Even though Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is the first chapter of a new generation for the galaxy far, far away, many moviegoers have noticed striking parallels between the film and what’s come before. The original trilogy was very much in director J.J. Abrams’ mind when he was working on the movie, and some feel he may have gone overboard in terms of paying homage. While The Force Awakens is largely loved within the Star Wars community, there are those who feel the film is nothing more than a rehash of A New Hope.
No matter how much one enjoyed Episode VII, the similarities are hard to ignore. From BB-8’s role in the story to the presence of a Starkiller base, everything old is new again. It’s a fact not lost on the good people at Dorkly, who playfully poke fun at the Force Awakens by having the new characters meet their original trilogy equivalents in a video (watch it above).
The short is quite comical, pairing Rey and Luke, Han Solo and Obi-Wan, and Kylo Ren and Darth Vader (among others) to illustrate how the classic films laid the blueprint for Star Wars 7. Arguably the funniest bit involves Boba Fett and Captain Phasma. The franchise’s first female villain was described as a “Boba Fett type” leading up to the Force Awakens premiere, and that comparison was decidedly apt. Despite looking awesome in their armor, both characters did not contribute much to the overall story before receiving less-than-noble ends. At least in Phasma’s case, she’s escaped that trash compactor and will be returning for Episode VIII.
While some elements ring a little too closely to the first films (see: Luke’s displeasure at Rey’s arc on Jakku), The Force Awakens by and large did enough to stand on its own. Nobody is denying that there are thematic parallels and connections between characters, but Star Wars 7 throws in enough twists and turns to keep the formula fresh. For instance, Rey is a self-sufficient scavenger, whereas Luke was a farm boy dependent on his aunt and uncle. Finn (despite being grouped with Lando Calrissian) is something completely new for the series – a stormtrooper who turns to the other side. Though, he originally could have been something much closer to Han Solo in A New Hope, before Lawrence Kasdan stepped in.
In a way, The Force Awakens almost had to play it safe by adhering to what worked before. It was tasked with launching a new era for Star Wars on film and absolutely had to be a hit in order for Disney’s master plan to round into shape. Now that moviegoers have successfully been reintroduced to the franchise, the next installments of the sequel trilogy will hopefully take things in more fresh directions. Again, there will be parallels (Rey training with Luke), but ideally Rian Johnson won’t copy exact story beats from The Empire Strikes Back. So, no First Order assaults on a Resistance ice planet base or watching one of the heroes get frozen in a carbonite replacement.
That doesn’t mean that Episode VIII can’t tonally recall Empire. John Boyega has stated that the Star Wars 8 script is darker than its predecessor, which makes sense since it is essentially the second act of a three-part overarching narrative. The sequel can be more serious to emphasize high stakes. Fans would just like to see the original trilogy parallels be toned down in the future. If Lucasfilm doesn’t pull that off, you can expect Dorkly will be back in early 2018 with another video – only it won’t be in jest, but outright criticism.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on December 15th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.