Not Dead Yet

You may once again be forgiven for thinking that I might have finally succumbed to the enticing pull of the hereafter. But I haven’t. I just haven’t written anything. Which is different.

After writing about too much Star Wars, I ran out of things to write about. Infinity War? Iron Man and Captain America will die. And Loki. Cyberpunk 2077? We’ll see it at E3. And…done.

If you’re in need of any more Hero’s guides, let me know. God forbid you find yourself out in the deep blue sea, surrounded by super-intelligent sharks that can swim backwards and you haven’t read a guide on how to handle the situation.

In terms of proper writing, I have just crossed the 85,000-word mark of my fifth novel today. Which will, when released be my sixth. And it will be book five of the NEXUS series. Yes.

If you read my books and can count, you may wonder what happened to book four (which should be my fifth novel but will actually be my sixth, except in terms of release, in which case it will indeed be my fifth. Just to clarify). I haven’t written it. My books do have slightly different tones, and some are too different to write from the same mindset. These two, to, have two too different tones. It’s true. So I’ve been unable to get myself in the right mood to write book four, but book five has been going fine. It is, if you are curious, taking a pinch of the noir from my thriller, Acts of Violence, and adding it into the mix. Not so much as to bring it out of the NEXUS series, but enough that I can’t write it and a lighter, more space opera-ish one at the same time (which is entirely in the style of Blades).

Aside from this I have been doing entirely pointless things like painting garden statues. I walked into Homebase just after Christmas and came face to face with a load of Star Wars characters. Naturally, I thought: I should paint those. So I did. Well, I (badly) painted Yoda and R2 and then lost the urge.

Yoda & R2D2 unpainted Yoda & R2 Painted

Then I decided to sculpt stuff out of polymer clay, which is the natural progression of painting polystone garden statues. I made Superman. Kind of. I am now working on a full figure of the main character of my current book. So if it looks wrong…well, it’s you who’s wrong. It’s going okay, except that I have no idea what I’m doing.

 Superman head sculpt   Figure sculpt

I also have a three-legged cat now. His name is Hop.

No doubt Thanos will demand that I return to say I told you so when dust is bitten, but hopefully I’ll think of something to say before then. So…bye. Bye then.

Bye.

Advertisements

My Last Jedi Questions

I’ve written my non-spoiler review, my spoiler review, and now I’ll cover the things I didn’t mention in some questions left over from the hole-filled The Last Jedi. These are all SPOILERS!

TLJ

Who are Rey’s parents?

People are saying that they think Kylo might be lying about Rey’s parents being nobodies. First, I hope not. Second, I don’t think so. For one thing, I’m nearly certain she’s the one who actually says it. She already knows, and Kylo just wants her to be the one to say it. He tells her ‘Say it’, and she says ‘They were nobody’. He then elaborates a little. But isn’t the point that he took that information from her own mind?

Where are the Knights of Ren?

When Kylo Ren burned down Luke’s academy, he took some other students with him. We’re led to assume that these became the Knights of Ren. Whether this is correct or not, we know that Kylo is the master of the Knights of Ren, so where the hell are they? Are they the Praetorian guards? Are they all dead or otherwise gone? Are they just not in TLJ? Hopefully, we’ll see them in Episode 9. I’d like to see Rey take them all on, her success – or perhaps near-success – maybe even scaring Kylo a little.

Why does a certain someone lie to Luke?

Trying to keep spoilers out of the bolded sub-headings… Yoda lets Luke believe that he burned all the Jedi texts, knowing – I presume – that Rey had already taken them. Why? Just because he’s a tricksy little thing? Was it somehow in Luke’s best interests? Was it to help startle Luke back to Jedi-dom? He does, after all, change his mind at the last moment, and then is horrified when Yoda magics a lighting strike out of the sky to do it instead.

Where did hyperspace tracking come from?

Well, this one I actually have the answer to. It wasn’t just conveniently pulled out of thin air for TLJ. In Rogue One, Jyn reads out the different technologies in the Empire’s database, data store thing. Hyperspace tracking is one of them.

What were the deleted scenes?

We know there were scenes deleted – such as a whole training sequence with Luke and Rey. Would these have added more substance to the film? One of the shots we saw in promos was of Rey charging, apparently into battle, with her lightsaber ignited. Was she originally supposed to be heading to help Luke fight Kylo? Was she therefore originally meant to fight Kylo? Was Luke meant to be there in person and die? Am I reading into it too much?

What kind of lightsaber will Rey build?

