Podcast - Adam Savage Project

Star Wars: The Force Awakens SPOILERCAST – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 12/29/15

It’s finally here! Adam, Norm, and Will discuss Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this extra-long Spoiler-filled episode of Still Untitled. We talk about our favorite scenes, theories about the characters, and things that surprised us. Let us know what you thought about the movie in the comments!

Comments (67)

67 thoughts on “Star Wars: The Force Awakens SPOILERCAST – Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – 12/29/15

  1. Agree with Will…. Didn’t feel earned at all.

    But it is so nice to have a Star Wars movie in theatres that doesn’t totally suck.


  2. It seems like what they were trying to do with Captain Phasma, they accidentally did with TR-8R. When he faced down Fin as a traitor, he kind of became the ‘good bad guy’, the kind of Boba Fett character.

  3. Spoiler Comments for a spoiler cast. One of the moments I thought they did very well was the moment when Kylo Ren is on the bridge with Han and the light is streaming in from the dying sun and there is a moment when you are supposed to not be sure if he is going to go to the light side or not. The moment that Kylo commits to fully turning to the dark side, the last part of the sun is absorbed by Starkiller and literally all the light fades as it turns dark.

    I agree with TrentKlassen. I like Andy Weir’s comment that the lightsaber fight with Fin should have been given to Phasma.

    My main complaint was the R2 Exmachina at the end when he wakes up with the rest of the map they need for seemingly no reason. (Also, if you had that map, why not go to the end of the line in the empty section and start searching. Yes it is a huge area of space but they had what? Like 10-20 years to try?)

    And yes, it is Star Wars a New Hope redone. JJ played it safe and gave us a nice redo. I’m ok with that. It gave us a good base. I just hope that the next two are different and more the directors own movies.

  4. Is Snoke Darth Plagueis? I just saw elsewhere that the Snoke theme in the soundtrack is the music that plays at the opera when Anakin is being seduced by the Chancellor. So much speculation on the Geektube.

    I’ve seen it twice (going back to IMAX for my birthday next month), and it fulfilled all my expectations for the movie. The original cast felt right and the new characters were great except for Phasma who was no match for Cody.

    Predictions, next movie completes Luke’s arc as Kenobi’s successor as he completes the training of Rey to meet Kylo.

  5. anyone else figure out Han knew Rey? maybe like a father knows his daughter?

    In the end I watched the last dragon and the ending fight scenes were exactly the same. Meaning that the bad guy beats ass till the good guy some how attunes a power to win the fight..

    What we all knew secretly was Luke is the master mind of all the events he left bread crumbs and knew the force would cause things to happen in order to generate a new student to be the twin to the dark.

  6. Great spoilercast!

    There’s so much stuff I would want to discuss with you guys about the movie! And I believe that’s a testament of how good it is. Even though (as paradoxical as it may seem) I didn’t like it as much, but maybe that’s because I was expecting more. Or maybe because of the constant referencing, both of lines of dialog and specific shots.

    But anyway! Saw it twice. Agree that Phasma was wasted (that was a big let down). Max Von Sydow’s character could have lasted longer and had something else to do in the movie.

    The thing about the fighting style of Kylo being more of a broadsword type… I think it’s obvious that they’re going more towards the western middle ages now, with the Knights of Ren being like medieval knights rather than samurai (which is o-kay). His sword (saber?) makes it obvious.

    One aspect that I didn’t like at all was that the First Order was too much of a Nazi caricature. Sure, in the original Star Wars trilogy the Empire was basically the nazis too, but they weren’t as goofy. They weren’t as much a comedic fodder as in Force Awakens.

  7. Woohoo, spoilercast!

    I loved the movie, I’m a long time fan and I’ve built 5 R2 units over the last 10 years. Droid 6/7 are in the works along with BB. My wife has tolerated my fandom and building, I wouldn’t say she was a SW fan. Though the best thing to come from this movie, was my wife 100% falling in love with the thing I love. She prompted seeing it again the following weekend, she has been tossing theories around. I have even caught her on Wookieepedia reading back story info.

    So, for that reason alone, The Force Awakens will now be a top SW movie in my book. Also I have a feeling she is going to steal the BB unit when its done.

  8. I like the idea and thinking on how they would fit that in I guess they could give her a stun baton.

    Then she would be active but injured and her last scene in the movie feels more earned.

  9. Rey and Ben were both Jedi Padawan in Luke’s new school. Rey was a star student and Ben was struggling due to his inability to control his rage. He took the shortcut and in the aftermath Rey was spirited away to safety.

    Remember the images she saw when she touched the lightsaber? Those were her memories of what happened.

    The look on Luke’s face was was recognition as well as remembering a painful memory.

  10. Guys, I want to thank you for MANY great pod casts.

    This disrupted several of my preconceived force thoughts.

    1. Only Force sensitive people could activate a Light Saber. Fin uses it? So he is force sensitive or anyone can use it. The storm trooper baton seems like a fair defensive incorporation against light sabers. But why are they being wielded in the hundreds?

