An Idea About the Plot of The Force Awakens

I’ve floated the following idea by some friends, and since they received it well, I thought I’d commit it to writing.  Though I haven’t yet read anything similar online, I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it, so my apologies if this trail has already been blazed.

Needless to say, spoilers abound regarding Star Wars: The Force Awakens


…  I think we all noticed about three-fourths through The Force Awakens that the plot seemed, well, familiar.  I won’t go through every intricate similarity, but I absolutely believe the creators knew what they were doing and those similarities were not by accident.

Now that the film has literally made more than a billion dollars, they were very smart to give the audience what it wanted.  The film and the comparable plot obviously resonates with people.  They wanted a classic Star Wars movie, and that’s what they got!

But I believe the recycled story beats are working to do more than simply please the fans.  There’s was a saying in the Old West (and professional wrestling), that to be the best, you have to beat the best.

Rey is clearly one of the most powerful potential Jedi to have ever lived.  Within moments of her power’s awakening, she executes Jedi mind tricks, levitates objects, and wields a lightsaber like she’s trained her entire life.  She battles an adept villain to a standstill, assists blowing up a new “death star,” and offers solace to General Leia.  Heck, Chewbacca even even takes her on as a co-pilot before she personally finds and faces Luke Skywalker – heretofore considered “the best.”

I suspect Rey has great things in store for her.  But for us to take her seriously as a contender to Luke’s greatness, she must do everything Luke did in near equivalent circumstances, but do them even better.  In our first encounter with Luke, he never piloted the Millennium Falcon, he never came near mastering the Force, and he certainly never faced a villain close to Darth Vader’s caliber.

I love Luke Skywalker.  (It should be noted I am 39 and he was my childhood hero along with Indiana Jones and Batman.)  But I also love Rey.  She is very relatable and charismatic.  They set her up brilliantly within one movie to be the new hero of the franchise, a hero both worthy of Skywalker’s legacy and even proven capable of surpassing it.

To be the best, you have to beat the best.  (Feel free to “woo!”)

Star Wars: The Weapon Of a Jedi by Jason Fry – A Book Review

Set after A New Hope, this Luke Skywalker young adult novel is a fast-paced read that takes no time at all to finish.

Luke becomes distracted during a mission as The Force pushes him to investigate strange ruins.  If you ever wondered what circumstances led Luke to master his lightsaber, this is the book for you!

It’s fun reading a book dedicated solely to Luke, and it offers insight into the noble man behind the myth.  We even encounter a new antagonist called the Scavenger (who has already received his own action figure).

The Weapon of a Jedi is helpful in that is helps explain Luke’s path to becoming an actual Jedi, but it also lays the groundwork to future story lines, particularly in regards to the ruins he discovers.  I have to wonder if there is a direct connection between these ruins and Luke’s personal quest in the graphic novel Shattered Empire which impacts Shara Bey, mother of The Force Awakens’ Poe Dameron …


Star Wars: Shattered Empire by Rucka – A Book Review

This graphic novel collection is better than you’ve heard.  The cover is very misleading – the book actually features Shara Bey, a rebel pilot present at the destruction of the second Death Star.  She and her husband, Kes Dameron, serve in separate divisions, rarely getting to spend any time together.  Yes, these are the parents of Poe Dameron, the spunky pilot from The Force Awakens.

The book picks up during the celebration on Endor, but Shara soon finds herself completing missions with Han Solo, Leia Organa, and even Luke Skywalker.  The aftermath of the Skywalker mission proves particularly interesting and I have to wonder if its ending will play a significant role in the current movies.

So, to be clear, Shara is the star of this series, but don’t let that keep you from giving it a shot.  She’s a very likable character and you still get lots of time with your old favorites.  Greg Rucka is a very good writer – you can trust him to execute his craft well.

I also found the art dynamic and detailed as it progressed the fast pace of the plot.

I had no issues with this collection and enjoyed it very much.  Do be aware, however, that it includes the first issue of Princess Leia, as well as the very first issue of Star Wars from 1977.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – A (Spoiler-Free) Movie Review

(No spoilers, I promise.)

Thank you, J.J. Abrams.  You knew exactly what we wanted and you gave it to us.

This is a Star Wars movie.  It looks like a Star Wars movie, it feels like a Star Wars movie.  It has charm, amazing locations, nonstop action, humor, depth, likable characters, interesting plots, unresolved mysteries, and a real sense of adventure.

We have new, charismatic heroes, conflicted villains, and old favorites bridging the gap into this new era.  Those favorites, by the way, prove exactly why they became favorites in the first place.

I grew up a Star Wars kid.  I’m now 38 years old and this satisfied my every need.

The franchise is in good hands and I can’t wait to see where they go next.




Star Wars: Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka

For a book featuring a character called “Solo,” Han doesn’t have as big of a role as you may expect.

