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  • Rey's choice in wardrobe. She's wearing a bigger version of the outfit she was abandoned in. Clearly, she has access to different clothes, since she's not wearing five-year-old sized clothes, so why not change the wardrobe? Although the outfit is enormously practical in the desert, the real reason is that she wants to be recognized by whoever left her. She didn't even change her hairstyle. When she does change her wardrobe at the very end, the new wardrobe she adopts is evocative of Han Solo's classic look. You've got the vest, similar shirt (although with Rey's instinctive aversion to actual sleeves), similar belt, and then leggings and shoes. Not a perfect match, but neither were Han Solo and Rey. However, she is gradually abandoning the look she had kept all through Jakku as she waited for family that may have never come — note the sand tones — and adopting a style reminiscent of the surrogate father she has just lost. She doesn't need to wait for her family anymore. Now she's memorializing them.
  • Kylo Ren's lightsaber and fighting style:
    • Compared to most, his is very unstable, sporting a flame-like appearance, along with needing three beam ports to stabilize it (the Visual Dictionary mentions that the crystal generating the blade is cracked). Perhaps a representation of his mental state as a Loony Fan of Darth Vader?
    • A lot of fans were also taking back their jokes about the cross-beams in Ren's hilt when he uses them to BURN FINN'S FLESH in close combat during their lightsaber duel. All of a sudden you realize "Oh God, THAT'S why they're there!"
    • Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo, is insecure about living up to the legacy of his grandfather, Darth Vader. Ren also shows on many occasions a lack of refinement in terms of combat skills and overall mannerisms. Perhaps his lightsaber represents his lack of skill and his insecurities about turning to the Dark Side completely. Perhaps in the next film, we'll see a more refined lightsaber that signifies Kylo Ren's complete fall to the Dark Side, along with more proper and colder personality, mixed with better fighting prowess.
    • An easy one driven from its appearance: his lightsaber has a crossguard made of beam energy, making it look more like a longsword than a normal lightsaber. Of which organization is he a member? The Knights of Ren.
    • To offer a different perspective, following on the above observation; watch Kylo's technique — he doesn't fight like his predecessors, he fights like a knight in training. Unlike the trained Jedi and Sith we've seen in the past, he doesn't wield his lightsaber like a katana (or in some cases, like a rapier), he built a claymore and wields it appropriately, using big wide arcs, emphasis on crushing blows, and heavy application of sheer brute force. However, even claymores could be wielded with subtlety in the hands of a professional — which Kylo Ren is not, at least not yet. A closer look shows that his technique still leaves a lot of room for improvement.
    • Vader, among other things, was known for a Mighty Glacier fighting style when he used his lightsaber, combining Force powers with heavy strikes — justified, as Vader was a who was much larger and bulkier than he'd been as the fully human Anakin Skywalker. Ren, mask notwithstanding, has no such assistance, and is perhaps a bit taller than the average male (if the casting of the 6'4" Adam Driver is anything to go by) but not overwhelmingly huge — Vader himself was 6'8" and in all likelihood extremely heavy.) Long story short, Ren made a massive claymore-type lightsaber as a way to attempt to replicate Vader's pure strength.
    • That Ren's saber has a crossguard at all: The Jedi thought the Sith were extinct for about a thousand years, and barring the occasional sparring match, lightsabers were almost exclusively used for deflecting blaster shots, something for which a crossguard would be almost entirely useless. Ren's saber, however, is designed for fighting other lightsaber users. On a related note, the "crossguard", since any strike that it would attempt to block would cause the opposing lightsaber to shear through the emitters, it's not that useful as a crossguard. However, as he demonstrates multiple times, it's pretty handy for stabbing someone with during a blade-lock, a situation that seems to happen roughly two or three times every single lightsaber duel.
    • About the side emitters, cross-section of Kylo's lightsaber shows that the "emitters" on the side are vents, which open when the blade is ignited, and are located on the inside of the main hilt cylinder, not the tip of the metal extensions. Thus, even if an opposing saber were to cut through the metal cylinder of the "cross guard", it would still hit the blade.
