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Post by Darth_Awakened on Tue 6 Sep - 5:56

@Saracene wrote:
@FrolickingFizzgig wrote:Indeed, having been framed is definitely one of many possibilities, but I think that there are a lot of things that don't really fit with that theory, mainly Kylo's characterization. Otherwise I guess I have a personal bias against brainwashing because it's very lazy writing IMO. Just not interesting at all. Snap your fingers and you take everything back. It's just not the story I want (or expect) to see based on a lot of factors.
@FrolickingFizzgig

I don't believe the "framed" theory personally, if only because Kylo would have to be really thick not to figure out who was responsible for framing him.

I wonder if the Jedi massacre scene is actually going to turn out to be, in some way, the equivalent of Anakin's scene with Palpatine and Windu in RotS, because that was the scene in which he tipped over, and for the reasons you could sympathise with, i.e. wanting to save Padme. The killing of the Jedi kids at the temple later on was just the aftermath of that.
@Saracene

This could be it, however there is one point that opposes this theory IMO. The conflict between Palps, Mace and Anakin had been built up from the beginning of the prequel trilogy.
I think it is going to be something much more simple than that in Ben s case - to be understandable on screen and effective at the same time.
Most probably in some connection to Vader s identity reveal I would say. At least I think so.
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Post by Saracene on Tue 6 Sep - 5:59

@Darth_Awakened wrote:
@Saracene wrote:
@FrolickingFizzgig wrote:Indeed, having been framed is definitely one of many possibilities, but I think that there are a lot of things that don't really fit with that theory, mainly Kylo's characterization. Otherwise I guess I have a personal bias against brainwashing because it's very lazy writing IMO. Just not interesting at all. Snap your fingers and you take everything back. It's just not the story I want (or expect) to see based on a lot of factors.
@FrolickingFizzgig

I don't believe the "framed" theory personally, if only because Kylo would have to be really thick not to figure out who was responsible for framing him.

I wonder if the Jedi massacre scene is actually going to turn out to be, in some way, the equivalent of Anakin's scene with Palpatine and Windu in RotS, because that was the scene in which he tipped over, and for the reasons you could sympathise with, i.e. wanting to save Padme. The killing of the Jedi kids at the temple later on was just the aftermath of that.
@Saracene

This could be it, however there is one point that opposes this theory IMO. The conflict between Palps, Mace and Anakin had been built up from the beginning of the prequel trilogy.
I think it is going to be something much more simple than that in Ben s case - to be understandable on screen and effective at the same time.
Most probably in some connection to Vader s identity reveal I would say. At least I think so.
@Darth_Awakened

For sure, I expect it to be a completely different scenario. I only meant that the scene could be a similar tipping point for Ben.
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 6:15

@jakkusun wrote:@Darth Dingbat Very well written arguments. You know, I actually don't see why Kylo getting his delusions shattered and a story of healing through love and understanding are mutually exclusive.

Personally, I think we might get a bit of both. And I'm even beginning to think it will be ambiguous whether or not Kylo was a victim or a victimizer and that we might still be able to debate it, even with the full story of what happened.
@jakkusun

You're right; they're not mutually exclusive at all.

Mind you, I understand why any particular scenario might be distasteful to different people. I just don't think anything in TFA and other canon materials rules out different theories from Manchurian!Kylo to kidnapped Kylo or acting-for-the-greater-good Kylo or many other versions of Kylo. In fact, many things suggest that there's more to the story than we know at present. The only question is how much "more" there is. Maybe the "more" is little more than a slightly sympathetic detail. Maybe it's something big. Who can tell, at this point?

I like some ideas better than others (I would like a story of healing, but I also like the idea of a twist that turns things around drastically because I'm personally very fond of narratives that implicate the audience in a misjudgment/injustice), but there are very few I can't stand at all (*cough*Renperor*cough*). The only thing I'm sure of is that Kylo will be redeemed and Reylo is happening in some capacity. And whenever I wonder about what's happening next, I try to take into account what would make most sense to the GA. That's why I doubt Kylo will end up being very ambiguous and his actions debatable. Whatever happens will have to make sense - especially emotional sense - to casual viewers and children as well. If things turn around so that Kylo's fate will actually matter to viewers other than those of us who are already invested in his redemption, something will have to make a drastic change in people's perception of him. I can't claim to know how this drastic change will happen. Considering what he's done, though, I think more is required than him and Rey getting on friendly terms with each other. But we'll see.

If the trilogy takes some version of the "Rashomon Effect" route (and I did find it interesting that Rashomon was mentioned as an inspiration in the planning stage of TFA - thank you for your great post elucidating the film earlier, @jakkusun) then the story may be anything, IMO. I understand that many people feel like certain scenarios would compromise the dramatic potential of a redemption arc. But if an important part of the story is that we the viewers were morally implicated in misjudging what we saw, then obviously it's a different kind of story - it wouldn't be a redemption story, precisely, and therefore it couldn't be judged on the same terms as a regular redemption arc.
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 7:00

I see no problem with Winter!Kylo because there's a set up in the movie and ancillary canon:

Movie - Kylo goes blank face when darkness falls, Snoke music plays, than after Han falls, he looks like he just woke up

Novelization/audio book - Rey hears Snoke's voice in her head urging her to kill Kylo

Life Debt - Nora Wexely hubby is a total Manchurian

Add to that references in TFA and Life Debt about programming Storm Troopers since birth and you get the picture that mind control as a form of evil is in the fabric of TFA and new canon. So it wouldn't be a cop out if they took that route since seeds are already planted and it fits in the broader universe.
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Post by BastilaBey on Tue 6 Sep - 7:24

I don't think the winter!Kylo idea actually negates the 'beauty and the beast' aspect at all. If anything, it fits - the beast is under a curse, even if he might also be responsible for some horrendous acts. The healing through compassion from and for the heroine is his cure, but I expect Kylo to still express remorse about his father - because that expression on the bridge clearly wasn't enough for many fans and the general audience won't have read the novelization.
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 7:40

