What Does He Think The Movie Is About?
Even though he’s seen nary a shred of marketing materials to clue him in, I asked Johnny to make some predictions about what Episode VII would be about. And you know what? He was surprisingly accurate. (Not that I told him so. What? I’m not out to ruin his perfect isolation a week before the movie’s premiere.) Of course, I guess we might have expected it – Johnny is a HUGE Star Wars fan. He’s waited half his life for this movie, and “had a lot of time to think about this.”
You can see a full account of his predictions below, but first check out a few highlights on how accurate he is:
- On the villains, he’s next to perfect: Main villain is a somewhat untrained dark side user with a red lightsaber (Kylo Ren); he’s being led by a shadowy presence (Supreme Leader Snoke)
- He even just about predicted Finn’s character arc: defecting Stormtrooper
- He said verbatim, “Very few people will know the full truth of what happened [to the Jedi],” which is eerily similar to Rey’s and Han’s exchange in the trailer.
Rey: There are stories about what happened
Han: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. A Jedi.
I now present to you Star Wars: The Force Awakens, predicted by Johnny O’Mara, a die-hard Star Wars fan who has avoided all marketing for The Force Awakens:
We open on the classic Star Wars crawl, which gives us a few basic facts about the state of the galaxy. It’s been about 30 years since Return of the Jedi. A new Republic has arisen out of the old Rebel Alliance and is establishing itself as a legitimate government while the scattered pieces of the Empire, no longer unified after the death of the last Sith (Vader and the Emperor), have spent the years squabbling for control. But the crawl ends with a warning that there are rumors of a new Imperial force growing, trying to restore the Empire to its former glory.
Early on, we learn that among their leaders is a self-taught or not fully trained Force user who isn’t exactly a Sith, but probably wields a red lightsaber. This person considers Darth Vader (who won’t be in the new movie, because he died) a legend, and is connected to Vader somehow. But just like how Darth Sidious was in the background of The Phantom Menace while Darth Maul was the apparent threat, there’s also someone working from the shadows here who’s an even greater threat than this villain character we do see.
This Empire remnant is gathering up armies again, but it’s more of a ragtag unit, not the cohesive army of the Empire. So there might be Stormtroopers, but there might not.
The army is probably largely conscripted, and doesn’t all believe in the cause they’re being made to fight for. It’s classic Empire: rule by might.
On the other side of things, our main characters have more or less followed the trajectories they were on at the end of Return of the Jedi. Han and Chewie are still up to their old hijinks. They spent some time helping build the Republic and the Jedi, sure, but they’re disreputable scoundrels at heart. That’s caused tensions (that we’ll see in the movie) in his relationship with Leia, who’s up to important work making the galaxy a better place, but they’re still together and might have had a few children (even though he hopes not).
Luke, meanwhile, has set out to rebuild the Jedi, but has faced some hurdles along the way. The Empire was so ruthlessly efficient in wiping out the Jedi that “very few people probably know the full truth of what happened.” Plus, lots of people still mistrust the idea of a Jedi Order because the Jedi were so closely tied to the fall of the Republic. Still, there are Force sensitive people in the galaxy, and he’s probably gone looking for some of them (as have some folks who are more Dark Side-inclined).
With a Force-sensitive person or handful of people Luke has been able to find, he’s trying to do the Master/Padawan thing and pass along his ancient Jedi wisdom. Problem is, Luke never went through classic training as a Jedi, so he doesn’t exactly know what he’s doing trying to train others. This is pretty frustrating to him, and we know from Return of the Jedi that he has a bit of an angry streak. That’s got him flirting with the Dark Side, so at some point he runs away and secludes himself.
That presents a problem, because the central tension of this first movie in the new trilogy is all about finding and recruiting Force-sensitive people – to either the Light Side or the Dark Side. And with possibly abdicating his role as Light Side recruiter, the Republic is left to deal with the new Empire’s Force-using champion.
So there you have it. Star Wars: The Force Awakens according to a diehard fan gone to great – and painstaking – lengths to avoid it. It’s a commitment we have to applaud, even if it’s not one we can share.