the bridge?

    A: The Force. No, really. The Skywalker family is capable of God-like feats when near death. Anakin Skywalker was literally born without a father from the Force. Whether it’s Luke Skywalker jumping off a ledge and falling hundreds of feet and surviving and then hanging on with one hand for dear life. Rian Johnson has gone on record as saying he saw her incredible Force power as more instinctual.

    “That was something Kathy [Kennedy] was always asking: Why has this never manifested in Leia? She obviously made a choice, because in Return of the Jedi Luke tells her, “You have that power too.” I liked the idea that it’s not Luke concentrating, reaching for the lightsaber; it’s an instinctual survival thing, like when you hear stories of a parent whose toddler is caught under a car and they get superhuman strength, or a drowning person clawing their way to the surface. It’s basically just her not being done with the fight yet.

    I wanted it to happen [for Carrie] and I knew it was going to be a stretch. It’s a big moment, and I’m sure it will land different ways for different people, but for me it felt like a really emotionally satisfying thing to see.”

    This isn’t the first time we’ve seen our heroes exposed to Space though. While inside the open mouth of Exogorth Han and Leia were technically exposed to space. Only small gas masks were the difference. We also see it in Rogue One with Vader and Troopers staring out over an opening to space. In this last instance it’s possible that magnetic boots and the helmets each wear helped it become a non-issue.

    Q: But isn’t space always cold?

    A: Remember there are three ways that heat can transfer: conduction, convection and radiation. Space itself is absense of heat but any object in space can absorb heat radiation from a nearby star. Depending on where one is to a nearby star it can actually be quite warm or hot in space.

    Q: Nobody has ever flown in the sky before like Superman on screen as Leia did. How does she fly?

    A: She doesn’t. She is in a zero gravity environment where she’s weightless and completes a single Force pull. Without air Resistence even one gentle push would keep her momentum moving until she hit an object.

    Q: How many minutes can someone be without oxygen before suffering brain damage?

    A: The consensus is that the average body begins to deteriorate after 6 minutes without Oxygen. Leia’s pull was instinctive and quick and the descendants of Anakin Skywalker are anything but average.

    Q: How did they get Leia back into the ship?

    A: This isn’t shown on-screen so it’s currently not known but some have speculated that the force field of the ship could have helped pressurize and make it easier to rescue her.
  4. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: Why does Luke seem different in The Last Jedi? He was smiling at the end of Return of the Jedi and seemed so much younger and full of life? Are there any hints of these personal weaknesses from Luke in earlier films?

    A: Yes. Decades can change people. Yoda’s discussion with Luke Skywalker reminds us of many instances when Luke struggled in the past. In A New Hope he was non-committal initially and didn’t believe there was anything that could be done about the Empire. Luke showed willingness to act on his own in Empire. Following a Force vision he decided to leave his friends behind in the middle of the war to learn more about the Jedi. During his training with Yoda he displayed several weakness in looking for easy fixes to problems, lack of patience, recklessness, and considerable self-doubt to such a degree that Master Yoda thought it was too late for him. Yoda criticized him the following way in Empire, which he revisits in the Last Jedi:

    “All his life has he looked away... to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was... what he was doing.”

    These concerns worry Yoda and he repeats often in Empire that the Dark Side calls out first through fear and then to a choice that seems like the easy option leading to hate.

    Luke’s lessons carry him through but Yoda’s final words imply that the Dark Side isn’t done trying to convert Luke yet.

    “The cave! Remember your failure at the cave!” he warns Luke. “If you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did, you will become an agent of evil.”

    Obi-Wan and Yoda both preach patience and encourage Luke to sacrifice his friends for the greater cause.

    Luke: And sacrifice Han and Leia?

    Yoda: If you honor what they fight for, yes.

    Luke of course disagrees and impulsively makes a decision of his own but as a wiser man may be revisiting these life lessons and what to do next in his mind. The new Legends of Luke Skywalker book also reveals Luke’s time with the Lew’el who believe in non-interventionism with regard to matters of the Force. Luke seems to be profoundly impacted by his time with the Lew’el.

    Q: What has lead Luke to fall back on these old weaknesses?

    A: The Last Jedi reveals an incident involving Luke and Ben Solo. This incident is revealed from multiple perspectives and it’s up to us to decide what we believe. If we take Luke’s account as being closest to the truth it’s the tale of a master, who carries a lightsaber with him always, reading the mind and experiencing the thoughts of Ben Solo. A nightmare scenario that undoes the balance he fought so hard to create in his family name. In a moment of pure instinct – which passed like a fleeting shadow – the Dark Side calls out to Luke Skywalker and offers the easy solution Yoda warned about. And for the first time in a long time Luke ponders that easy solution but ultimately snaps out of this daze and back to his old self. It’s too late. Ben Solo felt outed and betrayed and decided it was time to make his move and did.