@BastilaBey wrote:I don't think the winter!Kylo idea actually negates the 'beauty and the beast' aspect at all. If anything, it fits - the beast is under a curse, even if he might also be responsible for some horrendous acts. The healing through compassion from and for the heroine is his cure, but I expect Kylo to still express remorse about his father - because that expression on the bridge clearly wasn't enough for many fans and the general audience won't have read the novelization.
@BastilaBey

I think that general audience gets it just fine. It's some old school fans who can't get over it that this trilogy isn't about OT characters so they stump for Reywalker or Soloist because that makes OT characters most important. Sorry, but that's not what ST is about. Rey's most important relationship is with Kylo cause they are heroine/villain. Her most important relationship is not with Han or Luke or Leia and therefore she is isn't their kid. Attempts to make her Reylated are just attempts to elevate OT characters to main hero status. Not happening.

Winter!Kylo doens't negate anything because he'll still feel terrible that he wasn't strong enough to break through it. I honestly see no problem with it especially since seeds are there already. Whether they'll add up to something or not remains to be seen but it wouldn't be a cop out if they followed through.
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 7:41

@BastilaBey wrote:I don't think the winter!Kylo idea actually negates the 'beauty and the beast' aspect at all. If anything, it fits - the beast is under a curse, even if he might also be responsible for some horrendous acts. The healing through compassion from and for the heroine is his cure, but I expect Kylo to still express remorse about his father - because that expression on the bridge clearly wasn't enough for many fans and the general audience won't have read the novelization.
@BastilaBey

That's a good point. Same with Tam Lin - he was captured by the Queen of Faeries, forced - under the Queen's curse - to join the company of elfin knights, and was going to be sacrificed as the faeries' tithe to Hell unless Janet rescued him.

ETA: Meant to say that Tam Lin is "monstrous" through no fault of his own, really. He just fell off his horse and the fairies took him.
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Post by jakkusun on Tue 6 Sep - 7:56

@Darth Dingbat hmm yeah. My thought about ambiguity was coming from Adam Driver praising the ambiguity in TFA--how things aren't obvious or explicitly stated and that the film uses more visual storytelling (something Ford praised I think). It was funny how he used "I am your father" as an example of something obvious. So maybe explicit and clear are more true to Star Wars, anyway.

But I was just thinking about the snow fight, the interrogation, and Han's death scene. While the actions aren't ambiguous, there is still some ambiguity there? Even though we all generally agree on what these scenes mean, we still don't perfectly agree (and there are many that wildly disagree) and I don't think any of it will necessarily be explained explicitly and in-detail a la midichlorians anymore? (Though there will certainly be some clarification of basic things like who Rey is related to and how the story is moving forward...and maybe they will actually explain it all in detail, who knows, I guess.)

A child can appreciate and follow the movie, but there is also another layer that can be endlessly argued about, some layer that is up to interpretation, that is more subtle? Kind of like the force? It's simple and easy to understand, yet also extremely complex and ambiguous--hard to pin it down. And you get to choose how deep you want to go?

I thought maybe whatever happened with Ben and the Jedi would be clear actions that don't necessarily fit into one category or the other? We'd have the facts, but not necessarily one clear interpretation?

(Actually, this would kind of be like rashomon, because Kurosawa never really said whose story was correct, and that it didn't matter what the truth was. The truth didn't matter and the theme of the story is really up to interpretation, I think. I think rashomon was actually kind of all about ambiguity and how it is impossible to actually get a true story or isolate fact because everything is interpreted by biased humans and this left the guys listening to the wood cutter tell the stories kind of shaken. In the end, one man ended up saving a random abandoned child and it ended up kind of having the message that life and people are crazy and selfish,  and biased but that people can also still be compassionate and help each other in the face of confusion and guilt. But that is just my interpretation, haha. And they could just decide to use this idea in Star Wars, but then get rid of the ambiguity at some point, too, using the idea as a plot device rather than a central theme.)

Maybe I also just don't like categories or having to choose between two options. Always wanting to have it all, haha. Because I'm biased toward ambiguity, maybe that is just why I think it will still be a layer in these movies.

But I see your point about how that would leave the audience confused about how to feel about Kylo and his story. But maybe we are supposed to be able to decide how we feel about it, rather than being led to a certain point of view? But yeah, that isn't a super "star wars" thing to do, I guess. Though Star Wars isn't always super consistent about when they decide to do black/white or grey/ambiguous storytelling, either.

Well, even if the meaning of the story is clear and explicit (you'll probably end up being right about it), I'm sure people will still find a way to debate about it. Haha
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 8:04

Oh, I agree with you, @jakkusun. I find TFA very ambiguous (more ambiguous than most people do even here, I think) and I do enjoy that. Kylo's ambiguity is why I'm so hooked in the first place Razz I think Kylo will always have some ambiguity about him - I just don't expect the outcome of the story to be very ambiguous, or the backstory to be left (too) open to interpretation, when you keep in mind the target audience and the general tone of the saga.

In other words, I expect Kylo to remain a multi-faceted and intriguing character throughout, but I'm not really expecting much moral ambiguity in the end.
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Post by CienaRee on Tue 6 Sep - 8:09

@jakkusun wrote:@Darth Dingbat hmm yeah. My thought about ambiguity was coming from Adam Driver praising the ambiguity in TFA--how things aren't obvious or explicitly stated and that the film uses more visual storytelling (something Ford praised I think). It was funny how he used "I am your father" as an example of something obvious. So maybe explicit and clear are more true to Star Wars, anyway.

