We’re almost done with week one of the Ultimate 2010s Blogathon but we’re not quite there yet. Today’s entry comes from Ashley, who has recently retired her blog, Box Office Buzz. Even though she is no longer contributing to her personal blog, she is a frequent writer for Earth Station One podcast network and Story Geeks, which are linked below. There is no doubt that Star Wars has been a decade-spanning phenomenon. In 2015, Disney brought us back to the galaxy far, far away in their first film since acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 in Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This film is very special to Ashley but I will let her explain that herself.
When I started thinking about what film from the 2010s had influenced me the most, the answer came easily: I’d have to pick “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
I’ve been a hardcore Star Wars fan since high school/college, but for a long time, I assumed that Star Wars Episodes I-VI was all we’d get. It was fun to daydream and speculate about what Episodes VII-IX could be like, but I never really got my hopes up. I thought that even a Star Wars live-action TV show was a far-fetched dream.
That’s why I’ll never forget the moment, back in late 2012, when I found out that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm. It almost didn’t seem real at first, and I remember being giddy with excitement. I would actually get to return to my favorite galaxy “a long time ago” and “far, far away.”
While I’ve enjoyed pretty much everything from the Disney era of Lucasfilm, “Episode VII: The Force Awakens” will always hold a special place in my heart. It was the first film from the Disney/Lucasfilm era, and it introduced a number of new characters who now rank among my all-time favorite characters in the Star Wars franchise.
I remember going to see “The Force Awakens” with a group of friends on opening night in 2015, buzzing with anticipation, anxiety, and excitement. What would this new era of Star Wars be like? Would it capture the same magic as the original films? Or would it feel like something entirely different?
Over the years, I’ve heard criticisms that “The Force Awakens” is essentially a remake of “A New Hope,” but I’ve personally never seen it that way. Sure, it starts on a desert planet and features a young protagonist discovering their Force powers, but I’ve always felt that “The Force Awakens” has its own special kind of magic.
The Star Wars sequel trilogy is all about grappling with the past while also figuring out how to move forward into the future. I’m sure it was so tempting to just tell a straightforward story, with familiar heroes like Han, Luke, and Leia riding in to save the day once again. Instead, these beloved characters are given more nuanced, complex arcs, with plenty of mistakes and flaws.
As we know from real-life history, winning a war doesn’t mean an automatic happily-ever-after. Even though the Rebels beat the Empire, they didn’t defeat all of evil for all of time. That’s not the way the world works. However, it’s important that we keep defending what is right, and we can trust that good WILL win out in the end.
In terms of the film’s newer characters, Rey has come to mean a lot to me as a fan. I now have not one, not two, but three different cosplays of this character, and I love her arc across the three sequel trilogy films
We’d seen female Jedi in the past in live action movies, but they were more in the background. This time, Rey gets to be the star of the whole show, and that was really important to me as a female fan.
I still get a little teary-eyed when I watch that scene with her and Kylo in the snowy forest on Starkiller Base, when Kylo is trying to call the Skywalker saber to him using the Force, but it flies past him and snaps into Rey’s hand instead.
When I walked out of the theater after watching “The Force Awakens,” I felt like I was floating on a cloud. I was so excited that Star Wars was back, and I couldn’t wait to see what came next. Now, five years later, I’m still just as excited, and while I don’t know what’s ahead for Star Wars post-“The Rise of Skywalker,” I’m eager to find out.
Note: Even though I’ve now retired my WordPress blog, Box Office Buzz, you can find me writing for the Earth Station One podcast network at https://esonetwork.com/author/boxofficebuzzab/ and the Story Geeks at https://thestorygeeks.org/author/ashley/!
If you’ve missed any of the blogathon entries, you can find a list of them all here.