What is a Mary Sue to you?

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
925
471
68
Is that really fair to criticize? That Abrams played fast and loose with the narrative justification because he expected the audience to just get it? Enough people got it that we can't just write him off as wrong.
Yes, I'd agree that was a valid choice of Abrams, for the reasons you give. But it's far from the best and most justified choice. Ep7 superficially makes sense, but is filled with so many contrivances designed to replicate Ep4 that it is also deeply unsatisfying. That places it somewhere around the level of mediocrity and plagiarism.
 

Breakdown

Regular Member
Apr 5, 2020
87
23
13
down a well
Country
Northumbria
Gender
Lad
Does Rey get captured? Isn't she shown to have terrible negotiating skills with the merchant? She certainly isn't set up to be charamatic. Doesn't she fail to get the Mcguffin half way through the movie and fail to stop an attack?
1. Ray gets captured to further the plot. She escapes almost immediately after picking up some great new powers.
2. It's not that Rey has terrible negotiating skills, it's more that the merchant has all of the power in that situation. The purpose of the scene is to establish that Rey has a really harsh life, rather than show Rey's shortcomings.
3. Not charismatic, yet every character she meets immediately forms a connection with her. Almost like she's a Mary Sue...
4. Was that the map that BB8 had? I'm drawing a blank here, it's been a while since I watched the Force Awakens.
 

ObsidianJones

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 29, 2020
302
276
68
Country
United States


Cut footage


Don't get me wrong. I get your meaning. I'm actually someone who likes to discern these things or have to be astute enough to pick up on it. Seeing it makes me feel like the media doesn't feel I'm bright enough to catch on. And the deleted scene was... deleted for a good reason. It was weirdly paced. And I can't think of another place to organically shove in "OH, DAMN. I'm sorry. I forgot. Luke? Great pilot. Here's a vid of him flying around some debris to get me here. Ok, so I'll see you all later".

Anyway, the way Owen talks to Luke, it's explained that it's apart of his chores to maintain and fix the droids. Anyone that worked on any type of farm has some passing knowledge on how to maintain said equipment.

How ubiquitous the droids are, that's a question for the setting. Luke's level of education and what is Tatooine's educational system like, we don't know.

And the only abilities I question Rey on having is being able to push into the mind of a massively strong force user who's had training by virtual Gods of the Force.

Luke was always streaming with Midichlorians, but he needed training to not get his by a zapper. And then the Force Ghost of Ben to tell him to let go and how to trust in the force. That was it for a New Hope.

Rey had a force vision, a Force Ghost (the sweet whispers she remembers as a child), able to use the Jedi Mind Trick, and used the Force to best (again) a Sith Lord who was trained his entire life in the Force.

Luke did almost nothing overly Jedi the whole of the first movie. I literally don't care of Rey is more powerful than Luke. But knowing what I do of the force, there are people who are bursting with Midichlorians who do nothing but have maybe above average luck due to it. She harnessed it. And it might have been explained in the last movie how she could do it (haven't seen it), but I can see how it would rub people the wrong way.

Hell, I don't even mind the technical stuff. Ewoks, in case people don't know, innately understand how technology works. I have no problem with Rey just getting technology. It's the Force stuff that gets me.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
729
212
48
Ok so this site isn't happy with my quote carving, and I'm not going to redo all of it. So I'm going to just copy your posts without the official quotemark system. Anything with ----- words ----- is meant to be what you have said that I am replying to.

Anyway, the way Owen talks to Luke, it's explained that it's apart of his chores to maintain and fix the droids. Anyone that worked on any type of farm has some passing knowledge on how to maintain said equipment.
I'm glad you mentioned this, because it actually supports my point. There are lots of things that viewers are just expected to fill in the blanks on. So if it's ok to just assume that Luke is good with fixing droids because they are common devices, and thus it's as common knowledge as operating a car (also as common as a spaceship), then it should be ok to assume the same of Rey. Now, don't get me wrong, I AGREE that it's perfectly fine to assume Luke knows how to fix/maintain droids despite them not explicitly saying so in the film. The OT clearly established them as commonplace items in their universe, so much so that a junk/scrap truck drives around and regularly sells second/third hand droids to the locals for money, and it's an established form of economy for them.

