Star Wars: The Last Jedi delivered what some fans call the worst moments in the franchise's history - so it's a good thing the comic adaptation is fixing the biggest ones. We use the term "fix" because in the minds of those who raise the strongest criticisms of the movie, these moments actually risk breaking the series lore.
There are other choices and plot twists which have proved just as controversial, breaking the legend and character of Luke Skywalker, denying fans scenes and plots they had longed to see, or simply delivering some sub-standard entertainment or faulty logic. And it's these most controversial details that The Last Jedi Adaptation comic from Marvel show in a new light.
Some of the problems are solved, some explored in a new way, and some simply giving fans the actual story and character work they wanted on screen. It may not change every Last Jedi hater's mind, but they may be surprised to see how a small change can make all the difference. Let's get started.
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Admiral Ackbar & Resistance Command's Death Matters
Plenty of time was spent in Star Wars: The Force Awakens getting to know the new command of the Resistance, a collection of both new faces and familiar ones from the original trilogy. Which seems a bit of a waste to some, since a single attack wipes them all out in an instant. Leia gets more time on screen, but for the others, no so much as a moment of realization that their war has finally come to an end.
The moment fans realized that group included Admiral Gial Ackbar, charges of irreverence for beloved characters were leveled. Thankfully, the comic gives Ackbar a final moment of dignity. The bridge officers are no longer clueless to their immediate demise, simply a background to Leia's intuition. It's Ackbar who breaks the silence when they realize they're doomed - thanking them all for the honor of having served beside them.
Leia Didn't Pass Out, She Just Saw Into Her Future
It's still the fate of General Leia Organa that proved far more of a talking point when Last Jedi was first released. Not that she survived the attack at all, even if the loss of Carrie Fisher made the presumed death scene even more meaningful in the moment. No, the controversy came when Leia seemed to instinctively call on The Force in her final moments of life to open her eyes, outstretch an arm, and propel herself through the vacuum of space and back onto the ship. A moment that can now be better understood, and the truth of Leia's Force flight through space shown from her perspective and with her own narration.
Leia's internal monologue may be more accurate, since the text boxes accompanying the images show her mind was still functioning while adrift in space. If not her mind, then her essence or awareness in the larger Force (the metaphysics of the Star Wars universe are hard to describe). The point is: Leia was conscious of her coming death, and in what she believed to be her final moments, attempted to search The Force for some vision of her future, if not guidance. And what she saw inspired her to move into action.
That alone makes the scene far less confusing, since it was unclear just how "present" Leia was in the sequence. Now the only question is whether the future she saw for herself was merely one that survived, one that saw her reunited with her lost brother, or one stretching even farther into the future.
Admiral Holdo Tells Poe She Has a Plan
Likely the most frustrating choice for those unfulfilled by Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the means through which Poe Dameron's story is given conflict. Basically, he and Finn spend most of the movie working to save the Resistance, since its new leader Admiral Holdo has basically given up. That's how it seems, at least, since she refuses to even confirm that she has a plan. Since he's watching his comrades die with no plan in sight, his eventual mutiny is justified. But only then does Holdo reveal she DID have a plan and simply chose to let Poe spin out of control... but no hard feelings.
The comic plays out Admiral Holdo's promotion in largely the same way, including her being less than charmed by the recently-demoted Captain Dameron. Not actively hostile and belittling like the movie, but still unmoved. Yet, as the hero of the Resistance being groomed by Leia for future leadership, Poe has to ask Holdo to confirm that she actually does have a plan. She responds that yes, she has a plan. Which means Poe's doubts and need to take action are actually a character arc, and not common sense in the face of slaughter.
The Audience Sees The Fun Side of Maz Kanata's Call
Even if fans would have preferred that Maz Kanata return in a meaningful, physically present role for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, she does make an appearance via hologram call. The purpose of the call is for the heroes to get a lead on a person who could help them sneak onto the Imperial ship tracking the Resistance Fleet. That's the purpose to the plot, at least. The purpose it plays for the movie is... well, hard to explain. Maybe some comic relief?
Instead of a usual hologram conversation, the heroes interrupt Maz in the middle of a firefight. The result is a scene that feels more like a video game fetch quest, or a joke only halfway delivered. Or perhaps a realization that having characters sit around and conduct the call normally would be... boring? Either way, the comic at least follows the call from Maz's side so readers can actually enjoy her action hero chops.
The Kylo Ren/Rey Link is Force Projection
No, we're not going to be revisiting the Force projection used to send Luke across the galaxy just yet. We're referring instead to the scenes shared by Rey and Kylo Ren, able to see and interact with each other in their respective locations. But since the movie only shows the actors talking to the other offscreen, it's not exactly clear what the characters are physically experiencing, or even witnessing. And the filmmakers don't seem too interested in clarifying it outside of cinematic conventions (having Kylo shirtless was actually added so audiences would know Rey could see his current physical form).
The Last Jedi comic solves the issue perfectly, showing each character suddenly appear before the other, explaining their startled reactions. It's only when Rey shoots through Kylo that each realizes the illusion. An illusion that, when depicted in this way, seems similar or even identical to Luke's own Force projection in the final act. The similarities could be noted with some imagination, but explicitly having Luke turn Snoke's trick against the First Order makes it a bit more satisfying.
The Canto Bight Sequence is Mercifully Short
For those who love every part of the movie, the sojourn to Canto Bight and its bustling casino and natural splendor is fun, philosophically poignant, and meaningful. For those detractors, it's an ultimately irrelevant detour pursuing the same slapstick and silliness as the prequel trilogy.
The point is, it's divisive. Since the comic has to be efficient with storytelling for the sake of page counts, the Canto Bight sequences are limited to a handful of them, far shorter than the film's version. The fathier chase is only a few panels, so fans who felt it wasted time should be pleased.
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- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: Episode IX (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019