    Q: Why did Luke go into exile?

    A: Luke felt the loss of life at the temple was entirely his own doing and was ashamed and guilt-ridden that Yoda’s words from earlier had proven true and that he had – even for a moment – listened to the easy option the Dark Side put before him as it had all Skywalker men before. He also came to place part of this blame on the Jedi Order itself and its role in the cycle that has impacted his family. In the Legends of Luke Skywalker book it’s revealed that before finding Ahch-To Luke visited another planet of Force-sensitives who had a very different philosophy about the Force. The Lew’el call the Force the Tide and believe it ebbs and flows and that no one should seek to control it. Not Jedi. Not Sith. No one. Luke is fascinated by this and asks to learn more about the Lew’el ways. An elder agrees to give him 3 trials. Luke fails the final trial, which involves spear fishing. He states:

    “You're saying that lack of trust that things will work out without my intervention is why I cannot catch the fish."

    And later:

    "There are more ways to serve good than by fighting and confronting evil. You also serve the good by standing guard and maintaining pools of tranquility and peace; you also rebuke evil by showing that there is another way than death and violence. We are all connected through [the Force], and there's a time and place to rest, as well as a time and place to act."

    Q: How did Luke learn to fish with a spear?
    A: In the Legends of Luke Skywalker Luke learns this skill from the Lew’el among an entirely new philosophy on the Force. See above.

    Q: Why did Luke stay away from everyone?

    A: Even his friends wonder this. Rian Johnson has gone on record as studying Carl Jung for this film. There are psychological underpinnings in many of Luke’s decisions. The guilt and shame over the temple incident may have made him fearful of a path toward the Dark Side. He could have revisited Yoda and Obi-Wan’s words about patience and their earlier recommendations to be willing to stay away from the military battles and be willing to sacrifice his friends if he believes in what they fight for. Mostly, it seems that his time learning the Lew’el way had a significant impact on his philosophy of the Force. See questions above related to the Lew’el for more.

    Q: Is this why Luke has come to the island?

    A: Luke tells Rey he’s come to the island to live out his days and die but it’s unclear if this state of mind evolved after first coming to the island or was always his intent from the start based on his desire to end the Jedi Order.

    Q: Why would Luke want the Jedi order to end? He’s a Jedi Master.

    A: Psychological projection is a theory in psychology in which humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others or other groups. Given Rian Johnson’s research into Psychology it’s possible he felt that Luke had decided to push out the guilt with denial and projection that the real problems with the Dark Side were the Jedi themselves. This is where Yoda comes to help him. In the Legends of Luke Skywalker book it also reveals a late influence in his life from the Lew’el regarding the Tide and non-interventionism. This seems to have had a profound impact on him.
  5. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: Why would Yoda burn down the tree with all the books inside?

    A: Yoda knew that Rey had taken the ancient Jedi texts out and even slyly implies to Luke that Rey has what she needs. Yoda burns down the tree to show Luke that this focus on the horizon of the Jedi Order, rather than the internal of what’s plaguing him inside, is the real root of his problem and that eliminating the Order won’t make his problems go away. His problems will only go away when he confronts them honestly and accepts that this mistake happened and that while it is part of his life it isn’t what defines him because teachers can only teach so much. Students eventually outgrow their (parents and) teachers.

    Q: I've heard Rey has the Ancient Jedi Texts on the Falcon at the end? Where can I see them?
    A: They are seen in a drawer that Finn opens briefly before tending to Rose. It's a close up shot and all of the texts are in full frame. The shot then cuts to Rey and Leia speaking with Rey holding the broken saber.

    Q: How did Yoda impact the energy release of Lightening on the island?

    A: This is not yet known but Rian Johnson has said that it’s “a tantalizing hint of the potential of someone who is a Force ghost interacting with the real world.” It may be possible that the island’s connection with the Force allowed Yoda to more easily impact weather.

    Q: How are Kylo Ren and Rey able to communicate through the Force?

    A: Snoke binded them through the force in a way we haven’t seen but in previous Episodes Luke, Leia, and Vader can all accomplish some of the same things.

    Q: Did Kylo Ren experience rain on his face during one of these connection moments while Rey was being rained on?

    A: It appears that way yes. Further referencing how the Force connects and binds the universe together and in some ways helping to set up the Astral projection/mind trick that Luke completes later.
    MarcJordan and Ricardo Funes like this.
  6. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: Why was Rey so convinced of her vision with Kylo Ren?

