I want to talk about the weirdest scene in The Last Jedi. Because I also think it was also the best scene.
I say that knowing that The Last Jedi had many good scenes.
There was the blistering opening section. Which was good. There was Rey and Kylo Ren chatting over Forcebook Messenger like a pair of horny teenagers. Very good. There was the throne room sequence, vibrating with sexual tension. Also good.
And then there was the moment where Luke casually lobbed his old lightsaber over his head, which was good and probably the most blatant ‘metaphor’ for what Rian Johnson wanted to do with The Last Jedi: throw away legacy, to “let the past die, kill it if you have to”.
Again very good. The Last Jedi, I believe, was an extremely good movie. You might even say it ruled.
But let’s get real for a second and talk about the actual best scene in The Last Jedi.
Let’s talk about the moment where Luke Skywalker walked purposefully towards a gigantic fish/elephant/cow looking alien, squeezed a half litre of green, full fat milk from its engorged teat and gulped that strange liquid down with the gusto of a man satisfying a well-earned thirst.
Let’s talk about that. Because it was awesome.
In a sea of Star Wars takes, on that spectrum between “people who like The Last Jedi are stupid” all the way through to “people who hate The Last Jedi are screaming manbabies”, here is the most definite Star Wars take: I was and always will be extremely down for Luke Skywalker squeezing green milk from an Alien titty and guzzling it down unpasteurised.
That was the moment when I leaned back in my chair, smiled to myself and thought, “ah yes, this is the Star Wars content I’m here for.”
This is a joke, kinda. But I’m also dead serious.
Looking back, it’s hard to begrudge The Force Awakens for the movie it became. After being beat into submission by prequels and “sand that gets everywhere it’s course and irritating”, Star Wars fans needed a movie like The Force Awakens. We needed familiarity and we got it. Anything less would have been a disaster commercially and almost certainly critically. The Force Awakens was the movie we demanded and deserved: a polished, well plotted Star Wars movie with a few calculated risks. A well-made homage. The perfect distillation of what Dan Golding called The Legacy Film.
But The Force Awakens, with its successes and failures, presented The Last Jedi with a new set of problems. The load bearing beam that is the original trilogy most likely couldn’t sustain another ‘homage’. The Last Jedi needed to be a response to those complaints. It had to be something ‘new’.
It was a relief then that Rian Johnson did what needed to be done.
The Last Jedi was absolutely an opportunity to create something original. More specifically, The Last Jedi was an opportunity to make Star Wars weird as fuck again, and Johnson attacked that opportunity like a man possessed.
Rian Johnson allowed Luke Skywalker to drink green milk straight from the boob of an alien. He made it happen and it was glorious.
I think about what it must have been like to watch Star Wars/Episode IV/A New Hope/Whatever the fuck we’re calling it these days. I think about how weird and dissociative it must have been. I think about Mos Eisley and the Cantina. I think about a giant bipedal dog called Chewbacca and hitting bulls-eyes on womp rats on my T-16 back home. I understand and empathise with Harrison Ford and Alec Guinness who must have read these words on paper and thought, “what in the living fuck have I signed myself up for”.
They couldn’t possibly have known that entire generations would be inspired by this weirdness, that this weirdness would become normalised and – ultimately – taken for granted and fetishised.
They also couldn’t have known that a seismic shift that was about to occur – cinematic universes, the homogenisation of the movie experience.
The need to cater to that fandom, surprise them, piss them off, keep them happy. Crushing annual schedules and a need for all dots to be connected: who are Rey’s parents, who is Snoke.
Who gives a fuck.
No, Star Wars needed to be weird again. It really needed that.
I’ve heard complaints about Star Wars – that it’s tonally inconsistent, that it’s funny at the wrong times and ham-fisted in others. I hear those criticisms, but find them easy to forgive in the face of how brave some of Rian Johnson’s choices were. In a year where Twin Peaks: The Return was the most interesting thing on television, we probably should have a better understanding of how powerful it can be to create laughter where there should be gravitas, or be ham fisted where you’d normally expect restraint. We should understand that dissonance is its own tone and sometimes it’s justified or even necessary.
I want those rules to be broken. I want to embrace that weirdness. If David Lynch can spend 95% of Twin Peaks defiantly and deliberately withholding its most beloved character to the chagrin of its fanbase, Rian Johnson should absolutely allow Luke Skywalker a warm glass of green alien milk straight from the source.
Chug it down Luke.
CHUG CHUG CHUG.
He should also be allowed Porgs. And a shirtless Kylo Ren with a comically oversized chest. And a cackling puppet Yoda setting Jedi relics on fire with a lightning bolt. He should be allowed all those things and more. Fuck it.
But most importantly, let Luke have his weird green alien milk. And let us all have a sip while he’s at it.