Spoilers ahead! DUH!
The Force Awakens is destroying box offices left and right, and I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed it. The first time I saw it, I was in awe. That was Empire good! Honestly, it was one of the few movies I saw this year, where upon my first viewing, I could sit back and simply enjoy it. I was purely entertained and left the theorizing, the nitpicking, and the deep analyzing until after the movie. The second time, I wished I had a notebook and pen with me so I could vigorously write down notes and ideas.
We took our three month old son to our 2nd viewing. I don’t know if it’s because of the rocking of the D-box or that we’ve been playing the soundtrack for him, but he was as entertained as we were. He quietly sat through the first half, eyes glued to the screen. The second half, he was asleep…until Han Solo died. And then he abruptly woke up and cried before drifting back off. He felt the disturbance in the Force.
But seriously, while The Force Awakens was great, it also left us with a lot of questions. Below are the most common questions and criticisms I’ve heard, and my attempts to answer them based on knowledge of the universe, comments from cast/crew, and pure inference. Since I’m not composing an individual post for each of these topics, feel free to comment or contact me if you’d like to discuss a certain point at more length.
Who was the old man whom Poe was speaking to at the beginning?
This one I don’t have to theorize about. He’s a new character called Lor San Tekka, who is a devout member of the Church of the Force, though not force sensitive himself. He was an ally of the New Republic in its infancy and the resistance, helping recover Jedi Lore that the Empire attempted to dispose of. He retired to a spiritual village on Jakku. In regards to how he came across the map, my guess would be that Luke personally gave it to Tekka himself or Tekka found it searching Jedi archeological sites as he was also an explorer.
Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?
The theory that makes the most sense to me is that he is Darth Plageuis, the master of Emperor Palpatine and creator of Anakin Skywalker. Since this new trilogy is part of the overarching storyline, it makes little sense to introduce a new major villain that doesn’t tie in directly. There would be a sense of poetry if the creator of Anakin Skywalker was now the master of Anakin’s grandson, which would explain Ren’s fascination with Vader. Any comments made contrary by cast and crew are probably meant to throw us off—Abrams has been known to do that with Star Trek. Furthermore, Snoke resembles the Munn alien race, tall, thin humanoids. Plageuis is a Munn, who is seen in the prequels, as the politician heading the Intergalactic Banking Clan. Cover art of Plageuis approved by George Lucas in the expanded universe also looks strikingly similar to Snoke.
Last but not least is the score composed by John Williams, who would certainly have this information in order to bring motifs and continuity to his music. The theme for Darth Plageuis in the prequels is almost identical to Snoke’s theme in the Force Awakens. Check out this wonderful video comparing the two:
Why did Han Solo have to die?
That’s the beauty of Star Wars and any other great universe; it doesn’t rely solely on its characters to sell the story. While Star Wars provides characters that we all love and know, those characters are also put in real peril and no one is exempt. The stakes and the level of reality are raised.
Why isn’t Kylo Ren/Ben’s name Jacen?
This is a frequent complaint I’ve heard from fans of the Star Wars expanded universe. In my opinion, the filmmakers were setting precedence and expectations for the rest of the films. If Ben’s name had been Jacen, people would’ve expected Jacen and more elements from his story. While the story may borrow elements of the expanded universe and it certainly does, the EU is no longer cannon, and fans can expect differences between the EU and the films.
Why did Kylo Ren go dark? And will he be redeemed?
I have two current theories. The first is an unlikely theory, but it’s one that I’m fond of. Realizing that darkness could only be fought with darkness, Ren joined with Snoke in an attempt to get close enough to eventually kill him. In this case, his obsession with Anakin/Vader and finishing his grandfather’s work is interpreted as ending the Sith and in this way bringing balance to the Force. It would also explain why he feels so strongly pulled to the light. He kills Han in order to keep his intetions from Snoke, who feels Ren’s internal conflict.
The second matches with the Darth Plageuis/Snoke theory. As Anakin’s creator, he would undoubtedly be interested in Anakin’s progeny, especially one as powerful in the force as Kylo Ren. In this case, Ren was specifically targeted and manipulated by Snoke, akin to the Anakin/Palpatine storyline.
I’m hoping that Kylo Ren is redeemed. I’ve always wanted a good Sith redemption story that didn’t involve the character dying two seconds later. Maybe that’s why Mara Jade is my favorite character from the extended universe. Anyway…
What will Finn’s role be in the upcoming films?
Finn is interesting. So much marketing has been spent featuring him with the lightsaber that I think it is possible that he too could receive Jedi training. The film hints at his force sensitivity. Finn is able to overcome, unusually quick, years of conditioning. He is obviously not weak minded. Finn also displays amazingly great faith in the Force, which is a major component of the light side. He demonstrates this on Starkiller when he tells Han Solo, “We’ll use the Force!” The line had a comedic effect, but Finn’s faith and tenacity are undeniable. Sure, he’s not as powerful as say Rey or Ren, but not every Jedi can be an Anakin or a Yoda. There’s also always the possibility of him being related to Mace Windu or Lando Calrissian. Either way, I’m excited to see where his story arc goes.
