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Movie Discussion: Star Wars The Force Awakens (Heavy Spoilers)
Here I'll keep my thoughts, opinions, and predictions for the Star Wars universe based on the newest film. Obviously, lots of spoilers, but I do encourage feedback, both agreeable and contrary.
The Plot, Recycled and Reused
I'm aiming to get my complaints out of the way before more of the hopeful perspectives I have. While I really enjoyed the film, I didn't realize how heavy this film relied upon previous works. As said before, I feel that the two opposing factions (the Resistance and First Order) are simply renamed from previous works (the Rebellion and the Empire respectively). It's emphasized more when the Resistance retains many of the leaders of the Rebellion, and aside from sleek new upgrades, the First Order is cosmetically the same as the Empire. It's a slight note, but given the state of affairs of the film, it feels much more that the plot needed Episode 6's ending (that with the apparent failure of the Empire and the breaking of its power) was erased so that the same conflict can continue. Even some of the grand set pieces are the same, such as the Starkiller weapon is literally just a bigger Death Star, and its protective shielding is disabled by ground troops while a battle reigns overhead (just like the battle of Endor).
There are some staples that are good (the Skywalker bloodline continues to be at the center of the conflict) although personally, I do hope the rumors that there are a new pair of Skywalker twins doesn't come to pass (more on that in a bit).
Why do you exist? It's nice to see a female Stormtrooper, I guess, and one with chrome armor and a special, outfitted firearm but her presence and actions in the film amount to something more of comedic relief (being that she doesn't put up much fight in an interrogation against Finn in protection the Starkiller. Her fate is amounted to a joke, being thrown into a similar trash compactor like in the original film.
There was a lot of talk of making Captain Phasma the new trilogy's Boba Fett. Many assumed this would be Boba's physical presence and uniqueness. I guess they figured it would be more ironic for Phasma to be tossed down into a pit just like Boba and the Sarlacc.
Is Captain Phasma really dead? I dunno. The movie didn't make me want to care.
The Unimpressive Arc of Kylo Ren
Kylo Ren (and his stormtrooper regiment) were introduced with so much destructive, intimidating flair. The introduction of Ren actually stopping a blaster shot the equivalent of a sniper round was fantastic.
Then his issues began. Hood over his mask was his best look, as I find his mask...kinda lame. It's three or four different shades of black. Once his mask comes off, he's a simple-looking boy. His anger is left unchecked but instead of an awesome display of power, he just hacks at things with his lightsaber (which is one of the best bits of this film, I do confess, the lightsaber, not the tantrums). The character arc is quite clearly showing his hesitation and ultimate downfall but my interest is dulled as his arc progresses.With hope, the character will become more formidable in the future.
Also of note is his name, in several respects. First, he is no Darth. One would assume that's just because he's an apprentice and is still in training (as Supreme Leader Snoke says), but Snoke himself doesn't claim the title Darth. Darth is a title that the Sith use. Die hard Star Wars fans know that Sith doesn't equate to 'evil Jedi,' but more of a religious group that believe in certain principles and practices (such as the 'Rule of Two' which stakes that must only be a Master and an Apprentice). It will be interesting to see what differences Snoke and Kylo Ren's group will have in comparison to the Sith.
Also, Ren seems to be more of a clear title. While originally named Ben, Snoke calls him his 'Master of my Knights of Ren.' There are more like Kylo, although they were inferior in station and none have completed their training. Mentioned above, this is one clear difference that we have so far that differentiates the Sith and Snoke's group.
Is Finn Force-Sensitive?
A lot of people like to think so but I'm not convinced. While promotional items seemed to advocate Finn being a new Jedi, every time the ex-stormtrooper wielded a lightsaber he lost his fights, first against the 'riot control' trooper and second against a wounded Kylo Ren, badly. Still, only those Force-sensitive are said to be able to wield a lightsaber but it's very reasonable that Stormtroopers are given training to understand how Jedi fight in order to counter it, especially since the First Order was actively hunting Luke Skywalker. I'd say that Poe Dameron (my new favorite character) has more chance of being Force-sensitive, especially flying a different X-Wing than everyone else and destroying all opposition as if he was the Red Baron himself.
Still, there's a very specific scene that Captain Phasma remarks that his signs of insubordination were his first and the film shows that it was strong enough to release a prisoner and flee immediately. It could have just been the horror and destruction he witnesses during the film's opening raid that snaps him out of it, but Phasma seemed to think that a simple re-education sequence would be enough to cure him, even giving him the responsibility of turning himself over to said 'teachers.' Granted, Phasma seemed largely incapable of any task assigned to her, not to mention he seemed to have no difficulty shooting other Stormtroopers (which, if he identified what they were doing in the opening sequence was wrong, that implies inherent morality which isn't a topic I think Star Wars films want to engage in).