My issue is that this same level of suspension of disbelief isn't awarded to Rey. People carve down so finely on her credentials, that it's like they want the director to have a character hold up her certification to the camera showing her passing flight school. Which is just stupid. I just personally don't see why it's such a huge logical leap to say "ok she works on ships all her life, and ships are as common as CARS in the Star Wars universe. So I don't have a problem with the idea that she knows how to fly a freaking cargo ship that is a massively produced vehicle used across the galaxy." It's like seeing her pull up in an SUV made by Ford or something, where there are millions of them out there on the roads, and calling bullshit on the idea that she knows how to drive it. Despite the mythic level of fan worship for the Falcon, the reality is that it's a stock built craft, that was on an assembly line, it's not special, it's controls are about as standard issue as a steering wheel and brakes/gas pedals.

Nobody had an issue with both Luke and Finn being clueless about how to shoot turret guns in a combat situation, yet they both adapted within seconds and were picking targets out of the sky, in both New Hope and Force Awakens. And nobody had an issue with people just TELLING us that Luke is a good pilot, despite no actual on-screen examples of it, until the climax where he's tossed into a starfighter and sent into the front lines of a massive air battle with gun emplacements.

And I don't have an issue with that either. I'm just pointing out that a lot of the things people seem to call BS on when it comes to Rey, are just as often things that happened in the OT, sometimes the same topic, other times a similar bit of handwaving, and nobody cares.

Nobody cared that a CHILD of 6 years old, is able to fly a pod racer at lethal speeds in a regular tournament, despite not being old enough to possibly even have had his balls drop yet. But hey, he's got the Force in him, so it's ok, we'll just handwave it away. But a young woman, with YEARS of life spent doing the same stuff as Anakin (fixing and maintaining the vehicles she is skilled at piloting), who equally is strong in the Force, is somehow a bridge too far for people.

It just seems like an incredibly petty thing to waste time complaining about, when it's a regular feature of fantastical storytelling, when you are trying to get a big story fit into a specific run time, and have to edit stuff left and right.

-------
And the only abilities I question Rey on having is being able to push into the mind of a massively strong force user who's had training by virtual Gods of the Force.

Luke was always streaming with Midichlorians, but he needed training to not get his by a zapper. And then the Force Ghost of Ben to tell him to let go and how to trust in the force. That was it for a New Hope.
-------------

Ah but you see, I think you are missing what the actual "training" was that Ben gave Luke in that film. He didn't teach him any specific stance or posture to allow him to block those blaster bolts, he told him a very specific trick, one that actually supports the idea of "Force users can just pick up shit on the fly." It's in their discussion of how the Force works. Ben tells him that a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him, and Luke specifically asks "You mean it controls your actions?" To which Ben answers "Partially. But it also obeys your commands." That's a very telling set of answers. Saying that the Force partially controls your actions, but also obeys your commands, pretty much says "You can basically toss an idea to the Force on what you want to accomplish, and the Force will help you out in doing it. You don't need training in that thing, whatever it is, in fact, your conscious self, and act on instinct." Ben says that exact line. "This time, let go of your conscious self, and act on instinct." And it's at THAT point that Luke is able to actually deflect the bolts. Not because of rigorous saber training, by letting go and letting the Force flow through him. And they had a similar point stated by Maz Canada about Rey letting the Force in. Which she does and is thus able to fight of Kylo Ren.

And the idea that a Force user makes up new powers on the fly is also equally established by Luke. We never saw any evidence that a Jedi could use the Force to pull objects around, and we certainly didn't see any examples of Luke being taught that. But he just pulls it out of his ass in Empire, upside down, in a moment of stress and panic, and the audience was fine with it. They also didn't establish that you could send a Force Tweet to a friend in a starship, but look pulls it out of his ass, again, in a moment of stress and panic...and...actually he was also upside down in that moment too! So apparently being upside is conducive to improvising Force abilities! So the idea that Rey is able to push back against Kylo doesn't bother me. I always sort of pictured it like a pushing match between them. Rey is at first, off guard, and overwhelmed, but eventually is able to set her "feet", get some leverage, and start pushing back. She can feel how he's doing it, and thus knows how to counter it. Just like you could immediately know, if you had your hands locked with someone and you were both pushing against each other's grip, the direction you need to apply your muscle strength to keep him from pushing you back.

And if the response to all of that that I just posted (not necessarily you specifically, just a general counterpoint) is "yeah but we never saw her get any training in that stuff" I against point to the fact that we never saw Luke get any training in how to do anything like what he actually does in the films. Yoda doesn't teach him saber techniques. He doesn't teach him Force Tweeting. He teaches him Backpack Parkour, Handstand Force Juggling (something he technically already figured out for himself at that point) and how to have crazy Force visions of his friends in pain....actually AGAIN he was upside down when that happened! Holy shit I'm just not realizing that! And NONE of the things we see him being trained in, the specific actions we see, were later reflected in his actions in Empire. But it's ok, because we just understand he's coming up with stuff, because he's in tune with the Force, and it's a massive Handwavey power that lets you come up with all kinds of tricks when you need them. So if it's ok for Luke to do that, it should be ok for Rey to do it too, without having to show her work to appease the overly critical opinions of the audience.

