Warning: This article may contain spoilers, so do not read on if you have not seen The Force Awakens yet.
Star Wars was a huge part of my younger days. I remember watching Episode IV: A New Hope for the first time on HBO as a child, and I was instantly hooked. I begged my parents to pick up almost any Star Wars item that I would come across, and even had the cutscenes and in-game dialogue of both Rebel Assault games memorized back in third grade.
In fact, Star Wars is probably one of the reasons why I started writing. As a kid, I picked up almost every Expanded Universe book that I could find. There certainly are some that I have missed, but I would spend hours reading the X-Wing series, then write Gary Stu fanfiction of my friends and I piloting starfighters and destroying the twelfth Death Star or the Death Nova, a large battlestation that had all kinds of Death Star guns and could link them together to destroy an entire star system. I would even create custom missions for games in the X-Wing series to recreate the adventures that I wrote about.
Yes, Star Wars was a huge part of my life. That is why after the disappointing prequels, I came into the theater expecting to hate Episode VII.
That’s an X-Wing?
My friends and I flew in the authentic T-65 as presented in the original Star Wars Trilogy, not this new age J.J. Abrams crap! Oops, I meant that Wedge flew against Thrawn’s froces (yes, that’s where the “Grand Admiral” moniker comes from) in authentic T-65s. Luckily for the nerd in me and all of the other Star Wars geeks out there, the redesigns are explained over on Wookiepedia.
Looking at the stormtrooper armor in trailers almost made me sick to my stomach. I really did not like the design compared to the old one that we have grown used to. I have to say that I liked the landing sequence before the first battle of the movie though; it reminded me of Starship Troopers in a way.
At least the Millennium Falcon remains pretty much the same, complete with the Dejarik table (I had to look up the name of the game. Good; I’m not making a complete relapse to nerdhood).
WTF Happened to Thrawn?
As I have stated above, I read quite a few Star Wars novels in the Expanded Universe growing up. I also played plenty of Star Wars games like Jedi Outcast where Kyle Katarn battled against the Imperial Remnant. These guys were the regular lot that you could expect from the Empire.
In The Force Awakens, the protagonists are fighting a faction known as the First Order. Where did these guys come from? How are they “first”? Did they watch Pink Floyd’s The Wall before the first firing of their new superweapon? How did they build up their forces, complete with new technology, and go undetected? I thought that the New Republic became the dominant force in the Star Wars Galaxy, so wouldn’t they have been able to defeat them? That also raises the question as to why a mere “Resistance” is fighting the First Order instead of the entire might of the New Republic military.
Anyone that has followed the Expanded Universe is likely going to have questions about this movie. A quick glance at Wookiepedia indicates that the events in Episode VII take place thirty years after Return of the Jedi while the Thrawn Trilogy takes place nine years later. It is possible that both events transpired, but that still leaves much unanswered. Where are the Yuuzhan Vong and Mara Jade?
Han Solo was probably my favorite character in the original series. He was the lovable rogue that I wanted to be, the badass for nerds.
His role in this movie is quite enjoyable. He plays a patriarchal role to the new heroes, and still retains his charming character. The film also explores his character a bit more than the original films did, which is something that I liked. Since Han was my favorite character, I was always interested in learning more about his backstory.
His death raises even more questions if this movie does not erase or override the Expanded Universe.
The Real Identity of Kylo Ren
I told you that there were going to be spoilers. The film reveals that Kylo Ren was originally Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia, and probably based on Ben Skywalker and Jacen Solo of the Expanded Universe.
I am here to tell you that this is not true at all. Kylo Ren is in fact a combination of cloned genetic material from Elliot Rodger, Keanu Reeves, and King Xerxes as portrayed in the movie adaptation of 300. Just wait until he removes his mask and speaks. You will see what I mean.
The Supreme Gentleman’s midichlorians were at work. Didn’t get laid, but the Force works in mysterious ways. The Star Wars connection is revealed.
Finn the Feckless Negro
The “Black Stormtrooper Dude” raised quite a bit of fuss in some circles of the Internet, but I think that anti-Blacks and the Chinese can rest easy tonight. Finn had his moments, and this could make good character development in the scheme of things, but Finn was portrayed as cowardly, incompetent, and thirsty for some White space poon. He wasn’t quite Jar Jar Binks, but he still represented the weak Black male, outclassed by all others. His job on the Starkiller Base (a knockoff of my Death Nova concept, obviously) was sanitation, and he was given his name by that guy that comes on YouTube commercials talking about chivalry and Hispanic-themed scotch. To make the slavery references even more obvious, he was taken from his family as a child and taught the ways of his new masters. Damn. (Oh, and yeah, before anyone says it, I know that there are other slaves in the Star Wars universe and most of them are White, or alien, or whatever, so save your comments).
Just as I expected, he is not a Jedi either. He does wield a lightsaber in combat, but Rey (the female Anakin/Padme hybrid, not to be confused with Rey Mysterio or Rei Ayanami) is the Force sensitive. Sorry Brothas. We’ll have to go back to when Lando blew up the second Death Star if we want any Star Wars glory. His role in the story almost justifies the Chinese making his appearance smaller on their theatrical poster. I tell ya, this is almost like the time when they hyped up Cuba Gooding Jr.’s role in Pearl Harbor.
The Final Verdict
I wanted to hate this movie and rip it a new one with a harsh critique, but I ended up enjoying it. Yes, there are many cliches. No, we do not get to see a masculine Black hero like some of us wanted to. Yes, it raises many questions, especially for us fans of the Star Wars franchise that followed the Expanded Universe. It is still an enjoyable movie though, and is much better than the prequels.
I will probably see it again in theaters as is my custom when it comes to Star Wars films. I give Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens an 8.5 out of 10.