But I was just thinking about the snow fight, the interrogation, and Han's death scene. While the actions aren't ambiguous, there is still some ambiguity there? Even though we all generally agree on what these scenes mean, we still don't perfectly agree (and there are many that wildly disagree) and I don't think any of it will necessarily be explained explicitly and in-detail a la midichlorians anymore? (Though there will certainly be some clarification of basic things like who Rey is related to and how the story is moving forward...and maybe they will actually explain it all in detail, who knows, I guess.)

A child can appreciate and follow the movie, but there is also another layer that can be endlessly argued about, some layer that is up to interpretation, that is more subtle? Kind of like the force? It's simple and easy to understand, yet also extremely complex and ambiguous--hard to pin it down. And you get to choose how deep you want to go?

I thought maybe whatever happened with Ben and the Jedi would be clear actions that don't necessarily fit into one category or the other? We'd have the facts, but not necessarily one clear interpretation?

(Actually, this would kind of be like rashomon, because Kurosawa never really said whose story was correct, and that it didn't matter what the truth was. The truth didn't matter and the theme of the story is really up to interpretation, I think. I think rashomon was actually kind of all about ambiguity and how it is impossible to actually get a true story or isolate fact because everything is interpreted by biased humans and this left the guys listening to the wood cutter tell the stories kind of shaken. In the end, one man ended up saving a random abandoned child and it ended up kind of having the message that life and people are crazy and selfish,  and biased but that people can also still be compassionate and help each other in the face of confusion and guilt. But that is just my interpretation, haha. And they could just decide to use this idea in Star Wars, but then get rid of the ambiguity at some point, too, using the idea as a plot device rather than a central theme.)

Maybe I also just don't like categories or having to choose between two options. Always wanting to have it all, haha. Because I'm biased toward ambiguity, maybe that is just why I think it will still be a layer in these movies.

But I see your point about how that would leave the audience confused about how to feel about Kylo and his story. But maybe we are supposed to be able to decide how we feel about it, rather than being led to a certain point of view? But yeah, that isn't a super "star wars" thing to do, I guess. Though Star Wars isn't always super consistent about when they decide to do black/white or grey/ambiguous storytelling, either.

Well, even if the meaning of the story is clear and explicit (you'll probably end up being right about it), I'm sure people will still find a way to debate about it. Haha
@jakkusun

I think some ambiguity in this trilogy would actually be good for the children's crytical thinking. I mean part of the problem with some people not seeing Reylo or thinking Kylo didn't show remource for killing his father is because they're  used to aways been spoon fed eveyrthing when they watch a moive so this ability to analyze things is slowly being lost over time so it would be good for both the older and younger generation especially if they're left to make their own conclusions and intepretations.

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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 8:16

Just to clarify, I wouldn't be opposed to ambiguity - but I'm not expecting much of it from this story. I tend to think that Kylo will end the trilogy by being definitively aligned with the "good guys", even if he remains an outsider to everyone except Rey. I can't guess the specifics of it, of course. I just think he will be coded as "good" in some way that will get the GA to root for him (emotional involvement) rather than debate his actions and motives (intellectual curiosity).

And I think learning that someone as far gone as Kylo in TFA can either change or turn out not to be the demon he seems is already something of a lesson in ambiguity for children as well.
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 8:20

@Darth Dingbat wrote:Just to clarify, I wouldn't be opposed to ambiguity - but I'm not expecting much of it from this story. I tend to think that Kylo will end the trilogy by being definitively aligned with the "good guys", even if he remains an outsider to everyone except Rey. I can't guess the specifics of it, of course. I just think he will be coded as "good" in some way that will get the GA to root for him (emotional involvement) rather than debate his actions and motives (intellectual curiosity).

And I think learning that someone as far gone as Kylo in TFA can either change or turn out not to be the demon he seems is already something of a lesson in ambiguity for children as well.
@Darth Dingbat

For what is worth, they did draw him and Rey in Disney Prince and Princess fashion:

ARCHIVE: Discussion: Podcasts - 1 - Page 37 Tumblr_inline_od01zgoACj1tmxbu2_500

so he belongs with this group:

ARCHIVE: Discussion: Podcasts - 1 - Page 37 Tumblr_inline_od01zgeD1T1tmxbu2_500

rather than

ARCHIVE: Discussion: Podcasts - 1 - Page 37 Tumblr_inline_od01zhHtr61tmxbu2_500

source: https://oldadastra.tumblr.com/post/149940804009/the-merch-does-not-lie

So, yes, they are giving us hints, soften the blow, etc
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Post by FrolickingFizzgig on Tue 6 Sep - 8:40

@Darth Dingbat wrote:
@FrolickingFizzgig wrote:
@panki
Indeed, having been framed is definitely one of many possibilities, but I think that there are a lot of things that don't really fit with that theory, mainly Kylo's characterization. Otherwise I guess I have a personal bias against brainwashing because it's very lazy writing IMO. Just not interesting at all. Snap your fingers and you take everything back. It's just not the story I want (or expect) to see based on a lot of factors.
@FrolickingFizzgig

I'm curious... why do you think Kylo's characterisation doesn't fit? I tend to think his characterisation would fit some kind of a traumatic betrayal/kidnapping/framing/whatever scenario to a tee. I know everybody focuses on different things in the character, but he does seem to have a fractured sense of self, he doesn't seem to belong where he is, and he carries a bitter sense of betrayal about him. Not to mention that whatever he's been going through hasn't managed to snuff out the light in him yet.

I also don't think brainwashing (or that other pet hate around here, a double agent scenario) would be lazy writing, if it fits the story they're telling. Though obviously in that case the story would be more "Rashomon Effect" and less straightforward BatB. Perhaps there's nothing to it, but I think it's hard to judge which narrative choices would be a lazy way out when we don't even know the story yet.