    2. That light saber is that the one that Obi Won gave to Luke on the Millennium Falcon? One rumor I keep hearing is that the color is Unique per user or builder so Luke, Annokin, Rey, and Fin are ALL the same color; even if it is per builder then didn’t Luke loose his LS when he lost his arm and had to build a new one? So his father’s and his are the same color?

    I also felt that Poe, had a little feel of (Don’t Shoot me for this) Ash- Army of darkness (Bruce Cambpell). His over confidence some of the inflections just reminded me of him. I actually like it though especially when he proved to be capable.

    When Kylo takes off the mask, I was expecting a scarred tortured face of some kind.

  11. i REALLY hope the stuff Norm talks about at the end is wrong. Seems like fans grasping at stuff more than Rey being Luke’s daughter. If she’s part of the Skywalker family I’ll be let down. It’s ok to have force users outside of the family as main characters.

  12. I think this film (negatively) cements JJ Abrams as a director who makes something akin to what tribute albums are in music. I’m glad the future films are being directed and written by someone else. I’m not sure if Rian Johnson will be able to pull it off but I still think he’ll be a better choice than another Abrams film.

    I have extensively talked about the pros and cons of this film in other places (http://www.giantbomb.com/forums/off-topic-31/star-wars-the-force-awakens-not-a-committee-offici-1788052/#440) but I’m going to boil it all down to my final thoughts:

    Disney now has a great cast which they can use to make good future films with, but now they actually have to make those films instead of copies of earlier stuff. Ep VIII will be make or break to me. They can get away with a remake once but not twice.

    P.S. Rey being related to one of the classic characters would be the absolute worst.

  13. 1. I personally thought that anyone can ignite and hold a light saber but it takes a force user to create one and wield it artfully without cutting ones own limbs off and to maintain the crystal alignment so it keeps working. Han uses a light saber to cut open a tauntaun on Hoth.

    The Storm Trooper baton could just be a force shielded baton that happens to be able to repel light sabers but that is not what it is specifically designed for. Also, there is a flash back of the Knights of Ren hunting down and killing the last of the Jedi. Perhaps this one trooper used to be part of that order, or perhaps during that time Kylo outfitted his storm troopers with anti saber weapons just in case to assist if they find a Jedi.

    2. The light saber in the movie with the blue blade is the one that Anakin Skywalker made and that Ben gave to Luke. Luke then lost it on Cloud City when he lost his hand (nothing shows that it fell out of the city.) To be fair, Luke was a little busy not dying at that moment so he didn’t take the time to go find it. Apparently someone did however. When we see Luke again in Return of the Jedi, he has finally made his own light saber and it glows green.

  14. Norm:

    I totally agree. My worst fear was that there were going to be lens flairs all over the place like in Star Trek.

    Thankfully he toned it down.

  15. I’m no Star Wars theorist, but we had some conversation in my office and something came up, does any body have any thoughts about Rey being the possible daughter or lineage of the Kenobi family? It might be a little far fetched, but not completely off the radar.

  16. The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary covers rens’s sabre in detail and is a good companion to the movie. I also just finished reading the book version and found a few things that actually helped, but I bet was taken out to keep time down. It also was missing a few things like the bowcaster being so strong and ren hitting himself to feed his anger.

    I like the idea that snoke is darth plagueis, but his holo image did not match the original race of the book character. Phasma was a let down for me too, but the book does cover this scene a little better.

  17. I would like it if Rey was a progeny of Emperor Palpatine. I think it would be interesting to have the final showdown be between light and dark that came from the other. Emphasizing that we are not destined to be our parents or grandparents… For better or worse. Qui Gon’s progeny is my second choice because that goes far enough back that it helps “broaden” the universe a little more than an Obi Won would. Best choice is no connection except through the force, but I do not know how I would feel about the only thing to come from the prior heroes is evil Kylo Ren ( no redemption for that guy)

    Also, hope Snoke is Yoda sized

  18. About CG characters, lemme say this: I think ILM can’t handle realistically-looking (even if alien or a monster) characters. They never get it right.

    Weta, on the other hand, seems to. For instance, the big burly albino orc of the Hobbit trilogy looks so convincing! At first I thought that was somehow make up!

  19. i agree so so much on the first order costumes. star wars always took heavy inspirations, but incorporated them into that star wars look. the first order, though, is a straight-as-it-gets nazi ripoff. in general, i feel the design in the film had some strong points, but overall, it wasn’t on par with either the original trilogy or the prequels.

    re kylo: i’m very much on the fence about him. it’s a powerful emotional state they are harnessing for him, but also one that makes it super easy to make him look like a mopey teenager who doesn’t feel understood by anyone in the universe, and his parents are just *the worst*, and who cluelessly models himself after whoever his hero du jour is. tantrums, vanity helmet, burnt-out grandpa helmet fetishism, mopeface all over the place… all in all, he came across a bit too much like that emo kylo ren twitter account: ‘you haven’t listened to the imperial march unless you have listened to it on vinyl’

  20. The one thing that I can’t reconcile, to stop me from believing Rey is the twin of Kylo/Ben is: how well she pilots the Falcon!! Don’t try to give me any of that Force babble; this is genetic, IMO!! Also, observe carefully how Leia looks at Rey, after she returns to inform her of the death of Han.

