Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens Made Me Feel Terrible
Tom Vaughan
11927

I think I agree with you Tom but from a different angle. In A New Hope, Obi-Wan engages Vader but then returns to what he must do to save himself from his past failure and offer mercy, joining the Force by giving Vader a choice. He returns soon after as a continuing helpful presence. Obi-Wan is gone before you know it, and back before you miss him. You don’t go home and lament him being gone. Meanwhile, Han’s death seems to fulfill only the need for a stunning climactic moment with someone we do care about, in case we have not bought in to any new characters. It also makes us pay dearly for scoffing at Kylo Ren as a washed up Vader fan-boy, thrashing about in a lightsaber tantrum. It has the effect of having one characters development, the newer one literally trounce another’s who meant the world to us. Remember in the LOTR films when Gandalf faced the Balrog and fell? Had Peter Jackson changed the story so the Balrog was the child of Gandalf and was insecure so it just punked him in the mines, as necessary to Balrog’s rise, that would change a lot of the feeling. Han’s death seemed to be devoid of all of Han’s usual cunning and wit, which was the real death in my opinion. It was like the exercise that needed to happen to get us on our way out of a Star Wars film, another proverbial Death Star run which of course followed. I disagree that Han was the Obi-Wan of TFA. He was more like Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, slaughtered without a fight or knowledge of joining the Force. I think Luke’s dark path is a lot more responsible for Kylo turning than we yet know. As Han says to Rey, “Yeah, I knew Luke.” I caught a feeling of culpability for Luke’s role that is perhaps linked to him becoming a Sith or later sacrificing himself. Ultimately, it seems characters with very little Star Wars street smarts like Rey, Finn, and even Poe, get off easy while Han gets sucker punched by a lightsaber. Finally, did you know the only SW film without a significant screen death was Empire Strikes Back? It poses an interesting twist on the whole redoing of the OT. Will they need that kill in Episode VIII or mimic ESB and skip it?

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