‘Star Wars’ spoilers ahead: 3 big questions raised by ‘The Force Awakens’

Let's talk about THE THING! And also the other things.

7:55 am EDT, December 17, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is in theaters. If you’ve seen the film, you’re probably dying to talk about what happened. Seriously, this post is chock-full of The Force Awakens plot spoilers. You do not want to be here if you haven’t seen it.

Are you sure you’re ready? Okay. You were warned.

Yesterday, Hypable posted a review of The Force Awakens, and it was a positive one. The movie is genuinely good, but of course, not every Star Wars fan is going to love it. In fact, some fans might hate it.

And J.J. Abrams will forever go down in history as the man who killed…

Seriously. Last spoiler warning.

…Han Solo.

Yeah. J.J. Abrams killed off Han Solo. It’s still hard to actually write that sentence. Obviously, one of our questions after watching the movie is some incoherent babble that sounds vaguely like whyyyJJwhyudodis… But we also have some other concerns:

1. Is Luke really Rey’s father?

The Force Awakens Rey Luke

At the end of The Force Awakens, the Resistance has finally found Luke. Rey takes the lightsaber to him, and they stare at each other, with tears in their eyes and — possibly — recognition. Earlier in the movie, Kylo Ren tells Rey that he sees the island in her mind. Luke’s lightsaber calls to her. It seems pretty obvious that she’s a Skywalker.

Yet they never explicitly state that Rey is Luke’s daughter. In fact, at the top of the film, Rey didn’t even know Luke Skywalker was real (though it’s possible she just didn’t know his real name). And, although Star Wars has traditionally been a family affair, you obviously don’t need to be a Skywalker to have the Force.

If Rey is Luke’s daughter, who is her mother? If she’s not… would that even make sense, other than simply to subvert audience expectations? Still, as obvious as her parentage seems, we haven’t ACTUALLY been told either way, so it’s all deduction and speculation at this point. Guess we’ll have to live with the twinge of uncertainty for another two years.

2. Can Kylo Ren be saved?

The Force Awakens Kylo ren

It would appear not. Kylo Ren Ben Solo has done what Luke couldn’t, and killed his father to ascend to the Dark Side. It’s possible that come Episode VIII, Kylo Ren will be the true villain of the new trilogy.

And yet, his mother is still out there. This gives Ben an anchor which neither Anakin nor Luke ever had. J.J. Abrams taught us long ago that all the best cowboys have daddy issues (see: Lost), but the mother has always been the wild card.

And of course, there’s also Luke — and Rey, if she’s indeed his cousin. I’m thinking there’s still enough light left in Kylo Ren for it to make some kind of difference, however small.

3. Why did Han Solo have to die?

The Force Awakens Han Solo

While the reviews for The Force Awakens so far have been positive (it’s hard to be negative without giving too much away), we can probably expect a huge backlash from long-time Star Wars fans, who will rage at the audacity of J.J. Abrams and Disney: How dare they kill off the series’ most iconic character to fuel the arcs of a new generation?! For decades, male Star Wars fans have identified with Han Solo; his romance with Leia has been #relationshipgoals for pretty much everyone.

And it’s not just that Han Solo died. It’s the fact that the most badass character in movie history went out not in a blaze of glory, but at the hand of his son, caught up with emotion and sentimentality. It was a powerful end, but some will call it unnecessary, or unworthy. Some will use Han’s death as a reason to reject the entire new Star Wars saga.

But I’ve finally accepted (after much gross sobbing) that it couldn’t have gone down any other way. If you’re not convinced, let’s break it down:

  1. We should have known that it would come down to the son killing the father. After all, this is what Emperor Palpatine wanted Luke to do, to fully embrace his Dark Side. Unless Kylo Ren wasn’t the true villain of the new trilogy (and at that point in the movie, it was clear there was no other viable option), there was no way he wouldn’t have to kill his father to complete his transition from Light to Dark.
  2. Suddenly, Harrison Ford’s enthusiasm about The Force Awakens makes total sense. Think about it: Ford has spent the past 30 years avoiding answering questions about Star Wars. He famously wanted George Lucas to kill him off in Return of the Jedi. But J.J. Abrams offered Ford what Lucas never could: A final, smash-bang adventure for Han Solo, a fitting end — and, finally, an end. It’s over for Han Solo, and Harrison Ford can retire from Star Wars at last. He must be elated.
  3. It was the perfect way to signal the end of an era, and the dawning of a new age. Yes, we had Finn and Rey and they’re awesome, but you knew that everyone in every theater in every city in every country was waiting for Han Solo and Chewbacca to appear on the screen. Han Solo helped bridge the gap between the original trilogy and the new, and then he fell back, allowing the new kids to take the reins. Han Solo is dead. Long live Star Wars.

You might not like this development. In fact, J.J. Abrams might just go down in history as the man who killed Han Solo. But it was a damn gutsy move — and it was necessary for the story to progress.

Search your feelings, you know it to be true.

What questions and theories do you have after watching ‘The Force Awakens’?

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