  21. Does anyone else feel like the ending was kind of tacked on? For me, the film could have ended at the end of the map reveal or as the Falcon flies off. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing the journey and the way Rey meets Luke, but it just felt like it would have been better as the opening of the next film instead of the closing of this one.

    Speaking of the map, I loved how R2’s projection was a little fuzzy, while BB-8’s section was nice and crisp.

    And, personally, I think Snoke is short, maybe not Yoda short, but shorter-than-avarage. I think he uses giant holograms for intimidation sake.

  22. I honestly think that Rey is Han and Leias kid. ive heard that Kylo is about 30 years old, and Rey is about 10 years younger. i picture Kylo being sent to train with Luke at around 5 or 6 years old, losing his shit at about 8 or 9, and destroying the jedi temple/school. This is when Han and Leias marriage starts to get rocky and fall apart, and they go their separate ways. Han goes back to becoming a smuggler, and Leia goes back to being a main part of the rebellion. They divorce, and that’s when Leia discovers shes pregnant again. She never tells Han, because hes off doing his own thing, and shes worried that the more people that know, the more likely Kylo will find out. So she sends Rey off to Jakku, to be protected and watched over by Max von Syndows character.

    It would explain why Rey and Leia hug at the end, even though that’s the first time they met. It also explains Hans love and affection for her, even though they had just met. She is her fathers daughter, through and through, taking interest in the same things that he enjoyed, even though they had never met before. It would also be another throwback to the whole brother and sister thing with Luke and Leia.

    I dont buy the Luke or Obi-wan connection, as i see them as jedi monk types, devoting their time to the force, and not being bothered with love, which is a call back to the prequels, and one of the reasons for Anakins downfall.

  23. I would like to know how the Tested team would have approached building a puppet for Snoke.

    30 feet tall.


    must be able to sit, talk, emote with eyes and facial expressions.

  24. I was happy with the call backs up until the XL death star. It felt like another film cheapened by blockbuster’s need to be the end of the universe. They blew up three planets and I felt nothing. Another moment that really bothered me was when Chewie walks past Leia after the big loss and Leia embraces Rey. The Chewie hug would have really hit home. The real triumphs of this movie were the new characters and that it left you excited for the next one– there just better not be another death star.

  25. Haha! I love that about Kylo! Maybe it’s a bit too much, but I really liked his character. All lanky and weird and angsty… But I seriously hope he feels a deep regret about what he did. That there are emotional consequences for that.

  26. every time I saw adam driver w/o the helmet I wanted JJ to walk and screen and smack that dumb looking jerk – with the helmet on he was a fine 3rd rate DARTH – w/o it he is a snotty little hipster in need of a beating.

  27. My feeling is that Rey is related to Luke, perhaps his daughter. Star Wars, over all, is about the Skywalker family. Rey will be the main character and will be the Uber Jedi in the end. If she’s related to Obi-wan, then she’s a Kenobi. It really fits better if she’s Luke’s daughter. So the story goes from Grandfather, to Father to Daughter, each generation stronger and more balanced than the one before. Course we all could be wrong.

  28. Personally I don’t think Rey is anyone’s kid (sure I’ll side with Adam on this). Clearly her vision wasn’t a vision, but rather her reliving a bad memory. Anyways….outside of a few little issues I thought this film was a great way to reintroduce and build upon a universe that was laid out decades ago.

    One of the things I really liked was how dirty and scavenged everything was. It gave my the impression that everyone was still recovering from almost a century of massive galactic wars (the trade disputes, clone wars, and galactic civil war)

    As for Snoke theories: I think he’s nothing more then a twisted Mace Windu. Lets face it Mace got a face full of force lightening, and dumped out a window. No body was recovered (or at least talked about), and out of all the Jedi Council he was the most sith like in attitude and influence (don’t believe me, go back and watch the episode 1-3 again, but just watch the parts with Mace in them)

    Ok not really, but having Mace as the big baddie would be a twist.

    Something that got me thinking after watching the movie was all the Jedi talk. It really left me wanting an “Indiana Jones” styled movie where the lost artifacts are pieces of the Jedi myth, and the main character is some kind of scholar (that’s one aspect of Star Wars that hasn’t been touched much). So much story there.

  29. Must make prop after BB8: Rey’s blaster! That thing fired like a flintlock pistol– it’s a real space pirate’s gun

  30. Since hearing about the E7 I religiously avoided all possible spoilers and trailers I could so going into the movie all I knew was it had the original cast, a small spherical robot, a lightsaber with a crossguard and practical effects. And I must say I enjoyed it immensely…

    From the first teary eye look at the titles going up to the beautiful landscapes and designs.

