For Writers + Pop Culture

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Has a Writing Problem

CONTAINS SPOILERS: Read at your own risk if you haven’t seen The Last Jedi.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi just hit cinemas and, in some ways, has rebounded off the screen to sprawl sadly on the popcorn-strewn floor. As of my writing this there’s a disparity of just under 40% between the critic and audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes making it a divisive movie to say the least.

A few of those half and one star reviews no doubt belong to the same fans that were offended by the idea of a black stormtrooper and female lead in The Force Awakens because The Last Jedi is probably the most diverse Star Wars movie to date.

Women are everywhere – wielding the force, sacrificing themselves for the cause, and just… well… existing. X-wing pilots, admirals, tech runners, control room operators. It was legit lovely to see.

Short List of Women in The Force Awakens
Glory be.

But for every review screaming PC Culture Gone Mad there are some very solid, very relevant arguments against The Last Jedi having earned it’s 93% critic review score.

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It’s the first week of pride month and Sense8 has been cancelled. If that’s not ironic then I owe Alanis Morissette a beer.

In the days following the announcement, there’s been a lot of sorrow, a lot of outrage, and a spate of well-rounded articles detailing the immense loss to representation that’s fuelled most of it. But still, I see a lot of people—straight ones mostly—wondering at the voracity of the queer community’s backlash at the news. And I guess I can understand their confusion. Representation is representation, right? While Sense8 certainly had a lot of it, it’s not the only show out there with openly queer characters.

But that’s just it. All representation isn’t created equal.

In an industry that queer-codes its villains, fetishises its lesbians, overwhelmingly depicts its gay men slowly dying of AIDs, and flat out forgets people of colour exist most of the time, finding representation that doesn’t make me want to put my head through a wall is like finding a needle in a pile of other needles. Finding representation that makes me cry literal tears of joy…well, lets just say I’m usually notoriously dry eyed.

Until Sense8. Beautiful, diverse, found-family, feel-good, sci-fi mecca Sense8.

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I have a problem. I’m compulsively driven to read the comments on every 13 Reasons Why article that crosses my Facebook feed. I know, I KNOW, I should know better, but here we are.

The one thing this practice has given me (other than stress-induced migraines) is a singular insight into the types of comments these articles inspire. All thirteen of them (HA!). Because every comment defending 13 Reasons Why against BLASPHEMOUS criticisms levelled by THOSE ASSHOLE mental health and suicide prevention experts comes in a finite number of variations.

So here I am, answering each one so I can maybe exorcise myself of the need to repeat myself in 7347687346 reply threads.

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Hannah from 13 reasons why

Pop Culture

13 Reasons Why Not

I don’t watch 13 Reasons Why, and I never will for very specific reasons, but I’ve been following its reviews – good and bad – because it stands to impact people, and it’s a subject I’m personally invested in for reasons that are about to become apparent.

Warning: I’m about to hit on themes of suicide and self harm. I’m also going to talk about the final episode so: spoilers.

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