There Will Be No Attempt to Be Spoiler Free, Here

So. A response to the rest of the Internet, and something of a response to Chris, and something of a response to Maribou.

I have been oddly struck by the fact that most of the reviews I’ve now read (I saw it last night, enabling me to read the Internet freely today) point out the same panels of strengths and weaknesses as all of the other reviews, but the end takeaways are… vastly different depending upon the person writing the thing.

That is, the “thing that was a strength” was regarded as a strength by almost everybody, and the weaknesses were as well (there’s a little crossover, but not too much)… but how the reviewer felt about the strengths or weaknesses had a huge impact on their feeling about the movie. For a couple of examples, look here for a negative review and here for a positive one. The details remarkably similar, the end verdict not at all.

For me, by far the biggest question I had walking into this movie was, “When I walk out of this movie, am I going to know if J.J. Abrams is going to ruin something I loved as a child or not?”

And… well.. yeah. That question wasn’t answered.

I don’t know.

Looking at this movie as laying a foundation… the foundation was okay. My interpretation of “J.J. Abrams Style” in both Star Trek and Star Wars is that his first movie in a franchise is his attempt to reset our expectations. I agree with Tod (and a great number of other folks on the Internet) when I say that in this sense, the movie really **was** just like the reboot of Star Trek.

Even taking that into account, I’m really disappointed with the movie because I don’t know any more about what sort of Star Wars movie J.J. Abrams will make than I knew when I walked into the theater last night.

But to some extent – I’m okay with that. Sort of.  But that feeling is why I didn’t walk out of the theater really enjoying the movie as much as I might have otherwise.

Because it is a good fun ride, in and of itself.

One of the differences between making a stand-alone movie and making a movie that is part of a franchise – let alone a cultural phenomenon – is that you aren’t just making a movie that will stand on its own merits. You are making a movie that will stand on whether or not folks believe it fits into the franchise (or the cultural phenomenon).  That’s a lot of moving targets to hit.

It is necessary to create something that evokes the original in a way that the folks who adore the original can identify with wholly and deeply. It is probably (to judge from the enormously positive reviews) also sufficient.

You don’t have to make a really good movie. You have to make a good Star Wars movie.  In many ways, this can be harder than just making a good movie!

And to be fair, a good Star Wars movie can be a good Star Wars movie… and still have a bunch of pretty common weaknesses. If you lived in a hypothetical alternative universe which was “Star Wars free” until 2015, and you saw the first movie as an adult with the polish this movie has for updated effects (so you had no particular “low expectations for effects to be completely blown away”) you’d probably say, something along the lines of:

“Huh. It was good. Some of the dialogue was pretty bad. I did feel like I was in a galaxy that wasn’t mine, which is a neat movie-going trick when most folks are human and speak English. That Vader guy is a pretty badass and memorable villain. Some (finite number of) scenes really struck me as impressive.”

I feel this movie is fairly comparable to that.  For better and worse.

On the other hand, I thought the foundation for J.J.’s take on the Star Trek franchise was okay (far less okay than this one, but okay) … and I wound up really disliking Star Trek: Into Darkness (and I think the trailer for the next Star Trek movie looks worse).

There, he took something that had a particular meaning to me growing up and made something else that has a different particular meaning. Reminds me very much of the Mission: Impossible movies that way, which were at least marginally entertaining action movie fare but by God they bore no resemblance at all to the things I liked about Mission: Impossible.

The jury is still out on what sort of Star Wars movie J.J. Abrams can make when he’s trying to make his own movie, which should be coming up with the sequel. Based upon Trek, I’m worried (but J.J. never really claimed to be a Trek fan and he has claimed to be a Star Wars fan… so I’m worried, but still hopeful.)

In the case of this movie, what I heard was J.J. saying in my ear, “Here’s what you’re going to get with my Star Wars movies. You’re going to get movies that remind you of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and *not* Star Wars: The Phantom Menace”.

There are things to like about that.

Some rundown of particular likes and dislikes.  Dislikes first:

I agree a few folks that the pacing was sub-par in this movie. Way too much happened, way too fast. J.J. went too far in incorporating old plot devices, and some of them just took away from other things that could have made the movie better. We didn’t really need *all* of those old plot devices.

Chris specifically points out the blown Han Solo caper that resulted in the devil octopi release on the freighter as something that wasn’t necessary.

I mostly agree… it wasn’t.

