The last time fans saw Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C -3PO and R2D2 together, emotions ran high with pride of victories. George Lucas brought to life a complex tale of open warfare fought on a galactic scale thirty eight years ago. The characters were swept up in the drama of Star Wars, some willingly, some reluctantly, but in the end, respective goals were met. The Death Star was destroyed. Luke faced his fears, reconciled his heritage, and brought his father back to the Light. The Emperor is gone. Darth Vader is gone. The celebration in the Ewok village on the Forest Moon Endor is a memory. The latest film is now in cinemas. The control of the galaxy is in the hands of the First Order. The New Republic and the Resistance threaten their power. Skywalker is a wanted man again. One of the best modern cinematic fables continues with The Force Awakens. It all happens a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.
The heroes came together because of the need for a greater good. Each from different places in their life journey. The common bond is loss of roots. They are outsiders who wanted to be somewhere, and to be someone. They found acceptance and faith in each other. Now, the heaviness of battle is in their eyes. The death of friends, mentors, and comrades creates an emptiness inside heard louder and louder when the fighting stops. No matter what, life goes on, children are born, and family angst continues.
The Force Awakens storyline revolves around disappointment of a child taken by temptation. Han and Leia call their son Ben. Is he Benedictus? The blessed. How could they know he would become Ben-oni? The son of my sorrow. A mother can think as long as he is alive, there is a hope. The parents bear the pain of knowing he is theirs. They endure the shame of things as they are. What did we make together? Kylo’s redemption seems impossible.
The established and new characters are each on a life course that brings them together based on need. A need for power in some. A need for acceptance in others. A need for many to live free of hate and toil. The Skywalker family are working out karma with each generation. Theirs is to walk the paths of lightness and darkness. The Force flows strong through their ancestry. The ability to shape the will of others is godlike. Is anyone worthy of such powers? Can any human stay in balance with this at their command? This power does lend to them a solitary existence. Who are their equals?
Rey – A scavenger, left behind to find her way alone. Vestiges of childhood in a homemade doll. Every sun down marking the wait in blasting sand and blistering sun. The heart of a lioness when charging her prey. The staff she carries is her spine exposed. Tis of ironwood and will not break. She is Nike, the goddess of victory. In BB8, she could find no truer friend. Courage will be their steady companion. Destiny has swept her out into the stars where she finds her soulmate. They spit and snarl at first, but once met cannot be separate for long. He wants her but, finds his power taken. She will best him this time. Can she coax Luke to step into the Light again? A Skywalker’s fate is to be among the stars. The Light is close. It is not your destiny to be alone. It was not a failure. It was the Force. It set you free once, let it find a home in your weary heart again. Let it in Skywalker. The fey elfin Rey, played skillfully by Daisy Ridley.
Kylo Ren – A panther, prowling in the night. The ghost of Vader brings comfort. Every step pulls him farther to the dark side. The heart full of passion. A warrior eager for battle. Behind the mask is a young man corrupted by want. The Force brings him courage and strength. He mistakes what a man can be and snuffs out life. He is Mars, the god of war. She bested you. She struck you with the Light. How could you take him? How could you blame him? The dark can be a great comfort; it is so warm and close. You are not meant to be alone. You were born in love. Why do you destroy it so eagerly? The capricious Knight brought to life by Adam Driver.
Finn – A stormtropper who makes a choice. In his first battle with orders to kill innocent villagers, he considers the consequences and cannot do it. He takes a chance and runs away. His actions bring him into the heart of the conflict. The challenges he faces escalate. When the fight is fair, he finds his courage and fights until struck down. He is afraid but moved through the fear to fight another day. Finn follows his conscience. Played with endearing anxiety by John Boyega.
BB8 – A heart of gold rolls along in this droid. What a joyful character. How brave to fly into battle. BB8, as R2D2 does, keeps secrets safe. They grieve the loss of companions. They accept things as they are and move forward. Andare sempre avanti e non fermarsi mai. Keep on going and never stop. Their instincts are superb and relate with as much, sometimes more emotional intelligence than the humans. The clunk, clunk, clunk of BB8 down the stairs following Rey into the rooms below the House of Maz Kanata was only one of so many charming moments. Keep up, stay close, and take care!
The curtain is drawn on the first act. We lost an old friend. The Star Wars saga continues to the delight of so many fans old and new. J. J. Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt have brought the story forward with much brilliance. The space ships, planets, creatures and droids fill the imagination. The villains and heroes are in place. The screenwriters, artists, technicians and special effects wizards present a flawless cinematic experience. Fans of old are thrilled to see Admiral Ackbar back in the war room. The trumpet fanfare heralding the overture to the Star Wars theme by Maestro John Williams reminded many of dreams awoken so long ago. We missed you so much and cannot wait to see the rest of the story.