How Magicians and the Star Wars filmmakers use similar techniques for misdirection.

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How Magicians and the Star Wars filmmakers use similar techniques for misdirection.

Post by EmiBugs on Fri 17 Nov 2017, 8:26 pm

How Magicians and the Star Wars filmmakers use similar techniques for misdirection.

As The Last Jedi gets closer and closer to release and the Reylo theory gains more and more momentum, the question of misdirection becomes the forefront of discussion. Especially now that the trailers are out.

Being a Reylo theorist I’ll admit I was worried they might have given too much away, however, my worries were over when I realized what the general audience concluded. To Reylo fans we saw the struggle and growth of our heroine Rey and Kylo Ren being paralleled, the relationship between mother and son, redemption, and the beginning of Rey and Kylo coming together (to balance the force while forming a meaningful relationship) While the general audience believes that Rey is still a Skywalker because she holds the same power as Kylo (as stated by Luke), Kylo is going to kill Leia, and Rey is going to turn to the dark side. Completely opposite from a Reylo perspective. But of course those who are aware and do NOT want Reylo to happen now argue that any obvious sign of Reylo and redemption is all misdirection.

Are these people misdirected into thinking it’s misdirection?
Ummmm. . .Is the Pope Catholic?

The trailers are not a misdirection. Whenever I view a trailer for a movie the purpose is to define the storyline and have the general feeling of the film, NOT to give away twists. When I first viewed The Force Awakens trailer I made some assumptions, but the trailer wasn’t misdirecting. It told the truth on what the movie would be about and from them the audience confused themselves rather than the filmmakers confusing us.

So how does misdirection relate to magicians?

I was introduced to a film by my brother after he heard about the Reylo theory from me. He told me there were misdirection techniques is this film that are nearly the same in Star Wars when discussing this particular theory.

The film is Now You See Me If you haven’t seen this movie or the sequel please stop reading and watch the trailers and the films before continuing on.

This is the link to watch the trailer


You have to remember that the biggest clues to films with a plot twist have important lines or scenes in the beginning that are overlooked but come true in the end. These same themes are echoed through the rest of the film right in front of you the entire time. Rarely is it ever realized until the end.

Here is a brief synopsis of this film from IMDB

Charismatic magician Atlas (Jesse Eisenberg) leads a team of talented illusionists called the Four Horsemen. Atlas and his comrades mesmerize audiences with a pair of amazing magic shows that drain the bank accounts of the corrupt and funnel the money to audience members. A federal agent (Mark Ruffalo) and an Interpol detective (Mélanie Laurent) intend to rein in the Horsemen before their next caper, and they turn to Thaddeus (Morgan Freeman), a famous debunker, for help.

In the beginning there are important clues that become the running theme for the rest of the film.

Which are:

1. “My job? To take that most precious of gifts you give me. Your attention, and then use it against you”

2. “The closer you look, the less you’ll see.” Or “the closer you think you are, the easier it will be to fool you.”

3. “You’re being played.”

4. “When the magician waves his hand and says this is where the magic is happening, the real trick is happening somewhere else. Misdirection, a basic concept of magic.”

5. “There are some tricks that can only be performed if you’re already on the inside.”

6. “Now you don’t.”

So taking line 1, the filmmakers also grab the audience’s attention by introducing a bunch of nostalgia in TFA only to use it against them when the story becomes different in TLJ. In this movie it makes you believe certain things but then throws a curve ball. This also can be related to line 4. The movie wants you to believe that whoever is behind the big magic tricks has to be The Four Horsemen, Thaddeus, or the French detective woman. All of these characters show signs of suspicion. For most of the general audience they start to heavily assume that The Four Horsemen are working under Thaddeus who is suspected as “The Eye” for the more analytical thinkers they start to suspect the woman because they know that usually when something becomes obvious it’s a trick, but because the woman shows only a little suspicion they think they are clever for figuring it out only to be just as shocked or even more shocked that they were played like everyone else. Of course if you’ve seen the movie you’d know that Agent Dylan Rhodes is revealed as the master mind. (The one who was on the inside) When it comes to Star Wars there are similar ideas. The general audience believing Thaddeus is the mastermind is like how the general audience believes Rey is a Skywalker. The analytical thinkers believing it is the French woman is like the analytical thinkers believing Rey is a reincarnation or clone. The reveal that it’s Dylan Rhodes is the reveal that Rey is something else entirely. I’m sure that there were a few people who thought Dylan Rhodes was behind it and if everyone knew before the reveal what they thought I’m sure they would laugh at that possibility. I could hear it going something like this. “You’re crazy, Dylan is an FBI agent and he’s an idiot! How could it be him!?” Just like everyone who laughs at Reylo becoming true. They think we’re all crazy about Rey ever forgiving Kylo and then falling in love with him.