    As Adam said my first viewing I thought it faultless then I thought about Lukes saber and how it could have survived the fall on Bespin. For those that didn’t decypher the convo in the forum on it. Digging into the now non-canon history of that saber brought up a rich history of how it was found, both hand and saber and both used by various people over the following years… sigh I had so hoped Mara would make an appearance… So the clone idea could be true (and while we are on clones why not a Vader clone? Though how that would then relate to Luke… Rey: Luke I am your Fathers female clone, Im your Mather).

    One thing about that I’m rattling my head about is Rey’s flashback, the hand on her shoulder. Was it Lukes robotic hand while they watched the shuttle fly away?

  31. I think Snoke is a giant, and from Endor and doesn’t anyone remember Caravan
    of Courage: An Ewok Adventure… :0)

    I would have liked to have seen Chewie snap a droid in half and chuck it over the railings at Kylo!

  32. If It ain’t broke don’t fix it. I feel like they wrapped up the episode 4,5,6 in one movie almost so i feel that it opens up the next 2 to not need to follow familiar story line. I feel like he just needed to get good to get people out of the episode 1 ,2,3 rut.

  33. My main complaint with Episode 7, and why I walked out of the theatre disappointed, was that the bad guys were too ambiguously bad. For me, star wars has always been a story of Good vs. Evil, which is what makes the redemption of Vader so powerful. By making the hero a reformed Storm Trooper, it made me cringe every time Rey gunned down one of these brainwashed child soldiers, in a way that I never did when Luke and Han killed the mostly robotic Troopers in the OT. And having Kylo Ren being so conflicted between the Dark and Light is the same thing. I want an Evil villain, not someone I know will be redeemed in the end. If you’re remaking The Hero’s Journey, let the Evil be EVIL.

  34. I saw Will’s doppelganger in Raleigh, NC Tuesday, Dec 29th, at the MC Escher exhibition. I so wanted to ask him if his name was Will!

  35. -Spoilers-

    —No seriously, SPOILERS—

    So, I keep seeing a handful of the same things brought up over and over.

    “Hero’s Journey” “Hero’s Journey” “Hero’s Journey”. It’s a really ridiculous concept to be brought up so often, because it’s genuinely intended to be as broad as possible to encompass thousands of years of stories and everything from Hercules to Atticus Finch. It’s about as pointless an observation as bringing up that two books are both written on paper as far as literary or film criticism goes.

    The second one that gets brought up multiple times is similarities to the original. Only in the Force Awakens every scene that follows the Original Trilogy is a sendup of that scene. They go to “rescue the princess”, but she’s busy rescuing herself. The droid on the desert planet isn’t carrying the information that they need, R2-D2 and Finn are. The wise old mentor that shows up is a renowned scoundrel not a man of learning. Instead of refusing to kill his father on the precarious catwalk, well, you know. The young force sensitive on the desert planet isn’t the main character or the one who ultimately saves the day, that was Poe, Chewie, and Han. The way Rey keeps telling off Finn for grabbing her hand to get her to run is a direct sendup of A New Hope. Every scene that has an equivalent to the original trilogy is there to play on your expectations, because every one of those scenes plays out differently. It’s there to get you to pay attention to those scenes and roll your eyes at what you think is about to happen before flipping the script and doing something different.

  36. A big part of why The Hero’s Journey is being brought up in connection to Star Wars is because Joseph Campbell filmed a well-known documentary at Skywalker Ranch, popularising it as a storytelling framework, and because Lucas himself talked so much about it back in the day. Ever since then, it has been hard to avoid touching on those overarching themes when discussing any instalment in the franchise.

    And while I fully agree that it is indeed a ridiculously broad framework, as you say designed to shoehorn just about any myth into, it remains a useful tool for introductory discussion of narrative structure in the abstract, and to discuss deviations from the broad formula.

  37. I hope we see Leia use the Force in a future movie, not just too know someone has died, but in a fight.

    I also really hope we see a good reason why R2D2 was ‘asleep’ for most of the film, such as Luke had programmed it to wait for certain circumstances, when he would be OK with being found.

    I really enjoyed the movie, but I’ll wait for the Blu-Ray before I see it multiple times. Watching this podcast twice (so far), has been great fun too. Thanks guys, you hit on most of the things I wanted discussing.

  38. I enjoyed The Force Awakens immensely. I have seen the movie three times already. I think there is one major hint about Rays past that the podcast left out.

    During the interrogation scene with Ray, Kylo Ren mentioned that Ray imagines an OCEAN to calm herself when she is lonely. Kylo Ren also said that he sees the ISLAND in Rays mind! Luke is found hiding in a place that Ray dreams about. I’m not sure if this means that Ray is related to Luke, or that Ray is so powerful with the force that she can sense where Luke has been hiding.

  39. Examples of good writing in Episode 4:

    Princess Leia Organa: Governor Tarkin, I should have expected to find you holding Vader’s leash. I recognized your fow-wel stench when I was brought on board.

    Governor Tarkin: Charming… to the last. You don’t know how hard I found it signing the order to terminate your life.