    • Kylo Ren seems to be deliberately choosing to fight like Darth Vader. He starts his fight with Finn using Vader's powerful downward slashes, which just about send Finn flying, but the effort causes Ren visible pain from his wound. Once that happens he switches his style to side to side slashes. What further highlights the choice to fight like Vader is Ren's best moves in the fight are more subtle fencing moves, which he uses to disarm Finn and attempt to do the same to Rey, which forces her into a blade lock.
  • Rey and the map:
    • How does Rey have the image of Luke's current planet inside her mind, despite not even looking at the finished map? She used the same Force technique Darth Vader used in Episodes V and VI to locate the Rebels, sensing his son's presence in the Force. Even Kylo Ren uses it to locate his father Han Solo in Starkiller Base.
    • An alternate to this is even more straightforward: Rey has SEEN IT before, as a very popular theory that's subtly hinted at in the film is that Rey is Luke's daughter or at least his former pupil.
    • Kylo Ren mentions during the Mind Probe scene that she sees this island in her dreams. It's entirely possible she received this image as part of an uncontrolled Force vision, in the same way that Anakin would see premonitions of the future during his dreams.
    • She saw the map displayed on the Falcon.
    • She only saw a piece of the map, she never saw the full route until R2 woke up.
    • The piece of the map she saw is the only piece the First Order still needed; they already have the rest of the map (which the Resistance does not have until the end of the film). They only need the bit that BB-8 has and that Rey has seen.
  • Finn seems to become attached to Poe very quickly, and while Poe seems to become attached to Finn, it doesn't seem to be on quite the same level. On Poe's part, Finn helps him escape and complete his mission, but for Finn it's a bit more complex. The novelization and side stories reveal that First Order troopers are grouped together from a young age and generally kept together throughout their training periods. They would spend the majority of their childhood and adolescence (such as it was) with the same people, and tended to give each other nicknames. But Finn, or FN-2187 as he was called, never fit in with his unit and as a result never got a nickname, marking him as something of an outcast. But one day FN-2187 makes the decision to defect, freeing a Resistance pilot to do it, and this pilot just gives him a nickname without question, something his unit (who might as well have been his siblings) had always refused to do. For FN-2187, being named Finn was basically a form of acceptance he'd always been denied by his peers. It's no wonder he became so attached to Poe so quickly.
    • This also clarifies why Finn has rather fewer qualms than one might expect about shooting his former comrades-in-arms after switching sides: they weren't very good comrades to him. The way he treats his former commander Phasma when she's at his mercy also suggests there's more than a little Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal in it; even Han Solo has to tell him to "Bring it down, bring it down."
  • Kylo Ren's grudge against Finn seems almost out of place in the context of the story. You'd think he would consider Rey to be more of a thorn in his side, given all the ways in which she challenges him. So why is Ren constantly throwing Death Glares at Finn and shouting "TRAITOR" in fury when they finally have a confrontation? It makes a lot more sense when we remember that Ren's true conflict is the fact that he's being torn between the light and dark sides of the Force. It's implied throughout the film that his violent, raging personality is his attempts to deny the light within him and prove himself a true servant of the dark side, as he's been conditioned to do. Why does he hate Finn so much? Because Finn was able to turn away from the dark side entirely. Despite the fact that Finn has been programmed from birth to be a loyal servant like all the other Storm Troopers, he rejected the First Order and everything they represented to embrace the light. He did so with little to none of the internal peril that Ren is still dealing with. Not only that, he goes under the wing of Ren's father, Han Solo; like Rey, Finn becomes something of a surrogate child to Han, a role Kylo Ren was robbed of by Snoke. All of this combined, it's easy to see why Finn is something of an Unknown Rival to Ren. Finn has done nearly everything Ben Solo failed to do. He's a reflection of Kylo Ren's greatest insecurities, making the penultimate lightsaber duel between them all the more meaningful.
  • Empire and Alliance names:
    • Although the new names for the Empire and Rebel Alliance — the "First Order" and the "Resistance" — sound more like something from modern YA dystopian literature, the names make perfect sense once you think about them in political terms. The Rebel Alliance was rebelling against the Galaxy's legitimate government, the Empire, the legal successor to the Republic (although his regime was monstrously evil and corrupt, Palpatine assumed power and the position of Emperor legally in Revenge of the Sith). The Empire ceased to exist with the death of the Emperor, and the First Order is a remnant obsessed with the Empire's legacy for Order (hence the name) and opposed to the new Republic. The Resistance isn't rebelling against the First Order or directly waging war against them; it's resisting them from within their territories on behalf of the Republic.
