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Who’s Your Daddy? For that matter…Who’s Your Mommy?

spaceballs spoiler

Ok, this is your one and only warning.  It’s time to talk about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  I don’t care if Chris hasn’t seen it yet as I consider him to be the only person on the planet so afflicted.  We’re going to talk Star Wars.  More specifically we’re going to talk about the heritage of the film’s protagonist; Rey.

There are dozens if not hundreds of theories floating around the interwebs about Rey and various other characters right now, and since Disney just announced that Episode VIII has been pushed back to 12/15/2017 we have plenty of time to mull over our favorite theories.

Let’s start with what we KNOW.

Rey was left on Jakku, most likely -but not definitely- by her parents:
“They wanted to leave.  But Rey had to stay.  At least until they came back for her.  If she left, her parents would have no way of finding her.”  Source:  Star Wars: Before the Awakening

Young Rey is played by Cailey Fleming, age 8.  We see her in the film screaming “No!  Come back!” as a ship departs Jakku.  She is portraying Rey somewhere in the range of 5-8 years of age if I had to put a number on it.  The departing ship doesn’t tell us much – looks like a generic freighter.

Rey has been on Jakku for years.  Just look at all those marks she has made, presumably one per day, inside the belly of an Imperial AT-AT; her makeshift home on Jakku.  The marks number “in the thousands” per the novel.

Rey is portrayed wonderfully by Daisy Ridley, age 23.  Rey is about nineteen.  That lines up with thousands of marks and I’m pretty sure I read the number specifically referenced, but I can’t seem to find it right now.  At any rate it’s a good ballpark number.

Kylo Ren is portrayed by Adam Driver, age 32.  He’s older, but he looks young for his age.  My guess is he is intended to be older than Rey, but he looks young enough for all the twins fans out there that it’s believable.

Rey thinks Luke and the Jedi are just a myth.  This is well covered in the film and the novel.  She believes this to be true until Han tells her and Finn “I used to wonder that myself.  A bunch of mumbo-jumbo is what it sounds like.  Some magical power holding together good and evil, light and dark.  Crazy thing is, it’s all real.  The Jedi, The Force–it’s true.  All (of it).”  Ok, but did someone use The Force to affect young Rey’s memory?  We certainly see plenty of evidence in the film of mind reading and manipulation via The Force and a certain Sith wannabe in particular seem adept at such things…

After all, “The Force can have a strong impact on the weak minded.” ~ Episode IV

Upon touching the Skywalker lightsaber, Rey has visions of both the past and the future.  Rey hears several familiar voices.  She sees the betrayal of the Knights of Ren – this is the key scene in the story to unlocking her past, which is why we are only given fleeting images and scenes.  She sees the ship of whomever left her on Jakku leaving and screams “No!  Come back!”

“Stay here.  I’ll come back for you.”  “I’ll come back sweetheart, I promise.”  These phrases are in the novel.  Sure sounds like something a familiar scoundrel would say, but it’s pretty easy to believe he would call both his daughter or his niece sweetheart so we don’t get any concrete proof here either.  But, it could also be some other familiar figure.  Maybe even the offspring of our favorite scoundrel.

She also hears from both Alec Guinness and Ewan MacGregor as Obi-Wan.  But hey, were not new to the whole Obi-Wan as a blue glowing ghost guiding along the protagonist, are we?  She also hears Master Yoda who has also been studying post-death connections thanks to Qui-Gon Jinn.  This is just them reaching out through The Force to guide her in my opinion.

Maz clearly knows more than we do and she wants Rey to take the Skywalker lightsaber.  She chooses Rey specifically.  When Rey wont take the saber, she tries to make her friend take it along.

Rey has a natural affinity for the Millennium Falcon.  For a girl who has only used a flight simulator she seems to have a natural connection with everyone’s favorite Corellian vessel.  She also worked on it a bit for Plutt, but the connection seems stronger than that.  Then again, Luke and Anakin had a pretty good affinity to piloting too.

Kylo Ren is pretty sure he knows who Rey is:
Upon being informed about BB-8’s escape, Kylo Ren is first told of Rey.  “Kylo Ren’s voice took on a timbre lower and more menacing than any the lieutenant had ever heard.  What –Girl?”

While invading Rey’s mind…”Surprised by what he was finding, Ren lowered his hand.  Relieved of the mental intrusion, she sucked in great, long draughts of air.  His brows drew together and a reluctance to believe his own findings colored his comments.”

“At night, desperate to sleep, you’d imagine an ocean.  I can see it…I can see the island.”  Is this a vision of her home?  Of where Luke has fled to?

