Sorry Fanboys: Luke Skywalker Ain’t Shit

Hello!

I know that the title of this blog post already has you incensed. So, I should tell you: this isn’t going to get any better for you. Be wary, all ye who enter here. It is in this place that your false idols are laid bare for your sorry souls to behold.

But in all seriousness, let’s talk about Luke Skywalker and how I’m really not feeling everyone’s favorite Jedi.


In probably the only time I will come to your defense, I will disclose that I didn’t see the Star Wars original trilogy until I was in my twenties. I completely understand that this was way past the optimal age for a first viewing. Because these movies were made for children (ask George Lucas; he will confirm), it’s probably best to see them when you’re super young. Or back in the 70s, when it made sense for the special effects to blow people’s minds.

PSA: the versions of the films I watched were the poorly updated versions, with the shitty CGI and the ghost of Hayden Christensen’s Anakin Skywalker at the end. I know this is very upsetting, as they sully the “true art” of the original cut. But I get the gist, so we should all just blow past that.

⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗

Now, a few months ago, Super Hubs and I rented The Last Jedi. He’d seen the movie in theaters and loved it, saying it made him a Star Wars fan. Considering he’s much more on the side of Star Trek (the show and a few of the movies), this seemed like a pretty big endorsement. But I still wasn’t in a rush to go see TLJ. This isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy The Force Awakens, which I actually saw in theaters; it just didn’t ignite a passion for the Star Wars universe within me.

Back to The Last Jedi. The reason SH loves the movie so much is because of the toxic masculinity arcs and the humanizing of Luke. He is pissed at all the people who complained about Rey’s ability to use the Force/wield a lightsaber—a fanboy annoyance carried over from TFA—and he refuses to suffer any fools who thought Poe was right in this film. All of which he shared with me prior to my watching. You could say my first viewing was slightly colored by his input.

But still. I could very easily see what he meant. The point of Poe’s arc was clearly to show that his rash, trigger-happy attitude only works every now and again; it’s not the way to win a war. What’s more: Poe clearly has an issue being managed by women. It’s not cute.

(Neither is the scene where he, Rose, and Finn are talking about their plan to find a codebreaker, and Finn actually walks in front of Rose when she’s in the middle of speaking. I laughed out loud because I thought this was the perfect way to showcase how little even “good guys” respect the opinion of a woman. It’s a great moment; it’s just not a great look for our main men of color.)

Sidebar: After watching TLJ, I am convinced that Poe would be a #NotAllMen kind of guy. Get back in your lane, Poe, which is having sexual chemistry with everyone.

I could go on about this—Poe being a fucking prick, Finn being selfish because he assumes Rey needs to be saved, how they royally fuck up the plan that General Holdo came up with and really didn’t need to let them in on—but this post isn’t actually about The Last Jedi as a whole.

It’s about how the fanboy rage against the portrayal of Luke Skywalker in this movie is extremely, ridiculously idiotic.

⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗

Once again, I fully acknowledge that I missed the optimal age to consume these movies—imagine Stella from How I Met Your Mother, except it doesn’t bother me that I can’t understand Chewbacca. But I don’t think that inhibits my ability to analyze the series; in fact, I think I have clearer eyes than a lot of you.

Tell me if any of this sounds familiar: A nobody living on a desolate planet stumbles into the rebel cause thanks to a droid. This nobody meets a legendary figure from said rebel movement. Out of nowhere, said nobody displays an ability to use the Force, despite zero training and no real reason for having this power. There’s some romantic tension between the nobody and someone they met two minutes ago. There’s a scene in a bar where the nobody sits to the side while the legendary figure does the talking. The nobody and friends sneak onto the main base of the bad guys. The nobody uses their newfound (and barely explained) powers to win the film’s big fight.

Are you thinking of Luke Skywalker? Of course you are. But, this is pretty much Rey’s EXACT SAME STORY as well. Y’all. The Force Awakens is truly A New Hope with a woman as the lead and a prominent black guy. You’re insane if you think otherwise.

Because, seriously. There is no reason for Luke to have this great ability with the Force without anyone teaching him a damn thing. Obi-Wan is like “I dunno, bro, just use the Force, okay? You’ll figure it out!” Nowhere in there do I see something that qualifies as legitimate, professional training. Luke is actively just Special Boy-ing all over the place. How is this any different than Rey showing an ability in a power she’s believed in her whole life? Spoiler alert: it’s not.

