Well, I got tickets a full 3 weeks ahead of the opening, and just like old times will be there Friday during the first matinée showing like I did with Empire, Return and the three prequels. For my money, The Empire Strikes Back is the greatest fantasy film sequel ever, with the possible exception of The Bride of Frankenstein, which is just brilliant. As of today, IMDb already has the film ranked 9.5/10. I doubt but a handful of people have seen the film theatrically.  I’m going into the film open-minded, with an appreciation of J.J. Abrams style (I even liked Cloverfield). I’ve done my best to avoid the fan forum speculations, so hopefully I’ll be surprised.

This is what I am expecting and some of this is speculative on my part. In no way should these comments be construed as ***SPOILERS*** unless you are completely cutoff from any teasers trailers or TV spots:

  • Han and Leia are married.  Rey (Daisy Ridley) is their child. She may or may not know about her parents. She is a desert scavenger and has a chance encounter with an alien space pirate Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o). They possibly find a Sith relic that draws them into the story intrigue.
  • Leia is a general and leader of a remnant fraction of the former rebel alliance.  Both Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb from ROTJ will have minor roles, presumably as consulting strategist and pilot, respectively.
  • The Falcon may be in other hands, but at some point Han and Chewie get her back. “Chewie we’re home”.  I would not be surprised if Lando makes a cameo appearance. The Falcon may be held by criminals affiliated with long-dead Jabba the Hutt.
  • The Force Awakens refers to Rey’s channeling of the Force.  At some point, Leia seems to be in a mentor role.  Harrison Ford’s slip up suggests that there is a light saber duel between Rey and new heavy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver).
  • Kylo Ren is a dabbler in the Force. He has crude and unstable understanding of Sith arts, but is not a Sith Lord.  I think he is a protector of the faith.  He idolizes Darth Vader and collects Jedi and Sith artifacts.  He is the strong arm of the New Order, which, based on use of red and black color scheme are fascists.
  • The cool silver “storm trooper” is Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).  Troopers are no longer clones as evidenced by Finn (John Boyega) and Phasma.  I assume Phasma will be a bad ass with special weaponry in the likes of Boba Fett.
  • The central bad guy is a force-dabbling alien named Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).  It is unclear to me if there is a mentor-pupil relationship between Kylo Ren and Snokes.
  • Kylo is searching for Luke’s (Anakin’s blue) lightsaber. This is the one that Vader dismembered from Luke in Cloud City over Bespin.  Leia ends up with the saber and Kylo comes for it.
  • Based on Han comforting Leia, someone dies. I am thinking it might be Chewbacca, but it might be space pirate Maz Kanata, or some other primary character. Mark Hamill booking aditional time in the next films suggests it isn’t Luke.
  • Luke is an ascetic Jedi monk in the old Ben Kenobi tradition.  I suspect we might see him meditating with Kenobi, Anakin, and Yoda.  He lives out in the sticks with R2. Tremors in the appearance of the New Order, Kylo rooting around for Sith trappings, and channeling of the force to Rey pulls Skywalker out of reclusion.
  • Luke is a pacifist and opts not to fight Kylo Ren and takes on a Yoda role, passing the torch on to new Star Wars fledglings.
  • I am not buying into notion that he is Kylo Ren.
  • The film was shot on Kodak Vision3 50D 5203 film, which is known for flexibility in post-process work, archival stability and creative control especially in outdoor high contrast situations.  SW: TFA should look nothing like the digital prequels.
  • John Williams is back! The main title and Han and Leia’s theme have been prominently used in the trailers.

Only 4 more days!


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