Though they showed up at the Ewok celebration at the end of Return of the Jedi, the holographic spirits of Anakin, Obi-Wan and Yoda were nowhere to be seen in The Force Awakens. You'd think a chat with Ben Kenobi would have come in handy during Rey's journey of self-discovery. Heck, if the former Darth Vader showed up and gave Kylo Ren a stern talking-to about his creepy worship of old helmet, we might have avoided several planets' worth of casualties.
Before The Last Jedi, you could maybe sorta kinda speculate at the reasoning behind the absence of Force Ghosts. Maybe it had been too long since the deaths of the Jedi Masters in question. Maybe they felt they shouldn't interfere with the destiny of the next generation. Maybe they couldn't figure out whether Obi-Wan should appear as a computerized Alec Guiness or an aged-up Ewan McGregor.
Of course, any and all excuse for Force Ghosts not getting up off their blue translucent asses went out the window when this little bastard showed up in The Last Jedi.
Towards the end of the film, Yoda shows up in Force Ghost form to "help" Luke Skywalker literally burn the past. Not only does Yoda offer his wisdom to his former student (along with a little trolling), he also calls a goddamned lightning strike from the sky to smite the old tree and the Jedi's old ways. What the hell, dude?
This proves Force Ghosts to be more powerful than we ever thought before, capable of interacting with (and destroying) the physical world. On top of that, they're also apparently willing to directly involve themselves with the affairs of the living. So what's stopping Obi-Wan from flicking the switch on Kylo's lightsaber and impaling him when he's asleep? Why wouldn't Yoda just show up at the final battle and blow the hell out of those walkers with lightning or like, some rocks?
It seems likely that this isn't the last we'll see of Force Ghosts during this trilogy, and unfortunately it also seems likely that these all-powerful megaspecters will continue doing jack shit.
The whole "someone has to hang back and sacrifice themselves for the greater good" trope might be a little played out, but it makes sense in most contexts. In the flawless masterpiece known as Armageddon, we understand that Bruce Willis has to remain on the asteroid to pull the nuke trigger because the remote device was destroyed by plot drama. But when Laura Dern's character Admiral Holdo decides to remain on the last Resistance ship, she does so for absolutely no reason.
At that point in the story, Holdo's only plan was to... keep moving the ship forward. Doesn't a huge, important ship like that have an autopilot function? Humans on Earth haven't stopped bickering long enough to send a person beyond the moon, and even we have a hands-off mode for passenger planes.
You could argue that Holdo needed to be on the ship so she could pinpoint the lightspeed jump attack, but she didn't know she was going to do that until after deciding to go down with the ship. And yeah, about that lightspeed attack...
Holdo's cruiser tearing a hyperspace hole in the First Order fleet was a fantastic moment. The brilliant desperation move is exactly the kind of scrappy last-minute solution you'd expect from the Resistance. It almost makes you wonder why nobody thought of this sooner.
Hey, why hasn't anyone done this before?
Aiming a lightspeed-enabled ship at an enemy sure is reckless -- the debris will likely continue hurtling through space at close to light speed until acted upon by an outside force like a planet or someone's face -- but it's undeniably effective. Using this technique, you could obliterate just about anything in your path. Forget about Star Destroyers, all you need is one ship and you could theoretically wipe out a Death Star in one blow.
The scene was dazzling and the very definition of epic, but this sort of escalation seems kind of dangerous. Once you introduce the concept of lightspeed bombing to a universe, it's hard to put that hyperspace suicide genie back in the bottle. From this point forward, every single space battle in Star Wars is going to be undercut by the fact that all of this could be finished with one or two impossibly fast vessels crashing into the major capital ships. And, if they have the foresight, those lightspeed ships will be operating on autopilot.
I like Finn. I like Rose. I like the actors, I liked their character development and I liked seeing them romp through an alien casino on those big horse doggies with the sad, soulful eyes. Yet, I can't shake the feeling that their subplot was kind of useless overall. It'd be one thing if their scheme had ended with the Resistance fleet safely hyperjumping away. But instead, the only thing that Rose and Finn accomplished was exposing the escaping Rebels, thanks to a betrayal by Benicio Del Calrissian. If the pair simply hadn't wandered off onto their sidemission, hundreds of people would still be alive. Such a large part of an already-long movie is spent following them just so they can fail and doom everyone.
