Tonight we bring you the conclusion of the JTA interview with The Star Wars Rings author Tomas Pueyo Brochard. This part is a bit longer, but it also holds the bulk of the information. It is a fascinating and eye-opening discussion and I had a blast talking with him. Click through to conclude the journey.
Once again, I just wanted to thank Tomas Pueyo Brochard for agreeing to talk with us about this fascinating story. Be sure to look out for his guest posts next week followed by the review of his book.
Listen to part 2 of our interview with Tomas using the player below. If you are unable to play the file, you can download it directly right here (downloadable MP3).
You can also follow along with the transcript below:
Colin JTA: You had mentioned to me that following the story telling structure that you can basically predict several things about the movies in the sequel trilogy; especially The Last Jedi. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
Tomas: Yeah so, George Lucas tried and embedded these rings in all his six movies, right? But we all know that he wasn’t part of the next trilogy. He was consulted pretty lightly, he was a bit nervous and he didn’t like some of the things that he heard about The Force Awakens and so I think there was a fair probability that the next movies would completely depart from these ring structures. And so what I found really interest is that JJ Abrams, by making The Force Awakens so similar to A New Hope, he is basically mirroring A New Hope. He’s telling the audience, “Look, I understand these ring structures and I’m going to follow it too.” And by following it in Episode 7, which is the first of the new trilogy, he is kind of forcing the entire trilogy to follow this ring structure. So now we know thanks to Abrams work that the new trilogy is going to continue these rings.
Also, The Force Awakens is very similar to A New Hope, but it’s also very similar in structure to The Phantom Menace. So it’s actually not just Episode 7 that matches episode 4, it’s episode 7 that matches episode 4 AND Episode 1. So if you think of it in terms of ring, what this means is that if you have 1,4, and 7 that are similar, then you’re actually going to have 2,5, and 8 similar too. So that second movie of every trilogy is going to have some Perils. If you go back to to just episode 2 and 5, they have a lot of things that are mirroring each other. Like for example, both of them take place mostly on three planets. You have Coruscant in Episode II which corresponds to Cloud City in Episode V. You have Dagobah, which is a very watery world, which corresponds to Kamino, which is a very watery world. You have Hoth in Empire Strikes Back which is a dessert of Ice and then you have in Episode II Geonosis, which is another dessert but of sand and rock. And so you start seeing these patterns across these two movies and you can understand ok, if you know 1,4 and 7 were similar; then you can assume that 2,5, & 8 are going to be similar. So whatever similarities are between 2 and 5, you can assume the same similarities are going to be valid for VIII.
JTA: That seems to make a lot of senses actually. So anyone who has seen The Force Awakens knows that there’s an undeniable, let’s just say, similarity to the original Star Wars. It’s been a huge source of debate and conflict amongst fans that The Force Awakens is just a complete rip-off, a reboot, or a lazy re-imagining of A New Hope, but do you feel that it’s an accurate description? Or do you think there’s more to the similarities than most fans realize in terms of the importance to stick with the rings and the blueprint that George Lucas created?
Tomas: Yeah, so I’ll tell you why I think it is. Imagine that suddenly that Star Wars was completely different and went in a completely different direction than the previous ones. Like people would wonder, “What is this? What’s happening?” right? Like this is supposed to be Star Wars not Star Trek or something else and so the reason why they need to follow the previous ones is they needed to visit the same themes with some changes and nuances that make them important and interesting. Specifically, the first six movies if you think about them, they leave a very big question unanswered. At the beginning of Episode I, were at the light side and then between 1-3 you go down to the Dark side. So there’s this big shift from light to dark and then you have another shift in the next three episodes from Dark to Light. But it gets unresolved. It’s not just light, dark, light. You need, because this could be going on forever. You could have light, dark, light, dark and that’s not very interesting. So I think what’s really interesting about these rings is you need to take the same topics as before, but you need to reach a different conclusion.
But if you don’t take the same themes as before, then changing the conclusion is meaningless. It’s just a different kind of movie.
JTA: Overall, The Force Awakens did very well and is a popular movie generally speaking, but there are those who are not a fan of the first Disney produced Star Wars film without George Lucas. How similar do you think The Last Jedi will be to The Empire Strikes Back and do you think that The Last Jedi has the ability to possibly win back some longtime Star Wars fans who are not that fond of The Force Awakens?