The colour is an interesting question – blue, green, purple? Green might mirror Luke, while purple would be a nod to Jaina Solo. But what type of lightsaber will she build now that Luke’s is destroyed? The most obvious choice might be a staff/pike or double-bladed one, since she originally fights with a staff. I’d rather not see that. Perhaps just a normal one, or even a rebuild of the destroyed lightsaber, which will crackle and fizz like Kylo’s. Or, since she now has two pieces of the lightsaber, perhaps she’ll even build and wield two? That might be a stretch.

How is the story going to be finished in just one film?

One thing that struck me was that, to me, The Last Jedi felt more like an opening chapter than a middle one (or a closing one as people are saying). It doesn’t feel as though one more film is going to be enough time to expand on and satisfactorily resolve everything that arose from TLJ. We’ll see.

Will we ever know who or what Snoke is?

And will we care? If he stays dead, I certainly won’t – it’ll be too late. They’ll have thought they could get away with not bothering fleshing him out because they were just going to off him. That’s lazy and bad writing. But if he does somehow come back – which wouldn’t be too surprising, since he’s supposed to be so ancient that it’s a bit odd that he just dies so easily – then we’ll still need to know more about him. But I don’t think he will. There’ll be a book that covers it, stupidly.

Temple

I’m sure there are plenty of questions that I’ve forgotten I have, and I might even update this after I’ve seen it again.

What were your biggest questions either not answered by TLJ or raised by it?

The Last Jedi – Good or Bad?

SPOILERS!

If you want to know what I thought of TLJ without spoilers – and who wouldn’t? – read this. Even if you don’t think you care about spoilers, some of the things that happen in the film are better off seen without prior knowledge.

I have still only seen the film once, so some things aren’t as strong in my memory as they could be and I may have forgotten things entirely. That said, the more time passes, the more small and big issues I think of. So, as usual, this isn’t really a review – because I don’t know how to do those – it’s just a mess of thoughts thrown at the screen.

TLJ

Humour

The humour is made apparent from the very first scene. The conversation between Poe and Hux is simultaneously very funny and concerning. Poe’s side of this conversation is fine – it makes sense to his character and helps us to continue liking him right away, just like the ‘Who talks first’ bit in TFA. Hux’s side, however, is too slapstick stupid. You can imagine he’ll next throw his hat on the ground and jump up and down on it while shaking his fist at Poe’s retreating X-Wing. It doesn’t fit the character – set up to be genocidal and almost Hitler-like – the dangerous and soon-to-be tragic situation, or Star Wars as a whole.

Porg

This humour continues to go too far. Chewbacca about to bite into the roasted porg when he spots a group of porgs watching him, their little faces horrified. Very funny. The close-up of the last porg with its lip quivering, stupid. Funny again, but something that should be in Shrek, not Star Wars. And what was that with Snoke redirecting Rey’s lightsaber (yes, I consider it hers now, not Luke’s) and hitting her in the back of the head with it? Was that meant to be funny? It didn’t hit her hard enough for it to be serious, surely? If it is meant to be funny, it’s totally out of place and wrecks the tension and drama of the scene.

It’s like the filmmakers watched Guardians of the Galaxy and thought ‘we should do that’. No, you shouldn’t. That’s not to say there weren’t times when the humour worked. The caretakers and their dislike of Rey worked well. And…other stuff…probably.

Luke Skywalker and Rey

Mark-Hamill-as-Luke-and-Daisy-Ridley-as-Rey-in-Star-Wars-The-Last-Jedi

These two worked well together, but when you look past the humour of Luke throwing the lightsaber away, the caretakers, the porgs, etc., the scenes on the island were actually fairly pointless. Luke didn’t teach her a damn thing. He just felt sorry for himself the whole time and then she left. He didn’t teach her to use the Force, he didn’t teach her to use the lightsaber (it’s fine that she could already use it well enough to surprise-defeat a wounded and distracted Kylo Ren in TFA, but now she needs to know how to wield it properly, like a Jedi – luckily she…just does), he didn’t teach her any Jedi principles.

Just as she randomly knows to use a Jedi mind trick on James Bond in TFA and how to pull the lightsaber to her, in TLJ she uses the Force without any training. All Luke teaches her is to reach out with her feelings, and then suddenly she can lift a dozen giant boulders with no problem. Even Luke struggled to lift the X-Wing in the swamp, and he had the most powerful Jedi Grand Master teaching him. I was looking forward to Rey lifting his X-Wing out of the ocean, too.

