Is that they are rarely met.
I no longer have to pass over Star Wars spoilers on Facebook, the news, or with my friends. I completed the series with my movie friends yesterday. We finished the evening, eating Thai food, thrashing out what we liked and what we didn’t like. (Besides the understandable grief over Han Solo – although I thought he really didn’t have anywhere to move on in the story line — )
Thinking about it today – the question that I think nails what I found lacking with The Force Awakens is: What did the new crop of Main Characters want?
The duo of Finn and Rey is wonderful – both amazing heroes. We only want to cheer them on. The addition of the cute droid, BB-8, takes on the intrepidness of R2, even to the point of holding the secret message. He takes on a Toto-like role – he must be saved, and that starts the story moving. Although, I would not call either Finn, Rey, or Poe, Dorothy-like.
But, now that I think about it, Rey’s need to go home, is sort of Dorothy like. And, the passing of the saber back to its owner at the end, is vaguely reminiscent of Dorothy handing the witches broom stick back to the Wizard.
(I love story motifs. I love to see how these items resonate with us and how story tellers use them. I try to put these in my own fiction, and to see how other writers use and twist them.)
But back to what characters want. What does Rey really want? She wants someone to come back for her. She wants to be important to someone. And when Finn comes back for her – it did bring on the tears.
What does Finn really want? He acts because he wants to do the right thing. It’s why he made the choices he did at the first battle. He is one of Rey’s antagonists forcing her to move. Finn is a grounding force in the movie. He is the one that knows the power of the First Order, and wants to escape to the far edges of the galaxy, with Rey. His core values always bring him to doing the right thing. He puts himself in harm’s way to save those important to him. But, little character growth.
Poe. An active force, but also, not much character growth.
Kylo Ren. The kind of villain that makes us boo and hiss at the screen. His anger management issues make me wonder how (and who) manipulates him, or has he just not grown up? Both? A very active force, and shows internal conflict with his struggles between Light and Dark.
Rey. So, it’s Rey’s story. She has the most growth, and her story line has the most impact.
But I go back to, what does she want? And where is her character arc?
When we first were introduced to the Star Wars Universe, we had Luke, a farm boy, who wanted to become a Jedi like his father.
When we were first introduced to Anakin in The Phantom Menace, we had a slave boy, who was a whiz at repairing things. The force was strong in him, and he was taken from his mother to receive training.
When we meet Rey, she’s scavenging on Jakku, surviving. Waiting for the return of whoever left her. She’s tech savvy like Anakin and Luke. She’s a fantastic pilot, like Anakin and Luke. It’s not surprising that so many people believe that she is a Skywalker.
I hope not. That’s too easy.
But I have to keep on with what’s her motivation, what pushes her?
She’s a great character, and goodness knows, we need strong women heroes, women that can pilot a Millennium Falcon, and keep it running when it needs fixing. I wish there had been more of her backstory. Something to give context to her actions, besides that one scene when she opens the chest.
But, even with all those questions, I watched and enjoyed every minute of the movie. It was filled with the things that are Star Wars to me: the space battles, the aliens, the bar scene.
Star Wars returned for us. Just like Finn came back for Rey. Just like Han came back to Kylo and Leia. Just like everyone searched for Luke.