Thoughts on The Force Awakens

There’s no reason for this particular image other than I thought Daisy Ridley looks awesome here.

I’m mostly writing this out to articulate a few thoughts I’ve had about a core critique of The Force Awakens: It is just a rehash of the original Star Wars, which was far more intellectual and original.

Snobbery aside (I mean, have you seen the Flash Gordon or Buck Rogers serials? You’ll see prototype Star Wars right there), it got me thinking: why didn’t TFA strike off in some new direction or original narrative? Why bother with the callbacks at all?

It’s a matter of trust. And regaining it.

Or, to be even blunter: If George Lucas had not made such a hash of the prequel movies, TFA may have been a very different film, and possibly a bit more experimental. We are already seeing signs Rian Johnson’s Star Wars film will be very much a Rian Johnson movie: a little off kilter. But that room to play was purchased by TFA regaining the trust lost by the prequels.

Tim Buckley at CTRL-ALT-DEL does a way better job explaining it than I can, but in order to pave the way to the future, TFA had to call back to the past. It had to be familiar. It was the franchise’s way of saying, “Look, we’re sorry about that experimental neoTexan-Danish fusion dish. How about a twist on these Hassleback potatoes?”

The trust an audience gives to a storyteller is precious. It is gold. When that trust is violated, over and over, one must go back to the familiar as a starting point. And I think that’s the job TFA had: to tell the world we’re starting with familiar building blocks, so we can then make something new.

And if you don’t think there’s a lot new, I’ll present Phil Noto’s amazing art to show you:

We’ve shown our love and respect for the past. The future looks like this. And I can’t wait to see more.

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