Hannah Pedersen, Reporter
For 11 long years, Star Wars fans have waited for something new to rip into, the vigil occasionally interrupted by such blips as The Clone Wars (definitely worth watching if you try not to take it at face value) and when that was canceled, Star Wars Rebels (take it at face value and drop it. Walk away slowly). But finally, finally, the day has come. Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
We were tentative, hesitant, not sure what to expect. Fans prepared for the worst, sharpening their spears and blackmailing director J.J. Abrams with the title Jar Jar Abrams. We wondered if the novels would remain canon, some praying that they wouldn’t.
And then judgement day.
Without revealing major plot points, the film follows the odyssey of a scraggly scrapper from the outer rim Rey (Daisy Ridley), an ex-Stormtrooper with actual human feelings and dilemmas, Finn (John Boyega) and the best and most ruggedly handsome pilot The Resistance has to offer: Poe (Oscar Isaac). But it wouldn’t be Star Wars if we didn’t have a vaguely emo villain, and in this case, it’s Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who is probably the most dramatic person in the entire galaxy.
It all starts when Poe, aided by his roly-poly droid buddy BB-8, obtains some information vital to The Resistance from a mystic old guy with some serious foreshadowing. The rising power in the galaxy (which unapologetically resembles both Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Russia), The First Order, sends Kylo and a posse of Stormtroopers to shut that party down and nab the information for themselves.
So they shoot up the town, during which FN-2187 (Finn) decides he isn’t about that life. Kylo reveals his not quite mastery of the dark side of the force while capturing Poe (as BB-8 scoots away with said vital information), and whisks him away to the Order’s aesthetically pleasing battle cruiser. Finn breaks Poe out, in an effort to escape himself, and they crash land on Jakku, Rey’s desolate home planet.
Finn assumes Poe is dead and proceeds to stumble across Rey, who gets swept up in all the rebellion-y fun times, and then the nostalgia hits. Han Solo. Chewbacca. Leia. Dusty old drama that we get to experience for the first time. Then we get backstory, one pretty great lightsaber battle, a mystery person who might be Darth Plagueis and all other kinds of fun for the whole family.
Abrams combined the nostalgia of the old films with strong, fleshed-out characters relatable to the younger demographic of Star Wars fans.
Episode VII was refreshing. Growing up with the prequels, the only woman in the entire trilogy who was more than a prop was Padme, and even her character was more than occasionally undermined by perfectly ripped crop tops. Rey gets sweaty. She wears all beige all the time and doesn’t care. She’s fully capable and most importantly, she’s not perfect.
Star Wars is an empire, with a fan base as fiercely loyal as our new friend Stormtrooper TR-8R. For pretty much everyone to stumble away breathless and not just satisfied but begging for more, was a miracle.
Star Wars is once again the opiate of the masses, and can probably say that fans are looking forward to the rest of this trilogy (with Rogue One and the Hans Solo Anthology to tide us over).
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