The premise that Luke has vanished is immediately intriguing. Like most people, I assumed when Episode 7 was first announced that Luke would be a central mentor figure from the beginning, having reestablished some form of Jedi Order. His absence raises many questions: Why is he missing? How long has he been gone? What could have driven him into hiding and kept him there all this time?
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, co-writer Michael Arndt revealed that he originally planned for Rey to meet up with Luke early in the film. However, he found that Luke’s presence immediately took the focus away from Rey.
One early rumor regarding Arndt’s plot was that Han and Leia were being held prisoner by an Imperial remnant. Their two children were then going to search for Luke in order to break them out. If this was indeed the early plot, it seems that it was flipped so that Han became the guide and mentor for the young heroes and finding the location of Luke became their goal. Luke became the drive of the entire plot, rather than a character simply moving through it. While some found the lack of Luke disappointing, I believe it made for a better film, and a greater mystery for the other films to explore. Continue reading →
The Visual Dictionary reveals that Maz was a mentor to Han, likely getting him started as a smuggler. It is, of course, ironic that his mentor was a secret Force user. It makes me wonder if she ever tried to tell Han about the Force and he rejected the idea as nonsense, thinking she was using “simple tricks.”
Maz represents a type of character that I’ve always hoped would be explored in the films. She is an ancient Force user who draws upon the light side, yet is not a Jedi. Originally, Maz was going to show her Force abilities by bringing down a ceiling on troopers invading her castle, a scene that may be included in the deleted scenes of the Blu-ray release. Continue reading →
As suggested by the junior novel Servants of the Empire: The Secret Academy, and confirmed in the Visual Dictionary, General Hux is the son of Commandant Brendol Hux. During the time of the Empire, Brendol, unimpressed by the Imperial recruitment system, conceived the idea of raising stormtroopers from birth in order to emulate the loyalty and prowess of Republic clone troopers. This new system was then implemented by the First Order.
Brendol Hux was among the Imperials who fled to the Unknown Regions after the defeat of the Empire, taking with him his young son. General Hux grew up believing that the galaxy was doomed to inevitable chaos without the strong rule of the Empire. He also believes he is destined to rule the galaxy, which presents an interesting conflict between Hux and Kylo Ren. Kylo does not respect Hux as a warrior, since Hux has only theoretical knowledge of battle. And Hux has little patience with the mystical ways of Kylo Ren, believing he has his own agenda apart from the First Order.
Some fans believe that Hux was cast too young. However, that is the point of the character. He is young and inexperienced, yet he is fanatical in his beliefs and willing to destroy entire systems to secure the rule of the First Order. The First Order specifically uses young officers, like General Hux, who do not remember the reality of the Empire, but receive a warped version of Imperial history, as revealed in the Visual Dictionary. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →