It's that time of the year when studios send the screenplays of current blockbusters out into the world for awards consideration, and the amazingly successful [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) is no exception.
Why is this cool? It's cool because — though the script itself is not yet available for public consumption — it means we get to take a more in-depth look at the semantics behind the screen. It might not seem like the "words on a page" themselves could tell us more than we've already seen on screen, but you'd be surprised.
Before we go any further, spoilers lurk in the depths below. You've been warned...
Beyond The Screen
Screenplays are handy tools because they reveal the motivation behind the actions we see on screen, something which is often lost in translation.
Descriptive passages in screenplays often reveal a lot more than what ultimately gets translated over onto the screen, including characters' emotions, reactions and other little things which may have been lost somewhere between page and the final cut. And as they say, the devil is in the details.
There's something particularly interesting in the Star Wars 7 script regarding the meeting between lost and found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and newly awakened Jedi Rey (Daisy Ridley). These details come our way thanks to Slash Film, who reportedly obtained a look at the Force Awakens screenplay sent out to the Writers Guild of America.
It's worth noting that the script was presented pretty much in the form of the final film itself — including improvised or altered dialogue and excluding deleted scenes (we'll have to wait for the DVD release to see those we suspect), which means that the descriptive passages are intended to reflect what's going on during the final, cinematic cut.
We Now Have A Name For The Planet
So when Rey finally tracks down the elusive Skywalker atop that hillside staring mournfully out over the sea we were denied even hearing Mark Hamill speak, as the movie pretty much ended right after the big reveal. It was the pivotal moment which the film had been building up to, so of course it ended in somewhat of a cliffhanger. Gotta leave a jumping off point for [Star Wars: Episode VIII](tag:711868) after all!
But the screenplay expands this specific moment quite a bit; first off we get a name for the watery planet upon which Luke has been chillaxing all these years while his protege's been wreaking havoc on the galaxy, and it's "Ahch-to" — a planet not previously revealed in the Star Wars canon.
Slash Film did a little digging and discovered that "Ahch" is actually a Hebrew word that means "brother," and they've taken this as a possible sign of a familial connection between Luke and Rey (though it seems impossible that they'd somehow be brother and sister). However this might just be a nod towards General Leia (Carrie Fisher) sending Rey there to find her brother rather than a big clue towards Rey's parentage, or it might be a reference to the brotherhood of the Jedi Order.
Rey, Meet Luke
Luke's extended starting contest with Rey had some of us a little confused. He didn't seem all that surprised to see her nor did he speak to her, so it was unclear if he knew exactly who she was.
But according to the descriptive passages in the script Luke immediately knows who Rey is, and what she's doing on Ahch-to, as he "doesn’t need to ask her who she is, or what she is doing here."
According to the screenplay Luke looks at Rey with "kindness in his eyes, but there’s something tortured, too." Interesting... Clearly there's more to the backstory between Luke and Rey than we were first shown. It's tempting to read this as proof of the prevalent theory that Rey is Luke's daughter, which does make sense but also comes across as a bit too obvious.
The Force Awakens...
Personally, I think this feeds into something we've posited earlier, that Luke was on the island protecting the First Jedi Temple while awaiting the awakening of a new Force sensitive (or the Return of the Jedi, if you will). More likely Luke is aware of Rey because - apart from himself and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) - she's the only other known strong Force sensitive in the galaxy; and he's not surprised when she shows up because he showed her the way.
Sensing the full awakening of Rey's power during her climactic fight with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) on Starkiller Base, it's possible that Luke activated R2-D2 remotely in order to have the droid lead Rey to him so that she could begin her training. This also solves the potential "R2-D2's convenient awakening" plothole.
Finally there is of course mention in the script of the lightsaber itself, as Rey holds it out to Luke as "An offer. A plea. The galaxy’s only hope." And then the screenplay (and film) ends with: "HOLD ON LUKE SKYWALKER’S INCREDIBLE FACE, amazed and conflicted at what he sees, as our MUSIC BUILDS, the promise of an adventure, just beginning…"
Amazed AND conflicted — perhaps Luke is amazed that Rey managed to find and wield his lightsaber, but likely he's conflicted because he knows well what happened to his last batch of Padawans. By training Rey not only does he open himself up to losing his trainee again but also the possibility that — like Ben Solo — she could turn to the Dark Side.
One thing's for sure though, it's tough to be a Skywalker.