NEW HOPE & FORCE AWAKENS the same flick?

StorySmack Episode #2

storysmack680x300starwars

http://media.blubrry.com/scottsigler/media.libsyn.com/scottsigler/02_StorySmack_2__A_NEW_HOPE_and_FORCE_AWAKENS_the_same_movie_.mp3

We’re off to see ROGUE ONE, and to celebrate, let’s talk Star Wars Smack! Many, many nerds have waxed endlessly how Episode IV: A New Hope (the original 1976 Star Wars flick), and Episode VI, The Force Awakens, are the exact same movie. Professor Sigler and the learned Doctor Kovacs delve deep into this comparison to give you a StorySmack diagnoses.

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LINKS:

NAZI VISUAL=BAD GUYS
Great link that explores these visuals in detail

This episode brought to you by our What Time Does The Super Bowl Start and What Time Is The Super Bowl On pages, because The GFL series is described as “Star Wars” meets “The Godfather” meets “Any Given Sunday.”

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Comments

  1. Profile photo of Angela BenfordAngela Benford

    so not that I don’t think Nazi = evil, this is the default for a lot of costuming, but looking at images of military uniforms in general — LOTS of similarities to the Imperial bad guys. As far as the comparison to Nazi formation and the Storm Trooper formation — can’t you get that same thing in pictures of the Huns (and really, even the good guys??) from Disney’s Mulan? — it is how the military stacks up.

    1. Profile photo of scottsiglerscottsigler

      Angela: And yet, you don’t see a lot of “endless vista of troops in formation” applied to the good guys in movies. I’m having a hard time thinking of any that aren’t at the end of a movie, when it is obvious they are not an invading army.

  2. SpeedyPete

    I just finished binging the StorySmacks and wanted to bring up a couple of points…

    Regarding the issues brought up about people not believing in Jedi – why would this point be unreasonable?…Maybe someone could educate me…

    Besides Luke, who else is a Jedi Knight?

    Leia? – sorry, no training or anything related to being a Jedi Knight other that the Force was strong with her… and her father and brother were Jedi Knights after being trained by Obi Wan. At least nothing shown or discussed that I remember.

    Vader? – dead

    Yoda? – dead

    Obi Wan? – dead

    Ren – Not yet…

    And Luke is in self imposed exile… And no one has seen him in a long time…

    all of the Padiwan students were killed by Anakin and weren’t all of the Jedi supposedly killed (except for Obi Wan and Yoda)?

    So if there were no Jedi (except Luke), there were no Jedi Masters to train future Jedi (other than the Supreme Leader?). I don’t remember that Luke was ever a Jedi Master… Jedi – Yes, Master? (unless C3PO calling him Master Luke counts…) Didn’t they made a strong point that Luke was in self-imposed exile because he failed in his training of Ben (is Ben even a Jedi?)? Could that have been a subtle reference to him not being qualified to train a Jedi since he wasn’t a Jedi Master?

    And I think a big part of this story is that Rey’s story/journey is so similar to Luke’s that they will become the inevitable father/daughter team where the Father/Son team (DV/LS) didn’t quite work out. Will their “combined strength” be enough to save the galaxy?

    1. Profile photo of scottsiglerscottsigler

      SpeedyPeteI think we’re talking about two different things. I believe you’re saying, “there aren’t any Jedi knights, so I’m not surprised people don’t believe in them.” What I’m saying is it’s like people are acting as if Jedi knights are a myth, a legend that might not be real. It is only one generation ago that the Jedi council ruled. Remember Episodes I-III? Darth Vader was Anikin Skywalker, apprentice to Obi Wan Kenobi. Yoda was on the council. There were giant statues of Jedi. There was freaking Jedi academy. Rulers of star systems relied on the Jedi for council. So, yeah, millions or billions of beings in the galaxy knew there were real, living, breathing Jedi. And now, just one generation later, they have faded to myth? Impossible. That would be like you’re saying it’s reasonable very few people believe the Viet Nam War happened, and that most people have never heard of it. The reaction of the characters to the concept of Jedi was ridiculous — nothing fades to myth in a single generation.

      1. SpeedyPete

        I sort of am saying that… But also that it is not unreasonable to think of them as mythological.

        Hadn’t they already faded to myth even before the time line of this movie? In Ep III, supposedly all the Jedi were dead and at the end Luke and Leia were just being born and Obi Wan and Yoda went into exile. Jump to Ep. IV which has to be at least 18 years later and the story says that it is basically accepted that the Jedi are no more – at least no living Jedi. Add another 20-30 years to the time of Rey and there is only 1 Jedi that the audience knows about… How many in the galaxy even know that Luke is a Jedi or even existed in the first place? So is it really a hard stretch to think of Jedi (or maybe living Jedi?) as a myth 40-50 years after they were all “known” to be eliminated?

