After 32 years, a new sequel to Star Wars has finally hit the big screen. From the minds of noted genre director JJ Abrams, fresh off a script from Lawrence Kasdan, the new film kicks off an entire new franchise for Disney, the new owners of Lucasfilm.
In some way, the movie satisfies with its iconography and effects (read our review), but there is no denying that The Force Awakens shares a lot with A New Hope.
No, scratch that. Other than the improved dialogue, TFA is a beat-by-beat remake of ANH. You don’t believe us? SPOILERS AHEAD. Name me the Star Wars movie where the bad guys are after this droid which holds important data, which is then found by this young hero on a desert planet. The hero finds help from a rogue with a good heart, and together with a gruff old man, all jump on board the Millennium Falcon, proceed to find the rebels and work together in a coordinated attack, to destroy a massive planet killer.
So in honour of the original Star Wars, we are going to compare events from both movies, and decided which movie did it better. And yes, we will compare TFA to the original 1977 version of ANH, and not the Special Edition. And trust us. There are so many parallels in both films, it’s as if you’re watching a remake.
R2-D2 vs BB-8: The important droids that everyone is looking for
The movies both start with two droids possessing vital information that has to be passed to the resistance, with the evil Empire after it. One became a fan favourite over the course of 6 movies, with the other is a new fan favourite because of its appearance in the trailer.
Verdict: Sorry BB-8, but R2-D2 continues to be useful so you’ll just have to roll with it.
Princess Leia vs Poe Dameron: The Rebel spy who gets captured by the Empire at the beginning of the movie.
The one person entrusted with highly vital information that both sides want gets captured, because their ship gets damaged. They then entrust the data to their droids, and release them to the planet. Really, I’m not making this stuff up.
Verdict: Princess Leia. Poe, you might be the best pilot in the Resistance, but everyone wants to save the Princess.
Tatooine vs Jakku: The desert planet that both films start on
Desert and sand. Tatooine has twin suns and Mos Eisley, while Jakku has a downed Star Destroyer and… something that resembles a space port. Both planets are not on our list of planets to visits.
Verdict: Tie. If no one said otherwise, both planets can stand in for each other.
Darth Vader vs Kylo Ren: The first appearance of the Dark Lord of Sith at the start of the movie
Both men clad in black appear on screen, demanding the secret data. Vader’s first appearance was a truly terrible one, as he simply killed a rebel spy. Ren’s first appearance tries to be impactful, as he also kills a rebel spy, but there’s just something childish about the way he does it. Maybe it’s the voice. James Earl Jones, come back!
Verdict: Darth Vader.
Empire Stormtroopers vs First Order Stormtroopers: Stormtroopers killing innocents
In ANH, the stormtroopers slaughter a bunch of Jawas, before killing Owen and Beru Lars. Audiences don’t see the killing. In TFA, the stormtroopers slaughter an entire village on Jakku and the deaths are shown on screen. But we get it. Stormtroopers are evil.
Verdict: Empire Stormtroopers don’t have to show us how evil they are.
For some reason, Droid seem to always end of up the hands of Alien scavengers, and then, requiring the aid of our human heroes to save them. R2-D2 and C3PO needed saving from the Jawas with Luke as with BB-8 and Rey.
Verdict: Luke. If not for the other astromech blowing up at the last moment, R2-D2 wouldn’t have been picked. Point here for added tension.
The reveal of the Millennium Falcon
The first time Luke (and the audience) sees the Falcon, he says, “What a piece of junk!”
The first time Rey references the Falcon, and before audiences see it, she says, “That is garbage.” But as audiences, we cheer because it is the Falcon and we love it.
Verdict: Garbage beats junk.
Luke vs Rey: The young hero whose true identity is unknown
Luke and Rey are presented as the saviour, and both are Force sensitive individuals who slowly learn about their capabilities. But while Luke went from not knowing much to learning something, Rey went from padawan to Jedi Knight in the course of one movie, from Force controlling minds to handling a lightsaber with finesse. I really want to know who her parents are.