Cut to the second movie for both these characters. People complain that Rey remains untrained in The Last Jedi, whining about how Luke agreed to train her.

Back it up, trolls. First of all, Luke never said he was going to spend weeks and months training her. He said she would get three lessons; that’s it. Sure, she didn’t even get that, but the full Using the Force 101 course was never promised.

And guess what: Luke was never trained either! He basically spent a weekend in Degobah, complaining and barely listening to Yoda. That’s not training. That’s being a whiny white boy who thinks that his inherent specialness should be enough to get by. (Unfortunately, this is true because it’s always true of white men.)

This “weekend” is cut short because Luke abandons it to “save” Leia. His reason for doing so literally boils down to “I’m the only Special Boy who can Special their way to victory, training be damned!” And you know what? SHE DOESN’T EVEN NEED HIS FUCKING HELP! Instead, he gets his idiot hand chopped off like an idiot and *she* has to rescue *him*. Jesus Christ.

Sidebar: Can we talk about how Luke is so dumb that he can’t figure out instantly that Ol’ Ben Kenobi is Obi-Wan and that what appears to be the ONLY living creature on Degobah is Yoda? Come on! Even though I already knew who both these characters were going in, it’s literally the easiest thing to puzzle out. The only surprise I’ll credit George Lucas with is Darth Vader, and that’s because he didn’t even come up with Vader being Luke’s dad until he was writing the second movie! Which explains why none of the familial ties were telegraphed in any way in A New Hope. Get your shit together, George.

⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗

So, basically, my point here is that Luke is whatever the term is for a male Mary Sue. He is Special because the story deems it necessary; he has no qualifications or abilities until someone says he does, and he lucks into a lot of his victories.

But, let’s get to the crux of the issue, which is how Luke as an adult feels nothing like the Luke of the past. The Luke of The Last Jedi is petulant, reclusive, and problematic. He feels shame and withdrew from life as a result. He has regret, but instead of being motivated by it, he hides.

You know what that sounds like to me? That he is an actual human person who can’t be a Special Boy all the damn time.

It’s actively refreshing. Because you know what? Infallible Special Boys are boring as hell to watch. That’s why Twilight sucks and Harry Potter is successful. In the former, Bella and Edward are these great, amazing people who are so unassuming but everyone is in awe of their Specialness that even screwing up is painted as an obvious example of their charm. In the latter, Harry regularly fucks up. While clearly a talented wizard, he is too rash at times, overly hesitant in others, all while being hormonal and irrational as he hits puberty. And all of that makes sense because he’s a fucking teenager! Even Hermione, the best witch in their class, is a mess.

Perfection on all fronts is just not entertaining.

So tell me why it “ruins” Luke that he’s not perfect in The Last Jedi? Keep in mind that, you know, he’s not even perfect in the original trilogy! See: him being a whiny brat. Are you really saying to me that you would rather he NEVER make a mistake and therefore NEVER grow as a person? That’s idiotic.

Now, let’s consider the whole Dark Side/Light Side of the Skywalker family and Rey. Fanboys were frothing at the mouth because Luke contemplated killing Kylo Ren based on his strong undercurrent of the Dark Side. “He would never do that! That’s too dark for Luke! He knows that someone with both the Dark and Light sides doesn’t mean they’re lost!”

Except, you know, he doesn’t really know that for sure. In the last fight with Darth Vader, he’s not really acting like he wants to save his father. He’s trying to fuck him up. Especially when HE GIVES IN TO THE DARK SIDE AT PALPATINE’S BEHEST and just wails on Vader like he’s a pinata at some kid’s birthday party.

So, ya boy has already shown an capacity for darkness.

Then, factor in that it was literally TWO SECONDS of wondering if he should kill Kylo before he can do as much damage as Darth Vader had done (remember how he killed a bunch of kids when he was still going by Anakin?). He regretted it immediately, and the look on his face when Kylo wakes up and sees his uncle standing over him with his lightsaber lit was “What did I just consider doing?” Clearly, he was ashamed. So, what are you complaining about?

The fact that he went into hiding because of his shame? That his faith in the Force was shaken by his little slip? That he questioned his place in the resistance as a result? That he no longer wanted to be your Special fucking Boy?

You know what I’m hearing? That you sense your own humanity when you watch this movie, and it scares you. You want to be as headstrong and perfect as your idea of Luke, and watching him struggle made you realize that you could struggle too. You can’t watch him grow up and make mistakes because you don’t want to do the same.