Rey

This part of the film needed so much more time. As I predicted, the film starts with Luke being the last Jedi, and ends with Rey being the last Jedi. The problem is, she in no way earned that title. How can she be a Jedi when Luke didn’t teach her to be a Jedi. She’s just a Force-wielder. There is apparently a whole training sequence cut from the film, but given that his first two ‘lessons’ didn’t really teach her all that much, who knows how much good the third would have been?

As for Luke’s final redemption, in a sense, it felt very much as though the only reason he was projecting himself there rather than being there in person was to surprise the audience. Okay, his X-Wing might be wrecked now after being underwater for so long, so maybe he doesn’t have a way off the island, but really it felt like it was just there to be unexpected. When they opened fire on him and he survived, I thought we were witnessing the power that a true Master can wield – despite the fact that technically, he never moved beyond being a Padawan and has been cut off from the Force for a long time. When Kylo’s foot scrapes the ground and reveals the red sand but Luke’s doesn’t, I thought it was just a nice visual thing because Kylo is a damaging, heavy-handed dark sider, while Luke is a harmonious blah blah blah…it wasn’t that at all.

The other problem is why the hell did he just randomly die afterwards? Kylo says that Rey can’t be linking the two of them because the effort would kill her, so I assume that is foreshadowing and letting us know in advance that the effort of projecting himself like that is not something that even Luke Skywalker can survive, but it just felt out of nowhere. I genuinely didn’t expect him to suddenly disappear like that. I thought that was his part done for TLJ and he’d go out with Leia in the next film.

Leia

Leia

Leia’s role in this was fairly small, as she spends half the film in a coma. She’s too accepting of everything. She no longer seems bothered by Han’s death, she gives up on their allies answering their call for help too easily, she admits that her son is gone too casually, and appears to have no problem with Luke dying. Perhaps we’re meant to think it’s because of all of the trauma she’s gone through since the originals, starting with Alderaan, and with each death – many of them the deaths of the people under her command – she has grown more emotionless, but it doesn’t come across well.

Then she dies. Except she doesn’t! In a throwaway scene that’s never mentioned again, she uses the Force to survive the explosion, the decompression, and the exposure, and Mary Poppinses her way back onto the ship. It’s quite good, and is more Force use than I expected to see from her (I expected some, but more in line with sensing Luke and Kylo than this), but it needed something more. No one even mentions it. All it needed was for someone watching to say ‘Well, I guess she IS the sister of a Jedi Master…’ and that would have been enough. I honestly think some newcomers and people who aren’t that into Star Wars won’t even understand what happened. This would, of course have led to the question of why didn’t she train as a Jedi, but all that would have taken was for her to respond with ‘Because my father was Darth Vader’, and everyone would have understood.

Finn, Rose, and Poe

Finn+Rose+Poe

This was a mess. Poe’s part in the film was perhaps the strongest of the three, but they really felt as though they were only there because they had to be. The film desperately wanted to be about Rey, Luke, and Kylo, but knew that these other characters had been introduced in the last film, and still had to be utilised somehow. The result is a completely pointless storyline where Finn and Rose go to a casino to find a hacker that will board the First Order flagship and stop them being able to track the Resistance through hyperspace.

And it is literally pointless. They find a hacker, go back, don’t manage to do the hacking, and the Resistance is nearly wiped out. Almost exactly what would have happened if they had never left. The only difference is that Benicio del Toro betrays them and tells the First Order how to detect all the little ships taking the Resistance down to the planet. This is not something that was worth all of that screen time. So much of that time could have been given to Luke and Rey so that there could have been some actual training going on.

The Rose/Finn romance is completely out of the blue and stupid. And now Rey is going to be jealous of her. Which I hate, because I’m sick of the idea that a male character and female character must automatically have some kind of romantic interest in each other. Why can’t Rey and Finn just be damn good friends, like Luke and Han? Oh, because their genders aren’t compatible in that way? Okay, sure.

Poe meanwhile has a hostile relationship with an admiral who takes Leia’s place. I think we’re meant to suspect that she’s working for the First Order, because they make a big deal out of Snoke laughing approvingly of how Hux is able to keep up with them as they try to flee, when it’s actually nothing special at all. They can just…track them. That’s all. So she refuses to tell Poe her plans, he mutinies, finds that she was actually in the right, then she dies heroically.

First, all of that could have been easily avoided by her not being a moron and actually letting Poe in on the plan – it’s only because that would have been inconvenient to the ‘story’ that she didn’t. Second, they killed of Admiral Ackbar in the blink of an eye – I didn’t even realise he had been one of the ones killed until it was mentioned – instead of giving him the heroic ending, which would have been more fitting. Third, that scene was one of the best in the film. It was visually stunning. The use of silence for it was perfect. I wouldn’t argue with anyone using the word ‘spectacular’.

Snoke

Snoke

Snoke is dead. This did not come as a shock to me at all. I think it was meant to be the biggest twist in the film, but really it was the only thing they could have done to keep it feeling fresh and not just working off the original trilogy template. I don’t have a problem with it; however, I do have a problem with the fact that Snoke seems to have been built up only so that we’d be surprised when he’s killed.

We don’t know anything about him. Background doesn’t really matter for someone like Rey or Poe or Rose, because what they are currently doing is more important, but we’re talking about a powerful dark side Force-user who seems to have been unknown by both the Jedi and Sidious. If he was a Jedi back then, why didn’t he get wiped out by Order 66? Is that why he has the facial damage? It’s unlikely, because he’s supposedly ancient (which only makes it more absurd that he’s now just suddenly dead). If he was a Sith or other dark sider all along, why didn’t Sidious know about him? Why didn’t he try to kill him – there should be only two, after all. Where the hell has he been hiding all this time. WHAT is he? We’ve been told before that he’s not Sith.

He’s dead now and we’ll either never know, or only know now that it doesn’t matter. I suspect a book will appear that will explain it, which is not okay at all. Don’t leave giant plot holes and missing information and the like because you know a completely different medium will take care of it. Most of us aren’t going to bother with any tie-in novels.

Rey and Kylo

Rey+Kylo

Again, it felt like the film desperately wanted to concentrate on this stuff and ignore the Resistance. Rey and Kylo are done well individually and together. I was very pleased that Kylo stays bad and Rey stays good. Those were two of my biggest concerns going in. I also like that there was something there for those who wanted to see Kylo redemption. He wasn’t evil; he just wasn’t light side. He helps Rey arguably more than Luke does. You could say that it was manipulation to get her to come to him and Snoke so that he could kill Snoke, but I don’t think it was wholly that. It seemed a little more genuine – especially since Kylo invited her to rule with him.

I don’t think it would have suited either character to change sides, but it worked to have them connect with each other and actually begin to care a little about each other. There was no ‘Reylo’ rubbish, which also pleased me. They had a connection, and everything worked on that, but it wasn’t – or at least didn’t seem to be – a romantic thing. Which it shouldn’t have been. She hates him for murdering her surrogate father, Han, but is good enough to look past that and know that there is still some good in him, and try to bring him back to the light.

Drama

There isn’t much. The most obvious omission is any kind of dark side temptation for Rey. She senses the dark side, and Luke says that both sides are strong on the island. Then when she goes looking at the dark side pit, he claims that she went straight for it and so he won’t teach her. Well, that means nothing. She doesn’t understand about the light side and dark side – there’s no reason she wouldn’t go and have a look. No reason she would know to resist. It doesn’t mean her eyes will instantly turn yellow and her lightsaber will magically turn red.

Luke Vader

When she physically goes into the pit, there’s nothing. Some mirror thing that seems utterly pointless. There’s nothing she has to face like Luke had to face Luke Vader in the cave. Nothing meaningful down there to teach her about the Force or herself.

The only drama, I think, comes from Luke vs Kylo. Except eagle-eyed fans, we didn’t know what was going to happen there. Luke couldn’t have won, but it didn’t feel like the time to kill him either. Those eagle-eyed fans would have spotted that he was holding the lightsaber that had just been destroyed, he looked younger because of more than just a hair cut and beard trim, his feet didn’t disturb the ground, and he’d already said to Rey something along the lines of “What do you expect me to do, walk out with a laser sword and face down the First Order?”. Everything else just tried to shock and surprise, and mostly failed.

Luke almost killing Kylo is a point of contention, I think. A lot of people don’t like that. But to me, it was a knee-jerk reaction to suddenly sensing Snoke’s dark side influence. Almost like he would have grabbed and ignited his lightsaber if he’d spotted Snoke peering in the window. I don’t think it makes Luke bad.

The Force

The Force in TLJ is almost a character in its own right. But only the light side. If it is strong enough to just turn Rey into a Jedi without any input from…an actual Jedi, lightning-strike a tree and destroy it, and so on, shouldn’t the dark side have been stronger too? I like that Rey isn’t at all tempted by the dark, as for me, that suits her character. However, if there’s not going to be that kind of temptation, couldn’t the dark side have whispered to her, tried harder to lure her or trick her down in the pit? Something?

And there’s Yoda. He was good. He was a puppet. That was nice.

The-Last-Jedi-spoiler-review

And this has kind of fizzled out now. It’s too long, so the remaining stuff (before I watch it a second time and come up with more), I will put in a ‘questions I have‘ post.

