I unabashedly love Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Where some might see a rehash of the original trilogy, I see a perfect re-introduction to a universe I loved as a child with fresh new characters. On a good day, The Force Awakens is my second favorite Star Wars movie but it interchanges between Star Wars (NOT CALLING IT A NEW HOPE) and Return of the Jedi. There are, however, three smallish things I would love, if given the magical opportunity, to change about the movie. These are things that I think would ultimately silence the nay-sayers and give the movie a few additional layers, potentially making it the best Star Wars movie to date.
- Flesh Out the Resistance, Republic and First Order more in the movie
The one thing I will say is that the movie does not really go into great detail of the three entities at play in the background. The Resistance and the First Order obviously get the most screen time, but we are not really given any sense of what the state of the Republic is in relation to the Resistance and the First Order. This could easily be solved by including a couple lines of dialogue or a quick explanation in the opening crawl.
In the novel, it is explained that the Republic does not see the First Order as a threat and does not really endorse the Resistance. If this were explained in the movie, the destruction of Republic planets may be more impacting and also give more reason why a Death Star-like weapon makes sense in the context of the story. What better way to establish yourself as a threat than blowing up the very people that don’t see you as one?
2. The First Flight of the Millennium Falcon
I love the whole Tie Fighter chase of the Millennium Falcon. We see here that Rey is a pretty decent pilot with the exception of take offs and scraping the old Corellian YT-1300 Freighter a bit. It is a pretty awesome moment when Rey is able to stall the Falcon so Finn can get his busted cannon to line up with their last pursuer; however, I feel like this scene would work even better if it came off more as a mistake. Imagine Rey flying the Falcon straight up, trying to flee from the last Tie Fighter when the Falcon just completely fails them because of some mistake she made. The Falcon then is in free fall when Finn is able to take the shot and he expects her to pull up except she isn’t. Finn starts to scream at Rey to pull up as he sees the ground get closer and closer. Just as they are about to hit the desert ground, the Falcon’s blue engines fire up and they take off. I think this would address people’s complaints that Rey is too good at what she does (even though I tend to think there is reason for her competency in certain skills and we don’t need to be told everything anyway).
3. Taking Advantage that the Star Killer Base is a planet
This is probably the biggest missed opportunity to add another tension building layer to the third act. When Poe has the opportunity to destroy the oscillator on the Star Killer base, Leia should hesitate to give the order – asking if there is any sign her husband and the others were able to get out. Just as the First Order is about to fire, Leia could give the order to destroy it – potentially killing those she loves for the greater good. Now you add the fact that the planet is falling apart as Rey, Finn and Chewbacca are attempting to escape. You could have a fantastic scene where Chewbacca and Finn manage to get to the ship. Rey would not make it on to the ship and just as all hope is lost, she would jump to find herself on the top of the Millennium Falcon. The escape of the crumbling planet-weapon could have been a fun, tense situation.
Of course, there are other small tweaks that wouldn’t necessarily change the experience for me, such as: Chewie hugging Leia, R2-D2’s awakening explained in the movie, etc. Let me know what small/big changes you would have liked to see! And may the force be with you!