I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About ‘The Force Awakens’

“It’s like poetry … they rhyme. Every stanza kind of rhymes with the last one. Hopefully it’ll work.” – George Lucas

When Disney unveiled the third and last trailer for The Force Awakens earlier this week, it was nothing less than a great disturbance in the Force. It’s already been viewed more than 29 million times on YouTube and spawned endless speculation ahead of the movie’s December 18th release date.

The trailer was everything we could have hoped for. It had it all – Han, Chewie, Leia, Rebels, Stormtroopers, X-Wings, TIE Fighters, Jedi, Sith and more. It also left plenty to the imagination, with the plot of the film being largely unknown. Overall, it spoke to the kid in all of us that will always love Star Wars.

But take off the nostalgia goggles for a minute and you might notice a few worrying hints about the Star Wars sequel. If the prequel trilogy taught us anything, it’s to temper our expectations a little.

Remember, the trailer for The Phantom Menace was great, too. What might be cause for concern is just how similar this new film seems to the original trilogy, particularly A New Hope. Familiarity is great, but The Force Awakens needs to forge its own path, creating its own unique moments and characters. Unfortunately, there are some signs this isn’t the case.

Disclaimer: I’m a huge Star Wars fan. I’ll probably be fighting off tears several times during The Force Awakens. Hell, I even liked the prequels as a kid (I’ve since seen the error of my ways). And I think J.J. Abrams was the perfect choice to direct the next Star Wars film. There are just a few things about the new trailer that are giving me a “been there, done that” vibe.


The Setting

An opening space battle: This is a bit of an assumption, but based on what we’ve seen I think it’s a safe one. We know that Finn starts the film as a Stormtrooper, and it seems he crash lands at the outset of the film. What would have caused his crash? A space battle between Rebels and Imperials, of course. This by itself isn’t that big of a deal, since other episodes have started with space battles, but when you add in the next fact…

Main character(s) crash landing on a desert planet: Yes, technically the desert planet is named Jakku. But the name is just about the only difference between it and Tatooine. Don’t get me wrong – the imagery of the crashed Star Destroyer is fantastic. But why couldn’t it have crashed on a nice temperate planet instead? Oh, because then there wouldn’t be so many great parallels with…


The Characters

Rey: Based on the new trailer, it’s looking like Rey will play the role of a Jakku resident who crosses paths with our other protagonist. Will she have her eyes set on the stars, longing for a way off her backwater planet? Lucky for her, she happens upon…

Finn: Here we seemingly have our Force-sensitive protagonist who trains to become a Jedi. Either that, or his wielding a lightsaber on the poster is a massive misdirection. Given Mark Hamill’s rockin’ beard, it’s not exactly a leap to predict him teaching Finn the ways of the Jedi. But first, he’ll escape the desert planet aboard the Millennium Falcon after meeting up with Han and Chewie. Eventually, he’ll face off against…

Kylo Ren: Here we have our dark Jedi/Sith who uses a breathing mask that makes his voice deep and robotic. He’s been trained in the use of his lightsaber, so he’ll easily overpower our inexperienced protagonist. There’s no word on whether they’re related, but for certain reasons that seems unlikely. He also uses the Force to torture his enemies. And he controls legions of Stormtroopers, who are led by…

Captain Phasma: This archetype jumps into Empire Strikes Back territory. We don’t know much about Gwendoline Christie’s character, but it’s clear she’s meant to be a badass. Does she have a reputation for disintegration? Who knows, but hopefully she’ll at least do something in the real movies, and not leave it all to fan fiction.


The Plot

The Jedi are a myth: Apparently no one in the Star Wars universe has Alzheimer’s, because no one can remember things from 30 years ago. It wasn’t exactly a secret that Jedi and Sith existed back then, and it’s especially dubious that Luke just gave up on forming his own Jedi order. But nonetheless, the Jedi are a myth again. Apparently there were too many Jedi in the prequels, though that was hardly the main reason they failed. Although, too many Jedi existing would make the impending war pretty one-sided…

The Imperials and the Rebels are at it again: Even after 30 years, the Empire is somehow still around despite its incompetent pilots and nearsighted soldiers. And three decades later, the Imperials are still obsessed with building superweapons with overlooked weaknesses, such as…

The Starkiller base: This is only a rumor as far as the name goes, but it’s pretty clear another planet-destroying weapon will be powering up. Apparently they figured the third time’s the charm. The Rebels will of course launch an attack on this base, pitting X-Wings against TIE Fighters. There’s even a trench involved.


You could make a counter-argument that what the prequels did wrong was not sticking with what made the first movies great. Lucas threw in plenty of meaningless bits from the originals, but he seemed to think trade disputes and couch discussions would make for good Star Wars films.

So, it’s clear that there are certain things that should stay the same from the original trilogy. But viewers deserve more than a rehashed version of an old story with new characters. And it’s still completely possible that is exactly what we get – but there are just a few too many “rhyming stanzas” to not give even the most seasoned fan a bit of a bad feeling about all of this.

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