When JJ Abrams Star Wars: The Force Awakens released in theaters, it has been praised for its fast pace, dazzling visual effects and the typically breathtaking score of John Williams. But the response to the film has not been entirely positive. Thanks to its familiar narration, he’s been accused of rehashing the 1977 original. It’s a rebellion fighting an evil empire and detonating his planet-destroying super-weapon. And on top of that, the hero is an unlucky desert scavenger who has no idea he’s ridiculously Force-sensitive and dreams of leaving his humble colony to become a starfighter pilot.
Rey has the same origins as Luke and Anakin, the protagonists of the previous one Star wars trilogies. The only thing that significantly separates her from her predecessors is that her planet has a different name. Skywalkers are from Tatooine, a dusty desert world filled with junkers and thieves, and Rey is from Jakku, a dusty desert world filled with junkers and thieves.
Based on the memoir of ex-Disney boss Bob Iger The race of a lifetime, George Lucas was disappointed that the force awakens didn’t introduce enough new worlds to fans. Jakku is technically a “new” planet in the Star wars canon, but it’s basically Tatooine under a different name. These two planets are exactly alike and this makes the whole Star wars the universe seems repetitive and incoherent.
A galaxy far, far away was a rich and complete fictional universe before the next trilogy arrived. Jakku is just a symptom of the force awakens‘undo the coherence of Star wars traditions. Along with the Resistance, the First Order and Starkiller Base, Abrams’ film is filled with familiar iconography under a sleek new name. Instead of the next chapter of the story, the force awakens looks like an account from a previous chapter.
As long as Rey’s home planet was going to be Tatooine aside from the name, then it could just as easily have been Tatooine. Jakku’s desert landscapes were clearly meant to evoke fans’ nostalgia for Luke’s homeworld, but there’s no better way to do it than to simply return to Tatooine himself.
If it had been just Tatooine – and Rey and Unkar’s crashed TIE hunter Plutt and Finn had all been in another Tatooine “Mos” province – it would have continued on. Star wars tradition of starting the first film in each trilogy with a Force-sensitive outsider living a mundane existence on Tatooine. In the original 1977 film, Luke works on his aunt and uncle’s wet farm, desperate to join the Rebel Alliance and constantly postponed. In The phantom menace, Qui-Gon finds Anakin working at Watto’s flea market and determines him as the prophesied “Chosen One” to bring balance to the Force.
Either way, the barren wasteland of Tatooine is a great starting point for the rest of the trilogy to explore exciting new planets. Once Luke leaves Tatooine, he travels to worlds as disparate as Snowy Hoth, Woodland Endor, Steampunk-stained Cloud City, and the monolithic Death Star. After Anakin leaves for Coruscant, he ends up venturing into the vivid green fields of Naboo, the reddish plains of Geonosis, the volcanic landscapes of Mustafar, and all the other battlegrounds of the Clone Wars.
It could be argued that returning to Tatooine in the force awakens It would have been even more of a new path than the introduction of a new desert planet. Corn The phantom menace returned to Tatooine without feeling like a retread as he explored new corners of the planet. In the original trilogy, Luke lived in the middle of nowhere and traveled to Mos Eisley with Obi-Wan to find a pilot to take them to Alderaan. In The phantom menace, Qui-Gon disembarks at Mos Espa to repair Padmé’s ship. Podracing and the presence of younger incarnations of Greedo and Jabba the Hutt The phantom menaceTatooine scenes are fresh.
In The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau has proven that returning to Tatooine doesn’t have to be a relapse. Mando returned to familiar locations like Mos Eisley Spaceport and the Sea of Dunes, but Favreau used those settings for new scenarios like a team of bounty hunters at the For a few dollars more and the killing of a krayt dragon.
Yes the force awakens had introduced Rey as a native of Tatooine, it wouldn’t necessarily have looked more like a mellow remake of the original film. This would certainly be the case if Abrams kept the Death Star plot and the Rebel vs. Empire conflict, but the following trilogy needed an original story, not planets with new names.
According to IndieWire, Abrams explained why he led the force awakens essentially as a remake of New hope: “[The Force Awakens] was a bridge and a kind of abseil; the public had to be reminded of this Star wars is, but it had to be drawn with something familiar. He’s right, but telling the exact same story again wasn’t the right way to reintroduce audiences to the Star wars universe. Before embarking on a whole new narrative structure, opening the film on Tatooine – an environment fans are already used to – would have been a great way to achieve Abrams’ goals.
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