---------------
Luke did almost nothing overly Jedi the whole of the first movie. I literally don't care of Rey is more powerful than Luke. But knowing what I do of the force, there are people who are bursting with Midichlorians who do nothing but have maybe above average luck due to it. She harnessed it. And it might have been explained in the last movie how she could do it (haven't seen it), but I can see how it would rub people the wrong way.
------------------
They explained it in Force Awakens, like I said above. It's the "Let it in" line from Maz Canada. About letting go of her conscious self, and acting on instinct. The same starting lesson Ben gave Luke. And it's got the added benefit of being something that someone could be doing all their life and not know it. You know, like Kid Anakin. Who Qui-Gon specifically says the reason he is so good at pod racing is he's channeling the Force instinctively. He's not just lucky because of it (though that's probably one manifestation of it.) He says the Force is basically giving him heightened reflexes and senses, allowing him to make up for his shortcomings of things like being SIX years old xD . He even tells Anakin to trust in the Force and his instincts right before he starts the pod race. He doesn't give him a crash course in reflex training from the Jedi temple, he doesn't have to. He just has to remind Anakin to use the Force.

Which is my issue with all this Rey criticism about her being justified in knowing how to do what she does, when there are tons of examples from the other films, from the books and comics, and from the tv shows, of people without any training, being able to use the Force, and it's fine.
 

ObsidianJones

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 29, 2020
302
276
68
Country
United States
I don't disagree with you that people need to chill about Rey being able to do certain things. We're not privy to all of her life. We don't even know how pilot training works. They could get a headset and have all the info downloaded. There are much bigger things to focus on than that, and yes, I think it's a waste of time. Because like I said before, I'm fine with her being a junker and a great pilot and whatever. Force be crazy, yo.

But from the Lore, without having an idea of how to use it, it basically just helps you along. Like a good luck Stand. Actual harnessing and manipulation takes a least a little bit of lip service. Like Ben giving a half-assed explanation of how to tap into it.

It's like what Ben said. If Luke went to help his Aunt and Uncle while they were looking for the Droids, Luke would have been dead. Two Blaster Bolts, and one of the most powerful Jedis ever to live would have been killed by a nobody stormtrooper.

Even with the training of one of the greatest Jedis who ever walked, Luke wasn't a match for Vader. Because the raw ability of using the Force didn't matter to someone who knew how to actually manipulate the Force. Ren knew how to Manipulate. Rey learned that the Jedi were real two seconds prior (sarcastically put).

... and I thought a lot of people had a problem with Pod racing. I thought a lot of people felt like this guy. That's what I remember. Was that just my group of people who felt that Anakin was bad? Wasn't he lambasted so hard that he quit acting? That isn't a good thing, and people, it's media. You don't get to torment a kid over it. That's horrible.

But back to the point, it wasn't liked. Nor was Anakin.

And for the Laser Bolt scene, if I remember correctly, we're showed it in the middle of the lesson. We don't know what was taught before. I doubt it was much. But there was possibly more training than we saw.

I mean, you have to understand. I get your point and I also don't as well. It's like if we see a show with someone reading, we have to assume he was taught some reading skills prior. I'm not trying to be reductive. But there was a lot that was cut from the Movie to save time. Lucas wanted to cram War and Peace into this first movie. Somethings, we have to take on faith. That Ben taught him more than we could see. They built up the Pilot angle a lot because, more likely than not, they didn't have any clue how to show Luke being a great pilot. Especially on a Planet. It's easy to show maneuvering in space because it's just black everywhere. On a planet where we as humans have a basic idea of how it should look flying past certain things? He probably couldn't do a good job of it.

And while I get your point again about pulling force abilities out of the air, we're talking about a character who had some training in the Force and 3 years to perfect and explore it to get to that Force Pull. Versus "Yeah, The Force is Totes real. Here's a vision, now mind battle this uber tough guy who's been training for his entire life. You won? Hella Fresh, Nerf Herder"

And I don't know about instantly figuring out how to use and manipulate a Force power that's used on you. That's like everyone who was Force pushed instantly getting where it's coming from, and learning how to on the fly redirect it. Or getting force lightning, going "OH, I get it" and collecting it in a ball like Yoda did. Or the Blaster shot deflection. Or Force Cloaking. Or just learning how to be faster using Force Speed than someone who's been practicing it forever. Or battle meditation... There's just a ton of examples here. It's going to get bogged down.