Overall, I feel like The Last Jedi has far more problems than The Force Awakens did, yet I think I like it more. Rey remains my favourite Star Wars character. What did you think of it? What were your favourite bits, worst bits, biggest questions…?

Also Star Warsy:

The Force is with Leia – But Which Side?
The Force is Awake
My 11 Force Awakens Questions
Dawn of the Jedi
The Galaxy Needs KOTOR III

The Last Jedi?

The-Last-Jedi-spoiler-review

I’m quite fond of Star Wars. I’ve watched the original trilogy perhaps literally more times than I can count, and I can count well into two digits. I even liked the prequel trilogy when I first saw them all – though subsequent viewings made me realise how foolish I was. The Force Awakens was a return to the kind of Star Wars that I love, but does The Last Jedi keep it up?

Yes.

But wait, there’s more! Without spoilers. Unless you consider ‘You’ll love the twist in The Sixth Sense!’ a spoiler because now you know there’s a twist. I will do a spoilery review thing later.

TLJ worried me for multiple reasons. Mark Hamill is, just possibly, not the BEST actor in the galaxy, and I was concerned about him having such a big role. Rian Johnson is known for doing things with his films that might not do well in Star Wars, and was reported to be doing things that have never been done in Star Wars, and stuff like that. Early reactions stated that this would be a polarizing film; that the saga had been going one way all this time, and now it would take a sharp turn.

I needn’t have worried about any of these things. I don’t honestly know what those people were talking about – I don’t think anything was particularly polarizing or direction-shifting. Neither was I particularly surprised by anything that happens, whether I’d already had a theory about it nor not. But not in a bad way – I didn’t leave disappointed that there was no ‘I am your father’ moments. It didn’t lack fresh takes on things and decisions that will surprise some, though.

Story-wise, I was concerned about what choices would be made with some of the characters. What worried me most was that their endeavors to make a fresh, unpredictable story would take characters down paths I didn’t want to see them go down. I can’t say what I was concerned about, because then saying that I needn’t have worried would perhaps be a spoiler.

 

Mark-Hamill-as-Luke-and-Daisy-Ridley-as-Rey-in-Star-Wars-The-Last-Jedi

All-in-all, there were a handful of small things I didn’t like much, and one big thing I didn’t like. But overall, it was an improvement over Force Awakens, it was very funny – perhaps too often – and I want to see it again. Now.

Before I get to a spoiler-filled post, here are some other Star Wars things I’ve babbled about:

The Force is with Leia – But Which Side?
The Force is Awake
My 11 Force Awakens Questions
Dawn of the Jedi
The Galaxy Needs KOTOR III

 

Jedises? Ben & Rey Skywalker?

The Last Jedi first artwork

The small bits of Star Wars: The Last Jedi artwork that we’ve seen have got people talking again – as though anyone needed an excuse to talk about Star Wars. Who is/are the last Jedi? Who are Rey’s parents? What is the connection between her and Kylo Ren? Why the hell did R2 magically wake up for no reason at all?

The most popular theory seems to be that Rey is Luke Skywalker’s daughter. I’m in two minds about whether I like the idea of the galaxy revolving around the Skywalker family, but if she is to be a Skywalker, I’d rather it was maternal. In the no-longer-canon Expanded Universe, Han and Leia have twins (and a third child, but who cares about him?): Jaina and Jacen Solo.

Jaina and Jacen SoloJacen turns to the dark side, while Jaina remains in the light, so Kylo and Rey taking an approximation of these roles would be a decent nod to this. Plus, Jacen kills Luke’s wife, which would add to the justification of Luke running off to sulk in the films.

The downside to this is that there’s little likelihood that Han wouldn’t know that Rey is his daughter. Sure, they could have been split up like Luke and Leia, but there would have been no reason to do that, or to keep her secret from Han. Plus she was around six-ish when she was dumped on Jakku – though this is probably about the right age to hide her to keep her safe from Kylo and Snoke.

Failing this, I’d quite like her to be Obi-Wan Kenobi’s granddaughter. His relationship with Satine in The Clone Wars is canon, so it’s a vague possibility. The downside to this is it still leaves room for the absurd Rey/Kylo romance people seem so desperate for.

As for The Last Jedi, we seem to have confirmation that it is meant as a plural. It’s possible that the foreign language versions were simply translated as plural but not actually told that it was, so I’m not taking it as a fact. But it seems likely. Even if Luke is the last at the beginning of the film, if he trains Rey to be a Jedi, there would be two of them by the end. But, given that Snoke is supposedly an ancient being, is it plausible that he was at some point a Jedi? Could The Last Jedi refer to Luke and Snoke? (No, I do not in any way count Leia as a contender.)

