Okay, so before we dive right into the subject of this post, as the new guy here at Outer Rim News I should really explain just what the hell gives me the right to post my opinions on the Internet, yeah? Well, I have been totally obsessed with Star Wars for over 20 years now, since I was taken to see the Special Edition re-release of Original Trilogy in the mid-90s. I actually didn’t want to go originally, I remember thinking it will be boring and I would much rather stay at home, however after the opening crawl, I was instantly hooked.
Watching what I learned to be the Tantive IV trying desperately to escape the clutches of the oncoming behemoth of a spaceship, the Star Destroyer Devastator, I was hooked, game over man. After leaving the cinema all I thought about was Star Wars, all I cared about was watching more Star Wars, and this obsession is alive and well twenty-two years later as I approach the big 30.
When Disney announced they had acquired the rights to Star Wars back in 2012, and that a new trilogy would be created, I literally ran around the house screaming with joy, new Star Wars films!!!! The Star Wars community was a mixture of sheer excitement, with a hint of apprehension due to a certain other trilogy of Star Wars films. Now I do not hate the Prequels, in fact, I am a massive fan of them, don’t get me wrong they aren’t perfect or hold up in any way to the Original Trilogy, but they are still great films that told fantastic Star Wars stories, but more on them in a later post…
The entire Star Wars community held their breaths as we waited for J.J. Abrams’ vision of the Galaxy far, far away, and it did not disappoint. J.J. made it clear from the start that he would be using the Original Trilogy as an inspiration, and this was evident in his decision to move away from the CGI originated style of the Prequels. I remember jumping for joy when not long after J.J. said yes to directing Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I found out that Lucasfilm was looking for puppet masters, via an IMDB search.
What also made The Force Awakens such an amazing film is it felt familiar, it felt like home. Now I know that is a bit of a strange description for a film, that it felt like home, but it truly did. The pacing of the film, the amazing set pieces, the use of life-like animatronics and puppets, the fun, and the heart-ache; everything just felt like a true Star Wars film. The lovable hero, a daunting villain and the fate of the galaxy in the hands of a select few. Some people did criticize the film saying that it was basically a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope, but anyone with that opinion is a nerf-herder and I couldn’t care less what you think.
Was it similar to A New Hope? Yes of course it was. J.J. stated he wanted the movie to feel like the Original Trilogy, he wanted viewers to feel a sense of nostalgia while watching. Some people are just never happy and they just live to criticize everything. The big reason why The Force Awakens was such a success and hit amongst the Star Wars community? We are still talking about it 12 months later, just as much as we were when it was first released, probably even more so with all the questions we have. Who are Rey’s parents? Who is Snoke? just how did Ben Solo become Kylo Ren? and the most important question of all, why does Hux wear his belt so dang high!?
That now nicely brings us to the main topic of this article… the saddest moment in The Force Awakens. The saddest moment to me is something that, you may not first realize while watching the film. I saw the film twice in a row. I left the cinema and saw there was another showing and went straight back in and this idea didn’t hit me until a few days later when I was just thinking about everything I had seen.
Now, obviously while watching the film, seeing Han killed by his own son gets you right in the feels. I did think it was coming before I saw the film, especially when J.J. did confirm that a main character will die in the film. It was just a question of the logical choice really. Harrison Ford wanted Han killed off after Empire, and there were all sorts of rumors and reports that Harrison didn’t really want to reprise his role as everyone’s favorite smuggler, but that is neither here or there. Watching the film for the first time, reacting first time to the scenes in front of us, of course Kylo killing Han is the saddest part of the film, especially this striking, heart-wrenching moment…
Did Han know his son’s intentions? Did he feel that the only way to help his son was to make the ultimate sacrifice? The expression on Ben’s face after as well suggests a sense of regret perhaps? Did Han think that letting his son kill him would bring him back to the light? We many never know, but it is interesting that Kylo says…
”I’m being torn apart, I want to be free of this pain.”
Han Solo dying made every Star Wars fan feel utterly terrible. No matter who is or isn’t your favorite character(s), everyone loved Han. Like I said, I had a strong feeling that it was going to happen and it still brought a tear to my eye. If I asked most people what they think is the saddest moment in The Force Awakens then I guess that nearly everyone will say this, but I would like to draw your attention to another moment in this film. It involves everyone’s favorite walking carpet, and again a character that every fan loves…Chewbacca
The saddest moment for me in The Force Awakens is when Chewbacca shoots Kylo Ren. Now like I said, this is a thought I did not have straight away while watching the movie, but any truly great film will make you think long after you’ve seen it, and make you question your initial feelings and reactions. So why on earth is the saddest part when Han’s loyal best friend shoots his killer? Well because to Chewie, Ben Solo isn’t just Kylo Ren, the killer of his best friend… He is also the son of his best friend. Just take a minute and think about that, just think about the history between Chewbacca and the boy before the infamous Kylo Ren, Ben Solo. There would have been a time where Chewbacca would have been good old Uncle Chewie. He would have loved Ben like he was his own because Chewbacca and Han were more than just friends, they were family, they were brothers. Chewie would have been there when Ben was growing up, playing with him as a child, going on adventures with him and Han, looking after him, and trying to stop him from being sad when Han and Leia had been arguing (because let’s face it, they would have argued a lot). Even writing about this is pulling on the old heart-strings, Chewie loved Ben and would have been just as heartbroken as his parents when Ben fell to the Dark Side and then rose up as Kylo Ren. Below is an absolutely brilliant comic strip by the extremely talented Tyson Murphy that illustrates Uncle Chewie and Ben.
After watching his best friend brutally killed by his own son, Chewie then makes the soul-crushing decision to shoot Kylo Ren. What must have been going through his head? A flood of memories from a happier time, which is perhaps why he didn’t shoot straight away? Chewbacca must have been overcome with emotion, the memories of the little boy he loved like his own, his best friend’s heartache when Ben fell to the Dark Side, the hope gone that the little boy he once loved could come back. Chewie could have easily killed Kylo on that bridge, but he just couldn’t bring himself to slay his ‘nephew’. Killing Kylo Ren would also mean killing Ben Solo. Now if this wasn’t sad enough for us, we saw the effect all this had on Chewie when he was back at the Resistance base, with his head in his hand, quietly contemplating what had happened. I might have shed a tear when Han died, I was in full gone weeping when I saw Chewie that upset.
I hope in Episode 8 we explore more about the history between Kylo Ren and Chewbacca. Will they meet? Will Kylo Ren again kill a member of his family to appease his new master, Supreme Leader Plagueis, sorry I mean Snoke.