Something was necessary there, though: something to show us that Han had regressed (and more than a little bit!) back to his old self of the first Star Wars than the self of Return of the Jedi: back to being more of a scoundrel than a hero. His resurrection back to hero then could play out over this movie.  This particular version took too much screen time and could have been done in ways that could have been just as entertaining, while leaving more reel space for Rey or Finn.

Shoot, a weary Han explaining some of his recent busted capers would have been more fun to watch anyway and would have been shorter.  I was reminded of the only scene I liked in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: the scene where Indy is being interrogated fairly early on and there’s a couple of quick allusions to some other Indy adventures that happened between Last Crusade and Skull that you never will get to see… but just seeing Harrison Ford talk about these adventures let me imagine whole movies that were better than Skull.

I have forgiven how bad the rest of Crystal Skull was, for that one section of three minutes.  I got three movies I liked in my head for the one on screen I didn’t.

Man, that was a lost opportunity in The Force Awakens.

I hated the stupid plot device of the Millennium Falcon winding up just happening to sit on the same planet where the droid with the secret plans winds up *and* Han Solo happens to be looking for his ship right about the same time that the two intrepid heroes make off with his old ship.  That is a contrivance that’s almost as bad as the Tattoine contrivance in The Phantom Menace.

That was a terrible hill to climb out of very early on. Don’t freakin’ knock me out of your fictional universe by making something that implausible, unless you’re going to actually start incorporating some serious Destiny talk (and Destiny talk is really dangerous, it didn’t work out well in the I-III movies at all).  Better to just avoid it.

Have Rey and Finn escape on a piece of junk that was an *earlier* iteration of the Falcon, say a Corellian YT-1000 instead of a 1300. The uber-nerds would have got the reference, and you could make it look a lot like the Falcon for everybody else. It would have given us the ability to see Rey do all the stuff she did in the beginning of the movie, her technical competency (we all know how unreliable YTs are), similar set, etc. Then you have the piece of junk give up the ghost… only to be docked by the *actual* Falcon with Han and Chewie. That would have let basically the entire beginning of the movie be the same, without the contrivance being so blatant and jarring.

But then not too many folks are complaining about this so maybe it’s just me.

(Have I mentioned that I hate the Tattoine contrivance in TPM?)

I really didn’t like the ‘roided out uber-Death Star.  First, that was a plot device that has already been shown twice to be a strategic and tactical problem.  But okay, even that isn’t as big of a problem as the fact that it went completely widdershins to the rest of the technology expectations that were set by the rest of the movie.

In the rest of the movie, just about everything technological is more like A New Hope than The Phantom Menace, more Firefly than Star Trek: The Next Generation. Gritty and utilitarian and advanced, sure, but not slick and very advanced and nearly godlike in comparison.

The X-wings still mostly look and act like X-wings, the Tie Fighters mostly look and act like Tie Fighters.  The blasters look a little more slick, as does the Stormtrooper armor… but mostly it looks like, well, about what you might think 30 years worth of development might give you in an advanced technology society that’s been dealing with ongoing war.  Lots of stuff is a little bit better, many things are battered and beaten up versions of things that have been around for a while.  The slick Stormtrooper armor still gets dings and scratches and scorch marks.  And then…

The Starkiller Base is enormously larger than the second Death Star, it eats actual stars, and blows up entire solar systems with one salvo.  (What do you need to shoot at planets for?  Just show up and suck their sun down.  All the folks on the planets will perish and you won’t have to bother with all that pesky aiming and whatnot.  Heck, you won’t even have to come close to *finishing* eating a solar systems’ main star before you’ve probably rendered the entire local system completely uninhabitable.  Just after arriving at the local system you’ve accomplished your goal and you sat around vulnerable for a fraction of the time.)  It just doesn’t… jibe… with the feeling of the rest of the “tech space”.

How did you get that built in 30 years, when everything else is mostly comparable to what we had thirty years ago?  This would be like WWII being decided by nukes when the ground troops were still riding cavalry and using single shot muskets.

I hated the fact that I knew Han Solo was doomed 20 minutes into the movie. The parallels to A New Hope/Empire Strikes Back were so blatant that it was gobsmackingly obvious that Han was in the role of Obi Wan and Rey was Luke (for all practical purposes), and that immediately meant to me that he was doomed. Having Leia specifically ask him to try and bring Ben back really was overkill on the “YOU SHOULD KNOW HAN ISN’T MAKING IT OUT OF THIS ONE BY NOW”.

