This past weekend, Orlando was host to Star Wars Celebration, the official Star Wars con. Good Friday morning was the panel for the latest Star Wars movie, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. Rumours abounded that we were going to get our first trailer at that panel. And sure enough, as soon as I left Westlock town limits, the Star Wars app dinged with the notification: the trailer was online.
With steady hands, I made it though the snow and slush until I was back comfortable in Entwistle. I went inside, exchanged pleasantries with my parents, then went into the living room, commandeered the smart TV, brought up the YouTube app and took in...the trailer.
Much like the first Force Awakens trailer, we're not getting much of a sense of the plot yet. We're just getting teases...glimpses of what's next for hour character. Of course, the most anticipated part of this trailer was finally seeing what Luke had to say. His closing line that, "It's time for the Jedi to end," has so many mysteries behind it. Is he like Baron Mordo at the end of Doctor Strange now? Has come to the realization that the only way to bring balance to the Force is by eliminating all Force users? Or, as a friend of mine pointed out, is he just being dramatic because he's in some kind of funk and it takes Rey to pull him out of it?
Of course, in this day and age, and especially with a franchise like Star Wars, each new information must be picked apart with a fine-toothed comb. I picked up on all the hushed dialogue in the sound mix, and used the production studio in some down time at work today to have a closer listen to it. When Rey mentions "the Light," and we see the back of Leia, we hear Leia's iconic, "Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi...." When she mentions "the Dark," and we see Kylo Ren's crushed helmet, we hear Obi-Wan's, "He was seduced by the Dark Side...." And when she mentions "the Balance," and we see that book, we hear Yoda's, "Surrounds us...binds us...." What does it all mean? Is Rey the child of Obi-Wan? Will we see the spirit of Yoda?
Right now, all we have our images. Until then, it's all speculation.
And speaking of images, holy moly, that teaser poster.
Seriously, I'm more excited for this poster than I am for the teaser. Add my voice to the lamentations that movies posters are no longer works of art, but just crowded Photoshop collages of the film's stars. But this poster, my friends, is a work of art. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie poster and thought, "I want that hanging on my wall." And I want that hanging on my wall.
Sadly, though, we didn't quite get all the announcements we wanted out of Star Wars Celebration. As this is year is the 40th anniversary of the franchise, we were hoping there'd be an announcement about the original theatrical versions coming to Blu-Ray, but there was no announcement. It was hoped that they'd reveal what the third Star Wars story is going to be, or the title of the young Han Solo movie, but no announcements on those fronts. And it's the young Han Solo movie that's led me to another rambling I want to make tonight.
So a few weeks ago, the CEO of Disney was talking about the Han Solo movie, and said one of the things we'll see is "how Han Solo got his name." Of course, the Internet went abuzz. "You mean...Han Solo isn't his name? How can that be? Why does it have to be a name he adopts?" everyone asked. I don't know. But I found it intriguing.
When I was home, I went digging through the boxes of stuff I have yet to remove from my parents' house, and I brought home this:
My very first Star Wars merch. Scholastic's storybook adaptation of Return of the Jedi. I got this at the Grade 1 book fair.
As I was leafing through it, I came upon this passage. It actually describes one of Return of the Jedi's deleted scenes. If you have the big 9-disc Blu-Ray set, it's among the bonus features. After our heroes rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt, they go to their ships in a blinding sandstorm. Before Han gets on the Millennium Falcon, he and Luke have a brief conversation. Han gets all, "Thank you...for saving my life," but he's a little more emotional than the cavalier Han Solo we know and love. This passage is Luke's internal reaction to that.
"Luke felt the change in Han, and he knew the he and everything the others had risked had been worth it. 'Solo' means 'alone,' he thought. He had often wondered if that was Han's real name. Maybe it was an alias Han had chosen -- one that Han felt described him better than his real name. But now Han knew he didn't have to be a loner anymore."
So. Is "Han Solo" not being Han's real name something that George Lucas had been toying with from the very beginning? Is this one of the first seeds we saw planted of that, way back in 1983? Or is it just the author, literalizing the symbolism of Han's name for younger readers?
Sadly, now I know it's probably the last one, because as I was about to hit publish, I spotted this interview with Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy in which she says that Han Solo has always been his name, and the Disney CEO misspoke when he said that. But still, I though the coincidence was neat and felt like sharing it.
Ya know, i don't think I ever read that storybook from beginning to end. I just read passages here and there, and leafed through it a lot, taking in all the pictures. I should finally read it.