Tag Archives: Jedi

Analysis of The Force Awakens — Snoke: A New Phantom Menace

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis)
Ph: Film Frame
© 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

Snoke is a very mysterious and intriguing figure who, according to the novelization, witnessed the rise and fall of the Empire. Where was Snoke during this time? Was he someone Palpatine was aware of, or was he lurking in the shadows, waiting for his time to rise to power?

His disfigured visage shows that he received massive damage at some point. This has led many to believe that he could be Darth Plagueis, the master of Palpatine who experimented with cheating death and creating life (it is hinted by Palpatine that Plagueis was the one who created Anakin). Palpatine revealed to Anakin that he killed his master in his sleep, but it is possible that Plagueis somehow survived using secret knowledge to preserve his life, then waited for Palpatine to make a mistake so he could once again seize power for himself. Continue reading

Analysis of The Force Awakens — Han Solo: From Cynical Smuggler to Believing Mentor

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The portrayal of Han in The Force Awakens was one of the few things I was worried about leading up to the premiere. There were many fans I encountered who believed Han was the type of character who would never settle down and have a family, but that, to me, ignores his entire character arc throughout the original trilogy. Happily, the filmmakers were able to maintain Han’s arc from selfish smuggler to selfless hero while still maintaining the roguish qualities that so many fans desired to see again.

According to the Visual Dictionary, Han and Leia did in fact marry and start a family, with Han satisfying his wild side by becoming a successful racing pilot. However, this new life didn’t last. His son, Ben Solo, turned to the dark side and became Kylo Ren, betraying Luke and killing his fellow Jedi apprentices, something confirmed by the Visual Dictionary. After this disaster, Han fell back into his old smuggler lifestyle, where we find him at the beginning of the film.

One of the most interesting things about Han in The Force Awakens is his unflinching belief in the Force. He is no longer an unbeliever, but has witnessed the power of the Force first hand. He has ironically taken the position of mentor that once belonged to Obi-Wan. Continue reading

Analysis of The Force Awakens — Rey: A Hero’s Awakening

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While Rey is in many ways an obvious reflection of Luke and Anakin, she also has a unique twist to her starting point. Unlike Luke, and even Anakin, Rey has no family to support her in her struggle to survive in the harsh environment of Jakku. There is no wasting time with friends or picking up power converters in her future. Rey also seems more self-sufficient and capable at survival than Luke. I doubt Rey would lose in a fight against a single Tusken Raider. Her skills at using her staff for self-defense are also a necessary setup to explain her ability to fight against Kylo Ren in single combat, something Luke never had to face in his first adventure.

While Rey is very capable and self-reliant, she is also lonely and longs for adventure, as seen in the adorable and poignant moment where she wears an old Rebel pilot helmet, and in her excited reaction to Finn’s claim to be a Resistance fighter. However, she is also trapped on Jakku by the fear that her family won’t be able to find her when they return. While she tries to maintain an unshakable belief that her family will come back, Rey also has moments of realization that she may be stuck on Jakku her entire life, beautifully shown through her melancholy gaze at the old woman at the cleaning stations of Niima Outpost.

Though she is isolated and without family, Rey still shows compassion, as seen in her immediate reaction to BB-8’s distress. Rey treats BB-8 as if he is a person, telling him that his would-be captor “has no respect for anyone.” This connection to droids is another link to Anakin and Luke, who treated their droid companions with similar respect. Continue reading

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