Set between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back, Han Solo agrees to take on just one more mission for the rebels at the behest of Princess Leia.  He’s tasked with rescuing a rebel named Ematt, one that may play a role in The Force Awakens.  Of course, it’s not long until Han finds himself at odds with a group of bounty hunters and the Empire itself.

Rucka perfectly captures the essence of Han Solo.  Charismatic but not always nice, this Solo hearkens back to the anti-hero of A New Hope.  Best of all, Rucka’s Chewbacca is a noble, trustworthy individual that operates as Solo’s conscience throughout the novel, as well as comedic relief.  There’s a reason we love this duo, and Rucka understands their dynamic masterfully.

I noted that there simply isn’t enough Solo in this solo adventure, and that’s because the chapters alternate between Han and an Imperial villain named Alecia Beck.  She is a commanding officer, merciless, and willing to do virtually anything to reach her objectives.  She stars in roughly 50% of the book, which makes me wonder if somewhere down the road she’s going to be a major player.  Perhaps one of the spin-off movies?  Maybe some future books or graphic novels? Only time will tell.

Because this is a young adult novel, it is incredibly fast-paced and short.  However, Rucka writes everything well, from novels to comic books to young adult books.  Star Wars fans of any age will appreciate this book and Han Solo fans will love it.  It’s definitely worth the brief amount of time it takes to read.

Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig – A Book Review

Though I haven’t heard great things about this first installment of a trilogy, I thought I’d try it out myself.  Unfortunately, it did not manage to capture my interest.

My biggest issue with the novel is that there are far too many characters without enough characterization to really make them stand out.  There are also far too many plot threads.  Perhaps these numerous story lines will all reach fruition in the subsequent installments, but I can attest to becoming more than a little confused as to who was who and what was happening.

Furthermore, I never quite lost myself in Wendig’s writing style.  He’s obviously a proficient writer – Disney and LucasFilm never would have allowed him into their playhouse if he didn’t impress them.  But on a personal level, his writing left me feeling unsatisfied.  Perhaps I’m mistaken, but it seemed as though he had an outline of events he was required to touch upon without ever really finding himself invested in them. I could be totally wrong, of course, but that’s my impression.  It all felt … disconnected.

Because I didn’t recognize any of the characters, failed to relate to them, and couldn’t keep up with an exorbitant amount of interludes, vignettes, asides, and preludes, I cannot bring myself to recommend Star Wars: Aftermath.


Star Wars: Moving Target by Castellucci and Fry – A Book Review

Set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Moving Target is a Princess Leia adventure showcasing her bravery, intelligence, and selflessness.

Han Solo has been frozen in carbonite, and though Leia yearns to rescue him, her loyalty to the Alliance must come first.  She volunteers to act as a decoy in order to distract the Empire as the rebels need time to plan their next move.

Unfortunately, her ruse may cost uninformed rebels their lives, and that’s something she just can’t live with.

Though this fast-paced book is aimed at a younger audience, I very much enjoyed it because it delivers  fresh aspect of Leia.  This Leia is not a damsel in distress nor regulated to a mere love interest.  This Leia is a politician, a strategist, a leader, and a warrior.  This Leia very much made me believe she could be the face of a rebellion and inspire thousands to join the fight.

Though appropriate for a young readers, I think Star Wars fans of any age will find this book riveting.  It also serves as a nice bridge between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi while offering a glimpse at the Leia of The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: Darth Vader (Volume 1) by Gillen and Larroca – A Book Review

Recently released by Marvel Comics, this first collected volume of the Darth Vader comic book series is everything a Star Wars fan desires.

Focusing solely on Darth Vader following the events of A New Hope, the dark lord must learn who destroyed the Death Star even as the Emperor seemingly seeks to replace him.  Vader must build his own army separate from the Empire as a safety net, but how does a villain of even his caliber go about doing so?

This volume introduces new, interesting characters while utilizing favorites like Boba Fett and Jabba the Hutt.  It references previous movies and may even offer hints to The Force Awakens.  It will satisfy even the most devout of Star Wars fans.

The art is fantastic.  Pay no attention to the fact you can’t see Vader’s face, Salvador Larroca masterfully conveys Vader’s every emotion through a tilt of the head or the power of a stance.  Salvador delivers visually the Vader we all love — regal, menacing, and powerful.

The author, Kieron Gillen, clearly understands Darth Vader, and he clearly understands why we are drawn to the villain.  Vader says little in this volume, because he doesn’t have to say much at all for both the other characters and the audience to perfectly understand his position on matters.  The story itself is captivating and important in that it informs us as to how Vader discovered Luke Skywalker’s identity.  It establishes the tension between the Emperor and Vader, and it even offers glimpses into the man trapped inside the machine.

This is the Darth Vader you’ve always wanted.  This is the Darth Vader with whom you fell in love.  This series gets everything right.