“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”


Character posters for the film. From left to right, Kylo Ren, Rey, General Leia Organa, Han Solo and Finn.

No matter what galaxy you’re from, you probably already know that “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” came out Dec. 18 and set a box office opening day record of $120.5 million. Old faces such as Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), are back, alongside new faces including Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).

The familiar blue font that reads, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” appears on the screen before the opening crawl that explains how the last jedi, Skywalker, has gone missing after jedi training gone bad and the First Order, which has replaced the fallen Galactic Empire will not rest until he has been defeated. If you remember from the original trilogy, the empire’s base, the Death Star, was destroyed in both in, “A New Hope” and “Return of the Jedi,” but it’s back. Again. Although, this time it’s been renamed the Starkiller Base.

After Darth Vader’s death in “Return of the Jedi,” his heir and biggest fan, Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), has become the new face of the First Order. Ren is desperate to outdo Vader and “finish what he started,” by using the force that has been passed down to him for evil. But first, he must find the rumored map that will lead him to Skywalker. This leaves the audience wondering how he is related to Vader.

In the opening scene, General Organa’s most daring pilot, Dameron, finds part of the map to Skywalker and stores it inside of a droid, BB-8. The First Order, Ren and stormtroopers under his control set foot on Jakku, the same planet that Dameron is on, in search of the map. When Ren is unable to find the map, but discovers Dameron instead, he brings him back to the Starkiller Base. He then uses the force to manipulate Dameron into revealing the location of the map.

FN-2817, a rebellious stormtrooper who no longer wants to fight for the First Order, rescues Dameron from his cell in the Starkiller Base, because he is in need of a pilot. When exchanging names, Dameron gives FN-2817 a nickname, Finn. The two of them escape in a stolen ship from the First Order, a TIE Fighter, which ended up crashing nearby on Jakku. Unable to find Dameron in the remains of the ship, Finn abandons it on his own in search of a new pilot and ship, with knowledge of BB-8 carrying the map. It is on Jakku where he meets last-nameless Rey, a young girl who lives alone and trades metal scrapings that she finds in exchange for food. Finn spots her because she is accompanied by the droid, BB-8.

The three of them are forced to flee Jakku, because the First Order was able to track Finn down from the stolen TIE Fighter. While looking for a way to escape, Rey comes across a ship that she calls “garbage,” that should be recognizable to all Star Wars fans, but ends up having to pilot it when the only other ship in sight explodes. Rey and Finn are able to escape from the First Order’s ships just before she comes in contact with the owner of the ship.

Maybe “The Force Awakens” was a little (or a lot) like “A New Hope,” just with a new trio, but JJ Abrams could not have been more promising for the rest of the upcoming third trilogy and it does manage to get you right in the heart a few times.