By Michael Vass | December 13, 2014
A few days ago the names of the characters in the Star Wars VII teaser trailer have been revealed. After thinking about it, and a few of the rumors that have been floated in the past, I am even more underwhelmed than before. Let me explain.
First, I have had no access to any information other than what any fan can find on the internet. Second, I am old enough to be able to say that I have been a fan of Star Wars since the original film came out (though Stephen Colbert has me, and everyone, by 2 weeks at least). Third, I did not like prequels (besides a few of the lightsaber fights) nor the news of Disney’s purchase of the rights – so call me biased if you like.
By now we have all seen the teaser trailer for Star Wars VII. The names of the characters, as they appear in the trailer is as follows:
What the trailer and these names seem to imply falls in line with a rumor for the plot of the story for this film. If the rumor is partially correct, then the names kind of make sense. We can extrapolate a few things.
Starting with Finn. He is either the son/grandson of Lando Calrissian or a new character. Since he does not have a last name, being Lando’s relative is possible (plus the fact that there were no other named Black major characters in the series). Why he would be in a Stormtrooper suit and/or on the run could be that he was spying on the remnants of the Empire.
Rey is another possible relation of existing characters. Her name means king in Spanish. Instantly we would think she is the daughter of Han and Leia, which is possible since Leia was royalty. But she may be Luke’s daughter, the granddaughter of Darth Vader who also had far more than ordinary rank. Either way she will be on the light-side of the force and have a lightsaber. She will be the Luke of the next 3 chapters.
Lastly I look at Kylo Ren. If he is a Sith (assuming it is a he) it is unlikely this is his real name.
Take these things into account with who we know is in the film. Max Von Syndow is a perfect bad guy/political leader type. In fact he is often cast in just such a role. Best of all he is often morally ambiguous if not outright an evil bad guy in most Hollywood films.
Adam Driver, the only Marine of the cast that I am aware of, could be the Sith. Andy Serkis is king of Motion Capture, so he is some CGI creature – possibly this new generation Chewbacca, but likely just an alien co-lead character of a new race (think of the new toy sales).
So the story may be something like this:
Finn was on a long-term deep cover assignment in territory controlled by the remnants of the Empire after the death of the Emperor and victory by the rebels in Episode VI. This may have been suggested by Lando Calrissian, likely a spymaster or head of a trade/pirate guild after the war. During the assignment, Finn came into contact with the head of the smaller Empire forces – Von Syndow.
Whatever Finn learned or was able to steal (likely plans for another planet threatening weapon that the Empire intends to use for conquest) has him trying to evade Domhnall Gleeson, who is an agent of the Empire and closely connected to Von Syndow. Whatever Finn has is too important to trust to a simple message or delivery system, and spies for the Empire raise questions about delivery via more diplomatic means.
Finn will likely come upon Serkis, an old rebel fighter in possession of BB-8, who has contacts to a network of former rebels. This will get him in touch with Han, Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO and their daughter Rey. Han and Leia will be remiss about trusting Finn or the Republic, having had a falling out with the new government decades ago. Still they will try to use their contacts to help Finn, cause them to be captured as Rey takes the Millennium Falcon to escape as Empire forces have tracked Finn. At the same time, Poe leads a squad of X-Wings to take on the TIE fighters due to the contact from Leia, and is the sole survivor of the battle, gaining the trust of Serkis, Rey, and Finn.
So far that kind of fits the trailer. It gets a bit more wobbly here…
Being unable to trust the Republic at this point, with the Empire on their heels, and with knowledge that the Empire’s plan relies on some Force-fueled whatever, they seek out Luke. Luke has gone into hiding due to the distrust of the new Republic government for anything Jedi, especially as the only remaining publicly known Jedi are both related to Darth Vader. The emptiness of being alone and rejected, and the near fall to the dark-side of the Force have left Luke with a less than heroic view of the universe. To redeem himself, and the Jedi, Luke has sought out any remaining Force-users that could be used to revive the Jedi.
That effort brought Luke into contact with Kylo. Luke is trying to convert this Sith trainee of Darth Vader to the light-side. The results are mixed, thus Kylo still uses a red crystal lightsaber.
When Rey and friends reach Luke, after much difficulty, they initially think Kylo is their enemy and battle him (Rey has a lightsaber from her mother who trained her). Eventually Luke stops the fight, and learns why they sought him out. Luke instructs his apprentice to travel with Rey and friends to the new Republic headquarters, before the Empire can launch an attack. Luke fears that there is someone guiding Von Syndow that is connected to the dark-side of the Force, and decide to track that person.
The film culminates with a big battle between the new Republic and new Empire. In the process Han, Leia, et al are freed, though likely wounded (requiring they stay out of future films for the most part, as well as fix the problem in the Republic). Luke faces the new dark Emperor, a clone of the original Emperor who fights Luke and captures him with the intention of making him his right hand just as his father was.
The film ends with the new Republic withstanding what we learn is the first round of a new war with the Empire, the fate of Luke uncertain, and the allegiance of Kylo unclear.
Will the film be like this? Probably not a whole lot. Parts of it may be on the mark.
Luke may well be the new Sith controlling the Empire via Von Syndow. Kylo could be Luke as a Sith. Adam Driver may be his apprentice.
So that is my extrapolating. Plenty of holes in my construct, and not fully fleshed out. But then again, JJ Abrams is not known for tight scripts. This next episode will likely be fast-paced, lots of action, and sparse on logic or content. It will be a blockbuster for a popcorn audience that will fill seats, raise Disney stock price, sell tons of toys in time for Christmas, and I fear will tread on the hopes of the fanbase.
Will episode VII be better than the prequels? Assuredly. Will it recapture the awe and imagination that the first trilogy created? No, that’s unlikely. Will it live up to the Hollywood model of CGI for practical effects, super heroines and bumbling male leads? Without question. But there is still time to hope that it will surpass the prequels without just being another hype filled, black-hole in the pockets of fans.