Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Nine: The Battle of Crait (Or: The Rebirth of the Rebellion)

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02:00:01 – End

This is it, the final chapter of The Last Jedi Edition of the 15-Minute Force. Incidentally, it’ll be the last edition of the 15-Minute Force for a long while. Our in-depth dissection and discussion about Star Wars will be going on hiatus for a bit, at least until after the final installment of the sequel trilogy is released on Blu-Ray. We’ve elected not to give the movie Solo our patented treatment until the trilogy is concluded, for the sake of chronology.

Not to despair, though. We here in the 15-Minute bullpen are prepping for a completely new project. Our senior editors are in the process of hanging banners that say                //\\ 15-Minute Federation //\\ .   It’s anybody’s guess as to what that could mean. Our computers suddenly all sound like Majel Barrett, and several people have taken to referring to the bullpen as the “bridge.” I’ve also experienced the sudden urge to shave my sideburns to very sharp points.

This mystery will be solved soon. Maybe as soon as next week.

Meanwhile, let’s finish this thing, shall we?

After an Act Two that was, in my opinion, a dog’s breakfast, we had a truncated Act Three that concluded with the vivisectionist death of Supreme Leader Snoke and the self-sacrificial death of the purple-haired Admiral Holdo. Instead of this being the end of the movie, we relocated to the mineral planet Crait for one final battle sequence. An unprecedented Act Four.

At the two-hour mark, the Battle of Crait was beginning in earnest. Resistance ski-speeders are kicking up red plumes from the salt flats that look like arterial spray as they race towards the First Order forces. The Resistance is taking heavy casualties in their junky vehicles and the odds don’t seem to be in their favor.

Then the Millennium Falcon shows up, as it is wont to do, drawing off the enemy TIE fighters. Chewbacca is piloting and Rey is on guns. All of the TIEs concentrate on the Falcon. Chewie is an excellent pilot. He takes the chase underground in an exciting sequence.

Meanwhile, the First Order’s siege cannon is front-and-center, and the ski-speeders are being taken out at an alarming rate. Poe Dameron calls a retreat, but Finn won’t back off. The former Stormtrooper intends to take his vehicle straight down the barrel of the siege cannon. It’s a suicide run. Rose prevents Finn’s self-immolation by ramming into him and knocking him to the side before he can destroy the cannon. Finn runs to the injured Rose’s side.

Why did you stop me?” Finn wants to know.

I saved you, dummy,” Rose says, then passes out. Or possibly dies. My money’s on passes out.

The siege cannon breaches the big-ass door. Kylo Ren orders his troops to advance. No quarter, no prisoners. He plans to kill all of them. I guess Rey failed to turn him.

Leia Solo is ready to pronounce the Resistance movement dead. She says,We fought till the end. But the galaxy has lost all its hope.”

Then, a robed and hooded Luke Skywalker shows up, as if out of nowhere, to comfort Leia. He says, “I came to face him, Leia. And I can’t save him.” 

“I held out hope for so long,” Leia says, “but I know my son is gone.”

No one’s ever really gone,” Luke says, as he hands Leia the dice that have always decorated the ceiling of the Millennium Falcon’s cockpit.  Luke then winks at Threepio and walks through the gaping hole in the big-ass door.  He’s going to face down the First Order.

There’s a lambda-class badguy shuttle hovering and a bunch of AT-ATs. Kylo orders every gun they have to fire on “that man.” The guns keep firing until everyone’s favorite fascist ginger General Hux orders them to stop.

As the red mist clears, Luke is still standing. Luke mocks the First Order by brushing off his shoulder. Kylo Ren goes down to face him alone.

Kylo says, “Did you come back to say you forgive me? To save my soul?”

No,” says Luke.

Meanwhile, Finn drags the unconscious (not dead) Rose into the Resistance base, yelling for a medpack. When Poe tells Finn that Luke is facing Kylo Ren alone, Finn says they need to go help him. No, Poe insists. Luke is doing this for a reason. He’s stalling so that they can escape.

Poe says, “We are the spark that’ll light the fire that will burn the First Order down. Skywalker’s doing this so we can survive. There’s gotta be a way out of this mine. Hell, how did he get in here?” That’s a good question. How did Luke get into the base? We were told that the big-ass door was the only way in or out.

Poe and Finn realize that the vulptices—the crystal critters—have all vanished. Where did they go? That’s a clue!

The crystal critters lead them to a cave exit blocked by a cave-in.

Chewie and Rey land the Falcon near the exit. “Lifting rocks,” she says.  A sarcastic reference to her Jedi training with Luke, you know.

Kylo Ren tells Luke Skywalker that the Resistance is dead and that when he kills Luke, he will have killed the last Jedi.

Amazing,” Luke says. “Every word of what you just said was wrong. The Rebellion is reborn today. The war is just beginning. And I will not be the last Jedi.”

Cut back to: Rey, who uses the Force to lift all of the rocks from the exit. Poe and the Resistance leave the cave. Finn and Rey hug.

Back to the Luke and Kylo Ren showdown. Kylo threatens to destroy “her” (meaning Rey, I would think), and Luke, and all of it. Luke tells Kylo that if he strikes him down in anger, he’ll always be with Kylo. Just like his father.

Kylo attempts to strike Luke down, but he’s not even there. Luke is still back on Jedi Isle, sending his image as a Force projection across the galaxy. Kylo has been duped.

See you around, kid,” Luke says, as his image disappears.

The effort to send his projection to Crait proved to be too much for Luke. Back on Ahch-To, Luke collapses from exhaustion. He musters enough strength to climb up the cliff where he trained Rey and watches the planet’s binary sunset, so much like the one on Tatooine. Like his master Obi-Wan Kenobi before him, Luke disappears as he dies, leaving an empty robe behind.

Leia and Rey both sense Luke’s death.

The First Order finally enters the Resistance base, only to find it empty. Kylo Ren and Rey share another Force connection moment, but Rey shuts him out. Kylo picks up the dice from the Falcon, which have been left behind.  If Luke was a Force projection, how exactly did the dice get here?  Force teleportation?

Poe and Rey meet for the first time. I did a double-take here, but, yes, it is the first time that these two characters share any screen time. After leaving Crait, Finn, who is caring for the injured Rose, opens a drawer on the Falcon to get a blanket. It seems that Yoda’s lightning didn’t destroy the Jedi books after all. Rey is a book thief.

Rey and Leia talk about Luke’s death. Leia says that Luke is now at peace and the Rebellion has all it needs to rise again.

We have a brief outro on Canto Bight, where all the fathier stable irregulars—the space urchins—entertain themselves with a story about Luke’s adventures. A surly overseer orders them back to work. One of the children, the one who wears the Resistance ring that Rose gave him, casually uses the Force to get his broom and looks up at the stars.

Roll credits.

Okay, I’ve already said that I liked The Force Awakens more than I liked this movie. And that’s true. While I didn’t hate this movie, I liked several of the movies more than this one, perhaps even one of the prequel trilogy movies. I know that sounds like blasphemy, but it’s how I feel at the moment. I’m going to give myself some time to think about it, but I’ll release my ranking of all the Star Wars films soon, as a temporary cap-off of this project.

I’m counting on J.J. Abrams to close out this trilogy with something better. Something with fewer magic mirrors and Disney animals, I hope.

Until we get together again . . . That’s How We’re Going To Win. Not By Fighting What We Hate. By Saving What We Love. Even If It’s Not This Movie . . . And May the 15-Minute Force Be With You. Always.

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