Tomas: You know I thought after watching The Force Awakens that this is cool, Abrams wanted to follow the Ring Structure and that’s great, but then he’s moving on and you don’t really know whether the next director is going to follow that, right? We’ve heard that Rian Johnson had a fair amount of freedom to do what he wanted and so there’s a question around is he going to follow these rings or not? And has he even understood the rings or not? So I wasn’t sure that Episode VIII was going to follow the rest of the episodes. What really got me ?leaping on my chair¿ is when I saw the trailer, the first trailer. So if you think about it, everything in that trailer is telling, “Hey, I’m going to continue the rings.”
For example, you have the water planet in Kamino in Episode II, you have it in Dagobah in Episode V, and now you have it in Ahch-to in Episode VIII. That’s where the Jedi master and the Jedi apprentice are training. Exactly the same as in ESB where you have Luke going to see yoda. Now you have the new ring and Luke has gone from the apprentice to master and the new Apprentice is Rey. So you can see now that the ring that Luke lived in the original trilogy, now Rey is living that loop too and she’s getting the same training that Luke got in Dagobah, but she’s getting it in Ahch-to.
You then have, we’ve seen these shots of ships flying against At-At’s.
JTA: Oh yeah, on the planet Crait.
Tomas: Yes and it’s practically Hoth. You have the exact same even shots. You have ships going against At-At’s, you have Captain Phasma walking in a hangar where there’s a lot of sparks the exact same way as Darth Vader was walking in the hoth base, the rebel base.. You have Poe Dameron running down a hallway with BB8 and sparks flying out the exact same way that Han Solo was running with Threepio. You even have this shady planet of Canto Bight with Dj, who is a guy that it’s not clear who he is, we’re not sure if we can trust him, The EXACT same way at cloud city with Lando Calrissian who you can also not trust. So everything in the trailer is telling you, “We are going to follow these rings again”
JTA: That actually makes a lot of sense and I think a lot of people overlooked that. Obviously, people say oh it’s probably going to be an ESB re-hash, but considering your ring theory that seems to add up. That he is following that ring structure.
Tomas: Yeah and so what I think is fascinating about using the ring is that it enables you to understand that there is going to be similarities because you need to revisit those same themes. But it also enables you to focus on the differences and so I think that should be really, really interesting.
If you go back to TFA, yes it’s very similar to ANH, but there is one massive difference, there’s a couple of them, but one of the most important for me is Kylo Ren. ANH is really the story mostly of Luke. You also have Darth Vader, but he doesn’t really change throughout that entire movie. Kylo Ren is a completely new character the same was as Rey, so both of their rings are starting at the same time. And whereas Darth Vader was completely the bad guy in A New Hope, Kylo Ren is actually having a lot of doubts between light and darkness in TFA. And so that’s really interesting, they’re introducing a fundamental difference in these rings by adding another ring that sounds similar, but isn’t quite the same.
So you can start seeing these new elements, another one obviously is Finn right. Suddenly there’s, you see all these depths of a Stromtrooper that defects and what is he going to do in the trilogy, what is his role? You start seeing these differences and how they change how the story repeats itself and that I think is what makes it fascinating.
JTA: That is interesting. There is a lot of difference in TFA as much as everyone says it’s a re-has, like yu said, those are all new characters and it’s not as similar with those differences.
Tomas: yeah so if you didn’t have those similarities, then you couldn’t focus on the differences so much.
JTA: So you had told me that you decided to write the book after watching the first trailer for TLJ. What kind of predictions do you think you can make based on your ring structure? And I want to warn everybody that these could be potential spoilers.
Tomas: That’s right, so I think this is a fun exercise because the rings tell you a lot of what to expect, but then a lot of it, and that’s kind of the science side, the blueprint side. The one that George was so focused on. But then you have the artistic side, exactly which pieces of the patterns to break. And so we can make a lot of predictions and a lot of them are going to be right, but some of them are going to be wrong. And those are going to be the interesting ones. So I’m going to say a list of these predictions that you can already make, but obviously some of them are going to be wrong and which ones are going to be wrong is the interesting part, that’s the artistic side that Rian Johnson had choices. I already mentioned a few about how hoth is the equivalent of crait, how Cloud City is the equivalent of Canto Bight and so you’re probably going to have The First Order invading a resistance base in Crait. That’s the fight that’s happening between the ships and AT-At’s. That is probably going to be won by the first order, led by Captain Phasma, which is the equivalent of Darth Vader in Episode V.
