Samuel L. Jackson Wants to Send The Force Awakens‘ Cast to “Lightsaber Fight School”
Samuel L. Jackson has had to field some questions about his thoughts on the latest Star Wars in the midst of his press tour for Hateful Eight, and it’s become clear from his reluctant answers that he’s not completely on board with the latest entry in the franchise. In an interview with Peter Travers, embedded above, Jackson pauses before saying he does think the new film has “the spirit” of Star Wars. When pressed to elaborate on that, he eventually jokes that he’d like to see “the kids” to go to “lightsaber fight school” so they can perfect their techniques.
Leaving aside Jackson’s tone of voice and body language here, which seem to indicate that he’d rather talk about anything other than Star Wars (no surprise there, given that he’s on a press tour for a completely different action film that has already had to compete with Star Wars), he’s right that the lightsaber battles in The Force Awakens seem to throw out some of what got established in the prior films.
The new characters use their weapons one-handed or two-handed in turns, all with a sense of desperate carelessness. This is in spite of the fact that one-handed lightsaber dueling is a rare art that requires practice — lightsabers are supposed to be heavy, so they’re often used more like two-handed broadswords. We do know that these new Force users aren’t nearly as well-trained, though, because there’s no one around to train them — hence, sloppy and dangerous lightsaber battles seem about right for what The Force Awakens wanted to evoke.
Jackson, on the other hand, got to star as a well-trained Jedi in the prequels, and his excited story about that — which he recently told Seth Meyers on Late Night (above) — makes it clear that he has a huge passion for all things Star Wars. So why wouldn’t he be excited to talk about the new one? Perhaps he just wanted to focus on Hateful Eight. Or perhaps he’s unhappy about how the prequels fared, in comparison to the largely positive reception received by The Force Awakens. Or perhaps he’s just holding back from revealing to all of us that Mace Windu will re-appear as a Force ghost in a future Star Wars movie.
I obviously have no clue what Jackson is actually thinking, and he’s super-professional and polite in all of these interviews (even if it does seem as though he’s not a huge fan of The Force Awakens). I’ll just say that if it were me, I would personally be pretty disappointed that I got so psyched up to play a Jedi in the prequels, only to later discover that I had bet on the wrong horse, and that my efforts would be largely forgotten. However, I’m sure Jackson is a much more emotionally healthy person than I am, and instead of worrying about this for even a nanosecond, he focuses on the fact that he’s had an amazing and successful career appearing in many beloved films. He seems like a well-adjusted human being who is not at all bitter about any of the things that it would be perfectly understandable for him to feel bitter about.
That said, if Mace Windu appears as a Force ghost and takes all the Force Awakens kids to lightsaber school … well, then we’ll know that Jackson was actually trying to drop us some hints. Or give the future screenwriters some ideas!
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