Saturday, August 16, 2014

UPDATES: STAR WARS VII

Posted via Twitter, the hand that holds the note is NOT the robotic hand of Luke Skywalker, rather, the hand of the villain, who was initially described as being a "Sith Witch" on the net. What's important about this is the symbolic correlation that will be made to Luke's robotic hand, vs the robotic hand of the villain. The hands, especially the right hand, symbolizes our strength, our ability to defend ourselves and what we believe (even if that is believing in something bad). The grand question this image poses is, "Is the hatred and anger of the Sith Inquisitor greater than Luke's love and devotion to freedom and righteousness?" It's possible that Luke will die, we can even say, it's probable: whether he's slain--even by his nephew (more on Adam Driver's character below)--or he willingly sacrifices himself like Obi-Wan in Star Wars, it's likely Luke dies in this film. "Death," however, is different for a Jedi Knight, so even if Luke Skywalker does die, he will be a great hero for it.
This is a huge spoiler alert (well, nothing that probably won't show up in some way in the first or second trailer) but I have warned you: if you want to go into Star Wars VII December 2015 totally tabula rasa, then stop reading, like, now.
This might seem like a petty thing, however, Mark Hamill, portraying Luke Skywalker, has grown quite the beard for his character, and I think we can deduce quite a bit about Luke from this. We must remember: Luke hasn't been seen since Return Of the Jedi, about 30 years ago from the present day the film takes place; what circumstances would permit Leia to not see her twin brother in 30 years? The beard helps to explain: he's been in retreat, as in, a spiritual retreat from the rest of the world. As always, I don't mean to insult any men by this comment: this is art, which is absolute, not your personal style. Facial hair on a man denotes "the wild man" or the "uncivilized man," which has a positive and a negative spin: the civilized men of Rome shaved their faces to show their culture and learning, whereas the barbarians on the frontier retained their facial hair, so on the negative side, a man who has facial hair has given into his appetites and has given himself over to his baser, animal nature; on the positive side, a man with facial hair has "renounced the world" and has turned inwards to overcome all his desires and appetites. Knowing that Luke is a Jedi, the last option is most likely, so Luke grew a beard when he retired from the world at the end of Return Of the Jedi, which he did to become even stronger with the Force. Something happens, though, when you make this spiritual retreat: you become weaker before you become stronger, because without purging yourself of all the appetites and base desires, you can't progress (something that has been a point of contention in Catholic academic circles is whether or not really good people have base desires: it is my personal position that the really good people--like those who become saints--have just as many base desires as the rest of us, they just manage to overcome them, which not only makes them saints because of the strength they have, but because of all the good left within them after the bad has been removed; I imagine it's like that for Jedis, too). So, it's my theory, at this point, that while Luke was off in retreat, meditating and working with the Force, he allowed himself to become weak in his self-purification, and during this weakness, the Sith caught him. Now, the obvious question: Luke was the best Jedi alive, why bother with self-purification? For two reasons: first, because if  you don't keep progressing, then you digress and, secondly, because Luke knew there would always be threats in the universe that he would have to battle, so he was working on becoming stronger so he would be able to meet that challenge; it appears, though, that Luke either underestimated their strength, when the Sith would be strong enough to rise again or how much personal baggage he would have to overcome (I mean, his dad was Darth Vader, when he left his aunt and uncle's house, the storm troopers came and killed them, and he fell in love with his sister).  
The main villain is a Sith Inquisitor.
This is a massive bit of news and, primarily, it means, that director/writer JJ Abrams is going to deliver an incredible film. Why should we all be excited about this? An "Inquisitor" is one who is likened to a thought police, they insure everyone thinks the same thing. One of the places we can look to in order to find Inquisitors is, my home, the Catholic Church, which have the most (in)famous Inquisitions (but have been largely mis-aligned by modern feminists and Wicca members). In some ways, an Inquisitor is good: with large numbers of converts from other religions, the Church wanted to insure they were genuinely converting and not just hiding behind some creeds and prayers, endangering the rest of the populace depending on the Church to teach them solid doctrine. In other ways, Inquisitors are bad, and it really depends on which side of the fence you are on. How we know which side to take is that Luke Skywalker, the great American hero, is the hostage of the Sith Inquisitor in Star Wars VII.
This isn't a great image, but this is supposed to be the Sith Inquisitor, with red eyes, a red lightsaber and some robotic upgrades; he holds the damaged armor of Darth Vader, and it's unclear if this was from the funeral pyre Luke had built or if the Sith recovered it some other way, and what he's doing with it now (someone has suggested that they intend to clone Vader's DNA). Tellingly, there is a huge hole in the head of the mask of Vader, suggesting that, what was in Vader's head--Vader's thoughts and ideas--have been salvaged. Again, as regular readers know, red (like all the colors) has a positive and a negative meaning: red either means we love someone enough to shed our (red) blood for them, or we hate them enough to shed their (red) blood to appease our wrath, so it's easy to figure out why the Sith would have red eyes, they see the object/subject of their anger in all that they see and want to take vengeance on it all.
