How Star Wars: Episode 8 Could Be Great

First off, for any of you that haven’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens, please skip this post as there will be spoilers. The movie was released five weeks ago, and while I feel like those that are real fans of the Star Wars universe will have already seen it, I don’t want to ruin the fun for those that haven’t had a chance yet.

So please, skip this post if you don’t want spoilers.

Okay, so now that I’ve written that, and hopefully it was long enough that Facebook’s summary system won’t spoil anything, I wanted to post some thoughts I had on the next Star Wars movie.

There are a lot of unanswered questions in Episode 7, and two of the biggest are related to Rey and Finn’s lineage. Who are their parents? What makes them so special that they deserve to be the focus of this new trilogy?

The common belief is that Rey is the daughter of Luke. And that Finn is likely not anyone “special”, at least no more than Han was “special” when we were introduced to him in A New Hope.

I don’t like these theories though as I feel they are too “paint-by-numbers”. It is the easy expectation that we should, as creatives, fight against. I’d like to put out my own theories on where Rey and Finn came from.

Rey

We have this young woman, abandoned on a Jakku as a child. She is very powerful with the force, so much so that Luke’s lightsaber calls to her. I believe she is the daughter of two force-users that Luke was training. Maybe they were on Jakku together as a family trip, or visiting someone? Maybe they were there to look for components for their lightsabers? I am not certain, but if two force sensitive people have a child, it is usually likely that the child will have force powers too.

We can build upon this further though. Maybe Rey’s parents were on Jakku when they got word from Luke that Ben Solo was working with Snoke to kill the new Jedi? They know they are rushing into a battle they might lose, so they leave their daughter with an acquaintance that they trusted. Of course the parents think they are coming back, and that this will only be a short term arrangement.

They rush off and are killed at Ben Solo/Kylo Ren’s hands, which will be revealed in Episode 7, providing Rey with anger, frustration and conflict. She wants to seek revenge for the death of her parents, and Luke has to temper that, all the while feeling his own internal conflict when he finds out that Kylo Ren has killed Han Solo.

This gives us a great deal of depth in the scenario between Rey and Luke. Luke is partially responsible for not only Rey’s parents death, but also the life she’s being leading. He is also responsible for not being there for his friend, Han, in his time of need.

I think it would also make for a better mentor/student relationship than if Rey ends up being his daughter. “But wait,” you say, “what about the lightsaber calling to her?” I think that has more to do with her being so in tune with the force than anything else. The images she sees while touching the lightsaber are like an imprint from Luke as well as visions from her past and potentially her future. I don’t think it instantly points to Rey being Luke’s daughter.

Finn

One of the things about Kylo Ren that I can’t get over is how everyone thinks he has “light” in him. One of the ideas I had was maybe that’s true and there is proof. What if Finn was a youngling that Luke was going to train as part of his new Jedi Order? Ben Solo comes to kill the new Jedi and is met by one or more children under ten that are force sensitive. He is supposed to kill them, but unlike Anakin/Darth Vader, he decides not to, and instead puts him/them in the Storm trooper training program. We know they brainwash kids into soldiers from a young age, they mention it during the movie.

This sets up the interesting scenes we see between Kylo Ren and Finn. When they are on Jakku, and Kylo is returning to his ship, he senses something and they share a glance at each other. Then when Finn betrays the First Order, we see Kylo know exactly who it was.

This allows us to retrospectively feel better about Finn’s use of Luke’s lightsaber. While he wasn’t the greatest with it, he had more than no skill, so having some Jedi in him, even a minor amount, makes it more exciting.

This lends itself to some great storytelling too. Kylo could have killed Finn as a child, but didn’t, and now has to face him as an enemy. It also leads to the almost hesitancy we see in their fight at the climax of the movie. Kylo might still feel some connection to Finn and as such doesn’t want to kill him.

This works out okay for ages if we use the actors real ages as a guide. John Boyega, the actor that played Finn, is turning 24 this spring and Adam Driver, the actor that played Kylo Ren, is turning 33 this fall, giving them over eight years of age range. Assuming Ben Solo turned against Luke at 19, Finn would have been 11, young enough that Ben might not have been willing to slaughter him during his transition to the dark side.

Conclusion

I think adding in these kinds of story elements opens up a history between the characters that will raise the stakes immensely without going the “easy” route. It gives Kylo Ren the depth needed to continue to evolve as the villain, and instantly gives both Finn and Rey a great deal to reflect on and be conflicted by, which is exactly how I like my protagonists.

What do you think? Is Rey going to end up being Luke’s daughter? Is Finn a storm trooper that changed sides? Am I trying to create more complexity than there needs to be? Let me know your thoughts!

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