Tuesday, December 29, 2015

7 Questions and Theories We Have After Watching "The Force Awakens" [Contributor: Melanie]

The Force Awakens has completely decimated the box office and blown minds; but now, it is time to look ahead. Production has already begun on Episode VIII, with sequences being filmed in Ireland, principal photography beginning in March, and Daisy Ridley already being asked her thoughts on the script by interviewers. The wait for this one will be far shorter than the typical three-year interval that happened with past films, as the movie is slated for release in March 2017. And like, thank the maker, amirite?

So, after viewing the film a grand total of three times (that’s a lie, it’ll be four after I make one more friend go), and poking around on the Internet, I’ve accumulated my thoughts on where we are going from here. Below you will find several questions that are at the forefront of my mind, and some possible answers we might see next spring.

1. Who are Rey’s parents?

This is easily the first question everyone has walking out of the theatre. The presentation of Rey’s anonymous parentage amounts to what’s known as a Chekov’s Gun — a plot point that is introduced to the audience early and then quietly pushed aside to be “fired” by the end of the story. Maz Kanata had a good point that Rey’s hunt for belonging (note the choice word of belonging over family) must look forward, not backward. This suggests that her found family is more important than the ones who left her behind years ago.

And this question about parentage is going to go one of two ways: either she will be revealed to be the child of the other twin (somehow we all forgot she could be Luke’s daughter as well with all the talk of Leia’s offspring) or her parents could be just as unimportant as they seemed to be by the end. Perhaps they come back into her life, create strife with the family she has formed, and present her with a choice. But, just as Maz used the word “belonging,” she also made a point that the lightsaber calling to her “belonged to Luke and his father before him” so the inheritance of it seems intentional. Also, she looks a lot like Natalie Portman.

Novelization note: I theorized this after seeing the movie, but the novel proves Ren has met Rey before and that she feels he “knew things about her she did not.” This lends credence to the theory that she was possibly one of the children training with Luke, Luke’s own daughter, and/or hidden on Jakku from Ren.

2. What’s next for Finn?

I mean, besides the whole coma thing, I’m curious if he’ll wake up the same. We know the Stormtroopers were conditioned from an early age, so it might be possible that something got reset in his head that he’ll have to fight. Or perhaps even a fancy little triggerable safety switch that resets his “programing.” I’m kind of hung up on this possibility because everyone seemed to take Finn being a Stormtrooper in stride. There’s no need for redemption and his shame has already been absolved thanks to his relationship with Rey. So let’s make this complicated and create some tragic tension as Finn falls back into trooper mode and Rey has to figure out exactly what to do about that.

3. What does Snoke have planned for Kylo Ren?

At the conclusion of Rey and Ren’s duel, Snoke commanded General Hux to retrieve Ren and bring him to Snoke so he could complete his training. It seems as though Snoke was holding Ren back until he managed to kill his father, which Snoke referred to as a “test.” And we know Ren was waffling about what to do, feeling the “pull to the light” just as Anakin felt it towards the dark. I’m curious to see what this new training will be, but one thing is for sure: in their next duel, Rey will lose.

4. Will Rey be tempted by the dark side? 

It is a Skywalker family tradition to have the allure of power dangled in front of you — from Anakin’s slip into Palpatine’s thrall, Luke’s near falter to Vader’s goading, and Vader’s threat to turn Leia if given the chance. They all go through it. It’s like their version of puberty. Ren failed the test, taking up the dark side legacy of Vader with pride. So, it follows that Rey, though still an unconfirmed member of the family tree, will face the same temptations.

Or will she? Apart from the phonetic connotation of her name (ray of light much?), she’s already been tempted once. As their duel nears its conclusion, Ren backs Rey up to a chasm and gives her a choice: “You need a teacher. I could show you the ways of the Force.” And faintly heard is the Sith music cue that denotes moments when temptation is presented. And then Rey rejects his offer, calling on the Force herself and besting him. And it’s important to note this moment was one of Rey’s most emotional — fearful for her life, angry at Ren for the death of Solo and his critical wounding of Finn. Had it been another Skywalker, it might have been a recipe for disaster, but she rejected it. So perhaps her journey has less to do within inner dark and light, and more to do with acceptance, given that last shot seemed to be Rey pleading with Luke to take the burden from her, or help her bear it.

Novelization note: In the official novelization, Rey is in fact tempted to kill Ren by “a voice” in her head. She resists, however.

5. What’s with the map? 

Everyone’s super confused as to what the deal was with that map. Who made it? Why did they make it? Why did everyone only have pieces of it? How did R2 have the rest? My theory on this is Luke made the map himself and purposely scattered it. To what end, who knows. Maybe it was a Holy Grail type situation where only the worthy could complete the quest (in that case, you certainly think highly of yourself, Luke), or perhaps it was an accident and he wanted to help ensure he was never found.

Considering Luke was parked at the first Jedi temple, then it’s entirely possibly the map is actually directions to that (which would make the separate pieces of it a lot more understandable). I doubt we’re going to get an explanation on this, but who knows — it might end up being important.

6. What is the extent of Rey’s powers?

Just like Kylo Ren, we were all quite interested to see what Rey could do with her abilities. Like Anakin’s they were untrained and unnoticed, but powerful, making up for the lack of buffing with some good old fashioned do-it-until-it-works. Ren seems threatened by Rey's powers and abilities, even as the most untrained of novices, so that makes it interesting since last time we had someone shockingly strong with the Force they turned into Darth Vader. One nifty theory on the Internet suggested Rey might have some Jedi Tai-Chi going on, able to “reverse engineer” her opponents' attacks. That would make for some very cool showdowns with Ren, who is nothing but aggression and anger and would be essentially giving Rey ammo the entire time. This is just a theory to help explain her quickly-growing powers. But then again, she’s probably just that powerful.

7. Who is Snoke? 

I personally think it’s entirely possibly Snoke is very much a man-behind-the-curtain type of character. I’d go as far to suggest he’s not even a Force sensitive. We’ve seen, in the past, non-Force sensitives can use lightsabers and have an understanding of the Force, even if they can’t utilize it the way Jedi do.

Han mentions Snoke is using Ren for his power, so it’s possibly Snoke has none of his own. He also seems to be in the business of “collecting” Force sensitives between the hunt for Luke and his demand that Ren bring Rey before him when he learned of her power. Also, is he really that big? Come on.

What are some of the things you've been thinking about that happened in The Force Awakens? Do you have any theories as to what the upcoming installment might hold? Hit up the comments below and let us know!


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