With Entertainment Weekly’s HUGE surprise this week, revealing all new photos, plots, and stories revolving around Star Wars: The Force Awakens — in their Fall Movie Preview — our Jedi Council discusses what excites us most, from all the new information.
David Harris: Without a doubt, it was the story on what question brought J.J. Abrams on board to direct Episode VII. “Who is Luke Skywalker?” This question, although simple in its reframe, actually sets the entire Star Wars saga into motion…allow me to elaborate.
While the Prequel Trilogy was all about the rise and eventual fall of Anakin Skywalker, the Original Trilogy was all about his son, Luke, coming into his own and learning about his heritage and the legacy left to him by his father — through an elegant weapon, held secret and safe by his protector and eventual teacher, Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.
“I am a Jedi, like my father before me.”
While Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn considered Anakin to be the Chosen One — the one to bring balance to the Force — I hold true to my belief that it was actually his son Luke, who was the Chosen One, as was evidenced by his refusal to give in to the Dark Side of the Force in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, when he refused to join the Emperor, ultimately helping his father redeem himself by assisting Luke in his defeat of Palpatine, the destruction of the Death Star by the Rebel Alliance, and ending the reign of terror by the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Obviously, there is so much more to Luke Skywalker than we’ve been previously led to believe. With the former Expanded Universe now relegated as Star Wars Legends, and an entirely new Star Wars canon in place, we really do not know where Luke has been — post Return of the Jedi — and what he has been doing. One thing is for sure, and that is, Anakin’s old lightsaber, which was then passed to Luke, which was then lost in Empire Strikes Back, will now play a major role in The Force Awakens, and that means Luke will more than likely play a large role in the training of a new generation of what I hope is a secret Skywalker. My ultimate hope, is that the Skywalker familial lightsaber will be passed on to a new family member, who will then wield it as a Jedi, like his or her father before them.
Elaine Tveit: With a new trilogy of Star Wars films set in a new era, there comes the opportunity to experiment with new ideas. Kylo Ren is one such idea. Though he may seem, at face value, to be nothing more than a Sith Lord with a wicked lightsaber and a helmet to rival Darth Vader’s in iconic style, the reality is that his story and character go far deeper than cool accessories.
In one of Entertainment Weekly’s revealing articles about The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren was the featured star. In that article, the creators of The Force Awakens promised that Kylo is a character like no other in Star Wars.
JJ Abrams says, ““He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. He is a little bit more complex than that, and it was a great joy to work with Adam Driver on this role, because he threw himself into it in a deep and remarkable way.” Lawrence Kasdan, one of the writers of the Episode VII script, adds that Kylo is full of emotion, and that in the real world people are “roiling with emotion,” and they either express it or hide it. From that description, Kylo looks to be more of a troubled individual than an evil troublemaker, much like Anakin Skywalker; who, it is rumored, may be Kylo’s ancestor.
We also learned from Abrams that Ren is not Kylo’s real last name, rather a title like “Darth” he took on when he joined the curiously-titled Knights of Ren. This means that Kylo’s real last name is, much like Rey’s and Finn’s, being kept a secret. That could be important, and might help to explain the emotion and turmoil he is experiencing, depending on who he is related to. Additionally, if he is somehow related to the Skywalker clan as has been rumored for many months, his path will be fraught with destiny. For ultimate good or evil, however, remains to be seen.
For now, we only know Kylo as Kylo Ren, dangerous enforcer of the First Order and member of the mysterious new faction known as the Knights of Ren. It is plain that he will be a great villain… but I expect he will be a great character, well.
Kyle Warnke: Fictional universes often exist in a dimension where time doesn’t exist. We never really have to see our favorite characters grapple with old age or the impending threat of natural death. Sure, there are plenty of sequels coming out nowadays that can extend a character’s story. But for a Hollywood that’s becoming increasingly obsessed with de-aging its characters with prequels and reboots, you never really get to see iconic roles actually bearing the weight of time’s passing.
That’s something that will make Star Wars: The Force Awakens stand out from other blockbusters, and Entertainment Weekly‘s coverage gave us our first glimpse at just what that strange experience might be like when it hits screens. If you haven’t read Anthony Breznican’s superb article on Harrison Ford’s return as Han Solo, do yourself a favor and check it out. Breznican does an excellent job of capturing the nostalgia and reverent awe that no doubt permeated the film’s set when Ford stepped onto the Millennium Falcon. And he delivered a poignant look at how Ford is approaching a role that’s brought him incredible success along with some simmering frustration.
There perhaps has never been more of Han Solo in Ford than right now, which is why I’m so interested in how the character will be portrayed. Ford’s not only grown tired of the franchise, but he’s also clearly on the wrong end of time, suffering an injury on set and even surviving a scary plane crash earlier this year. Just like Han, age is catching up to him. And now, his return to a galaxy far, far away may provide the spark that helps him find peace with all that’s come before.
Joe Prescott: The pictures are certainly exciting and enticing, all shiny and new looking. I’m starting to enjoy the production and design of the sets and characters, but it seems that we’ve only seen a small glimpse of what’s to come. It only seems to be shots of Jakku and the First Order so far, and tiny flashes from the snow-covered planet and the arboreal shots with the X-Wings, so it’s a fair bet that the stuff we aren’t seeing involves important plot points and major characters. Lucasfilm are sure doing a good job of keeping us intrigued by delivering bits and pieces that spark the fires of speculative discussions.
I’m enjoying the slow reveals of certain smaller characters as well, the naming of the little chap on the electric rhino (Teedo on the Luggabeast) and the motley gang that appears on the behind the scenes video from SDCC all looks like Abrams is continuing to develop and expand the galaxy. The close-up shots of Phasma and General Hux also have some interesting points to note, including the design of the First Order uniforms. It’s certainly a successor to the Empire in the style and apparent oppressive regime; again, they’re quite clearly the antagonists!
Mike Valverde: The intriguing part about the EW published work on The Force Awakens is the role that Luke Skywalker is going to play. We have seen in the trailer that Luke is passing guidance to an unknown character at this point, that the Force resides in him/her. We also have seen him and his exposed robotic hand reaching out and touching the dome of R2-D2. Now that the Entertainment Weekly (EW) article is now out there may be more light shed to the purpose of an elder Skywalker.
The EW article discusses Luke Skywalker and his development from the time we see him on Tatooine to the end of Endor. In this is the discussion of the impact it has on Skywalker. Here is a person that experienced the death of his father (Darth Vader), mentor (Obi-Wan Kenobi), and trainer (Yoda), all of which he was visually connected too. I am beginning to believe that with the combination of trying to deal with these traumatic events and having nowhere to go, he escapes to a planet so he can deal with his internal conflicts.
In his article, David Harris explains what may have happened. “Has he become a sort of Dark Jedi, who sees the world in not the strict colors of black and white as the Jedi Order would have him do, but in shades of grey, were sometimes the tenets of the Jedi must be bent or broken, in order to achieve one’s goals?” I can see this occurring as Luke Skywalker does make changes to the Jedi Order, one, in particular, is the permission to get married.
I also can see that he needs to live the hermit life as his mentor before him. Here is a farm boy at heart, and in just a short time he has to go through a major growing up process. He needs an outlet, so to escape the world before him, Luke takes harbor in a place only occupied by him and his counterpart R2-D2. What brings him into the fold, is anyone’s guess? I propose that a distress signal from C3PO is picked up by R2, and when delivered to Skywalker, he needs to make a choice of action. Keep the hermit life or be a help to those that need him.