I thought I had it figured out. I was getting to a place where I was mostly okay with The Last Jedi.
I was wrong.
When you set up a story that involves what boils down to magic, you need rules that surround that system. Who can use it, when they can use it, why they can use it, how they can use it, etc.
Star Wars had a universe set up, prior to The Last Jedi, that had those rules mostly in place. Certain people were born with a sensitivity that allowed them to tap into the Force, which they could use after years of training. The Phantom Menace attempted to add some science to the how and why by introducing midichlorians. Fine.
The Force Awakens abides by this, for the most part. Even when Rey is able to use the Force without any training, we’re offered the explanation that she’s abnormally powerful in a way we haven’t seen yet. Even Anakin was able to skip years of training because of his power in the Force. Okay.
But The Last Jedi, specifically the Leia scene, breaks this. Here’s why.
Current Star Wars canon says Leia has declined training in the Force. It’s in Bloodline. She may be a Skywalker, but that doesn’t explain her unnatural ability to save herself from freezing and Force-pull herself back into the ship.
Johnson’s idea that it equates to survival instincts or adrenaline-rush stories doesn’t hold water, either. By that measure, Luke should be able to save himself from certain death on Hoth, but needs to be stuffed inside a tauntaun to live. If Force bubble is the explanation, which has happened in Star Wars before, how does she know about that?
There were ways to make this scene work. There are still ways to explain what happened here. But all of the answers can’t be slipped into a book six months later. Scenes like this, which are game-changers, need explanation. The movie has zero explanation, which seems to be a common theme the rest of the way through the movie as well.
While we’re talking about using the Force, I can’t help but look at that last scene and be annoyed now, as well. While I like that the movie ends with the hope of new Jedi sprouting up across the galaxy, we also see another example of the Force being used at a whim. The child is able to telekinetically call the broomstick to him, a feat I don’t recall Anakin displaying in Episode I, and one I know took Luke time to master (read Heir to the Jedi).
We’re building up multiple examples of canonical sources refuting what’s on display in The Last Jedi. I have zero problems with building a new story and carving out something new, but I want that to be done within the confines of the universe that’s already established. The Last Jedi shows repeatedly that it’s not interested in doing that. It feels like it wants to be different for the sake of being different, and that’s where I lose interest.
I’ll still sit here and hold out hope that these are cliffhangers of sorts, and that it gets addressed, in one form or another. Star Wars is the one story I’ve held onto my entire life, and I care deeply about the franchise. I want this stuff to work out, and I want these new stories to matter. I’m very glad the movie is doing well at the box office and I want the success to continue.
But I will also clamor for continuity, and for the direction of these movies to make sense. As it stands right now, the Force seems to be re-written at a director’s fancy. And, just as Luke feels the Jedi shouldn’t control the Force, I don’t feel one director should, either.