Again, if Rey was picked up and explained a little by an actual Force user, I'm set. But I'm the type of guy that likes looking on how pathetic Luke was and seeing his growth. Have you looked at the New Hope recently? Where Luke was to where Luke ended is like looking at a totally different Character. From every aspect of that idea. That thrilled me. I saw the growth.

And I remembered looking at Rey. And I actually saw more in her than I did in Luke when I first saw him. I liked her more. She was more self posessed. Luke seemed whiny. Rey seemed put upon but self sufficient. It was going to be amazing to see her trials and tri... Oh. She... she just out mind boxed the Force Mike Tyson of her day? I feel like we skipped a couple of movies...

And that's it. I'm very much a person who doesn't get a long with too much too soon. You might say the Force Pull was too much, but again I reiterate 3 years of refining on his training. But later, we got to see what an actual person who knows how to use the Force can do, and we realized that Luke doesn't even know how to use his power on the level of the big dogs. It's impressive to you and me who couldn't do it. But Luke's actually on the level of a 7 year old Padawan when he did the force pull.

After three years of training.

I'm fine with that level of Power Progression.

But then, we saw that shot in TFA. You know the one


I remember thinking "Oh, Ok. So we don't fuck with this guy. Got it."

And then we got these



And then Rey proceeded to fuck with him. And I remember thinking "Oh. Ok. So Kylo Ren ain't shit".
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Specter Von Baren

Thaluikhain

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
267
71
33
Eh, one difference with Luke is that he doesn't develop his new powers lightly. He can use the force to shoot better in the end of the last film after almost everyone else has been killed and he's likely about to as well, he can force pull a lightsabre out of the ice after being beaten up by a yeti, he becomes telepathic after getting beat up worse by Vader. AFAIK, there's no in-universe reason for suffering to make you a better force user, but it makes it looks like Luke is earning his powers, rather than just getting them, which seems a bit Sue-ish.

Though, I'm still not seeing a reason to pick on Rey in particular, rather than almost literally everything else. Mind you, having Ren be a bad attempt at the next Darth Vader in universe as well as according to the viewers was clever.
 

ObsidianJones

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 29, 2020
302
276
68
Country
United States
Eh, one difference with Luke is that he doesn't develop his new powers lightly. He can use the force to shoot better in the end of the last film after almost everyone else has been killed and he's likely about to as well, he can force pull a lightsabre out of the ice after being beaten up by a yeti, he becomes telepathic after getting beat up worse by Vader. AFAIK, there's no in-universe reason for suffering to make you a better force user, but it makes it looks like Luke is earning his powers, rather than just getting them, which seems a bit Sue-ish.

Though, I'm still not seeing a reason to pick on Rey in particular, rather than almost literally everything else. Mind you, having Ren be a bad attempt at the next Darth Vader in universe as well as according to the viewers was clever.
It's not about picking on the character. Like I said, I really liked Rey in the beginning. It's not even that I mind her now.

It's just that Rey's awesomeness prevents intrigue.

Luke is a talented being in the force. He was helpless in the first film, did really nothing of importance until the death star. And even that was guided by the force ghost of Ben. The threat of the Empire was still around, Darth Vader is a bad ass and just killed his much more powerful mentor.

Empire Strikes Back, Luke won some victories, lost his friends, got his ass handed to him by Vader. In the end, he didn't find a way to win, he just ran away.

Jedi, Luke gained knowledge. Figured out he could beat Vader in a fight, and realized that was all Vader was supposed to do. Give him hate, turn him to the Dark Side. And at the end, he chose to use his life to redeem his father.

In Rey's first film, she humiliated her Big Bad. No training, vague vision, but damn is she strong.

There's a common statement that a hero is only as interesting as the villain he or she faces. What is Batman without the Joker? What is Superman without Lex Luthor? Where the Marvel Mutants without humanity's persecution?

Rey's awesomeness rendered Ren a non-threat. Ren's whining over Vader's helmet and Hot Topic rages made him laughable. No one can figure out where Luke is, but R2 senses Rey's awesomeness, and breaks out of its Low-Power mode that it's been in since Luke Vanished to show the map. The pieces didn't fall into place for her, they were strong armed into where they are supposed to be. Add that together, and the first movie was low impact.

Do I hate Rey as a character? No. I think she's a great character that was put into a badly thought out movie.

I like Poe, Finn, Han, Chewie, Maz, Tr8r, Phasma (whch she was nothing but Chrome Bad-assery)... I like the characters a lot. The movie didn't do them any favors.