Also, because the death of the character was far too telegraphed, it took away a lot of the impact from the actual death scene. All the dramatic build-up of him walking out on the bridge and the dialogue between him and Kylo was wasted. There was no tension there, not for me anyway.  YMMV.

(To be fair, I had a suspicion that Han was dead meat when Harrison Ford was reportedly enthusiastic about signing onto the movie in the first place. He has never had a lot of love for playing his second most iconic character.)

I missed Lando and Wedge. Given the importance of their roles in the second Battle of the Death Star, I did expect some sort of reference. They would not have faded away entirely in the last thirty years. Han and Leia could have had at least a throwaway line, maybe Leia’s ship could have been named the Antilles. Something.

I didn’t particularly like the incorporation of Artoo or Threepio. Too klunky. It wasn’t *bad*, but from a storytelling standpoint you could have made those both more graceful. Having Artoo be stuck in hibernate mode was annoyingly simple to the point of being silly. The “Deus Ex” of Artoo just happening to have basically the Empire’s entire archive of everything in his memory from hacking the Death Star in the first movie is, frankly, kind of dumb, given that nothing of that was brought out in Empire or Return. Another script draft could have done wonders here.

The lack of backstory about The Big Bad was annoying. You didn’t really *need* an explanation for the Emperor in the original trilogy, it’s pretty stock stuff – Evil Emperors don’t require much work to get into your story. But generally in any movie asking “Wait, where the heck did this guy come from?” is not a question you should be walking out of the movie thinking about when it comes to a Primal Mover.  For a movie in a franchise, sometimes this can be hand-waved away “He’s the next SPECTRE bad guy”, but the mythology of the Dark Side of the Force is something that’s been built up for years, and much of it explicitly discarded with a lot of the Extended Universe, so feeling like you might be inventing this as you go is not a good sign.  Count Dooku had this same problem, in the prequels. Not only did they not tell us where he came from, they didn’t even drop a thread to give us a sense that they’d worked it out before wrapping the script.

For likes:

I very much liked the idea of returning to the environmental style of the first movie, with natural sets (perhaps with some big effect-driven things in the background). I found the obvious CGI environments of I-III off-putting. There’s a trick to grounding me into a movie: show me a real world set that has some neat stuff edited in, and I buy it. Show me actors who are actually acting entirely in front of a green screen the entire time with almost no real world sets involved, and I get knocked out of the movie. Avatar: bleagh.

I thought Kylo’s fall to the Dark Side was explicated better in this movie than Anakin’s was in the prequels (which was terrible). Not perfect, but workable.

For “the best part”:

I much prefer Rey as the character on The Hero’s Journey than Luke. She’s awesome, and not just for all the reasons Maribou related in her review, but also because she’s just a whole damn lot more interesting than Luke was at the same stage in the journey.

On that simple metric alone, this is a far better movie than the original Star Wars.

If the next two movies play out well, that could make this trilogy better than all the other movies that came before it. Finn’s no Han Solo or Leia, but on the other hand I don’t think we need another weird love triangle in this set of movies so having Finn be the straight sidekick/co-hero/maybe companion is fine by me.

Finn’s character needs a little work, but at the worst you still can’t accuse him of being a stock character.  They haven’t given him enough time, but what we have so far isn’t bad at all.

BB-8 was reasonably cool, if somewhat redundant if Artoo is around.  This can be worked into a comedy duo, maybe.  Not sure what J.J. is going to do with this in the next two movies.  Might not bode well for Artoo in the series…

Postscript: I have some problems with the fact that we don’t know enough about The First Order and the Resistance. The dynamics that got us from Return of the Jedi to here are mostly inscrutable.  This might turn out to be okay, however, over the next two movies… because Rey and Finn are our compatriots here.  The dynamics are mostly inscrutable to Rey and Finn, and we’re supposed to be along for *their* journey in this series, so we should get there from a storytelling perspective in the next two movies, and not explaining it all here works fine if they deliver over the next two.

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Patrick is a mid-40 year old geek with an undergraduate degree in mathematics and a master's degree in Information Systems. Nothing he says here has anything to do with the official position of his employer or any other institution. ...more →

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25 thoughts on “There Will Be No Attempt to Be Spoiler Free, Here

  1. IMDB lists Rian Johnson as the director of Star Wars: Episode VIII. It is my understanding that he will also direct Episode IX, but that may still be up for grabs. Episode VIII is already in production, or perhaps pre-production.

    So there’s that.

