Friday, December 18, 2015

Star Wars The Force Awakens - Round Two!!!!

...yeah, we're one of THOSE families....saw a Star Wars film twice already, opening night and the following day.

Spoilers ahead. 

A second viewing helped greatly to clarify some points that were nagging at me, trying to figure them out. As for the "scope of the galaxy" issue I was contemplating previously, let's just say that I assume a super-dynamic hyperspace laser designed to pulverize an entire orbital array of planets is probably operating on some sort of level that can leave an impressive visible imprint across the galaxy. That said....the actual effect still looks to me like it was happening less than an AU away and possibly even in orbital (as in: moon's orbit) distance. But whatever. This is the series which also described parsecs as if it were a unit of time and left us with the gaping problem of figuring out how much time passed in the course of The Empire Strikes Back, so The Force Awakens' transgressions are both minor and par for the course.

Either way I came out liking it even more. At least the sequel is only two years away and we've got an entire other Star Wars film to tide us over in 2016. Wooooooo!!!!!

Instantly visible across hundreds, maybe thousands of light years?
It's okay, someone decided to include dialogue from the resistance
where a guy says, "even we don't understand how it works." Whew!!!!

Now I just need to wonder how Luke's blue lightsaber survived the fall from Cloud City. Hmmmm....


  1. Am I wrong that during the scene with R2D2 and the new soccer ball droid the new droid couldn't project its bit of map till it's pilot friend put a widget in its cupholder... but that the same droid had already projected that same map bit when the pilot friend was presumed dead? If not, what did its pilot friend put in its cupholder? A droid snack to get it to do the trick?

    I'm also really unclear on who the bad guys are and how they were able to build such a big freaking thing right down the block from Good Guy Central... and if the Senate and New Republic were in the seat of power wouldn't that make the space Nazis 'the resistance'? Who were the other resisters resisting?

    1. So, the BB-8 thing is easy enough: The droid had the little futuristic USB-thingie/holocron bit inside when they were visiting Maz, and he could project without R2-D2. But when they arrived at the Resistance the piece was removed, so Poe had to put it back when R2 and BB-8 teamed up at the end. The thing I thought was odd was that no one suspected R2 had the map...and an earlier statement from Kylo Ren suggested they had the first map, taken from old Imperial Records, which rather oddly implied this was a very old map of whatever sector of the galaxy they were looking for.

      The movie doesn't really elaborate too much on the bad guys, although the new books try to fill that gap (and the game). It doesn't explain that Jakku was a major imperial shipyard for example, which was taken out and rendered a junkyard 3 years after RotJ, or that the New Republic spent a lot of money (apparently) on public works and restabilizing the galaxy, while the First Order was basically founded by two things: a bunch of ex-Imperials who sort of went off to Space Argentina and then the arrival of the Snokes guy, who convinced them to forge the First Order (alias the Fourth Reich). Snokes is the wild card. The presumed terraforming of the world turned into the Sunkiller is a reflection of the First Order being very efficient with mind-controlled slave labor (I guess???) or something. The adanced tech presumably comes from Snokes? These are questions I am not sure of.

      Some article I read basically stated it like this: the New Republic was clearly bad at money management, and the First Order clearly had a massively industrialized economy at its disposal in the many worlds of the outer rim that remained in dissident Imperial control (or something).

      The movie strongly implies that all of the current fracas started ten years or more prior, so the First Order has had at least a decade of build-up. I'm guessing Kylo Ren was about 25-28 years old, and Rei probably 18-20, meaning the whole slaughter of the new Jedi order thing was probably taking place when Kylo was 16-18 and therefore putting Rei at the age of 5-8 based on her flashback.

      What I found most interesting of all was how neither the Republic, the Resistance, nor the First Order seemed to be especially strong....the First Order in particular clearly has a fraction of the military power you might think it would, but that could be an intentional (or accidental) nod to the fact that creating the Sunkiller was enormously resource-intensive.

      But this is Star Wars, after all, where world-shattered weapons are normal. And Sunkiller may have been bigger than the Death Star II but it looked to me like it was a planet that was terraformed and then engineered into a weapon, rather than a truly artificial creation.

    2. Oh...and the "SF writers have no sense of scale" trope is in full effect in this movie. There is dialogue that effectively states that the Sunkiller is a hyperspace can shoot its laser-sun-doom missles through hyperspace across the galaxy, basically. So the Death Star was a mobile weapons platform, and the Sunkiller is a stationary gun emplacement. What weirded me out was how on Maz's planet they could see what seemed to be the Sunkiller's missiles blowing up the Republic Capitol (I assume it was the Capitol) as if it were next door, but the dialogue clearly suggests they were in a different star system. So the reasonable suggestion is: they did the shot for dramatic effect (Star Trek had lots of issues like this recently as well) rather than what would make sense. The SW fans will of course work out a solution (just like we did for the Kessel Run in X parsecs issue, or how the Millenium Falcon got to Bespin with a broken hyperdrive) by finding some explanation. I'm favoring the idea that as a hyperspace weapon attack it leaves a visible signature that propogates at faster than light speed through hyperspace, demonstrating a massive visible signature across the galaxy....and that the perceived "explosion" effect at the end is part of that hyperspace echo or something....luckily this is the space opera-fantasy of Star Wars so it doesn't bug me so much; I'd be pulling my precious remaining hair out if it were Star Trek.

    3. Very nice analogy sir and I like the hyperspace explanation as to why everyone could see the hyperspace beams. What planets are blown up is certainly up in the air and I am very curious. It was my understanding that most of the galaxy was split between the empire and the republic. Just because one leader dies doesn't mean the empire immediately dissolves - and as word slowly got out about the emperor being dead Snoke(Darth Palagius?) took over and what do you do when you go under new management? change the name. I assume the first order still has control of Coruscant and other major defense points.

      I may be wrong but I believe Luke went to Tython - which is were the first jedi temple is I think.

      I like the connection that you made between Rey's family leaving her and the attack on the jedi Temple.

      I don't suppose you picked up on any reason (beyond R2D2 being a meta gamer) as to why R2D2 'woke up' when he did.

      Also, I believe bespin is not actually a gas giant but a planet with an actual surface so the blade could have tumbled through the winds and wound up on the ground floor.

    4. Thinking of Bespin as something other than a gas giant just broke my brain...I've been under the assumption it was a gas giant for 35+ years now....!!!! Must investigate....

      It would be cool if they keep the name Tython for the location of the First Jedi Temple.

      R2D2 is the ultimate metagamer (my explanation) and he knew he couldn't wake up until after the resistance had blown up the Sunkiller, so he timed his awakening for that convenient reveal. Actually, there is a good explanation: he knew when to wake up not because he was deciding to, but because it is when he was programmed Luke. Luke, with prescience in the force, might have sensed to tell R2 to wake up in X years based on his vision of the future. This conflicts with that long stare at the end though where I couldn't tell if Rey and Luke were just emoting for the hell of it, if Luke was like "oh it's that time already..." or he was genuinely surprised. Given how many force users seem to be able to sense the future, I'll vote for the "Luke told R2 to wake up at a certain time in the future" and he more or less got the timing right.

    5. Oh, and on Coruscant I really hope they borrow from the comics and show that it became a major battleground....Dark Empire series showed Coruscant as a sort of world-sized "Berlin under siege." That would be very cool!

    6. From my understanding the new comics are cannon.