***Spoilers are ahead for those who may not have seen the latest Star Wars film. Please read at your own discretion***
Star Wars: The Force Awakens has given us plenty of nuggets to talk about. Many questions are being asked after viewing this incredible film… What happens to the First Order after the destruction of Starkiller Base? Where do the Resistance go from here after their Republic has been blown to smithereens? Is Supreme Leader Snoke actually Darth Plagueis? Is Rey related to a Skywalker? How did Maz Kanata retrieve Anakin’s lightsaber? All these questions will hopefully be answered in the subsequent films.
J.J. Abrams and company have done a tremendous job setting the stage for what’s to come for the future of Star Wars. Abrams has created numerous characters which we have all fallen in love with. For me the chemistry of the characters were the best parts of the film. The opening scene between Poe Dameron and BB-8 was done beautifully. We knew both of these characters have had a history together when Dameron exclaims to his droid buddy that he must take the piece of the map with him to the Resistance,
“You take this. It’s safer with you than it is with me. You get as far away from here as you can. Do you hear me? I’ll come back for you. It’ll be alright.”
These few lines give us great insight that these two have been through a lot together. Watching BB-8’s reaction is heartfelt realizing that he may never see his best friend again. This was all the setup we needed to understand how important BB-8’s role would be. We already fell in love with this droid due to the high marketing he’s received since the first time we laid eyes on him in the first Star Wars teaser trailer.
The following scene would immediately set us up with another new addition to the franchise and that is FN-2187 aka Finn.
“Like all of them, I was taken from a family I’ll never know. And raised to do one thing. In my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn’t going to kill for them. So I ran. Right into you (Rey). And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed at what I was. But I’m done with the First Order and I’m never going back.”
In the ensuing battle on Jakku, a couple of stormtroopers are gunned down thanks to Dameron’s sharp shooting abilities. However we soon begin to realize that these stormtroopers are not just your typical pawns from the game of chess or the thousands of zombies you may have killed from any zombie game. These stormtroopers are CHARACTERS moving forward and we learn that in the very first scene of the film.
Clearly the opening scene is used to introduce one of the lead characters named Finn however we are also given a look at the life of a stormtrooper. Yes we saw a few of them get annihilated by Dameron’s emergency gun on his T-70 X-Wing Fighter as well as his trusty blaster rifle, but it’s the last stormtrooper he kills that actually gives us a sense of humanity to these characters. These are actually people. No longer are they clones. (On a side note, they actually weren’t clones even after Episode III. In Episodes IV, V, and VI, they became stormtroopers and have held that title ever since then).
Finn’s reaction to his friend being shot with blood smeared on his helmet tells us all we need to know about these stormtroopers. This stormtrooper was really close to Finn and after watching his friend perish, he begins to understand the circumstances of war and everything he has trained to become. Finn also decides not to exterminate the remaining villagers on Jakku when Kylo Ren gives the order. Captain Phasma (I’ll get to her in a minute) carries out the task when she instructs all of the stormtroopers to assassinate the villagers. Finn could not do it and will be sent for reconditioning as instructed by Captain Phasma.
Once again this was the very first time we are led to care for a stormtrooper let alone given a name for one. (FN-2187 is not the first stormtrooper to have a name. In Episode IV: A New Hope, one of the Imperial Officers calls to a stormtrooper named TK-421 after being told to search for any passengers on the Millennium Falcon).
Another impactful scene was the ensuing fight between Finn and one of the stormtroopers carrying a Z6 Riot Control Baton on Takodana. This was actually one of my favorite scenes of the film. The scene was not very long but again it told us a great deal about the history of these characters.
With the popularity of this character spreading around the internet, the stormtroopers’ name has finally been released. His name is FN-2199 aka TR-8R but his friends call him “Nines.” Now that’s a lot of names for one stormtrooper! This trooper has had a history with Finn. Without having read anything about his character according to Greg Rucka’s book Before the Awakening, Nines trained and served on a squad with Finn in the First Order. He’s the stormtrooper with the red hair in the picture below.
The fight between Finn and Nines was clearly full of emotion. When Nines screamed “Traitor!” we immediately knew Finn had a history with this character. Again, this scene also gives us more insight into the First Order and that these stormtroopers are just people who live their lives to follow procedures. Unfortunately this character gets blasted right in the chest by Han Solo and is presumably killed. Nines is yet another stormtrooper who obtains some background to his character.
These are not the only stormtroopers to have been given a biography. My article review of this film which you read right here, gave you five positives and negatives on this movie. My very first negative dealt with the character of Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma. My main issue with Phasma was not how underutilized her character was but how her character was portrayed. You could have written her out of the story completely and nothing would have changed moving forward. However, recently we were given confirmation by Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy stating that they have BIG plans for the character and that she will return in Episode VIII.
This is great news to hear because I was highly let down by her character in this film. She did absolutely NOTHING and had no right of being in the film. But if they are willing to expand on her character and give her a reason to be in this Star Wars universe, then I am all for it. Kathleen Kennedy has stressed that they want more female led characters. This could potentially be a great character if employed correctly.
If you want to learn more into the minds of the Empire/First Order I suggest you read the Claudia Gray novel Lost Stars. This book will make you think twice about how the Empire and the First Order are being run. This novel humanizes the officers and gives us a great backstory to two great characters who grew up learning that fighting for the Empire is the right thing to do. However they are blinded by what the Empire really entails and have to learn the hard way. It’s one of my favorite Star Wars books I have read and I highly recommend it.
Star Wars has a bright future ahead. The Force Awakens introduced us to a lot of memorable characters. These characters will continue to be groomed as we continue our journey in this new trilogy. There are plenty of stories to be told both in the films as well as comic books, novels, video games, and television shows. It’s amazing how much Star Wars has grown. Not only are we getting a new trilogy but we are also receiving spin-off films with the first being released this year! That film is called Star Wars: Rogue One and will give us insight of how the Rebellion was able to capture the plans of the Death Star. Without having retrieved those plans, it’s safe to say that the Rebellion would have been unprepared and blown to bits by the Empire’s weapon of mass destruction.
I cannot wait for the next Star Wars film! Rogue One will be released on December 16 and will be the first of three scheduled spin-off films. Are you excited for Rogue One? Please share your thoughts and comment below!