That’s childish. And it shows that you clearly don’t understand what these movies are trying to accomplish. If you want to sit there and act like the latest Star Wars films betrayed you and the essence of the original trilogy, go right on ahead. But you’re wrong.

⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗

Literally the entire point of Episodes IV–VI (once George figured out what the fuck he was doing) is understanding the balance of Dark and Light. Realizing that both people with the best and worst intentions can manipulate others to serve the greater purpose. Seeing people who have made mistakes try to correct them—usually at the last minute, usually in the wrong way, and usually without the outcome they were expecting.

Oh, and one other thing, to all of you who were incensed by Leia being able to Force-jettison herself back to the ship after Kylo’s attempted matricide. Was the execution a little cheesy? Yes. But does it really matter that you’ve never seen anyone have this ability before? You’d never seen anyone do what Luke does at the end—project a near-fully corporeal version of himself across the galaxy to fight Kylo—and you seemed pretty okay with that. So, be honest with yourself about why you’re upset: you don’t like anyone other than Luke being able to show aptitude in the Force.

Another sidebar: Leia is fucking underutilized in the original trilogy (and also in the new trilogy).

She’s regularly in a position of political power, but she’s rarely allowed to really wield it. Meanwhile, when she is shown using the Force (before it’s directly explained as part of her family DNA), it’s in a stereotypical way: tracking the more important men in her life and determining if they’re safe. Her Force is basically used exclusively as a form of Mrs. Weasley’s “Where Everyone At?” clock in the Burrow—and yes, that is my second time bringing up Harry Potter!

This is offensive because Luke tells her in Ep VI that she could be just as powerful in the Force as he is (whatever the fuck that means). You really think she wasn’t going to spend all these decades practicing?! Suddenly you need a montage of her training, when you barely saw Luke do a damn thing while he was hanging out with Yoda? Get over yourselves.

⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗  ⊗

So. To say I don’t agree with any of your complaints about Luke or The Last Jedi is putting it mildly. As a newcomer to this series, I see not only the merits of these changes to the story but the necessities as well.

Because while these movies are for you diehards, you’re not the only audience. Much like the MCU’s constant (and, at least from my perspective, constantly successful) attempts to bring in viewers who’d never read the comics, these movies are trying to bring in and delight newcomers. These movies are QUITE LITERALLY for a new generation with a different sensibility and belief system from the generation growing up when the original trilogy was being released.

Bitch and moan all you want, but it would make no sense to hold on to values that are almost 40 years old. Especially when a lot of you weren’t even ALIVE at that time.


Well. I’ve spent a lot of time up on my soap box.

To quote a popular meme: thank you for coming to my Ted Talk. I hope you learned a little something—even if that something is to never come back to this blog because it’s half-run by someone who hates your favorite movies.

May your reboots cast off the shackles of nostalgia,
Nikkie

Captain America and Jessica Jones Are Eerily Similar: A Theory

Greetings, all. Nikkie here, all by my lonesome, to straight-up blow your minds with this realization I had recently.

Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, aka a stupid waste of space, and Jessica Jones (their MCU versions, anyway) are REALLY, REALLY FUCKING SIMILAR. Like . . . seriously. Their story arcs, particularly across Civil War and season 2 of Jessica Jones, have a lot of the same beats, and it’s enough to make me wonder if it’s on purpose. With the separation between the films and the Netflix show portion of the MCU, it would make sense to give each one their own anchor. And while I consider Tony Stark to be the main anchor (or Nick Fury) in the movies, an argument can be made for Captain America, and Jessica Jones definitely feels like the anchor of the Netflix shows (even though Daredevil came first).

So! Once I started connecting the dots, I knew it was a blog-worthy theory to share with the world (or the few people who read our blog, anyway). And here we are.

Theorists, assemble!

Continue reading “Captain America and Jessica Jones Are Eerily Similar: A Theory”

I’m Giving Up on “Grown-ish,” But You Don’t Have to

What up, fam? It’s ya girl, Nikkie.

Today, I’m going to talk about Grown-ish, the Freeform spin-off of ABC’s Black-ish. If you don’t know anything about the latter, it follows a well-to-do black family, anchored by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as parents Dre and Bow, that’s constantly redefining what it means to be black in America today. Grown-ish follows Dre and Bow’s eldest child, Zoey, to her freshman year of college.

