Blake's Take - ★★★★½
Star Wars is back and just as beautiful as ever. Once the end credits started rolling I turned to my fellow Star Wars fan, Jacob McAuliffe, and we proceeded to have a good old fashioned Star Wars nerd-off. Immediately questions and theories grew in our minds.
I'll be the first to admit that some of these really don't matter. However, the majority are legit questions that will hopefully be answered in the remaining films. Let the speculation begin.
Honorable mention: Why is Han Solo still a crappy smuggler?
11 - Stormtroopers still can't shoot?!?!?!
Some things don't change. These aren't Clones or the same Stormtroopers from Episodes 4, 5, or 6. According to General Hux (the commander of Starkiller Base), the stormtroopers under his command in The Force Awakens are specially picked and trained to follow orders and kill. But as the movie progresses we see a stormtroopers that can't accurately shoot ANYTHING. Also, why hasn't their armor improved in 30 years?
It's also worth pointing out that Finn, a.k.a FN-2187, went from being more or less a janitor on Starkiller Base to being a part of the First Orders's most important attack. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? While where on this topic, if these stormtroopers are so well trained how was Finn's reluctance to fight not seen beforehand?
10 - Why has Leia not taken advantage of her force sensitivity?
Episodes 4, 5, and 6 build upon Luke Skywalker's growth as a Jedi but we also learn that Leia is force sensitive. So why 30 years later has Leia not tapped into that ability? Does Ben Solo's jump to the dark side have something to do with that? Obviously it affected Luke to the extent of exile so did Leia abandon the Force as well? Maybe the next couple movies will explain further.
9 - How the heck did Han Solo loose the Millennium Falcon?
Seriously? Okay this is more of a personal complaint, but c'mon man! Look at it this way. Following Ben Solo's descent to the Dark Side, Han's separation from Leia and Luke's exile, wouldn't one expect Han to hold onto the Millennium Falcon with extra care?
8 - So wait... explain Starkiller base is again?
Starkiller Base is the Death Star part 2 juiced up with a bunch of Major League Baseball 1990's steroids. To break it down shortly, The First Order took an icy planet and turned it into a weapon that harnesses the planet's sun to shoot a beam that is capable of blowing up planets. When Starkiller Base was explained in the film, I still felt like I didn't understand how it works or how it was created. Or maybe I should have just paid more attention in Physics class.
7 - Does the First Order Destroy Coruscant?
When General Hux uses the Starkiller Superweapon to destroy the New Republic, one of the planets we see blown up bears a striking resemblance to Coruscant. The movie glosses over the details, but assuming that the New Republic was based on Coruscant this is a lot of emotion for fans to handle. And larger future implications.
6 - How did The Resistance get those plans for Starkiller Base?
At least in A New Hope, they briefly detail a raid on an empire base to nab the Death Star's plans. But in The Force Awakens they just pop them up on a screen in D'Quar and start developing a plan to attach Starkiller Base (which again was all too easy and essentially the same as in Episodes 4 & 6).
5 - Why is The Resistance distinctly separate from The New Republic?
Early in The Force Awakens, we discover that following Episode 6, the New Republic eventually defeated The Empire to establish a new era in the galaxy. So when the First Order arises to complete the work of The Empire, why does the New Republic need to create a separate group to fight them? Seems kinda confusing especially with how small The Resistance's army is. And why is Leia with The Resistance and not with the New Republic which she sacrificed so much to create? Doesn't make sense.
4 - Who is supreme leader snoke?
Lord Voldemort's brother? The resemblance is striking. He largely remains a question mark, especially how he turned Ben Solo to the dark side. Very similar to the mystique of Emperor Palpatine in A New Hope.
3 - Why was only Rey sent when they finally discover the location of Luke Skywalker?
Doesn't it make more sense to send Leia (Luke's sister) or fellow compadres from The New Republic or Resistance? Yes, Rey discovered Luke's lightsaber in the basement of Maz Kanata's HQ, but that doesn't explain why she specifically is sent. Luke has been missing FOR YEARS and The Resistance sends a girl that he does not know. Or does he? Maybe this is a subtle hint towards the mystery behind Rey which leads to the next question.....
2 - Who is Rey, where are her parents, & why was she left on Jakku?
Is Rey Luke Skywalker's daughter? It seems to follow, right? It's clear that The Force Awakens was pulling a lot of themes from A New Hope.
Rey, a young girl stranded on a Tatooine-like planet, is swept away on a daring adventure to save the galaxy and in the process discovers her Force sensitivity and true family. Sound familiar?
In the couple of visions/flashbacks that Rey has, there seems to be a really tragic separation from her parents which could point to Luke leaving her following the destruction of the jedi and rise of The First Order. Was Luke's hypothetical wife killed when Ben turned to the dark side (a plot twist pulled from the Star Wars expanded universe)? That would clear things up a bit.
If she's not Luke's daughter, it's still clear that her parents are going to play a huge role in the coming films.
Another thing that bugs me about Rey. Yes, I know she's a developing Jedi, but I'm supposed to believe that she is able to defeat Kylo Ren literally a day or two after she picks up a lightsaber for the first time? Wasn't Ren the guy who took down Luke's Jedi Order? Ohhhhhh that's right, the convenient 'The Force' answer. Get's ya every time.
1 - How did Ben Solo turn to the Dark Side & Annihilate Luke's Jedi Order?
The question that will leave me with sleepless nights. Kylo Ren is Ben Solo and is being trained by Supreme Leader Snoak in the ways of the dark side. However, we do know that Ben was originally a part of Luke Skywaker's growing Jedi Order. As the film progresses, we realize he decided to turn to the dark side and helped destroy Luke's Order. Fans even see a snippet of this destruction from Rey's vision on Takodana after she touches Luke's old lightsaber. It even appears Ren had help. Was this a slow, gradual process, aided by having Darth Vader as his grandfather? How did Supreme Leader Snoke come into Ren's life?
One thing that is clear. Rn is conflicted with his path to the dark side. The real tragedy comes near the end of the film when he kills his own father Han Solo. So how did this path to the dark side start and will it continue? Time will tell.