    Princess Leia Organa: I’m surprised that you had the courage to take the responsibility yourself.

    Governor Tarkin: Princess Leia, before your execution, I’d like you to join me for a ceremony that will make this battle station operational. No star system will dare oppose the Emperor now.

    Princess Leia Organa: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.

    Governor Tarkin: Not after we demonstrate the capabilities of this station.

    There are now 3 movies that had to destroy the “Death Star.” Don’t the bad guys have any other weapons?

    High-res ship shots… I especially liked the Star Destroyer pointing out of the screen at the audience. And I did flinch when some explosion debris flew past my face!

    There were ‘hurray’-s when BB8 unveiled R2D2

    There are flashbacks in the Star Wars universe… episodes #1, #2, and #3…

    Rey vs Ren – when Rey is frozen, I took her shaking/vibration to be her efforts to break his domination of her, not because he was shaking her in his grip.

    During the credits there was a long list of “Stunt Doubles.” To quote Mel Brooks: “You idiots! You’ve captured their stunt doubles!”

    re: Vinyl… may sound good the first few plays, but then the highs start to go, noise starts to accumulate (dust ground into the grooves, scrapes of the diamond stylus along the vinyl tracks, etc.). Digital starts off sounding great, and keeps on sounding great… And if you say your ‘golden ears’ can hear the difference, I’d like you to take an A-B-X test and see just how golden they really are!

    –Paul E Musselman

  40. Haven’t read all this thread so apologies if this has been mentioned:

    A small thing that bugs me far more than it should is how Abrams deals with the physics of space travel; it’s linked to what was said in the podcast about how hyperspace travel is too ‘instantaneous’.

    Firstly, when the Starkiller base weapon is used to destroy the planets (who’s names I have forgotten) it is pretty much instantaneous, when presumably there are astronomical (literally) distances between weapon and targets. It would have taken that energy beam a vast period of time to go that far. I’ve only seen the movie once so far and my memory is suggesting that maybe Han has a line about the weapon using hyperspace in some way; if that’s true then I’ll go with the hand-wavy explanation.

    Secondly, and more annoyingly, is how characters on one planet (is it where Maz’s place is?) look up into the sky and see the three planets being destroyed by the Starkiller beam. But these planets are supposed to be in anther system all together, no? If so, they would both be impossible to see with the naked eye and the light from their destruction wouldn’t reach other planets for years (probably). All it would take to solve that is simply to show the events on a screen somewhere and use hand-wavy communications technology to account for it. But Abrams likes to have people look up and see destruction with their own eyes. He did a very similar thing in Star Trek when Kirk, Spock et al leave Vulcan (or rather where it used to be) at warp speed, argue for a bit, then Kirk gets dumped off the ship onto another planet. Which is where he meets old Spock and we discover old Spock watched Vulcan blow up from this place – which would have to make it a moon of Vulcan or a remarkably close planet. But the Enterprise had been at warp speed for a period of time, it would be a loooooong way away by then.

    Anyway, it’s just a small thing but a small thing that bugs a space and astronomy fan like me. I think JJ could use a quick lesson in astronomical distances.

  41. Something I also posted elsewhere, in regard to whether TFA is just a “remake” of ANH:
    As Mark Twain wrote: “History never repeats itself, but the Kaleidoscopic combinations of the pictured present often seem to be constructed out of the broken fragments of antique legends” and much as the original Star Wars borrowed much from the fabled Hero’s Journey, as well as Kurosawa films and other great works that came before it, The Force Awakens in turn borrows much from its storied predecessor, Star Wars (okay, okay, you young’uns can call it A New Hope).

    The most important takeaway for me is that, unlike the Prequels, The Force Awakens really “feels” like Star Wars again.

    On another note, much as Kylo Ren’s saber style seems heavily broadsword/greatsword based, it seems to me that Rey’s saber style draws from her staff fighting experience, with its sweeps and jabs. I can easily see her building a double saber or saberstaff when it’s her time to craft her “more elegant weapon for a more civilized age.”

  42. I think Snoke is a giant, and from Endor and doesn’t anyone remember Caravan
    of Courage: An Ewok Adventure… :0)

    I would have liked to have seen Chewie snap a droid in half and chuck it over the railings at Kylo!

    There is also a Giant in the Star Wars Holiday Special! It’s in the segment of the documentary within the film, “Life on Tattooine”, for a brief second a guy walks under a giant’s legs. The legs are the only thing that is shown on screen.

  43. Adam, you said the interrogation of Rey was your favorite scene because of how the actors sold the scene, but I think the sound was really what sold the tension of the scene. It wouldn’t have been a battle without the precision of the sound design to show the weight of each attack and each defense. I agree that the actors sold the outcome of the scene, but without visual effects, the beautiful sound design was the only thing that made that scene tangible.

  44. Picard Maneuver?

    I’m going to have a different spin on things than the other comments I’ve read so far: there are some serious plot holes that I’m *shocked* Adam didn’t immediately pick-up on.

