Friday, December 18, 2015

Review | Star Wars: The Force Awakens [2015]

After Disney purchased the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas for $4 billion, they immediately began plans to bring episodes VII through IX as well as other stand-alone Star Wars films. Episode VII will be set 30 years following Return of the Jedi and reunite the original cast members on another adventure as well as introduce a new generation of heroes and villains.

Since Disney also purchased Marvel Comics, Dark Horse will stop producing Star Wars comics in August 2014 as the license goes back to Marvel. Lucasfilm decided which stories will belong in the Star Wars canon and which will be part of their Legends line where stories may or may not exist.

J.J. Abrams is set to direct the Star Wars Episode VII with rumors of it beginning with a severed hand holding a lightsaber. The lightsaber is found by new characters which lead them to Han and Chewbacca who recognize the lightsaber as belonging to Luke Skywalker who they have not seen for years.

2014 Rumor Plot
Following the events of Return of the Jedi, the Republic and the Empire have been at war following the vacuum that was left after the Emperor. John Boyega and Daisy Ridley are the male and female leads. Boyega plays a force-sensitive Stormtrooper who crash lands on Tatooine. He was under the command of Gwendoline Christie who portrays an Inquistor. Daisy plays Kira who is living with Max Von Sydow’s character. The big surprise in Episode VII is Max’s character that has been in the prequels. Kira is the daughter of Han and Leia who resents that Luke went into exile before training her. At the end of Act I these three characters are taken by Han and Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon.

Luke Skywalker has been in exile haunted by visions of the future. One of those visions is Daisy falling into the Dark Side. Leia is the leader of the New Republic. Andy Serkis plays an old alien zombie-like Sith exempt from the Rule of Two and does not align with the Empire. Adam Driver seeks out Serkis’ character and finds the ancient flame lightsaber. Act III is rumored to feature the death of Han Solo. We will be introduced to General Hux and the First Order, a group of Galactic Empire loyalists looking to reinstate the totalitarian regime, as well as their new Sith Kylo Ren who got his name from a group called the Knights of Ren. The headquarters of the First Order is the Starkiller Base which is their new and improved Death Star.

The Force Awakens begins with a missing Luke Skywalker and his sister Leia desperately trying to find him. Pilot Poe Dameron is sent to the planet Jakku to retrieve the file containing the location of Luke Skywalker. The story of his Poe’s parents was told in Star Wars: Shattered Empire from Marvel Comics. The First Order and Kylo Ren arrive and attack the Jakku village. Poe gives the file to BB-8 before being captured by Kylo Ren and interrogated. A lone Stormtrooper Finn has doubts on the massacre on the Jakku village and frees Poe on the Star Destroyer. They escape on a Tie Fighter back to Jakku however they are shot down and crash on the planet.

A scavenger Rey searches for parts to sell from a fallen Star Destroyer and meets up with BB-8. Finn believing Poe is dead wonders the desert until he finds a Jakku outpost where he meets with Rey. The First Order arrives searching for the BB-8 and Finn. Finn and Rey escape with BB-8 but their transport is destroyed so they escape on the Millennium Falcon. They are pursued by Tie Fighters however quickly outmaneuver them. They are stopped in space by Han and Chewbacca who lost the Millennium Falcon years ago.

Han and Chewbacca take Rey and Finn to Maz Kanata’s castle so BB-8 can get to the Resistance. Rey is called by the Force which leads her to Anakin’s and Luke’s lightsaber. The First Order arrives and destroys Maz’s castle while Kylo Ren kidnaps Rey and takes her to Starkiller base. The Starkiller base comes online and destroys several New Republic planets. Now the Resistance attempt to destroy Starkiller base while Han, Chewbacca, and Finn shut down their shields and rescue Rey.

They take the Millennium Falcon and crash land on Starkiller base and find and force Captain Phasma to deactivate the shields. Rey escapes on her own using the force and meets with Finn as Han confronts his son. Kylo Ren kills his father while Finn and Rey escape however they are confronted by Kylo Ren. Finn uses Luke’s lightsaber however Kylo quickly defeats him. Now Rey confronts him using the force and defeats him. Rey and Finn escape with Chewbacca on the Millennium Falcon as the Resistance destroy Starkiller base. Back at the Resistance base BB-8 and R2-D2 discover the location of Luke Skywalker. Rey and Chewbacca take the Millennium Falcon and finds an age old Luke as Rey returns his father’s lightsaber.

Overall this was a worthwhile sequel to Return of the Jedi as everything old is new again. In the early drafts we know Rey’s real name is Kira. Luke returns as the new Obi-Wan Kenobi ready to train his new apprentice. Starkiller base is the new and powerful Deathstar which uses the power of the son. And rumor has it that Supreme Leader Snoke is Darth Plagueis the Sith Lord who trained Emperor Palpatine. We know Episodes 1 through 9 is collectively called the Star Wars: Skywalker Saga. Which means we should see the return of the clones in Episode 8 and the return of the Jedi Order in Episode 9 leaving the Star Wars Universe open to tell more tales between Jedis and Siths.