I have been working on this post (whether its written or in my head) since I saw The Force Awakens December 24th. The thing I struggled with the most was giving this post a proper title that not only reflected how I felt about the film but also what this post is going to be about (other than simply my nerdy review). I settled on “My Inner Child Awakens” because not only is it a play on the film’s title but it’s how I felt watching the movie.
If you have talked to me in person or followed any of my Twitter or Facebook posts then you already know what I thought of the movie. I was, literally, trembling before the movie started and I was trembling for hours after. I really liked it. It may be my second favorite movie of the seven (because Empire will always be my first). I think I also had to tone down the pride a notch or two since I was correct on one of my story arc predictions (which I can talk about in a bit – I want to save the spoilers until later in the post). I found the picture to the right on Facebook and I had to include it in this post. It accurately reflects how I felt walking out of The Force Awakens.
I realize The Force Awakens didn’t appeal to everyone’s inner child, and I certainly appreciate their opinion. I am in the minority that enjoyed all three prequel movies so it’s nice to be among the majority for episode seven. The box office numbers have certainly proved that The Force Awakens was a huge success not only among the avid fanatics (like myself) but also among the middle-of-the-road fans and the regular moviegoers. I’ve had several friends waiting for me to see the film because they wanted to know what I thought about it as a big fan of the franchise. This is when I will get into spoilers so if, for some unearthly reason, you haven’t seen the movie yet I wouldn’t keep reading. I also want to warn you that this is one of my more lengthy posts so I hope you don’t file this under TL;DR.
I just have to start off by saying that after the full trailer was released (and after I watched it a couple dozen times) I called one of the big story arcs. I predicted that not only was Kylo Ren a child of Han and Leia’s but he was trained by Luke, then turned to the dark side, which drove Luke into seclusion. I think what appealed to me most about this storyline, it drew from some of the original Expanded Universe canon. I know that Disney said that the EU is defunct but I’m glad that they still decided to center the next three films around the children of Han and Leia (and potentially Luke).
Most of the Expanded Universe content was about the children of Han and Leia (there were 3, the eldest of which turned to the dark side) and about Luke trying to rebuild the Jedi Order. Luke also had a child with another Jedi, Mara Jade, whom he named Ben Skywalker. Again, I believe Ben Solo was another homage to EU canon. So while there were so many people angry that Disney would not be following the EU, they still paid proper respect to all the dedication and the hard work that went into creating it.
Did Han Have To Die?!?
I admit, I didn’t want to believe the rumors that one of the original cast members was going to die. In the Expanded Universe it was Chewie, in Disney’s universe it was Han. I saw it coming when he and Kylo Ren met on that long bridge over that deep chasm. Many a hero and villain have fallen down many a chasms (Luke, Darth Maul, Emperor Palpatine). A lump was forming in my throat because I knew two were out there but only one would walk away and I suspected it would be Kylo Ren.
While I didn’t want to see Han die, after pouring through various fan theories and director interviews I had to accept it and I know why (from a story perspective, I don’t care if it was something to do with Harrison Ford wanting the character dead or wanting more money). Killing Han brought closure to the original trilogy. It forces us to focus on new relationships and new destinies. Episodes 7, 8, and 9 will be about Rey (and Finn?) becoming Jedi, Kylo Ren’s battle with the evil and hatred within himself and possible redemption? Can he be redeemed? Will he be redeemed in death like Vader or can he be turned back? It’s rarely happened, in Jedi history, that a Jedi who has turned to the dark side is turned back.
Who Is Rey??
I don’t think Rey is a Solo. The moment Rey fixed BB-8’s antenna I immediately deduced that she is of Skywalker blood. I believe she is Luke’s daughter whose mother is also Jedi (which explains why she proved to be a match with Kylo Ren, even while just learning about her abilities). I’m also hoping that Disney will pay further homage to the EU and add Mara Jade to the trilogy. There is more to my theory than Rey’s uncanny mechanic inclinations and her Force capabilities. There is a more subtle indication she is Luke’s daughter.
If it’s not the lore, the characters, the ships and the story that I love about Star Wars, it’s the music. I’m glad John Williams, even at 80+ years, is composing the soundtrack. The man is brilliant. So brilliant, in fact, that he hid the subtle clue to Rey’s origins in the music. Go back and listen to the soundtrack of the original trilogy; listen specifically to Luke’s Theme. Now go back and watch the movie and listen to the music anytime Rey is experiencing a moment of destiny. It’s Luke’s Theme. Why play Luke’s Theme, and not Leia’s Theme, if she were the daughter of Han and Leia? This, I believe, is the biggest clue to her origins. The end of the film is when Luke’s Theme is the clearest. The fact that it ended the way it did, with Rey finding Luke (looking awesome) but there is no dialog also speaks volumes about their relationship. He can’t refuse his own daughter, regardless of how he feels he has failed with Ben Solo.
I cannot wait for Episode VIII to see how things progress. I hope Rian Johnson does as extraordinary of a job as J.J. Abrams did. One more thing before I wrap up this nerdy swooning. Recently people have been trying to stir up controversy by alleging that Poe Dameron is gay. Whether he is or he isn’t, why bring it up? Unless it is absolutely pertinent to the story, if it is explicitly said, in the movie, that he is gay there better be some relevancy; otherwise the writers, directors and Disney are just pandering to that demographic. In fact they should never tell us. I don’t care if he’s even a little androgynous, why make it a spectacle. Anyway, that’s a soapbox for another time.