All the other parts of The Last Jedi seem to move in lockstep, logically following one after another, but this storyline seemed like a flimsy excuse to have scenes outside of spaceships and Luke's island. Like, how DARE they try to entertain me with new and interesting locales?
When Kylo Ren burned the Jedi Academy to the ground, he took a few students with him. We saw them briefly in The Force Awakens during Rey's lightsaber-induced flashback, and Snoke mentions them by name: The Knights of Ren. But so far, in two out of three movies in the trilogy, the evil cabal hasn't so much as ignited a lightsaber, much less be shown on-screen for more than a couple seconds.
Any way you look at it, the Knights of Ren should definitely have been in The Last Jedi. From a plot perspective, it's weird that they never hang out with their leader Kylo Ren after his failure (either to support him or keep an eye on him for Snoke). From an action perspective, they would make great minibosses (maybe stick a couple in that rad throne room fight?). From a marketing/money perspective, Knights of Ren toys and merchandise would be worth millions upon millions. I never thought I'd be encouraging Disney to exploit this franchise even more than it already has, but here we are.
Maybe I missed something. Much was made of the binary trackers originally held by Luke and Leia -- the idea being one could lead to the other should the need arise. But by the time Rey decides to fly the Falcon over to Snoke's ship to deliver herself to Kylo Ren, Poe has Leia's tracker, while Luke is still holding onto his own. So how did Rey get from A to B?
Remember, Rey has trouble contacting the Resistance, so she has no way of knowing that Kylo and the First Order are hot on their tail. She wouldn't think to use the tracker, because at that point in the story Rey wasn't aware that finding her friends would mean finding her enemies. As a result, there were no means to find Kylo Ren's exact location in the vastness of space. The two did share a unique Force connection, but the idea that this translates to exact coordinates in an infinite vacuum seems like a stretch. We may well have been robbed of a wonderfully awkward scene where Kylo offers his digits to Rey.
I'm just saying, if a rickety speeder could potentially knock out the cannon, a few blasts from the Falcon would have easily accomplished the same thing.
Fans have been disappointed in Captain Phasma's relatively small screentime, and for good reason. She has such great potential, but both movies in this trilogy so far squander the character with brief scenes that mostly feature Phasma getting punked by a former subordinate. Maybe the coolest little Phasma moment comes when Rose takes a shot at the chrome captain, only for the laser bolt to dance harmlessly off of the armor. It's a great "Oh, shit" moment, but it sort of makes you think of the endless legions of Stormtroopers that could definitely use protection like that.
Comedians thoroughly mined the whole "why don't they make the whole airplane out of the black box?" thing back in the 1980s, but that question has a simple answer: Even if a plane itself were made of indestructible material, the people inside remain fragile fleshballs that will not fare well in the event that a vessel traveling hundreds of miles an hour suddenly stops when it hits the ground. But if you put the black box around the fragile fleshball itself, as Phasma has done, that could be a different story when it comes to battles with laser guns.
Maybe Phasma's armor is so special and so expensive that the First Order can't afford to replicate it on a large scale? I could believe that, if the First Order had ever shown any restraint in anything they've ever built. Remember Snoke's ship, the Supremacy?
This ship is an absolute monster. Official lore pegs the Supremacy at about 37 miles long, and the total square mileage is roughly the same as 13 and a half Manhattans put together. The First Order, like the Empire, was built on excess. These assholes love to spend untold resources to be the biggest and baddest, and having an army of shiny, invincible warriors with Phasma-like armor is exactly the kind of thing they'd be into.
If you want to dive deeper into the lore (I obviously do), you'll find that Phasma's armor is decked out in chromium, a real element that's been seen in Star Wars before. Phasma is said to have made her custom armor from Palpatine's shiny old yacht on Naboo, but it's not like the substance is super rare. You know who else has a finish of chromium?
If chromium was in high enough demand, you'd figure this dude would have been gutted and scrapped for every piece by now. Maybe there's still time.