And who’s to say Rey will become a Jedi anyway? Perhaps the old ideas of Jedi and Sith are over, at least for a time. It would be interesting to see her become a balance of light and dark, rather than the extreme of either. This is a concept used in the Dawn of the Jedi graphic novel, and it would be interesting to explore beyond just the realms of Jedi = light side and Sith = dark side.

What do you think about these questions? Who is Rey? Who is Snoke? And seriously, were they that lazy at writing that R2 has no actual reason for waking up?! Will Benicio Del Toro be Boba Fett’s son?

My 11 Force Awakens Questions

X-Wings

These might not be the most burning questions everyone has, but they are ones that I hope will be answered in the next film – but some I fear won’t be answered at all. I had a few others, but they’re answered in books and whatnot.

SPOILERS, obviously.

Who are the Knights of Ren?

We know, thanks to Supreme Leader Snoke, that Kylo Ren is the ‘master of the Knights of Ren’. But who are they? Is Snoke their leader as well as the First Order’s? Did he poach Kylo from them? Did Kylo create them himself?

My previous theory regarding them was that they were the remnants of Luke’s new Jedi Order – those who sided with Kylo when he turned on Luke. It doesn’t seem likely that he would have left the Jedi to become one of them before becoming Snoke’s apprentice (assuming he is Snoke’s apprentice – I don’t recall either of them using the terms ‘master’ or ‘apprentice’ or anything similar), as Leia says that Snoke seduced Ben Solo to the dark side.

We heard before the film that the Knights of Ren were obsessed with the Sith and spent their time hunting for Sith artefacts, but we learned absolutely nothing about them from the film, bar that Kylo is the master of them. Perhaps the biggest question regarding them is: are any of the other Knights of Ren Force wielders?

I’m going to add to this the question of Kylo’s lightsaber: why is it the way it is. Why is it so unstable? Why does it have the guardy bits?

Why does Kylo Ren’s power falter?

When Kylo tries to pull the lightsaber to his hand, he fails. I mentioned this before and concluded that it could be one of two things. Either Rey’s attempts to pull it were disrupting his, or that the crystals in it are so imbued with the light side that they resisted his dark side power. Most likely the former.

However, Adam Driver has said that his lightsaber is a metaphor for the character. That it is unstable and could stop working at any moment. The unstable part we saw, but the ‘stop working’ part we did not – for the saber or Kylo himself.

Perhaps the question is redundant, then, and Rey is the reason he fails to pull the saber. But having killed his father and thus completing his journey to the dark side, and being wounded and surely fuelled by pain and anger, he should be more powerful than ever.

Kylo Ren

Why did R2D2 wake up?

R2 was in low power mode since Luke left, but conveniently wakes up at the end of the film and happens to have the rest of the map that the Resistance needs. Is there a reason for this or is it just a pitiful plot point thrown in for convenience? Unfortunately, J J Abrams’ answer seems to say the latter.

Apparently R2, in his low power mode, heard that they needed the map piece and that eventually leads to him waking up. It’s a case of, after a sad death, the audience needed someone to ‘come back’. I can’t help but feel this is just bad writing.

I was thinking that perhaps Luke somehow activated him from a distance, or that he detected Rey’s arrival and activated, or…something. It’s still possible there is a reason that would be considered a spoiler, and so J J is keeping it to himself, so let’s hope so.

Who left Rey and why?

Rey calls Jakku home. According to the wall she marks at the start, she has done for a long time. More specifically, according to her vision she was left there as a little girl of, I’d guess, between six and nine. But who left her? Why did they leave her? And why did they never go back for her?

The answer could be anything, of course. Her parents may be people we’ve never heard of and they left her for reasons we couldn’t possibly know yet. Or perhaps we do know her parents. The main theory seems to be that Luke Skywalker is her father, but I don’t know what I think about that.

Could she have been at the new Jedi academy when Ben turned into Kylo and destroyed it? In her vision, he does walk towards her – but is that just a fanciful vision-y flair? And if she was there and was somehow rescued or something, why would she not remember? Was her mind wiped? That would be a pretty cheap and poorly written trick to play on us, I think.

The Force Awakens Rey

How does Rey use the Force so easily?

I know she is strong in the Force, but how does she go from thinking the Jedi and the Force are a myth to using a Jedi mind trick on James Bondtrooper? Twice. And Force pulling the lightsaber to her hand.