I do want to bring up that I strongly believe that Rey could be a Kenobi. Now, you probably think, but that is already a highly talked about theory, but then you have to ask yourself is that the big twist the filmmakers were counting on? If you ask me, I’d say no.

It’s pretty much confirmed by Maz Kanata that Rey is not a Skywalker however the movie still leaves you asking the question, then who are Rey’s parents? Regardless of whether you believe she’s a Skywalker or not that is the biggest question the filmmakers were leaving us with. Or is it?

Take line 4 and relate it to the idea that the filmmakers wanted you to be so distracted with the concept of who Rey’s parents are, that you forget the other major important plot points that are happening in the rest of the story, which is of course Reylo, character relationships, and finally balancing the force.

Star Wars is known for having one of the biggest twists in cinema history. “No, I am your father.” I believe the sequel trilogy will have another huge twist but not done in the same way as the originals. Otherwise the movie would be predictable and a complete waste of story.

I’m going to discuss line 2.
The closer you look the less you’ll see. Of course on the surface we think it’s Thaddeus or the French woman and Agent Dylan Rhodes will be taught a lesson. However, we know it’s the exact opposite. Think back to The Force Awakens and what the biggest criticisms were.

1. It’s a carbon copy of a New Hope
2. Kylo Ren is a wuss of a villain!

I believe JJ Abrams made TFA the way it is for two reasons. First, to please the majority of the fans who loved the originals, and second to mislead us into thinking the sequel trilogy would follow the same story line of the originals. Star Wars is more than one of the trilogies by itself. It’s telling one grand story across 3 generations. Don’t just look close at only a few important things. Look at the big picture. You have to stand back in order to see it all “The closer you look, the less you’ll actually see.”

I realize that Kylo Ren, has made mistakes, and has done some pretty dark doings and will likely be redeemed from them. However, I like to think he’s not as dark/villainous as most might think.

Reasons for this:
1. He let Finn go after disobeying him.
2. He clearly has his own agenda after he says “Then they should have no problem retrieving the droid. Unharmed.” Then Hux responds “Careful Ren, that your personal interests not interfere with orders from leader Snoke!”
3. He doesn’t kill his own men like Vader did.
4. There are funny moments regarding Kylo. The originals made Vader as no laughing matter.
5. He seems to be against the attacks on the Hosnian and Ileenium systems.
6. If he can sense his father miles away, I’m sure he’s aware when he’s 10 feet behind him after sending the storm troopers in opposite directions.
7. Han’s death was a test. (stated by Snoke)
8. His conversation with Han before he died
9. Leia says “there’s still light in him I know it.”
10. He’s a prince and a knight.
11. The message sent to Leia about Star killer base targeting the Ileenium system. ( Kylo could have sent it)
12. The way he treats Rey.

I know he killed Han, the villagers, and Lor San Tekka but why does he appear to be against the attack on the Hosnian system and the Ileenium system. General Hux’s speech took inspiration from the footage of Hitler giving a speech to the Germans in WW2. I believe in this case another WW2 and Star Wars parallel was President Harry Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki Japan. He knew thousands of innocent people would die, but he also knew many more millions of innocent people would die if the decision hadn’t been made. I’m highly suspecting Kylo Ren is facing a similar situation. Even though Kylo feels extremely neglected and betrayed by his family, it’s noticeable that when facing his father he doesn’t want to go through with killing him. It’s also pretty obvious in TLJ trailer that Kylo doesn’t want to kill his mother and still has light in him.

I think at first Kylo thought going with Snoke was a good idea, but realized later he had made a mistake. But since now Kylo is already on the INSIDE with Snoke and the First Order, he now knows secrets about Snoke that will be vital in winning the war. This concept is similar to the idea of the magician already being on the inside to perform their greatest trick. Like Agent Dylan Rhodes being on the inside of the FBI. I’d like to call attention to the scene when Leia receives a message that The First Order was charging the weapon and the Ileenium System was the next target. How did the resistance come by this information? We know from Rogue One they had to transmit the plans from the enemy base (it was the only way). So I think there’s a strong chance that Kylo Ren was the one to send this bit of information to warn his mother. I don’t think it could have been anyone else on the inside since they were so desperate for Finn to help them lower the shields on Star Killer base.

If they already had someone on the inside on Star killer base then they wouldn’t be as desperate for Finn to help. Now why then would Kylo not lower the shields himself? Well, probably because it would have been too obvious that Kylo had betrayed The First Order. Transmitting a simple message would go a lot more unnoticed. That was probably the only thing he could do in his situation.

Perhaps Kylo knows he appears evil but believes someday his actions will be justified and be seen as good and something truly special to his family.

