!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!—-THE FOLLOWING POST HAS SPOILERS FOR STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
If you’re still here I can only assume you’ve seen the movie or you don’t care about spoilers. Just in case anyone has wandered on to this sentence unaware, the following will contain spoilers for the new Star Wars movie. My conscience is now clear.
Hey guys, pretty good movie huh? I’m not going to jump into a full review as our very own Kalan Kucera has posted a really good review here. Any of you who saw TFA and have also seen A New Hope probably noticed some parallels, such as the giant planet-destroying space station being defeated, or the protagonist being rescued from a desert planet, or just about anything else in the movie. Personally I thought the new movie featured enough originality that the similarities were fine, and even welcome in many situations. What I really enjoyed were the subtle throwbacks to the originals here and there. Since it’s Christmas week, we’re going to look at some of the presents J.J. Abrams put in for fans of the original movies. These little gems are commonly referred to as “Easter Eggs”, but it’s Christmas time and Easter is a long way off so we’ll just treat these as little gifts Santa Abrams left under the tree for us, and boy are there a lot. Since there are quite a few I’m going to limit my list of Christmas gifts to the five that I most enjoyed.
Most people know about Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca being in the movie. Going in I was hoping there would be some more minor characters which would make cameos. Of course, R2D2 and C-3PO made some minor appearances as well. What appeared in a “blink and you might miss it” moment were two of the most recognizable faces from Return of the Jedi. That’s right, Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb appear briefly during the Resistance council. They didn’t contribute much, but we did get to hear the little Sullustan giggle which Nunb made famous in ROTJ so I was more than pleased.
It’s no secret that the Millenium Falcon is a featured part of TFA. What was surprising were a couple of lines used to describe it which were reminiscent of A New Hope. First, our new heroes Finn and Rey were looking for a ship to use to escape the planet Jakku. While running Finn points to an off-camera ship and asks about it. Rey responds that it’s garbage. After the ship they’re running to is destroyed they opt to use the garbage ship which turns out to be the Falcon. The Falcon has been known to give bad first impressions, as Leia and Luke both refer to it as a pile of junk in ANH. At another point Rey comments to Han that the Falcon made the Kessel Run in 14 parsecs. Han, of course, promptly corrects her that it was 12 seconds, another reference to a conversation in ANH.
Remember that scene in The Empire Strikes Back where Darth Vader cuts off Luke’s hand and then tells him about his parentage? It was a bit of a big deal. One of the things we never find out from that scene is what happens to Luke’s lightsaber, which fell into the abyss when his hand was cut off. While we don’t know what happened during the interim time, the lightsaber is found to be in the possession of Maz Kanata in TFA. There is obviously far more to this story, but coming into the movie I hadn’t even considered the fate of that lightsaber, so it was a nice recall to such a pivotal moment in the franchise.
As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of similarities between TFA and ANH. Another one of these was a funny moment after Han, Chewy, and Finn capture Captain Phasma. Once they’ve used Phasma to lower to the shields of the base they have to decide what to do with her. Han, drawing on his own experience on the Death Star, asks Finn if there is a trash compactor somewhere. We don’t see what actually befalls Phasma, but it can be assumed that she ended up down the garbage chute.
First Flight on the Falcon
Back to the Milennium Falcon again. Once Han and Chewy have recovered the Falcon from Finn and Rey they go about settling in for their journey. During this first flight, Finn stumbles across a couple of things which we see in the very first flight of the Falcon from ANH. First, Finn picks up a ball, gives it a quizzical look then tosses it aside. This was the same ball Luke used as part of his lightsaber training with Obi-Wan. Finn also accidentally activates the chess game which Chewy and R2D2 play during that same trip. This scene in TFA was really the first moment when you could sense the juxtaposition of the original trilogy with the new movie. The Falcon, along with Han and Chewy, felt like they were part of a different time, but were still very much a part of this present as well. This phenomenon was evident throughout the movie and gave it a really special quality.
Full disclosure, I have only seen TFA once (which will be remedied shortly) so I know I probably missed some of these presents from Jolly Old Saint JJ. What were your favorite throwbacks to the other movies?