How does a fan who grew up watching the films look upon “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”? Shaking my head unfortunately. While it was a great visual feat (I credit that mostly to J.J. Abrams and his awesome team from both Bad Robot and ILM), it was not a welcome addition to the Star Wars Universe that I have come to know and love. To explain my point, I will be making references to both the films and that section of the franchise, and what used to be known as the Expanded Universe (the books, the games, and everything else that Disney disowned when they took the franchise over back in 2012.
Growing up as a child, I was fortunate to have parents that encouraged me to delve into the Star Wars world, and even read to me Timothy Zahn’s books (what is commonly known as the Thrawn trilogy). I fell in love with the awesome strength of Princess Leia, but also enjoyed the cattiness of another female who became a powerhouse in the Expanded Universe, Mara Jade (who would later go on and become Luke Skywalker’s wife, etc). When Disney purchased Star Wars and disowned the books that had been the stomping grounds of Jade and many other incredible characters, it was the first of many “fuck yous” that were to come. The multitude of books that I had read, the games that I had played (including standing in line for 6 hours to play a Beta version of “The Old Republic), all of it was considered not valid anymore.
Flash forward to 2015, the anxiously anticipated big day. Sitting in the theater could easily be explained as a romantic experience, sharing it with close to 200 people who all were on pins and needles to see what crazy outlandish adventure the crew of the Millennium Falcon could possible get themselves into. But then the movie started, and for me, it split into two directions.
The little girl inside of me loved the excitement. It was fresh, unique, and special. Seeing Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford grace the screen again was heartwarming. Watching C-3P0 stumble around was humorous and brought back the feel good moments of yester-year. But then, the betrayal happened.
As a filmmaker, a lot of it revolves around pulling emotion out. “Make the audience feel something, anything” is a motto I have heard before. But to kill off one of the most iconic characters in recent film history? Wow. The cajones on those writers must be huge. Just how did Disney that was going to be a good idea in the long run? There’s a theory that I’ve heard a lot recently about how Disney is truly trying to pass the torch on to the younger generations of Star Wars fans, hence, they are going to slowly start phasing out the older generations as they introduce hip characters with lightsabers that make no scientific sense!
Plot holes. Oh. The plot holes. There were several, and of course, I’m sure some will be touched upon throughout this new trilogy. I will give credit to the writers- it must be ridiculously hard to take on the task of working on not only three films, but six films (along with the crappy cartoon that is actually still be honored as canon. So, Disney, not only are you kicking Mara Jade out of the Star Wars galaxy, but you are validating a CARTOON? Really?). So, some big plot issues:
-”Old friends” are mentioned throughout the film, with Han saying that in reference to Maz. Now, thirty years have passed since “Return of the Jedi”, however, old friends in this case would make more sense if it was in reference to a character that the audience has met before, like Wicket, or Watto, or hell…..even Jar Jar Binks.
– A non Jedi can use a lightsaber. This, I’m sure, will be argued. However, when Finn is assisting Rey on the Death Star Planet, he utilizes the lightsaber Rey has acquired to fight against Kylo Ren. While I will say that it is great to watch a fun lightsaber battle, the aspect of the Jedi is devalued.
-The Clones. This was always an iffy issue because of the fact that the stormtroopers in episodes IV, V, and VI do not seem to be clones, however the ones in I, II, and III are explained as being clones. So what happened to them all? Are we to assume that the planet that Obi Wan Kenobi travelled to in Episode II just stopped making them? Are we to assume that the majority of the clones died on the two Death Stars? Why is not of it explained? This is why I feel that The Thrawn Trilogy would have been the best direction to take the Star Wars films in, because although it differs from the prequel explanation of the Clones, the stories told by Jorus C’baoth made sense and gave explanations for up through 10 years past “ROTJ”.
-The Planet Death Star. I’m sorry, have we run out of creativity? Can we stop with the Death Stars? Please?
-The character of Rey. So it is obvious that she will in some way be related to Luke. The theories are abound currently about her being Luke’s daughter. Someone mentioned that it was possible that she could be Leia’s daughter. Oh yeah, Leia had a kid and didn’t know about it. Like that would ever happen.
-Han Solo and Leia’s relationship. When we come across Han Solo and Chewie, we start to learn that he has not spent much time with Leia in quite a while, and there is no talk of marriage. It is quite difficult to believe that a love that lasted a carbonite freezing and a trek across the galaxy couldn’t last some parenting issues with their emo son. Their love is considered one of the greats in recent film history, and if they split because their son turned to the dark side (and let’s face it, most teens do go to the dark side at some point), then what hope do the rest of us have?
This film is easy to pick apart because of the film that it is- a Star Wars film. If “E.T.” had turned into a franchise, or if they kept making Indiana Jones movies (oh wait, they do), those films would get picked apart as well. While this is a better film than Episode I (just about any film is better than Episode I though), it is by no means mentionable to the original trilogy. I hope the creators will take a look at the fans- the ones that have spent thousands of dollars to dress like characters, the ones who have read the books, even though they aren’t canon, the fans who have made artwork (and replica droids) just to be one step closer to those films – and realize that it is the fans who guide the film, not the other way around.