I know I’m going to piss off a lot of my fellow Star Wars fans when I say this, but here I go anyways: The Force Awakens is not an original take on the Star Wars world.
Or, er… galaxy.
But before you all start teaming up to eternally freeze me in carbonite, let me first make it absolutely clear that I did indeed love The Force Awakens. The characters (with exception of one) were absolutely perfect, the action was thrilling and visually captivating, and the film in its entirety was a nostalgic roller coaster ride full of laughter, tears, and wide-eyed excitement.
J.J. Abrams exceeded expectations with this film, but let’s be honest here, he completely ripped off Episode IV: A New Hope in the process.
We may have new faces and stories thrown into the mix in The Force Awakens, but the bare bones plot of both films (from beginning to end) are basically one of the same. And as different as our new characters may be compared to the original cast, they all still step into the plot role of their A New Hope counterparts: Rey is obviously our Luke, Han becomes Ben, Finn is kind-of our Han (as he is a close ally to Rey and he deserted the group before ultimately returning as a hero), and Poe is sort of both Leia and Luke?
Okay, that last one may be kind of a stretch.
If you don’t believe me, then check out the following 10 plot points from both films (which are purposely vague and in chronological order) and see what I mean for yourself:
- A droid carrying extremely valuable information finds itself without its master on a desert planet.
- In an act that establishes how ruthless and inhumane the film’s enemy is, Stormtroopers tasked with retrieving said information lay waste to a desert settlement, leaving no survivors.
- The hero who initially gave the droid the valuable information is captured and tortured by a ruthless leader who wields the Force. This leader wears an intimidating mask and black clothing.
- A lonely, tech savvy desert dweller with latent Force abilities finds and befriends the sought after droid, which accidentally gets him/her involved in a life changing adventure.
- Our desert dwelling hero crosses paths with an old war hero, who helps him/her understand more about the Force. Our hero comes to see this older gentlemen as a comrade and teacher (of sorts).
- The intimidating masked leader turns out not to be the main threat to our heroes, as we learn that he is merely a pawn of an evil mastermind who appears to his employees only in projections.
- This mastermind created a planet sized super weapon capable of destroying an entire planet, and it’s our heroes mission to destroy it.
- The old war hero separates from his group during a rescue mission and quietly confronts our masked villain, who was (and is) like a son to him. The villain strikes down our old hero with his lightsaber while the rest of our heroes watch helplessly in the distance.
- During a coordinated attack by our heroes, X-Wings fly through trenches in order to attack the planet destroying weapon where it’s most vulnerable.
- The weapon is destroyed, but the masked villain is able to slip away from the carnage and lives to fight another day.
If these insane plot similarities tell me anything, it’s that Abrams is either 1. lazy, or 2. carrying some serious balls.
I don’t know why J.J. Abrams thought that ripping off the plot of one of the most beloved films of all time (not to mention a film he is creating a sequel for) would be a great idea, but I have to give the man props, because it did work.
Even with all the borrowed plot points, The Force Awakens still manages to feel fresh and new. This is probably thanks in part to our new characters, who definitely have the spunk, mystery, and likability needed to propell the story forward and keep audiences intrigued.
We probably don’t have to worry about J.J. Abrams rewriting Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back for his sequel to The Force Awakens, as he did a fine job setting up his new characters with subplots that are strong enough to divert the story into more uncharted plot territory.
But if Rey loses a limb to Kylo Ren in the sequel and he reveals to her that he’s her long lost twin, then I’m going to absolutely lose my shit. Just saying.