        For that matter, weren’t they always a myth? How many even knew that Jedi really existed outside of some of the ruling elite? How many Jedi Knights were there, anyway? Dozens? A few hundred? A thousand? The Jedi academy had maybe 100 in training? Out of how many in the galaxy? The story wants us to believe that there is only one (or a few, depending on the episode) that can possibly save the galaxy from the Empire.

        The Jedi Council only ruled the Jedi Order. The Senate was the main government that would be more widely known. And at the time, there were at least 2 main (massive?) armies. I’m not sure that I buy that there were millions or billions who knew anything about Jedi… Some? sure. Everyone? really?

        Compare that to something like King Arthur’s Knights — They were probably popularly thought of as a myth while they were alive and part of the Round Table (like Santa and the M&M guys — they really do exist!).

        To use your analogy of the Vietnam war, it would be more like believing that the war existed, but LRRPs were just a myth. Even during the war, most hadn’t known there was a LRRP unit. Some knew all about them, some knew some things about them, and some had only maybe heard that there were supposedly guys who did that sort of stuff, but didn’t really know… and maybe the most never even knew anything about them at all. If someone told you that we had guys today who were infiltrating behind enemy lines like LRRPs did in Vietnam, they would be (are) legendary…

  3. Gillsing

    “There is a hero who’s tortured by the bad guys to retrieve the information.”

    I don’t remember if it was only Poe who got tortured, or if someone actually got around to torture Rey as well. But it was heavily implied that Leia was tortured when she was a prisoner on the Death Star. A certain black droid with a huge needle was levitating closer and closer to her in her cell, emitting an insisting, pulsating sound. And then it cut to another scene.

    Though I’d have to say that the torture of Poe reminded me more of the torture of Han Solo in “The Empire Strikes” back, so I never connected it to “A New Hope”. But there are enough other similarities that they annoyed and bored me. Made me think of the Highlander movies:

    1 – Fans: “Woo! Great movie!” (original Star Wars trilogy)
    2 – Fans: “Boo! How dare you ruin things by changing too much?” (prequels)
    3 – Moviemakers: “Oh, better slavishly follow the original recipe this time.” (The Force Awakens)

  4. Steve

    6Scott and A:

    I’m writing this while listening to Story Smack… my way of participating, I’d love to have a live feed in the future.

    On the whole : The similarities of The Force Awakens to Star Wars :ANH were unfortunately an absolute requirement. With the shit storm that was Eps 123, the Force Awakens had to re-kindle the nostalgia. To me, Awakens was the mandatory program from figure skating. I’m much more stoked having seen Rogue One twice (surprisingly better the second time) and seeing the elements that were WAY not typical Hollywood. This shows that they are going to really try and have some fun with the artistic long program (to continue the skating metaphor)

    On Slave Leia : The Power of Costuming exhibit is currently running here in Denver, and at the part of the exhibit showing her bikini (she was TINY BTW), it discussed how so often, this kind of outfit is supposed to diminish and denigrate. But in this case, through Fisher’s performance and the writing it more exposes her, showing strength and defiance more than anything. Add to that the symbolism of her killing her captor with the very symbol of captivity, and it really makes for an interesting interpretation.

    On desert planets : Could this be a very subtle climate change item. Desert planets being a more common end state than any other? Probably agree with the Dune comments about the Fremen and strength being built from harsh environments.

    On BB8, same thoughts. When I found out it was a practical effect rather than digital, I fell in love with him.

    Please tell me you misspoke and said Judge Dredd when you meant DREDD… the Stalone one sucked! But Karl Urban was the man

    I like your points on forgetting about the Jedi… I myself have been trying to find something that occurred around WWII that a vast majority of people today have a hard time believing. Something that we view as a story, that couldn’t have possibly been real. Maybe Gustav (the giant gun) or the Tuskegee Airmen. I am having a hard time finding one… so I’m thinking it’s more sloppy writing than anything. Side Comment : You only have to be near something for certain force elements… remember that Luke felt Leias distress on Bespin from Degobah.

    The jedi masters aren’t training anyone for the SAME reason, not different. A former student fell to the dark side.

    The masks: the reason for this is that Ren idolized Vader… so this is Kylo being a fan boy. Not a valid point. And Scott just said it, by talking about Ren taking off the mask. Thanks for shifting your PoV on bunk or not. Adam Driver as Ren, being a spoiled kid with super powers, totally nails it. The emo element is exactly what would happen. I can’t even imagine how fast I’d be a dark Jedi if I got force powers. I think I’d last about 15 to 30 seconds in the light side.

