Movie Pre-Game: Star Wars: The Last Jedi – It’s Time For The Build-Up to End


What’s the Deal: What else needs to be said at this point?  It’s Star Wars.  The reviews are exceptional, albeit a few outliers.  There’s no more set up we could possibly give this movie.  It’s time for the Jedi to end.  Let’s do this.

Daniel Cohen’s Breakdown

I’d be lying if I said I was more excited for this movie than I was for The Force Awakens, or even The Phantom Menace back in 1999.  Those movies followed a long period of absence from the franchise. The Force Awakens in particular was 30+ years in the making. This movie is just two years out from the last film (Rogue One doesn’t count). Having said that, my expectations are beyond The Force Awakens. Keep in mind this is coming from someone who gave that film a 9.5/10 in the review, a score I stand by. The addition of writer/director Rian Johnson though has simply raised the bar.  How good can this movie be?

Reviews and reactions are pouring in like blue milk at the Cantina. While I’m essentially staying away from everything, you can’t help but peek at some of the hoopla. The words I see a lot are “fun” and “funny.” This worries me a tad. I’m not saying Star Wars can’t be funny. The Empire Strikes Back, the darkest, most heavy film in the series, is downright hilarious at times.  You have a scene where Yoda smacks Artoo with a cane shouting “Mine!  Mine!”  What concerns me is that the fun/funny moniker are the first words people are associating with this film.  I’m probably over reacting, but that shakes me a little bit.

Having said that, I completely trust Rian Johnson to deliver the quality that we expect when it comes to Star Wars.  It may not be fair, but we judge them on a different stratosphere than other movies.  That’s just the way it is.  If this movie is “good,” then The Last Jedi is a big fat fail.

At this point, there’s no other adjective I can possibly think of to describe my excitement for this movie.  Luke.  Rey.  Kylo Ren.  Those are the three characters on the teaser poster, and those are the three characters I’m looking forward to the most.  Where will they be at the end of this film?

I have absolutely no idea.

Biggest Asset: Rian Johnson

Achilles Heel: The reactions sound too much like reactions you read after people watch a Marvel movie.

Lucas Jones’ Breakdown

I love Star Wars. I grew up with the franchise, and it helped to build my love of science fiction. So to have these new films coming out is basically a best case scenario for me. Seeing the universe that I’ve come to know and love continue to expand with new characters, settings, and plot lines is a wonderful thing. The Star Wars universe is so rich with potential that it would be a disappointment for it to end with Revenge of the Sith. To that end, I am excited for The Last Jedi.

The plot lines that were created in The Force Awakens left me with so much anticipation. Who are these characters, and what will they contribute to the story? Star Wars has always been a story of individuals who sent rive to make their own future, regardless of who their parents might be, or what their situation is. The universal archetypes make it easy to engage with the story: the smuggler trying to make an honest man of himself, the rebel who discovers his morality, the outcast who finds their place in the universe. So, it is easy for me to come back, movie after movie, to learn the fate of these characters.

The Last Jedi brings back Luke Skywalker to aid this new band of rebels, and it will be interesting to see where he takes them. Questions of lineage still remain, and this movie may not directly answer them. This film at its best can be a full examination of the new characters, what they stand for, and where they are going. At worst, it will just be a stepping stone to the ninth film. Either way, this franchise is full steam ahead.

Biggest Asset: The existing Star Wars universe lore

Achilles Heel: it’s just going to be Empire Strikes Back 2

Bill Bodkin’s Breakdown

I’ve said this in our fall preview podcast, but my hype for The Last Jedi is in no way, shape or form as high as it was for The Force Awakens. Could this be, as Pop Break’s George Heftler said, because of the super-saturation of Star Wars in pop culture? I think that has a lot to do with it.

So, going into this, I’m cautiously optimistic. I do have fears that my anticipation level, or lack thereof may make me indifferent to the new film. However, there’s Rian Johnson, and he has not let me down yet. I’m intrigued to see what he’s going to do with the film, and honestly the vagueness of the plot has my interest as well. However, like I said, I am guarded. I worry this film could be a misstep. I worry about the direction it could take. But, then again…maybe it’ll be awesome.

Either way, I’m there opening weekend.

Biggest Asset: Rian Johnson, and an excellent cast.

Achilles Heel: Sequel-itis.

Daniel Cohen: When it comes to Star Wars, breaking Avatar’s worldwide record is always on the table.  I can envision this movie making more than The Force Awakens, but I keep staring at that domestic total from a couple years ago: $936+ Million.  That just can’t be possible again, right?

If the movie is as good as we all think it is, sky’s the limit.  At the end of the day though, it’s worldwide gross won’t get to Force Awakens because that domestic total is just too daunting.

The Ceiling: $2.8 Billion (barely beating Avatar’s record)

The Floor: $1.5 Billion (yes, $1.5 Billion is the low end prediction.  Geez Louise)

Lucas Jones: I mean, come on. It’s Star Wars, backed by Disney. The full marketing machine is behind this movie, causing old heads and new comers alike to get worked into a tizzy. Even if it completely bombs, it will still be a moneymaker.

The Ceiling: $900 Million to $1.2 Billion

The Floor: $500 Million

Bill Bodkin: The Force Awakens was the gateway drug for the youths of the world to get into Star Wars. It was also the warm blanket welcoming fans who were burned by the prequels. It made huge numbers opening weekend, but I feel people were taking a wait and see approach. Rogue One didn’t do Force Awakens numbers, but that was a “non episode film” and it was pretty divisive, so that’s understandable. To me, The Last Jedi being the true follow-up to Force Awakens, the full return of Luke Skywalker, and one of Carrie Fisher’s final performances, lines up for a ridiculous box office receipt.

The Ceiling: $1.5 Billion to $2 Billion

The Floor: $700 Million

Daniel Cohen: Endless possibilities.  I have no doubt Laura Dern and Kelly Marie Tran will be popular picks.  Part of me thinks it could be Lupita Nyong’o reprising Maz Kanata, only because I want to know how the hell she obtained Luke’s lightsaber!  I’m going with Benicio Del Toro, and you can read our Last Jedi theories on why I believe that is…

Lucas Jones: Luke is going to be a big foil for advancing the plot in this movie, and his backstory surrounding the space between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens will be the centerpiece of the film. Mark Hamill has bought in to the Star Wars experience, and he seems intent on delivering a performance for the ages.

Bill Bodkin: Porgs. Those stupidly cute half penguin, half dogs are going to steal the damn show.

Daniel Cohen: Enough already.  Let’s blow this thing and go home!

Anticipation Level: 5 Porg Screams out of 5

Lucas Jones: All in all my anticipation for this movie is at a strong 5. I can’t help but be excited for an expansion to the story. But, like the Dark Side, I can’t seem to get fears of an Empire re-hash out of my head. We’ll have to wait and see.

Anticipation Level: 5 Porg Screams out of 5

Bill Bodkin: While I’m not at DefCon 2000 level like a few years ago, I need this movie in my life, and my body is ready.

Anticipation Level: 5 Porg Screams out of 5

Total Anticipation Level: 15 out of 15 Porg Screams

Founded in September 2009, The Pop Break is a digital pop culture magazine that covers film, music, television, video games, books and comics books and professional wrestling.


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