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‘The Last Jedi’ is not the Movie You are Looking for

It’s been a while, True Believers. My apologies for taking an unintentional holiday hiatus.

During that time you may have heard about a little movie called Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I saw it opening weekend and loved it. Unfortunately, not everyone did. The Internet was lit on fire. Battle lines were drawn. It had a 90-plus percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, but the user score was in the fifties. Fans either loved it or hated it. It’s the most polarizing Star Wars film ever released. For many it wasn’t the film they were looking for.

I was shocked, especially when I heard why its detractors didn’t like it. With this blog, I wanted to address the major criticisms because I think they’re unfounded. (Warning: This will include spoilers!)

So, without further ado…

  1. Rey’s Parents

Ever since The Force Awakens opened in 2015, fans have theorized that the new character, Rey (played by Daisy Ridley), was as powerful as she was with the Force despite a lack of training because she had a special lineage. Theories included her being Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter, Han and Leia’s daughter, and (my personal favorite) Luke Skywalker’s daughter.

Guess what? Her parents are nobodies.

Yep. They were losers who sold her for drinking money. At least that’s what the villainous Kylo Ren said. It could be a lie, but I hope it isn’t. It’s far more interesting this way. It makes the Force magical and mystical again. Plus, it shows that greatness can come from ordinary places and that people don’t need a special heritage to be extraordinary.

The problem here, as is common with several of these complaints, is fans were so in love with the movies they’d written in their own heads that they couldn’t accept anything else. Some fans have this crazy idea that if they didn’t get what they expected, the film is bad. So, even if they’re given something better, they reject it.

2. The Mysterious Snoke

Supreme Leader Snoke is an immensely powerful Dark Force master who leads the First Order, which is he Galactic Empire reborn. He was only seen as a hologram in The Force Awakens. We knew nothing about him other than snippets here and there (and most of those were in The Last Jedi). Like with Rey’s parents, fan theories ran wild about him. They expected to have their questions answered in this film.

Then Kylo killed him. The end.

Fans lost their minds. They decried their unanswered questions. They called it a wasted opportunity. To which I say, “Before the prequels, did you ever want to know the Emperor’s backstory? I doubt it. He was there to serve as an irredeemable villain to help propel the other characters’ stories. Snoke serves the same purpose” Again, fans were too married to their theories and expectations.

3. They Ruined Luke Skywalker and then Killed Him!

In this film, Luke Skywalker, the childhood hero of a generation, is a bitter and cynical old man who has cut himself off from the Force. During a flashback we see he had a fleeting moment of weakness and nearly killed Ben Solo (aka Kylo Ren) when the villain was his student. He refuses to help Rey or the Resistance because he blames himself for Ben turning to the Dark Side and helping the First Order to rise.

Many fans said this ruined their childhoods. Their hero was gone. He had lost his happy ending from Return of the Jedi. They probably even preferred the old Expanded Universe (now Legends) version of Luke who is overpowered and perfect.

I’m sorry, but the new film version is more interesting. It makes sense that he would do this. Plus, by the end, he becomes that legendary hero again, but not how you would expect him to. It borders on being a meta-commentary, now that I think about it. Luke uses the Force to astral-project himself across the galaxy to help the Resistance and make Kylo Ren look like a chump. But it strains him so badly he “dies” (i.e. is raptured to the Force like Obi-Wan and Yoda). His story espouses some of the richest and most interesting themes I’ve seen in a Star Wars film in a long time. It’s far from a disservice to the character.

4. So-Called Social Justice Themes.

This has been both criticized and commended. The problem is I think both sides are reading into things. I’ll tackle the most frequent examples:

a. Vice Admiral Holdo and Feminism

Some call this a third-wave feminism film because, as they see it, all the men are weak and all the women are strong. Their go-to example is the new character Vice Admiral Holdo (played by Laura Dern). For whatever reason, she refuses to tell hotheaded flyboy Poe Dameron her plan to help the Resistance escape the First Order, often berating him for stepping out of line. Poe leads a mutiny because of this, although it’s shut down by General Leia after she awakens from a coma.