“And Han Solo”, Ren continued relentlessly.  “He feels like the father you never had.”  Feelings.  Hmm.  Search your feelings Rey…

Much later, when they do battle on Starkiller Base:
Taken aback, he whirled – to see the weapon land in the hand of a girl standing by a tree.  Rey appeared equally shocked that her reach for the device had exceeded his.  She gazed down at the weapon now resting in her grip.  “It is you.” Ren murmered.

I am almost certain Kylo Ren says, “Han Solo wont save you this time,” in the forest during the finale when he encounters Rey and Finn just before the lightsaber battle.  Clearly I need another viewing to validate this.  I’ll get right on that…

Lastly, when Snoke sends Hux to find Kylo Ren and bring him to him as Starkiller Base is being destroyed.  “It appears that he may have been right about the girl.”

Unless otherwise specified quotes above are from:
Source: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Novel)


So, having thought through the above.  Let’s now cover some of the Theories:

She’s a Skywalker.  Sure, Rey absolutely could be Luke’s daughter.  This is the path of least resistance.  Perhaps after the Empire’s destruction Luke found love; maybe a fiery red-head (wink wink).  Maybe Rey was the only one to survive the Knights of Ren, saved by her Uncle.  Perhaps the loss of his wife, and all his padawans, broke Luke.  Maybe our group of heroes gathered and decided that to best protect Rey, and the galaxy, she needed to hide and their memories needed to be wiped.  Seems unlikely…after all they have faced great adversity and triumphed before.  Maybe Luke thought Rey was dead too.

Maybe young Rey was saved by Kylo Ren himself.  In the flashback, we see adult Rey prone on the ground in the rain at the slaughter.  That’s probably exactly where young Rey was.  We then see what may be a Knight of Ren run through from behind by what appears to be Kylo Ren.  Maybe he couldn’t bring himself to slaughter his own cousin, and so he dumped her on Jakku telling her that her parents would come and get her.  Maybe she had shown no real power in the Force at that point and he considered her to not be a threat.  Kinda makes a lot of sense to me.

Everyone thinks Rey died as a child, if that was even her given name.  Gets rid of the need to wipe minds galore.  Han and Leia wouldn’t recognize her.  Their niece was dead.  As a father, I can certainly tell you that this is the kind of thing that would break me, and make me leave behind the war between the First Order and The Resistance.  Luke would be utterly broken by loss.

Luke and Rey’s reunion on Ahch-To certainly felt like it had the weight of a family reunion and not just a ‘Hey, here’s your lightsaber.  Come save the galaxy again’ vibe.  Did it also have the vibe of ‘You’re Alive!?!?!?’  Maybe, maybe not…

“The Saga films focus on the Skywalker family saga,” Kathleen Kennedy explains. “The stories follow a linear narrative that connects to the previous six films. The Force Awakens follows Return of the Jedi and continues that generational story. The Anthology films offer opportunities to explore fresh characters, new storylines and a variety of genres inside the Star Wars universe.”

Let’s dive a little deeper and remember a quote from Master Yoda, “No. There is another.” Let’s try to tie that into TFA.   Now keep in mind that Obi-Wan was the audience of that particular comment, and Obi-Wan was well aware of Leia’s birth.  However, he may not have known of her connection to The Force.  Then again, perhaps Yoda was not speaking of Leia after all.  Perhaps he had looked to the future.  Perhaps another Skywalker is meant to bring balance to The Force…

“Difficult to see.  Always in motionis the future.” ~ Empire Strikes Back

Ancestrally, Leia is also a Skywalker.  So chances are the Skywalker or the Solo answer is true when it comes to Rey’s lineage.  A lot of people want Rey to be Jaina.  After all, Jaina had her father’s mechanical aptitude and her mother’s connection to The Force.  That would make Ben/Kylo Ren her twin brother.  Sure the actors have an age difference, but it’s not enough to make this outside the realm of possibility.  Plus, she could always just be his younger sister.

But, it would require some serious abuse of The Force on the part of Luke or Kylo Ren though.  One of them would have to have mind wiped the living daylights out of Han, Leia, Chewie, C-3PO, Rey, and more.  But hey, Luke’s broken now (he would kinda have to be for the above for the Skywalker option as well) so maybe he had a lapse to the Dark Side while overwhlmed with grief, anger, and despair.  Maybe this is part of what further broke him and caused him to turn to isolation.

I’m not buying it.  Why?  Because I don’t think that Leia, with her connection to The Force, would not recognize her own damned daughter.  I also can’t see Leia’s belief that there is still good in Ren if he had slaughtered his own sister.  Then again, maybe she just never felt her death and knew she was out there somewhere.  Again, not bloody likely.  Han is not Force-Sensitive and Leia immediately feels his death across the galaxy.

Ok, yeah.  Han and Rey certainly hit it off pretty easily, and sure Rey has that hug with Leia at the end of the film that could speak volumes if the potential mind wipes are breaking up but the whole Solo theory is a long shot in my opinion.

