Tue, 26 January 2016
After last month’s episode sharing our initial reactions to The Force Awakens, this month’s episode begins our analysis and discussion of the new movie, as well as the lessons about storytelling and speculation that can be learned from it. Needless to say, we’ll have plenty more discussion of the movie to come in future episodes.
Before turning to The Force Awakens, though, we start off the show with a different topic for our meta segment on how to speculate wisely – the Star Wars Rebels midseason trailer for the back half of Season Two. We consider some elements of the trailer that make connections to The Force Awakens to increase interest in Rebels, such as the Jedi crossguard lightsaber, a Jedi temple site, and the appearance of Princess Leia. We also discuss the trailer’s links to prior Star Wars lore, such as a Sith holocron, Twi’lek freedom fighters and Mandalorian warriors from The Clone Wars, and the “Old Master” Ezra encounters. Another feature of note was the social media message shared by showrunner Dave Filoni prior to the trailer’s release, advising fans about its spoiler-heavy content.
For the world-building segment, longtime fan of the Empire, Jay Shah, joins us to talk about the First Order in The Force Awakens. In some ways the First Order operates as a direct descendant of the Empire, but in other ways it differs significantly. Some of these distinctions, Jay points out, have significant moral implications for whether fans would feel willing to root for the First Order in the way they may have done previously for the Empire. In addition to the politics and military statuses of the galaxy, we share our views on the individuals who lead the First Order, including Supreme Leader Snoke, Kylo Ren, and General Hux.
The storytelling segment focuses on the use of the Original Trilogy’s legacy heroes in The Force Awakens and the hints at their post-Return of the Jedi backstory revealed in the movie. A key touchstone for our discussion is Devin Faraci’s article at Birth Movies Death on the portrayal of Han Solo in the film. Faraci analyzes Han’s character arc in The Force Awakens as a regression to his early Original Trilogy persona rather than progression forward, and maintains that alternative characterizations and backstories for Han could have kept his role in the movie essentially the same in relation to the new generation heroes while making his characterization stronger and more believable to the audience. Our discussion of the legacy Big Three agrees in large measure with the kinds of concerns Faraci raises, and we discuss similar dilemmas with the portrayals of Leia and Luke in the movie, as well as Han.
Our plot bunny giveaway draws upon one of the great open questions after The Force Awakens: how missing scenes might be used to reveal or further hint at Rey’s heritage.
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Kay tweets @Geek_Kay.
B.J. tweets @RedPenofLex.
Jay Shah tweets @admiraljello.