[Non-spoiler] Wishes for Where the Story Direction for The Force Awakens Should Go

16 Dec

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

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Based on the trailers and in what’s considered the new canon of the Star Wars legacy, what I hope to see in The Force Awakens (TFA) is a return to the Joseph Campbell ideologies. I feel they were at the core of made the original trilogy great. The mystique of the title suggests that there’s sentience to this energy that binds the universe. Has the balance between all that is good and evil been restored since Return of the Jedi (RotJ)? Thirty years is a long time for some, but for others, that is a mere blink to the lifespan of any galaxy. Part of the story from other chapters of the saga suggests how The Force can be alive, and will that manifest as a character? Probably not right away, but that’s my hope!

I think Luke Skywalker has added demons to confront. He’s worked past some of the problems of becoming a fully realized Jedi but there will be other destinies to face. Is he ready to head a new Jedi Order, as some story theorists have suggested? After the climatic battle in RotJ, The Empire is defeated and what survives of their forces are scattered all over the galaxy. As the trailer indicates, one faction has fought their way up the ranks to be the new galactic threat. But a lot of people, myself included, will want to know what Luke is up to. The only telling moment is when he passes on his lightsaber to another character, presumably Leia (maybe Rey), to deal with establishing a new army of Force sensitive individuals. The Jedi were the peacekeepers of the galaxy once, and Luke cannot handle it alone.

Some vestige of the Sith Order may well be hiding somewhere and Skywalker has to track them down by going undercover. That can explain why he is not such a prominent figure in this film. He has to at least appear in flashback sequences, but I don’t think he will be that important in what’s to happen in this new film. Ideally, The Force Awakens needs to follow-up on ideas about what the Force represents — as previously revealed in the animated front.

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In the Clone Wars season three episode “Overlords” and “Ghosts of Mortis” Obi-wan, Anakin and Ashoka visited Mortis, a planet heavy in the Force. In what I understood from this story arc, I believe the people they met are manifestations of the mystic energy. Father, Son and Daughter represent how opposites are always in conflict and when considering Anakin’s future was revealed, I thought about how he’s going to handle the remaining days of his life until his fate takes hold. On the movie front, Luke saw a vision of himself in Vader’s mask (Empire Strikes Back) and he teetered at the edge of being the next disciple of the Emperor (Return of the Jedi) — I predict his spiritual journey requires finding Mortis too. I think he needs to go on a Quest for the Holy Grail to discover where his moral compass lies. Luke did give in to anger and he stopped himself short to fully turning to the dark side in RotJ. While I’m not expecting the Skywalker story to fully continue in this film, Episode 8 will be the one to pay attention to.

Qui-Gon Jinn (The Phantom Menace) pointed out and Kanan (Star Wars: Rebels) said even a Master has more to learn about the ways of the Force. That never stops. Luke has to find a balance within himself and that was wonderfully explored in the Dark Empire Trilogy in Dark Horse Comics’ Expanded Universe. Sadly none of that is canon but my hope is that the writing team will incorporate elements from the rejected universe to appease long time supporters of the comic. Even alienating a small sector of the fandom is not without some consequences.

In what I’m hoping for with this new film is the potential of Kylo Ren being a Sith Inquisitor. Although his role has been revealed already in other reports and by the director J.J. Abrams, I would rather see him as a former member of this order. The costume design and trademark red lightsaber suggests he was a member once before changing sides. I just may laugh should the movie reveal the possibility that Kylo was once a Padawan of Skywalker. True to the past narratives, especially concerning Obi-Wan and Anaakin, what comes around goes around. In the trailer, he vows to continue what Darth Vader started but what motivated him to be such a devotee? Just how did he find the scorched remains of this former Sith Lord? Whatever happened between apprentice and master shows how classic embracing the dark side can haunt the Skywalker legacy. That can explain why Luke has gone into hiding or to meditate on what The Force is about.

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Star Wars can not be Star Wars without the good and evil at odds. I love to see Luke arriving at Mortis. There’s plenty of mountainous foggy terrain on planet Earth to make that dream sequence happen. I just hope J.J. Abrams realizes he has to assemble the theories and thoughts the animated series has been putting forth to fans about the nature of The Force. He does know he’s part of the board that’s assembling the galaxy from far, far away — there’s a ton of pieces to consider. In terms of what kind of story he wants to tell, he’ll no doubt break the mold of visual storytelling somewhat. He’s learned his lesson in how lens flare can be distracting.

In terms of what the latest trailers, TV spots and international ads have offered, this movie will be exciting to go watch. Essentially, it has to follow the pattern of giving a hero’s introduction and letting adventure come what may. The chase is on for something and every classical trope from A New Hope will get used. That means a trench battle, speeder bike chase, a siege and grand explosion. The heroes will have to total five (seven if you include the droids) to represent the samurai code and the torch (a lightsaber) will be passed. The trailer did show that detail, and without having seen the film, those facts are certain.

Thirty-years is a long time to offer a perfect continuation. Questions will arise and the comic books, novels and future releases will see to filling in the gap. In whatever gets told, I predict this film will end in a cliffhanger and fans will have to wait for Episode 8 to come to see what’s to befall the heroes, new and old.

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