I know Kylo having his delusions shattered is a popular theory of how the story will go, but if I had the choice, I would prefer a story of healing where someone who's had their life, identity and mental health taken away gets them back through love and understanding. I wouldn't expect it to be lazily written at all, and AD's acting would bring it so many layers of depth.

tl;dr version: I just don't understand how it's possible to say in advance that a certain direction for the narrative wouldn't be interesting, when the story itself is a complete mystery so far.
@Darth Dingbat
Well, why would Kylo go along with everything Snoke said if he was just framed and that was that? Why would he align himself with someone who framed him? Why would it be hard for him to accept that Snoke is 'only using him for his power' if the creepy dude framed him for mass-murder? Like damn, I don't think Kylo is an absolute genius, but he would have to be incredibly stupid not to realize that he didn't do what everybody said he did. And why would he think he's "right" by working with the FO and betraying his family if he really did nothing? Why would he go so far as to murder his own father if he wasn't deluded by Snoke's influence? I don't know, it just doesn't add up to me. And I see real shame in Kylo. He did something terrible (or at the very least he thinks he did something terrible). The question for me is simply if he really did the terrible thing the story says he did (or more importantly, in the same way the story suggests). I would be really surprised if we got a backstory for this particular character that surrounds washing him clean of everything and painting him as a total moron who didn't realize that the FO framed him. IMO it simply does not work with the pieces we have in motion right now. It's just confusing.

Now here's the thing, there are ways it could work. If he was kidnapped and slowly formed into Kylo via torture and Snoke's influence, then sure. But to me, that takes away everything interesting about Kylo. It's just a totally different character/story. I really love him as a Vader fanboy who thinks he's on the right side of history and needs to have his delusions shattered... I guess I could love him if the writers did a total 180 and erased everything about him that all of us found so interesting in Episode VII, but it would have to be done really well. I would have to be entranced with a completely different character, and it's rare enough that I find a character as interesting as Kylo.

I'm imagining another scenario that could be interesting, and that's if Snoke clouded his mind (or like you said, broke down his mind) to the extent that he sort of blacked out and woke up with dead bodies everywhere. I'm also picturing Snoke telling him he's "just like his grandfather" xD. Kylo believing he did it when he really didn't could be a great reveal, and one that only Rey's backtracking through history could reveal to everybody. That is if Kylo, Han, Leia and Luke all believe Kylo slaughtered the students. That would explain why he didn't go back (because he really did feel responsible and unworthy). But for this to work Snoke would have had to have been manipulating him even before the massacre, which I guess nothing rules out? In fact, that one line from the novelization that has its canonity debated points in that direction. But this particular scenario definitely includes elements of the deluded Vader fanboy and the broken down young man coming to grips that he's wrong, that Snoke has been lying to him and that it's not too late after all.

Kylo believing he did it when he really didn't is the piece that makes my first paragraph make sense. That's the way it would have to be, which sort of goes back to winter!Kylo. More of a sleeper soldier, but convinced himself that he was right, that the Jedi need to be potentially purged as a way to cope with what he believed he did! That really makes Han's death all the more tragic, especially if he experienced another spell when the light on Starkiller went out right before he killed Han. I guess this is what you guys have meant with Manchurian Kylo? It works if Kylo is only under this influence sometimes rather than all the time.
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Post by SoloSideCousin on Tue 6 Sep - 9:25

@Darth Dingbat wrote:Just to clarify, I wouldn't be opposed to ambiguity - but I'm not expecting much of it from this story. I tend to think that Kylo will end the trilogy by being definitively aligned with the "good guys", even if he remains an outsider to everyone except Rey. I can't guess the specifics of it, of course. I just think he will be coded as "good" in some way that will get the GA to root for him (emotional involvement) rather than debate his actions and motives (intellectual curiosity).

And I think learning that someone as far gone as Kylo in TFA can either change or turn out not to be the demon he seems is already something of a lesson in ambiguity for children as well.
@Darth Dingbat

I think that you are probably right about this.  I mean let's face it, the character stabbed one of the most iconic and beloved characters of 20th century film in the chest.  Something is going to have to give with this guy.  The "something" started with Adam's amazing performance and how they wrote Kylo as being so conflicted.  It continued with him getting defeated and slashed in the face.  As a result, a lot of people left TFA *not hating* to even rooting for Kylo's recovery even after what he did.  However, as we all know, there is a sizable chunk of the audience that left either hating him or thinking that he was lost.

IMO, Episode VIII is not the place where they can pile on more evil deeds, like showing the equivalent of a high school/university school shooting in detail, and expect to keep many of those original sympathizers or gain additional sympathizers.  The dude has got plenty of redemption material in Han, and further, IMO, he can't weather a padawan massacre with no twist.  To me that incident *has to be* an actual mano y mano fight between students, a pure Manchurian moment or a frame-up, or he's done ... because IMO, for a huge portion of at least the American audience, a traditional school shooting type of thing will hurt him as much as Han, if not more, because it will bring in reality.

I also don't see a frame-up or Winter!Kylo as being a cop-out at all, nor precluding a redemption angle ... because in either scenario, the kid broke.  In Winter!Kylo, he wasn't strong enough to fight off the pressure/programming.  In a frame-up/kidnap scenario or in a scenario where he has a legitimate fight with the other students (probably due to Vader reveal) *and* his family does not believe him nor tries to rescue him, he will also eventually be broken because the torture//mind infiltration would make him fall to the dark side where I'm sure he did plenty of bad things.  Another good scenario is @panki's "overrun temple guard" scenario, where he would be so overcome with guilt and shame and self-loathing that he "broke dark".  The other is the "survivor guilt" one, which could be with or without the temple guard aspect, where some KoR like group killed everyone but him.  The PTSD-like symptoms of guilt and sense of worthlessness would be very real in such a scenario ... and once again, his emotions would have overwhelmed him, thus causing him to fall into despair and "break dark".

