Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Seeing as Star Wars Celebration is on this weekend, I felt compelled to respond, using my 2016 drawing of Daisy Ridley as a mock-up poster for The Last Jedi. I was of the generation that lived through the hype for the first film in 1977, the same generation that abandoned it when puberty kicked in and never expected it to ever come back, but come back it did and I was surprised as anyone to find myself caught up in the resurgence of interest in The Force Awakens. Star Wars gets a lot of stick, but I saw as a catalyst in the late 70’s for all the great sci-fi films that would follow – without the success of Star Wars there would have been no Alien, no Aliens, no Blade Runner. Now after the success of The Force Awakens, the genre is seeing a resurgence, and so far we’ve had really interesting films like Ex-Machina and Arrival and there’s more to come this year like Blade Runner 2049. Science Fiction is the therapeutic dreamspace where a culture makes sense of its present, and we could do with some of that right now. It’s a genre I grew up loving, and I still enjoy it when it’s done well, but it needs visionary writers and artists to really unshackle their imaginations. Having been impressed by Looper, I’m reasonably confident that Rian Johnson, the writer and director of that film and The Last Jedi, is prepared to take the chance to do something wild with Disney’s money, a chance he may never get again. Now that my daughter is as much a fan of this stuff as I was at her age, a new family tradition has been established, where we go to see the new Star Wars film on Christmas Eve, and this year will be no different. I am looking forward to seeing if Johnson and his crew have taken this opportunity to create something extraordinary.