Not too long ago, in a city a three-hour-flight away, the long-awaited continuation of the Star Wars saga finally hit theaters.
Man, was it something.
I’ll just say this: if you haven’t gone to check out The Force Awakens in theaters yet… go. Aside from the fact that without having seen Episode 7, you won’t be able to continue reading my enthralling writing (yes, this review will contain SPOILERS), this film is just too thrilling to miss while it’s on the big screen.
The Force Awakens returns to a galaxy far, far away in nostalgia-filled fashion; even if you didn’t grow up with the original trilogy, it’s impossible to not have felt a shiver down your spine upon hearing Han Solo utter, “Chewy… We’re home” when he steps into the Millennium Falcon. Still, director J.J. Abrams introduces a fresh, new generation of loveable heroes like Rey, Finn and Poe (and even a compelling new villain in Kylo Ren).
If you take a bit of a closer look at the plot of Episode 7, you’ll notice a number of certain parallels to the original Star Wars (Episode 4). From the get go, there are similarities, some subtler than others. First, let’s get this straight: I think these are refreshing resemblances. They add an extra sentimental touch, and without straying as far as being an exact copy of the original classic.
We open with a hunt for a droid, who happens to be carrying extremely vital data that will motivate the plot throughout film. This droid escapes a raid by the bad guys and is eventually tracked to a desert planet. (By the way, those wrecked Star Destroyers on Jakku are an awesome touch.)
On said desert world, our runaway droid encounters a peasant. This peasant becomes our unlikely hero… and happens to be very strong with a certain Force. Keep in mind, Star Wars is a saga, and thus tracks a family over time. One of the new characters has to be related to a Skywalker, whether it be Luke or Leia. Perhaps these Rey-Luke parallels are a hint at a family connection yet to come.
As Rey and her little droid, which she has no clue of the importance of, embark on their journey, they eventually encounter another staple in the archetypal level of Star Wars: the wise old man.
If you haven’t caught what I’m getting at yet, it’s this: Han Solo is the Obi Wan Kenobi of the new trilogy. You may now proceed to gag or do a spit-take or react however you see fit.
Han Solo, the Force-skeptic, the rogue, the smuggler, the scoundrel of past movies, the new Obi Wan?
Yes, and in fact, I think it’s the most important parallel between the two films. Not only do both act as mentors to the young heroes, but they also are both father figures of the villains in our movies (even if one case is literal and the other is figurative). While the past relationship between Han and his son Kylo Ren is not elaborated on much, we do know that as was the case with Obi Wan and Vader, Han let Ren stray too far into the influence of the Dark Side.
Like Obi Wan and Vader in Episode 4, Han and Ren have a climactic one-and-one encounter. Aside from ending similarly, this encounter in The Force Awakens had shades of original trilogy also in that we learn Kylo Ren’s birth name: Ben. The subtle tribute to Obi-Wan from Han Solo further establishes him as the new trilogy’s parallel.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is rated PG-13. Running time: 136 minutes.