the-cantos

The first known poet in history, Enheduanna, was an Iraqi woman. She wrote about Inanna on tablets in the cuneiform language.  The interesting thing about her is that she had a position or title. It was “The keeper of the flame.” I think that if a poet should have any role at all, it should be (wherever and whenever) the same: “keeper of the flame.”

Dunya Mikhail, from “New Directions Interview with Dunya Mikhail,” Cantos (April , 2010)

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Rose and Finn’s adventure takes them to, among other places, another Johnson innovation: a glittering casino city called Canto Bight, “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief,” the director said. “It was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe.” So much of the Star Wars aesthetic is rooted in sandy desolation and scrapyard blight; it appealed to Johnson to carve out a corner of the galaxy that is the complete opposite. “I was thinking, O.K., let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes,” he said.

Canto Bight is also where viewers will get their multi-species fix of gnarled aliens and other grotesque creatures, a comic-relief staple of Star Wars movies since Luke Skywalker first met Han Solo amid the cankerous and snouty inhabitants of the Mos Eisley cantina. The Last Jedi is dark enough as it is, so Johnson has made a point of infusing the movie with levity. “I didn’t want this to be a dirge, a heavy-osity movie,” he said. “So one thing I’ve tried really hard to do is keep the humor in there, to maintain the feeling, amid all the heavy operatic moments, that you’re on a fun ride.” [x]

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Vanity Fair’s full spread and story is up! You need to go check it out, but here’s a quick rundown what we’ve learned: Laura Dern is Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo of the Resistance, and Benicio Del Toro doesn’t get a name at all in the film – though they’re calling him DJ. (Seeeecretsss.) And yes, there are pictures of both. Kelly Marie Tran’s Rose Tico has a sister, Paige, a Resistance gunner, played by Veronica Ngo. And the planet filmed in Dubrovnik is indeed named Canto Bright. “I was thinking, O.K., let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes,” director Rian Johnson said.

The article also includes some touching tributes to (and photos of) Carrie Fisher, so keep the tissues handy.