Channelling the Force mid-fight is understandable enough, because Maz Kanata tells her to close her eyes and feel the Force, or whatever, and that’s what she does. It did take me two viewings to make that connection, though.

Again, perhaps she was already being trained by Luke and her memory was wiped but, again, that would be weak in my opinion. Besides, a padawan of that age surely wouldn’t have been taught mind tricks.

My theory on this is that when Kylo Ren dived into her mind, something of his Force power imprinted on her. But it wasn’t mentioned or explained in any satisfactory way. ‘I can’t explain it’ is the closest we get to any explanation.

Who calls Rey in her vision?

There are voices in the vision Rey has while in Maz’s basement. Yoda is the main one. But as she finds herself in the snowy woodlands, someone calls her name. Who? It sounds remarkably like Alec Guinness’s Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it’s hard to tell with only one word. Plus, we don’t yet know what Luke Skywalker sounds like these days, so it could be him.

Luke looks a little shocked and/or confused when Rey turns up at the end. Would he look at her like that if he’d been calling her through the Force? Perhaps his subconscious was doing it. If it was him, how does he know her name? Thanks to the Force?

EDIT: I could have deleted this part. Apparently it IS Obi-Wan – they took his voice and cut it to make him say ‘Rey’, and had Ewan McGregor record ‘these are your first steps’. Which is interesting, since Obi-Wan doesn’t say those precise words anywhere in the originals (or the prequels, I think), thus meaning he must be actually speaking to Rey.

Why does the lightsaber call to Rey?

‘That lightsaber belonged to Luke, and his father before him. Now it calls to you.’ That is, perhaps not word for word, what Maz Kanata tells Rey. But why does the lightsaber call to her? And what does that actually mean?

The lightsaber presumably doesn’t have a consciousness and is literally calling her. ‘Psst! Hey! You with the hair! …….touch me.’ So I presume it’s the Force guiding her to the saber. But why? Why does the Force care about her picking up a lightsaber. So is it the power imbued in the saber by the grace of it being constructed by a powerful Jedi and then wielded by Luke? But again, why her? Simply because she’s strong enough in the Force to hear it? …I may have answered my own question.

The Force Awakens Lightsaber

Why is there a map to Luke?

And why is the main part of it in the Imperial archives? Surely the point of him going into hiding is that he’s hidden. Why would there be a map at all, let alone one that’s broken into two pieces? Or is the map actually to the first Jedi temple, which Han says Luke went looking for. That would make a little more sense, though the island doesn’t exactly look much like a temple to me.

That still doesn’t explain why there is one piece taken out of the map. Luke could conceivably have somehow done it to cover his tracks, but why wouldn’t he just delete it?

What exactly is the awakening?

Yes, we all assume that it is the Force awakening in Rey, but is it? The Force almost certainly guides Rey when she flies the Millennium Falcon. It probably guides her when she slams the door on the…rathtar? Raktar? Tentacle thing. I don’t think she does anything else before Snoke asks Kylo if he’s felt the awakening.

But surely, the Force has been guiding her before that. Perhaps she has done nothing quite so intensive up until then. Or perhaps she isn’t the awakening at all.

Why is Luke looking for the first Jedi temple?

Okay, he’s run away. The Jedi seem to do that a lot. But why go looking for the first Jedi temple? A nice day out? Does he feel like he can be closer to the Force and the essence of the Jedi? Does he think that he will find Jedi teachings there?

And where is the temple? It seems like an incredibly quick hyperspace hop, compared to the other hyperspace journeys. Look how long they were in hyperspace between Han and Chewie’s freighter and Maz’s place. You’d think the first Jedi temple would be somewhere a bit further away and hard to get to. More interesting, in short.

Where has Snoke been hiding?

Granted it isn’t mentioned in the film, but we know that Supreme Leader Snoke is ancient. Even if we didn’t, he’s clearly older than 30. So where has he been all this time? Where was he when Darth Sidious was prancing about as Palpatine? Did he know that the Emperor was the Dark Lord of the Sith? If not, why didn’t he try to seize power?

I suppose it depends a lot on what Snoke is. If he is a Sith, he should be governed by the Rule of Two: one master, one apprentice. So, perhaps he was hiding from Sidious and Vader, knowing that they would want to kill him if they knew of his existence. But don’t we want someone who we feel is more powerful than the enemies who have come before? So why wouldn’t he have done Sidious in and taken power for himself?

Has he come from outside the galaxy perhaps? Is he, as many have wondered, actually Darth Plagueis, Sidious’s master? Andy Sirkis says no. There must surely be a reason that no one has heard from him until now.

