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Sunday, December 27, 2015

There Had Been An Awakening, Have You Seen It?

I am going off topic a bit (please, no haters in the comments). When I was five years old, Star Wars changed my life. Gone was the world of G-rated Disney fare, in was science-fiction and fantasy. My question going into the film was: can J.J. Abrams recapture the magic of my youth?  

In a way, he does.  The film is a nostalgia fueled remake of the original Star Wars.  A good discussion of the movie can be found here and a more positive take here.  For all of the criticisms, it is still an exciting return to a galaxy, far, far away. It is not surprising that the filmmakers took this approach after discarding  George Lucas' ideas for Episode VII.  Rather than go through a point by point critique of The Force Awakens, I'll offer a few theories to the many unanswered questions.

  • In the film, there is both a New Republic and a Resistance to the First Order (remnants of the Old Empire).  It begs the question of what the relationship is between the two.  I proffer that the Rebellion split into two at the conclusion of Return of the Jedi.  One faction, tired of war, favored forming a new government and leaving the Empire alone.  The other formed the Resistance led by Princess Leia to continue the fight against inter-Galactic tyranny.
  • Why is Princess Leia not a Jedi! Haunted by the memory of his failure in the tree on Dagobah and Anakin Skywalker's turn to the Dark Side of the Force, Luke does not trust himself to train Leia as an adult.  Thus, he adopts the old Jedi method of training them from early childhood.
  • Coruscant must be occupied by the First Order.  Why otherwise is it so vital to find the first Jedi Temple.


Posted by Scott Maravilla on December 27, 2015 at 04:59 PM in Film | Permalink


Much of the script utilizes the "warp speed" metaphor/mechanism. Whenever folks need to travel great distances (literally or figuratively) we are left to imagine that they "warped" there--whether it's Rey's mind trick ability or the resistance's ten minute planning session to destroy the weapon...they happened in warp time...

Posted by: Ian Bartrum | Dec 28, 2015 11:49:10 PM

I agree that Rey moves too quickly into her own powers.

I don't want to criticize the movie; that's just not my style. But I do wonder if Rey's confrontation with Kylo Ren could have been handled better if Ren had simply been more wounded by Chewbacca's blast. Perhaps even an in-between scene with Snoke where he commands a hesitant and grievously injured Ren to pursue Rey at all costs--which would have doubled as a way to convey that (1) Solo was indeed right in his conceptualization of the Ren-Snoke relationship, and (2) Snoke clearly and rightly sees Rey both as a threat and as probably more powerful (and thus more important) than Snoke's current apprentice.

Also I don't see why Rey had to *beat* Ren in the final scene. He loses if they draw. An earlier timed cataclysm separating them would have been a good idea, I think.

Posted by: Chris | Dec 28, 2015 10:43:03 PM

I agree that Rey is able to prematurely use the Jedi mind trick. Obi-Wan demonstrated it for Luke in Star Wars. Perhaps Rey is some kind of super Force sensitive individual. However, The Chosen One showed none of these abilities in The Phantom Menace. As they are ignoring the prequels, and, other than Darth Vader's melty mask, the second half of Return of the Jedi, anything is possible.

Posted by: Scott Maravilla | Dec 28, 2015 9:26:52 PM

Ren has to be pretty advanced if he can stop a blaster pulse in mid-air, force choke, and mind read. That said, I'm willing to give Rey the lightsaber fight, but what about the Jedi mind trick with the Stormtrooper? Luke doesn't do that until the third movie.

Posted by: Brad | Dec 28, 2015 8:04:17 PM

I don't have much of a problem with Rey's face off with Kylo Ren at the end of the film. We discovered on Jaaku that she can fight with her metal pole effectively. It is not too much of a leap to use a light saber. Supreme Leader Snoke also recalls Kylo Ren to complete his training. This indicates that the Knight of Ren may not be as powerful as it appears.

Posted by: Scott Maravilla | Dec 28, 2015 6:26:59 PM


The big controversy seems to be that Rey becomes too adept with the force too quickly and without the guidance of a teacher or mentor. Both of which are mostly unprecedented.

Some people want to put a gender spin on the critique and the critique of the critique, but I think that's a red herring. The central issue has more to do with modern Hollywood and our culture of instant gratification in general.

Posted by: Brad | Dec 28, 2015 2:42:50 PM

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