Look, most protags are Mary/Gary Sues. It's up to the movie to make you not care and root for them anyway. The Force Awakens fails in that. And by doing that, all the characters suffer even if I like them.
 

Eacaraxe

Elite Member
May 28, 2020
282
200
48
Country
United States
I don't disagree with you that people need to chill about Rey being able to do certain things...
The issue isn't exclusively Rey's power and presentation as a messianically powerful Jedi in my mind, but rather that little is done to explore the implications of that power and contextualize them in a holistic way that makes the character feel organic. Let's compare her to one canon Star Wars character, one non-canon Star Wars character, and one comic book character.

First, Baby Yoda.

Favreau and Filoni, especially the latter, are really keen on sneaking the more interesting, complex, and oftentimes obscure parts of the EU into Star Wars canon -- Filoni's an OG d6 player for God's sake, Rebels was basically an animated WEG Star Wars RPG campaign. Not too many people seem to have picked up on the fairly obvious implication Baby Yoda has an innate understanding of Shatterpoint.

If you're up to speed on your Star Wars lore, you should know how unspeakably massive that implication is alone -- Shatterpoint is the most powerful Force power that has ever been published in any Star Wars work, across any medium, in Star Wars' entire 40+ year body of canon or non-canon work. If you're not up to speed with your Star Wars lore, it's what Kreia had and it's what Kreia taught Meetra Surik to use in KotOR 2. It's basically "Force butterfly effect".

What's the counter-balance? The question left hanging by Baby Yoda using Force choke: how does one reconcile differences between light and dark when it comes to beings that cannot be held morally accountable for their own actions? What are the implications of that on the nature of the light and dark side?

Next, Meetra Surik (AKA, the PC in KotOR 2).

The PC in KotOR 2 has a single, overriding, eminently powerful Force power -- Force bond. The character is non-canon, but the power is, having been used (poorly) in TLJ and TRoS. This in the game is counter-balanced by the power being a horrific burden and responsibility on the wielder, to the point its possession evokes outright horror and prejudice even in other Jedi, because its use subsumes and destroys the free will of those it's used upon. Worse yet, is that those with the power may not be able to control or even be aware of its use.

Last, Superman.

I mean, it's Superman. Do I really need to go over how his alien identity and power forces him into pseudo self-isolation? How Clark Kent is his alternate identity as opposed to the other way around, and how that identity reflects his perception of humanity? How Superman has to reconcile his own power and moral obligation, with the need to allow humanity freedom to self-determinate?
 

XsjadoBlayde

Verified lieutenant policebear
Apr 29, 2020
271
105
48
Britannialand
Buddy Holly did a song about her, is all I know. "Mary Sue, Mary Sue! Pretty pretty pretty pretty Mary Sue!" Not the most intellectually stimulating poetry of its time, but I must assume she's that totes darn awesome even the strongest willed of geniuses are relegated to a blubbering mess of childish infatuation.

...

Wait, no it's Peggy Sue! Fuck knows who Mary is then.
 
  • Like
Reactions: happyninja42

TheMysteriousGX

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 12, 2020
131
48
33
Country
United States
Okay, yeah, Rey fucks with Kylo Ren a bit. When Kylo Ren was very specifically not trying to hurt her.

You know who else fucked with that badass ************ Kylo Ren? A low rent ex-stormtrooper who lost a one-on-one lightsaber fight against another stormtrooper. Finn, with a new laser sword and newly girded loins lost handily to a stormtrooper armed with a stun baton.
And he wounded badass Sith Apprentice Kylo Ren.

Of course, I'd argue that Kylo Ren is supposed to be laughable...right up until the genocide. He's an emotional, over-dramatic wreck of a person who's trying and failing to live up to the image of Darth Vader he's constructed in his own mind. And if it weren't for the actual, real power he has or the neo-nazi faction he's nominally allied with, it would be downright pitiable.

He was my favorite character up until Episode 9 wasted damn near every bit of potential it could've had.
 

Thaluikhain

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
267
71
33
Having just seen Ep 9 (Boo!), she does seem to check more of the Mary Sue boxes, but she's also the best thing in the movie. She's not great, but the parts not relating directly to her are just bad.

Aaaaand random thought, Taylor Swift (or at least the popular perception of her) would arguably count as a Mary Sue, despite (mostly) being a real person (public perception not being entirely accurate).

She's from a moderately rich family, classically beautiful, one of the most successful in her field in recent years, is surrounded by friends who are also conventionally beautiful and successful (but not quite as much as her) and sometimes someone that doesn't quite fit that mold, and she's got an arch-enemy in the form of Kanye West who is always wrong about everything.