It’s the idea of line 6 “Now you don’t.” You don’t see Dylan Rhodes as the master mind, but then you do at the end. Thus the title Now You See Me. I can totally see this being applied to Kylo Ren. The general audience and the fanatics will finally see him for what he truly is.

Kylo Ren’s words to his Father are true
- “I’m being torn apart.”
- “I know what I have to do, but I don’t know that I have the strength to do it.”
- “Will you help me?”

Han - “Yes, anything!”
I think it’s a huge step for Han to trust that whatever is to come will help Ben.

This is a bit of a funny fact, but there’s always a mysterious hooded figure in Now You See Me.
Who’s Dylan Rhodes, but funny enough Kylo Ren is also a hooded figure in Star Wars. Haha!

But the idea of “Being Played” is exactly what the filmmakers are doing with the general audience and most fanatics.

I also want to go over the idea of powerful words in the Star Wars TFA and TLJ trailers and how this movie did the same technique.

TFA teaser 1:

“There has been an awakening . . . Have you felt it?”
“The dark side . . . And the light.”

TFA teaser 2:

“The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. . . You have that power too.”

TFA teaser 3:

“Who are you?”
- “I’m no one.”

“I was raised to do one thing, but I’ve got nothing to fight for.”

“Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.”

“There were stories about what happened.”
- “It’s true. All of it. The dark side. The Jedi. They’re real.”

“The force, it’s calling to you. . . Just let it in.”

All of these quotes have either already come true or will mean something later as a foreshadowing.

All of this has importance in regards to the story line and were carefully chosen.

TLJ teaser 1:

“Breathe. Just breathe. Now reach out. What do you see?”

“Light. Darkness. The balance.”

“It’s so much bigger”

“I only know one truth. It’s time for the Jedi to end.”

TLJ trailer 1:

“When I found you, I saw raw untamed power, and beyond that, something truly special.

“Something, inside me has always been there, but now it’s awake, and I need help.”

“I’ve seen this raw strength only once before. It didn’t scare me enough then. It does now!”

“Let the past die. Kill it, if you have to. That’s the only way to become what you’re meant to be.”

“We are the spark, that will light the fire, that will burn the First Order down.”

“This is not going to go, the way you think!”

“Fulfill, your, destiny!”

“I need someone, to show me my place in all this.”

TLJ teaser 2:

“Darkness rises, and light to meet it.”

All of these lines were also chosen, because they all illustrate the story beautifully and have deeper meanings that we’ll discover later.

Similar to all the lines of dialogue in Now You See Me were clues all along to help us figure out the truth. Of course most of these lines are looked over and forgotten by the general audience but all of these lines put together make the whole point of the movie. Once you see it, watching it a second time makes all these clues way more obvious. The filmmakers have said that once we see TLJ we will view TFA in a completely different way. Why? Because all the clues will come together and will reveal the truths. However, if you’re a Reylo theorist it’s my humble belief that you already know the majority of the story. Why? Because the answers are right in front of us. Daisy Ridley said herself in an interview that she thought a lot was answered in the TFA already.
And it’s not only in TFA. The clues are everywhere throughout the 7 movies. Again, it’s the idea to look at the deeper/bigger picture. “Because the closer you look, the less you’ll actually see.”

In the sequel to Now You See Me, Thaddeus, gives a speech at the beginning of the film which seems rather vengeful, but of course he repeats this same dialogue at the end, and now it carries a completely different meaning.

There’s also the idea of following the magicians pattern in order to catch them. Even though their enemy believes they caught them before arriving at their final destination. The trick is still a success and they arrive at their destination anyway. Once again the magicians have fooled their enemy and still followed the pattern. In a completely different way.

Just like Star Wars fans who think the story is following the same pattern of the originals. The protagonist is the child of another major character with issue, and the protagonist is also a long lost sibling or cousin of another main character. The fans are right about the fact that Star Wars is following a pattern. George Lucas himself said that “Star Wars is like poetry, it rhymes.” However, the pattern will continue in a way no one is expecting, it’s not following the exact same formula of the originals, it’s following the themes that Star Wars has always been about. Love, hope, redemption, forgiveness, and my personal favorite, TWISTS that will blow people’s minds.
Dylan Rhodes said something that I believe speaks very well to how the fanatical fan boys come across when discussing Star Wars. “How you let yourself be so blinded by your ego that you convinced yourself that you were one step ahead when you were always two steps behind.”

Right now I’m sure the filmmakers want the majority of fans looking at the surface level. I can see them saying the same thing to the fans as Atlas said to his fans. “Come in close. Closer. Because the more you think you see, the easier it'll be to fool you.”