Now everything we have ever seen with falling to the dark side indicates negative mental and physical effects.  Anakin got the yellow eyes and he became paranoid and aggressive.  Apparently in the new canon book, Dark Disciple, Quinlan Vos falls to the dark side even though he thinks he is infiltrating the dark side/Sith and plans to bring them down and as such he finds a lot of not-so-nice acts justifiable in pursuit of his cause (in other words, he thinks he's in the right ... sound familiar?  Apparently, he also "snaps out of it" and starts to turn back to the light with the death of a loved one).  Ben would have learned from Luke many of the reasons why turning to the dark was a bad thing ... yet in all the scenarios above, Kylo/Ben would have fallen in a tragic "moment of weakness".  Now if gawd awful things are happening to Kylo/Ben that make him fall to the dark, the GA will not think of it as so much of a moment of weakness and more as something to pitied and as such the Kylo character will gain people who will root for him ... but the character would probably always hate himself for that moment of falling, that moment where he was broken ... like @vaderito said, he will think that if he was only stronger that he could have fought it off.  

Now knowing that you killed your Dad and did a bunch of dirty work for Snoke because you were too "weak" to stand the pressure and as such, let the dark infect you, is an ugly thing to live with.  Kylo/Ben is never going to be a happy-go-lucky character IMO.  Even if the guy turned under extreme force brainwashing, there is going to be guilt and he is going to want to make things better.  There's room for redemption in a situation like that, but even more so, there is room for pretty powerful and emotionally evocative recovery there as well.
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 9:35

@FrolickingFizzgig, I guess I just see all of this stuff - "Kylo was framed", "Manchurian!Kylo", and any other variation of "Kylo didn't do it or at least isn't as much to blame as most people think" - as such a vague concept that the actual story could play out in any way. I'm not that concerned with all the details because there's so much we don't know yet. I only think that the possibility for such an outcome hasn't been ruled out by any way.

I mean, I don't have any specific "Snoke framed Kylo and then kidnapped and tortured him" type of storyline in mind or anything. There is nothing to go by, no real hints about the backstory at all. I only think there's a definite possibility that all the ambiguity is directing people to believe one thing, with the intention of turning their perceptions around dramatically.

I confess I don't really see where and how it's been established that Kylo feels guilty for doing something terrible in the past. He surely has a lot of reasons to feel like "it's too late" by now, but how he ended up where he is is still a complete mystery - all we really know about it, from TFA itself, is an incredibly vague "one boy destroyed it all".
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 9:36

@SoloSideCousin All of your post but especially:

Now knowing that you killed your Dad and did a bunch of dirty work for Snoke because you were too "weak" to stand the pressure and as such, let the dark infect you, is an ugly thing to live with. Kylo/Ben is never going to be a happy-go-lucky character IMO. Even if the guy turned under extreme force brainwashing, there is going to be guilt and he is going to want to make things better. There's room for redemption in a situation like that, but even more so, there is room for pretty powerful and emotionally evocative recovery there as well.

IMO, SW movies need a character like that because there isn't any. They exist in the books and Ventress was on TCW as well, but movies don't have someone who's been on the other side, came back but still have to live with consequences. This is your future, un-sugarcoated anti-hero right there. I don't even know why some fans look at Poe as Han 2.0 when the guy is as a traditional hero. He may be cocky but that's traditional pilot cliche, nothing to do with anti-heroism. Turned Kylo would be a real anti-hero far beyond Han/Lando types who were never revealed to have done something real bad. They are sanitized bad boys.
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Post by SoloSideCousin on Tue 6 Sep - 9:47

@FrolickingFizzgig wrote:
@Darth Dingbat wrote:
@FrolickingFizzgig wrote:
@panki
Indeed, having been framed is definitely one of many possibilities, but I think that there are a lot of things that don't really fit with that theory, mainly Kylo's characterization. Otherwise I guess I have a personal bias against brainwashing because it's very lazy writing IMO. Just not interesting at all. Snap your fingers and you take everything back. It's just not the story I want (or expect) to see based on a lot of factors.
@FrolickingFizzgig

I'm curious... why do you think Kylo's characterisation doesn't fit? I tend to think his characterisation would fit some kind of a traumatic betrayal/kidnapping/framing/whatever scenario to a tee. I know everybody focuses on different things in the character, but he does seem to have a fractured sense of self, he doesn't seem to belong where he is, and he carries a bitter sense of betrayal about him. Not to mention that whatever he's been going through hasn't managed to snuff out the light in him yet.

I also don't think brainwashing (or that other pet hate around here, a double agent scenario) would be lazy writing, if it fits the story they're telling. Though obviously in that case the story would be more "Rashomon Effect" and less straightforward BatB. Perhaps there's nothing to it, but I think it's hard to judge which narrative choices would be a lazy way out when we don't even know the story yet.

I know Kylo having his delusions shattered is a popular theory of how the story will go, but if I had the choice, I would prefer a story of healing where someone who's had their life, identity and mental health taken away gets them back through love and understanding. I wouldn't expect it to be lazily written at all, and AD's acting would bring it so many layers of depth.

tl;dr version: I just don't understand how it's possible to say in advance that a certain direction for the narrative wouldn't be interesting, when the story itself is a complete mystery so far.
@Darth Dingbat
Well, why would Kylo go along with everything Snoke said if he was just framed and that was that? Why would he align himself with someone who framed him? Why would it be hard for him to accept that Snoke is 'only using him for his power' if the creepy dude framed him for mass-murder? Like damn, I don't think Kylo is an absolute genius, but he would have to be incredibly stupid not to realize that he didn't do what everybody said he did. And why would he think he's "right" by working with the FO and betraying his family if he really did nothing? Why would he go so far as to murder his own father if he wasn't deluded by Snoke's influence? I don't know, it just doesn't add up to me. And I see real shame in Kylo. He did something terrible (or at the very least he thinks he did something terrible). The question for me is simply if he really did the terrible thing the story says he did (or more importantly, in the same way the story suggests). I would be really surprised if we got a backstory for this particular character that surrounds washing him clean of everything and painting him as a total moron who didn't realize that the FO framed him. IMO it simply does not work with the pieces we have in motion right now. It's just confusing.