Now, the factual accuracy of some/all of those points are up for debate, but...
 

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
925
471
68
And the only abilities I question Rey on having is being able to push into the mind of a massively strong force user who's had training by virtual Gods of the Force.
Maybe I'm misremembering, but doesn't she push back? Kylo Ren makes the connection between them, perhaps all she needs to do is shunt power back along that. Kylo Ren is unprepared, simply not expecting her to be that powerful and is caught unawares. That and though Kylo Ren may be incredibly Force powerful, he's also psychologically unstable which might make him relatively weak in a test of willpower.

Also, there an audience thing, and the idea that ep7 is designed with an expectation the audience knows eps 1-6. We all know from the extensive advertising that Rey is going to be an amazing Force user, and we've already done the whole training thing via Luke. I'm not saying it makes for a better movie, but I suspect the director just couldn't be arsed going through another series of Jedi training scenes when we already know what the result will be, so may as well just take a short cut.
 

ObsidianJones

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 29, 2020
302
276
68
Country
United States
Maybe I'm misremembering, but doesn't she push back? Kylo Ren makes the connection between them, perhaps all she needs to do is shunt power back along that. Kylo Ren is unprepared, simply not expecting her to be that powerful and is caught unawares. That and though Kylo Ren may be incredibly Force powerful, he's also psychologically unstable which might make him relatively weak in a test of willpower.

Also, there an audience thing, and the idea that ep7 is designed with an expectation the audience knows eps 1-6. We all know from the extensive advertising that Rey is going to be an amazing Force user, and we've already done the whole training thing via Luke. I'm not saying it makes for a better movie, but I suspect the director just couldn't be arsed going through another series of Jedi training scenes when we already know what the result will be, so may as well just take a short cut.
The most I'm really willing to give is that Snoke already set up the mind link they shared and she was able to use that.

It's an assumption that Ren is unprepared as we've seen him do it before.

And basically like I said, I don't mind Rey being powerful. As a person who loves Jedis, Sith, and the Force, I mind that she knew how to do too much too soon. I would have lost my mind and probably not even liked Star Wars if Luke's first example of telekinesis was lifting his X-wing out of Dagoba. Even knowing how he was one of the most powerful force users there ever was. Because with anything in fiction, there must be a build up.

Superman probably would have died if he tried to soak two planets crushing into him when he was first discovering his powers. Many reasons for that. His body didn't have enough time to absorb enough yellow sun radation.

... ok, there's just the one. But it's a big one. As a person who writes, the flow is broken and I can't understand why anyone would like that. Just "So, I can do this now" is so unfulfilling.
 

happyninja42

Elite Member
Legacy
May 7, 2020
729
212
48
Also, there an audience thing, and the idea that ep7 is designed with an expectation the audience knows eps 1-6. We all know from the extensive advertising that Rey is going to be an amazing Force user, and we've already done the whole training thing via Luke. I'm not saying it makes for a better movie, but I suspect the director just couldn't be arsed going through another series of Jedi training scenes when we already know what the result will be, so may as well just take a short cut.
Another thing I think people seem to overlook, is the power creep of what Force users can do as newbies versus the original films. The simple fact is that part of the reason they did very little fantastic stuff with Luke and the Force back in the day, is the technology didn't allow for it as easily as it does 40 years later. But people have seen all that milktoast stuff that Luke did in the original trilogy. Pssh, that's old news! Give us something more exciting and dynamic! Don't just have a lightsaber fight, have it be WITH A SABER STAFF! And have them twirl them all over like they are at a rave!! The audience has become so numb to the spectacle of magic/supernatural things, that the creators always have to up the ante with each subsequent creation. It's why Ezra was able to make a Force leap without any training, that Luke only did after having training with Yoda, but nobody seems to mind that. Because it's just a jump now. That's entry level stuff for an untrained Jedi these days. So the visual and scale is always increased. Which people who often are simply looking for things to dislike about a production, will point to and be like "yeah but Luke couldn't do that without training, so Mary Sue." And they overlook that pretty much every iteration of a Force user that's been created after Luke, in multiple mediums, have constantly raised the bar for what they can pull off at various stages of training. Why? Because they're trying to sell it to you, and if they just show you the same stuff Luke did, people will get bored with it. They want new stuff, new stakes, new levels of conflict, etc. It's why they ALWAYS go back to the "It's a big death star, but it's just bigger this time" for their mundane threat. Because they can't just say "yeah it's a death star, that can blow up a single planet! Pssh, that's milktoast!! This one can blow up FIVE AT ONCE!! AND DO IT THROUGH HYPERSPACE!!"
 

