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Star Wars: Episode VII, The Force Awakens...

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So, I saw this yesterday. Here is what I posted on Ars Techncia:

 

Watched this yesterday afternoon. The movie was...okay. Not bad, for sure, but not great either. 

The plot felt a bit janky, mainly because they tried to roll up two significant plotlines into one movie and it feels like they ran out of time in the end to do either justice.

There characters were okay but not spectacular.

Maybe my biggest gripe is that there was very little context. In preparation for this movie I re-watched the originals and I realise that the new movie skips on a significant scripting method used in the original films to provide a broader context. 

In the original films there are lots of little lines were characters reference a wider universe without going into detail about it. Lines like "We'll be sent to the Spice Mines of Kessel" or "The Emperor his dissolved the Senate, wiping away the last vestiges of the Old Republic". The original films are liberally sprinkled with a huge amount of stuff like this that really help to make the universe feel like more than just Tatooine, Hoth and Endor.

This new movie fails to do this in a big way and it feels poorer for it.

Overall, a decent effort but not really the movie I was hoping for.

Thoughts? Agree? Disagree?

I saw Jingles post on facebook (didn't watch Mingles because afraid of spoilers).. and I think he summed it up pretty good saying that it exceeded expectations by not sucking.

 

To be honest, I felt kind of lost, like it was expected that I read a book that tied episode 6 and 7 together and let me know what the shit was happening in an understandable way.

The more I think about the film in hindsight, the less I like it.

I read too much SW universe books... this throws all that out of the window (which I sorta understand) but it was still pretty good...

 

In comparison to the ***ing garbage George Lucas spewed on the world with the prequels, this was an ***ing masterpiece. Actors that can actually act? What a concept!!!

^^ yeha much better than the prequels indeed! WOOOOT

 

The actors didn't bother me in the prequels, mostly just some lines.  This one was really good, but has a different set of issues.

Is this a spoiler-free thread, or at this point is it a "read at your own risk" spoilery thread?

Wasn't there a spoiler function in this forum?

 

test

 

 

 

He's hard to take seriously. Honestly, I had a hard time not bursting into laughter with his temper tantrums. I think I actually did with the last one. Overall, as a villain, I rate him pretty weak. He's not particularly interesting (I hate my dad!!!) and not particularly scary either. 3/10 villain.

He wasn't stronk evil.


Anyone else annoyed by some of the physics introduced now? Faster than light energy beams?
Ships going "lightspeed" now instead of hyperspace?
I need to test the spoiler function before I go on so I will post and modify.

<ed> nope can't make spoiler function work, because scrub...
I avoided this topic as the plague annoyingly part of the new post content do show in latest threads as well...

 

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Just watching this now out of curiosity. There seems to be a typo in the opening text:

"Luke Skywalker has vanished. in his absence ..."

Strong lowercase "in."


05378ad068582422790cdadd38ceebc9.png

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Just watching this now out of curiosity. There seems to be a typo in the opening text:

"Luke Skywalker has vanished. in his absence ..."

Strong lowercase "in."


05378ad068582422790cdadd38ceebc9.png

lol

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i think the next movie will have a more interesting story. this one was more like a pilot episode in a tv series.

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i watched this at the "alamo drafthouse", and the pre-show that they did (rather than blasting you with commercials) was better than the movie.  

that's not to say the movie was bad, but I was really happy to have an amazing experience, even if it didn't come from the movie. 

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I'm trying to be as harsh as possible, so as to not sound like a squeeing fangirl. That being said:

Musically, I found this to be the weakest installment thus far.  Even the prequels had better music, with some truly outstanding tracks.  

The potential Rei/Finn romance seems way too forced.

Both of the big twists seemed obvious.

WAAAAAAAYY too many unexplained bits of plot.  Some republic exists, but the resistance is still necessary?  If the Empire/First Order is a thing, shouldn't that republic have some sort of military force?  The resistance strike force was...  one starfighter squad?  What happened to all of the fighters and capital ships they had at the end of RotJ?  When that squad took casualties, someone mentioned those losses totaling half of the resistance fleet.  Seriously, what happened to all of their military hardware?  How the hell did Luke/Anakin's lightsaber end up in some old orange chick's basement?  I mean, that's the one he lost on cloud city.  Someone recovered it, and gave it to random bug-eyed bartender?  I can accept some mysteries to be reserved for later... Rei's heritage, Snoke's backstory, etc.  But they left a lot of foundation out.  

