Ban Fiction: 'The Empire Cashes Back' by Mazin Saleem
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

5 Possibly Controversial Star Wars Opinions

1. The Ewoks are fine.

The Nerdcore is really into the idea that The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars original trilogy films, and Return of the Jedi is the worst, and that's primarily because of the Ewoks, which are the official worst thing in the entire original trilogy. Seriously, everyone fucking hates the ewoks. And I get it!

My dudes, there are many worse things in the original trilogy than the Ewoks. These things include but are not limited to: the Sarlaac pit, which doesn't make any sense; Luke's endless whining in the first movie; 98% of the dialogue in all three films; Han Solo's inability to take no for an answer from Leia in Empire (top tip; do not stick your tongue in someone's mouth after that person says 'stop'); C-3PO's endless whining; C-3PO's endless bullying of R2; C-3PO. Is the Ewok sequence too long? Arguably; however, it also provides a necessary balance to the extremely dark (and honestly quite talky) Luke/Vader/Palpatine story that's going on in parallel. 

2. Boba Fett is overrated. 

I didn't realise Boba Fett was a thing until I went to college and met some intense Star Wars fans. As much as I have always loved Star Wars, and as many times as I have seen those films, I just didn't have the visceral response to Fett that so many of my peers seem to have. I still don't. I just don't get it.

I mean, fine; if you love Boba Fett then that's great! I'm glad you have a favourite! But all the defenses I've ever seen of that love are generally made up of people reading a lot into his character that, you know, isn't supported by the text (Empire and Return). And then George Lucas coughed up a lump of sputum and called it 'Boba Fett's origin plot' in the prequel films and honestly, there are still moments when I'm astounded that the franchise ever managed to recover from the prequels.

3. The Force Awakens is rad as fuck.

I actually muted someone on Facebook who spent a month - a month - complaining about Force Awakens after first seeing it. I don't give a shit that it's nearly beat for beat the same film as A New Hope. But I will argue to the death that it did exactly what it needed to do to revive the franchise (see above) and did it incredibly well: it touched on all the elements that made the original trilogy so astonishing and so beloved, moved those elements along for a modern audience, and was a really fun couple of hours in the cinema, to boot. 

That said, Force Awakens - it quietly subverts a lot of things old Star Wars fans have taken for granted or become very proprietorial about - the reveal that a Storm Trooper is, gasp, not a white dude; making the competent female character the main character; and touching on themes from the original trilogy about family, love, loyalty, resistance and ambition in a way that has resonated powerfully with its modern audience. 

And I've said it before and I'll say it again, over and over: I got actual shivers down my spine when Rey called the lightsaber to herself and fought Kylo Ren. That scene genuinely took me by surprise because I didn't think the new film would give its female character that narrative arc. I was fully prepared for that fight to go a different way when he threw her against a tree and knocked her out, because that's what these films - what most films - do.

But it didn't. And for that scene alone, The Force Awakens earned my undying loyalty.


4. Revenge of the Sith genuinely sucked.

Maybe people have stopped pretending Revenge is any better than the other prequel films; I don't know. But when it came out, the reviews - professional and amateur alike - all seemed to boil down to 'pretty good, relatively speaking!' 

Nope. Amidala literally spends the entire film pregnant and weeping. She's even freaking barefoot in some of those scenes. And then she dies in childbirth/of disappointment/a broken heart, which directly undermines one of the sweeter scenes in Return of the Jedi between Luke and Leia, disrupts the series' internal chronology, and is also unutterably fucking stupid. In a world with faster-than-light travel, ain't no way a daughter of a royal space family going to die of childbirth, no matter how fucking sad she is that her husband is a Jedi-child-murdering monster. 

Meanwhile, on a different medical table on the dark side of the universe, Darth Vader wakes up all Frankenstein's Monster-like and howls in agony. Motherfuckers, this is motherfucking Darth motherfucking Vader. Anakin Skywalker shouting and being a brat? Fine. Darth Vader doesn't yell in agony. He force-crushes larynxes and saunters off. Anakin Skywalker whines. Darth Vader gets shit done.

Also all the rest of it was terrible and everyone was blinded to its essential awfulness by how bad the first two had been and how much they wanted this one not to suck. I mean, it did give us the exteremely useful 'look at them' meme, but memes do so often spring from dark recesses.

5. Disney saved Star Wars

Disney now owns Disney, Marvel, Jim Henson's Muppets and Star Wars. On the one hand, that means that a lot of things I reallyncared about in the 80s and early 90s are all under a single corporate umbrella, and that their merchandise - and these properties are being merchandised to the hilt - is available in Disney stores and basically anywhere that can afford the licensing fees. No lie; that's weird. It's a mindfuck to think about.

On the other hand,do you know what George Lucas was planning to do with Star Wars before he sold it to Disney? The sarlaac's burp that is Star Wars: Detours, which exists and if we're all very fortunate, will never ever see the light of day.

Disney is very, very good at turning nostalgia into a cash-cow, and milking that cow until she's begging for mercy, and then cloning her and continuing the milking forever. Disney saved Star Wars by buying it. They put their muscle behind rebooting the franchise without making Lucas' mistakes in the 90s and 2000s, and made it a proper pop culture phenomenon. Again. Which blows my mind. 

And now you can walk into any Disney store in the world and buy: a high-quality Leia action figure, Captain America's shield, a Tinkerbell t-shirt, and a Kermit the frog hat for everyone you know. Boom; Christmas is saved.