“The Force Awakens” a Diverse Culture

My favorite number is seven. I don’t know if it’s because July is the seventh month of the year or because it is supposedly a lucky number, but it is. Seven is a great number. The good old seventh heaven. They say if you keep something for seven years, it’ll be with you forever. I guess you all see where this is going. Seeing as seven is just an all around great number, it makes sense that Episode VII of the Star Wars series is the best of them. This movie is the highest grossing film in the franchise, the highest grossing release of 2015, the highest grossing film released by Disney, and the highest grossing film EVER in North America (third highest of all time worldwide but who cares). That is a lot of records broken.

This movie was incredibly popular and highly anticipated. It was so popular because of the name. Star Wars. The beloved series was a staple in the lives so many. The first trilogy came out in the late 70s/ early 80s. The prequel trilogy (the second trilogy of the franchise) came out in the late 90s/ early 200s. Those trilogies were an important part of the childhoods of two generations. The premiere of this film had the series followers from two generations as well as this generation’s new wave of followers of the franchise. Before this, the highest grossing film in the series was Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It was the first installment of the second trilogy, containing viewers from the first generation of Star Wars fans and the new one. So it makes sense that this first installment of the new trilogy would break records. It is a film for previous fans while allowing the new story-line to pull in new fans.

It’s safe to say that Episode VII: The Force Awakens was so popular because of the name. People wanted to see where they took the story to, how they added to the series, what was different and what was similar. And you didn’t necessarily have to have watched the series in its entirety to enjoy and be a part of the culturally historic event. However, I submit to you another reason as to why it should be popular, three in fact. There names are Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Lupita Nyong’o. They play the characters Rey, Finn, and Maz Kanata, respectively. As the feature image says, this movie became the highest grossing film of ever with female and minority leads. The stigma in Hollywood, to this day, is that females and minorities leads won’t perform as well as white male leads. This movie proved them that stereotype wrong with Ridley and Boyega.

rey and finn

maz kanata
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o) Ph: Film Frame © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved..

The movie got a lot of flack for being to close in story line and scenery to the first story. People argued that instead of continuing the George Lucas tradition of creating different planets with dissimilar terrains and different creatures, they visited the same areas with a repeated plot point. I, on the other hand, think that was a smart decision. They used elements of the story we held dear and made it new. Sure we were on the desert planet of Tatooine following the story of an orphaned child but they reworked an entire new plot into the series that works. What they did differently, though, that was also very successful and contributes to why it should be popular, was the character Maz Kanata played by Lupita Nyong’o. She was an unexpected bonus. Usually the wise all knowing figure was filled by Yoda and the force within him. Maz is not a jedi but has been around just as long and seems to know a lot about the force. The addition of this character is what helped separate this movie from the others.

 

 

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