Lack of adequate wookiee rage.  Sure, he got mad and shot a few people, but that did not strike me as "My hetero life partner just died" levels of rage.  They made dozens of references to the original trilogy.  Chewie should have ripped someone's arms out.

 

I'm a bit confused how 2 people could just pick up a light saber and use it without training.

Other than that i like it.

I thought on that bit as well.  I can understand it.  I would guess the NO troopers are given some level of melee training.  After all, the moment one sees Finn with the saber, he breaks out some kind of weapon capable of deflecting a lightsaber.  Anti-Jedi training might have been instituted post Endor.  As for Rei...  best I can think of is that she has some melee experience from growing up in a rough place.  She carries that staff, after all.  And I'd guess the force is doing the rest.  

 

Overall, I'm in the "good, but not great" crowd.  There's some potential there.  And it's better than the prequels...

 

 

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I'm in the same camp, it's better than the prequels, but fails in most other regards. The big twists were especially annoying coming from an extensive EU background (really, you named him Ben? Why not Jason? Also lol Star Killer, totally not a Sun Crusher). The one positive is the visuals and feeling, without a doubt the entire thing felt like Star Wars through and through. Episode VII gives me some hope that the next will be better, although I can already see the blatant ripping off paying homage to Episode V.

Also Snoke looks a lot like the alien from Prometheus.

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Just saw it, some things I liked and disliked.

+Kylo Ren. By far my favorite element of this film. The vast majority of villains in star wars are evil for the sake of being evil, with only Vader, and I suppose Palpatine to a degree, having much of a character beyond that. So seeing a bad guy that actually feels like a complex person is nice to have.

+The physical feel. I think the movie bridged the originals and the prequels in a visual sense in that while you had very fast paced shots, they still had a sense of reality to them.

+Anakin's lightsaber. For once, they actually touch on the darkness that's "tainted" it. You know. If you listen closely during the flashback, you can hear Obi Wan and Yoda, and I think Anakin's "I HATE YOU!" from III, which was also a nice touch. I agree it needs to be further explained, but seeing as star wars is meant to be one being movie, I can forgive that. I do hope 8 gives a better explanation.

-The death star. Again. That's 3 times now? I mean I get that it's bigger and all this time, but hasn't the empire maybe realised those things don't work very well?

-Rey. I didn't have any issues with the acting or dialogue, but her character just seems so... perfect. And I don't like that. Anakin and Luke were both flawed people(which I think Christensen and Hamill both showed reasonably well), which made them more relatable, but also made the audience realise they weren't immune to bad thoughts or actions. I don't think Rey's character brings that to the table.

 

That all said I liked it overall. I don't think it's as good as 5 or 4, but I'd put it equal with 3 or 6.

 

On a somewhat unrelated note, I REALLY hope Snoke is Darth Plagueis. It really adds the possibility of a reveal that will rock all the movies, and would tie them together very well.

 

 

 (really, you named him Ben? Why not Jason?

I think it refers to "Ben" Kenobi. 

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On a somewhat unrelated note, I REALLY hope Snoke is Darth Plagueis. It really adds the possibility of a reveal that will rock all the movies, and would tie them together very well.

 

 

I think it refers to "Ben" Kenobi. 

Precisely.  Ben was pretty important to Luke, and Leia and Han would have understood that.

Not sure they'd make Snoke be Plagueis, but you never know.

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...really, you named him Ben? Why not Jason?...

My guess is that they wanted to tell their own story, and the name Jason has an impressive collection of baggage to it.  

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Saw it this afternoon, figured I'd throw my two cents in.

For the good guys at least, the actors and most of the characters were solid.  Han and Chewie were far and away the best actors/characters of the movie.  Not happy about how Leia is still getting sidelined for everything instead of doing anything useful.  Oh, what's this?  You're a badass chick with a strong force connection (is it just me or did Leia's connection to the force basically get ignored this movie?) and a lot of fighting expertise?  Let's have you stare at this monitor helplessly for the next half hour, kinda like what you did forty years ago.  I wonder how much money they spent for Mark Hamill to stand there for about 30 seconds doing absolutely nothing?