    Total agreement about the bars… the only counter I could have is that Han is ALWAYS hanging out in bars. But that’s not strong enough for me to think that this isn’t a valid point

    Also from the Costuming exhibit… they are Nazis. From the designers of the uniforms, they took them from photos of Nazis

    Thanks for reading

    1. Profile photo of scottsiglerscottsigler

      Steve:
      “To me, Awakens was the mandatory program from figure skating.”
      – Awesome line.

      LEIA:
      They got into a little “sex sells” in that flick, but stayed completely away from it in AWAKENS. But yeah, Leia turning the tables and choking a bitch out was tight.

      DESERT PLANETS:
      When you can make up anything you want, because your universe is not constrained by real physics, I don’t think projecting an “end state” for the typical planet holds up. They specifically chose a desert planet because they wanted Rey’s beginning to look, feel and smell like Luke’s.

      DREDD:
      I’m talking about the Carl Urban version. He was amazing, as was Lean Heady. Such a bad-ass.

      THE MASKS:
      I’m surprised how drastically my opinion shifted when I saw it in a new light. I hated Emo Kylo at first, but on second viewing and later cogitating, I love what they did with that role.

      NAZIS:
      As I show in the pictures on this blog post, Nazis = evil. No word from @ARealGirl on this yet. How odd …

      1. Steve

        Thank you for having taste in Dredd. Lena was amazing.

        I’m pretty sure you are right on the desert planet point. My comment was more of a random thought that popped up while listening.

  5. Profile photo of agent_minivannagent_minivann

    I can’t help but think that a lot of the similarities are more about setting and story universe than story. The ones about story are largely down to how they are both hero’s journey stories.

    1. Profile photo of scottsiglerscottsigler

      agent_minivan: Gotta disagree with you there. There’s tons of “Hero’s Journey” similarities between Harry Potter, Star Wars: A New Hope, the Matrix and many more, but they’re not all set on a desert planet, involve blowing up a Death Star, etc. The makers of The Force Awakens could have made many choices to differentiate the two movies without affecting the plot in any way, but they made the intentional decision to keep it _as familiar as possible_.

      1. Profile photo of agent_minivannagent_minivann

        I don’t disagree about the desert planet or the death star, but those maybe account for about 20% of both lists. Stuff like information stored in droids (like a briefcase with a handcuff in old spy movies), a cantina (whoa, people meet in bars for more than setting up bow chicka wow wow), or the mentor getting killed ( a hero’s journey staple) are what I’m talking about. To some degree the Death Star falls into this category for me. In a modern story the bad guy bent on world domination uses a nuke as a weapon and threat, in the Star Wars universe what are you going to use?

        The far more interesting things to me are when I look more into why those same things are different, like the discussion you had about the masks. Yeah, they both have masks, but what Darth Vader uses his mask for and the symbolism behind the mask are very starkly different than Kylo Ren’s.

        1. Profile photo of A KovacsA Kovacs

          Yass. I like the idea of looking into why those same things are different much more than pointing out all the similarities. Both the lists we reviewed missed many, many more similarities that didn’t matter due to our understanding of How Things Are (like people on desert planets more often than not wear lighter clothes, as just one example.)

  6. Steve Bickel aka Voodoo

    Scott and A:

    I’m writing this while listening to Story Smack… my way of participating, I’d love to have a live feed in the future. Also, if something went wrong and you didn’t get to Rogue One yet… STOP READING!! J

    On the whole : The similarities of The Force Awakens to Star Wars :ANH were unfortunately an absolute requirement. With the shit storm that was Eps 123, the Force Awakens had to re-kindle the nostalgia. To me, Awakens was the mandatory program from figure skating. I’m much more stoked having seen Rogue One twice (surprisingly better the second time) and seeing the elements that were WAY not typical Hollywood (the ending of everyone dying! Loved that). This shows that they are going to really try and have some fun with the artistic long program (to continue the skating metaphor)

    On Slave Leia : The Power of Costuming exhibit is currently running here in Denver, and at the part of the exhibit showing her bikini (she was TINY BTW), it discussed how so often, this kind of outfit is supposed to diminish and denigrate. But in this case, through Fisher’s performance and the writing it more exposes her, showing strength and defiance more than anything. Add to that the symbolism of her killing her captor with the very symbol of captivity, and it really makes for an interesting interpretation.

    On desert planets : Could this be a very subtle climate change item. Desert planets being a more common end state than any other? Probably agree with the Dune comments about the Fremen and strength being built from harsh environments.

    On BB8, same thoughts. When I found out it was a practical effect rather than digital, I fell in love with him.

