Star Wars: The Force Awakens is without a doubt, the most anticipated film in years. Even if you have no interest in Star Wars whatsoever, you know about The Force Awakens and you will most likely see it when it comes out. For more avid Star Wars fans like myself, there are certain things we want and don’t want from this upcoming film. Episode VII has a lot riding on it. Common consensus is that the prequel trilogy was never all that good. It had some bright features but as a whole, it was a major disappointment to the majority of Star Wars fans who fell in love with the original films. Therefore, The Force Awakens could be the Star Wars film that fans have been “patiently” waiting for since 1983. With this in mind, I have compiled a list of things that I want to both see and feel from the Force Awakens.
Relax With the Lightsabers
The lightsaber is the weapon of the Jedi and the Sith. A blade of pure energy that must be honed and focused by the user in order to prevent serious harm. The rite of passage for both Jedi and Sith involves constructing their own lightsaber that is unique to them. When the original Star Wars films came out, the lightsaber was seen as this mystic weapon with so much power and wonder behind it. It was only used when absolutely necessary and when a lightsaber was activated, it was a truly powerful moment. The duels between Darth Vader and Luke were that much more momentous because it was a rare occasion when we got to see the lightsaber in action and it resulted in memorable moments that are still being talked about and recreated in homes all over the world.
Unfortunately, when the prequels came out, it seemed like a requirement for the film was to have a lightsaber used in every other scene. At the beginning of The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi whip out their lightsabers when they see toxic gas enter a room. As if a lightsaber is going to help combat gas which can occupy an entire space. Then in Attack of the Clones, we see Yoda instructing a bunch of 5 year old Padawans that all have training lightsabers. The prequels ruined the concept of lightsabers. They took them from being a mystic weapon of power and made them this accessory that everybody seemed to have on their person and had no problem using whenever they saw fit. When The Force Awakens is released, I want to see less of the lightsaber. Only use it when it is absolutely needed and that will result in a powerful moment in the film that people will be talking about for 30 years. Many are already concerned about the new cross guard lightsaber used by antagonist Kylo Ren in the upcoming film. However, if this lightsaber is used in a conservative fashion, it could be a revolutionary moment in the Star Wars Universe.
Let’s Get Emotional
The moments we remember best in films are the ones that are emotionally-stirring. Star Wars is no exception to the list. The best moments in the original Star Wars films are the ones when the characters conveyed real emotions that made the audience sympathize for whatever the character was going through. When Luke finds out that Darth Vader is his father. He screams out in agony and horror. Not only do we see and hear his pain in learning of this revelation. We feel it. We are all just as shocked and horrified as Luke is. It’s because of this emotional intensity that we continue to remember and cherish that scene 35 years in the future. In that same film, we also experience sadness upon seeing Han frozen in carbonite after revealing his true feelings for Princess Leia with a line of dialogue that will forever be etched in the minds of fans everywhere. It is the dialogue and emotion seen in the original movies that made them so great. That all seemed lost in the prequel films. Anakin and Padme have a scene together where Anakin makes a horrendous metaphor to sand that made everyone cringe. Even the characters displayed no emotion. Qui-Gon never smiled sincerely. Jar-Jar is an abomination in every possible way, and Anakin had no real emotional development, even though the entire prequel films were centered around his rise and fall to Darth Vader. There were moments when he felt pain and anger, but we never felt it. It was too forced. I want the characters in The Force Awakens to bring back that emotion seen in the original films. Dialogue, body movement, and the actions that the characters make should carry some emotional weight that makes us feel for whatever we are seeing and remember that feeling for years to come.
The characters themselves should not be the only ones dealing with emotion. The conflicts between the different characters should also carry some emotional weight. One of the best things about the original Star Wars films were the conflicts seen between the heroes and villains. When Han Solo is surprised by Darth Vader in Empire Strikes Back, we see a fire in his eyes as he pulls out his blaster and fires five shots at the Sith Lord. True, Vader blocks all of the shots, but the intensity of that scene is what makes it so impactful. One of my favorite scenes is in Return of the Jedi when Luke is battling Darth Vader. Vader is taunting Luke and brings up how he plans to turn Leia to the Dark Side. At this point we see Luke snap. He yells, lunges at Vader, and goes into an absolute frenzy with his lightsaber. Vader can’t handle blow after blow and is eventually defeated by the enraged Luke. This scene is so powerful because we see Luke display so much raw emotion and anger towards Darth Vader. There is no method to how he is fighting. Instead he is guided by his rage and frenzy towards Darth Vader, his father. Even when Darth Sidious proceeds to torture Luke for not turning to the Dark Side, we feel Luke’s pain and Vader’s resentment for obeying Sidious for decades. Truly one of the most powerful scenes in the franchise.
This is the sort of meaningful conflict that has to be seen in the Force Awakens. When a hero battles a villain, there has to be emotional weight behind it. The characters can’t be afraid to let their anger and rage guide their actions. One of my biggest peeves with the prequel films is seen in the Phantom Menace. Obi-Wan has just witnessed his master be slain by Darth Maul. Instead of seeing and feeling that same rage that Luke feels in Return of the Jedi, Obi-Wan comes out and fights with pure choreography. The fight is stale and dry after such a large moment in the film. I want the Force Awakens to have powerful fights that leave viewers amazed by what they saw and wanting so much more.
Pass the Torch
Now I am beyond ecstatic that the original heroes of the films are returning for the Force Awakens. Yes, I teared up hearing Luke’s voice in the recent trailer and seeing Han Solo and Chewbacca back in the Millennium Falcon after 32 years. It made me feel like a kid again and it was just wonderful. However, the last thing I want to see is this next trilogy of films focus on Han, Leia, and Luke. Instead, the Force Awakens should be a passing of the torch from the old heroes to the new. Luke, Leia, and Han should serve minor roles and help guide our new heroes along before bidding farewell to the Star Wars universe they helped to create. As saddening as it sounds, I would like to see one of the original heroes die. Whether it be Luke, Han, or Leia, one or more of them should die in order to both create a moment of grand emotional magnitude and also put the task of carrying on the legacy of Star Wars to new heroes Poe, Finn, and Rey. When Obi-Wan and Yoda died in the original films, they were emotionally stirring deaths. But they also showed that their time had come to and end and now it was Luke’s turn to continue the legacy. The Force Awakens should adopt a similar mentality. As a new generation of viewers walks into the theaters, a new generation of heroes should take over while a fitting exit is made for the old heroes we will forever love and cherish.
Make it Memorable
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is going to be huge to say the very least. It has unlimited potential to change film the way Star Wars did in 1977. If nothing else, I want this film to be memorable. Some of my best memories growing up involve watching Star Wars. One of those memories are going to theaters to watch the premiere of the first trailer for Episode VII. There is a buzz in the air when you are in a theater awaiting a new Star Wars film. The atmosphere is truly electric. When I see the Force Awakens for the first time, I want it to be a memorable experience that I will be able to share with my kids when I’m older. In short, I want the Force Awakens to be the Star Wars I fell in love with many years ago.