Asita

Answer Hazy, Ask Again Later
Legacy
Apr 4, 2020
107
46
33
Country
USA
Gender
Male
My issue is that this same level of suspension of disbelief isn't awarded to Rey. People carve down so finely on her credentials, that it's like they want the director to have a character hold up her certification to the camera showing her passing flight school. Which is just stupid. I just personally don't see why it's such a huge logical leap to say "ok she works on ships all her life, and ships are as common as CARS in the Star Wars universe. So I don't have a problem with the idea that she knows how to fly a freaking cargo ship that is a massively produced vehicle used across the galaxy." It's like seeing her pull up in an SUV made by Ford or something, where there are millions of them out there on the roads, and calling bullshit on the idea that she knows how to drive it. Despite the mythic level of fan worship for the Falcon, the reality is that it's a stock built craft, that was on an assembly line, it's not special, it's controls are about as standard issue as a steering wheel and brakes/gas pedals.
That's a false equivalence. Objections with Rey flying the falcon are not rooted in her ability to fly a ship at all (though considering her Aladdin style "Street Rat" archetype, wherein she's not quite earning even hand to mouth, being able to fly a cruiser does admittedly raise a bit of an eyebrow). It's that there's a bunch of narrative baggage in the specifics. First, there's the ship itself. The Falcon is a notoriously finicky craft, very much analagous to an overmodded street racer prioritizing power over reliability and ease of use. The EU in particular took this up to 11 and more or less turned it into the functional equivalent of Gundam Wing's Tallgeese, if not Wing Zero; a very difficult craft to handle, but the returns on mastering it were astounding. Whatever Disney's statements on canon, that's still baggage that the audience brings to the theaters and they will predictably call shenanigans at any pilot unfamiliar with its specs having anything better than a rough flight. As a writer for an old IP, you can't just pretend that baggage doesn't exist, you have to put in the work to make sure audiences put it away.

Then there's the maiden flight. Flying a ship is one thing, and it's easy enough to pull out some justification for even a novice being able to pull off a flight, usually with the caveat that the landing will be a bit rough. However, going through an aerial canyon chase (see TVTropes for more details. Forum's objecting to the link for some reason) is another thing entirely. That's a narrative convention that's reserved for preternaturally gifted pilots, and for good reason. The entire point of it is that the pilot has to make snap decisions regarding the flight path with absolutely no room for error, and it's dialed up again when it's used as part of a dogfight where they have to do that while also ensuring that their pursuers don't get a clear shot. Even setting aside the Falcon, that isn't just "being able to drive a car", that's jumping into Monaco blind and taking first place. Or to step back into Sci-Fi again, evading pursuing fighters by flying through the wreckage of a Star Destroyer is directly analogous to Niobe running the sewers in the Matrix Revolutions and Lando and Wedge flying inside the Second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. The "canyon" chase is not a convention used to simply show that someone is merely a competent pilot, it's used to show that a pilot ranks among the best of the best, capable of outflying others in a high speed course where a single error in judgement probably means death. To look at that and say "yeah, of course she could fly, it's a common enough skill" is like being blase about someone without culinary training preparing Fugu because "really, who doesn't know how to use a knife?"

Bringing it back around though, half the damn problem is that Abrams thinks more like a cinematographer rather than a director. He tries to make a given moment exciting and trigger a desired emotion, and then promptly moves onto the next scene where he does the same thing, and keeps on doing this until the credits roll. And the problem is that in so doing he routinely disregards more than just pacing.

For instance, narrative cohesion suffers when the facts that the big emotional beat of the prior scene was based on are later revealed to have been entirely wrong. The example that comes to mind here is Star Trek Into Darkness, wherein Kirk realizes that - because the archive Harrison bombed was redundant - Harrison bombing it made no sense...except that it meant that key Starfleet personnel would have to meet in that very room, heavily implying it was bait for a trap. Cue then Harrison showing up and opening fire on that room, confirming that the bombing was a feint that was there to set up a decapitation strike. Of course, hardly a scene after that we get the revelation that the 'redundant archive' was in fact a high value weapons research facility where Harrison had worked, thereby undermining the prior "oh crap" revelation because the bombing actually did make sense as more than just bait.