The bad guys, on the other hand... sheesh, these must've been the budget savers to get all the old actors back.  Kylo Ren can be summed up as emo Darth Vader minus the badassery.  There's the general guy who couldn't pour water out of a boot if instructions were written on the heel.  And then there's mister generic evil bad guy.  Oh boy.  Firstly, didn't Luke/Vader kill all the sith at the end of RotJ?  So there's no more sith in the galaxy?  So he's not a sith.  There were some evil jedi that rebelled against luke, but Kylo led them and Ren is clearly this guy's bitch.  So we have an impossibly generic bad guy with no explained powers, no background whatsoever, no reason (logical, motive, etc.) to be in charge of anything, and to top it off it looks like he's in the middle of brain cancer treatments.

I gotta agree the plot bounces back and forth too much and doesn't do a good job explaining much of anything.  The first order's important!  No, wait, death star 3 is important!  No, wait, Luke is important!  No, wait... hang on, is the first order and the empire the same thing now?  And which moron got promoted who thought a third death star would work since the previous two did so well?  Speaking about death star 3, it somehow makes less sense than the first two.  Building it into a planet instead of building an artificial planet for it to sit in is the only sound, logical thing about it, especially if they have these faster than light laser beams extending your range by a lot.  You draw energy from the sun, which kinda makes sense as you need a whole lot of power for the thing, but then... directly draining the sun for energy?  Firstly, that's a good way to make your planet uninhabitable really quickly.  Secondly, if you have the resources to turn a planet into a gun to blow up other planets... how about cover the whole thing in solar panels or some other energy gathering system that doesn't require sacrificing your sun.  Thirdly, the first time they fired they only drained a little bit of the sun and blew up five planets.  Warming up for the rebel base?  Gotta drain that whole damn thing, because that one planet is so much stronger than the other five put together.  And fourthly, what are you gonna do when the sun is drained?  Move the planet?

Beyond that, I only have minor nitpicks with the movie, biggest one being the entire new alien races from scratch.  Yeah, you ditched the EU, but it already had hundreds of aliens premade for you, all ready to CGI into a cantina.  Was it really necessary to throw out every last one, then go and make a couple dozen of your own?  Also, the Falcon should've been unflyable a dozen times over with the way they were dragging it around, not to mention the two or three times the pilots should be dead never mind blacked out from all the G's they were pulling.  For a two dozen ship strike force and losing "half the fleet" five minutes (and counting!), they sure had a lot of ships left over when the fighting was done.  Oh, and I feel the need to point out that the good guys winning YET AGAIN involved blowing up a planet sized object and killing a few million people whose only real crime was being born in a different place than the good guys were.

Holy shit I rambled there.  TL;DR 4/10 still better than prequels.

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My guess is that they wanted to tell their own story, and the name Jason has an impressive collection of baggage to it.  

The baggage of the name is what made me want it to be Jason. It was just too perfect an opportunity to waste. All I can see when hearing Ben is "Skywalker's kid"  :cri:

I think too we haven't seen Kylo as the emo Darth Vader just yet, that's coming in the next episode. Not only will he have a reason to finally wear the mask (he ain't dead, probably just heavily wounded), but Ren is likely related to him in some way (sister/cousin). I cannot see Kylo just being a one-off antagonist or Ren being unrelated to any of the original characters.

Also an funny tid-bit, the stormtrooper present during Ren's interrogation was played by Daniel Craig.

 

Not sure they'd make Snoke be Plagueis, but you never know.

It's the best idea at the moment, it would explain Snoke's battered appearance. Also if Plagueis' ability to create/maintain life is still canon it offers a good explanation for how he may have survived. After all, Darth Krayt from the Legacy series survived a similar murder attempt so there's precedence for it.

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This movie had great villains, you just had to look hard to find them.

 

waiting for spoilers to work before making joke....

 

 

 

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He's hard to take seriously. Honestly, I had a hard time not bursting into laughter with his temper tantrums. I think I actually did with the last one. Overall, as a villain, I rate him pretty weak. He's not particularly interesting (I hate my dad!!!) and not particularly scary either. 3/10 villain.

he is trying too hard to be a villain, the one truely villainous act was almost impossible for him to do, he barely managed until he did it. He's not even truely sith. A member of the sith is properly given a Darth title. He's still a padawan equivalent. He got beat by an amateurin light sabre combat.

I really hope Phasma returns like she is rumored to, that character would make a good plot opponent for Finn.

