Tag Archives: The Last Jedi

Star Wars Character Review: DJ

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

For some, supporting a specific cause is everything to them. For others, the only cause is themselves. These people are willing to play both sides, if it will enrich them somehow. In The Last Jedi DJ (played by Benicio Del Toro) is short for Don’t Join. Loyal to neither the rebellion or The First Order, DJ is a thief and slicer who helps Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) escape from Canto Bright. After taking Rose’s pendant as a fee for his services, DJ helps them sneak onto a First Order ship so they can stop the tracking system that is being used to track the rebellion ships.

Not surprisingly, when they are caught, DJ gives information to General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) in return for his freedom and a financial reward. 

While DJ is playing both sides, he speaks with a slight stutter, giving shades of grey  to a character who appears to be merely black and white.

To sum it up: Loyalty is often defined as being there for someone else. But, while one is loyal to those around them, they can also be loyal to themselves. As writers, we have to decide where a character’s loyalty lies and if their loyalties change over the course of the story. While some characters are dynamic in their loyalties, others are static in who or what they are loyal to. Regardless of a character’s choices, it has to feel natural. If it is not natural, the reader or the viewer will know that the choice is forced on the character, which may lead to the reader or viewer walking away. That is the last thing any writer wants.

This will be my last character review post for the new Star Wars Characters. The list of characters that I will be reviewing is….you will have to find out next week. 

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Star Wars Character Review: Vice Admiral Holdo/General Hux/Captain Phasma

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

There is supporting a cause and then there is supporting a cause. It is possible to support cause without it consuming everything around you. But for some, that cause is everything. Nothing else and no one else matters. In the most recent Star Wars movies, The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi, the complete commitment to the cause is represented by Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).

Vice Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern) is high up in the chain of command in the rebellion. She becomes General Leia Organa’s (the late Carrie Fisher) second in command after Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is demoted and General Organa is incapacitated. As she watched the rebellion ships being destroyed by the First Order, she makes the ultimate sacrifice by jumping her ship to light speed and destroying the First Order’s flagship.

On the dark side, this complete adherence to the cause is General Hux and Captain Phasma. General Hux is a First Order General, answerable only to Supreme Leader Snoke. He is cold, ruthless, calculating and believes that First Order is destined to rule the galaxy at all costs. Right behind General Hux is Captain Phasma. In charge of the storm troopers, her job is to make sure that her soldiers do as they are told. Her one failing is Finn (John Boyega), with whom she battles with in The Last Jedi.

To sum it up: It takes a certain type of person to give everything to a cause. Especially when the cause is life or death. In Star Wars, Vice Admiral Holdo, General Hux and Captain Phasma represent that commitment so fully that nothing else matters. When creating these characters, the writer(s) must ensure that nothing deters the characters from the cause.

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Star Wars Character Review: Kylo Ren/Ben Solo

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Life is often a series of choices. What we don’t know is the the repercussions that may come about from those choices. In The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) was introduced as the film’s baddie. Like Darth Vader before him, Kylo was determined with a capital D to destroy the rebellion at any cost, regardless of the ties to the heroes of the rebellion.

Kylo Ren’s birth name was Ben Solo. He is the son of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), the nephew of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the grandson Darth Vader/Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) and Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman). With his lineage and natural abilities when it comes the force, he could have followed his uncle Luke to become a Jedi. Instead he took the same path his grandfather took. Seduced by the dark side and Supreme Leader Snoke, Ben Solo becomes a think of the past. He is now Kylo Ren, master of the knights of Ren and supreme leader of The First Order.

In The Force Awakens, while Kylo is committed the destroying the rebellion, there is a part of him that still goes back to the light and the family he left behind. That is, until he kills his father. Even so, the questions about his loyalties still never quite disappear. His interactions with Rey (Daisy Ridley) bring those questions to the surface, especially he has the opportunity to kill his mother in The Last Jedi. But, he makes the split second decision not to.

In the end of The Last Jedi, after Rey has rejected Kylo’s offer to join The First Order, he frames her for the murder of Supreme Leader Snoke and goes after in the rebellion with everything he’s got. He has made the choice to completely give into the dark side.

To sum it up: Kylo Ren/ Ben Solo made the choice to forego any return to the light side and completely become one with the dark side of the force.  In this process, he killed his father, nearly killed his mother and become a younger version of his grandfather. Characters make choices and like all of us, will have to live with those choices. Episode 9 starting filming this week. While we will have to wait until next year to see the repercussions of his choices, he made them and will have to deal with them.

 

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Star Wars Character Review: Rose Tico

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Hero worship is a funny thing. We may think that we know that person, but sometimes, the person behind the hero is two different people.