I have a lot to say about both shows, but I’m primarily going to focus on Grown-ish and why it’s ultimately not for me. If you’re curious about my thoughts on its predecessor, check out this piece I wrote for a different website a few years ago: “Now I’m Feeling ‘Black-ish'”.

Continue reading “I’m Giving Up on “Grown-ish,” But You Don’t Have to”

The After Word: Ken Liu’s “The Grace of Kings”

I may not be a talking spider, but SALUTATIONS. It’s ya girl Nikkie, and I’m here with the goods. That’s right—I got that book babble you’re itching for. The focus of today’s fix: The Grace of Kings, the first in Ken Liu’s Dandelion Dynasty series.

I heard about this book from a list of epic fantasy series put together by Book Riot. I’d had this list open on my phone for months, intending to go through it with Super Hubs at home and pick out a series or two we want to follow. But what ended up happening was we went to Barnes and Noble with no specific goal in mind, so I pulled up the list, and we went around looking to see which authors were being repped in our local BN. The answer was: surprisingly few! Liu was one of the handful we managed to either locate or find the first of the series for; and of those, Grace of Kings sounded the best. While the two currently published books in the series were available, we decided to take it slow and just get the first one.

This may have proved to be a very good idea.

But before we get to that, let’s chat about the book’s plot.

Continue reading “The After Word: Ken Liu’s “The Grace of Kings””

Time for More White Television: Prelude to “Friday Night Lights”

Hello friends, lovers, and blog readers. It’s Nikkie here with a brief post to set up my next foray into what I’m calling “TV for White People.”

As you’ll recall, back in 2016, I watched the entirety of Gilmore Girls. The show never called to me when it was airing, though I knew my mom watched it for at least two seasons, and it was an abject boredom (and a bunch of “What Should I Binge” quizzes) that finally led me to its door. And I hated it. I hated Rory, I hated Lorelai, I hated Luke, I hated Emily—I hated it all!

But, I felt like it was interesting to watch a show that, ultimately, felt like it wasn’t made with someone like me, a black chick in her late 20s, in mind. It made me wonder how I’d feel about other shows from around the same time (late 90s, early 2000s) that also had a very clear “white people” audience.

Against my better judgment, I decided I needed to dive back in. So that end, I made a Twitter poll asking people to choose between four options: FelicityGossip GirlDawson’s Creek, and Friday Night Lights.

From a whopping EIGHT VOTES, half went to Friday Night Lights. I suppose that was my fault; I knew it was a really popular show outside the vein of Gilmore Girls or Gossip Girl, but I also knew it was super white because it’s about a high school football team in Texas. So on the list it went—though now I kinda wish I’d put Everwood because I watched maybe one episode when it was airing simply because Sport from Harriet the Spy was the main character.

But I didn’t, so here we are! As I plan to keep doing this kind of thing until I run out of shows I didn’t care about when they aired, I’m sure the losers of the poll will get their time to shine.

Until then: I’ll be diving deep into some toxic football culture this month and blogging at the end of every season.

See you soon!
Nikkie

If You Don’t Know, Homie, Now You Know: Fresh Off the Boat

Welcome, welcome, lovely blog readers. Nikkie’s at the helm today, and I’m here to talk about a show that Super Hubs and I love but have never discussed on the blog: Fresh Off the Boat.

But more than that, I’m also going to discuss the memoir that inspired the show: Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang. So, you’re getting something of a two-fer today! Get psyched!

Continue reading “If You Don’t Know, Homie, Now You Know: Fresh Off the Boat”

Another Year Older, Lots to Look Forward To

Hellooooooooooooo everybody! It’s ya girl, Nikkie. AND IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!

*kazoo sounds*

In honor of my birthday, I thought I’d do a little blogging and talk about some stuff that I can’t wait to interact with over the next eleven months. Sound good? Then let’s do it!


Black Panther

In Theaters: February 16, 2018

I’ll tell you something: I had no interest in Black Panther (the character) before the MCU got started; I didn’t even know he existed. I barely had any interest in him when he arrived in Civil War because I was too busy being angry with Captain America. But . . . then the trailers happened.

THESE TRAILERS, Y’ALL. Weave: snatched. Bless me with this #blackmagic. I’m up in my feelings about these trailers, and they have made me SO FUCKING PUMPED for this movie.  Continue reading “Another Year Older, Lots to Look Forward To”

My Amazing ARC Adventure: Catch-Up Batch

Hey everyone. Remember when I wrote for this blog? The one that I started on my own? What a time, eh?