    I have a strong suspicion that there’s a bunch of coincidences in this film that will turn out to not be coincidences at all. For instance, for some reason the “old ally” Lor San Tekka, who knows exactly who Kylo Ren is and where he came from, just happens to be on the same planet (in the same vicinity!) as Rey, while in possession of the missing piece of a star map that leads to Luke Skywalker. Does that seem like a coincidence to you? Maybe the Falcon was a coincidence, maybe not.

    The tentacle monsters and boarding parties were necessary to get Han off of his bigger, nicer ship, and forget about delivering his cargo. We also see that Han is in a bad place, that’s he’s gone back to some very self-destructive behavior, and that meeting Rey somehow changes that.

    I don’t know anybody who really liked Starkiller Base. It was kind of extraneous and over the top and wedged in. By the way, I think the idea, as ludicrous as it sounds, is that it only temporarily drains the sun to darkness, and the sun then recharges itself once the weapon fires. That’s no more ludicrous than any of the other presumptions about the superweapon. General Hux’s Nazi rally was pretty good though.

    And yes, I think we will get more of the backstory of the First Order, Snoke and the Knights of Ren in the next movie. I think Luke might feel he needs to bring Rae up to speed on a few things.

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    • You know, I don’t know we need to know all that much more than “The New Republic failed” in terms of broad historical and political backstory.

      As for the Max von Sydow character — rather obviously not a coincidence. Also, what a waste of a perfectly marvelous actor in Max von Sydow to have him on screen for less than sixty freakin’ seconds, never to use him again. He got a prominent enough billing that this wasn’t a cameo or even a “guest starring” or an “also” on the credit roll. And, the First Order didn’t kill him off even as they were sacking the village, at least not that we saw. I think we’ll be seeing him again in Episode VIII.

      Now, I guess that there is something of a plot hole there: wouldn’t Kylo Ren have been able to use his Force powers to figure out that this guy was a player? But then again Kylo Ren is a bit of a green ninja who knows some flashy tricks but hasn’t yet really developed his skills.

      So, I’m good with it. I’m ready to roll with it. I don’t need it all explained. You know what Star Wars movie did a whole lot of explaining stuff? The Phantom Menace. And that movie is affirmatively bad and easily the weakest of the Star Wars saga. The movies that worked well — A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back — these told their story and let the back story be a back story and didn’t try to read the Silmarillion out loud by way of exposition.

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      • I don’t think the New Republic failed. (Erm, well, until events of this movie.)

        If anyone failed, it appears to be the Empire, which is calling itself a different name.

        Here is the only way I can make sense of what happened to get us to the point we’re at:

        The Rebellion had enough victories that it managed to claim territory, and, eventually, force a general peace with the Empire, or at least parts of it. There might even be a treaty, who knows. The new government is named the New Republic.

        Areas still under Empire control were still around, and at some point renamed itself the First Order. Possible theory: The Empire spiraled into randomness and disconnect after the death of Vader and the Emperor, and the First Order might have been the group to rise out of the ashes. Or, alternately, maybe the Empire just didn’t want to call themselves an Empire without an Emperor, so they just rebranded.

        These First Order worlds have something called the Resistance, which is sorta the Rebellion still going on. (But the *actual* Rebellion technically turned into the New Republic.)

        This Resistance is is (not-so-secretly) funded and maybe even operated entirely by New Republic (The fact everyone who was running the Rebellion now seems to be running the Resistance sends up some red flags there!), despite the fact the New Republic is *technically* at peace with the First Order.

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  2. I think they did a pretty good job telegraphing that the characters who know what’s going on (Leia, Han, the old man from the beginning, and implicitly Luke) know a fair bit more about Snoke than they had a chance to tell Rey or Finn (and with them the audience); they might even have a better idea of who he is than Kylo Ren. Starkiller Base was annoying but to be expected; I think the movie would have been a better one without it but things like it are a bad habit that Abrams has. The mess of the Resistance, Republic, and First Order was also unnecessary, especially with the Republic knocked out of the fight before it really begins. I didn’t have a problem with Han’s death, or with the shear volume of stuff that happened in the film (although the very end at Luke’s planet was unnecessary and the repeated switching close ups of Rey and Luke were downright bad) but I’m usually very much ok with knowing what’s going to happen before it does and with long, convoluted works in general. As I already said elsewhere, I was very pleased to see a non-jedi doing things with a lightsaber and wish there had been a bit more of that, but I think there are plenty of people who feel the opposite way.

