This Star Wars Trilogy Is Not About Luke, Leia & Han
Yesterday, the Internet seemed to explode with a rumor that Meryl Streep might take the mantle of Leia Organa in Star Wars - Episode IX. I absolutely disagree if this is true. First of all, I think it would be a slap in the face of Carrie Fisher who has owned that character for the greater part of her life. When asked about by Entertainment Weekly, whether she could resign herself of the character, she said, "I can’t. It’s me. I’m the custodian of Leia. I keep her in my bag!" While I love Meryl Streep and think she would be amazing, I think Leia should die with Carrie Fisher out of respect for her.
The other reason why we should not bring the character of Leia Organa back is that we need to start looking at this trilogy as not about Luke, Leia and Han. Its about saying goodbye to them, This trilogy is about a new generation of characters. I think many of us were looking forward to the new trilogy to see our favorite characters return to the big screen. And, given the layers of history in books, comic books and our own imaginations, we all had this preconceived notion of how their lives should all play out. So, when it veers from our expectations, we are shocked.
I was watching "The Director and the Jedi" special feature that comes with the digital release (and I'm sure Blu-Ray, although I have not checked) of The Last Jedi and it gave me more clarity about why certain decisions were made in movie. I highly recommend watching it, especially if you had a hard time with the movie. It will give you a better respect for how it was made and some of the thinking.
Even up until this point, I had viewed the new trilogy as a new chapter for Luke, Leia and Han. But, it isn't. It isn't about them. They are important characters. But, they are not the main characters.
I'm glad that the special feature was not afraid to talk about Mark Hamill's reticence to the direction of his character. He had been very vocal on the Internet about how he did not agree with director Rian Johnson's vision for Luke which accidentally helped spark some hatred of The Last Jedi. People got hung up with Luke's character not being the same Luke from the Original Trilogy. So, it would be natural that the custodian of Luke Skywalker would feel the same. But, thankfully, Hamill has come to peace with his fate.
What Johnson says on the feature is that Luke was no longer Luke, he was Obi-Wan.
My mind began swimming as, while I drew the connections on the surface, it didn't really sink until that moment.
I thought this interesting because if we had seen the Prequel Trilogy first, I wonder if we would have felt the same way about Obi-Wan and Yoda basically running away and hiding. They were Jedi Masters. Would this be something they would do? The Original Trilogy was not about Obi-Wan and Yoda, though. It was about a new generation of heroes.
We have to remember that this is the middle of the story. With Luke, Leia and Han now gone, the film can finally focus on the characters who are the real protagonists.
As hard as it is, we need to let this trilogy be about the new characters. And we need to stop comparing it to the Original Trilogy. Finn, Rey and Poe may not be the new Luke, Leia and Han. Maybe Finn and Poe and now Rose are major supporting characters with Rey and Kylo Ren being the two main protagonists.
In the end, I think these were all fitting deaths for our three beloved characters. Han Solo dies out of love for his son. Luke has his moment of redemption and is able to ensure the Rebellion lives on and to pass on the custodianship of the Jedi. And, while we don't know the exact fate of Leia, we do know that her tenacity should keep her leading the Rebellion until her end.