Now here's the thing, there are ways it could work. If he was kidnapped and slowly formed into Kylo via torture and Snoke's influence, then sure. But to me, that takes away everything interesting about Kylo. It's just a totally different character/story. I really love him as a Vader fanboy who thinks he's on the right side of history and needs to have his delusions shattered... I guess I could love him if the writers did a total 180 and erased everything about him that all of us found so interesting in Episode VII, but it would have to be done really well. I would have to be entranced with a completely different character, and it's rare enough that I find a character as interesting as Kylo.

I'm imagining another scenario that could be interesting, and that's if Snoke clouded his mind (or like you said, broke down his mind) to the extent that he sort of blacked out and woke up with dead bodies everywhere. I'm also picturing Snoke telling him he's "just like his grandfather" xD. Kylo believing he did it when he really didn't could be a great reveal, and one that only Rey's backtracking through history could reveal to everybody. That is if Kylo, Han, Leia and Luke all believe Kylo slaughtered the students. That would explain why he didn't go back (because he really did feel responsible and unworthy). But for this to work Snoke would have had to have been manipulating him even before the massacre, which I guess nothing rules out? In fact, that one line from the novelization that has its canonity debated points in that direction. But this particular scenario definitely includes elements of the deluded Vader fanboy and the broken down young man coming to grips that he's wrong, that Snoke has been lying to him and that it's not too late after all.

Kylo believing he did it when he really didn't is the piece that makes my first paragraph make sense. That's the way it would have to be, which sort of goes back to winter!Kylo. More of a sleeper soldier, but convinced himself that he was right, that the Jedi need to be potentially purged as a way to cope with what he believed he did! That really makes Han's death all the more tragic, especially if he experienced another spell when the light on Starkiller went out right before he killed Han. I guess this is what you guys have meant with Manchurian Kylo? It works if Kylo is only under this influence sometimes rather than all the time.
@FrolickingFizzgig

I think the bolded scenario is incredibly possible and would be absolutely gut-wrenching for Kylo *and* Luke, and a great twist. This could be the absolute moment where Rey saves the family, because she gets to see what actually happened, while Kylo thinks he lost his mind and killed everybody and hence he is worth nothing, and the only person that he can identify with is Vader.  Even under this scenario, where he thinks he killed everybody in some black-out rage that he doesn't remember, he could still feel severe abandonment from Han too.  I mean imagine waking up like that ... especially after finding out that Vader, your grandfather, did the same thing.  What would you do? Where would you go? One thing you might do is contact your Dad and tell him what happened and beg for his help.  And then what if your Dad is so horrified and so reminded of Vader that he disowns you, leaving you just completely bereft and a mess.  (This could explain Dad's looks of guilt later).  And then Snoke or a representative comes and picks you up in your weakened state and suddenly after some intense meetings with the Supreme Leader you think that this is where you belong.  That this is all that you're good for.  You may even want to bring down Snoke, but you might think your whole life is worthless otherwise, so you just focus on bringing down Snoke, and it doesn't matter what you do to make that happen ... because after all, you're bad anyway, this is who you are.  And once you're in this dark side place, all your decisions are clouded by it, but since *you really aren't meant to be there*, the light still keeps calling you and you don't know WTF is up ... and the only touchstone you have in life is Vader's helmet and Snoke.

It's a sad, sad tale, and the only way it can be broken is if an outsider comes and can tell you and your family what really happened.  And maybe this outsider has to come because you have been so depressed that you won't listen to the light and so the Force is *forcing* you to see that light.  Maybe you have even dreamed of some faceless girl who might "make it better" ... hence the look of awe when he sees her catch the lightsaber.  Her visions could very well be the gateway to bringing back that "someone else."

On the Manchurian part, that's how I always believed it.  I think Kylo is in a bad way mentally while entrenched on the dark side, so his decisions are tainted.  However, with the way they set up the Manchurian aspect in Life Debt the candidates are only "on call" some of the time.  In other words, they have triggers.  I have never seen Civil War, but my understanding is that the Winter Soldier has triggers.  If there is a Manchurian element with Kylo, I think he will have some triggers.  It's possible a flood of dark energy (like the sun dying) could be one of them.
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 9:55

@SoloSideCousin Yes, Winter Soldier has trigger words. In Civil War, he even tries to fight it when the bad guy starts reading them, cause he knows what's coming, but he succumbs to it despite his effort. At the end of the movie,
Spoiler:
he knows that he'll never get rid of it, that trigger will always trigger the killer in him and requests to be put in hibernation stasis.


We know that Kylo went blank when darkness fell and his words "show me, again, the power of the darkness" may hint at triggering that happened previously (presumably padawan massacre). That he thinks that Vader showed him the power of the darkness implies that he may be seeing him at those moment,s hear his voice, etc. We know it can't be the real Vader but Kylo believes it is.
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 10:07

Great post, @SoloSideCousin. I agree that they can't pile on more terrible crimes and still expect the audience to care. That's the major thing, I think. The GA needs to care or else it isn't an emotionally satisfying story to most viewers. It's already a pretty tall order, to make the audience care for someone who has committed an archetypal, traditionally no-coming-back, you-are-damned-for-good type of crime. Especially with only two (or, at a stretch, three) films to do it...

And again, we don't know what exactly the story is yet. Maybe the story isn't simply "you can go bad, go even worse, kill your father and still come back". Maybe it is more like "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" or any variation thereof.

