Addressing Criticisms of “The Last Jedi Betrays the Original Trilogy and its Heroes”

Many of the most common responses rather miss the point.

5 min readDec 20, 2017

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My dashed off essay, “The Last Jedi Betrays the Original Trilogy and its Heroes,” has gotten, well, quite a lot of attention. It’s now the most read post I’ve ever written, and it continues to be shared like crazy on social media. While many people have said it gives voice to their own disappointment with the movie, an equal number have told me I’m out to lunch, or not understanding the movie, or stuck in my ways and so incapable of seeing what makes The Last Jedi the best since The Empire Strikes Back.

Here I want to address some of the most common rebuttals, not just because they’re common, but also because they appear to miss much of what I tried to get at in my review.

Watch out for spoilers below.

“All your questions are answered in the novels and comics.”

Yes, I am familiar with the supplemental material in the novels and comics. I’ve read all of them, in fact. But far from lessening the problems with the The Last Jedi, knowing that backstory only highlights those problems.

What the novels tell us about the state of the universe in the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens just doesn’t fit with what we see in The Last Jedi. It does fit with what we see in The Force Awakens. Episode 8 deviates not just from TFA, but from the novels, too. I’m not going to dig into the details, but what the novels tell us about the New Republic and what The Force Awakens establishes about the location of the First Order, the role of the Resistance, and damage done to the Republic by Starkiller Base, don’t support the utterly dire situation our heroes find themselves in throughout The Last Jedi.

“You’re just mad that the universe took a dark turn.”

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Aaron Ross Powell

Host of the ReImagining Liberty podcast. Writer and political ethicist. Former think tank scholar.