The Force Awakens – Talking Star Wars: Episode VII
Force-inspired musings: The Force Awakens
- The words “Luke Skywalker has vanished” in the opening crawl really sets up the entire series of sequel films in a way that I don’t think anyone ever expected. Yes, we expected some sort of MacGuffin. But did you ever believe that the main character of the Star Wars sequel trilogy would not be Luke Skywalker? Did you expect that we wouldn’t get a full scene with Luke until the final moments of the film? Brilliant choices, really.
- Another moment that I think was really definitive was the literal emergence of the First Order from the troop carriers. Clad in black and white, the armored soldiers looked like old-school stormtroopers (or clones for that matter), but then they weren’t. At least one of them wasn’t a killing machine; we have Finn with blood on his helmet, looking down at a fallen comrade and deciding, “I don’t want this life.”
- After Finn’s face reveal, we have the terrific switch between Finn and Rey and their respective headgear and then you meet the main protagonist of the sequel trilogy. Rey is Luke Skywalker-esque, but she’s obviously her own person. The planet Jakku looks a little bit like Tatooine, but it’s not exactly Tatooine.
More Musings About Star Wars: Episode VII
- And the way that Rey literally builds her family around her as she goes through her adventures is pretty endearing – just like Anakin and Luke following their respective paths in Episodes I and IV. That really drew me into Episode VII. AND, I would say there are times when I just am so focused on her as a character, and to Daisy Ridley’s acting, that many of the other storylines in the sequel films simply fall away.
- Maz Kanata and her castle: I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting a Mos Eisley Cantina-vibes somewhere and the idea that you had the interstellar bar — with music provided by Lin Manuel Miranda by the way (“Jabba Flow”) — was pretty amazing stuff. I think that Abrams’ switch to a certain amount of non-CGI creature work ( the first words of the film are “This will begin to make things right…” after all) was also very important to the film’s visual similarity to the OG trilogy.
- Furthermore, one of the things I most liked about Maz’s planet Takodana was that we got that Force-back / Force-forward; that moment reveals that there’s something special about Rey when our new hero touches the Skywalker lightsaber.
- Another reveal that really hit was that of Kylo Ren. The idea that there’s a real person under the black mask; you know, obviously we never saw the person under the black mask in the original trilogy until the end — never mind a hipster. This person is a true human being. This person is a part of the Skywalker clan, just like Darth Vader, just like Luke Skywalker. Wild.
- Obviously, He’s gone the wrong way. And we don’t know what he knows about his grandfather, other than that he was Darth Vader. The reveal of Kylo again as this unbelievably quaffed fanboy is a pretty impressive choice. It leads to the upsetting moments in Starkiller Base. And we know Harrison Ford had always been pretty vocal about how that was going to work; how he wanted it to end in the original trilogy. I’m glad he had a hero moment. I’m sad that it went the way it did just because I love Han Solo. Thank the Maker for Solo: A Star Wars Story – but that’s for another blog post.
Finally, and most importantly, I love the ending of TFA; that two-round lightsaber battle where the Excalibur-like Skywalker saber “chooses” Rey. It gives the audience a clear understanding of how special Ridley’s character really is. And it shows how exciting her adventures are going to come to be over the next two films.