    • This is corroborated by the background material from tie-ins, where it's said that the New Republic gave funding to Leia to oversee the Resistance. Considering that the New Republic exists separately, and has its own fleet, it's likely that the Resistance only really operates in First Order-held systems, further explaining why it's called that. Imagine a modern superpower funding guerilla fighters in occupied territory or against a dictator the superpower dislikes. That's the relationship here.
    • It is confirmed that the Empire fractured due to various Governors and Generals infighting, and that the First Order was the most powerful faction to emerge from the fighting. Oscar Isaac also pointed out that Rebellion implied an active, offensive role while Resistance implied a defensive role, because the Resistance is no longer as powerful as the old Rebellion after 30 years of warfare.
  • Dark Side and Sith:
    • When telling Finn and Rey about the Force, Han using the term "Dark Side" instead of "Sith" makes a lot of sense — it goes to show that the Sith were so unknown to the public that even their true name was forgotten. Furthermore, it's justified by how he never heard Obi-Wan or Luke mention the term "Sith" in conversation. In fact, there is no current Sith order. Sidious and Vader were the only Sith allowed to exist during the time of the Empire, and with them gone, the lineage of the Sith is dead (for now). Snoke's Knights of Ren are Dark Jedi, with no affiliation with the Sith. The only character who mentions the word "Sith" is Maz Kanata, who is a thousand years old and talking about them in the past tense.
    • It's also been shown that the Sith are not the only Dark Side Force Wielders around. Inquisitors were not Sith Lords, but were trained Dark Side Force Wielders. This is just like how the Jedi are far from the only Light Side Force Wielders. Han speaking of the "Dark Side" encompasses not only the Sith, but also the Inquisitors and other Dark Side Force Wielders during the Rebellion — almost all of whom were wiped out.
  • Timeline and legends:
    • It's been at least thirty years since the original trilogy's events, so it seems strange that they had basically become legends. The prequel trilogy's events makes a little more sense since it takes place at least fifty years ago, but still. Things from thirty-fifty years ago aren't exactly aged enough to be considered myths. Even Rey expressed belief that Luke Skywalker was only a myth. But then again, when you hear about the events themselves without knowledge of what Star Wars is or even that they were only movies, would you believe that they actually happened? Would you believe that a teenage moisture farmer who had only just joined the Rebel Alliance managed to single-handedly fire the shot that destroyed an entire space station? That the same guy also destroyed an AT-AT walker with only a grappling hook, a lightsaber, and a grenade? No wonder people would believe those events and Luke himself were legends.
    • We — in real life — are looking at things like World War II as an example of a "war", yet in its time still had several "legends" like Vasily Zaytsev, Audie Murphy, Jack Churchill, Xie Jinyuan, Erwin Rommel, Giovanni Messe and Tadamichi Kuribayashi with only a few dozen million fighting. The "wars" in Star Wars involved literally billions of beings across dozens if not hundreds of planets. With all that going on, it's not hard to imagine that "a single moisture-farmer-turned-Jedi plus a pack of around a dozen highly-skilled soldiers killed the Emperor, his Force-Wielder Second-in-Command, and the most powerful weapons ever seen TWICE" would be hard for most people to believe is absolutely true — most would assume it's a massive embellishment of facts, if they believed any of it outright at all.
    • Combine this with how the Empire, as demonstrated in Star Wars Rebels, instituted an information & communications blackout during the Civil War in order to stymie Rebel intercommunication, meant that word-of-mouth was the most common form of communication across long distances; this would result in lots of legends and tall-tales being told about the Rebellion and the Empire, in much the same way that the acts of Charlemagne, the frontiersmen of America, etc., were all presented with a level of fantasy to them. This is especially true when concerning the Jedi, who were already rare during the time of the Old Republic, and only a handful remained during the Civil War — an overwhelming majority (close to 99.999% in all honesty) of the population of the Galaxy would have never met a Jedi or Sith ever, leading most to believe that these effectively-magical characters were just fairy tales, due to an understandable lack of evidence.