This was seen as a woman in power emasculating a man for being angry and pushy among other stereotypes third wave feminists throw at men. I didn’t think that at all. Call me naïve, but all I saw was a conflict between an older, cool-headed leader and an impulsive youth. I didn’t care that the person in authority was a woman. Given their personalities, it was natural for them to clash. This is writing drama 101. The problem is no reason is given for her to keep her plan a secret, which gives viewers leeway to read into it. That’s a story problem, though, not an ideological one.

Canto Bight Casino and Decrying the Rich

Finn and a new character named Rose (more on her later) go on a side quest to a casino planet to locate a computer hacker to help the Resistance. The place is the Mos Eisley cantina meets Las Vegas. There’s gambling, drunkenness, animal exploitation, and slavery. The money that flows into this place was garnered from arms dealing. In fact, the merchants on this planet sold weapons to both the Resistance and the First Order, essentially fueling the war to maintain their market.

Some saw this an SJW commentary on the “one-percent,” who are exploitative and unscrupulous.  In other words, all rich people are evil. I, on the other hand, didn’t get that message. What I got was, “War profiteering through arms dealing is wrong, especially when they sell to both sides.” Capitalism isn’t inherently evil, but it can be used for evil purposes, as seen here.

c. Rose Tico and Diversity

Rose is Asian. Finn is black. Poe is Hispanic. Some have sarcastically called these characters “diversity hires” or said it was about time Star Wars didn’t have all white characters (to which I say, did you forget about Lando Calrissian?).

Guess what? I don’t care. A character’s skin color doesn’t matter to me. I barely acknowledged their ethnicities when I saw the film. They were just cool new characters. Unless viewers are looking for diversity because they think they can only relate to characters who look like them, I doubt anyone cares. This isn’t Star Trek where the diversity was meant to be a statement about humanity of the future evolving past prejudices. Even then, it was only brought up when it was necessary. In these new Star Wars films, nobody makes a big deal about the characters’ ethnicities. Only fans do.

There you have it. My rebuttals to the major complaints against The Last Jedi. That isn’t to say it’s a perfect film. I do have some story issues with it, but they’re minor by comparison to the good stuff. This is a challenging film, so I can understand why some people don’t like it, but I think that’s what makes it as good as it is.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with me? Why or why not? What’d you think of The Last Jedi?

What I’m Thankful for This Year 2017

Happy Thanksgiving, bub!

Happy Thanksgiving, True Believers!

It’s that time of year again! As usual, I list the many things I’m thankful for since, well, that’s what Thanksgiving is about. It’s not just food, family, and football. Admittedly, this list only changes a little bit from year to year, but I’m thankful for the same things every Thanksgiving.

So, with that, here’s my list for 2017.

