Disclaimer: This self-indulgent post mainly serves as a way to collect a bunch of silliness into a single place for convenience, while also offering a platform for extra context--a sort of "director's commentary" if you will. It also contains MAJOR HELLA SPOILERS OF DOOM for The Last Jedi. Proceed with caution!
It started so innocently.
While skimming Twitter on Saturday, I ran across the start of the thread that quickly came to dominate my waking--and should-be-sleeping--hours:
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to _____— internet famous emo ✨ Saw TLJ x4 (@rachlikesbands) January 23, 2018
I saw that people had started making their own in response and I couldn't resist. I had to get in on the fun. I skimmed through to see what had already been done, cast about for a few ideas, and then made this:
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “The Room Where it Happens” from Hamilton pic.twitter.com/OndYezI4CK— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 27, 2018
Fun fact: I almost started working with "Yorktown" instead, but suddenly I realized that after this battle, there are no witnesses to what occurred in Snoke's chamber. Literally NO ONE ELSE WAS IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENED!
My first attempts at this mashup had stronger timing for the opening beats as Rey catches the lightsaber, but adjusting things to gee the "click/boom" payoff was worth the sacrifice.
After rendering that out and getting it tweeted, I was flush with excitement and ready to make one that would channel how pumped I was feeling. I was also starting to feel some time pressure since I had social plans to get to. Enter "Thunderstruck":
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC pic.twitter.com/jNHY1S9G6I— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 27, 2018
I was really happy with how the timing worked out here. Besides getting the "thun-der" synced with the opening lightsaber strikes, it also timed perfectly with the cut to the wide shot of Snoke and the twitch of Kylo Ren's fingers that summons the blade, the red light on Kylo's face as he ignites his own saber, and the cut to the wide shot as Rey and Kylo pivot into battle. I also like how the "ahhs" in the opening match up to Rey shots. In general there are some good places where beats line up with saber strikes and sparks, which make me really happy.
Lyrically, I like how "what could I do?" lines up with Rey being caught by the guard just before she skewers him, and the "yeah" as Kylo Ren makes a guard-kabob of his own. I do wish that "tore me apart" was a little closer to the guard being shredded, but one can't have everything, especially when the "you've been... thunderstruck!" connects so perfectly to Rey's saber drop.
I came back from visiting friends and was both sad and happy that no one had made my next idea, which feels like it should have been more obvious: "Battle Without Honor or Humanity," AKA "that song from Kill Bill."
Surprised I haven’t seen this one yet, so… Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” by Tomoyasu Hotei pic.twitter.com/jdZItWFKCM— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
There's some more good timing here: Snoke getting chopped, the cut from Kylo to Rey, and especially the opening saber strikes, as it turns out there's a third hit where Kylo's saber connects with the ground, giving a satisfying payoff to the "bam-BAM-bam!" Lots and lots of the melee hits line up on strong beats; there are some particularly fun moments with Kylo just before and as he's grappled that are really delicious, and we get a pretty decent effect for Rey's saber drop.
I was still feeling the Kill Bill vibe, so my next pick was "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood":
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood” by Santa Esmeralda pic.twitter.com/cxcEKtvW89— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I love this song for a sword battle, but I also love how it plays with the who's-going-to-turn psychology of the scene. It's probably funnier to consider the lyrics as being Kylo Ren's point of view, and I adore how his face lights up red just as the lyrics get us "seem to be bad."
Once more we get good beats on saber strikes and Kylo being grappled, and a good sync with the guard being shredded, but my particular favorite bit is how the music goes with Rey being reeled in by the guard. I also like the "oh, Lord" as Kylo scans the room, the brass riff during Kylo's pirouette around the 1:44 mark, and the strings as Rey throws her saber to Kylo.
Next I wanted to connect with the raw energy and chaos of the opening of the melee, and nothing says that to me quite like "March of the Pigs" off of The Downward Spiral:
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “March of the Pigs” by Nine Inch Nails pic.twitter.com/0hQtFavUKk— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I enjoy the synth kicking in just as Rey rises into the frame, and it meshes nicely with the cuts back and forth between Rey and Kylo before the battle, but what makes this for me is the "step right up!" as the guards approach and the guitar kicking in on those first saber hits, and the chaos of the start of the fight.
I love Styx's "Come Sail Away" without a trace of irony, so I had to do it at some point:
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Come Sail Away” by Styx pic.twitter.com/vafWnXmY1m— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I chose this mainly to get the electric guitars to drop in as the melee starts, but there are plenty of good saber hits, Rey's skewer-and-toss with is nicely accompanied, and I like how the gag with the shredder works here. Lyrically, I love Rey and Kylo Ren coming together to "try, best that we can, to carry on!" though Yoda might admonish them about whether or not there is a "try."
Fun fact: "Come Sail Away" was released in 1977, just like Star Wars! Since I had just steeped in the above nostalgia, and since Star Wars is about heroism, it seemed fitting to pick up another classic tune from 1977, David Bowie's "Heroes":
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “Heroes” by David Bowie pic.twitter.com/hOV5tlrmjl— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
I read the lyrics here as Kylo Ren talking to Rey about their doomed relationship. "You will be queen" as Rey rises up, "nothing will drive them away" as the guards close in... "We can be heroes," opines Kylo Ren, but alas, "just for one day." Nothing can keep them together.
Around the time that I posted "Heroes", I saw that someone had done "Gangnam Style", which popped me out of the nostalgia and straight into internet meme territory, and I simply had to do "The Fox":
Rey & Kylo Ren fighting the Praetorian Guards to “The Fox” by Ylvis (I’m so, so sorry… but kind of not really?) pic.twitter.com/lbudHLHfRb— May the Force be with mpirnat (@mpirnat) January 28, 2018
Sadly the video clip isn't long enough to accommodate the full first verse, but that's made up for by "frog goes croak" as Kylo cuts Snoke in half (because "ha ha, double meanings LOL"). Also Snoke's torso hits the deck right on "toot," which makes me giggle. I mainly timed this around getting "fox say" to match the first saber strikes, and I'm very amused by how each of the fox noise segments line up with different parts of the fight. The shredder gag makes a decent showing ("your fur is red, so beautiful"). I do wish that the last "what does the fox say" had lined up better with Rey's saber drop move--ideally I'd have "fox" on the knee swing and "say" on the headshot.
It's gotten way too late, so I'll have to follow this up with a second installment to cover the rest. Until then... May the Force be with you!