A New Hope

Fans share their theories, expectations for latest “Star Wars” flick

I could speculate at length about plot elements in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Has Luke Skywalker turned to the Dark side? Is Rey a child of Han and Leia? Is Jar Jar Binks secretly Kylo Ren? These things are minute, however, when compared to my larger hopes for this newest chapter in George Lucas’ beautiful world — a world I’ve lived and breathed in since birth. Director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan have proven that they have the ability to write faithful sequels to beloved movies (“Empire Strikes Back” and, arguably, the 2009 “Star Trek”), so the plot of TFA doesn’t worry me terribly. No, what I hope for is less of a specific story and more of a feeling. Star Wars always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling like when you rescue that childhood toy you loved from your parents’ garage, or when you see that kid in front of you at the bookstore buying the book that got you into reading. Even just wandering down the action figure aisle at Target gives me that tiny lip quiver and involuntary “aww” as I see these characters I’ve known my whole life — Han and Chewie, who showed me what friendship is; Leia, who taught me to be brave in the face of danger; Luke, who encouraged me to explore the unknown; Anakin, who taught me that it’s never too late to do something good. This is what I hope for from TFA. I want to, once again, visit this world that has had such an impact on my life — this world that is more than just movies and books and games and toys. This world from which I’ve drawn inspiration and love and wonder. Maybe it’s a tall order, but I feel like I’m in good hands. But I liked “The Phantom Menace,” so what do I know? – Bill Mikesell, Radio UTD DJ

First things first, I have to point out what I think is going to happen in “The Force Awakens.” Kylo Ren and Rey are going to be revealed as the son and daughter of Han and Leia, Captain Phasma will be revealed as the daughter of Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker will come back from years of seclusion and hiding to help take on the Dark Side once again. As you can tell, I’ve spent a long time thinking about this. To be honest, every theory I’ve had on the newest installment of “Star Wars” is fun and exciting, but only because the movies themselves are so powerful and meaningful to their fans. I remember going to the midnight release of Episode III with my dad back in 2005 and having one of the greatest nights of my life. The line stretched out of the theater. People were decked out as their favorite characters and there was a level of energy and excitement that’s difficult to put into words. Ten years later, I’m finally feeling that same vibe again for the first time. There’s something about these films that makes me indescribably happy — and it’s not the intricate story telling or iconic characters, gadgets and spaceships. No, for me, it’s the sense of hope “Star Wars” brings to people. In a world where good and bad have blurred lines and fear has clouded our minds, “Star Wars” sends a message that evil cannot win as long as love prevails. Is it escapism at its finest? Sure. But that doesn’t mean we can’t aspire to be Jedi Knights of our own making. – Esteban Bustillos, Editor-in-Chief

Oh, “Star Wars,” you perennial source of joy and consternation. For every amazing space battle sequence, you give us a Jar Jar Binks. For every “Empire Strikes Back,” you give us a Christmas Special. In the hands of Mickey Mouse and J.J. “Lost-has-an-ending-I-swear” Abrams, what will you bring us? So far, the trailers for TFA have been gorgeous. And while the average fan knows little about the plot (beware, younglings, you don’t have to venture to a galaxy far, far away to find spoilers), we can rest easy knowing that the script was in the hands of Lawrence Kasdan (who also wrote “Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi”).

The original trilogy was a classic hero’s journey, following the ascent of Luke Skywalker from lowly farm boy to savior of the galaxy. The prequels were a sort of anti-hero’s journey, chronicling Anakin Skywalker’s descent into evil, from lowly slave boy to oppressor of the galaxy. The trailers for TFA seem to indicate a combination of those themes — a dual trajectory, double-bladed lightsaber, if you will. Kylo Ren is seeking to finish what Vader started and will be embarking on an anti-hero’s journey, assuming he doesn’t pull a Darth Maul and get killed before he starts. Finn, our confused Stormtrooper-turned-Rebel, will do the opposite. Over the course of the next trilogy, the story of Finn and Ren will intertwine and collide in a battle (battles?) that will change the Star Wars universe forever.
The big question I’m interested in seeing answered on the Dec. 17 is this: What is Luke doing post-Yavin? He’s celebrated the victory of the Rebels, he’s burned his father, he does a voiceover in the trailer — but he’s not on the posters! Perhaps he’s training the next generation of younglings or maybe he’s off chilling with Yoda and Anakin’s force ghosts. Or maybe he wears a mask and finishes what his father began. Whatever the answer, I’ll be there to see it. – Cody Owen, UTD TV member

As one of the biggest forces in popular culture, Star Wars has an ability to cross generations like nothing before. We’ve lived and breathed it, and it’s become an integral part of our culture. It was all we played, all we talked about. It’s been 35 years since Star Wars came out, and Hollywood has yet to top it. It’s seen as one of the greatest film franchises of all time. Some single episodes are considered to be some of the greatest films ever created. Its initial release some thirty-odd years ago sparked the imaginations of millions, and the subsequent prequels, whatever you may think of them, were able to do the same for a whole new generation. They bridged the gap between generations, giving both the old and young common ground, allowing them to connect through a shared interest in the Force, lightsabers and Wookies. Star Wars hasn’t been out of style since its first screening and shows no signs of slowing down. Now that we are on the cusp of a whole new set of movies, a whole new generation will be able to share in the same experience. Also, with the announcement of Anthology films, pop culture’s constant thirst for all things Star Wars might finally be satisfied. – Humza Khan, Radio UTD station manager

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