Lastly, if he is ancient, does that mean that his species is long lived? That the dark side has kept him alive? Or that he has mastered ‘essence transfer’ – immortality through taking over another’s body? Is that what he is grooming Kylo Ren for?

Supreme Leader Snoke

What questions were you left with? Do you know/think you know the answer to any of mine?

The Force Is Awake

The Force Awakens

This will be a pretty short ‘review’ anyway,but before I mention any spoilers, I will say that The Force Awakens is very good. It does suffer from some pacing issues, though, so that it feels too rushed and doesn’t contain any of the more relaxed, slow scenes that the originals had. It also contains some things that are a little too easy and convenient – and no they can’t be excused with ‘Oh, it’s the Force manipulating events’.

These two things are really my only problems with the film, which is good. Well, that and the music wasn’t remotely memorable, which is a shame. And a few too many scenes and lines from the trailers found themselves cut from the film itself – a couple of which were very good lines. But otherwise, it was better than the prequel trilogy combined, though that’s not really saying much. The fact that it was entirely predictable and nothing happened that surprised me couldbe taken as a negative, but since I liked pretty much everything that I predicted, it isn’t a bad thing.

I can’t say anything more, really, without it being slightly spoilerish. So, here begineth the spoilers!

SPOILERS!!

So, the timeline is pretty much what we all expected. Ray on Jakku, Finn breaking Poe out, Finn finding Rey, them finding Han, Finn fighting Kylo, etc. But most of the film in general is what I expected. It’s quicker to say what was different.

I thought Finn would die – though I stopped thinking that closer to release – but instead Han died. I thought Rey would be Han and Leia’s daughter but instead Kylo is their son. And that’s pretty much it. Not, as I said, that it’s a bad thing, because I wanted Rey to be the Force sensitive. I wanted the film to be mostly about their search for a missing Luke Skywalker. I wanted him to have disappeared after trying and failing to rebuild the Jedi order.

I’m not really sure what to say about it. It wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped, but it was much better than I’d feared. The issues, as I mentioned were really only the rushed pacing and the convenience of some things.

Maz just happens to have Luke’slightsaber? Oh, that’s a story for another time is it? So you’ve definitely got an actual reason have you? It’s definitely not just a convenient plot point because you couldn’t be bothered coming up with a decent way for the saber to come into their possession. Please don’t try to excuse it with ‘the Force did it’. Had Rey found herself there without Han’s help, then I could buy that, but it was Han who thought that was the place to go. That’s a little far fetched even for the Force, I think.

And Rey just happens to be able to do a Jedi Mind Trick completely out of the blue when she shouldn’t even know that such a thing exists. She doesn’t even know she can use the Force. My guess is that Kylo Ren inadvertently awoke the Force within her when he delved into her mind. Perhaps her getting into his mind too somehow imprinted some knowledge of the Force on her, but I don’t know. It seems far too convenient.

R2D2 just happens to wake up in time to show them where to find Luke? Okay, that one is more interesting. It happens to coincide with Rey arriving at the Resistance base. Perhaps Luke knows about her and has him waiting. But there are things wrong with that theory. First, Rey is about 6 when she’s left on Jakku. Unless Luke is the one who dumped her there, how would he know about her and have R2 waiting for 20 years before waking up for her? Second, Rey isn’t there in front of R2, so how would he even detect her presence? Is he Force sensitive too?

Kylo Ren lightsaber

I really wanted Rey to be the Force sensitive one, though I’m not sure why, so I was glad when she started to hear the whispers and cries and I recognised it as the Force speaking to her. I liked Finn more than I’d expected, but I couldn’t imagine him become a Jedi.

I can’t help but feel that Chewbacca should have gone on a rampage after seeing his friend killed, rather than getting a bit upset and then kind of never being seen for any proper length of time again. I think Han should have fallen onto the bridge, not off it, and then Chewie should have fought his way through Stormtroopers to get to his body. However, it was a bit of a sad death. It should have been more sad than ‘a bit’, though, and I didn’t really feel it until the Leia/Rey hug (how did Rey even know that was Leia?), and that was thanks to the music. And why did Chewie And Leia – the two people who care most about Han – completely ignore each other? Shouldn’t it be them hugging?

I don’t know what else to say – I need to see it again. At the moment, in my mind, it’s mostly just a mess of action sequences cobbled together into a film.

It’s very good, and I want to see it multiple times again, and I very much want to see Episode VIII now.

Last thought: is Snoke a Sith? Or something else? And if he is, could he even be the apprentice? What if he has taken Kylo as his own apprentice in preparation of confronting his own master? …Probably not.