 

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Is to okay to post spoilers here? I saw this yesterday as well.

I'd rate is a solid 7/10 movie. Entertaining but not particularly outstanding. I avoided too many spoilers, but once I heard people compare it to A New Hope it was pretty easy to piece together the main flow of the movie from the information in the trailers. In that sense, it's not a particularly original movie, it tries to recover the same ground a bit too much. I also agree with the thought that the music is a bit weak, nothing really stood out, but the overall aesthetic and creative direction of the movie was pretty good. Entertaining action bits and some decent laughs.

It also suffers a bit from the modern "pre-planned as triology/launch-pad for new spin-off movies" syndrome where there's plenty of seeding of information but precious little explanation within the actual movie itself. Quite a few things open to speculation and/or did not quite make sense. Who's Snoke, what's his motivation, why does he have a huge scar/cavity in his head. Is he actually a giant, or just likes to project himself as a giant (actually something really cute and fluffy maybe)? Why can people activate lightsabers with no training all of a sudden? Why did hyper-space become so much more effective (whole systems jumped in a matter of seconds)? Why would you send your best pilot on a mission that doesn't actually involve much flying?

I also have HUGE HUGE HUGE issues with the 'science' element of this 'science-fiction' movie, and to be fair, it's not JJ Abram's strongest area (his 'science' elements in the Trek reboots are also similarly quite stupid). But the idea of a laser that apparently travels much, much, much faster than the speed of light (err, what?) and can randomly split up into multiple beams at a pre-determined point? Yeah. No. I'm sorry, at least try to have the science elements have some kind of plausible theoretical foundation! Also, can the Starkiller base even move? If not, how did it get the energy to make the first shot? Also, if it can't move, it's a pretty stupid weapon (1 or 2 shots, depending on how many stars in the system in which it is constructed). If it can move, then why not just move away when they got attacked? The 'death star 3' was stupid and one of the worst things about the entire movie.

Onto the positives. Enjoyed the dynamic of Ren, although I wish they made him less of an emo-Anakin-mark2. Someone with obvious parenting issues and struggling with his Force sensitivity would have been enough. That said, it looks like he's very gifted but raw. Was the fact his lightsaber blade all fuzzy and uneven done deliberately to show he actually lacks refinement? It would also explain why Ray is able to turn the tables on him so easily as opposed to she just being uber-special (which would be a bit lame). Also was glad that they were up-front with his relation to Han from the beginning.

Also enjoyed the two main leads, the actors did a good job, although would have preferred to leave the 'clingy-budding-out-of-nowhere-romance' thing to a minimum. Otherwise, enjoyed both of them in this movie. BB8 is also cute, and a well-done character, although I still think he looks too much like a soccer ball. I keep on thinking he's the new mascot for the next World Cup.. Po seems interesting enough a character as well, although he lacks fleshing out (I guess that's for the spin-off movies).

I think the main strength of this movie were it's new characters. The old, returning characters overall are okay, but I think it's the right idea to move away and leave them behind so that this can become it's own story. One of the weaknesses of the prequels is that they are building to set up characters that were portrayed in the earlier movies. This meant sacrificing focus on some interesting new characters (Hobbit movies suffer from some issue). Hopefully Episode 7 will have a stronger focus on the new characters and their story. The main weakness of this movie was trying to pay too much homage to Episode 4, especially to the extent that they made the 'terrifying enemy plan' an even more ridiculous super-weapon, so here's hoping they don't go down that path again in the next movie.

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I rewatched this yesterday and enjoyed it more the second time round. I was able to focus more on the dialog and plot-line rather than the visuals and determined that a couple of things that seemed like plot-holes the first time round are actually covered.

For example, the first time around I thought the Starkiller weapon was a bit of a hole because how exactly does it attack targets in another star system. This time around I picked up the tiny dialog fragment where they explicitly refer to it as a hyper-space weapon.

The second time around I also enjoyed Ren more. I guess in a way his behaviour makes some sense. The original movies harp on quite a bit about how fear leads to anger and anger leads to the dark side so it makes sense that he has rage issues because he his a darksider :-) 

 

I also have HUGE HUGE HUGE issues with the 'science' element of this 'science-fiction' movie, and to be fair, it's not JJ Abram's strongest area (his 'science' elements in the Trek reboots are also similarly quite stupid).

