MMT GUIDE TO THE FORCE AWAKENS: by guest contributor Darryl King

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (photo: Disney)

“There’s been an awaking… have you felt it?” These words are spoken in the latest trailer for the up & coming Star Wars movie – Star Wars: The Force Awakens – and for fans the obvious answer is a resounding… YES! Those words connote a dual meaning in that with a new film there is an awakening in us fans, but also an awakening in reference to the “Force” and Star Wars mythos. Episode 7 is a continuation of the story that excited and thrilled us all about “a galaxy… far, far away.” 
The movie takes place 30 years after we last saw the Rebels defeat the Empire in “Return of the Jedi,” and desires to move us forward with the narrative of what has happened since we last saw the Jedi defeat the Sith. Many key players return – Luke Skywalker, Princesses Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, R2D2, CP30 – and as fans we finally get to see how their lives have progressed. Luke was the last of the Jedi, what does he do next? Han and Leia were a couple when we last saw them, do they settle down and start a family? What is the life of a droid when they aren’t fighting evil systems?
Apparently in the years after “Return of the Jedi,” the residual effects of a shattered empire and a decimated rebel force have resulted in an absence of good, and evil has arisen again – forcing our lovable heroes out of retirement to band together with new characters to attempt to defeat the new evil, the 1st order… the “Force” must awaken!
Since it has been over 30 years since the final chapter of the original trilogy, we may need some reminders and pointers – so that we can truly be ready for the “Force Awakens.” And for those who grew up on the “prequels” you may need some further proof on why Star Wars, its mythology and characters , became so special, lovable and cool. Here’s what you need to know:  
  • Amongst all of the mythology in these movies, “The Force” stands out above it all. The Force is said to be an energy field that is created by all living things – an all-encompassing spirit that connects all living and non living things into one order. It can be used for good, like peace and harmony. Or evil, like war and manipulation. Be prepared for this new film to share with us how and why the Force became dormant, and how it must now be awakened.
  • Story of Skywalker – After the Force there is one major theme that runs through all the movies and which binds together the story. This universe may be vast, but Star Wars is a story centered around the Skywalker clan. The Force being around “a long time ago,” and used by so many Jedi and Sith over the years, had never seen anything like the Skywalkers’. Starting with Anakin, (supposedly miraculously created and since retconned…thanks George Lucas!) the Skywalker family was uniquely powerful in the force. It is this heritage and legacy of their bloodline and perspective that this story of Star Wars is told – and in this new trilogy it will be no different. The only question that many fans are wondering, and that we must ask regarding this new film at least until we see the movie, is – after Luke and Leia, who are the Skywalkers’ that this franchise will continue to tell the story through? Who is the new Skywalker(s) of the “Force Awakens?”
  • Shouting at the Crawl – When the movie starts and after the logos, the first thing we will see is that infamous Star Wars crawl that says, “A long time ago in a galaxy far far away,” and then provides us with exposition and history – which explains the current state of affairs within the Star Wars universe that we now find ourselves in, followed closely by a ship from the empire/1st order. Expect a loud roar, boisterous claps and/or moans of ecstasy when this appears on screen.
  • No need of the prequels – Most fans of the franchise are collectively in unison in not liking these movies. The prequels focused too much upon politics, and combined with wooden acting performances, these movies told the story about characters that we never met on screen. The prequels were supposed to tell us the story of Anakin Skywalker and his turn to the dark side – into Darth Vader – as well as the rise of the Empire. The prequels finally introduced us to characters who were referenced but hadn’t appeared on screen, like a younger Obi-Wan, Senator Palpatine before becoming the Emperor, or Anakin before he became Darth Vader. But the prequels failed to make us care or love/hate these new characters. So there is no need to watch these movies to relive and rehash the themes espoused to understand the new film the”Force Awakens” (ps – you didn’t do us any favors with the special editions of the original trilogy either George Lucas). 
  • Limb by Limb – One of the underlying traits of these movies is that, in every one of them, someone has gotten a limb cut off with a light saber. Mostly it has been a hand, except for the movie the “Phantom Menace” which changed the pattern with the Sith, Darth Maul, being cut in half. From Luke to Darth Vader, no hand was safe and it will be interesting to see if Director J.J. Abrams continues this trend.
  • Storm troopers can’t shoot – They started out with so much promise. In the opening scenes of Star Wars, the storm troopers were quite deadly – as they shot and killed the rebels troops with relative ease. Even Obi Wan Kenobi speaks of their accuracy after they kill the sand people, and the uncle and aunt of Luke in the original. But after Obi Wan tells Luke about the Force and begins training him, a funny thing happened – the storm troopers became perhaps the worst shooting bad guys in the history of movies! Will they regain their aim now that the Force has been dormant for 30 years? We shall see.

May the force be with you!

Darryl King (photo courtesy of Darryl King)

Darryl King is a video director, film writer and avid Marvel comic book/movie lover. Check out his reviews of Fantastic FourAvengers: Age of Ultron and ANT-MAN right here on
MMT!

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