Thursday, March 17, 2016

Echoes in the Force: Some of the parallels between A New Hope and The Force Awakens

One of the most persistent criticisms of Star Wars Episode VII - The Force Awakens is that it borrows too heavily from the previous movies, especially A New Hope. Some of the parallels are obvious, to the point that some of the characters even comment on the Starkiller Base being similar to the Death Star. Personally I find the similarities to be interesting, and I think they add an extra layer to the film rather than detracting from it.

But just how many parallels are there? I thought it might be fun to see how many I can identify. I am sure that I am not the first to try this, but I'm not going to let that stop me!
Rey is basically Luke: grew up in a desert - doesn't know her parents - strong with the Force.

Finn is basically Han: reluctant hero - trying to save his own skin - often the source of humor.

Poe is basically Leia: back-talks the villain - needs to be rescued - believes in the Rebel cause and serves it from the start.

Han is Obi-Wan (much to his chagrin, I'm sure!): father figure - fought in the past conflict - passes the torch to the next generation - dies.

And of course Kylo Ren is Vader and Hux is Tarkin.

Okay, now let's look at some of the plot points!

The Force Awkens begins with First Order stormtroopers attacking the village on Jakku, like A New Hope begins with Imperial stormtroopers boarding the Tantive IV.

Kylo Ren and Vader both arrive only after the fighting is over.

Kylo Ren is searching for the map to Luke, like Vader searches for the stolen Death Star plans.

Poe and Leia both place the vital information inside a droid.

Kylo Ren kills the leader of the Jakku village (Lor San Tekka), like Vader kills the captain of the Tantive IV (Captain Antilles) for refusing to tell them what they want to know.

Poe and Leia both take out some stormtroopers and get captured.

Kylo Ren tortures Poe, like Vader tortures Leia.

Rey and Luke are both (seeming) orphans on a desert world struggling to eke out a meager existence.

Unkar Plutt barely give Rey enough to eat, keeping her from improving her future, like Owen Lars keeps Luke from going to the academy.

Rey saves BB8 from a Teedo, like Luke saves R2-D2 from Tusken Raiders.

Finn rescues Poe from the Finalizer, like Han (and Luke and Chewie) rescue Leia from the Death Star.

Finn crashes on Jakku, like Artoo and Threepio crash on Tatooine.

Kylo Ren and Hux bicker, like Vader and Tarkin sometimes disagreed.

Rey and Finn escape stormtroopers aboard the Millennium Falcon in Niima Outpost on Jakku, like Han and Luke escape stormtroopers aboard the Millennium Falcon in Docking Bay 94 on Tatooine.

Rey and Finn fight off pursuing TIEs on their escape from Jakku, like Luke and Han shoot down the TIEs pursuing them from the Death Star.

When Rey and Finn meet Han, he tells them about the Jedi and the Force, like Obi-Wan tells Luke and Han about the Force.

The Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub hunting down Han Solo for his bounty, like Greedo goes after Han in the Mos Eisley cantina.

The rathtars grab Finn with their tentacles and drag him off, like the dianoga grabs Luke and drags him under.

Han warns Rey and Finn not to stare at anything at Maz's castle, like Obi-Wan warns Luke that the Mos Eisley cantina "can be a little rough."

Finn and Rey both try to turn down the call to adventure while in Maz's castle. Finn tries to leave with two smugglers, while Rey runs away when she sees a disturbing vision through the Force and Maz offers her Luke's lightsaber. Both Han and Luke try to refuse the call to adventure as well. Luke tells Obi-Wan that he can't go with him to Alderaan. Han refuses twice: first when he does not want to help rescue Princess Leia from the detention center, and later when he turns down the Rebels' request to help them against the Death Star.

Starkiller Base destroys the peaceful Hosnian system, like the Death Star destroys the peaceful planet of Alderaan.

Hux, not Kylo Ren, gives the speech before the Starkiller Base fires, like Tarkin, not Vader, gives the order for the Death Star to destroy Alderaan.

That's when the parallels between the two movies become less exact, though of course the climax with Poe blowing up the Starkiller Base is a lot like Luke blowing up the Death Star. And there are plenty of parallels with The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi that I am leaving out for the sake of brevity!

That was fun, and honestly I am surprised by how closely the three main characters of the original trilogy align to their counterparts in the sequel trilogy.

Did I miss any parallels? Are some of my associations a bit of a stretch? Let me know in the comments!

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