(featured image appears courtesy of nme.com)
First, before I start, let me give a disclaimer here: I am an “S.W. O.G.” (Star Wars O.G.)
This means my geekdom does not end with A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, or Return of the Jedi. This means that I have the right to demonize those prequels-that-would-have-been-better-off-as-novels-rather-than-movies.
A lot of people who read my articles…
…ok, maybe not a lot, only a couple of millionths or so. Damn, you caught the “th” at the end of that huh? Anyways.
A few of my readers sent me IM’s asking me why I hadn’t written a review yet. Well, to be honest, I felt that TFA deserved better than my first impression. I didn’t just want to give TFA a traditional review. It deserved deeper insight than I was prepared to give it at the time. For me, Star Wars is that childhood sweetheart that you were heads-over-heels in love with and never quite got over. Every time she comes to town, no matter what people say, you have to see her!
So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, my “Rantreview”!
(I promise not to give away too much!)
Honestly, I loved TFA. I loved it because I was giddy about seeing a new beginning for a franchise that I love dearly. I loved TFA because I got the chance to see familiar faces that I haven’t seen in years. I loved TFA because Jar-Jar Binks was nowhere to be found!
OK, I said that last sentence for everyone who thought it, but didn’t say it. Anyways, I’m sort of a…snob when it comes to Star Wars. I break Star Wars fans into 2 categories: fans of the Star Wars movies and fans of everything Star Wars (books, comics, merchandise, movies, actors, blah, blah, blah).
Of course, you guessed it, I belong to group number 2! That hardcore group of Star Wars fans who is pissed of that the EU (Expanded Universe) is now known as “Star Wars Legends”. (In fact, after seeing TFA , I’m even MORE pissed about that now! More on that later.)
(Some small spoilers ahead, so if you haven’t seen TFA yet, STOP reading now)
The Force Awakens was the introduction to an epic called, “Finn, Rey, and a Spoiled Brat named Kylo Ren”. I really enjoyed the contrast that the writers gave us between the light and the apparently “not-so-dark side”. This was especially visible with Fn-2187 and Kylo Ren.
Speaking of Kylo Ren, am I the only one who noticed he looked more like a spoiled brat than a true villain? At first, he did strike me as menacing. That is, until he threw a galactic fit. The temper-tantrums made him look like a lightweight when compared with Sith greats such as Plagueis, Sidious, and Vader. To be fair, I believe the writers wanted the audience to understand that while Kylo Ren was powerful, he was far from force mastery.
I did enjoy seeing a woman in a kick-ass leading role in a major movie though. Although she was tough as nails, I’m still questioning how she defeated a trained Knight of Ren (the new Sith group) despite lacking Jedi training. However, I’m still going to enjoy seeing her character’s development unfold.
Seeing Han Solo was exhilarating! He’s still the same witty and sarcastic Han too. I noticed many viewers commenting on how “bad” Leia looked. I wouldn’t say she looked “bad” more than she looked “tired and weary”. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, she has a damn good reason to look that way.
Then there is Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke is somewhat of a mystery character. We do know he’s the force behind the First Order. He does not appear to be your normal SIth Lord. He gives orders calm, collected, and emotionless, as if he isn’t worried about any setbacks or defeats that occur. He is responsible for Kylo Ren’s descent to the dark side.
Yes, this is another story of another Jedi Knight who fell to the temptations of the dark side…
…and yes, there ARE a lot of similarities in TFA to A New Hope. I’m sure you’ve heard the rants over the weekend:
“Another Death Star?!”
“Rey’s from a desert planet just like Luke was”
“Luke is going to train Rey the same way Yoda trained him on Dagobah” (ESB)
I’m going to do you guys a favor. I’m not going to point out the obvious. At first, I had those same thoughts: “Why in the world would JJ Abrams make TFA so similar to A New Hope,” I asked myself. That’s when I realized how genius that actually was from a business perspective. There’s that “b” word. Did you REALLY think that Disney acquired Lucasfilm because Mickey loved Star Wars?
TFA was as much of a reboot for a new generation as it was a return to that galaxy far, far away for us S.W. O.G.’s. TFA can function as a standalone movie just as well as it does as a sequel. In fact, I’m willing to bet that the sales of that Star Wars catalog that Disney acquired the rights to are going to rise sharply for the next couple of years. There is an influx of new fans who didn’t understand what was so magical about Star Wars before TFA. I can hear them asking:
“Who is Han Solo?” or,
“What was so special about that guy at the end of the movie?”
The irony of those questions become lost to most S.W. O.G.’s. We forget that we were asking those same questions after we saw A New Hope! Except those names were Darth Vader and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Disney also owns Marvel, which is now publishing comic books that are integral to the new Star Wars canon. Take a look at this chart:
(image courtesy of : “THE COMPLETE NEW ‘STAR WARS’ CANON TIMELINE” by Luke Brown at comicsalliance.com)
Marvel’s comic sales were slumping before Disney acquired the comic giant. Think about what Star Wars will do for the Marvel brand. It’s a win-win situation for Disney! Looking at this same chart, notice the books that haven’t been published yet. Just by looking at the titles, we can see how important the Aftermath series will be to closing the gaps in between ROTJ and TFA.
Disney is putting on a show, starring its investors as the main cast.
I don’t know if you guys noticed, but JJ Abrams threw some serious shade right into George Lucas’ face with this movie. From a fan’s perspective, it almost seemed like JJ Abrams more of a biter than a writer. What I am about to say is not a proven fact but, more of an assumption. Maybe even a conspiracy.
I think JJ Abrams told George Lucas in so many frames, “This is my franchise now! You made a “Death Star”, I’ll make a Starkiller (Base).”
Or, maybe he was actually paying homage to the original franchise. After all, for those of us who were into the Expanded Universe, oops! I mean those of us who were into Star Wars Legends know that Han Solo and Leia did indeed have a son, Jacen Solo, who became a Sith Lord, Darth Caedus. They also had two other children, Anakin, who died during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion (you guys should really get into the E.U.), and Jaina Solo, who was Jacen’s twin sister and also the Jedi Knight who ultimately ended his life.
Could this be the basis for Rey and Kylo Ren?
I think that would be too obvious. I think that Rey is actually Luke’s daughter. Their backstories are eerily similar.
Oh, did I mention that in the Star Wars Legends Universe Luke Skywalker has a son named Ben? What was Kylo Ren’s birth name again?
Is this a nod to the Star Wars Legends Universe?
Or, are there mud-balls being thrown from Jakku to Coruscant?
The Conspiracy Awakens.