    I’ll start off with the biggest: did every single member of the cast and crew never hear of the Picard Maneuver? I’ll clarify: The Picard Mauver was something from Star Trek, where Picard (on his first command) survived a combat encounter by warping directly next to his enemy and opening fire. In the context of this movie: if Han can fly the Falcon past the shields because he comes out of hyperspace below them – why not do the same thing with a droid-pilotted ship carrying a Nuke? Drop out of hyperspace at tree-height about the target, and detonate? (Perhaps Disney can’t call it the “Picard Maneuver” because Paramount owns that particular trademark. Maybe instead they can call it the “Bonehead Maneuver.” Oh wait, Babylon 5 already has that one.)

    But there are others. Given that they have to manually disable the shields, why would a single Storm Trooper – no matter how highly-placed – be allowed to single-handedly disable the shields? Given that the shields were down, why wouldn’t alarm bells be going off all over the place? For a support system so critical to planetary stability when it held a sun, why were there not 4, spread 120 arc degrees apart (would need 4 for a sphere) so that a single shot could *maybe* take out one, but leave the planet stable… at the very least, why was there only a single, non-redundant subsystem? Similarly, why weren’t there two wholly-independent shielding systems?

    I could go on and on about similar things, but you get the idea.

    Don’t get me wrong. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I’ll admit I had severe heart-aches walking out of the theater. But I was literally rolling on the floor at times (including BB8’s “thumbs-up” and a few other places). And like Kevin Smith’s reaction when he walked onto the Millennium Falcon prop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PApGfervszM), I actually had a similar (though less-intense) emotional reaction when I first saw the giant “STAR WARS” logo and the scrolling text.

    I think the author of “Machete Order” said it best, and in particular said exactly how I feel about the movie overall. So, I’ll just quote him. http://www.nomachetejuggling.com/2015/12/28/machete-order-update-and-faq/

    In a lot of ways, Episode VII is a highly cynical piece of marketed, productized material. For all their faults, you can tell that the prequel trilogy films existed because George Lucas had a story that he really wanted to tell. Episode VII didn’t give me that feeling, it didn’t come off like a movie that was dying to get out of the creative mind of an auteur. It felt like a product that had been assembled and expertly directed by a committee of very smart businesspeople. It was naked and transparent in its intentions and its methodologies, pulling the strings to elicit an almost impossible-to-avoid sense of joy in the audience.

    None of this is to say it’s bad – far from it. I, the puppet, was able to look up and see all of the strings attached to me, and notice as they were pulled and prodded. I rolled my eyes, knowing exactly what my puppet masters were doing and why. But it didn’t change the fact that the puppet masters were successful in eliciting the desired movements from me. They forced me to feel joy, I was aware that it was being forced, but I felt it nonetheless.

    I enjoyed the hell out of Episode VII and I consider it an extremely good but flawed movie, a quality “Star Wars Sequel” like Return of the Jedi, that manages to be a good franchise entry but not an “excellent film” on its own in the way that Empire Strikes Back and the original Star Wars are. Like Die Hard is a classic piece of near-perfect filmmaking, it belongs in the pantheon of great films for all time. Die Hard 3 is a really good Die Hard sequel, but it’s not a timeless classic like Die Hard. Same deal for Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens – great entries in their franchises, but not Top 100 Films of all Time material.


  45. Hey guys, some friendly, constructive criticism: I know you chaps get really excited talking about stuff you’re passionate about, especially Star Wars, but could you please try to avoid talking over each other and interrupting each other?

    Trying very hard not to sound like a dickhead and be polite as possible, I would just love to be able to hear the end of someone’s train of thought, and a few times it was obliterated in this podcast.


  46. I know I’ll be in the minority, but I hate the new movie. Basically, this movie completely negates Return of the Jedi. From a narrative standpoint, everything that was accomplished has been undone – the New Republic has failed, the Jedi have been re-destroyed, and the Empire is back in the driver’s seat. From a character standpoint, the arc of all our original heroes has been demolished. Han, Leia, and Luke are all losers. Failures. Han’s arc to be a hero has been withdrawn, and now he’s just a loser and a scoundrel again. And he failed as a parent. Leia’s political accomplishments have been for naught, and her love with Han has failed, and she also failed as a mother. The BIGGEST loser, though, is Luke. Not only has he failed in training new Jedi, not only has he allowed one of his students to become a Dark Side lord who killed all the others (his own nephew, to boot), but HE THEN RAN AWAY FROM THE PROBLEM.

    The man from Empire who, knowing he was no match for Vader still left to confront Vader because he knew it was his responsibility – the man from Jedi who, knowing he had a responsibility to his own Father not only faced him but then refused to kill him – this man now turns tail and hides after he is RESPONSIBLE for getting the Jedi killed, for letting the New Republic falter, for letting the Empire rise, and, most importantly, knowing he’s the ONLY ONE capable of stopping the Dark Jedi (incidentally, he can now consider himself responsible for Han’s death).