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  3. Han and Chewy weren’t on a special quest for their old ship, they had been searching for it for years.
    I had it down as huh, it showed up on our screen with a flashing “Check Me Out, I look Interesting” (or, if you rather, “those people aren’t behaving normally. Something Odd is going on, and I smell profit!” Han is not a Ferengi, and isn’t actually super good at getting profit).

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  4. Thinking now about the Abrams movies I’ve seen, particularly the Star Trek films, I suppose I should just start mourning now that I will never get to see interesting development in the Rey and Kylo Ren characters.

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  5. Okay I’ve seen The Force Awakens now. Some non-spoiler opinions first: I enjoyed the movie thoroughly, it was a good romp and superior to all three prequels. I am not, however, a Warsie and my Hubby (who is) opined that Prequel #3 with its starship battle porn was still dear to his heart. I can understand that but the prequels had so much CGI background that they felt like half way to being animated movies. There’s nothing wrong with being an animated movie, I love me some animated movies, but animated/real life movies fall into an almost uncanny valley where nothing feels remotely real, I think it punches you in the suspension of disbelief. I also agree with many recappers that TFA draws enormously on the original trio of movies and feels almost like a reboot of them. We saw Abrams do the same stunt with Into Darkness though I’d submit that this attempt was far more successful. It makes sense since it plays to Abrams inclinations, lets him offer up a form of atonement for the prequels and is also commercially safer. I do not think this bodes ill for future movies; if TFA makes as much money as it looks to then Abrams will likely have free reign to stretch his wings in the following films and frankly I don’t think he could recap the original material much more in two more flicks.
    Despite this I think that the prequels were used and referenced in the TFA in inventive and clever ways.

    Spoiler stuff now that I’m well into my comment and safely free of the preview margins.
    -Snoke is a terrible, horrible, no good name for a supreme leader. Here’s a pro-tip Disney: if your big bad’s name is a couple letters away from Snookie, Snuke, Snork or Snorkle you need to hit the big red abort button without hesitation.
    -Rey is everything that Maribou said she was. I considered her a near perfect submission, feminine and strong yet unforced. I was charmed by her presence and manner, I rooted for her in her confrontations and I very much was interested to see what happens for her next. Her mental force-off with Han Jr. was excellent, just excellent.
    -The only way the movie could have telegraphed that she’s Luke’s daughter more obviously was if she had a Skywalker monogramed baby blanket. If she is indeed his daughter then why the fishing fish would he abandon her on that desert hellhole. It appears from the flashback that she was remanded into the custody of that horrible scrap merchant who hesitated not even an instant to call the First Order on her. That feels like an incredible plot hole to me. The girl could have realistically been expected to die, rather than endure and be unhappy.
    -On the same note, I would expect that those abandonment issues to present a significant rage/dark side story arc for Rey at some point.
    -I liked Fin’s story and would like to know more. The Empire/Order stopped using clones evidently but is replicating the effect by taking children from their families when they’re too young to remember them? What’s up with that? Fin, it seems, is a force sensitive thus a potential Jedi which lays interesting potential for the future flicks. Fin played a distinct sidekick role for much of the film but I didn’t mind it; I think he’s set up for some excellent development/exploration for future films.
    -Poe was ok. He filled a role. It was ok. What more can be said about Poe?
    -Ren hereafter Hans Jr. Was alright. His tantrums worked well for me as did the entire bit about feeling the draw of the light side of the Force. His Light Sabre seethed barely contained unlike the focused hum of the Skywalker family Sabre- clever and well done. Also those cross guards served practical use, color me surprised and impressed.
    -The Starkiller base was eyeball rolling awful. Seriously, another killer space ball? Also can we talk about economics here for a moment? They excavated a planet to make a planet sized death star that eats stars? Can anyone help me here? There’s so much wrong with that! First off the Empire with the resources of the Galaxy at its disposal built 2 death stars at enormous cost but we’re expected to believe that the First Order which is some kind of paramilitary organization could build something even bigger than that by itself in secret without anyone figuring that out? What the fishing fish? How is that possible let alone feasible?
    -Also can we talk about the mechanics of this weapon? It sucks in a star then spits it at an enemy system. What happens, precisely, after it sucks away its star? Does it just sit there or can this thing go to hyperspace and fly to a new star? If the former than it is idiotic and useless, if the latter than my economics complaints increase to screams. Everything about Starkiller Base was implausible, stupid and senseless.
    -When the base was fired my Husband (a Warsie) flipped out. Did they just BLOW UP CORUSCANT?? I did a bit of reading on the matter and to translate that sentiment for most of you in the Star Wars Universe blowing up Coruscant would be somewhat akin to blowing up Jerusalem, Rome, DC, Brussels and New York all rolled up into one here on earth. The place is apparently historically, economically and politically paramount in the SWU. It turns out, however, that in TFA the Republic Senate was not located on Coruscant but rather on a new urban world called Hosnian Prime. This of course begs the question, why the hell is the Republic based on this nowhere world now?
    -All this leads into a strong criticism of the film- It elides politics entirely and thus leaves a void there. Why is the Republic the way it is? What exactly does the First Order stand for (apparently order per their speechifying), what the heck happened to the Galaxy from Return of the Jedi to now? For the Resistance and the First Order to make much sense it sounds like unified galactic government is pretty much a thing of the past with the Republic being relegated more to an overarching UN style organization with militias, planetary governments and para-military organizations running amok in the galaxy. Doesn’t sound like things improved much from Palpatine snuffing it.
    -The Force Awakens makes a very useful contrast with the prequel movies in terms of fighting style. In the prequels the Jedi and Sith engage in some utterly madcap ever topping themselves lightsaber battles. In the TFA the light saber fights are, instead, entirely amateur. Hans Jr, Finn and Rey basically flail at each other.
    -This same contrast is an illustration of how Anakin Skywalker brought “Balance” to the Force. In his involvement first in the Jedi Purge, then in preventing the few survivors from passing on their knowledge and finally in his personal destruction of the Sith Master/Apprentice duo Anakin Skywalker brought balance to the force by essentially destroying every highly trained force user in the Galaxy. I’d submit that Luke, a hastily trained bare bones Jedi certainly doesn’t count.
    -With TFA now in cannon the traditional Jedi training methods seem to stand heavily indicted. Anakin was separated from his Mother and intensely trained and eventually turned to the dark side in rage and confusion. Luke was raised to near adulthood by a strict but supportive family and turned out as a tolerable Jedi who then dutifully sought to resume traditional training methods. Han Jr. was apparently taken from his parents early on and promptly went dark side and did a Sandy Hook on the new generation of Jedi. Maybe a rethink on this train em up from babies is required.

