Note: There are spoilers throughout this article. Stop reading now if you do not wish to see spoilers.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters, Thursday night. Unfortunately it did so with a myriad of plot holes, pointing to some major failures in the writing.
A lot of the film appeared to be a reboot of Episode IV: A New Hope. A jedi apprentice turns to the dark side, and his Jedi Master trainer flees into hiding. A resistance sprouts up against an evil imperial government. Said evil has built a world destroying, super sized weapon. An X-Wing pilot uses the one weak spot in the giant weapon, to destroy it. And throughout this an orphan, from a desert planet, realizes that they can use the force. Then, in a bit inspired by Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, this heroic individual goes to a remote planet to find a Jedi Master, who had gone the way of a hermit, to get them to train them. Even Episode VII’s music seemed mostly to just be a copy of the original trilogy, with nothing standing on it’s own.
Before delving, with further detail, into the writing issues, lets start with some major editing failures. In The Force Awakens, Starkiller Base sucks all of a sun’s energy into it’s core, destroying the star, to power it’s super weapon. Both times that the base destroys a star to use it’s weapon, there is still sunlight on the planets, after their suns are gone. This is shown on Takodana, while the rest of the Hosnian system is taken out, and on D’Qar after it’s sun is destroyed. Takodana still having sunlight could be explained if Starkiller Base sucked up another star, before coming into the system. However, in the movie we watch as D’Qar’s sun is swallowed by the base, so unless there was a second sun, it should have gone dark on D’Qar. This is something that the editors should definitely have picked up on.
While on the topic of Starkiller Base and the Hosnian system, how is it that the New Republic did not notice their sun being destroyed? Again this could be explained if the base took out a different star, somewhere else, maybe even it’s home star. Either way, shouldn’t the Republic fleet have noticed a planetoid suddenly appearing in their system? We know from the original trilogy, in Episode IV: A New Hope, that rebel sensors caught the first Death Star entering their system, and that was much smaller.
Or is Starkiller Base firing it’s shots from across the galaxy, without moving? If so this would explain the editors. However, if it is not moving then it would seem that either it would run out of ammo fairly shortly, unless built in a system with a large excess of stars. Or did it move, but still fire across the galaxy? Either way, it’s shots wouldn’t be moving faster than the speed of light, and therefore would take who knows how many years to reach it’s targets, clearly giving time for evacuation. Firing across the galaxy just seems implausible, it would have to get up close and personal to be effective.
Another thought about the New Republic. It was stated that the attack on the Hosnian system wiped out all of their ships. Was the New Republic only one system? If not why would all their ships be in one place? A new partially galactic spanning Republic, would have at least dozens if not hundreds of systems, and therefore dozens of fleets spread across their territory. If only one system, the New Republic wasn’t worth much. If more than one, then the First Order clearly made a declaration of war, by taking out the Republic’s capital. Which for some reason isn’t Coruscant anymore. While that in itself isn’t an error, it is but one of many questions that are brought about with a thirty year gap between movies, without books to support the gap.
We have a lot of similar questions about the First Order’s history. They appear to have come from some remnant of the Empire, but nothing is really told to us, in the movie. Something that further explained might be, in later episodes, and as books begin to popup.
Then there’s Jakku. Why would all those Star Destroyers be left on the planet? Scavengers, like Rey, have been hitting them for decades. However, wouldn’t some major corporation have come in, to do a proper salvage job? The steel and armor plating alone would have to have been worth it. Literally billions in credits lying around, someone would have seen a profit.
Moving on from that, let us focus on characters, beginning with the bad guys. Captain Phasma seemed all exciting, but was a massive disappointment in that she didn’t do much of anything. Any storm trooper could have done what she did. However, if she somehow managed to escape wherever Han Solo, Finn, and Chewbacca put her, then managed to escape the explosion of Starkiller Base, she’ll be coming back with a vengeance in Episode VIII. Even though it would be asking a lot, I hope she does as this character seemed to have such promise, until the movie was released.
There isn’t a lot to say about General Hux. Clearly he and Kylo Ren have a semi competitive relationship. Definitely not the mutual respect we saw between Darth Vader and Moff Tarkin. He’ll likely be back for Episode VIII and it’ll be interesting to see if he and Ren end up enemies or not.
Very little was told us about Supreme Leader Snoke. Mostly we know that he looks a lot like Gollum, and has an almost Wizard of Oz love for over dramatic holograms to portray his presence. He’ll definitely be back for Episode VIII. Maybe then we’ll find out if he is a Sith, not a force user, or something else entirely. Til then we just don’t know.
Kylo Ren, well the simplest way to put this is that he came off as a whiny little emo bitch. Sorry I just can’t find a nicer way to say it. Anakin Skywalker, in Episode II: The Attack of The Clones, was less whiny and a stronger character. Due to his parents, we would expect that he had some sort of privileged upbringing, yet he falls to the dark side. Unlike his grandfather, he seems to have a lot of issues accepting his choice. He also seems to avoid using the Force, when in battle. Yes, he uses it to keep people from shooting him, and to probe their minds, but when fighting he relies solely on his light saber. To me, that suggests he isn’t actually that strong in it, or that he doesn’t trust himself. Hopefully there will be a lot of growth with his character, it definitely needs it.