    Look, I know Disney wants us to buy into the new characters because they’re in the business of selling us a franchise for life (and the old actors will eventually die). However, they didn’t have to desecrate everything the original characters were, everything they accomplished, and everything they stood for in order to get over their junior crop of heroes. There were a thousand ways to pass the torch without stomping on the face of the old guard, but Disney and Abrams chose not to pursue them. They don’t just want to make it impossible for you to want to see the old characters (i.e. we know Han won’t be in any more movies), they actually want to lessen the old heroes in your eyes so that the new heroes will shine more brightly.

    I know Star Wars is supposed to be a story of fall and redemption. It’s different when the main character (Vader) starts out fallen and winds up redeemed. It’s another to have beloved characters fall in front of your eyes. How am I supposed to take my 7 year old daughter to see this movie and explain, “Han Solo, your favorite character, was such a dirtbag that not only did he fail in raising his son to NOT be an evil Dark Jedi but he also abandoned Leia and his son to go bum around in space because he didn’t want to take responsibility for his failure – oh, and then his son kills him”?

    Return of the Jedi gave us the “Happily Ever After” the story and characters deserved. The ending the fans deserved. This movie wants to throw it in the trash. Arguing about whether Rey is someone’s daughter, or did she have too much force power or not, or was Phantasm used enough, or who is Snoke, or were the new ships imaginative enough . . . this is all missing the forest for the trees. This movie completely upends the Star Wars universe, and in a way that is as disrespectful to the Original Trilogy as is possible.

    They (Disney, Abrams, and the whole new Star Wars clan) can go to hell for all I care.

  47. “Luke, I am your Maather” – everyone knows that when you write clones’ names you have to double the vowels.

    That was pretty funny, though.

  48. I can’t agree with Norm regarding Star Trek 2009. In my opinion, ST2009 wasn’t training for JJ directing Star Wars. ST2009 WAS Star Wars. JJ already had the chops and vision to do a Star Wars movie. Star Trek 2009 was almost as if he wanted to be doing Star Wars and got stuck with Star Trek. Star Trek and Star Wars are very different, and ST2009 felt a LOT more like Wars than it did Trek. If I had to guess, the Tested guys probably lean toward the Wars fandom of the spectrum rather than Trek, and from that perspective I can see why they’d think ST2009 was a great movie. With me being on the opposite side of the spectrum, I can’t agree with their assessment.

  49. Han and Chewie are the best comedy duo in entertainment history. I could watch them banter for hours.

    I bet Rey turns to the Dark Side and Ren is the one that pulls her back to the light at the end. I doubt Rey is Luke’s kid but if she is, there better be a Mara Jade. I also bet VII opens with a funeral and that’s how we get Lando.

    Totally agree with Whoever commented above about TR-8R stealing Phasma’s thunder.

  50. Um . . . . no. Laurel & Hardy? Abbott & Costello? George & Gracie? Dean & Jerry? Heck, even Wallace & Gromit?

    I like Han & Chewie as much as the next guy, but let’s not give in to hyperbole.

  51. I would have went with Bing Crosby & Bob Hope before Dean & Jerry. In the strictest sense of “best” and the “art of comedy”, your absolutely right, those acts were great… studiable even. You could write a paper on any of those guys (maybe not Dean & Jerry). Chewie and Han are most definitely in the list somewhere. In my opinion, I think you could put them in any situation (like Buddy Cops, Delivery Guys, in the Army, or whatever) and it be good. unlike my use of commas

  52. I’ll grant that Dean & Jerry aren’t my favorites, especially Jerry, but I love Dean Martin (who was quite a nice guy in real life) and some of their bits were pretty funny. I thought of a few more, albeit unconventional ones. Andy Griffith and Don Knotts are a great pair. Bob & Ray were a great radio duo. So was Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks. Lucy and Ricky could qualify, but I was never a huge fan of theirs, plus Fred and Ethel added so much to the dynamic that it was almost a quartet vs. a pair. My all time under-rate comedy pair, though, is Carters and Caldicott, first in The Lady Vanishes and then in Night Train to Munich – truly unappreciated!

    My all time favorite pair should be obvious from my avatar.

    I do think Han and Chewie are a great comedic team. And I sure would have enjoyed seeing them banter all through the new trilogy. Of course, that can’t happen since they killed Han for no real reason other than they couldn’t figure out how to make audiences believe Kylo Ren was a real baddie (one could write a book on the laziness of modern story telling), so, once again I say “Sucks to your Assmar, Abrams!”

  53. I really liked the movie, but the idea of Luke bailing bothered me at the open. It’s a reflection of Obi Wan and Yoda also bailing to go hide on some out of the way corner of the galaxy, so there’s something of a precedent for Jedi Masters that screw up really badly taking a lot of time off to reflect on it.

    But, that said, we don’t really know the full story of just how badly Luke may have failed, or why he retreated the way he did. I expect we’ll get a clearer picture of that later.

