Photo Credit: Lucasfilm
“There Are Too Many Jokes”
Don’t fret! Poe Dameron is here to save the day… with a joke! What? That’s right, “holding for General Hux, the pasty white dude.” Ugh. This joke ruins the tension – the tension that the opening crawl, the music, Lt. Connix’s reaction, the First Order’s smugness have all worked so hard to build. Despite being surrounded and trapped just off the surface of D’Qar, the Resistance isn’t in any real danger – Poe Dameron, General Leia Organa, C-3PO, Finn surely won’t perish. I forgot about the fact that they would never kill all of these significant characters this early in the film – they actually felt like they were in danger – until Poe shattered the tension with a cheap joke.
Who could that be? Oh, it’s Star Wars. It says if you have a problem with Poe’s jokes then you’ve got a problem with Star Wars. That’s right – we’re going there.
Remember when Luke Skywalker, disguised as a Stormtrooper, barrelled towards Cell 2187 to rescue Princess Leia Organa while Stormtroopers (who weren’t good guys in disguise) were rapidly converging on Detention Block AA-23 to capture (or kill) the intruders. In this moment of intense build-up, while we anxiously wait to see if the heroes can successfully rescue the Princess, Han Solo answers the Imperial telephone on the desk. When asked what’s going on, Han replies “we’re on a serious mission – don’t mess with us or we’ll have to hurt you!”
Wait… that’s not the line… Han humorously stumbles through a jumble of mumbo jumbo about weapons malfunctions and a reactor leak. He finishes the conversation: “we’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?”
This moment on the Death Star gives the audience a small slice of humor to not only help us handle the tension but to remind us that Star Wars is supposed to be fun. Yes, it is a franchise that literally has “war” in the name, but, since A New Hope, it’s always been about fun, and jokes always have and still will have a place in these movies.
Funny that Han and Poe both like to crack their jokes from the other end of a telephone line…