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As Random as a game of Pazzak

Analysis of The Force Awakens — Leia Organa: A Princess and a General

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Carrie Fisher’s portrayal of General Leia was a wonderful surprise. The lack of her presence in the trailers beyond a few brief shots made me worry that we would either see very little of her in the film, or that Carrie’s acting wouldn’t be on par with the other actors. But her scenes with Ford immediately recaptured their chemistry, and helped start the process of filling in the gaps of Han and Leia’s relationship between Episodes 6 and 7.

Han and Leia love each other, but could not face their grief. Han believed Leia saw him as a failure who reminded her of her lost son, and Leia immersed herself in politics and the building of the Resistance, finding herself labeled a warmonger and alarmist by the majority of the Republic.

We learn in the novelization that Leia kept Han in the dark about Snoke’s involvement with their son, believing Han’s reaction would drive Ben further towards the dark side. In The Force Awakens, she has come to believe that by sending her son away to Luke, she actually lost her hold on him, and that Han, as his father, is now the only one who can save Ben. It remains to be seen what real effect Han had on his son, though the novelization suggests that Kylo did not find what he was seeking from killing his father. Continue reading

Analysis of The Force Awakens — Finn: Born for One Purpose, Destined for Another

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Like Rey, Finn is on his own hero’s journey. It starts with the death of fellow trooper FN-2003, aka “Slip.” This trooper’s identity was established in the anthology novel Before the Awakening and confirmed in the Visual Dictionary. Slip was the weakest link in Finn’s unit and Finn was reprimanded by Captain Phasma for helping Slip during training simulations, where Finn otherwise received top marks.

It has also been revealed that the trooper Finn fights on Takodana is another of his former teammates, FN-2199, aka “Nines.” I think that information would have added to that fight, needing only a simple line from Finn using Nines’s name, though I also think that character should have been Phasma. I found her character to be completely disappointing and underused. Having her defeat and almost kill Finn would have made her far more interesting and worth all the marketing hype.

While Slip’s death was the start of Finn’s turn in the film, it is cemented by the slaughter of the captured Jakku villagers. However, Finn is not yet a hero and spends most of the film running from the First Order. Finn does have moments of bravery and enjoys the feeling he gets from Rey believing him to be a Resistance fighter. But this is little more than a childish game when he reveals to Rey that he has been lying to her. He wants nothing to do with being a real hero, though he sincerely desires the safety of Rey. It isn’t until the attack on Maz’s castle and the capture of Rey that he becomes a true hero, willing to risk his life for others, and for a greater cause. Continue reading

Podcast: Why We Like Star Wars – SWR #207

Riley, chats with Brian Brushwood on this week’s episode of the Star Wars Report Podcast!

The Man, the Myth, the Legend: Brian Brushwood

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Analysis of The Force Awakens — Kylo Ren: A Villain’s Journey

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Kylo is tied with Rey as my favorite new character. Having searched out spoilers, his characterization was actually one of the few surprises of the film for me. I suspected long before seeing the film that he was Han and Leia’s son and knew that he was a Vader fanatic, but his volatile and emotional nature were new to me.

Kylo could have easily been a carbon copy of Vader, but he is nothing like the focused and confident Sith Lord of New Hope and Empire and is much more like the Anakin of the prequels. In fact, I like his characterization and performance more than that of Anakin. He is less pouty and whiny while still conveying a conflicted and emotionally damaged person. Adam Driver gave an incredible and nuanced performance, even when hidden behind the mask.

While Kylo is trying to be like Vader through his appearance and actions, it is all a facade. One of my favorite moments showing this is when he has an unguarded moment with Snoke while out of his helmet. When Hux, a rival for Snoke’s approval, comes into the room, Kylo immediately straightens and puts on a stoic face. He is embarrassed by his show of weakness to someone he sees as an inferior and competitor. Continue reading

The Questions Awaken- TWL #167

WampasLair_SquareKarl and Jason tackle some of the numerous questions that arose from The Force Awakens! This movie answered a few of the questions we had going into it but it left SO many more to ask, so we speculate about some possible answers in this episode!

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