I don’t watch television much, especially sporting events. (I’ve suffered too much heartbreak as a young fan of the Nebraska Cornhuskers.) Yet I knew there was a new trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but I’d wait to watch it later. Later was the next morning, as I woke up and checked Facebook while lying in bed.
The very first post, from my older, not-as-geeky brother, was a link to the official YouTube trailer.
So… my take… but you’ve been StarWarned… Here be possible spoilers! And speculation! All sorts of crazy!
First, there’s the big bad superweapon, called Starkiller Base.
You see it in the movie poster:
Wait… [different SPOILER] that reminds me of this… (If you haven’t, go watch that movie. Great time travel tropes, even better than Tomorrowland!)
What’s the idea behind Starkiller Base? You take a planet, and cross it with the Death Star. Since this is 30 years after Episode Six, the Empire remnant known as the First Order must have a secret base, just like the Rebellion had in Episodes Four-Six. Except, in this case, if your location is discovered, you just move the planet!
(Brilliant really… the Rebellion had secret bases, why not a guerilla faction? Except, in this case, you move the entire planet once your location is discovered.)
It makes it much more difficult to destroy the weapon. Most likely, it would need to be a covert operation. The planet itself is armored by the surface. Even if Star Destroyers initiate Base Delta Zero, and turn the surface of the planet to slag via aerial bombardment, the base itself is shielded underground, like a giant bunker.
The surface would be dark and inhospitable without a sun, but the planet’s core and magma would provide enough energy to support subterranean life. Or you use whatever power stations a Star Destroyer uses. Or the generators used on Hoth.
Instead of building a large superstructure to house the weapon, you build it into the planet itself, saving time and resources. (And maintaining secrecy… local mines and smelters can easily be constructed, and if the planet is part of system in one of the less fashionable sectors of the galaxy, well, who will care?)
Even without the superweapon, it’s an amazing passive-aggressive weapon. At war with a planet? Calculate Newtonian physics, take a sightseeing tour past the local moon, and nudge it into your enemy’s planet. Your own battle planet is most likely tectonically stable, with no tidal forces or plates to cause much damage on the empty surface. Besides, given the scale of a planet to a moon, and the minimum of force required to cause massive damage from a slowly approaching moon (tidal waves, plate tectonics, real Biblical stuff), you probably won’t even notice a difference on your own base.
Since this is thirty years after Episode Six, I suspect that after the death of the Emperor, the various Imperial governors set up their own fiefdoms and centers of power, and internecine warfare erupted while the New Republic battled to restore democratic order to the galaxy. Eventually, one faction managed to unite the various factions, and … here we are.
So… Leia and Han… they don’t look too good.
Back in the Legends (formerly Expanded Universe) canon:
- Leia Amidala Skywalker Organa Solo is a Jedi Knight. She has twins, one of whom succumbs to the Dark Side. (Geez… it’s almost genetic! It wouldn’t surprise me if Anakin had a twin sister…)
- Han Solo is married to Leia. They have/had three kids. He’s a general, and is in the thick of things.
- Luk Skywalker, is also married, to a former “bad girl“. Like his nephew, he also succumbed to the Dark Side (but he got better). He restored the Jedi Order.
But that’s all non-canonical now, as J.J. Abrams restarts the timeline.
So, where’s Luke on the movie poster? He isn’t. Here’s my take on how to rewrite What Has Gone Before And After. (Yeah, all that verb tense is hard to deal with.)
I think that after Episode Six, Luke becomes a hermit pilgrim, travelling the galaxy and discovering as many Jedi artifacts and temples as possible, to restart the Jedi Order.
Along the way, he sees all the civil war and strife happening, meditates, and decides to bring balance by going to the Dark Side and organizing the imperial remnants into a more logical and coldly rational organization. (Is the First Order related to the Grand Army of the Republic and Order 66?) Perhaps he’s coldly logical, seeking to bring balance to the force, much like his father did. Good vs. Bad, forever and ever. (Or until the copyright expires.)
Or perhaps he’s not directly involved with the First Order, but has created/appropriated the Knights of Ren as a DarkLight organization of Force users who bring balance to the Force as righteous peacekeepers, similar to the Christian Crusaders. (Which would be a nice allegory to the current Zeitgeist.)
He’s not Kylo Ren, because that’s been cast to another actor. Kylo is part of a “grey” jedi order, which goes against the Sith “Rule of Two” requirement that there be only one Sith and one apprentice. (Although the Emperor did use Force adepts as a secret police.) The Sith do/did have a code:
“Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.“
(See… they’re not so bad after all.)
Also, you don’t have to be Sith to access the Dark Side. Others dabble in it on occasion, but without the commitment of Sith.
Andy Serkis plays Snoke, the Supreme Leader of the First Order.
Is Kylo Ren related to Luke? Is Luke actually Snoke, perhaps disfigured like his father was, portrayed and voiced by Andy Serkis? Perhaps we see Mark Hamill only in flashbacks, as we discover his transformation. That would explain how Vader’s helm came into the possession of Kylo.
This thematically makes sense, as Episodes 1-6 dealt with Anakin’s discovery, fall, and redemption. Episodes 4-9 could deal with the same for Luke.
This would also ramp up the tension between Luke, Leia, and Han. I’m also thinking that Leia and Han never got married, as their responsibilities to the galaxy leave little time for personal relationships.
There’s also the “Rule of Two” for the Skywalker Clan. Anakin had dizygotic twins. Leia had dizygotic twins. (Must be a Force push, maybe a midichlorian thing… causing two ovum to release at the same time, to promote more Force users.) Why not Luke? Perhaps he has a son and daughter. If Kylo Ren (who took a new name upon becoming a knight) is the son, then who is his sister? Lessee… either it’s someone separated at birth to a barren desert planet with their own landspeeder (and no last name), or it’s someone on the other side, replicating her grandfather’s distinctive armor. But who is the mother? Maybe that parallels Anakin’s absent father?
And then there’s the whole trilogy arc… which we really don’t know about at all. I suspect it’s all anchored on Luke, who has lost his humanity to a cause, and his eventual redemption. How this all settles for the other characters is unknown, but I suspect the Internet will explode over a Platonic love scene at some point…
Anyway… I’m avoiding most of the Web today and tomorrow. I plan to see the movie this weekend, preferably with my young nephew. I’ll probably see it again in Imax 3-D when the hubbub has died down a little. I will channel my inner 7-year-old who saw the first movie in a 70mm Cinerama theater, and lose myself in wonderment.