The Last Jedi Unicorn
In the movie Despicable Me, super villain Gru ends up taking care and adopting three little girls. One of the girls is Agnes, and she has an obsession with unicorns. An obsession so powerful that she could bend sound, with her fangirl flail. Flash forward to the third Despicable Me movie, where Agnes sneaks into a unicorn themed bar, while the family visits Dru (Gru’s unknown twin brother). *SPOILERS TO DESPICABLE ME 3* Inside the bar, Agnes spots a “real” unicorn horn. This leads into the bartender telling the little girl unicorns were really real, and that he knows where in the woods nearby Agnes can go to find one. Because of this new information, all her family is worried that Agnes’ obsession of finding a real unicorn will shatter, when she realizes that unicorns are not real. However, they let her believe in her fantasy. Her sister Edith even goes with Agnes on a stakeout in the woods to catch her unicorn. ...and they catch one! Only it was not really a unicorn. It wasn't even horse related at all! It was a tiny white fluffy goat missing a horn. Ultimately, she takes her rescued “unicorn” home to Gru, who gives her the bad news. The splash of reality. Unicorns are not real. Agnes took the revelation, with stride and proclaimed that goats are just as special. How this ties into Star Wars is the unicorn Agnes was seeking is similar to how I am to the new stories in Star Wars fandom. All those trailers, articles, and sizzle reels (and porgs) have me so excited that I can die! I know the end result is going to be a goat missing it’s horn, but I don't care. I enjoy each story for what it is. What a ride we are about to have come December!
**The illustration of the porgs shown above are from the talented Stéphane Kardos! Be sure to read more about it here**
Full disclosure: Currently the hype train to The Last Jedi is on the rise as the teaser trailer, the Vanity Fair article, and the sizzle reel have been released. My optimist side is full of eye dilated wonder at how amazing The Last Jedi will be. It may even become my favorite! I find it curious how favoritism works in the Star Wars movies. My favorite of the Star Wars movies is Attack of the Clones. It is not based on popularity, or technical achievement. There is something special about that one over them all that calls out to me. Yet, I wonder if The Last Jedi will take that top spot… I wondered if The Force Awakens or Rogue One would take away that top spot, but there is something that resonates on seeing Attack of the Clones. Most of it is because of the TV series The Clone Wars and Rebels. Those shows enhanced the characters I enjoyed so much in the prequels and beyond!
Interestingly enough, new movies have a wave of peak interest, when it comes to ranking. Because, tastes change. People change. There is this flow that new Star Wars movies create as people will jump to define if it will change their internal ranking system. Totally understandable process we all go through. However, I have this gut instinct that The Last Jedi might be the movie to sway my top vote. It could be that it is a middle act story. Set up movies have certain parameters to follow. Final act movies have to bring it all together to create a satisfying conclusion. Then we have the middle act stories. Middle act stories have such freedom to go in any direction. Everything can go wrong in a middle act story, but it is okay because the final movie will bring it back to a point moment. Middle act stories also have the beauty of allowing characters to have time to breathe, and we get the juicy back story sprinkled in.
There is Another…
Lately, I have been putting a lot of focus in my second favorite Star Wars movie, which is Return of the Jedi. There are so many great stories released the last couple of years that have reshaped how I look at that movie. The most recent being “Ewok Escape” from Forces of Destiny (found here). There is something so pure about those short stories. Also, there is Claudia Gray’s novel Bloodline (I wrote a guide of the lead in stories to The Force Awakens here, which includes this novel). I can not get enough of that novel! The way it bridges Return of the Jedi to The Force Awakens is brilliant. From “Huttslayer” to Napkin Bombing to the big reveal! (Being vague to not spoil the novel.) I think it was brilliant. Speaking of which, I am so excited for the new YA novel by Claudia Gray that will be about a young Princess of Alderaan! I can only imagine how much that will increase my emotional attachment to Leia (Plus it will finally have more Breha Organa). In addition, the stories of New Republic Year One guide (found here) I put together last year has me looking back at Return of the Jedi, with new eyes! One example is the short story “The Levers of Power” by Jason Fry. The story connects the new Imperial character Rae Sloane from her introduction in A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller to the Aftermath trilogy by Chuck Wendig as we get to know what Sloane did during the Battle of Endor!
There was an announcement made at San Diego ComicCon 2017 that has left me aflutter. Last year during a panel at Dragon Con (audio found here), Janine K. Spendlove mentioned her interest in writing The Last Jedi novelization. That comment sat in the back of my mind percolating for so long that I was wishing it to become true! She is such a huge inspiration to the Star Wars community, her short story “Inbrief” (review found here) was amazing, and her War of the Seasons series is top notch. Then as the time was getting closer to the announcement of The Last Jedi novelization author, I started to wonder if I would be okay finding out, who will write it. I really wanted Spendlove to get the opportunity to tackle the story, and if she was chosen, I don’t know what I would do. Would I pass out? Most likely! Setting expectations, I started to wonder, what I would do if it was not her. In my head I wondered if I would judge the author chosen. But then they announced the author, and I am completely happy, with the choice!
Holy Snokes! They chose the Jason Fry! I still hope they let Spendlove write a Star Wars novelization (be it the Untitled Han Solo Story or Episode IX). However, since they did not choose her this time, what a choice they made (maybe they will have her write the Phantom Squadron novel series one day)! I have not reviewed any of Jason Fry’s work on Unmistakably Star Wars (YET!), but truly enjoy all his work that I have read of his in Star Wars! My first introduction to Jason Fry was the Servants of the Galaxy: Edge of the Empire junior novel. I was blown away, and ever since then have been impressed with his work. If you are interesting in reading his comment on being chosen to write the novelization check it out here. Plus, check out an article he wrote years ago here about the first novel he loved (spoilers it is a Star Wars novel). Fry has been around Star Wars a long time, and is a super nice guy.
Because Jason Fry is writing The Last Jedi novelization, it may become my favorite novelization in Star Wars. Recently, the Rogue One novelization took that spot over my other favorites, which I talked about here before Rogue One released. There is something special in his writing that I am so optimistic to read (and cry)! I feel like Agnes from Despicable Me right now after that announcement, and the glass on the window will surely shatter soon! If only December will get here soon… I am ready to catch my space unicorn! In the meantime I will go through my Journey to The Force Awakens read through again, and devour the Journey to The Last Jedi novels (Anthony Breznican recently posted a great recap of the announced new novels here). What about you? What do you plan to do before The Last Jedi releases? Will you read the new novel Battlefront II: Inferno Squad by Christie Golden (I will)?