    • It is also worth noting that only Rey, who was raised on a backwater planet, thinks Luke Skywalker and the Jedi are a myth. Finn thinks the idea of trying to find him is crazy, but he clearly knows who Luke Skywalker is. It is entirely possible, confirmed in the novelization, that Luke Skywalker is referenced and demonized in First Order propaganda. Finn, as with many who have never met one, may be highly skeptical that Luke and the Jedi are really such a big deal, but he has definitely heard of him as a real person.
  • Kylo and Vader vs. Palpatine:
    • A lot of people had wondered why Kylo would idolize Darth Vader when it was Palpatine who came up with the plan to kill the Jedi and start the Empire, and thus be the one who "started" what Kylo intended to "finish". But then again, who do you remember more, Vader or Palpatine? Not to mention, although Palpatine was the Emperor; Vader was his ultimate enforcer and the one who did most of the leg work when a situation needed some extra Imperial Presence, as such most inhabitants of the system would likely be far more familiar with the image of Vader than that of the Emperor. Also, since Vader is Kylo Ren's grandfather, he would hear talking about him more than the Emperor. In addition, Kylo feels a greater, more personal connection to Vader than he would to Palpatine. Would you feel a personal connection to your grandparents' boss?
    • Could also be that, if the theory that Snoke is Plagueis returned after Palpatine supposedly killed him, that he downplayed Palpatine's accomplishments to Kylo and played up Vader's. "Palpatine? No, he was a punk. He couldn't do much on his own without Vader's help."
  • General Leia:
    • Leia being given the title of General actually makes a lot of sense, as she was never really born into a royal family. Yes, she is the daughter of one of Naboo's former queens, but that's an elected position. And her mother, Padmé, resigned from that position several years before Leia and Luke were born. True, she was raised as royalty by Senator Bail Organa, but she was only adopted. So, by now, she may have come to accept that she's not really royal by blood (or any other meaningful standard) and therefore has decided not to call herself "Princess" any more.
    • Possibly (especially as we don't know if she ever found out her mother was anything resembling royalty, so it seems unlikely that would matter to her self-image) it's a sign she's finally reached some kind of closure about Alderaan's destruction. Adopted or not, she was a princess, but she was the princess of a dead world. Letting go of the title "Princess Organa" would be a way of letting go of her lost homeworld.
    • It may have less to do with Leia thinking she's "not really royal" and more to do with her taking a new place in the galaxy. Her conversation with Han reveals that she went back to the "the only thing she was really good at" — implied to be commanding the military. So it's possible that she prefers to go by General Organa to emphasize that her role is leading military forces and defending the New Republic.
  • Luke's beard. While it at first just looks like something used to make the character look older, one will notice that it makes Luke look a lot like his old mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Which means that Luke grew the beard to better emulate the man who taught him the ways of the Jedi. It really shows that Luke is stepping up to his position as a Jedi Master and a teacher to others. According to Mark Hamill, that was exactly the intention.
  • Luke emulates Yoda by hiding from his enemies on a wild, abandoned planet. But, perhaps most subtly, he emulates his father, Anakin, prior to his fall, with his robotic hand stripped of its synthetic flesh.
  • Expanding on both of the above, Luke is emulating Obi-Wan and Yoda in more important way. He's waiting until the Will of the Force brings the apprentice to him who's ready to learn. As Obi-Wan insisted on training Anakin, Luke probably felt it was necessary to train Ben, and both ended up turning bad. Then, like Obi-Wan and Yoda at the end of Revenge of the Sith, Luke slinks away to exile, instead of taking a new, young Force-Sensitive with him to train in the "proper" way, knowing that when the apprentice is ready, the Force will bring Master and student together.
  • Both Kylo Ren and Han Solo are one of the very few characters commonly referred to by their full name, and both names are three syllables each. This is very interesting once you know that Han is Kylo's father.
