***FAIR WARNING...THERE BE SPOILERS BELOW***
Like most avid fans, I believe STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS (hereafter TFA) is a feast best enjoyed by multiple viewings. And so on my first viewing I was filled with the exact same youthful exuberance I had as a child for the original trilogy, a long time ago. It swelled inside me as John Williams iconic score began and exploded into gleeful, uncontrolled hand clapping at the slow prelude crawl. Like some fountain of youth, I was a kid again. And loved every minute of it. My second viewing left me equally giddy. I was and still am impressed by the effort taken to reignite the fandom after the perceived let down of the prequel films (which to be honest I enjoyed). I left the theater contemplating the film, the franchise and the direction of the series.
- Just as JJ Abrams succesfully rebooted STAR TREK, with TFA he has delivered to fans more of what they wanted, as well as a new foundation upon which Disney can build. And although initially concerned with them being the new owners, their stewardship might just be what the franchise needs. Who else but Disney has the track record for creating and popularizing fantasy realms that fans love and cherish? Star Wars and Disney are made for each other.
- While some critics and fans have bemoaned the story plot similarities between TFA and the first installments of their respective trilogies, A NEW HOPE and THE PHANTOM MENACE, from a narrative perspective it makes total sense (a narrative is an account or story of connected events; a recorded history). So viewed as a whole, STAR WARS is the epic narrative of the Skywalker family. And as such, when the lessons of history, including family history, are denied inevitably they are repeated. Most epic narratives follow some set pattern that recycles itself: The Bible, Beowulf, the Midde-Earth saga. So at least for me, the deliberate cyclical nature of the story is greatly appreciated.
- Probably the most over-riding question of importance in TFA is "Who is Rey?" While there are many good to great theorie already proposed, I believe there is a theory that carries the mot gravitas:
REY IS NOT THE BIOLOGICAL DAUGHTER OF LUKE SKYWALKER, BUT IS HIS CHILD BROUGHT ABOUT BY HIS MANIPULATION OF THE FORCE (just as his father was "conceived").
- The theory is that during his time mastering and gaining a deeper undertanding of the Force he discovered that Darth Plaugeis used the Dark Side of the Force to create Anakin Skywalker as the perfect apprentice and thus the Skywalker family line is inherently drawn to the Dark Side, from where it originated. So to bring balance he creates an apprentice using the Light Side of the Force that will not possess the family flaw (as witnessed by his nephew's turn to the Dark), and names her Rey. She will be a ray of light for the Skywalker family. And in doing so completes the narrative circle established from Episode 1.
- As for Supreme Leader Snoke's identity... he is none other than...SUPREME LEADER SNOKE. No, really I believe Snoke will be revealed to be an original Sith. Not an adherent to the Sith principles and faith like we've seen before with the Darth lords, but a real true SITH who founded the beliefs. And the Knights of Ren are acolytes of the old order.
Because I believe the writer/producers and Disney WILL continue the cyclic narrative of these trilogies, to some degree, here are a few things that may occur in EPISODE VIII:
- TRAINING SEQUENCES: fairly obvious considering where TFA ends, Rey's Jedi training should play a large role in the film's plot. BUT the inclusion of Kylo Ren's further instruction on the Dark Side (Sith) could be a wonderful NEW angle that has not been depicted on screen to date. Imagine if you will seeing the diametrically opposed training regiments of Rey and Kylo as it builds to their climatic confrontation.
- REVERSAL OF FORTUNES: the First Order will appear to come out on the better end of things, leaving our heroes reeling and unsure of their next move. Emerging victorious in some sense a the conclusion of the film only amps up the stakes for EPISODE IX, the final film in the new trilogy. What might the reversal entail: a major defeat of the Resistance in battle and the subsequent capture of a comrade in arms (possibly General Leia), an ill-advised rescue attempt that halts training, the destruction of the beloved Millennium Falcon?
- A SKYWALKER will lose a hand. Will it be Rey? Or Kylo Ren? Leia?
- BIG REVEALS: besides Rey's parentage, Snoke's identity, and where th Skywalker family fits into all of it, expect some other favorite characters to make an appearance. My guess LANDO CALRISSIAN or an heir of his.
That pretty much sums up whats been rattling around in my head after two viewings of STARS WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.