We’ve been clamouring for a proper sequel to Star Wars: Return of the Jedi (ROTJ) for 30 years, and now we finally get to continue the saga of the Skywalkers. So I did what any self-respecting Star Wars fan would do and watched Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA) six times (and counting).
But while The Force Awakens is a thoroughly enjoyable film, this is by far the safest Star Wars sequel that any director could hope to make. Why? Because it is a complete rip-off from the Star Wars movie that started it all! It’s an almost shot-for -shot/beat-by-beat remake of the much-loved Star Wars: A New Hope (ANH).
Here are the top 18 moments from The Force Awakens that are total rehashes of what came before.
1Desert planets are the location of choice
TFA’s opening scene is set on Jakku, a frontier desert world home to thieves, outlaws and scavengers. Here’s the official description of Tatooine, where ANH opens: “A harsh desert world in the galaxy’s Outer Rim, Tatooine is a lawless place ruled by Hutt gangsters”. Sound oddly familiar no?
2Droids carry critical information
The opening scenes of both movies also have an intrepid rebel/resistance spy transferring vital information into their trusty droids for safekeeping. TFA ups the ante by including the legendary Max von Sydow, but hey, same difference.
3Rebel/Resistance spy is captured
In ANH, Princess Leia was the rebel spy captured by Darth Vader. In TFA, Poe Dameron is the one captured in similar fashion by Kylo Ren.
4Droids like to roam the desert
R2D2 and C3PO trek through the desert in search for help. Which is basically what BB-8 does in TFA till he gets kidnapped by local scavengers.
5Main protagonist saves droids
Without missing a beat, Abrams has BB-8 captured by a scavenger named Teedo before it’s rescued by Rey. In ANH, R2D2 and C3PO are kidnapped by more enterprising scavengers named Jawas. Uncle Owen is looking for a protocol droid and an R2 unit and when the one he selected malfunctions, Luke suggest getting R2D2 instead.
6Main protagonists are ‘orphans’
By orphans, I mean that their parentage is left unknown. Nothing about Luke or Rey’s family history is explicitly revealed to the audience.
7Main protagonist dreams of leaving the planet
Both Luke and Rey want to leave the planet that they are on (who could blame them, it’s a desert, for crying out loud). Luke wants to join the rebellion and fly X-wings. Rey dreams of her ‘parents’ coming to get her and leaving with them.
8Main protagonist has mad piloting skills
Luke proves himself to be an extraordinary pilot when he navigates two photon torpedoes into the Death Star’s exhaust port. TFA shows us that Rey can not only fly the Millennium Falcon through a decrepit Star Destroyer, but essentially fix anything mechanical. (So she talks to machines then? Kinda like Aquaman? – Head Geek Nic Yong)
9Heroes use Millennium Falcon to escape Stormtroopers
Not sure if the writers were just lazy or wanted to see how much remix they could jam into a single scene, but this is too coincidental. Luke, Obi-wan, R2D2 and C3PO all find passage on the Millennium Falcon to Alderaan. But before they can take off, Stormtroopers chance upon them and they have to fight their way off Tatooine.
TFA has Rey and Finn both running away from marauding Stormtroopers and commandeering the Falcon to escape Jakku.
10Rebel/Resistance spy gets tortured for information
So here we have Poe Dameron getting tortured by Kylo Ren for information on the whereabouts of BB-8. In ANH, Princess Leia tries her best to withhold the location of the rebel base from Lord Vader.
11There is another Death Star
You can tell that the writers are not even trying here. No matter which way you try to sell it, a huge sphere floating in space that destroys planets is a DEATH STAR. Granted that the one in The Force Awakens can take out multiple planets at a go, but you can’t hide the fact that it does exactly the same thing that the Death Star did 30 years ago.
12There is another trench run
This one is really borderline plagiarism. One of the major set pieces of A New Hope was the Death Star trench run. JJ and co try to recapture the same magic in The Force Awakens by inserting a trench into the thermal oscillator (what use does a thermal oscillator have for a trench anyway?), but we’ve seen it all before.
13Jek Porkins returns
Remember the portly X-wing pilot from the Death Star trench scene who was unceremoniously killed in a bombing run? The Force Awakens has its own Jek Porkins in the form of actor Greg Grunberg (the cop in Heroes). He even sports the same beard, which makes me wonder if they are related.
14The universe needs cantinas
Han brings Rey, Finn and BB-8 to Maz Kanata’s bar (ie Cantina) to seek safe passage to the resistance base located on the planet of D’Qar. In ANH, Obi-Wan, Luke, R2D2 and C3PO head to a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” to seek passage to the rebel-friendly planet of Alderaan.
15Rebel/Resistance bases do not change much in 30 years
This is one scene that would given even Princess Leia a bout of Déjà vu. 30 years ago, she was standing in the Rebel war room waiting for the impending doom that was the Death Star.
30 years on, she’s back in the war room, also waiting for her impending doom at the hands of Starkiller base. How can the same thing happen to the same princess twice?
16The Dark Lord and his Master
Any remake would not be complete without a Dark Lord and his human counterpart of similar authority. Darth Vader had Grand Moff Tarkin to keep him in check and in TFA, we have General Hux balancing out Kylo Ren.
17The funny old guy who talks about hokey religions and ancient weapons
Once upon a time, Obi-Wan Kenobi filled out the role of the wise old sage imparting knowledge to the young ingenue. Here in The Force Awakens, we have the scoundrel with the heart of gold as the one who confirms to Rey and Finn that everything about the Force is real.
18The wise old sage dies
What would a remake of A New Hope be if someone revered and respected didn’t die? Obi-wan made the ultimate sacrifice and sent Luke along his way to become a Jedi knight. Unfortunately, Han Solo had to fill that spot in the current remake and thus died at the hands of his son, Kylo Ren.
And there you have it, the top instances which The Force Awakens shares with A New Hope. There are just way too many to ignore, such that this is the line circulating on the Internets: JJ. Abrams should change his name to DJ Abrams, as he seems to be really good at producing remixes.
May the Force be with Yo! Space out.