STAR WARS VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015) Movie Review
It has been thirty-five years since the end of Return of the Jedi. I waited most of my life for the next one, ever since I was introduced to the original trilogy in the 90’s. Despite everyone's insistence that Lucas was finished, I never believed it.
It would be foolish to give up on Star Wars, and the incredible response to The Force Awakens, even after all these years, suggests that Lucas made a mistake. A mistake that Disney insists on remedying.
Of course, having taken thirty-five years, it left the creators with two choices. They could decide to write a completely fresh story, free of the original characters: Luke, Leia, and Han. However, a Star Wars story without them would not feel like Star Wars at all.
The other option would be to include the characters, and explain the aging by setting it thirty years after Return of the Jedi. In doing so, the story was set up to repeat the format of A New Hope, the beginning of a new generation of Jedi.
It is the cause of many complaints among fans, but it was the only way.
The original characters serve as a transition for the new characters: Kylo Ren, Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron.
There are some complaints circulating that The Force Awakes is a copy of A New Hope. I will not deny there are indeed several parallels between the two. However, it is important to acknowledge its own story.
The Force Awakens is a story about two people who find their true place in the world. Both Finn and Rey begin by allowing the circumstances of their past to define them. The only way they rise their miserable existences begins through choice.
Finn begins as a storm trooper, one of many faceless, nameless soldiers trained to follow orders, including mass murder. However, he cannot bring himself to murder innocent people. He makes the choice not to pull his trigger. He makes the choice to break free from the First Order and set free the prisoner from the Resistance. Eventually, after he meets Rey, his first real friend, he chooses to save her life.
Rey begins as a homeless, orphaned scavenger surviving on table scraps. Her job is to trade scrap metal for food. However, she makes the choice to save a droid from another scavenger. She makes a choice to resist the temptation of trading it. She makes the choice to help it find its master and help Finn escape the First Order.
These choices not only bring them together, but also lead them down a path of extraordinary discovery. A path where they can be loved and invaluable. A path where they save countless lives. A path where they may vanquish evil. A path that leads the Resistance (and Leia) straight to the mysterious dwelling place of Luke Skywalker.
The Force Awakens marks the beginning of a new era, a new diplomacy, and new generation of Jedi. However, the one thing that has not changed is the dire need for Luke Skywalker who is for a time the galaxy’s only Jedi, but hopefully not the last.
Whoever Rey is, whether is related to Luke, Han, Obi-Wan, or Kylo Ren, she bears the potential to be a Jedi Master for the Light Side. That journey will continue with Episode VIII that is due to premiere in 2017.