Well, I’ve missed you! But in addition to just being a terrible blogger, I’ve also just been busy writing for *other* places. I know—shocking! But, back in August, I submitted a piece to the website The Prompt for a contest they were doing and won first place. Ever since, I’ve been contributing fairly regularly, and that’s been keeping me busy. (Feel free to check out my stuff.) In addition, I also wrote some essays for a collection I want to put together. So, even though I haven’t been writing here for y’all, I’ve been writing!

But also, we went to Texas in September, and then work has been . . . a thing. And sometimes, depression and anxiety just make you too tired to do things.

Anyway! At least Super Hubs has been keeping this ship afloat, with his regular IT posts from October and his recent “Justice League” review. But even with his spot-saving qualities, this blog has felt decidedly non-bookish lately, hasn’t it?? So, I’m making a concentrated effort to be better at this! I even took a break from contributing to The Prompt for this current topic so that I could start focusing on the blog!

So, with that in mind, I’m picking up on the last thread I left dangling: the dive into a bunch of ARCs I had lying around. Because it’s now been months since I’d taken on that challenge, I’m not going to devote a whole post to each book. Instead, I’m going to batch the remaining titles. Here are the first three.  Continue reading “My Amazing ARC Adventure: Catch-Up Batch”

My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1

¡Buenos dias, amigos! Nikkie here!

I feel like it’s been quite some time since it’s been just the two of us, wouldn’t you say? With the return of Game of Thrones, as well as our HIMYM project, it’s been almost two months since I’ve put up a solo post. And it’s been even longer since I’ve done a solo post that’s book-related, as my last post was about Riverdale. Clearly we’re overdue!

So, I came into the month of August with a purpose: write a dang post! But I also had another purpose, and it’s one that lends itself to several book posts. You see, back when we were still living in Texas, I came into possession of a stack of advanced reader copies (ARCs) of young adult books (and one middle-grade book). I was pretty excited about it, but because I have a short attention span when it comes to deciding what to read, I kept buying new books and just reading those instead. Or rereading Harry Potter. Or Rainbow Rowell’s books. And that’s how about four years came to pass since I brought these books home, not one of them read.

At the end of July, I was finishing up V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy (first time reading it; loved it!) and trying to decide what I’d read next. Looking over our stacks of books, my eyes trained on a few of those unloved ARCs and snagged. I knew in my heart . . . It was time. So, I gathered all the books into their own stack and declared: I won’t read another book until I get through this stack.* And to keep me honest, I intended to blog about it.
*I am reading other books, but only essay collections and only at night. These ARCs are my exclusive commute/daytime reads.*

Because of our GoT posts and some semi-regular external writing I’ve been doing, however, I am three books behind on the actual blogging portion! But I’m here now, and that’s what counts!
I’m gonna keep try to keep this short and sweet because I’m writing this post while sick. DEDICATION!

Continue reading “My Amazing ARC Adventure: Part 1”

Couch Potato: My Dramatic Trip to “Riverdale”

Hello hello hello, my pets—Nikkie here. I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve gazed upon your shining, beautiful faces. Probably because I’ve never seen them, unless I know you in real life . . . But that’s neither here nor there! The point is that I’m back at it, blog styles, and we’re all super excited about it.

To shake off my cobwebs, I’m gonna keep it brief and just talk a little bit about my latest obsession: the CW’s Riverdale. I had been initially excited when I heard the show was being created. I read Archie comics a lot growing up, and I was definitely into the #HotArchie reboot. But when I found out Riverdale was going to be a dramatic murder mystery of a show, I was less thrilled. Why does everything have to be a gritty re-imagining, full of drama and violence and sex? But then they cast Cole Sprouse as Jughead, and because I’ve recently become obsessed with him, I knew I’d eventually get around to watching this show.

I ended up having to wait until it came to Netflix because when I finally ventured over to the CW website after the show’d been running for a few weeks, the few first episodes weren’t up anymore! Ugh! Thankfully, the wait for Netflix wasn’t that long, and I avoided spoilers pretty easily. I was never looking forward to watching the show, per se. It just seemed like something I’d have to grit my teeth and bear.

Then I watched it. And somehow, by show’s end, I was certifiably obsessed. (Light spoilers ahead.) Continue reading “Couch Potato: My Dramatic Trip to “Riverdale””