    A: Rey is still a naïve and developing hero and her previous visions and attempts to help people see things from her perspective had been successful. She had reasons to be confident and overconfidence can lead to setbacks. Similar to Luke in Empire, she became convinced that she had a role to play in this and that if she went she and Ben Solo could defeat Snoke because she had seen this and believed whole-heartedly that this was their destiny. She believed Ben Solo would be turned and help win the war. Bobby Roberts of Making also had this opinion:

    I don't think it's so much redemption on her mind as it is recognizing the possibility there could be something of worth underneath all of that garbage. I mean, as if her taking the texts isn't reminder enough, this should be a clear callback to who she is -- a scavenger. That's what a scavenger does: She takes ruined things and makes them better, she makes them useful, she finds new meanings and new purposes for them. She is uniquely equipped to head into the dark and come back out with light and hope, because it's essentially all she's ever done since her selfish, nobody parents sold her to Unkar Plutt for drink money.
    Q: How could Snoke not sense the saber moving near him?

    A: Kylo Ren has developed into a master manipulator and Force multi-tasking is arguably his most advanced skill on-screen yet. In The Force Awakens he holds a blaster bolt in stasis while continuing a conversation, and murdering. The death of Snoke is a callback to that multi-tasking ability in many ways. A remarkable feat of mind control. Snoke also displays arrogance throughout TLJ. It’s a common theme in Star Wars that hate can blind and Snoke seems so sure that he will get to enjoy Rey’s death and all of her suffering from someone she trusted, and that his apprentice will make him proud, that he fails to realize the death in Kylo’s mind that he’s detecting his tailored toward him. The death is quick and nearly instant. Kylo Ren found his blind spot and exploited it in the brief instance it was exposed. This could also be why Luke Skywalker felt that the only real way he would get answers beyond the brief Dark Side glimpses he'd seen in Ben Solo's training was at night. Ben Solo was clearly very good at hiding his intentions from others.

    Q: How can Rey fight so well in comparison to Luke?

    A: Rey has fought to survive her whole life. A place like Jakku would not surrender an AT-AT shelter easily and the man who knows her best, Plutt, is sure to send more than one attacker to stop her to secure BB8. The other scavenger hardly puts up a fight when he realizes Rey has interest in the droid too. Each of these scenes, along with the establishment of Jakku as a tought place to live, establishes Rey as being tougher and more of a combat expert earlier into her life than Luke Skywalker was at the same age. Luke was by comparison coddled. He worked hard but never had to fight for food the way Rey did. He also didn’t walk around with a hand-to-hand combat weapon like she did or show any aptitude for fighting like she did.

    More specifically, in the training sequence, Luke has no interest in hurting her and the fight begins with him unarmed. He Force pulls a makeshift defence weapon and doesn't seek to go on offence. He blocks and dodges and eventually disarms her but she escalates it to saber versus stick. He’s still shaken by what happened with Ben Solo and has always wanted to be become more of a pacifist than a killer, which is why he’s still struggling over guilt over his brief daze into the Dark Side.
  7. Ender_and_Bean

    Ender_and_Bean Force Ghost star 5

    May 19, 2002
    Q: What about that ending with Luke? Is he really there? Can Force ghosts now fight people?

    A: Astral projection is what this is called and it’s been seen in the EU before. Rian Johnson is careful with details all throughout this scene to make it clear on a second viewing that Luke was never really there and that he didn’t really interact with the physical world. It’s a grand illusion of sight and sound. Details like his feet not leaving any red marks, and how the dice he provided Leia disappear, and how his saber never touches Ben’s are all done by design to show he’s not really there. Luke also looks younger and has the Bespin saber which had previously been destroyed.

    Q: Why doesn’t Kylo Ren realize it’s an illusion immediately? How didn’t he notice the saber was the same as the one he’d seen earlier destroyed?

    A: He’s never seen something like this. Neither did many of us. There’s a lot happening and he hasn’t seen his former Master in years. Perhaps he thought Luke built another saber like that. Perhaps he’s more focused on not being attacked.

    Q: Is Luke gone forever?

    A: Kylo Ren states earlier in the film that Rey couldn’t be there because something that strong with the Force would likely kill her. A potential foreshadowing of what Luke does later. It’s unclear if the act killed him or if it simply exhausted him. All we do know with certainty is that he regained the strength to get into a meditative pose and enjoy the twin suns that reminded him of his childhood and become one with the force the way his previous masters did. Rian Johnson has since gone on record stating he feels Luke has more story potential in IX from within the new realm.

    Q: Speaking of those golden dice, what’s the significance of those?

    A: Pablo Hidalgo stated: “The story that you would hear if you traveled to cantinas or watering holes around the Star Wars galaxy," Hidalgo told Vanity Fair. "... is that those dice were involved in a game of Corellian Spike—a dice-using version of a card game called sabacc. Rumor has it Han won the Millennium Falcon [from Lando Calrissian] with those dice. Whether or not that’s just bar talk, I can’t say."

    It’s possible that this will be explored more in the Han Solo anthology film.
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