GLENN: So in case you watched Monday Night Football last night, nobody is talking today about, you know, the Star-Spangled Banner, thank God. What they are talking about had nothing to do with football, had to do with a trailer that ran during the football game with Star Wars. Here it is.
VOICE: When I found you, I saw raw untamed power. And beyond that, something truly special.
VOICE: Something inside me has always been there. And I was awake. And I need help.
VOICE: I've seen this before. It didn't scare me enough then. It does now.
VOICE: Let the past die. Kill it. You have to. That's the only way to become what you were meant to be.
VOICE: You have spunk that will light the fire, that will burn the (inaudible) down.
VOICE: This is not going to go the way you think. Fulfill your destiny.
VOICE: I need someone to show me my place in all this.
GLENN: So that's the trailer. It comes out right before Christmas, for Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
STU: Tickets are on sale now, by the way.
GLENN: Oh, my gosh.
STU: For December 15th. Steven Kent is with us. He hosts the Beltway Banthas podcast. And it is a -- kind of a mesh of politics and Star Wars, which is the perfect --
GLENN: It doesn't get any better than that.
Steven, how are you?
STEVEN: I'm doing well. Good morning, thanks for having me on with you.
GLENN: So, Steven, first of all, what did you think of -- what did you think of a little gerbil in there? I mean, is it another Jar Jar Binks?
STEVEN: Man, I think you're going to be very grateful for that gerbil. It's called a porg by the end of this movie. I mean, look at how dark this is going to be. I think we're going need to mountains of comedic relief and something cute by the end of this thing. So I'm on board with the porg. Let's do it. And it doesn't talk, so that's a plus, right?
STU: That's true. That is a very good point.
GLENN: I do have to stop and ask, what the hell -- have you ever kissed a girl? You know what the gerbil is called? What? Why?
STEVEN: Hey, hey, Mike Allen had it leading his morning playbook today. I think it's a legit thing to follow these porgs thing in all their glory.
STU: That was the big -- there are two takeaways from the trailer, it seemed. One that, you know, the -- the -- the young Back Street boy Darth Vader guy, and the Luke Skywalker girl are going to basically team up or have some sort of relationship, it looks like. And then, secondarily, there was a little hamster driving the Millennium Falcon. Those are the two things that I feel like Twitter took from the trailer. Is that accurate, Steven?
STEVEN: I think that's definitely what Twitter took from it. I think folks are looking at Rey and seeing that she's not going to have the typical hero's journey story that we're accustomed to seeing, at least from the vein of Luke Skywalker. I think what's notable after all of this, is that you have a villain in Kylo Ren and a hero in Rey, who are both very confused about who they are and where they are going.
And I think you're actually going to find a story by the end of the last Jedi, possibly going into Episode 9, where these two are in cahoots, doing their own thing, possibly going their own way. Rejecting both the dogma of the light and the dogma of the dark, and trying to find their own path. I think this will leave a lot of people confused, some people really excited. But I think most folks are going to look at this and go, this is not the Star Wars that I'm used to.
GLENN: This is a third party. They're starting a third party.
STEVEN: They're making the third party of Star Wars. I think that that is basically the tale of our time, is it not?
In many ways, these are two young characters who I think represent a lot of the angst and confusion of young people today, who are coming up and enjoying Star Wars. And also, just horrified by politics. Right? And they are going to try to chart their own path forward. I mean, millennials, you know, they are the non-religious generation. They are the increasingly independent generation when it comes to politics. And I just see in Kylo and Rey, this incredible reluctance that just feels familiar to me, as an observer. Politics as well. You see it in the trailer, where Kylo Ren is looking at his mask again, and he just looks disgusted at it. I mean, he just does not like what he has done and where he is. And I think that this is an incredibly compelling story. I'm quite excited now, after this trailer, after having been I think more than a little bit nervous of where this was going.
STU: I like to bring Steven on, because then I can act like I don't really care about these things. Let him be the smart one. I don't even know.
What's that -- the Darth, what? I don't even remember -- but it's true. There are so many parallels. And I don't know, Steven, is this intentional by them? Are they trying to make a good movie, or are they trying to reflect some political thing going on right now?
JASON: Well, Star Wars is always good, when it's reflecting some sort of political thing. We saw that in the original trilogy, you know, really echoing the 1980s, the sort of United States versus Soviet Union dynamic.