Speaking of hugs…Why didn’t Leia hug the walking carpet with the life debt who just lost his closest friend?  Once again, Chewie gets the shaft!  No medal after The Battle of Yavin – yeah that’s right the BS revisionist history Rucka just published doesn’t count.

Then of course there’s a wacky and very unlikely little theory of mine about a teen pregnancy in a galaxy far, far away….

Kylo Ren gets someone pregnant and the baby is taken away to be raised elsewhere.  He stops thinking about it completely to focus on becoming Grandpa’s Little Boy.  Hey, it would be weird but Kylo Ren gets to say “I am your father” this way or maybe it gets twisted to a “I am your daughter” revelation.  We had another spherical, planet-destroying weapon in TFA, so who’s to say it’s too cliche at this point?  That would make her a Solo, but I really don’t think Disney is going to go here.

The theory that Duchess Satine and Obi-Wan have a mystery child and the Kenobi lineage carries on is pretty weak.  Why would Obi-Wan then think Luke was the last of the Jedi in Empire?  Why would someone so dedicated to guarding the legacy of the Jedi Order not guard his own child as well?  I love Obi-Wan, but his role in the saga is clear to me.  After all his words in TFA were “Rey, these are your first steps.” not ‘Rey, Gradpa wishes he had been alive to see your first steps.’

Anakin Reborn
Please no.  Well if she’s some immaculately conceived reincarnation of Anakin, then why is she waiting for her parents!?  Not bloody likely.  On this note though, I do like the idea that Plagueis could be Great Grandpa Skywalker.  He was just making himself a new apprentice hidden in the Outer Rim….

Darth Plagueis was a Dark Lord of the Sith so powerful and so wise, he could use the Force to influence the midi-chlorians to create life.” ~Episode III

Satele Shan
Rey certainly has the look of Satele Shan, so she could be of her lineage, but I’m pretty sure I’m still scarred over the loss of the entire EU and that includes the history of The Old Republic.  This one’s a long shot at best, and just because she has that look doesn’t make them distantly related.

I’m Nobody
Seems pretty damn unlikely based on all of the above.  Face it Rey, you’re somebody and we’re dying to know who!  Heck, the Prophecy could have been interpreted wrong and you could be The Chosen One!

If only they had spelled it all out for us and we didn’t have to wait almost two more years for some answers… Bet hey, what would be the fun of that.

Mystery Box, right?

p.s.  I wonder who that Snoke guy is….

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Trailer Snark (January 22nd Theatrical Releases)


Hail to the King baby!

Welcome to Trailer Snark, a weekly column covering trailers for movies that will be released this week with thoughts from our roster of bloggers (Jessica from The Female Perspective, Ken from The Crank File, Jim from The Front Row View, Rob from Spector for Hire, and Great Stories founder Chris).  Thanks for reading, and enjoy the previews!

Last Week: Star Wars: The Force Awakens racked up another $37.2M in receipts bringing its still growing total domestic haul over $863M.  Internationally it’s a hair under $2B right now.  Yes, that’s two billion dollars!!!  The Revenant was able to edge out Star Wars for the weekly win domestically; the first film to do so since The Force Awakens was released on 12/18/15.  Ride Along 2 came in 3rd followed closely by 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.  The four and five positions were taken by Daddy’s Home & The Big Short.  Things tapered off from there with Sisters, The Hateful Eight, The Forest, and Joy rounding out the Top 10.

This week’s new box office contenders are…

Dirty Grandpa (Lionsgate) – Comedy
Right before his wedding, an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general, to Florida for spring break.

Rated R for crude sexual content throughout, graphic nudity, and for language and drug use.
Runtime 102m

Chris:  I saw the title and immediately thought Johnny Knoxville, but instead got another De Niro cash grab.  Either way, it was a pass for me.
Jess:    Eh
Rob:     Gradma dies, and Grandpa (De Niro) and Grandson (Efron), who is about to get married, hit Daytona Beach to learn about smoking crack and partying. No thanks.
Jim:     Bobby, Bobby, Bobby…from Taxi Driver and Raging Bull to this. Might have a trainwreck appeal as a rental.
Ken:     So an old man and his grandson head down to spring break. He gets his perv on with a group of drunk, young girls while his grandson goes off to smoke crack. It’s like the setup to a bad joke.


The 5th Wave (Sony) – Sci-Fi
Four waves of increasingly deadly attacks have left most of Earth in ruin. Against a backdrop of fear and distrust, Cassie is on the run, desperately trying to save her younger brother. As she prepares for the inevitable and lethal fifth wave, Cassie teams up with a young man who may become her final hope – if she can only trust him.