How did Maz acquire Luke’s lightsaber?
We have to remember that this is the lightsaber Luke lost in the Cloud City on the planet of Bespin. While Bespin is a gas giant, it has a solid core, and even a habitable layer. The saber likely fell onto this layer and was found by Maz or a scavenger of sorts. Given the hermit characteristic of Maz, it’s more plausible that a scavenger either sold it to Maz directly, or she acquired it through a chain of people. It would make sense since so many space travelers come through her place and her connections as a smuggler. Takodana, the planet home to Maz’s castle, is also relatively close to Bespin. Both planets are on the Corellian Trade Spine, a major trade route, thus Takodana serves as an ideal pit stop for any traders or dealers. Wookiepedia also reveals that Maz Kanata is force-sensitive, though not a Jedi, and used her talent to track down Jedi artifacts.
Why is C-3PO’s arm red?
A funny theory I’ve heard is that somehow C3-PO has been corrupted by the First Order since color is an important symbol throughout the series, red being associated with the Sith, Galactic Empire, and First Order. However, Abrams gave the explanation that he wanted to show a passage of time. Makes sense. C3-PO and R2-D2 are presumably outdated droids at this junction in the story. A leak of the companion book to The Force Awakens also revealed that the red arm was a memento of another droid’s sacrifice. The most likely explanation is that his arm was damaged, and the red arm served as a temporary replacement till his proper arm could be repaired or replaced. If you take a look at the arm, you can see that it is stiffer and less functional than usual. As an outdated model, his parts could be difficult to acquire. However, as we can see by the end of the movie, his golden arm has returned.
How did the First Order build Starkiller without anyone knowing about it?
Let’s not forget that Starkiller’s dark matter weaponry could travel through hyperspace, unlike its predecessors Death Star and Death Star II. The Death Stars had to be near their targets, making it susceptible to discovery, while the Starkiller is capable of being built just about anywhere. Starkiller makes berth in the Unknown regions of the galaxy, an unexplored, remote, and highly uninhabited area. The resistance base, D’Qar was clear on the other side of the galaxy, near Naboo. In between the two rests the New Republic, which enforces a strict treaty with the First Order and is largely demilitarized. Thus, Starkiller is perfectly capable of being a genuine secret weapon.
How did Poe Dameron escape from Jakku?
No conspiracy theories here. The official novelization explains that he exited the cockpit before the sinking and explosion. Poe then met a native of Jakku, a scavenger, who agreed to help him get to town and aboard a ship.
Why was this glossed over so much in the film? According to the actor, Oscar Isaac, Poe’s role was originally supposed to be a cameo, and he was indeed going to die. However, after he signed, director JJ Abrams changed his mind and decided to keep the character in for the remainder of the feature.
How come Kylo Ren couldn’t stop Chewie’s shot from his bowcaster?
This question to me is a little like how come Anakin’s hand got cut off? If the character was invincible, that would be boring. But here’s a logical explanation. Since Sith thrive on emotion, I believe this was an emotional moment for Kylo Ren. Siths may be deceivers, but they generally aren’t liars. The emotion displayed in the conversation between Han Solo and Ren was real. Poor Kylo was just taking in the moment and relishing the murder of his father when he was unexpectedly shot in the leg.
And how could Finn and Rey possibly have stood a chance against Kylo Ren in the lightsaber duel?
Alright, hear me out here. First of all, there are more than one type of Jedi/Sith. Without going into detail, there are those specialized in combat, those specialized in the Force, and those who blend the two with nontraditional methods. Most film viewers are most acquainted with those who specialize in combat and expect great swordsmanship with a lightsaber. I would first argue that Kylo Ren specializes in the Force, not combat, explaining unrefined style and the toll his injury took on his fighting. Force specializers also often have non-traditional lightsabers in order to help them when they do have to go into combat, and Kylo’s lightsaber is nothing if not unique.
Second of all, Finn is not completely helpless. He’s likely had training with an electrostaff. For sure we know he’s had combat with one these bad boys: a Z6 Baton. We can deduce this because the Stormtrooper wielding the baton served in the same squad as Finn. Use of this weapon translates over into using the lightsaber. And despite the criticism I’ve heard on this battle, Kylo Ren still defeats Finn in a reasonable amount of time.
Third of all, Rey, in addition to her inherent skill in the Force, is also proficient with her bow staff. Again, use of this weapon can be used in wielding the lightsaber (I see a double-bladed lightsaber in Rey’s future). I also don’t think Kylo Ren ever attacked her with the intent of killing her. Injure, maybe. Disarm, certainly. But he’s too fascinated with her power in the Force to want to kill her as shown by his offer to apprentice her. I’d also point out that Rey honestly didn’t have the upper hand till she was backed up against a giant precipice.
What is Rey’s lineage?
There’s the big one. I cannot possibly cover that in this post given that I’m over a 2,000 word count. No, that one deserves a whole article of its own. So stay tuned! I hope to knock that one out by the end of the week.