by John Patrick Green

[Discussing the meanings and symbology of Star Wars The Force Awakens has become a national passtime, and i the interests of leaving nofacet of this cultural landmark unexamined, our resident Stawr Wars expoert John Patrick Green has put forth a radical new theory, which you can read below.]


So the movie basically begins with a planet that some bad guys are going to attack. The bad guys are after this planet, or something, or someone on the planet because it’s important to their larger scheme, which we really don’t ever figure out. It’s kind of unclear how these bad guys can get away with attacking planets like this when there’s a government that should stop this sort of thing.

Some of our heroes end up on a big enemy ship but sneak into smaller enemy ships to get down to the planet.

A girl is on the planet, and bad guys are going to get her, but they steal a spaceship to escape the planet, but not without almost getting shot down by the bad guys.

Oh and there’s a cute little droid in the film. There’s a bunch of character introductions on the ship, a little fan service-y, because everyone cheers when that fan-fave character shows up. Was it R2-D2 or Han Solo?

At some point the heroes almost get eaten by a number of giant monsters. Deep under water, or in some spaceship hallways, who can even tell. Either way, the scene contributed nothing to the narrative and could easily be cut from the film without affecting the plot.

Eventually there’s something wrong with the ship they’re currently on, so they have to go to another planet—a dessert planet? or a lush green planet? They were on one, then went to the other, whichever way it was—and see lots of strange creatures. Like Jabba the Hutt-type stuff. Heck, maybe Jabba was even there? They need to find a new ship or repair parts so they can get off this planet. Some old person has suspicions about one of our protagonists and tells them a bunch of mumbo jumbo about the Force. Clearly our unassuming Force-sensitive protagonist is going to play a much bigger part in the grand scheme of things, but we won’t really know to what extent until a later movie.

Then there’s a big action scene on the planet surface. Some spaceships dogfight, or race, or something. And the bad guy in black robes with a red lightsaber shows up and he’s after the girl! There’s a tease of a lightsaber fight, but not much. Everyone escapes, but I forget if the girl gets captured yet.

Oh, and earlier it’s established that protagonist from the desert planet is like super good at repairing things and flying things, despite basically growing up in indentured servitude. And we don’t know who at least one of their parents are.

Then there’s a bunch of political stuff and another fan favorite character enters the picture. Yoda? Princess Leia? The bad guys are going to take over a planet or blow something up, but the big politicians won’t doing anything about it, so the tiny amount of good guys have to do it on their own. Once or twice we see the bad guy in black robes talk to his evil boss, who’s true identity we don’t really know.

So they go to where the bad guys are, but they have to sneak onto the planet without getting caught. I forget if they zoom to the surface of the planet REALLY FAST so they don’t get noticed, or if they just fly there REALLY SLOW. I think both times it was like “fly under the radar.” I remember they arrive basically without a plan and figure out what they’re going to do once they got there. Before they left, though, the old guy was told by some authority figure to find out who the guy in black robes is, or like bring them back, whatever—doesn’t matter because they don’t accomplish either.

On the planet they have to sneak into where the bad guys are. They have to save the girl, or prevent her capture, something like that. She does at some point get captured, but she’s resourceful and was able to save herself without any help from the other main good guys. The bad guy in black robes shows up again. Bad guy kills the old guy who was like a father figure to one or more of the hero characters. But there is some cool lightsaber fighting between two or three people! Oh, and the really tall alien background character who’s been tagging along for a good portion of the film proves pretty useful, other than not saving the guy they have a life debt to.

There’s also a starship battle that’s trying to destroy a giant roundish spacecraft thing. Ultimately the day is saved when a lone pilot flies into it and blows it up from the inside.

Then there’s some rejoicing, a little mourning for the dead old guy, and some bits that one of the heroes should train to be a Jedi.


[Eagle-eyed viewers can spot John in the background of Triumph the Insult Comic Dog’s infamous Star Wars skit.” His GN Hippopotamister comes out in May from First Second.]



  1. Except that this movie (TFA) is really well done. The actors are great, the story is good, the CGI is 21st century, there is no input from George ‘franchise killer’ Lucas and, wait for it…. Jar Jar is nowhere to be seen!!!

  2. If you don’t know why the bad guys are on that planet in the beginning then you clearly weren’t paying attention to the movie

  3. “Except that this movie (TFA) is really well done.”

    Except that wasn’t the focus of the article. Oops.