  1. God the Father
  2. Jesus Christ
  3. The Holy Spirit
  4. My salvation
  5. The Bible
  6. My wonderful family
  7. My two nephews
  8. My amazing friends
  9. My equally amazing writer friends
  10. The Fort Wayne Ballroom Company (FWBC)
  11. My “dance family” at FWBC
  12. That I continue to perform at FWBC’s showcases and other events with wonderful instructors/partners
  13. Ballroom/social dancing
  14. For all the conventions I attended this year
  15. My car, which I named Silver Sable (235,000 miles and still going!)
  16. My church
  17. My gaming consoles and video games
  18. My book collection
  19. My movie collection
  20. My laptop
  21. My music collection
  22. My new podcast, Kaijuvision Radio
  23. My day job
  24. That I’m 2+ years ahead on my student loan repayments!
  25. My cosplays
  26. That I’m a published author
  27. Hades Publications, which published my first novel and still has me under contract
  28. CreateSpace, which publishes my self-published books
  29. That I’ll have a new co-authored novel coming out soon! (More on that later)
  30. My strong sense of justice
  31. The house I live in
  32. My talent for writing
  33. all for One Productions
  34. Volunteering for afO
  35. My YouTube channel
  36. For being part of the team writing at Children of the Wells
  37. That I’m creative
  38. My intellectual mind
  39. My poet’s soul
  40. My warrior’s heart
  41. That I can read
  42. My iPhone 7S
  43. That I’m an American
  44. That I’m a Hoosier
  45. Summertime
  46. October (the “sweet spot” of autumn)
  47. Changing seasons
  48. Christian Gamers Guild
  49. GameChurch
  50. Theology Gaming
  51. My sense of humor
  52. The North Webster Community Public Library
  53. The Constitution, which lists my unalienable rights.
  54. My “superpowers” (rarely get sick, my “BS” sense, look much younger than I am, heal fast from injuries).
  55. My health
  56. Netflix
  57. That I got to meet Stan Lee this year
  58. My camera
  59. My knack for photography
  60. Pretzels
  61. Exercising at the gym.
  62. My comic book collection
  63. Chimp’s Comics
  64. E. Comics
  65. My board game collection
  66. My nerdiness
  67. The police and their service
  68. The military and their service
  69. My journal(s)
  70. My website (
  71. My fandoms
  72. Gen-Con
  73. The family pets
  74. Bookstores
  75. Spaghetti
  76. Highland toffee (the family recipe)
  78. Movie theatres
  79. My college degree
  80. Running water
  81. That I’m tall
  82. That I still have all my hair
  83. Football
  84. (Most of) My coworkers
  85. The generosity of others
  86. The TUFW Alumni and Friends Center
  87. That I attended TUFW
  88. The YMCA
  89. For living in the countryside
  90. Plumbing
  91. The Internet (though I sometimes wonder if it’s that great…)
  92. My big tax refund
  93. Facebook (again, sometimes I wonder if it’s worthwhile…)
  94. Holidays
  95. Family reconciliation
  96. My intelligence
  97. Arizona Tea Herbal Energy Tonic (cheaper than any energy drink!)
  98. YouTube (though again, it’s merits are often debatable)
  99. Candy
  100. And finally…MORE STAR WARS!

    What are you thankful for this year?

No Superman because YouTube is stupid


I was going to post a new episode of my vlog, “But I Digress…,” which is a review of the new Superman film, Man of Steel, but YouTube won’t let me. Or rather, it makes my video bug out and gets muted at the same place every time I uploaded it. I don’t know if it’s because the video’s encoding is corrupted (it plays fine on my laptop) or if YouTube is being a jerk because I used two pieces of Superman music. Those are the only explanations I can think of. If it’s the latter, what’s the problem? I’m using them to promote the new film and do some comedy! Last I heard, that was allowed in copyright law.

Regardless, this isn’t the first time I’ve had issues posting videos on YouTube. I did e-mail their customer support, but I have no idea if that will help.

I’m to the point where I think I may start posting videos elsewhere, even if it means I won’t get as much exposure. Perhaps I’ll find a video plug-in for WordPress. I also hear good things about Vimeo. Or YouTube will fix things. Who knows what where my future videos will find their home?

If I did “move ” I wouldn’t abandon my YouTube channel. I’d use it for previews of my videos, or perhaps for personal videos. Only time will tell.

Until then, please be patient as I figure out how and where to get my new vlog posted.

NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 2: ‘The Lie’

Today’s prompt was to write a poem that tells a lie. My poem does build to a lie, but it is a lie that some may not agree with since it stems from my Christian faith. Read on to see what I mean.

The Lie
By Nathan Marchand

There is no end to your evil.
You lie, you cheat, you steal,
You covet and kill,
Obeying my whispers in the darkness,
The silent coercion,
The subtle propaganda,
Which you believe you hear not.
Casualties of the invisible war, you are.
Slaves blissfully ignorant of your slavery,
And blinded to your master while doing his work,
Because you bought my greatest trick,
My most powerful lie:
That I, the Devil, don’t even exist.