Just to add, I think there are a lot of things that have been collectively decided to mean something specific... for example, Kylo's "Traitor!" and how it's referring to himself. That's a perfectly good guess and makes a lot of sense in context, but until we actually know what the story of the ST is about, it's still a collective headcanon. For all we know, Kylo is so fixated on traitors because he himself has suffered a traumatic betrayal.
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Post by SanghaRen on Tue 6 Sep - 10:14

Honestly, I am not fond of Kylo being controlled. At least not in a Life Debt way - although I have not come so far in the book so I can only guess based on the posts. The guy is a mind probing expert and someone fully controlled him to kill Han? Manipulated, yes. Controlled... I'd say no because to me it diminishes him as a force user. To me it's like the ultimate joke. The mind probing expert is actually controlled. I can see the ones thinking he's already lame lining up and laugh.

However, I have no issue with the framing and potential stockholm syndrom scenarios. Kylo Ren is a persona created to destroy Ben Solo. When he takes the mask off, he's vulnerable. If that does not scream fractured personality, I don't know what does. Whether he created the persona all by himself or was helped by Snoke remains to be seen. If he chose to create it, well you can count on Kylo having been framed / manipulated / broken down in some way. People usually create persona for themselves to protect themselves or people they love. I think we can strike the second option since his parents know who Kylo is. If you think about it, it's also surprising that Snoke does not want people to call him Ben Solo. Why do that when your prized pupil is the son and nephew of legends? Maybe because he fears that Ben Solo is not fully erased and hearing the name could lead his pupil to snap out of it? The only thing that bugs me in the framing is why Luke as a supposedly powerful force user would not sense the truth. Which also leads me to wonder : do you think Luke and Kylo sense each other through the Force?

Anyways, I also think there are many options open and am not willing to discard any. But I am not fond of controlled Kylo.
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Post by Darth Dingbat on Tue 6 Sep - 10:25

@SanghaRen, I think that would depend on who exactly is controlling him... if Snoke turns out to be more than just "Snoke" - if he's basically the front to a Space Sauron - I think there's a way to make the possessing entity so powerful and scary that Kylo wouldn't be "lame" for being controlled, at all. It could be that it takes the combined strength of Rey and Kylo to shut the enemy out.

It could play out like a curse, in a way. Fairytale princes don't come across as idiots just because they're cursed...

I'm not a big fan of the mind control aspect myself, but I still think it's a possibility and could be done well. But there are other scenarios I like better, certainly.
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Post by FrolickingFizzgig on Tue 6 Sep - 10:43

@Darth Dingbat
I don't think I've ever suggested that it'll be that simple. I've always been a strong advocator for there being more behind the temple attack than simple "Kylo went Anakin on them the end." But whether or not it'll be a flashback that washes everything away (i.e. he was brainwashed all along the end) is a different story. I'm just not fond of mind control or brainwashing scenarios personally. They aren't interesting to me. Moments of control, sure. More of a sleeper solder Kylo, sure. But if Kylo has just been brainwashed all along and is actually good old perfect Ben Solo under all that muck then he won't be the character I thought was so interesting in TFA. That's not the story I want to see for him right now. It could be done well, I could change my mind, but like I said, I would have to fall in love with an entirely different character because everything Kylo is would no longer be relevant. None of it would be real with a complete brainwashing scenario.
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Post by SoloSideCousin on Tue 6 Sep - 10:51

@Darth Dingbat wrote:Great post, @SoloSideCousin. I agree that they can't pile on more terrible crimes and still expect the audience to care. That's the major thing, I think. The GA needs to care or else it isn't an emotionally satisfying story to most viewers. It's already a pretty tall order, to make the audience care for someone who has committed an archetypal, traditionally no-coming-back, you-are-damned-for-good type of crime. Especially with only two (or, at a stretch, three) films to do it...

And again, we don't know what exactly the story is yet. Maybe the story isn't simply "you can go bad, go even worse, kill your father and still come back". Maybe it is more like "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" or any variation thereof.

Just to add, I think there are a lot of things that have been collectively decided to mean something specific... for example, Kylo's "Traitor!" and how it's referring to himself. That's a perfectly good guess and makes a lot of sense in context, but until we actually know what the story of the ST is about, it's still a collective headcanon. For all we know, Kylo is so fixated on traitors because he himself has suffered a traumatic betrayal.
@Darth Dingbat

Thank you! :-)  And I agree with all of this, but particularly the bolded.  I think we are all wearing some kind of goggles (though I think ours are a lot thinner than some of the "Coke bottle glasses" some other contingents wear  Very Happy ), but still and all your point is well taken, because I absolutely agree with you ... like you said in an earlier post, one of the few things that I am sure of is that the filmmakers want to turn our expectations on our head ... because that is the whole point of JJ's "mystery box" and Rian's possible "saving these bits for Episode VIII" to keep said mystery box going uber-strong between Episodes VII and VIII.


@SanghaRen wrote:Honestly, I am not fond of Kylo being controlled. At least not in a Life Debt way - although I have not come so far in the book so I can only guess based on the posts. The guy is a mind probing expert and someone fully controlled him to kill Han? Manipulated, yes. Controlled... I'd say no because to me it diminishes him as a force user. To me it's like the ultimate joke. The mind probing expert is actually controlled. I can see the ones thinking he's already lame lining up and laugh.

However, I have no issue with the framing and potential stockholm syndrom scenarios. Kylo Ren is a persona created to destroy Ben Solo. When he takes the mask off, he's vulnerable. If that does not scream fractured personality, I don't know what does. Whether he created the persona all by himself or was helped by Snoke remains to be seen. If he chose to create it, well you can count on Kylo having been framed / manipulated / broken down in some way. People usually create persona for themselves to protect themselves or people they love. I think we can strike the second option since his parents know who Kylo is. If you think about it, it's also surprising that Snoke does not want people to call him Ben Solo. Why do that when your prized pupil is the son and nephew of legends? Maybe because he fears that Ben Solo is not fully erased and hearing the name could lead his pupil to snap out of it? The only thing that bugs me in the framing is why Luke as a supposedly powerful force user would not sense the truth. Which also leads me to wonder : do you think Luke and Kylo sense each other through the Force?

