Now that the Jakku dust has settled (somewhat) and a majority of – if not all – Star Wars fans have seen The Force Awakens, it’s time to recount my Top 5 favorite scenes from the long-awaited installment of the Saga for this month’s Star Wars ComLINKS.
Definitely the most humor-filled moment was Finn and BB-8’s exchange after they escape Jakku and before running into Han and Chewie. Finn pleads with the droid to reveal the location of the Resistance base in order to keep up the ruse he’s with the Resistance. Rey needs to know the location of the base in order to pilot the Falcon and deliver BB-8 and the map, but obviously the former First Order Stormtrooper has no idea.
When BB-8 decides to reveal the location and Rey ducks back down below the Falcon’s floor to keep poisonous gas from leaking into the ship, Finn gives BB-8 a thumbs up and the droid responds in kind – with his tiny blow torch serving as a pseudo-thumb – much to the delight of the audience. I’ve seenThe Force Awakens seven times as of the writing of this blog post, and each time this scene has drawn the most laughter.
No. 4 – The hug
No, I’m not talking about Han and Leia. Not Chewie and Leia. Not Finn and Rey. All great moments, but my favorite hug is the one between two people who had never met until the Falcon landed on D’Qar after the destruction of Starkiller Base. I’m talking about Rey and Leia.
In a scene absolutely dripping with meaning and emotion, two strangers – but one with the Force – meet and embrace with ne’er a word being spoken. Often in The Force Awakens did the sights and sounds provide all of the dialogue that was necessary. This was another one of those instances where two people who had lost something very dear could comfort each other because of an invisible but all-powerful bond.
I’ll leave it up to the speculative experts who will attempt to fabricate Rey and Leia’s history (if there is one), or theorize the hug signifies this or that. My thoughts on the touching embrace are simply that Leia’s abilities allowed her to recognize Rey as another person strong with the Force and could feel her concern and confusion surrounding her new-found knowledge and skills. Likewise, Rey – even with her limited experience in the ways of the Force – could feel Leia’s pain and sorrow. Leia knew her only as “the girl.” Rey only knew her as the leader of the Resistance. But in that moment, they both were so much more.
No. 3 – First appearance of the Falcon
A highly deserved round of applause to J.J. and Lawrence, or whomever decided to present the Millennium Falcon to us on Jakku the way they did. For Finn to point to a ship off-screen and Rey’s response describing it as garbage, and then for them both to turn when the quad jumper was destroyed and go for Plan B… well, it was just perfect.
I don’t know about you, but that was the second time I cheered loudly during the movie – the first time being at the very beginning with the Lucasfilm logo and opening crawl.
When the camera pans up and we see the unmistakable profile of the Falcon, it really hit me that we were truly home. How long has it been since seeing the YT-model freighter on the big screen? Too long!
No. 2 – Rey resisting Kylo’s mind probe
My favorite line in the movie is when Rey pushes back against Kylo’s attempt to read her mind, discovers her ability to read his mind, and says:
“You. You’re afraid… that you’ll never be as strong as Darth Vader.”
Kylo is snapped out of his concentration with a look that could kill. Kylo had discovered her Force sensitivities before that moment because when he first began to search her mind, he said: “I know. I feel it, too.”
He then went on to describe her thoughts – insomnia, loneliness, Luke’s location (which is VERY interesting and gives us a clue to her past involvement with Luke?), and her feelings about Han Solo being a father she never had. When Kylo dug deeper to find the map she’d seen via BB-8, inadvertently stepping over Luke’s actual location in her mind, Rey began to resist the mind probe and turned the tables on him. The look on Kylo’s face was priceless.
No. 1 – Rey piloting the Falcon with Chewie’s blessing:
How come Chewie doesn’t pilot the Falcon to go find Luke? Isn’t he the rightful owner now that Han is gone? He certainly has more experience than Rey handling the Falcon.
No, there’s a reason Chewie sat in his customary co-pilot’s chair to depart D’Qar. Rey entered the cockpit, set her quarterstaff down, and then cautiously slid into the pilot’s chair while glancing over at Chewie. I would submit that in that moment she was surprised to be allowed to sit there – confirmed by her ever so slight smile.
Folks, this final sequence of the movie is just soaked with meaning. The passing of the torch. A changing of the guard. You can use whatever cliché you want, but I don’t think there’s much to debate what’s going on in Chewie’s head. He acknowledges Rey as a worthy pilot and someone, as Han said, who appreciates the Falcon. And she speaks Wookiee to boot! You can see it in the look Chewie gave her as they entered the planet’s atmosphere and headed to the island where Rey eventually found Luke.
Now, I admit it could be Chewie allowed Rey to pilot the Falcon because she had to use her Force sensitivities to find Luke on the planet’s surface, but he certainly could’ve piloted the ship with Rey in the co-pilot seat directing him. There’s just so much more going on here. That pilot’s chair is sacred.
Also, how come Chewie didn’t accompany Rey up and across the mysterious island to find Luke? Why did he stay behind and allow Rey to venture out on her own? To guard the ship? R2 could’ve done that. Chewie and Luke go way back. Isn’t he excited to see his old friend?
I think you know the answer. Chewie, like Luke, doesn’t need to say or do anything in this final scene. His actions speak louder than words.
Rey is special. Rey is the one.
What were your favorite scenes in The Force Awakens?