  • Kylo Ren is actually in a fairly similar position to Han Solo as seen in the original release of A New Hope. Why? Han shot first. Han Solo was first seen as an unscrupulous rogue who cared about money and wouldn't bother about killing those who were a threat to him first, and refused to help Luke during the Death Star attack until he finally moved towards his good side and saved Luke from Vader at the very last moment. That's not unlike Kylo, who is an unscrupulous killer who has a good side to him — but he inverts his dad's legacy by wavering towards the Light Side before siding with the Dark and killing him.
  • In the scene where Han is killed by Kylo Ren, take note of the lighting. Finn and Rey enter through the top of the room, creating a big beam of light that happens to shine on Han and Ben. When the sun goes out, the light fades, and all we're left with is the red ambient glow of Starkiller Base's insides. The light literally dies when Ben chooses to murder his father.
    Poe: As long as there's light, we've got a chance!
  • The music track that played when Rey uses the Force to pull Anakin/Luke's old lightsaber into her hands is a part of the Burning Homestead track from A New Hope. The scene that the track played back then is when Luke discovered that his uncle and aunt were killed by the Empire and his home destroyed. Before that, Luke was apathetic to the whole "fighting-the-Empire" business and rejects Obi-Wan's offer to train as a Jedi, preferring to just go back home and live the simpler albeit unhappy life, much like Rey does in this movie. She wants to just go back to Jakku because it's the only home she knows, even if she had to struggle to survive day by day while futilely waiting for her parents to come back to her. During the scenes where this specific track played in both films, it's the moment when both characters realized that they cannot escape their destiny and finally accepted the legacy that was meant for them.
  • It makes sense that Kylo Ren, despite the way he's obviously peacocking to make himself look cooler and be more intimidating, isn't as impressive as the Sith Lord he's desperately trying to emulate. He was raised by both his parents, is incredibly gifted with the Force and likely knew so from a young age and never really experienced any tragedy or grew up in an oppressive environment, so even when convinced to turn to the Dark Side, he doesn't have much darkness in him beyond petulant whining and temper tantrums. He lets Hux boss him around, insult him to his face and tattle on him to Snoke. Even his lightsaber and Force abilities seem to be used more for intimidation than fighting an equally armed opponent. Given the scene of Rey lampshading his Vader fanboyism while being Mind Probed by him, it's highly likely this was the Intended Audience Reaction. To wit, Bad Robot knew they couldn't really top Vader as The Heavy, so they deliberately set out to create a villain who was trying to be The Heavy and failing miserably, and everybody in the film knew it. Bonus features on the Blu-Ray pretty much confirm this.
  • Rey has quickly been accused of being a Mary Sue due to her quick mastery of the Force with no training: She's able to perform a Jedi Mind Trick on a stormtrooper after a couple tries, is able to call Anakin's lightsaber to her hand despite demonstrating no feats of telekinesis before, and is able to hold her own against and actually defeat Kylo Ren in a lightsaber duel. Plus she is an expert pilot of a type of ship the likes of which she's never flown before. However:
    • We already know from her meeting with Maz that she's strong with the Force, if not of the Skywalker bloodline herself, but most important is her vision when she touches Anakin's lightsaber for the first time; some of what we see are her memories. It's entirely possible that Rey did receive training as a child, however she either forgot because she was so young when she was left behind on Jakku, the trauma of those events led to her blocking it out — thus explaining why she was afraid of the lightsaber — or it was outright locked out of her memory by someone else. Significantly, Rey doesn't begin actively using the Force in this manner until after Kylo Ren attempts to Mind Rape her, which may have unlocked her suppressed training and memories. In fact, the memories don't even have to be suppressed. They're clearly tied to a painful experience, she has no reason to volunteer the information.
    • Furthermore, she already demonstrates martial skill at the beginning of the film, having needed to protect herself growing up on a Scavenger World. Even if she never handled a lightsaber before, she was highly proficient in hand-to-hand combat even before she encounters Kylo Ren. Her weapon of choice on Jakku was a long staff, so she knows how to fight with something at the very least shaped like a lightsaber—the way she uses it before opening her mind to the Force looks a lot like quarterstaff techniques. Even with that skill, she is still on the defensive for almost the entire fight against an apparently half-trained opponent who was injured. If Ren had stopped dicking around instead of trying to turn her to his side, she might have gone down like Finn did.