And then we also some hints of the real world, more than a few pop up in the prequel trilogy. Star Wars reflects the time that it's in. And when this -- when this trilogy got started, with the Force Awakens, I think I was with you, Stu. I looked at this, and I saw a lot of laziness and rehashing of old themes and old ideas.
But then we also know, as students of history, people who follow politics, that things repeat themselves. We are in a horrible place in global politics right now. And here in the United States with old ideas. Things like fascism and Naziism, looking us in the eye again.
And now I'm looking at Stormtroopers, I'm looking at this sort of cult that worships the empire called the First Order, these new movies. And I'm going, you know what, this isn't actually a rehash. This is about as real as it gets. This is what happens.
GLENN: So I have a great amount of respect for Lucas and what he did in studying mythology and everything else. He's crafted a brilliant story.
What kills me is Star Wars is -- is timeless. You're right that it does comment on the times in which we live. But I don't think it's necessarily intentional. It's -- it just is a timeless story. This is the story of mankind, always. No matter what time you're living in.
But it kills me that the people in Hollywood that made these things, they don't notice sometimes that they might be pulling for the dark side.
STEVEN: Sure. I think that is something definitely that we need to look at as well. And you're right, this is a timeless story. The United States is not the center of the universe, particularly when it comes to the battle between good and evil. Star Wars is a global franchise. It has a huge audience abroad. This is drawing from all sorts of political things that everybody can relate to. This is the human story. The light versus the dark. But with Hollywood. I think this is just what you kind of have to expect. There are certain things they ignore about their belief. But then I'm also encouraged sometimes when I see things like Star Wars and these ideas come out there.
You know, like with Saw Gerrera in Rogue One, he was sort of that Che Guevara-ish type rebel who didn't want to play by the rules of the mainstream rebellion. And while they could have romanticized that character and say, oh, this guy is great. You know, he's actually going the violent route. Really taking it to the empire, the empire's way, which is the wrong way.
They made it out that he was sort of the Darth Vader of the rebellion. He was half man, half machine. That's not someone who you want to be. You have to give up part of your humanity if you're going to fight evil with evil or fire with fire.
GLENN: So speaking of evil, when you saw Disney bought this, did you at all have a moment of, I don't know who could -- I don't know who would wreck this story line faster? George Lucas or Disney.
STEVEN: Oh, man. You know what, I actually -- I'm pro-Disney these days. Kathleen Kennedy who is helming Star Wars. I think she gets it, in a way that George Lucas might have not at a certain point as a creator. I think he had his -- I guess the goggles on or something like that. He didn't see at a certain point that he needed some challenge in the studio. And you know the prequels were made almost entirely by him, in terms of the screen writing, the directing, and the production. He had nobody to tell him no. And I think that Star Wars as sort of a collective project, where you have a bunch of different creatives in the room working on it, you're going to get much better outcomes than with the masterminds. He actually, you know, himself personally favored benevolent dictatorship, George Lucas. So I'm going to go with Disney on this one. George Lucas had his shot, and we saw how that went.
GLENN: Steven, biggest comparison to Star Wars in today's political realm?
STEVEN: Hmm. So I heard one the other night that I actually really liked. It's probably not the biggest. But I thought it was really compelling. It's something that I mentioned earlier, about Rey and Kylo as sort of the millennial story. And I know Stu likes to mention this all the time about how you have Kylo the sort of emo millennial Sith, and he's just sort of trying to be a Darth and he can't. And I think that this just -- this just feels like the story of our time.
This young man who thinks he is one thing, but it turns out he might be another. Identity. And sort of being confused about where you stand on the spectrum is part of the politics of our era. Everyone is trying to find out where they are, while the spectrum is being flipped upside down. So I think this is sort of what we look at, when we see the closest parallel, confusion about identity. Where do I belong? Where am I going?
GLENN: Steven, thank you very much. Appreciate it.
STU: Check out Steven's podcast, Beltway Banthas. It's that meshing of politics and Star Wars. We've seen that recently with sports. That's one of the things that entertains me. And I hate to bring it into that world, but he does it pretty well. And goes -- and, of course, he's obviously the ultimate Star Wars geek, as you can probably tell, by him identifying the hampster thing, driving the Millennium Falcon.
GLENN: It wasn't the hamster thing to him.
STU: No. It was -- well, you said it was a gerbil. I thought it was a hamster.
GLENN: Whatever. He thought it was -- no, he knew what it was.
GLENN: He knew -- he knew what it was.