Rated PG-13 for violence and destruction, some sci-fi thematic elements, language and brief teen partying. (Rob: Brief teen partying?  Oh no!  WTF!?  The MPAA are such morons.)
Runtime 112m

Chris:   Got to say the first half of the trailer had me hooked, but the second half seemed to change in tone, and my interest waned.  Could be this year’s Jupiter Ascending.
Jess:      I had heard about this book awhile back and at first was excited about this movie since the premise of the book sounded pretty good but they lost me by the end. Looks like ground covered by “The Hunger Games” and even “Twilight” to a certain extent, just with aliens.
Rob:     Teenage girl saves Earth from alien invasion.  Totally believable….um no.  Hopefully I am wrong since we need more good sci-fi flicks.
Jim:     another YA novel adaptation, but gotta admit this caught my interest. Could be good or it could be The Slumber Games.
Ken:    They lost me somewhere back around wave 3.


The Boy (Zero Media) – Horror
Greta is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.

Rated PG-13 for violence and terror, and for some thematic material
Runtime 97m

Chris:  Dolls are always sinister figures in horror cinema.  But this trailer may have shown too much.  I’ll check it out on the small screen for sure.
Jess:    Looks delightfully creepy!
Rob:     Genre=Horror.  Usually that would stop me there, except this time I saw Lauren Cohan’s smile (Maggie from Walking Dead).  So I decided I’d watch the whole trailer.  Then I saw the doll.  Lame factor went through the roof.  I was just about done, but then Lauren Cohan was in the shower.  Even that wasn’t enough to make me watch the whole trailer.  But hey, good try.  Pass.
Jim:     too much of it’s shown in the trailer, but man, I could literally feel the chills going through my spine ’cause o’ that doll! (No, not Lauren Cohan.)
Ken:     I hate when movies give away jump scares in the trailer. My sister in law loves scary doll movies and Lauren Cohan was in the shower so yeah I’ll probably watch this at some point.


Synchronicity (Magnolia) – Sci-Fi
A physicist who invents a time machine must travel back to the past to uncover the truth about his creation and the woman who is trying to steal it.

Rated R for language including some sexual references (Rob: So a few bad words and references to sex get an R but violence and destruction get a PG-13. Can you say Bass Ackwards MPAA? Thankfully there’s no teen partying in this so we didn’t have to go NC-17 though.)
Runtime 101m

Chris:  The Police should sue.
Jess:     I got a headache from this trailer, I can’t imagine the movie will do me any better. Skipping away happily ….
Rob:     Cool looking, time-travel flick.  Not a big screen kind of movie, at least based on this trailer.  Rental for sure though.  More Sci-Fi!
Jim:     another brain twister where I’ll be saying “Now wait a minute” every few minutes  with a puzzled look on my face.
Ken:    I usually pass on time-traveling movies but I like this premise. Time traveling in movies is a cool plot device but usually way overpowered. However, if time travel had a harmful side effect, and it reasons that ripping apart space/time would be dangerous, it wouldn’t be the most obvious solution to every problem, every time.


Mojave (Atlas) – Thriller
A suicidal artist goes into the desert, where he finds his doppelgänger, a homicidal drifter.

Rated R for language and some violence
Runtime 93m

Chris: Effective enough trailer.  But not effective enough to get me all in with the tub of popcorn.
Jess:   No, so much no. This looks bad in every way.
Rob:    Pretty generic looking thriller.  Pass.
Jim:    nah.
Ken:    Can’t tell if this movie is for serious or a dark comedy.


Chris:   I have to hand it to Keanu.  I have bagged on him for his monotone and one dimensional acting for a long time, but he has chosen some roles lately that have been well-suited for his style.  No different here.
Jess:    I really like Keanu the more I see what he chooses to to be in. I’d see this at home but it looks interesting and Keanu looks like he’s pretty solid in it.
Rob:    Looks pretty bad.  Cop’s partner hunts his killer.  Meh.
Jim:    I’m still hurting from the waste of time that was John Wick, but I might forgive Keanu—this one looks like it might be Ok, despite the tired plot. Would also be nice if Mira Sorvina had another role worthy of Mighty Aphrodite or Romy and Michelle.
Ken:    Whenever I see Keanu in a movie I think to myself, “this is what life would have been like if Neo took the blue pill.”

Tickets Purchased:  
One each for Synchronicity (Ken), The Boy (Jim), and Exposed (Chris).  
Two for Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Rob & Jess).



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Spector for Hire: Advertising Done Right

EA/Sony just hit the ball out of the park with their latest advertisement.  Go ahead, click this link and tell me this isn’t an absolute clinic on how to advertise.  This may well be the best ad of all time.  If The Gunn Report says differently, then The Gunn Report is wrong.

Star Wars: Battlefront is being released on November 17, 2015.  My pre-order has been in for ages, but this commercial captures the essence of what it’s like when your heart belongs to a galaxy far, far away….