On the internet yesterday, I was seeing and reading about the social justice movement happening in the United States right now. Protests are happening around the world while black people fight for their rights. I read an incredible op-ed about how Western media would cover Minneapolis if it was in another country. And I saw the following tweet:
Above of John Boyega, better known as Finn (FN-2187) from Star Wars. His speech in London that is pictured above was deeply moving and everyone must go listen to it. He spoke about how black people have had themselves be defined by others, how black people can keep each other strong, and how it’s on all of us to get this right.
That was my first reaction. My second reaction, well, you probably know where this is going. The caption speaks on many levels. How a chance for peace is here in the present. How, no matter how scared someone is, the time to speak up is now. Boyega said himself, he doesn’t know if he’ll be hired ever again, but that this is important. It’s too important. I hope his message resonates with a lot of people — I hope those people include hockey players — because right now this moment is too important to be ignored.
But then my degenerate brain thought about this as well; what if Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the movie he stars in, was called A New Hope? It makes a lot of sense, Finn, Rey, and their rebellion is the New Hope for the galaxy in the movie, and in the real world part of the social movement to bring inclusivity and diversity into our culture.
Then what would all the other Star Wars movies be called? With hindsight and a time machine, would the nine titles in the franchise be better suited heading different movies?
I’m a fan of the theory of Star Wars. I understand what they were trying to accomplish as a message and I’m happy to see lots of fans take that message and love the series. But as movies themselves, they’ve all been problematic in their own way and an excuse to “fix” them sounds kind of fun. We’ll assume the three trilogies came out chronologically and not in the confusing way Lucas made them.
Let’s get started, can’t wait to read the comments.
The Prequel Trilogy
Episode 1: The Rise of Skywalker
Mildly racist (did the Trade Federation really have to be Chinese? And Jar Jar Jamaican?), and overall meh, the movie is the beginning of Anakin Skywalker’s story. We see him rise from a slave, through all his accomplishments in podracing and flying, into who the Jedi (rightly) assume is the Chosen One. I talk about this later, but if we could give Rian Johnson a time machine, I would really love to see how he would transform Anakin from his purest form into Vader with the help of the Sith and Jedi failing him.
Episode 2: Attack of the Clones
What other choice did I have, George.
Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith
Another close-to-perfect movie, don’t come at me. Revenge of the Sith is such a good title, none of the other titles in this spot would have worked as well. It’s the execution of the Darth Sidious’ plan, it’s his revenge on the Jedi. Order 66 is brutal, the fight scene with Anakin and Obi-Wan is epic. Leave those and all the fighting scenes in, change the rest, and you got a great end to the opening trilogy.
The Original Trilogy
Episode 4: The Last Jedi
I loved Ewan McGregor’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, so an excuse to make a whole movie about his character, Ben Kenobi, is a chance I’ll take 10 times out of 10. Strictly speaking, as far as we know, Ben Kenobi is The Last Jedi. You could argue Anakin is, but he’s still Vader. Luke isn’t a Jedi yet. Yoda could still be alive but even he called himself a hermit and no longer a Jedi.
Episode 5: Empire Strikes Back
Perfect movie, no need to change it. Shame George didn’t storyboard out his trilogy (which has been a theme for him, eh?) so we didn’t get all that incest.
Episode 6: Return of the Jedi
Not a perfect movie like Empire, I just couldn’t find a different place to put this terrible name. I guess it is nice that the third in each trilogy is about the Sith, the Jedi, and the neutral force. At least George didn’t call it Revenge of the Jedi, which was the first title for the movie (they even made posters!). They ended up saving that title and used it for Revenge of the Sith.
The Sequel Trilogy
Episode 7: A New Hope
John Boyega is The New Hope. In the saga and in the real world. He’s an incredible person, and incredible actor, and I can’t believe JJ Abrams left him hanging like that at the end of the ninth movie. I didn’t feel closure in his trilogy — especially because the studio gave into the backlash against Rose — so redoing it just for him to get the ending he deserves would be right.
Besides, The Force Awakens was always supposed to be a shot-for-shot remake of A New Hope.
Episode 8: The Phantom Menace
Before this movie came out, everyone was talking about who Snoke was. A new Sith? Is he really giant? Is it Jar Jar? The Phantom Menace kind of encapsulates all of that, no?
Rian Johnson is a great director and deserved to make his own trilogy. With the benefit of hindsight and a time machine, I would be really interested in seeing how he directs the prequel trilogy. How the Jedi’s suppression of love failed Anakin that led him to become a truly believable villain, the greatest villain of all time. The writing alone would be lightyears better.
Episode 9: The Force Awakens
Rey’s whole arc is her fight between the light and the dark, because both have its good aspects and bad aspects. Her use of both passion and serenity to defeat Darth Sidious is the true awakening of the force, the true balance that the prequel prophecy failed to realize. The part where all the Jedi of the past speak to her from the stars was also really cool, especially as a fan of The Clone Wars TV show, they included a couple names from that cast that I was able to pick out. And Ewan McGregor.
Thank you for indulging me. I hope my larger point about racism and the power that comes from hearing diverse voices. I hope John Boyega keeps working and wins every award imaginable. I hope hockey players stand up and protest for their coworkers and achieve the change we need to see. I hope we come out of this better and more fearless.
Onto the links.
- First and foremost, if you haven’t read the article by TicTacTOmar from yesterday, you have to now.
“Black representation has grown in the NHL, but the treatment of Black people and respect for their rights hasn’t. Whether you go back and recount Aliu’s story or remember the confused expression of K’Andre Miller as he watched the waves of hate on that computer screen, we continue to be at a standstill. And that’s what makes what is happening in the United States so significant.”
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford has begun lobbying the NHL to come to Toronto for the NHL Playoffs. Phase 3 isn’t expected to begin until August, so we don’t know what the outbreak is going to look like then, but Ford has said he is willing to exempt players from a 14-day quarantine, as long as they stay within their bubble.
Ford: "This would starting on August, 1 so it's almost two months away and let's just hope the situation has changed by then and we see numbers going down. I just can't tell you what the numbers are going to be two months down the road."— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) June 3, 2020
- Among others, Braden Holtby, Patrice Bergeron, and Connor McDavid all released statements against racism. The Holtby’s have been especially vocal and empathetic, and their words in this statement are especially helpful to non-black people. They lay out how to be empathetic as non-black and what they’ve been able to see from that different point of view. A lot of people say there are two Americas, so the ability to find common experiences is so important for healing.
- Ron MacLean had a conversation with Brad Treliving and Kyle Dubas. Treliving spoke about his internal reflections after hiring and subsequently firing Bill Peters after Akim Aliu’s story came out. Dubas spoke about how the Maple Leafs have unfortunately been reactionary to this and not proactive and not able to see this. I hope that realization brings about a lot of change in both organizations. The conversation is 32 minutes long and branches off into hockey as well.