And then you’ll have Poe trying to escape from that which is exacty the same as Han solo. Then if you fast forward to Ahch-to, you have Rey training with Luke the same way that Luke trained with Yoda. One of the things that happened in Episode 5 is that they disagree right? They have this disagreement and Luke decides to leave and he’s not ready so probably something like that will happen too. Rey will have a disagreement and they’re probably going to part ways some how. You also have in the middle of ESB, Luke that has this very intense experience in the cave. You will probably have an experience that changes Rey’s perspective on Light and Dark in a cave. You also solve the question of Lukes Parentage in ESB and that influence a lot of what Luke thinks of Light and Dark and the same thing is going to happen to Rey. She is going to learn about her family and that is going to influence the way she sees light and darkness.
And then I think canto bight, the role of that is going to be similar to that of Cloud City where theres going to be a trap somehow and probably that’s going to attract Rey in some way and she might or might not fall into the trap. Those varied predictions, I think theres also some very detailed examples that might be interesting so if you look at AOTC and ESB, you have in both cases the main character that at the end of the movie loses his hand. Right so count Dooku cuts off Anakin hands at the end of AOTC and Darth Vader cuts off the hand of Luke and so we can expect Rey to lose her hand at the end of TLJ.
We can even tell that probably within the first 5 or 10 minutes of the movie, we might be able to tell whether this is a good prediction or not. If we follow this tip, remember I told you that rings are mirror images so in ESB after 5 minutes, Luke takes his Lightsaber and cuts the hand of the wampa. And then 5 minutes before the end he gets his hand cut and so there’s this mirror image of the cutting and so if we’re going to see Rey lose her hand at the end of the movie, there’s probably someone else that is probably going to lose a limb at the beginning of the movie.
And so there’s a couple things on that part of the story that are really interesting and I’m looking forward to exploring. If you think about the last stories in Episode 2 and 5, you have in episode 2 Anakin that lives in the ship with Padme and they fall in love. And in episode 5 you have Leia and Han who live in the ship and fall in love and so now we kind of know that finn and rose are living tobgether in a ship and so that is teasing a potential love story between them. And it’s not just a rumor or a leak, it’s just looking at the narrative structure, that would make sense.
JTA: Yeah, that does actually sound like it makes sense. So you sound like you’re pretty confident about these predictions
Tomas: Yeah as I mentioned there’s probably a high percentage of those that are true, but not all of them. And the ones that are broken are the most interesting. For example, something that Rian Johnson could’ve done is finn instead of being trapped in Canto Bight, he is actually the one making the trap because he doesn’t accept that he’s become a hero and that’s his arc over the three movies. He’s ging to go from the guy who is really fearful to the guy who needs to become really selfless and doesn’t have fear. So that’s going to be his full arc which means that its very likely that in the middle of this trilogy that he’s still very fearful and if he is still very fearful, he might be very selfish and put a trap so that he can get away somehow. So those are some changes and some interesting things that could happen to the trilogy that can break a lot of the predictions.
JTA: That’s interesting. That’s a very interesting theory. I can’t wait to see how this all plays out. I’m going to be writing down all of your predictions and on that day im going to be in the movie theater going, “Oh, he was right about this, he was right about that.”
Tomas: And the ones that are wrong, we can start discussing why were these wrong and I think it becomes a much more interesting conversation.
JTA: That’s a good idea, I think we’ll actually do a follow up after the movie comes out
Tomas: Yep, let’s do it.
JTA: So let’s talk a little bit about you. You still have a full-time job and a family. Was it difficult to write this book while working full-time and taking care of family business?
Tomas: Yes and No. I think I haven’t had any time left anymore. I spend 9 or 10 hours a day at work and then whatever time I have left, if my kids are awake I’m with them and so I only have a couple of hours at night and weekends where I can sit and write. So it’s not easy, but I would say there is two things that make it easier, not easy, but make it a reality. Like first you need to love it, right? If you’re going to do something on the side that you don’t like, it’s just impossible. So you need to love it and I think that this is so fun. It’s a combination of Star Wars, and predictions, and story structures and so I think that’s really, really fun. The other thing is you need to get into a habit. If you don’t get into a habit, it’s nearly impossible. You need to come every night and get working.
Through this process I’ve seen a couple of people, I’ve read about a couple of people, that do this really well. Seinfeld is one of them. He says, “No matter what you do, you need to write everyday. There’s no excuse. Everyday” That’s the only way you can make it. And then I heard some very prolific and successful writers say I sit at the same time every day and I write 3000 words. 3000 words is the equivalent of 12 pages of a book, which is a lot. And EVERY DAY they do that and so within in a month they can have a first draft. The only way you can do this is with a habit and the best way to create a habit is by replacing other habits. So before, after dinner and putting the kids to bed I used to just get on Netflix or work a little bit.