Verdict: Rey. No one wants a whiny hero Luke.
Finn vs Han Solo: Meeting the rogue with the heart of gold
In ANH, Han was the pilot they needed and he shot first, and won our hearts when he supported Luke and the rebellion. In TFA, Finn didn’t shoot anyone at the beginning of the movie, needed a pilot and won our hearts when he supported the rescue of Rey.
Verdict: Han. Han always wins.
Piloting the Millennium Falcon
Rey vs Han. Han is the one true owner of the Falcon, despite the fact that he never bought it, and that he misplaced it. But we’ve seen his piloting skills and they are impressive. On the other hand, Rey has no idea what the Falcon is, or who owns it, but she pilots is as if she has been on the pilot seat for a very long time. And she can fix it without screaming at Chewbacca.
Verdict: Rey. She flew the Falcon without Chewbacca helping her and escaped the First Order forces.That’s a huge win in any book.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Han Solo: Meeting the gruff, old man for one last adventure
Obi-Wan Kenobi helped out our heroes in their time of need, and he convinced everyone about the powers and abilities of the Force. Now, an older Han Solo helped out our heroes in their time of need, and convinced them that the Force and everything that they have heard is all true. Oh, and let’s not forget that both ended up dying in what is considered to be a great sacrifice, though one sacrifice is still debatable.
Verdict: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine. Nuff said.
Obi-Wan Kenobi vs Rey: Jedi Mind Trick
Of all the homages (or copying) that JJ has lifted from A New Hope, this is my favourite. In ANH, Obi-Wan waves his hand and the stormtrooper lets him go. “These are not the droids that you’re looking for. Move along.” In TFA, Rey is captured and tries to use Jedi Mind Tricks to escape and she does it with some ingenuity. This is a nice spin on a classic scene and it created plenty of laughs in the theatre.
Verdict: One cannot be had without the other, so in this case, Obi-Wan and Rey both come up on top. And Daniel Craig gets props for playing this stormtrooper in TFA.
Anakin’s lightsaber: Passing it to Luke and Rey
Obi-Wan passes Luke his father’s lightsaber, and feeds him some lies about who he father is, and how Luke can be a Jedi. No one knows when or how Obi-Wan got a hold of Anakin’s lightsaber. Maz Kanata does not explain how she got a hold of Anakin’s lightsaber, which Luke lost when his hand was sliced off in The Empire Strikes Back, but Rey is drawn to it and when she holds it, Maz passes it to her.
Verdict: We’re not buying how Rey is drawn to the lightsaber, and where Maz got it from. For now, Obi-Wan is the winner.
Death Star vs Starkiller Base: That’s no moon
How many planet destroyers can the bad guys keep building? So the first Death Star destroyed a single planet, and now, the Starkiller destroyed a star system. We get it. It’s bigger and better, but it’s still the same old plan. Doesn’t anyone ever learn?
Verdict: The Death Star was a bad idea to begin with. And one bad idea leads to another. And in this case, yet another. Who keeps approving the plans to build these things?
Captain Phasma vs Obi-Wan Kenobi: Lower the shields/tractor beam
Oh, there’s a great energy that needs to be removed before we can move on. Obi-Wan risked his life to take down the tractor beam, while Captain Phasma, who was touted as being a force to be reckoned with, had absolutely no role to play in TFA but to only be a hostage and be forced to take down the shields of the Starkiller. Yawn.
Verdict: Obi-Wan Kenobi
Death Star vs Starkiller Round 2: Destruction
How many planet destroyers can the good guys keep blowing up? To destroy the first Death Star, rebels had to fire torpedoes into an unprotected exhaust port. To destroy the Starkiller, the resistance had to destroy an unprotected weak spot on the superweapon. Doesn’t anyone ever learn? Certainly not scriptwriter Lawrence Kasdan.
Verdict: Been there, done that. Before. So yeah, show us something new already. The destruction of the first Death Star will always be iconic, and no one has come close in recreating its impact and significance.
Are you convinced that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a remake of Star Wars: A New Hope, or are we missing something?