*spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens included*
Watching the latest edition of Star Wars was a thrilling experience though not having Yoda, Palpatine, Anakin, Obi Wan or Jar Jar made it a bittersweet one as well. The setting is one of the New Republic and the First Order, of the search of the last Jedi (Luke) and the Sith-who-aren’t (Snoke?), the barren lands of Jakku and the Millennium Falcon. We have a new set of villains (eerily similar to the mask-wearing acolyte and a master with a damaged face) in Kylo Ren and Snoke. We do have good old Harrison Ford, as Hans Solo, on the lookout for a way to bring back his son to the good side, only to be brutally killed by his own son (who is Kylo Ren).
For me, the moment of truth, when Kylo was standing on a bridge, somewhat similar to the one on which Luke and Anakin (as Darth Vader) fought at the end of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and one is led to believe that maybe, just maybe, Kylo’s soul can be redeemed (no kudos for deriving this from the number of elements/themes in the movie that resonate with those in previous Star Wars editions), was an interesting moment. For a boy who always looked up to Darth Vader, Kylo went one better by actually siding by the dark side at that moment of truth, unlike when Darth was on the verge of losing his son and forsook the Sith Order, fulfilling the prophecy of bringing balance to the Force, in the process.
The movie, in itself, and its plot was fairly simple and straightforward, except for a few glaring questions that arise.
For one, who is Snoke, the supreme leader?
I don’t quite buy the Snoke-is-Plagueis line of thought. For one, Plagueis was quite dead and Palpatine saw to that, according to the Emperor. Secondly, if Plagueis is alive, Anakin would have died in vain and had effectively would then never have fulfilled the prophecy, thereby not being the ‘Chosen One’ at all. Too many hits to our comfortable idea of Anakin-ended-the-Siths view. Some had the theory that Snoke could be Vader. But then again, last I checked Vader was a Sith, unless one could come back to the light-side and not be a Sith anymore and then go back to being one (highly unlikely). There were other theories such as that of Snoke being Grand Moff Tarkin, a secret apprentice of Palpatine, Jar Jar (who one lot of Star Wars fans believe is a Sith!) or even the dark side of Kylo living as a separate entity. I, for one, do side by JJ Abram’s word that Snoke is probably a new character. New in the movies but an old character, probably even ancient (possibly connected to the fact that Kylo Ren’s light-saber is of an older, cruder design, with its associated side emissions, than the usual sleek sabers we have come to know of in the first six Star Wars films), who has been around for quite some time. He is definitely a powerful user of the dark-side of the Force and probably not as big as he likes to project himself as, in his holographic form. This one point has me really, really intrigued and interested in the next editions of the new Star Wars trilogy.
The second point is about Rey. Who is she? How did she suddenly get all the knowledge of using the Force in a few moments, during her fight with Kylo? …unless she was trained as a Jedi long, long back or has Jedi blood. The former relies on the theory that she was one of the Jedi apprentices in the Jedi temple who escaped Anakin’s massacre that took place when Palpatine issued Order 66. The latter relies on the theory that Anakin may not have been the only Jedi going gaga over a spouse and child. Could Rey be a Kenobi? Possible, though unlikely. Is she Princess Leia’s second child? Again possible, but unlikely, especially if one considers the point of Kylo calling her ‘cousin’ in a few games and places (apparently)…which leads us to the point that maybe Rey is Luke’s child. That would make the last scene of this movie, with Rey standing across a ridge of a mountain, facing Luke an interesting point in the story.
There are a few other points such as about who Maz Kanata is and how she got Luke’s saber, or how does C-3PO suddenly come alive at one point in the story? I had one other point (and question), which though wild in some ways may not be impossible: what if Luke Skywalker no longer is a true Jedi? He wouldn’t be the first in his family to turn to the dark side. That would be a massive hit to the New Republic but a good way to truly balance the historic Jedi-Sith order.
All in all, the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a good addition to the glorious line of films that have come to constitute such an exciting part of our childhoods in the ’90s. Looking forward to Star Wars VIII, big-time.