In The Last Jedi, a new character was introduced to the Star Wars Universe. Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran) is a mechanic who has toiled silently in the background for the rebellion. She is the last member of her family still living after her parents died in subjugation to the First Order and her sister died during the battle of evacuation and battle of D’Qar.

Rose’s hero-worship moment comes when she stops Finn from getting on one of the escape pods by knocking him out with an electro-shock prod. But, she does this after realizing that he is one of the heroes of the resistance. When Finn comes to, he convinces Rose to join him on the secret plan to stop the First Order by disabling the tracking device they are using to track the rebellion.

In the end, Rose becomes a hero herself. She not only sees Finn as a complete human being, but also rises to the occasion. She is no longer in the background, but in the foreground as one of the heroes of the rebellion.

To sum it up: Hero worship is a fine thing. But to understand a person, we have to look past their heroics and see the person. As writers, when we have a character who views another character through the lens of hero-worship, we have two options. We can either view that character through the rose-colored glasses of said hero worship. Or, we can take the time to reveal the human being underneath the hero.

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Star Wars Character Review: Poe Dameron

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Becoming a hero is a wish that many have. Saving the day and receiving everything that comes with saving the day is a fantasy that has been the backbone of storytelling since the beginning of storytelling. But there is an unspoken reality of becoming a hero. Besides the danger that is involved, there may also be an ego trip and the inevitable fall that comes after the ego trip.

In the newest Star Wars films, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) is a hero of the rebellion. The spiritual son of General Leia Organa (the late Carrie Fisher), he is not only one of the best pilots within the rebellion, but he is also being groomed as General Organa’s future second in command. In The Force Awakens, Poe is one of the core characters that is front and center in the war against The First Order.

Brash, passionate, emotional and a little reckless, Poe is everything the rebellion needs to prevent The First Order from taking over the entire galaxy.

In The Last Jedi, Poe is still the hero, but his recklessness becomes a negative attribute instead of a positive one. Disobeying orders, he leads a strike against the First Order that costs the lives of many and is promptly demoted. But even his demotion is not enough  when he disagrees with the choices of his replacement, Admiral Holdo (Laura Dern). When he is working with Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) and Finn (John Boyega) to help the rebellion survive, his actions bring out the opposite result.

In the end, Poe redeems himself as a hero in the battle on the planet Crait, but not before having a few bumps and bruises along the way.

To sum it up: Being a hero and saving the day is not all fun and games. There is a reality to being a hero that is often not explored. When creating a character who wants to be a hero, making that character earn that hero title is in my opinion, necessary. It not only creates a realistic character arc, but it also keeps the audience or reader in their place, questioning when the character will become the hero they want to be.

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Two Podcasts You Should Be Listening To If You Aren’t Already: Can I Just Say & Unorthodox

These days, everyone and their mother has their own podcast.

But for me, there are two podcasts that I count myself as a fan of: Unorthodox and Can I Just Say.

Unorthodox

There is an old inside joke about Jews: For every two Jews, there are three opinions. From my perspective. is the backbone of Unorthodox. Created by Tablet Magazine,  the podcast is hosted by Mark Oppenheimer, Stephanie Butnick and Liel Leibovitz. Every week they talk about news relating to the Jewish world and have two guests: one Jewish and one not Jewish. What I appreciate about this podcast is that Mark, Liel and Stephanie not only mesh well together, but their unique world views allow all three to stand out in their own way. I’ve been listening for a couple of years; it’s a pleasure to wake up on Thursday morning knowing that the week’s episode is waiting for me.

Can I Just Say

Pop culture podcasts can sometimes get a little dull. Either they can veer too much into the fan boy or fan girl lane or they are just a tad too intellectual.

Thankfully, Can I Just Say is the perfect pop culture podcast. Hosted by Daphne Olive and Elizabeth Stevens, the ladies have unique and stimulating conversations about everything from Star Wars (their newest podcast about The Last Jedi was very interesting) to novels and their various adaptations (their comments about Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility got me thinking) to a hand-picked selection of Baz Lurhmann films opened my eyes to his abilities as a filmmaker. They also host a podcast entitled Fathoms Deep: A Black Sails Podcast, an equally interesting podcast about the television series Black Sails.

I recommend both.

 

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Filed under Books, Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, Movies, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Star Wars, Television

Star Wars Character Review: Finn

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the new characters that were introduced to audiences for the episodes seven and eight in the Star Wars franchise. Read at your own risk if you have not seen The Force Awakens Or The Last Jedi.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Star Wars to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

We all have pasts, it’s part of being human. Part of that past are mistakes that even years later, we regret making. In The Force Awakens (aka Episode 7 of in the Star Wars series), Finn (John Boyega) is introduced as a storm trooper whose inner Jiminy Cricket has kicked in. After refusing to kill innocent villagers on the planet Jakku and helping Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) escape from the First Order, Finn joins the resistance, in spite of his past.

