Rey’s the Stakes

Friday marks the return of the space fantasy that captivates our wonder better than any other film has managed, and for good reasons. Star Wars is its own universe beyond the galaxy within the films. Few forms of fiction have been dived into as much, and even fewer have had the marketable success that Star Wars can boast. The sound, visual and practical effects are amazing. Even today, with James Cameron-tech churning out new waves of impressively realistic computer imaging, the original Star Wars trilogy’s effects are the mastermark of quality in cinema. However, the most endearing aspect of the Star Wars films is the characters. Their interactions, their ideals in the daunting shadow of adversity, their growth and development (or devolution) over time – we keep coming back to that galaxy far, far away because of the people and wookies and droids we know and love and the new faces they form bonds with. Each trilogy has a central character that the story circles around through whom we experience the worlds around them. For the original trilogy this is Luke, and no matter how much George tries to convince everyone that he prequels did this with Anakin, it’s Obi-Wan who truly fulfills the role. This time around the fate of everyone and everything is still linked to those two, but is firmly dependent upon the actions of the most mysterious character we have experienced in the series to date: Rey.

As Rey goes, so goes the series. From the narrative standpoint, her decisions and struggle to find her place in the dark and light will shape the course of the story. From the fan standpoint, her development as a vulnerable character with some mysteries uncovered through soul-searching and battle is necessary to keep us riding along. Will she keep crushing all obstacles in her path? In the long run hopefully, but for right now ideally we will see some of the First Order striking back (in an original way).

One thing is for sure, and that is that we need to see more from each character without getting too much about them, lest the the conclusive film in the trilogy lack this. From the trailers it seems that the likes of Finn, Phasma, and Kylo Ren will be delved into deeper, but what about our favorite scavenger? Will we learn who she is? Perhaps the daughter of Luke Skywalker who was saved by Kylo Ren during his assault on Luke’s Jedi Temple; or maybe a granddaughter of Obi-Wan Kenobi from a secret lover of his; or maybe a clone genetically modified from Emperor Palpatine… or she could be a regular resident of Jakku.

Whomever she is, Rey’s study of the Force and her own inner self will determine the direction of the journey we take this time around. I for one, can’t wait!

Thanks for reading! If you see the movie, please keep your Last Jedi excitement to yourself among friends, family, and coworkers until they have also watched it and you have something common to discuss.

Merry Star Wars,

Alex

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