Conspicuously missing from every shred of promotional material, including trailers, stills, posters, and merchandise, Luke Skywalker has to show up eventually. The scene in the first trailer where a mysterious robed figure places a prosthetic hand on R2-D2 could be Luke, and probably is, but we just don’t know as of yet. I would like to see him return a little more in tune with the Dark Side than the Light, as I think it would make for a much more interesting story, as well as follow the tragic cycle the Skywalker bloodline seems to be stuck in. He’ll show up at some point, and when he does it’s going to be one of the best moments of the film.
Major Character Death
Nobody expected Obi-Wan to die in a confrontation with Darth Vader in Episode IV. Built up to be a sage and teacher to Luke, the old Jedi is literally cut down to everyone’s surprise. He lives on as a force ghost, guiding Luke in a limited fashion, but as cool as that is, he’s dead. The impact of his death was tremendous even when Star Wars premiered. However, it can’t be the same as if a beloved character for forty years dies. A major character death would significantly impact the fans, as well as the story. My money is on Han getting killed towards the end of the movie, perhaps after revealing that he’s the father of Rey. But that’s speculation for another time. Also, Chewbacca is absolutely off limits!
A New Hope
This one has less to do with the actual movie, characters, or plot, and everything to do with what Star Wars is and what it represents. It’s freaking Star Wars! We’ve all been whipped up into a tizzy in anticipation not only for more of the franchise we love, but for redemption in light of the tragically awful prequel trilogy. The Force Awakens must fill the fans with a renewed sense of hope or there’s going to be a lot of pissed of Geeks trying to force-choke J.J. Abrams. It’s hard to say just from trailers and limited plot details whether Episode VII will meet or exceed our expectations, and there’s certainly a chance it could fall flat on its face. I just can’t tell whether I genuinely don’t think that will be the case based on what I’ve seen so far, or because I just can’t accept another disastrous letdown. Fans need to leave the theater on December 18th (or 17th for some) with a sense of wonder and hope that the first film imprinted on moviegoers.
The Circle Is Complete
The Force Awakens is the start of the third trilogy in the Star Wars universe. That’s huge. As much as it will serve as a “jumping on point” for new fans it’s still part of a massive continuity that needs to feel connected. Yes, even the prequels. The story has always been cyclical, with all the movies building a heavily latticed mythology. Whatever happened back in Episode I has to have at least some bearing on this new trilogy. I don’t think everything needs to be overtly addressed, but at the very least Episode VII needs to feel like a continuation of the franchise. From everything I’ve seen to date I think it’s going to do exactly that. I’d just like to see a few threads woven into the story to make us feel nostalgic about the past. Yes, even the prequels.