    • There is a distinction between consciously and unconsciously using the Force. It is well established that even before training, Force-sensitive people instinctively use the Force to enhance their reflexes and perception, which is why they tend to be good pilots, good shots, have quick reflexes and pick up new skills quickly. Rey's upbringing would means she would have had to make use of the Force, instinctively, far more often than even Anakin. Maz tells Rey that the Force has been there for her all the time, and Rey clearly understands what she is talking about.
    • With the exception of the Mind Trick, which takes her three goes and she was all but shown how to do by Ren, three of the four times Rey consciously uses the Force are unrefined and fueled but emotion and desperation and, during her duel with Ren, quite possibly even the Dark Side, which as Yoda says, is a quicker and easier thing to use.
    • The Mind Trick can even be justified by Han Solo telling her (and Finn) that all of the old legends, all of those old stories are all true, and with Luke using the Force to blow up the flippin' Death Star, the Force clearly isn't something you need to be heavily trained to use. The reason it took three tries is that she knows that she can do it, she knows what she needs to do, she just needed to feel it out a bit to figure out the how. Furthermore, the mind trick is definitely not an advanced or difficult technique, even in the hands of an untrained (or minimally trained) Sensitive if most of the Legends are anything to go by.
    • The Visual Dictionary reveals that Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow's character who got killed in the beginning) belonged to the Church of the Force, a group of non-Jedi dedicated to Jedi ideals. BB-8 is able to travel from Tekka's village Tuanal to Niima Outpost (Rey's workplace) in only a day or so. This means that Rey probably met many Church of the Force devotees and grew up with more knowledge of the Force than Luke.
    • Taking all of the above into account, people accusing Rey of being a Mary Sue should also take note of her state of mind in comparison to Luke's. Luke started on his journey with Obi-Wan with the mindset of naught but a simple farm boy with some potent wanderlust in his system. He had grown up knowing of some of the important bits of history (the Clone Wars, the legend of Obi-Wan himself, etc) but was kept firmly grounded by his adoptive family. He was likely never really told of the great things the Jedi could do with the Force or what the Sith could do after twisting it to their whims (especially considering his family history). Even after formally meeting Obi-Wan face-to-face and seeing what the Force could do after taking out the Death Star; his mind — thanks to his upbringing — was so suppressed he couldn't really, truly accept the myriad of possibilities beyond what he could see for himself. Naturally, this meant that his enormous potential took that much more work to bring to the surface. On the other hand, Rey had no one to hold back her imagination; and even though she's spent most of her life on a backwater dustball, some tales of past Jedi exploits must've made their way there in the form of tall tales and the like. Unlike Luke, she would be far more willing to believe things Luke just couldn't accept and as such, with an open mind like hers, she can piece things together faster the moment she knows the stories are all true. In short, Luke is like an employee that's done one job for so long that bad habits are hard to break and new lessons take longer to absorb; while Rey is someone who hasn't held anything down long enough to develop those habits to begin with — allowing her to learn that much faster.
    • Yoda said it himself, "You must unlearn what you have learned." Rey hasn't learned anything, so she doesn't have to unlearn it.
    • Also, it's entirely possible that Rey learned the basics of the Jedi Mind Trick in the process of resisting Kylo Ren's attempt to interrogate her with the Force. He accidentally showed her what buttons to press in someone's head, and didn't expect her to be able to resist it, let alone reverse-engineer the process.
    • Take note of the title for this movie as well — The Force Awakens. Snoke even mentions the awakening as a discernible event in the course of the story. It's possible that for the first time in generations (ever since the Sith toppled the Force to bring about the ascension of the Dark Side which afflicted the Jedi of the Old Republic during the rise of the Empire), the Force is now speaking clearly to those who are able to listen. Also notice the moments when Rey uses her Force abilities — they are always preceded by her withdrawing her emotions and opening herself completely. She may appear to be a savant, but it's also likely that she is exploring and learning her abilities in the same manner as the original Force users who established the old Jedi Order.