    A theme that I haven’t seen anyone talk about is that most of the main characters in TFA are desperately lonely people. Not Poe, but Rey and Finn certainly are. Kylo Ren is a terrified young guy, and very alone, and I liked that we saw that, even if it does make Emo Kylo Ren a thing. And Han has Chewie, but he’s tired and bitter, and by the end is ready to pack it in. He goes out like a proper old hero.

    Incidentally, that’s why Rey is able to win out over KR, I think. She’s alone and lonely, but content with herself, not at all afraid of her own faults. KR is initially sympathetic to her solitude, but it opens the door to his terrible fears of inadequacy, and how much he can’t stand to be alone with himself. I think the fact that she is actually strong in her aloneness makes him afraid of her, and lets her push him back.

    Also, I was really, really happy to see Rey let go of her fear and center herself in the last fight. The prequels failed so often on the whole “Jedi are at peace with themselves and unafraid, because they are one with all things through the Force” business.

  54. Before the prequels (which I have not accepted as a legitimate part of Star Wars), there was not the same sense of Obi Wan and Yoda bailing on their responsibilities. First, it seemed more like they were two lone survivors amidst an overwhelming tide of the Dark Side – perhaps they’ll try to paint Luke in that color in the next film but for now it looks like he couldn’t deal with one young, inexperienced Dark Jedi (who was his nephew). This from the guy who faced down his own Father. I also assumed that Obi Wan was on Tatooine specifically to watch over Luke, so in a sense he was keeping his head down and fulfilling his mission. Yoda I figured was doing the same thing – strong as he was he could do more good by surviving to train the young Skywalker than trying to take on the Emperor and Vader single-handed.

    Granted, the prequels mucked with some of this, and I particularly loathed the lightsaber fights with Yoda, but still it’s a far cry from my nephew turned bad and I just couldn’t handle my own failures.

    Han also wussing out and running away is too much for me to swallow.

    My disappointment with this farce has lead me to rediscover Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy. Even better, the audiobook version available on Audibles is fantastic! The reader does some excellent voice impressions, his reading is great, and they even throw in a lot of background noise, music, and appropriate sound effects. It’s almost more of a radio show than an audiobook.

    For my kids, this is what we’re going to enjoy as the sequel to Star Wars. It introduces new characters, new worlds, new problems, and new enemies without ever throwing the heroes from the Original Trilogy under the bus. It’s not high art, by any means, but it’ll do.

  55. Can I say one more thing on this topic (for the few who might still be reading this comment section)? What really bothers me is how so many folks are grokking The Force Awakens because it “feels” like Star Wars. For many, it doesn’t matter that the movie is actually trashing the heroes of the Original Trilogy, or that it by and large undoes their accomplishments. What nerds and geeks claim to have treasured and loved for years and years has been spit upon and besmirched, but everyone is happy and joyful because at least it “feels” like a Star Wars movie. While I think Lucas, in his recent interview, was venting his proud spleen, part of me can understand his vexation. Of course, I saw that not knowing what his proposals were, and who knows, maybe he treated the Original Trilogy heroes even worse.

    I know a Jedi is supposed to “feel” the Force, but in this case count me in with the Vulcans. It is irrational to adulate something that denigrates that which you previously adulated.

  56. Agree so much on the lack of diversity in the ships. When they attack the shield generator it made very little sense to go in purely with X-Wings. It was a ground based target, surely you would utilise Y-Wing bombers?

    It made sense only to use fighters against the Death Star, you couldn’t bomb that exhaust port and you needed the speed and manoeuvrability to get past the defences. There was no justification for purely using X-Wings in TFA.

  57. agreed; it seems like Disney Abrams just wanted to somehow copy the success of the original film by literally copying the film. That unfortunately meant shoehorning the state of play of ep 4 into this story (big bad empire again, good guys underdogs again), wrenching the story backwards, instead of doing something more interesting. It felt like lazy, unimaginative (and sometimes ludicrous) storytelling, unwilling to take any risks.

    So, lack of story ruined the whole film for me. Okay, you also saw famous old characters and objects on the big screen again, but (a) I could take it or leave it, and (b) it still meant nothing anyway because for the most part they weren’t doing anything. They were just there for fan service, effectively paraded on a revolving stage waving to the audience with a Sousa march playing. The whole thing just seemed like cynical fan service, a “Star Wars’ Greatest Hits” rather than an actual new movie.

    I read Abrams said the next film would be darker in tone. Right, so if this one’s anything to go by, you can bet Leia II gets some limb chopped off while Mr Bignose says he’s her brother or clone or something. The following film will feature yet another death star (maybe this one will be a different colour or have bunny ears) and some performing seals on a forest planet this time, instead of bloody teddy bears.

  58. I have some major ideas on how to create a movie realistic BB unit. I would love to share them with Adam and get his take on how he would do it.

  59. I thought Snoke was Darth Plagueis, he tells the commander/ general he has to finish kylos training implying he knows the dark side. I also think Reys staff is Darth Plagueis’ lightsaber whether Snoke is plagueis or not, she’s a scavenger and she found it but doesn’t realize its a lightsaber. Plagueis’ lightsaber was a dual bladed staff exactly like reys.

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