Star Wars has always been more Fantasy than Sci-Fi. Divorce yourself from the idea that it's SF and you'll be happier. After all, the Force is basically magic, so it shouldn't be hard.

In fact, you should just divorce yourself from the idea the movie/TV Sci-Fi will generally bear any resemblance to literature if you want to retain your sanity. There are very very very few "SF" movies/TV which bear more than a passing resemblance to the literary genre.

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I really hope Phasma returns like she is rumored to, that character would make a good plot opponent for Finn.

or a love interest.

which would be silly, but i like silly things.

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Star Wars has always been more Fantasy than Sci-Fi. Divorce yourself from the idea that it's SF and you'll be happier. After all, the Force is basically magic, so it shouldn't be hard.

In fact, you should just divorce yourself from the idea the movie/TV Sci-Fi will generally bear any resemblance to literature if you want to retain your sanity. There are very very very few "SF" movies/TV which bear more than a passing resemblance to the literary genre.

I get that Star Wars has always been pretty light on the 'science' part of science-fiction, but I still think that if you're going to present something as being 'scientific' in nature as opposed to 'fantastical' in nature, then you should at least make an attempt to ensure that thing plays by some kind of established rules. Hence, I have no issue with the Force and it's rather vague uses, abilities and power because it's presented as a fantastical element.

A huge space laser cannon is presented as something 'scientific'. It should therefore at least attempt to play by some scientific rules in order for it to be believable and grounded in the context in which it is portrayed. The Starkiller base thus fails this test utterly and absolutely, which severely weakens it's role in the movie. Okay, so it's a 'hyper-space' weapon (whatever that is), which might explain how the laser can travel across entire systems within minutes, as opposed to years. Why then is the laser visible leaving the barrel of the cannon, when ships that jump to hyper-space no longer become invisible to the naked eye (as demonstrated by the ship accelerating rapidly and vanishing from view)? Why is the laser visible from the surface of a planet (one apparently in another system even)? WHY CAN THE LASER BE SPLIT INTO 5 PARTS, SEEMINGLY 'ON COMMAND' WITHOUT ANY KIND OF DEVICE OR MECHANISM TO DISTORT/DISPERSE THE BEAM?

I get the huge space laser needs to appear even more dangerous than the Death Star (because otherwise why have something bigger than the Death Star if it can still only destroy one planet at a time. However, in order to make it 'bigger and badder' they don't even attempt to make it plausible or have any explanation that is internally consistent within the rules of the established universe or even logically feasible based on actual scientific theory. It's a fantastical element masquerading as a scientific element. They might as well just have had Ren or Snoke have the ability to destroy entire planets using the Force. It would have served the same purpose and arguably been more 'believable'.

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In the words of Arthur C. Clarke: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"

:-)

Stop losing hair over the Starkiller, it already blew up after all ;-)

 

or a love interest.

which would be silly, but i like silly things.

Get ye gone to slashdom :-)

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Why can people activate lightsabers with no training all of a sudden? Why did hyper-space become so much more effective (whole systems jumped in a matter of seconds)?

When were either of those things a contradiction to the existing canon? Han certainly had no affinity with the force or anything like that, but he had no issues carving up the Tauntan, and they jump all over the galaxy very quickly throughout all the movies, even if they had all gotten stopwatches out to time it so we could make certain that it was indeed a matter of seconds, it's not like that's any more unrealistic than the hours it takes in the older movies.

As to the other science-fiction stuff, Star Wars has never tried to be vaguely anything that could be grounded in science, space ships that have different rules of gravity than our own, sound in space, super-powerful laser weaponry, giant space worms, and so on, as long as it makes sense within the context, I can't really say I have an issue with it.

Regardless, my thoughts on the actual movie:

Liked it a lot, overall plot was perhaps too similar to A New Hope, which meant I was able to guess much of the story as it progressed, but  I don't mind too much because at least the people who are making Star Wars know what they're doing this time. My only other real complaint is that half the movie exists to set up the sequels,

Cpt. Phasma's off-screen "death" > sequel (if you didn't see it there's no reason to believe it happened).

Ren isn't terribly scary + new scars + his actions through movie > sequel brings more depth

Luke thrown in at very end > very obvious sequel move

And so on for all of the major characters.