There's also a little mystery in how Stormtroopers in the First Order are 'recruited,' since it seemed to indicate that Finn was taken as a babe. If it's important, I'm sure we'll hear more about it in the future.
Do you think Finn will become a Jedi?
Where Does Rey come from?
We know that Rey thinks her family is going to return to her on Jakku (or as I call it, Neo Tatooine), and she has a vision of someone leaving her as a child/toddler. We know that she is Force-sensitive, which gives reason to imagine her parent or parents are Force-users (although this is not exclusive). So, who is her family and who left her there?
A huge theory is that there are Skywalker twins again, with both Rey and Kylo Ren/Ben. The film boils down to a confrontation between the two, Rey thinks of Han Solo as a father figure, and at times they seemed largely matched in wills and usage of the Force. Also after Han dies, Leia ignores Chewbacca to embrace Rey which is strange considering the two of them never met. Again, since the Skywalkers are always at the forefront of the Star Wars conflict, it would make sense to have another set of Skywalker twins (as Luke and Leia were). Honestly, I hate this theory since this film has already relied on the original trilogy so much. I wouldn't be surprised if Kylo Ren turned from the Dark Side just to protect his sister. That's just a personal preference and I feel that there should have been some kind of mention or reference to Han and Leia having more than one child (although Leia being Luke's sister was only mentioned once in Episode 5 before it seemingly comes out of nowhere in Episode 6).
There's also the theory that Luke Skywalker is Rey's father which would also support the 'Skywalkers in everything' trend. That would explain her connection to the lightsaber. It could also be that she is the offspring of Luke's original Padawans he was training. Maybe she was hidden away before her mother/father joined Luke, and maybe now they are dead or are part of the 'Knights of Ren.'
There's also a more crazy theory that she might also have been a student who was mind-wiped before being left on Jakku. If she herself was a student her Force abilities, instead of just being inherently strong, could be argued that she's relearning these abilities. Granted, in her flashback she's seen to be very young, but this could be a fabrication, since her memories of her 'family' are so vague to begin with.
And finally, there's a chance she could be the offspring of a character we have yet to see, or one that hasn't been given much importance. Maybe she was the daughter of Max Von Sydow's character, the one at the beginning with the map. That might also explain why he had the map and was hiding out on a planet, not wanting to endanger his daughter if he should be caught.
Who do you think is Rey's parent(s)?
Also, I would just like to point out the idea that Rey will be constructing her own lightsaber, and due to the heavy emphasis of her staff that she wields before being taken by Kylo Ren, she would make herself a lightsaber staff, almost identical to the one Darth Maul used in Episode 1. I'm just saying, the good guys never get to use some of the cooler lightsabers, and I want Rey to have that distinction.
The Hermit Jedi's state of mind
We don't know much about Luke's status quo. He was training Padawans, one became Kylo Ren and screwed up everything, and Luke took off while leaving behind clues to his location. He's been in hiding for some time, seemingly in isolation.
I think Luke will play a lot like Yoda in the original trilogy, although he might become more of a direct proponent. Like Yoda, Luke considers himself to have failed and pushes himself into isolation, a place where he can help nor hurt anyone else. Like Yoda, Luke will have (presumably) lived alone for some time meaning, like Yoda, Luke may become highly eccentric and possibly even a bit crazed.
Outside of Star Wars, Mark Hamill has been involved in a variety of projects, most notably being the voice of Joker in a series of recent Batman games as well as many animated films. He's playing the Trickster on the Flash (seen above) who is a lot like the Joker in mannerisms and design. He's voiced and played a lot of villains most recently in the past, which fueled speculation that Luke Skywalker had turned to the Dark Side for the film. Based on his track record, Mark Hamill plays a very well received character whenever he goes a bit bananas, and I can see him doing the same for Episode 8.
How do you feel about a crazy Luke Skywalker?
- Man, after seeing this film I care even less about the newest Star Wars Battlefront game.
- What/How big is Supreme Leader Snoke? Does he use a lightsaber? Was he around when Darth Sidious and Vader ruled over the galaxy?
- Did Leia ever train her Force-sensitivity at all, or is she exactly how we left her in Episode 6?
- Where were all the Y-Wing bombers during the bombing run on Starkiller? It seems you would have more than newer X-Wings to attack a planet-sized base.
Those are just some of the theories I've gleaned, modified, or created myself that I particuarly like, or the thoughts that I've had. Do you agree, disagree?
I'd love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments below. Tell me something I've missed or haven't considered, or tell me why one of my thoughts is wrong. I want to talk about it, and right now the world is still worried about spoilers so feel free to discuss it here.