I also want to comment on how different the Reylo community is. With everyone I’ve seen and heard who have figured this mystery box out, I’m very blown away with the amount of diverse intelligence. Those who are gifted in psychology, literature, religion, mythology, history, music, art, film language, human behavior, etc. This reminds me of another quote at the end of Now You See Me. “The real magic is taking four strong solo acts and making them all work together. And that's exactly what you did. So welcome. Welcome to The Eye.”

Most of the time I feel like the Reylo fandom is all part of “The Eye”

As stated before with line 6 “Now you don’t” For all those who don’t see the Reylo theory or make fun of it now. In the end they will see it. Thus, Now You See Reylo.

Jedi Youngling
Jedi Youngling

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Re: How Magicians and the Star Wars filmmakers use similar techniques for misdirection.

Post by SheLitAFire on Fri 17 Nov 2017, 10:14 pm

First off, welcome to the forum @EmiBugs, good to have you here!
Your deep analysis & insight of both movie's trailers and questioning the idea of misdirection has given me A LOT to think about! We definitely had a discussion in a couple of threads about misdirection/debunking the misdirection idea once the trailer came out in October. I thought your analysis of Hitler & Harry Truman is quite thought provoking. You've nailed down Truman's debate (whether we agree with his decision or not) and the nuance of his reasoning. Your comparison of Kylo and Truman could possibly align with what some on here believe about Kylo, that he has a hidden agenda that's different than Snoke's, but that he's using Snoke as part of his plan and to learn from in ways Luke didn't educate him in, which now that I'm scrolling up and re-reading some of your post I can see you point it out as point #2.
The diversity of the Reylo community is strong and I'm glad you feel a kinship with us. That was definitely one of the things that drew me here, specifically reading the meta analyses and just feeling like my mind was expanding with creative ways of looking at film, literature, even real life. Thank you for adding more to our collection interpretations!


You Pierce My Soul. I am Half Agony, Half Hope.
-Jane Austen

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Re: How Magicians and the Star Wars filmmakers use similar techniques for misdirection.

Post by snufkin on Fri 17 Nov 2017, 10:32 pm

The novel/film about magic and misdirection I thought of after seeing TFA was The Prestige. If you've seen Christopher Nolan's adaption, it's the bookend introduction and finale v/o by Michael Caine

@snufkin wrote:It's a magic trick. The sleight of hand is that you get a "re-hash" of the original storyline with twists like Girl Power Heroine, Stormtrooper gone rogue, and all of the media coverage with people enthusing over it being a return to childhood and familiar beats that reference things like the MF, the trash compactor, Death Star, Finn is her love interest etc. Meanwhile, off to the side (or rather, the subtext that my brain knew it was seeing), the actual story is being set up about Han and Leia's son being manipulated by Snoke and the parallels with a young scavenger who is thrust into the middle of the action and the build up for how their destinies are intertwined (with the big bad of Snoke). It's a three part trilogy and this movie is the first part of a magic trick, the Pledge. I am more of a Christopher Nolan fan than a Star Wars fan (even if Nolan is so obviously influenced by the OT) and realized that it was like the line from the Prestige, which was originally a book by Christopher Priest:

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".”

I'll have to wait and see if what comes next is the Turn and the finale being the actual Prestige. But in the meanwhile, TFA was most definitely the Pledge. It will be interesting to see in the future how many people who took it at face value revisit what we've already discussed.


OK now that I thought a little more, it's sort of another Christopher Nolan reference. My brain picked up on the fact that a magic trick (sleight of hand being a call back to childhood nostalgia elements and rehash, hiding a different and more subversive narrative that includes a feminist reading of Fairy Tales and Force=sexual/romantic awakening) was being performed in the story. From the original book by Christopher Priest:

“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called "The Pledge". The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called "The Turn". The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call "The Prestige".”

So maybe what my brain picked up on (and which @vaderito has been so skilled at possibly teasing out w/analysis) is that this first part of the trilogy is the Pledge. We are presented a story about a heroine and villain, whom, we take to be unaltered and normal in their presentation. What remains to be seen is if the next story in the trilogy is The Turn (flirting with the Darkside), and the final story will be the Prestige.

The whole story is a bait and switch, or as I realized and posted about here, it's a magic trick. All of the callbacks and references to the first movie were to keep your eyes off of the actual story that was being set up (think of the 3 stages of a magic trick, the Pledge, the Turn, & the Prestige). Even just doing a group rewatch of ESB, it's striking how the two main storylines, love story takes flight during battle of war/battle of the sexes and obsessive cat & mouse between two FS, are not just referenced but rolled into the whole reason we've come together on the Internet to argue/debate.

There are probably many different reasons why a lot of people didn't pick up on this element, hard to say how much was by design and how much was miscalculation. But it's been a lot of fun trying to figure out the pieces of the puzzle. x

Force Ghost
Force Ghost

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