STAR WARS: The First Order Looms Over Plural Jedi
If this is a column of over-thinking things, then it's time to start overthinking a few aspects of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Specifically, The First Order's subtle presence in everything we're seeing in most everything about this movie. We’re starting to ever-so-slowly get our first peeks at Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and it seems like a bit of overkill to mention just how controlled this rollout has been as far as pieces of new information. Then again, this movie has the advantage that the Force Awakens didn’t because we know the time period the movie is set in and the principal characters beyond the actors who play them. So it’s probably no surprise that our first look at the new trio tells us basically nothing new, except that Force Friday is absolutely going to be on September 1st like we talked about last time. The official Star Wars site hooked up that announcement along with a picture of the packaging that will presumably represent The Last Jedi line. Toy leaks are serious leaks, for most movies at least. I remember the first accurate descriptions of the Death Trooper outfits from Rogue One ended up coming from toy packaging, not an official release. Sure, there was a some debate about if there were just Death Troopers or Death Troopers and black-clad Stormtroopers - and, yeah, we got a little confused as a fandom about how much glowing green would end up on the suits...but it was toy art that cleared a lot of that up. With that spirit in mind, most of the discussion seems to be around Rey’s hairstyle being different. If you’ve been following costuming rumors for Episode VIII for awhile, the revelation that Rey is basically wearing a hair-down modified outfit of the one she wore when we saw her arrive on Ach-To isn’t new. Just wait until you see Luke’s new outfit! Poe is Resistance’d up, which makes sense given the rumors we’ve heard about his storyline (defending an out-of-the-game Leia against Laura Dern). It looks like Dameron is going to have to step up to keep the movement going as our Solo/Skywalker next gens debate what the Force is or was and if there should be Jedi, Sith, neither, both, or what. Finn is wearing his jacket, gifted to him by Poe, even though he’s going to be off on a side adventure with some more distinctive and memorable outfits (more on that later). Then again, there’s always a chance you can’t trust toys. https://twitter.com/heathdwilliams/status/832236323708731392 As The Last Jedi title rolls out in the romance languages this week, we learned that definitively “Jedi” is plural is this case. Which means you can breathe a sigh of relief if you were worried about Luke. https://twitter.com/StarWarsFR/status/832502743378051072?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw Which isn’t to say that Luke isn’t going to or can’t die in The Last Jedi, but it’s much more likely that what we’re talking about is the concept of the Jedi and the Jedi Order. I don’t know if Luke is going to declare that he and Rey are The Last Jedi or if that’s something that’s thrust upon both sides (we still know precious little about what our villains are going to be up to). In other verifiable The Last Jedi news, Rian Johnson confirmed that he’s headed to Star Wars Celebration Orlando for a The Last Jedi panel (which we were expecting, see last column!), but he tweeted out a photo of First Order Stormtroopers from The Last Jedi set and… see any difference? https://twitter.com/rianjohnson/status/832003797610291204?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw There most certainly is a more angular look to the whole First Order Stormtrooper helmet, and the nose-piece (for lack of a better term...T-zone spot? No, that’s worse) has been sharpened and re-shaped so that it doesn’t have equal distance black lines across the face. In essence, Rian Johnson brought the look of frowning back to the Stormtrooper helmet. We are most certainly going to see more of The First Order in The Last Jedi, though where and whom is still somewhat hazy. While this production was still called Space Bear, there was a rumor about Tom Hardy playing a stormtrooper who slaps Finn on the butt, thinking his old FN buddy was still a First Order officer. This hinted that whatever mission Finn would be on wouldn’t just include him riding a space cat/horse through a city, but would have him undercover as well. Making Star Wars is back this week with a new and juicy First Order rumors, including more on Finn’s undercover costume. Initially assumed to be Finn undercover as a Stormtrooper (since he was one previously), it now looks like Finn will be disguised as a First Order officer. This, of course, changes the whole idea of a Tom Hardy trooper butt pat. Instead of “hey buddy, glad you weren’t blown up on Starkiller base,” it’s “hey buddy, glad to see you’re moving up.” As to where this encounter happens, that includes some neat-o ship news: In Star Wars: The Last Jedi there is going to be a First Order Super Star Destroyer. However, it isn’t like the ones we saw during the Empire’s era. The First Order Super Star Destroyer is huge, yes, but is just a triangle-shaped wedge. The classic Super Star Destroyer was a wedge with a city built on it in no uncertain terms. This is just a gigantic huge wedge, solid, and dark. I speculate this is the main command ship of the First Order in The Last Jedi. It appears Finn will end up on this ship as part of his mission. Apparently this ship will also be in orbit over a new planet in the Star Wars universe, at least for a bit. The interior sets have been described as having a Starkiller Base feel, which would suggest it’s a new First Order stronghold. Making Star Wars reports: [The planet] appears to be really important to the story of the film, and that is the “Mars with snow on it” planet. The way I heard the set described, it was like Mars, a red ground, but covered with a light layer of snow, especially on the banks and rim of a hallway-sized trench. So imagine “Mars if it lightly snowed” is the mantra for this place That’s some economy of design if, say, you did a whole movie with a First Order Snowtrooper design and most of the scenes that featured them got cut (I’m talking about The Force Awakens). It also makes visual sense for this to be an important planet for The First Order who has been defined with a black, white and red color pallete far more than the Empire was before them. Imperial guards aside, the First Order is much more red in design. Not to mention the red of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi title and the red fractured background amidst the white of the packaging from The Last Jedi. Guys - white and red! - if this is the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy, we’ve begun to have that telegraphed very strongly through design already. Anyway, Snow Mars planet doesn’t have a name yet, but the rumor is that the First Order Super Star Destroyer is in orbit over that planet at some point and at another point Finn is on it in disguise. Maybe this is the same point? Maybe this is the climax? We don’t know. If Finn’s still on a mission though, it’s a safe bet the new Kelly Marie Tran character is somewhere misson-ing as well. Too bad I still have no idea who or what she is as a character. Finally, Star Wars, Aftermath: Empire’s End, the concluding novel in the post-Return of the Jed, pre-Force Awakens trilogy from Chuck Wendig comes out next Tuesday, which means review copies are out and there’s an excerpt on StarWars.com. Of course, the most exciting news has already leaked: the fate of Jar Jar Binks. I’ll let Mashable describe it: A refugee boy named Mapo encounters a Gungan performing for kids on the streets, clowning around in a fountain twice a day while being studiously avoided by the grown-ups. "Meesa Jar Jar," says the clown when Mapo introduces himself. The clown distracts the orphan from his own sadness by popping his eyes and bulging his cheeks, but is hiding a sadness of his own. "Jar Jar makin some uh-oh mistakens," the Gungan says, explaining why he isn't wanted anywhere either. "Desa hisen Naboo tink I help the uh-oh Empire." He stares into the distance, suggesting he knows more than he's saying. Yeah, that’s what you get for voting for emergency powers, Jar Jar. Now, it’s easy to feel sorry for the ignored clown described there, but keep in mind how it all went down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPJy0HTRD4s SAD!