I think I may be on my way to being a Star Wars website. I mean, I have been writing and producing a lot of stuff for The Last Jedi, and I am almost going to come to a close on that. That said, there’s something that has been bugging me, and I haven’t really figured out a way to make this article sound as unoffensive as possible. Then I realized that this was a losing battle, and I should just let it fly.
The biggest hot button topic here is one Amilyn Holdo. Laura Dern did a fairly good job playing a throw away character in Vice Admiral Holdo. But, that isn’t the problem. The problem is the character itself, and how that character was conveyed.
I want to get this out there now. I have a hatred for Baroness von Purple Hair McBitchface. It’s not because she’s a symbol for feminism, or because of Laura Dern. All of my hatred stems from a purely storytelling standpoint.
Holdo was introduced in a young adult book, Leia: Princess of Alderaan. Don’t ask me what the story was about. I’m guessing that the story was about Princess Leia. I’m just taking a shot in the dark here. But, the vast majority of people who had any vested interest in the Star Wars universe wouldn’t even bother reading a young adult book.
I have no problems with an extended universe. The original extended universe was so expansive, and spanned so many eras and stories. From the Thrawn Trilogy, to the Rogue Squadron books, to The Old Republic, to the New Jedi Order, all of these books had characters and stories that weren’t required to be read to get the most out of these movies. That’s where Disney’s cardinal sin is.
Before you say it, I am well aware that other characters, like Thrawn, are showing up in the NWO of canon Star Wars, but Thrawn isn’t in the movies. You don’t have to read his novel, or by extension, the old legends novels. In the new canon, he’s relegated to playing cat and mouse in Rebels with the crew of the Ghost and the fledgling Rebel Alliance. Here’s the kicker: You don’t need to watch Rebels, nor read Thrawn to get anything special out of the movies.
I was giving the All Things Star Wars two part review a listen, and they brought up a really great point. Disney has told its Star Wars fanbase that character development doesn’t mean shit nowadays. The movies, you know, the medium that has driven a 40 year media dynasty, isnt the medium to make the biggest character developments? What the fuck would we do if Luke’s fight with Vader on Bespin happened in a book? If one of the most iconic moments in the long history of Star Wars was in written form, would it have the weight?
The simple answer is no. The fact that Holdo was a major-ish character in a young adults book, and then thrusted into a major plot point in The Last Jedi is appalling. If the entire point of Holdo was to send the flagship into Snoke’s dreadnought, why didn’t we use a character that had emotional weight?
We had Admiral Ackbar, someone who died in an explosion like a red shirt from Star Trek. During production, Erik Bauersfeld died. He was the voice of our famed admiral during Return of the Jedi and The Last Jedi. He had depth. Ackbar has been with us for over 30 years. Give us that as our big sacrifice. The only people who latched onto Holdo are people who want every possible opportunity to claim a strong, female character.
Okay, I want to warn you all now. This is where things get spicy. I am not against strong female characters. My time as a fan of Star Wars has been built on the back of one of the strongest female characters. This was a waste. While Leia was sleeping off her Superman powers, Holdo was given the reigns out of nowhere. She had zero weight with the audience. Almost anyone would have been better. Even Poe, in all of his impulsive, hot-headed glory.
This is where I miss Lucas and his storytelling. If the character was integral to the Skywalker saga, that character would be in a movie. The characters with zero attachment is a dangerous trend Disney is setting, especially out of the abysmally mediocre Rogue One. Making the only line Mon Mothma was known for with its lack of bothans, the entire crew of Rogue One gave us zero to attach ourselves to.
That’s the problem. Disney has already pruned the entirety of the old expanded universe, changing it to legends material. Now, the braintrust at Disney is starting to make what is supposed to be canon, things that are supposed to be major plot points, into nonsensical, non-canon points. Now, when you watch A New Hope, the amount of Bothans that died trying to get the plans for the Death Star is zero. And Mon Mothma looks like an idiot. So much for the leader of the rebellion, eh?
Ultimately, this is what people were afraid of. Star Wars is in danger of getting bastardized by Disney. A dismal looking Solo has to be able to save the franchise, or it’s a long, tragic wait for someone to reclaim our glory days. There are so many points now where Disney is throwing the Star Wars franchise into the shredder. It’s sad, because as a movie on its own, The Last Jedi was really good. On its own. In a vacuum.