Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Star Wars: Summary and Questions Answered

Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead.

Last night I saw Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens for the second time. JJ Abrams’ adaptation of the timeless saga blew me away, and wow-ed the rest of country, grossing $1 billion in its first 12 days in theaters.

Episode VII captures the imagination of the first trilogy while giving it a modern twist. The film is set thirty years after the fall of the Empire, and in its ashes the First Order has risen. Han Solo and Princess Leia remain major characters and are both still portrayed by original actors Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher. Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2 also appear in the film and tie it in well with the original trilogy. All references in the film from the past films can be found here.

The new characters bring the heat as well. Kylo Ren, the latest Sith lord, is a conflicted disaster throughout the entire movie. He began his Jedi training with Luke Skywalker, but turned against him and went to the dark side. Ren wants to finish what Darth Vader started and conquer the whole galaxy, but he continues to hear the call back to the light side. He’s practically Anakin Skywalker all over again, except evil from the start of the movie.

Rey, portrayed by Daisy Ridley, is a scavenger living on the desert planet of Jakku, and is the new Jedi. She stumbles into the fight between the Resistance and the First Order when he she comes upon BB-8 in the desert, a droid who is holding a map to the location of Luke Skywalker. Skywalker has gone into hiding after his failure with Kylo Ren, who turned on him and went to the dark side. While traveling with Solo, she is called to the Force by Luke’s old lightsaber.

Finn, played by John Boyega, steals the show. A stormtrooper gone rogue, Finn aids the escape of Poe Dameron, a resistance pilot, and joins Rey in her quest to return BB-8 to Princess Leia. Throughout the movie, he is a constant source of laughter trying to convince Rey, Han Solo and himself that he is a part of the Resistance. Boyega and Ridley landed their first leading roles with this movie, and with them the newest trilogy is in good hands.

The plot has its twists and turns, and keeps you on the edge of your seat for the duration of the film. Han Solo is killed by Kylo Ren, the Resistance destroys the First Order’s superweapon (surprise!), and Ren finds Luke Skywalker to begin her training. After the first time I saw it, I had two major unanswered questions but have no fear, I have the answers now. I think.

Who is Rey waiting for on Jakku?

Throughout the movie, Rey, the protagonist, longs for her family. Again and again she says that she must return to Jakku because she is waiting for the family that left when she was young. As the plot thickens, it becomes abundantly clear that nobody is coming back for her. However, the force is awakened in her later in the movie, which raises questions about her family. Is she the daughter of Luke Skywalker? Or the daughter of Princess Leia and Han Solo? Both are real possibilities and would make for interesting storylines in the next installment. Personally, I believe Rey is Luke’s daughter. During the film’s introduction of Rey to the audience, she is shown wearing an old Resistance pilot helmet. This could be Luke’s old helmet from his days as a Pilot in the Rebellion.

Did Kylo Ren kill Han Solo of his own accord?

In the climax of the movie, Han Solo confronts his embattled son, trying to bring him back to the light side. Ren shows a moment of weakness, saying that it’s too late and pleads for help. He even surrenders his lightsaber to his father but quickly has a change of heart and kills Solo. The lighting changes throughout the scene are significant. At the beginning, there is light in the room and implies Ren may return to the light side. But by the end of the scene, Solo is stabbed, and darkness encompasses Ren, signifying the power the dark side has over him. Ren is being manipulated by his master -- the mysterious Snoke. Expect to see multiple changes of heart from Kylo Ren as the newest trilogy progresses.

However, there is plenty more in the movie that is intriguing and left unanswered. Who are Finn’s parents? How did Maz get Luke’s lightsaber? Who is Snoke? Is there any other reason why Luke Skywalker is in hiding?

The next installment, Episode VIII, is set to release in 2017. We’ll have to wait until then to get definite answers.

mholt@theeagleonline.com


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