So, it's not just the body, i.e., the person of Luke Skywalker who is hostage, but everything that Luke Skywalker symbolizes: the good use of the Force, sacrifice, heroism and freedom (remember, he, Leia and Han fought for freedom from the evil empire and Darth Vader)--not only to live as one chooses--but to fulfill and reach your maximum potential as an individual. Knowing this, we can say, definitely, that the Sith Inquisitor is a thought police, and--quite simply--no other movement is more famous for its thought police than socialism and its re-education camps (we have all ready seen them in the re-make of Red Dawn with Chris Hemsworth). Now, let's be fair: I can clearly see some liberal (a socialist in hippie clothes) accusing me of twisting the plot with just these scanty details and forcing it into my own world view. Before 2008, however, were there any "mind police?" Political correctness, yes, but that is the weaponized speech of liberals and socialists, not conservatives and capitalists: did anyone get dragged off to a re-education camp when Reagan was president? Did the federal government force states to implement a "common core" education curriculum advocating that the president is a "messiah?"
No, but socialists have done that.
It's rather difficult to see in this image, but Han appears to be now carrying a second holster, in other words, he carries two guns instead of just one as formerly. It could be that he feels the threats in the universe have doubled, or that he in particular is threatened. It would be possible to deduce that Han is now handicapped, by age and natural digression (whereas Luke had gone on retreat--I am speculating--to advance his spirituality, Han has stayed in the world and become ever a greater part of it) and because Han has "lost his mojo," he now needs two guns instead of one; it would be possible to deduce that, however, I don't think that's accurate (please note, this may not be an actual costume we see Han wearing, but it gives us an idea about his character development heretofore). First, the shirt Han wears sports a high collar: our neck symbolizes that to which we allow ourselves to become yoked, like a leash, good things and bad things. The high collar suggests that Han has been selective in what he allows himself to become attached to (we have to attach ourselves to certain things and people, otherwise we aimlessly drift) without becoming attached to bad things (since his shirt is white, that suggests he is alive in faith and hope).  The long brown trench coat, however, is the most telling piece: brown is the color of earth, so that either means Han has become humble as the earth (we are created from dirt) or he has become as dirty as the earth (filthy); given Han's stature as a criminal and rogue, this isn't inconceivable, however, given that he is working, and it appears to be humble work, especially when he and Leia could have been living it up, the brown coat covering him suggests that he has spent thirty years being humbled by circumstances, which has made him stronger, and details of the next image below confirm this as well.
Another aspect of the plot we know is that one of the children of Han and Leia (presumably the son played by Adam Driver) is going to turn to the Dark Side, which is the event triggering the next installments of Star Wars. There is another plot point that has come to light: when the young heroes who find Luke's robotic hand, Han and Chewie are not in the Millennium Falcon, but in a Super Star Destroyer (whatever that is). The most famous spaceship in the universe, it turns out, is in possession of Oscar Isaac's character (Inside Llewyn Davis which Adam Driver was also in). Why is this important:? For at least two reasons. First, even though he married a princess, Han and Leia are still working-class folk, not relying on her inheritance or royal position (read: entitlement) for their means (which validates the virtue of work); secondly, Han and Leia have probably had some hard financial times, knowing how Han tends to lose the MF when he has money troubles. So, we can say, in other words, that Star Wars VII is going to be an accurate reflection of America today, which is exactly what we would expect.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner
It appears that one of the places where Han searches for Luke is cold, like, really cold. Arguably, when they were all hiding out on Hoth (the cold planet in The Empire Strikes Back) it was cold then and Han wasn't much more than a criminal at that point, so what's the issue? The cold can symbolize the meditative state, or an advanced spiritual state (as in the 7th Sphere of Dante's Paradiso in The Divine Comedy where the Contemplatives are (because they have forsaken the physical pleasures in life to take up the pleasures/pursuits of the mind, it's cold to reveal that their bodies are cold [unresponsive] to desires). One of the most important lessons my spiritual director has taught me is that we often have to go down the same path more than once: each time we go down a path, we learn a deeper lesson, we strengthen our inner-eyesight, so we can overcome the lingering faults that we weren't strong enough to overcome earlier; every fault symbolizes a battle, but we have to build up our strength to win each battle. IF Han goes back to Hoth in search of Luke, that will remind us of the first time Han had to go in search of Luke on the frozen planet and Abrams will be intentionally reminding us of that for a specific purpose, so we will be the "implied reader" since we will have remembered it and be thinking of it, if it comes up.