    Please tell me you misspoke and said Judge Dredd when you meant DREDD… the Stalone one sucked! But Karl Urban was the man

    I like your points on forgetting about the Jedi… I myself have been trying to find something that occurred around WWII that a vast majority of people today have a hard time believing. Something that we view as a story, that couldn’t have possibly been real. Maybe Gustav (the giant gun) or the Tuskegee Airmen. I am having a hard time finding one… so I’m thinking it’s more sloppy writing than anything. Side Comment : You only have to be near something for certain force elements… remember that Luke felt Leias distress on Bespin from Degobah.

    The jedi masters aren’t training anyone for the SAME reason, not different. A former student fell to the dark side.

    The masks: the reason for this is that Ren idolized Vader… so this is Kylo being a fan boy. Not a valid point. And Scott just said it, by talking about Ren taking off the mask. Thanks for shifting your PoV on bunk or not. Adam Driver as Ren, being a spoiled kid with super powers, totally nails it. The emo element is exactly what would happen. I can’t even imagine how fast I’d be a dark Jedi if I got force powers. I think I’d last about 15 to 30 seconds in the light side.

    Total agreement about the bars… the only counter I could have is that Han is ALWAYS hanging out in bars. But that’s not strong enough for me to think that this isn’t a valid point

    Also from the Costuming exhibit… they are Nazis. From the designers of the uniforms, they took them from photos of Nazi Germany.

    Final comment : on Rogue One : Were you as impressed by the Peter Cushing animation as I was? They have all but crossed the uncanny valley. Only the mouth was the tiniest bit off.

    MASSIVE CONTINUITY ERROR in Rogue One BTW. They got cute and had 3P0 and R2 watch the fighters leave to join the Mon Cal fleet in the attack on the shielded planet. On the fleets flagship is docked the Tantive V, the ship Leia is on and receives the plans. The plans she gives to R2… WHO IS ON YAVIN IV!!!! Only realized this on my second viewing.

    Thanks for reading

  7. M. D. Pitman

    On the coincidence of the seedy bar scene, I don’t see that as coincidence. Maz Kanata os force-aware and knew Han would be coming to her bar to get info, and would more than likely have Rey with him. I don’t think Maz Kanata keeping the light saber and Han heading there was any coincidence. She knew Han would go there and knew Rey would be with him.

  8. M. D. Pitman

    Regarding Rey going up on a desert planet….
    The lion’s share of Rey’s backstory is the iceberg that is underneath the water. We don’t know her mother is, we don’t know raised her. Like the majority of people on this planet , we are creatures of habit and we are creatures who are custom to our surroundings. I grew up in the Midwest I still live in the Midwest. It’s what I know and it’s what I’m comfortable with. And I believe this is a foreshadowing technique indicating Rey is Luke’s daughter because Ray may be more comfortable in a desert planet environment, as maybe her mother was.

    1. M. D. Pitman

      And as I thought about it more, there is symmetry because Aniken skywalker grew up on a desert planet, Luke grew up on a desert planet, so Rey IMO has to grow up on a desert planet.

      1. Profile photo of scottsiglerscottsigler

        M.D.: They are human (unless this is some B.S. where multiple planets convergently evolve into the human form without any interaction … I won’t mention other scifi franchises that do exactly that). They have no “desert adaptation” that allows them to flourish in a desert setting. Right? Luke survives in all kinds of environments. Are you saying he wants to go back to the desert because that’s where he was raised?

        1. M. D. Pitman

          I think why Rey is on a desert planet maybe one of those on answered questions that is part of the iceberg underneath the water. But there is a reason why she went there just as there was a reason why Luke lived on a desert planet.
          There are reasons why I’m in the Midwest, there are reasons why you’re out in California, there are reasons why people live where they live. I just want to believe there is more symbolism to why Rey is in the desert

  9. Shelba Pittman

    With the points made in the article all of the Star Wars movies are remakes.
    I think it is true both movie plots are very similar. I would make the argument that this is a Star Wars trope. The valid points made in the article can also be applied to Episode One. Except take out cutesy robots and add in cutesy alien unintelligible comic relief. I think all of the movies have been written with similar Stars Wars specific guidelines.
    Saying this, I don’t care! I love all of the movies and the stories and will be in line to watch Star Wars 700 when it comes out.

  10. Scott Perez-Fox

    Yes, these are eerily similar plots — and as a huge Star Wars geek I don’t understand why. The reason I didn’t really like Ep 7 is because it felt like Episode 4, version 2.0 — halfway between a reboot and sequel. Why not just make a new story? New viewers will can get caught up if they like, old fans will dive right in where they left off.

    Some have said, cynically, that they had to pay some debts for the prequels, and I guess that debt has been paid, setting us up for Ep 8. But still, I better not see another droid lost in the desert or another planet-sized base destroyed by X-Wings. The SW Universe is just too big and complex to dwell on old themes.

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