MAJOR SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS LIE AHEAD!
I was one of the lucky few to go to a midnight screening of Star Wars on December 17th and all I can say is... WOW! It was the perfect way to continue the Star Wars franchise! My main concern before watching the film was the idea that the film would try and have a different feel and approach to the franchise. I am so glad it did not do that. The Force Awakens has perfectly captured the feeling of the original trilogy and has delivered a perfect homage by doing so. Whether it be a throwback, a one-liner or simply characters popping up from previous instalments, The Force Awakens was the greatest Star Wars tribute. Let me walk you through some of the biggest homages;
The opening sequence
What an entrance for Kylo Ren. His army of Stormtroopers defeated and rounded up a band of traitors. He killed a man who refused to give him information and proceeded to take Poe Dameron hostage for information. This is all too similar to Darth Vader's army defeating the rebels, him force choking a man to death, and then kidnapping Leia for information. A great parallel to draw between Kylo Ren and the villain he aspires to become.
Escaping from the film's opening sequence? Check.
Travelling through a desert? Check.
Being rescued by the main character? Check.
BB-8's journey to deliver a map to the Resistance drew many similarities with C-3PO and R2-D2's quest to find Ben Kenobi in A New Hope.
Poe and Fin's escape
While being held captive by Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron is let free by a stormtrooper who turns out to be Finn. Does anyone recall how Luke rescued Leia from Darth Vader? Yep, he was in a stormtrooper outfit.
Worthwhile comparing Luke and Finn's happiness when they shot down TIE Fighters. Was just waiting for Poe to say "Don't get too cocky kid"!
The Millennium Falcon
You couldn't help but feel all giddy inside when you saw the Millennium Falcon on screen for the first time in over 30 years! Seeing Rey pilot the Falcon through the death star wreckage on Jakku was a sight to behold!
Rey referring to it as a "heap of junk" was a great callback, as was her mention of the ship making the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs. Was also great seeing the ships breaking down like it used to, providing the comic relief of the original trilogy.
Finn finding Luke's remote that he used to train on the Falcon was a great find for many fans.
Supreme Leader Snoke is the new Palpatine
Remember how shocking it was finding out that Darth Vader had a master. The most ruthless man in the galaxy actually answered to someone? Well it was kind of a shock when we found of that Kylo Ren is merely a puppet to the 25ft Snoke! Even at that Snoke is still training Ren, while also running the entire First Order.
The Starkiller's destruction
This one felt too similar to the Death Star's destruction in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi. Although it was great to see, I felt like JJ Abrams played it too safe with the destruction of the Starkiller base. I would have liked to have seen the base in construction, and save it for VIII or IX.
Mirroring of Ben Kenobi's death
Han Solo's departure is quite possibly the saddest moment in the entire saga. Seeing his lifeless body fall from his son's lightsaber brought the entire cinema to a standstill. While it was a heartbreaking moment, I couldn't help but notice many parallel's between Han and Ben's death in A New Hope. The stories main villain murdering the old leader of a group of misfits. The death happening on an intergalactic space weapon. The parallels are all present, and while Han's death was much more soul destroying that Ben's, both deaths affected the main characters greatly. Luke and Rey both scream "No!" as they see their friends chopped down, and are then met with Stormtrooper gun fire.
The scene was obviously written as a poetic swansong for Han Solo and J.J Abrams wrote it beautifully. We will forever miss you, you scruffy-looking nerf herder!
There were many one-liners that were used as a tribute to the entire saga. The first one that caught my eye was the ever present "I have a very bad feeling about this", perfectly written for Han Solo.
Before Rey embarks on her pilgrimage to become a Jedi, General Leia tells her "May the force be with you". It's worthwhile noting that these are the final words spoken in the movie.
Captain Phasma being threatened to be thrown down a trash chute was a direct reference to Han, Luke, Leia and Chewbacca being trapped in a trash chute back in A New Hope.
Rey's Jedi mind tricks on a weak minded Stormtrooper was a great nod to Ben Kenobi on tattooine telling two Sandtroopers "These are not the droids you are looking for". A great reference for many fans.
What was your favourite callback in The Force Awakens? Have I missed anything out? Comment below and I'll be sure to get back to you!