In The Last Jedi (aka Episode 8), Finn wakes up from the coma to discover that the resistance is slowly being destroyed by the First Order. He again tries to run away, but is caught by Rose Tico (Kelly Marie Tran). They eventually form plan is to sneak onto a First Order ship and destroy the signal that is tracking the resistance ships through light speed. What starts out a simple plan quickly goes awry, but in the end, there is a faint glimmer of hope that Finn’s actions has helped the rebels to fight another day.

To sum it up: The fight or flight response is built into us as human beings. The question is, as a character, does one run from their past or they face up to it? In Star Wars, Finn eventually faces his past, making him a better man than he was if he had chosen to run away. As writers and human beings, we know that actions, both good and bad have consequences.

When it comes to creating a character who must choose the fight or flight response, the writer must follow the path that is true to the character. For if the character’s action feel untrue to the reader or viewer, it is unlikely that he or she will want to continue to follow both the story and the character.

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Kelly Marie Tran Quit Instagram Because Of Idiots

The ultimate message of Stars Wars speaks of social justice, democracy, respecting diversity and freedom.

Unfortunately some d*ckheads are so blind that they fail to understand that message. These same d*ckheads also forced Kelly Marie Tran to leave Instagram. Ms. Tran who played Rose Tico in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, chose to delete the pictures on her account because of the online harassment she received.

I personally enjoyed The Last Jedi. Some fans may have not, but every fan is entitled to his or her individual perspective on the film. I don’t mind adult discussions about the films, but the line was crossed when Ms. Tran was verbally attacked because she is a woman and of Vietnamese descent.

This is not what Star Wars is about and I am sorry that she had to experience it.

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Ten Best Movies Of 2017

2017 is nearly up. Surprisingly, it was a good year for the movies. Below, without further a due, is my top ten list of movies that premiered in 2017.

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi: The next chapter in the ongoing saga of the rebellion against the empire was nothing short of perfection.
  2. The Post: The story of the revelation of The Pentagon Papers is as relevant today as it was in 1971.
  3. Beauty And The Beast/The Shape Of Water: Both the live action adaptation of the 1991 animated Beauty And The Beast and The Shape Of Water proves once more that love wins over hate and only through tolerance and respect of others, can we create the world we wish to have.
  4. Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman is sure to win multiple awards playing Winston Churchill, who must decide to negotiate with Germany or go to war.
  5. Lady Macbeth: In 19th century England, a young lady is forced into marriage and has an affair with one of the estate workers.
  6. Lady BirdA gripping and realistic coming of age story set in Sacramento in the early 2000’s.
  7. Thor: Ragnarok: When Thor’s previously unknown sister Hela returns to Asgard, he must save his land and his people from his sister.
  8. Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman finally receives a proper film adaptation. Starring Gal Gadot and directed by Patty Jenkins, this film, well is, a wonder.
  9. The Lovers: Tracey Letts and Debra Winger play a married couple who are openly seeing other people, but somehow find the spark has returned to their marriage.
  10. Battle Of The Sexes: The true story of the tennis match between Bobby Riggs and Billie Jean King is as much a story about tennis as it is about feminism.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Big Sick: This unconventional romantic comedy hit both the comedy gut and the heart.
  • The Women’s Balcony: When a new Rabbi takes over an Orthodox temple in Jerusalem, the women stage a coup to get their husbands and their temple back.

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Carrie Fisher-Gone A Year Today

 

A year ago today, Carrie Fisher passed away.

Writer, actress, mental health activist, mother, daughter, sister, feminist, Fisher was an icon to many for many reasons. Playing Leia Organa in the Star Wars film franchise, Fisher helped to change the way women are portrayed in film, especially in science fiction and fantasy films. Leia was not just the heart and the brains of the rebellion, she was whip smart and in charge.

Leia grabbing the blaster from Luke’s hands and shooting at the storm troopers was a small moment in A New Hope, but a big moment in the history of women on-screen.

After Star Wars and in between her other roles, Fisher became one hell of a writer, publishing her own work in addition to gaining the envious title of one of the most in demand script doctors in Hollywood.  She was not afraid to speak openly about her addiction and mental illness issues when others were still in the closet about their addiction and mental illness issues.

The thing that will always stand out for me, is that she was herself, warts and all. Unapologetic, unafraid and upfront. We should all be so brave to be ourselves and not give a sh*t what someone else thinks of us.

For that, she will always be my hero.

RIP Carrie. A year still seems like yesterday.

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