JTA: The Distractions of modern times.
Tomas: That’s right. And so what you need to do at that point is replace the trigger and say, “Oh I just put the kids to bed” that was a trigger for me before to go and watch Netflix, now it’s going to be a trigger to write. And that’s how I got to write the book in five months.
JTA: WOW, that’s amazing! And It just sounds like you still did your dad duties and obviously still working and so that’s great. That’s great to be able to do that.
Tomas: And by the way, I actually have a twin boy and a girl. Like Luke and Leia.
JTA: Oh wow…now that makes a lot more sense the beginning of your book, “to my own little Luke and Leia”
Tomas: That’s right
JTA: Wow, that’s amazing. You also mentioned that you work as a product and marketing executive. Have you utilized any of the skills from your day job into the creation and promotion of this book?
Tomas: Yeah, absolutely. The growth is obvious right? When publishing you need to know marketing and sales and things like that so I tried to use as much as I can. Although I have to say that publishing a book is very different from promoting a mobile app or web products. It’s really, really different. So I’m learning along the way but the writing side I think is really interesting. If you think about it, everything we talked about so far is about content, right? The movies are content and the structure behind this content that makes it really appealing and interesting. And so that’s if you think about it, psychology. It’s applied Psychology. How do humans think and how can we create, in this case movies, so that they’re compelling? And marketing and product are the exact same thing. It’s about understanding humans and how they think and it’s about trying to craft either features or a product or marketing and ads and things like that that are compelling to people.
So for my work as a marketing owner, it’s all about understanding how people think and crafting features and products for them. And movies are the exact same thing, it’s analyzing how someone else has crafted movies based on human psychology. I think the last thing I would say is, here in Silicon Valley, we have these very strong belief in iteration. Iteration means you don’t know what’s going to work, what people are going to like or not and so you just try a lot of things. You just push something out and then you see how people react and then you do it again and again and again until people love it. And so I tried to do that a lot in my book where I reached out to a lot of people and sent them the book as a rough draft version to get their insights and improve the book before publishing it.
JTA: Well it sounds like you definitely got an edge with publishing and promoting your book from what you do. That just sounds like you definitely have an edge on the competition out there who don’t know what they’re doing with that and have to rely on someone else.
Tomas: Well, let’s talk about it a week after launch when I have sales. I hope your right, but you really never know so I think it’s the book is really good. I’m trying hard to get the word out and if it sells well, that’s fantastic and if it doesn’t alright, let’s look at what happened and correct it and that’s great because now I can correct it and do a better version next time. The last Jedi is happening in December so that’s a lot of content to update the book to a second version to predict episode 9 and do it even better.
JTA: I actually look forward to hearing your prediction for episode 9. So obviously JTA is a collector-based website so it’s kinda mandatory that I ask you a couple questions about that. Do you collect any Star Wars figures?
Tomas: This is interesting. I told you about my first memory of Star Wars and soon after watching that movie with my father, for Christmas I got this huge ship. A spaceship as a gift. I was ecstatic. You can imagine, you just saw this movie that changed your life and suddenly you have this ship from the movie. And I was very young at the time so I was a bit gullible so it took me two or three years to realize that it was actually not a ship from Star Wars. So my father, very sneaky, had used a ship for his commercials and he just repackaged it and gave it to me as a gift and I was very very happy at the time, but once I discovered the truth, I started having some trust issues.
JTA: At least you were happy at the time right?
Tomas: yes, nobody can take away the three years of happiness.
JTA: Yeah exactly, that’s all the matters. So do you remember your first ACTUAL Star Wars toy?
Tomas: Yeah you know I think it was Han Solo and Chewbacca. And I brought them with me on holidays and at the time I had 16 cousins and we were all together every holiday and somehow they disappeared that summer. So I cried so much, so I decided I can’t get attached to these things because somebody is going to take these away from me in the end and then I’ll cry and so you can see I have a lot of trust issues
JTA: Yeah, you’ve had a bad experience with Star Wars toys!
Tomas: See nobody can take away the feeling of watching the movies so it’s so much better.
JTA: There ya go! So, if you had to choose, which film would you say is your favorite?