We can again look to Abrams's work on Star Trek to see how he also ignores the greater implications of the scenes through the astronomical tech leap he applies to transporter/teleporter technology, allowing it to transport matter across hundreds of light years in seconds (and even to ships traveling at FTL), and being resized into a handy portable model that can fit in a duffel bag. To make a long story short, this functionally makes ships obsolete, but the films don't care about this because it was just thrown in as a handy plot device to undo Kirk being stranded in the first movie and to give the antagonist a quick getaway in the second. See also Khan's blood being essentially the Elixir of Life, literally capable of reviving the recently deceased like a Lazarus Pit. Though perhaps the best visual example of throwing out basically everything for the sake of a 'cool' shot is Starkiller Base in TFA, as it can perfectly target half a dozen worlds light years away, and destroy them in seconds because hyperspace lasers. That's bad enough for reading so much like "My Death Star could totally kick your Death Star's ass", but then comes the aftermath...wherein people across the galaxy could look up at the sky and see the explosions of those planets in the daytime sky...in realtime. There's so many things wrong with that that I don't even know where to start, and more conscientious writers then had to bullshit an explanation about a hyperspace ripple enabling a image that Abrams didn't put any thought into outside of it being a striking visual.

Abrams focuses so much on trying to milk a given scene that he doesn't think about what the scene actually says or means, or - at times - why it's even a thing in-universe ("MY NAME IS KHAN!"). And Rey's scenes are not immune to this trend. We see it repeatedly, in the aforementioned canyon chase, in how during interrogation she was immediately able to match and overpower what everyone was saying was the most powerful Force user of at least his generation (despite at the time not even knowing she could use the Force), and even in Leia deciding that this girl she never met needed comforting over Han's death more than his BFF Chewbacca did. To say nothing of an old Jedi lightsaber suddenly deciding it was a Harry Potter wand so it could to call to Rey and choose her as its next wielder, or the Resistance who had started the movie desperately trying to find Luke deciding that this unknown new girl should be the only person they send to his now discovered location. As I said, Abrams thinks "does the scene look good" like a cinematographer, not "what does the scene narratively convey/is this internally consistent" like a director.
 
Last edited:

Agema

Ph'nglui mglw'nafn Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
925
471
68
Another thing I think people seem to overlook, is the power creep of what Force users can do as newbies versus the original films. The simple fact is that part of the reason they did very little fantastic stuff with Luke and the Force back in the day, is the technology didn't allow for it as easily as it does 40 years later. But people have seen all that milktoast stuff that Luke did in the original trilogy. Pssh, that's old news! Give us something more exciting and dynamic! Don't just have a lightsaber fight, have it be WITH A SABER STAFF! And have them twirl them all over like they are at a rave!! The audience has become so numb to the spectacle of magic/supernatural things, that the creators always have to up the ante with each subsequent creation. It's why Ezra was able to make a Force leap without any training, that Luke only did after having training with Yoda, but nobody seems to mind that. Because it's just a jump now. That's entry level stuff for an untrained Jedi these days. So the visual and scale is always increased. Which people who often are simply looking for things to dislike about a production, will point to and be like "yeah but Luke couldn't do that without training, so Mary Sue." And they overlook that pretty much every iteration of a Force user that's been created after Luke, in multiple mediums, have constantly raised the bar for what they can pull off at various stages of training. Why? Because they're trying to sell it to you, and if they just show you the same stuff Luke did, people will get bored with it. They want new stuff, new stakes, new levels of conflict, etc. It's why they ALWAYS go back to the "It's a big death star, but it's just bigger this time" for their mundane threat. Because they can't just say "yeah it's a death star, that can blow up a single planet! Pssh, that's milktoast!! This one can blow up FIVE AT ONCE!! AND DO IT THROUGH HYPERSPACE!!"
As you note, the problem of how to give MOAR is a problem across a lot of art. You thought that Dark Lord from a generic fantasy trilogy was badass? Wait until you see the sequel trilogy, where it turns out there's even darker, lordier Dark Lord. I rewatched the Obiwan - Vader fight scene not that long ago. It is, by modern standards, deadly dull. (In fact, it's well short of the sort of stuff Errol Flynn was doing decades earlier, although passed muster for the era.) It's clearly based on actual real-world sword fighting - I don't know about Alec Guinness specifically, but lots of actors of his era knew swordplay for the stage, with some like Flynn and Christopher Lee clearly pretty good at it. Clearly Star Wars had to up its game, and power creep in the Force power was inevitable.

Mind you, the Obiwan-Vader mode of fighting, like duelling with a sabre/rapier, seems to me like it would be much more realistic for a weapon like a lightsaber though. They must weigh next to nothing with the blade being energy, and who the hell is going to make these outrageous, huge, slow, overhead swings as if they're weiding a several kilogram claymore when one quick lunge and it's goodnight Vienna? (Do huge strikes with lots of strength make any sense at all with no weight of blade of provide momentum?)