The Most Revealing New 'Force Awakens' Images From Entertainment Weekly

The Most Revealing New 'Force Awakens' Images From Entertainment Weekly

By Robert Dougherty Nov 12, 2015 08:12 AM
Photo Credit: Entertainment Weekly

Entertainment Weekly first revealed its new Star Wars: The Force Awakens issue on Nov. 11 by showing four collectable covers of Finn, Rey, Han Solo and the original droids. Later in the day, however, the magazine posted even more notable photos online from inside the magazine, complete with new scoop on what they mean.

Director J.J. Abrams was caught supervising Harrison Ford in this shot, for some kind of scene involving Han and John Boyega's Finn.

Entertainment Weekly

As for the other member of the film's apparent star trio of humans, Daisy Ridley's Rey is seen working on her speeder -- compared to a modern day beat up tractor by production designer Darren Gilford -- in the deserts of Jakku.

Entertainment Weekly

Ridley also helps give a few new bits of background on Rey, whose family situation was already hinted at in the last international trailer. But the basic set up of a child with no known family -- and no true knowledge of the wars that shaped the galaxy -- being abandoned on a desert planet before being shown a larger world by an old former warrior and a younger one, is a rather time honored Star Wars backstory.

When Luke found his destiny and his family, he confronted his own dark side and capacity for evil -- yet Ridley hints that Rey's past and loneliness hasn't quite bred such a dark side.

It’s a lonely existence scrounging for sustenance on a junkyard planet. Rey was ditched on Jakku by her family when she was a child and has no idea why — or why they never returned. “She’s been alone for a long time,” Ridley says. "When something occurs when you’re 5, you know what went on but you don’t understand the reasoning. She's hopeful for what lies ahead, whether that involves the past or not." So why hasn’t abandonment made her bitter, angry, and… prone to the Dark Side? “Hope makes people good, a lot of the time,” Ridley says. “You hope for a brighter future, and resentment is outweighed.”

Entertainment Weekly

On the flip side, Boyega's Finn is officially confirmed to be a defecting Stormtrooper of the First Order -- who has been taught the wrong lessons of history and is now rebelling against it all, unlike his propaganda fueled former comrades.

Boyega says soldiers raised from childhood to serve this remnant of the scattered Imperial forces are fed propaganda about the heroes of the Rebellion. Unlike Rey, he has learned a lot about Luke Skywalker — but he has been taught he was a villain who destroyed the benevolent Empire.

Entertainment Weekly

Perhaps it is Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron who helps set the wheels of Finn's defection in motion, although Poe has merely been in the background of teasers so far. The last few trailers have shown Poe walking by Finn with a pat on the shoulder after landing his X-Wing, but a new image shows that they have met well before that.

Entertainment Weekly

We knew Poe Dameron ended up in the clutches of The First Order, and here he appears to be pretty roughed up. Whether he sustained these bloody injuries during his capture or they're the result of Kylo Ren's interrogation is still unclear. What this image reveals is that Dameron and Finn do meet before Boyega's character goes AWOL. All this does is raise more questions about why Finn ends up wearing Poe's clothes on Jakku — and how the X-Wing pilot goes from handcuffed prisoner to his return to the Resistance base.

Whatever this encounter and other early events does to Finn, it causes him to rethink a lifetime of being bred as a weapon for oppression.

“It’s about looking for a greater purpose, rather than thinking, ‘This is the only thing I can do,’” Boyega says of his runaway stormtrooper. “He wants to change. He wants to make a difference. He’s trying to find some kind of moral dignity in this war.”

Entertainment Weekly

This puts him in direct opposition to Adam Driver's Kylo Ren, who also seems to have been brainwashed from a young age to learn the wrong lessons of the past -- as evidenced by his drive to finish what Darth Vader started, despite how Vader himself destroyed it when he renounced the dark side. Nevertheless, his time in the order of the Knights of Ren obviously left out that piece of history.

Entertainment Weekly

Who Kylo Ren was before joining this order, who taught him the lies about what Vader ultimately stood for in the end -- and what his family name was before all of this -- are among the bigger unanswered questions left. Driver only had this to say on what drove Kylo Ren into darkness.

“When you break all of those things down, really it’s just because someone wasn’t loved enough or felt betrayed,” he says. “That’s what makes those movies so universal. I think they can get in your mind in big and sweeping ways.”

Ridley groups Rey, Finn and Kylo all together as characters who "all start off in a place where they have been led to feel like they’re wanting." But whatever they learn in that path, it ultimately leads them to do battle as the new generation of light vs dark.

Trailers have shown Kylo Ren pressing his lightsaber against Rey's cheek in the daytime, and advancing on Finn and his lightsaber in the woods at night without his helmet on. This new image shows something -- or someone -- new in that night time showdown.

Entertainment Weekly

Now we see there's a third element to Finn's snowy, woodlands duel with Adam Driver's Kylo Ren. Rey is part of the battle, too. We don't know how she fits in (although this looks a lot like the trailer shot of her weeping over a fallen friend), but as the Darth Vader-obsessed villain ignites the unstable blade of his saber, the untrained Finn is looking pretty unsure of himself. "Obviously that makes things a bit more tricky for Finn," Boyega says. "That's genuine fear."

While the new characters get most of the focus here, there's still a bit on the old timers -- even if they still have to dance around Luke's part. Ford and Han Solo are another matter, as part of Entertainment Weekly coverage includes a full interview with Ford, as he comes back to the role he once derided decades ago.

Entertainment Weekly

And Ford has come to some conclusions about what’s become of the rascal. “[Thirty-two] years is going to put some rings on the tree, some experience in the bank. You might make an elaborate conjecture [about who Solo is now], but I think we answer that question in the film. It’s best left answered there.”

What becomes of Han is likely also tied in part to what became of Princess Leia -- who now serves as a General in the Resistance. However, Abrams and Carrie Fisher go into how the fight has taken a kind of toll on Leia.

Entertainment Weekly

As Abrams said, her story is one of the heavier ones in the film. So how is the General handling things when we meet her again?

“Not easily,” Fisher says, describing Leia as, “solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and p****d.”

Leia was once the only role model for girls in the original films. What does the actress hope that the original generation of fans, now grown up, may take away from this version of Leia?

Fisher response is simple and without sarcasm: “Never give up.”

The magazine also promises some new details on Luke -- at least what little they can give -- and insight on other unseen characters like Lupita Nyongo's CGI space pirate and recent trailer/ad narrator, Andy Serkis's Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order and Domhnall Gleeson's First Order General Hux. In addition to these humans, new creatures are seen like this one on Jakku named Bobbajo.

Entertainment Weekly

The rest will either be posted online before long, or saved until the issue actually comes on newsstands on Nov. 13 -- five weeks before the movie itself answers all the other questions on Dec.18.

Tags: Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (2015), Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Harrison Ford, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, J.J. Abrams, Star Wars
About the Author
Robert Dougherty is a longtime online freelance writer, who wrote reviews, articles & editorials on movies/TV for several years on the now defunct Yahoo Voices.
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