I wasn't terribly pleased with Death Star Mk. III, but on second viewing it made more sense, as the someone goes out of their way to mention how the Resistance's main backer just got annihilated, so it mirrors the Rebel Alliance, as they're fighting an Evil Empire while out-gunned and out-numbered, rather than mirroring the prequels and being a bunch of good guys with the strength of the Republic quashing an insurrection, at least in terms of who's fighting who anyway. 

I suspect this movie will be become better as time progresses, and things are explained further in the sequels, but for now, at least I can be happy Star Wars has a proper direction again, and there are no bloody gungans.

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I'm in the same camp, it's better than the prequels, but fails in most other regards. The big twists were especially annoying coming from an extensive EU background (really, you named him Ben? Why not Jason? Also lol Star Killer, totally not a Sun Crusher). The one positive is the visuals and feeling, without a doubt the entire thing felt like Star Wars through and through. Episode VII gives me some hope that the next will be better, although I can already see the blatant ripping off paying homage to Episode V.

Also Snoke looks a lot like the alien from Prometheus.

my first thought was Ben Kenobi as well.... 

 

What is more troublesome is Rei force snatching the saber without any training. Pffffff

Also a hyperspace jump into a planetary mass behind shields? Pffffff 

The force link between the to good characters and the possible romantic link with Ben/ Ren is there. ..

Ren is no Sith is he? I saw stuff on knights of Ren... let's see that develops. 

 

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Musically, I found this to be the weakest installment thus far.  Even the prequels had better music, with some truly outstanding tracks.  

This struck me as well. The worst thing is, John Williams was apparently involved? WTF?!?!

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WAAAAAAAYY too many unexplained bits of plot.  Some republic exists, but the resistance is still necessary?  If the Empire/First Order is a thing, shouldn't that republic have some sort of military force?  The resistance strike force was...  one starfighter squad?  What happened to all of the fighters and capital ships they had at the end of RotJ?  When that squad took casualties, someone mentioned those losses totaling half of the resistance fleet.  Seriously, what happened to all of their military hardware?  How the hell did Luke/Anakin's lightsaber end up in some old orange chick's basement?  I mean, that's the one he lost on cloud city.  Someone recovered it, and gave it to random bug-eyed bartender?  I can accept some mysteries to be reserved for later... Rei's heritage, Snoke's backstory, etc.  But they left a lot of foundation out.  

On the second watch I *think* I figured out some of those things. Some of this is guess-work but given the context I think it may be fairly accurate:

  • After ROTJ the Empire basically collapsed into its constituent parts.
  • Some of those parts remained loyal to the Empire leading to the First Order, a kind of mini-Empire with much less power than the old Empire.
  • The Republic was a single-system government derived from one of those parts run by people that had been involved with the Rebel Alliance from the original films.
  • Being derived from the Rebel Alliance, the Republic inherited its fleet and military components.
  • The Republic was bank-rolling the Resistance.
  • The Resistance is a small, deniable guerilla force the Republic was using to try and get more systems out from under the thumb of the First Order.
  • The Republic couldn't engage with the New Order directly as they lacked the necessary military force to do so and possibly some people within the Republic just wanted to chillax and enjoy their freedom.
  • The First Order got sick and tired of being poked continually by the Resistance and decided the best way to deal with them was to wipe out their backers, The Republic.
  • The First Order wiped out the Republic with the Starkiller, destroying the old Rebel Alliance fleet in the process and leaving the Resistance in a very tight spot.

I feel like this is a pretty logical explanation for the whole Republic/Resistance WTF as well as covering why the New Order decides to nuke the Republic and also dealing with the issue with the Resistance being pretty undergunned.

With that said, it is a bit of a stretch and there's some amount of inference going on.

On the subject of the lightsabre, I honestly think someone working on the film just forgot that Luke lost his first Blue lightsabre on Bespin and made his own Green one before ROTJ. As a result, the lightsabre in FA is just entirely the wrong colour. Bespin is, after all, a gas giant planet so there would be literally no way to get Luke's first lightsabre back, it having been crushing by the pressure of the atmosphere further down.

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Judging by some things I read, the saber was deliberately made to be the old blue.  The prop was constructed to be the same.  I doubt someone just forgot...

 

If memory serves, one of the EU storylines involved Luke's hand and saber being recovered and used to create a clone.  Even though those stories have been thrown out, they still establish a few ideas for the new movies to build on.  Hell, a Solo kid turning to the darkside was an EU plotline as well.  Some of your theories were in there as well.  

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