  4. Was someone actually paid to write that?

    Here a more interesting topic. What does it say about the future of movies and movie-making that the 3 biggest box office successes (not adjusted for inflation) are films where a high level of skill was applied to utterly formulaic melodramas?


  5. What it says is that TV is the future of the medium. Because hollywood’s photocopiers must sooner or later run out of toner.

  6. The point is, those that argue that TFA is lifted from the original star wars would be just as reasonable in saying that it was lifted from the Phantom Menace. This satirical article is highlighting the manipulation and cherry picking that needs to be made in satisfying the former argument by using it to equate phantom menace, which people do not complain about being too similar to the originals (they complain about other things) to the new movie.

  7. Or you could look at it like this.

    Random droid with important map installed in it, wonders a sandy planet.
    Main character happens to find said droid
    Main characters flee an attack in a “piece of junk/garbage” spaceship that just so happens to be the Millennium Falcon.
    Bad guys have a Death Star, an Emperor/Supreme Leader and main bad guy who wears a back, helmet like mask. Which is totally fine cuz we already we already who his super favorite sith lord is in the trailer
    Main characters meet up with rebel’s / resistance, and find out that said death star has a weak point and plan an attack with x-wings. at least Naboo fighters where new.
    One of the main characters is killed by one of the main bad guys as the main character looks on and shout’s “Nooooooo”….. Oh wait Obi Wan did that when Qui-Gon got killed.. Nah Obi Wan was killed and Luke shouted Nooooo… or did Darth Vader say it in III? such confusion.
    Death Star blows up Alderaan and a bunch of other planets cuz the new Death Star is a planet, that absorbs mass from stars so it can shoot cause something or whatever.
    Death Star gets blown up.

    I think rhyming was what Lucas called it when he made his prequels, they mirror a lot on the originals. Personally I just thought this film had more of a IV vibe going put that’s just me.

    It all just boils down to a certain point of view, point of view? point of view.

  8. “The point is, those that argue that TFA is lifted from the original star wars would be just as reasonable in saying that it was lifted from the Phantom Menace.”

    That’s a stupid point because it’s NOT TRUE.

    The similarities with the original Star Wars are clear and concrete, both plot-wise and in the emotional beats of the story. The comparisons made with Phantom Menace in the article are vague and obtuse to the point of being ridiculous. For example…

    “They need to find a new ship or repair parts so they can get off this planet”
    The reason why they go to Maz Kanata’s planet in TFA has nothing to do with they they go to Tatooine in the Phantom Menace. Literally. Nothing.

    Again, did someone get paid to write that?


  9. Oliver said: “What it says is that TV is the future of the medium. Because hollywood’s photocopiers must sooner or later run out of toner.”

    Go see The Big Short. It’s not a reboot or rehash of an old franchise movie. I hear that The Hateful Eight is pretty good, too.

  10. New York article: Force Awakens boosts respect for Lucas, prompts reappraisal of prequels.

    Good to see the prequels now regarded as noble failures instead of abominations unto God (or unto Gen X). Maybe people will throw away those “George Lucas Raped My Childhood” T-shirts. I thought Revenge of the Sith was actually a good movie.

    I like this graf from the New Yorker piece:

    “The Force Awakens” isn’t a bad attempt at resurrecting the old “Star Wars.” But it proves once and for all the folly of this kind of nostalgia. The thrill that cannot be recovered—by Lucas or Abrams or Rian Johnson—is the thrill of discovering the “Star Wars” universe for the first time. That’s the thrill that Lucas created.

  11. “Then there’s a big action scene on the planet surface.”
    This describes EVERY action movie ever made. #FAIL

    “Oh and there’s a cute little droid in the film.”
    There’s been “a cute little droid” IN EVERY SW FILM!

    Way to write in blanket generalities. KLD had it right on the 1 comment: “Except that this movie (TFA) is really well done.” Of course TWA taps Original trilogy nostalgia. It’s been 32 years since we had a good SW film. Why not use the formula that works to re-ignite the fan base. Looking for something new? Wait for the Rian Johnson sequel.

  12. The force awakens is a turd it’s funny how far people are going to defend it. It was the same with the phantom menace when it came out I would rank the force awakens as the worst of all the star wars movies it has an incoherent mess of a plot and the star wars Galaxy is turned into nothing more than a couple of planets. Hopefully once the hysteria has died down people will see this fil m for what it really is a cynical money grab by jar jar Abrams and Disney.

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