Anyways, I also think there are many options open and am not willing to discard any. But I am not fond of controlled Kylo.
@SanghaRen


I am okay with Manchurian elements, but as a person who was brought back into the SW universe long-tem pretty much based on the complexity of Kylo Ren's character and Adam Driver's acting, I completely agree that the Stockholm Syndrome and/or falling into despair after a frame-up would absolutely allow for a much richer psychological landscape ... and I really, really love the psychological turn that TFA took for the franchise.  AD would be in acting heaven with a Patty Hearst/Stockholm Syndrome and/or other identity breaking scenario (such as traumatic betrayal followed by despair like @Darth Dingbat alludes to above), and such a storyline would bring these movies up to a whole new level.  

Like the early Tim Burton Batmans were good, but the Christopher Nolan Batmans showed you that a whole new paradigm was possible.  I mean The Dark Knight was actually a "Best Picture" type of movie. YThat's crazy for a tentpole movie.  If LF is willing to mine these kinds of psychological veins, then a similar jump in quality and complexity is possible.  I am actually pretty hopeful about this because neither Rian nor KK is afraid of dealing with serious psychological themes, much like Nolan did.  Further, the books are showing a sophistication of characterization that I would not have expected from this franchise either.

@Darth Dingbat wrote:@SanghaRen, I think that would depend on who exactly is controlling him... if Snoke turns out to be more than just "Snoke" - if he's basically the front to a Space Sauron - I think there's a way to make the possessing entity so powerful and scary that Kylo wouldn't be "lame" for being controlled, at all. It could be that it takes the combined strength of Rey and Kylo to shut the enemy out.

It could play out like a curse, in a way. Fairytale princes don't come across as idiots just because they're cursed...

I'm not a big fan of the mind control aspect myself, but I still think it's a possibility and could be done well. But there are other scenarios I like better, certainly.
@Darth Dingbat

I agree, "The Snoke is Sauron" kind of thing would work.  If Snoke is just some run-of-the-mill darksider ... yeah, forget about it, Kylo will look like an idiot.  But is Snoke is Sauron-like or something he does is corrupting in the way the "Ring of Power" was, then Kylo will not look like a jerk at all.  In fact, he could look like a rock star for being able to defy him so much ("You need a teacher!", etc.).
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Post by jakkusun on Tue 6 Sep - 10:59

@SanghaRen wrote:Honestly, I am not fond of Kylo being controlled. At least not in a Life Debt way - although I have not come so far in the book so I can only guess based on the posts. The guy is a mind probing expert and someone fully controlled him to kill Han? Manipulated, yes. Controlled... I'd say no because to me it diminishes him as a force user. To me it's like the ultimate joke. The mind probing expert is actually controlled. I can see the ones thinking he's already lame lining up and laugh.

However, I have no issue with the framing and potential stockholm syndrom scenarios. Kylo Ren is a persona created to destroy Ben Solo. When he takes the mask off, he's vulnerable. If that does not scream fractured personality, I don't know what does. Whether he created the persona all by himself or was helped by Snoke remains to be seen. If he chose to create it, well you can count on Kylo having been framed / manipulated / broken down in some way. People usually create persona for themselves to protect themselves or people they love. I think we can strike the second option since his parents know who Kylo is. If you think about it, it's also surprising that Snoke does not want people to call him Ben Solo. Why do that when your prized pupil is the son and nephew of legends? Maybe because he fears that Ben Solo is not fully erased and hearing the name could lead his pupil to snap out of it? The only thing that bugs me in the framing is why Luke as a supposedly powerful force user would not sense the truth. Which also leads me to wonder : do you think Luke and Kylo sense each other through the Force?

Anyways, I also think there are many options open and am not willing to discard any. But I am not fond of controlled Kylo.
@SanghaRen

Good points. It is also true that I would relate to Kylo a lot less if he was completely brainwashed and didn't have much of a choice ever. I identify with him because I think he made bad choices, rebeling against his family and their ways too completely, attempting to destroy himself, trying to become tough and intimidating and untouchable and cruel--choices that he maybe felt like he had to make due to his circumstances or he made because he felt abandoned or betrayed or hurt or angry.
I don't really identify with brainwashing so much. (On the flip side, I don't identify with pychopath Kylo either, of course, so, not the black or the white) Mental illness, manipulation, etc. whatever, as long as it's not an extreme one way or the other story, is all a lot more relatable and grey, for me, so I think that might have a lot to do with why some of us don't like the more extreme controlled Kylo theories so much, as well, even though it makes for a smoother redemption?
At least, it's a big reason I'm not thrilled about it, though I try to keep an open mind, as well. Logically, storywise, and emotionally, it could work and be a good story and everyone could still enjoy it. I just find it harder to access that narrative on a personal level. (It's a reason I care more about Kylo than Bucky, even though I like Bucky a lot. I even relate to Loki more. But I relate to Kylo the most...maybe he is somewhere in between Bucky and Loki, my two favorite marvel characters, haha. Besides T'Challa, cause he is definitely a fave. But idk how much he's like Kylo besides them nothing having super cool aesthetics, though they are both princes who think they are doing the right thing and have to learn that they aren't?.) So, I'd be sad to lose that aspect of my current connection to Kylo Ren. But these are just selfish desires of mine. I think there have been really good arguments posed on both sides.
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Post by vaderito on Tue 6 Sep - 11:02

@SoloSideCousin @Darth Dingbat I think that ST is drawing some elements from LOTR. The chasm fight/temptation at the edge of the cliff, medieval influence that went into Kylo design, possible separation of plots that won't converge til later in IX, saber calling to the heroine like ring calling to various people, the idea that least corruptible/most worthy can carry the saber/ring.
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