Saturday, 19 December 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens - The scoop and digest

After endless speculation and palpable anticipation, the weight of expectation rests heavily on the very capable shoulders of J. J. Abrams.

First though, some tidbits.

Kevin Hearne's Heir to the Jedi takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

Chuck Wendig's Aftermath [reveals] what happened after the events of Return of the Jedi.

Book 2 Life Debt is out in July 2016 with Book 3 Empire's End concluding matters in 2017.

More so, four-part comic Shattered Empire is set after Jedi.

But wait, 1996 N64 video game Shadows of the Empire is sandwiched between Empire and Jedi.

(Sighs).

Of course, Disney have ensured extended universe is no longer canon.

Unofficially taking place 32 years after Return of the Jedi, how will youth cope with a deadly new enemy?

Knowing shit wouldn't calm the fuck down for weeks, it was obligatory to see this baby at midnight.

Harrison Ford - Han Solo
Adam Driver - Kylo Ren
Daisy Ridley - Rey
John Boyega - Finn
Carrie Fisher - Leia Organa
Oscar Isaac - Poe

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....

Dur, dur, duh, duh, dur, dur, dur, dur, dur, dur, etc etc etc.

Summarizing three paragraph title crawl.

Luke Skywalker has vanished.

The First Order rose from the ashes of the Empire's defeat intent on finding and destroying the last Jedi.

General Organa sends her best man on a top secret mission to Jakku and find her brother.

(Camera pans down).

Top geezer Poe stashes memory stick containing a map leading to Luke's whereabouts inside astromech droid BB-8.

In close attendance is Lor San Tekka, and shit hits the fan when First Order troops blast first, ask questions later.

Baddie Kylo Ren arrives and promptly slays Tekka.  Poe is frozen by the Force and subsequently kidnapped.

Successfully extracting map's location from Poe's mind, there isn't a second to lose.

Kylo Ren factfile (ahead of the game):

He's Darth Vader's grandson and Han Solo's son.

Okay, I didn't expect the Han part.

Scavenger Rey makes end meet on sand planet by trading junk for portions of food.

Tatooine's capital perhaps?

She rescues BB-8 from fellow junk gatherer and they become quite attached.

Traitorous stormtrooper Finn helps Poe escape and although shot down in hijacked black TIE, they make it back to Jakku.

Finn meets up with Rey and take Millennium Falcon.

Snared by another craft, guess who's fucking back?

"Chewie, we're home."

Space pirates (including Mad Dog from The Raid), are still pissed at Han for not repaying several debts, but squid things do them a favour and attack vessel.

At some point, Finn asks Han the ultimate question.

Luke was training a new generation of Jedis, but when ungrateful bastard (Ren) became corrupted, he felt responsible and left.

Falcon arrives on Takodama, home to first Jedi temple and now converted watering hole.

Look out for brief shot of fat alien with woman, a reference to Jabba and Leia.

Rey goes walkies and finds box containing Luke's lightsaber, which instigates visions of past and present.

How did owner Maz Kanata come into possession?

We don't know (yet).

More First Order attacks are subdued, but Kylo Ren steals Rey.

Han discusses strategies with estranged wife Leia and Threepio informs R2 hasn't been functional since young Master Luke left.

Kylo is surprised by Rey's strength who successfully repels tortuous methods.

This is reported to 'Supreme Leader' Snoke who demands a chat.

Aww, what a shame Force rookie has already escaped.

Solar powered Starkiller Base kind of replaces the Death Star and the Resistance determine once shields are disabled, targeting thermal core will make heavily armoured space station go boom.

If this was Gradius, we'd be shouting 'Destroy the Core'.

Assisted by former sanitation supremo Finn, dynamic duo Han and Chewie are predictably tasked to shut down shields.

Held at gunpoint, First Order commander Captain Phasma obliges.

Explosives are planted and Han confronts Kylo Ren (to whom he calls Ben).

Well Kenobi me.

They hesitantly share a tender moment, but son commits parricide with lightsaber.

NOOOOOOOO!!!!

Han and the Falcon can be taken out during Vader's Revenge in Bandai Namco's supreme 2014 arcade Battle Pod

To be honest, it's Sega's Star Wars Trilogy with go faster stripes.

Anyway, Chewie blasts Ren but Knight manages to escape.

While Poe and co help destroy super weapon, Finn and Ren engage in a lightsaber duel in the idyllic setting of snow covered forest.

Finn is overpowered and after a hard-fought struggle - Rey claims a points victory.

Ground opens up and chasm separates.

Rey's presence is enough for R2 to reboot (much to the delight of BB-8), and conveniently holds missing part of map.

Luke is found on a remote rocky mountain and Rey offers his lightsaber.

Hey, three decades alone doesn't give licence to transform into a hobo.

We feared a steaming pile of Disney Sith, but Abrams' orchestration of action, effects and scenery are exemplary.

The excitable Boyega (of 2011 sci-fi comedy Attack the Block) can be irritating and other than for the purposes of nostalgia and/or fan service, Leia is ultimately pointless.

BB-8 is my new favourite droid, Ford effortlessly rolls back over thirty years and Ridley handles responsibility with aplomb.

Draped in menacing black, Driver makes a great villain and student's training is far from complete.

I think it was a good decision to kill off Han, but he deserved a better send off.

If memory serves correctly, Ren's craft smacks of Kruge's Bird of Prey in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.

Please compare before scoffing.

Nien Nunb and Admiral Ackbar return, so why not Lando?

Maybe he'll appear in the next as Finn's father?

Yeah, I'm taking the piss.

For all its superlatives, Abrams effectively remakes A New Hope.

Do we care?

Yes and no.

Gamers will notice more than bits and bobs were stole from The Force Unleashed.

Rian 'Looper' Johnson and Colin 'Jurassic World' Trevorrow will direct VIII (2017) and IX (2019) respectively.

Although either will struggle to emulate pulsating intergalactic thrill-ride, I hope Empire and Jedi aren't just given new coats of paint.

That's me done for 2015 folks, so all the best and see you next year.

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