One of the first Star Wars track panels at 2015’s Dragon Con was Speculating on The Force Awakens. Held in a pretty-darn-filled Hilton ballroom, the board was comprised of writers and podcasters from the Star Wars fandom including Riley Blanton, Nanci Schwartz, Brian Larsen, Shaun Rosado, and Bethany Blanton. As moderator Bryan Young warned the audience, this panel was not to be taken as any official news on the movie as none of the panelists had any insider info to share. But there was still plenty to talk about thanks to Lucasfilm-sanctioned info available in interviews, teasers, photos, behind the scenes reels, and even a couple of books.
Since we talk a lot about what to take into consideration when speculating as well as wondering aloud what The Force Awakens might hold on Hyperspace Theories, I was very interested in hearing more perspective from this group.
There was much talk about the dark siders and how they’re supposed to be different from the dark siders we’ve seen in previous Star Wars movies. Kylo and the Knights of Ren are allegedly not Sith, and yet they don’t seem like they’ll be fond of the Jedi either. One of the neat ideas shared about this was that maybe it could mean we’ll see a different dynamic of the light side of the Force too. There’s definitely room for more Force philosophy to be explored. Nanci also noted that this difference for the dark side doesn’t cheapen the idea of Vader and Palpatine being “the last of the Sith” on screen.
What’s more, when an audience member asked about Luke’s lightsaber showing up in the Instagram teaser, Nanci pointed out that George Lucas wanted to pass on Excaliber. The panelists also addressed Luke’s role and the potential for him to be the Obi-Wan figure to a new generation. Some believe that in a more literal sense while they said others believe that at least as far as appearance thanks to the beard Mark Hamill was spotted sporting during filming.
Of course, as it can be difficult to hold back when you’re talking about something you love, some of the panelists also ventured into what they’d personally like to see happen in the movie. This included seeing Leia as a Jedi and who (Finn, Rey) might be related to whom (Mace, Luke). Thoughts were also shared as to why Finn is a stormtrooper and what might happen to change that.
There were a lot of “What if…?” questions too. What if Poe is really awesome for the first five minutes and then gets knocked out of the sky? What if Mace Windu survived and trained more Jedi? What if Phasma kicks BB-8 to illustrate how evil she is?
One of my favorite observations, though, was about General Hux. As Bryan noted, he’s young but rather high-ranking. The suggestion of this contrast leads to the probable officer vacuum in the wake of the Battle of Endor.
Many of the Empire’s best and brightest were on the second Death Star as well as several of the capital ships in the area. This gives space for those like Hux to move up the ranks quicker than the would otherwise. Hux’s age may also implicate that he is less experienced than those who would usually hold that rank and give room for him to potentially make big mistakes.
This panel left no shortage of ideas to take into consideration. I look forward to next year when there’s sure to be one on speculating about Episode VIII.
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