Tomas: As a kid I really loved The Return Of The Jedi because it was something really cool. You know, the Ewoks and Endor Moon and having these trees of people, kind of cute with this overwhelming power. You can kind of imagine that as a I’ve grown and studied the movies a bit more I’ve come to realize the movies by themselves are really cool, but what’s awe-inspiring is the combination of them all. This really ambitious idea that George Lucas has is not just going to be a movie, but the entire 9 movies or 6 or 9 movies are part of something much grander.
JTA: Yeah I agree with you, but I have to say that Jedi is my favorite. But don’t tell anyone that! Because I’ll probably get, ya know, chased out of Jedi Temple Archives.
Tomas: Yeah the politically correct answer is to say that A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back.
JTA: Empire yeah, that’s my fall back. So which character would be your all time favorite.
Tomas: I think from a ring perspective I like Anakin because he’s the most complete, but so much has been discussed about him that he’s become less interesting. I think it’s unfortunate that he was so poorly conceived in the prequels. So we end up seeing a guy that doesn’t actually seem very intelligent and he’s completely irrational. He does things that make no sense and he’s kind of creepy also. Right? When he’s looking at Padme with those terroristic eyes, like what are you doing? It’s this really cringeworthy thing. So I like the concept of Anakin, but I think the ambition was lacking. Right now, besides from like Rey and Kylo Ren I think there’s one character that I think is really, really fascinating and that is Obi-Wan.
So what I love about Obi-Wan is how he has had to face everything in life because of the choices of others. So you go to TPM and he’s the model Jedi, he’s perfect, he’s wise, he’s level-headed, he’s probably better with a lightsaber than Qui-Gon Jinn because he’s able to defeat Darth Maul. He’s also able to defeat Anakin later on, so like I said he’s just so good. But then, at the end of the first movie, he’s forced to start taking Anakin, even if he has very strong doubts about him, he’s forced to train him. And then he trains him in two movies, and he really loves the guy and then he’s forced to fight him. Imagine that, I think we all have people in our lives that we loved that has fallen to the Dark Side in one way or another and you’re just powerful. And he was not just powerless he actually had to kill him, well he didn’t kill him but he tried. He defeated him. I find that heartbreaking that he’s forced to train this guy, then he grows to love him and he’s forced to destroy him and yet again, he’s lost the battle, the war, and he has to go into hiding for 30 years knowing that he’s the one the brought the darkness or he’s the one that contributed to the darkness to the universe despite everything that he’s done.
JTA: That’s actually…wow, that was very insightful. I never even thought of it that way that everything was due to other peoples actions. Like you said, he had to take on Anakin because of the promise he made to Qui-Gon and all this was just things he was basically force into. Wow.,
Tomas: And so that’s why I’m so excited about the new movie, obi wan. I think that one can be so deep from a character perspective if we have a director that is really into good characters. I mean that can be a mind-blowing movie.
JTA: I agree with you, I am very excited about that. So…that’s it! I wanted to thank you Tomas for having this chat with us. It’s been interesting and I already begun to read your book and I find it to be very amazing and eye-opening so far and I think that ANY Star Wars fan will find it fascinating. And even beyond Star Wars, it’s interesting to see how this theory jumps into many other movies as well.
Tomas: Yea that’s right. That’s my angle of this. I mentioned earlier that I come from a filmmaker family, I studied some script writing in college and I read a lot about script writing and I was acquainted with material not just about Star Wars but this is just a pattern that happens in many other movies. In my book I mention Harry Potter as an example, the bible has some of these, the Quran has some of these, Beowulf has some of these, and so that’s kind of the angle that I take. I take these scriptwriting and storytelling patterns and experience and I bring it to Star Wars in that combination. And I think it sheds light on the future and makes predictions possible and explains a lot of the stories in the past and that’s why I think it’s a fascinating topic.
JTA: yeah, absolutely. So I just wanted to let every know that Tomas will be doing a series of guest editorials in the next couple of weeks based on some topics relating to his book. Also, keep an eye out for the Research Droids Review of Tomas’s book, The Star Wars Rings which will be coming soon the Jedi Temple Archives and The Star Wars Rings Launches on September 19th. Where Can our readers get a copy of the book?
Tomas: So it will be available on Amazon as both a kindle version and paperback.
JTA: Great and we’ll provide a link to purchase the book in our review.
Tomas: Fantastic, Thank you so much for having me. This has been a blast!
JTA: Thank you Tomas, we look forward to talking to you again after The Last Jedi has come out in theaters.
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