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  6. Okay, first of all, what’s with all the spoiler tags in comments here? This post *explicitly* has spoilers in it, and the comments are going to have spoilers too. If this is somehow confusing, be aware this comment has, duh, untagged spoilers in it.

    I hated the stupid plot device of the Millennium Falcon winding up just happening to sit on the same planet where the droid with the secret plans winds up *and* Han Solo happens to be looking for his ship right about the same time that the two intrepid heroes make off with his old ship.

    The Millennium Falcon being on the same planet as the droid with a secret plan isn’t a plot device, or at least isn’t any sort of *coincidental* plot device. Having new heroes in a sequel run across the heroes from the previous movie and join up is not a ‘plot device’, it’s just how movies work. It would have been a coincidence if the new characters had somehow stumbled across the *Resistance* by chance without knowing where they are…but they didn’t. (The Resistance showed up because of that person in the bar. Not Han calling Leia, which is what I expected.)

    Now, if Rey turns out to be someone actually *connected* to the main characters from the previous movies, such as various hypothesises about her parents have put forward, sure, that’s a coincidence, but it’s a *Force* coincidence, so we sorta have to give that a pass in Star Wars.

    Now, there is one actual coincidence: Han and Chewie stumbling on the Falcon like twenty seconds after it leaves the planet. I think the movies *tries* to explain that, but I would have liked to have some sort of tracking beacon (That Rey and Finn accidentally activated) or something. And it probably should have taken longer, because Han and Chewie logically shouldn’t have already been in the system.

    Even if we really, really needed that scene with the monster in that big-ass ship (Which we didn’t), how about having that ship run by bounty hunters that catch the Falcon (Because the First Order wants them.), Rey and Finn manage to sneak out of the Falcon and hide, and then Han and Chewie show up a short time later, having tracked the Falcon’s beacon down, and attempt to negotiate for their ship back with people they already have a dubious history with? And then Rey recognized Han Solo’s name, remembers he’s a Resistance General (Well, was, but she doesn’t know that), and is someone they can turn BB8 over to.

    And she tries to help with the doors, and it all plays out almost exactly the same.

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