Also, if he is so keen on emulating Darth Vader, why hasn’t he taken on Darth as a title? Speaking of names, I do really question why his parents named him Ben. It makes little sense for them to name them after someone they barely knew in Han’s case, and didn’t at all in Leia’s. Naming him Bail, after her adoptive father would have likely made the most sense.
Leia, in this movie, is barely there. She’s this general figure, leading the resistance, once again trying to stop the evil forces of the galaxy. She simply doesn’t have much of a role in this movie, but that doesn’t matter a lot. It does make sense that she and Han would end up their separate ways after their son falls to evil. Both of the characters we know would find comfort in their old lives.
Han has a larger role in the film and so there are many more questions. His use of Chewie’s bowcaster is a slight issue, with it being a Wookie weapon, that requires their strength. Of course that information comes from books, which no longer exist, but still does make a lot of sense. Wookieepedia, does state that very few humans could utilize the weapon, but that it was extremely difficult for them. In the movie, we see that Han does it with ease. Also, why would it take til now for Han to have ever tried it. If Han could fire it, I certainly can see Chewie having loaned it to him for some target practice. The bow aside, I can not see Han and Chewie leaving the Millennium Falcon behind. No matter what, they would have done anything to get their ship back. I just don’t buy it.
Yet another thing I just don’t buy is Luke leaving and going into hiding. That just doesn’t fit his character from the original trilogy. Even if he had randomly decided that he did want to go hermit, he would’ve gotten things taken care of first. He learned in the original trilogy that things sometimes just need to be taken care of, no matter who it is that has turned to evil. And if he had needed reminding, Obi Wan and Yoda would have been telling him, through the Force, not to follow their mistakes of running from things and letting evil take over. If they hadn’t been convincing enough, his father Anakin would have been there, as well, stating that they were right. Anakin would have been telling him how to help turn Ben back to the light. Luke’s leaving I expect to be explained in Episode VIII, but it still won’t be logical based on what we learned in the original trilogy.
With his leaving of a map, clearly he eventually wanted to be found. He left it behind, and stayed where it said he would be, so that he could be found at the most desperate time. This makes sense, if we accept whatever reasoning they come up with, for his abandoning the galaxy. However, why would he leave Anakin’s lightsaber and R2D2? I can think of many possible explanations, but again they just don’t fit with the Luke we knew. R2 is his best friend and companion, but he may have needed to leave him to give them the rest of the map. Ok then, but the lightsaber is a lot harder to explain, as we have no previous reference, in the movies, for an object to give the visions we saw it give Rey.
R2D2’s long term nap was also a major disappointment. Let’s face it, we all know he’s the real hero of the movies. We saw bits of it in the original trilogy, and then in the prequels we saw even more, with him even taking on two B2 super battle droids. And what would cause him to suddenly awake, at the end of the movie? Why not before? The best theory I’ve heard on this is that he sensed the awakening of the force in Rey, but that leads us down a path of force sensitive droids. If he was asleep to this degree, it would have made the most sense for him to wake up, when BB8 arrives with the rest of the map.
C3PO’s red arm. What a cheap piece of an excuse to give him a few more lines. There was no need for the red arm.
Chewbacca was still Chewie. I just found it ridiculous that after they return to Resistance base, he just walks right by Leia. No, Chewie would’ve grabbed her in a big Wookie hug and mourned Han, with her. He would not have kept on going, which would’ve avoided the randomness of Rey and Leia, who have never met, hugging it out.
Rey is a pretty great character. My issues with her are how quickly she became a force adept, strong enough to take on Kylo Ren, who is in theory the best trained in the galaxy. Granted, we know she’s a good fighter, but she shouldn’t have been able to take on a trained Jedi, turned Sith, who was currently flooded with tons of raw emotion, which would make him even more powerful (note Anakin against the Tuskens, in Episode II). Before her fight with Ren, we see her escape by using mind control on a storm trooper. Where did she even get that idea to try such a thing? Maybe she possibly had heard stories of Jedi doing such things, but at that point in the movie she still hasn’t truly accepted that she is connected to the Force. It is only later, during her battle with Kylo that things click and she realizes she’s able to use it. In the original trilogy, Luke’s training was rushed, but it happened over the course of four years. Yet in just a few days, Rey has become almost as powerful. Many questions have arisen about her origin, and her parentage will be of major importance and could be a focus of the next movie.
On to Finn, and well he doesn’t seem to plausible. First off, if the First Order works so hard to control their troopers, then why wasn’t his desire to escape noticed earlier? Secondly, once noticed, why was he given free reign of Starkiller base? Wouldn’t they have locked him up for reconditioning or extermination? Furthermore, he later tells Han that he worked in sanitation. How did he then end up on the mission to recover the map? Considering this was a mission of top importance, that both Kylo Ren and the supposedly elite Captain Phasma were on, wouldn’t you have expected all the troops present to be the best of the best from hardened veteran soldiers? Yes, his presence is key to the movie, but it in no way makes logical sense.
Lastly, Finn and Poe’s bromance. Hey, I just met you, but want to be the bromance of my life? Seriously, those two were instant. Maybe they should’ve toned it down a little, to make it more believable. Otherwise, Poe’s character was simply a hot shot X wing pilot. Nothing really special, just someone else who was present, but didn’t actually feel necessary to the plot. Any pilot could have taken his place.
I should note that all of these are things I noted in just one single viewing of the movie, so there may be more, that I did not notice.