    • Rey's piloting skills can be further explained by her being a scavenger: Her survival depends on her ability to discern what is and isn't valuable when taking apart a ship, so it would stand to reason that she has learned how certain parts work (demonstrated when she fixes the Millennium Falcon's mechanical problems). While this wouldn't directly translate to her being an Ace Pilot, it would give her an edge over an average Joe who'd never seen a ship before. That plus her innate Force skills would allow her to hold her own. The novelization also adds a line where she comments she used to sneak/wander aboard the various grounded ships on Jakku and poke around with the controls. It also appears that the only thing she has to do for fun is play the flight simulator in the downed AT-AT she lives in.
    • When Rey and Finn are babbling to each other after escaping the TIE fighters, listen closely and one of her lines is, "I've flown ships before but never left the planet."
    • It's made clear early on that this new generation of Force users are even more powerful than the ones we've seen before, as displayed by Kylo Ren simultaneously holding a blaster beam in place while doing the same to Poe. Rey, though obviously untrained, is portrayed as being stronger in the Force than Ren. At several points throughout the film, before her sensitivity to it is established, she seems to be using the Force without realizing it. Early on, she surprises herself with the way she flies the Millennium Falcon to escape Jakku and somehow has the intuition to maneuver the ship to perfectly set Finn up to blast the final TIE Fighter. This comes to a head later at Maz's bar, where she is drawn to the room containing Luke's lightsaber and the door to the room opens on its own. It didn't open on its own. She used the Force, not even aware that it was her doing.
  • Going off that, Finn's skill with the lightsaber. Other materials confirm that Finn had training with the same stun baton as the stormtrooper he fought on Takodana, so he would have been able to use a saber with some competency. Add in an injured Kylo Ren, and you've got a reason Finn's able to last as long as he did. This can also explain his initial poor performance against the same stormtrooper. Observe his later duel with Kylo Ren, where he puts on a far better showing. His initial fight might've gone poorly since this was his first time ever holding a lightsaber. Considering lightsabers would have a far different feel from the stun batons he trained with (as the blade has no weight or inertia), not to mention have a completely different combat form (the batons can be used akin to tonfa, it seems), he probably just needed some more time to adjust. Seeing as he does better later, enough to land a hit on Kylo Ren's upper arm before ultimately being bested, this appears to be the case.
  • Rey has the same accent as her actress Daisy Ridley, who was raised in Central London. In the movie, flashbacks show a young Rey speaking with an American accent being left with an alien junk dealer played by Simon Pegg using an accent similar to Ridley's. Growing up around him explains how she speaks with her current accent.
  • Why doesn't the Resistance treat the destruction of Hosnian Prime as a Big Deal as much as the First Order does? Because the Republic is vast, occupying most of the known Galaxy, with a rotating capital, and a democratic system of governance that can quickly replace lost leaders. The Republic might have taken one hell of a gut punch from the First Order, but unlike the Empire, which went into a downward spiral as soon as Palpatine died, the Republic's strength is in its people, and while they made a huge mistake by underestimating the First Order, they will recover, because that is the real power of their civilization. Old leaders are lost, and new ones rise to take their place and take up their banner.
  • The First Order seems as unskilled as the new protagonists at points, letting droids go on the run and Finn being able to break out Poe easily. Because they are the Big Bad Wannabe at this point, it's only been 30 years since the Emperor and most of their key members died in battle, so Kylo and Hux are slightly less green than Rey and Finn but they still have a lot to learn, notably that a planet destroyer is a bad move no matter how much you protect a glaring weak point.
  • The handling of Poe and Finn:
    • Abrams apparently originally intended to have Poe die in the crash, only to change his mind, telling Oscar Isaacs that he'd "figured it out". Poe's survival provides a story shortcut. Since he made it off Jakku alive and got back to the Resistance, Leia doesn't need to be introduced to Finn or convinced that he's not just some infiltrator from the First Order. Poe reported on his escape, so Leia already knew about Finn being a defector. Thus we're spared a drawn-out suspicion scene or Leia appearing overly-trusting. She's basing her opinion of Finn on that of one of her most trusted officers. Plus, this allows them to split out the fighter pilot role from the ground-based heroes, much like Wedge Antilles ultimately supplanting Luke as the Rebels' wing commander in Return of the Jedi.
    • When the party is seen at Maz's joint, a contact for the Resistance notifies them that they've found "their missing droid". How did the Resistance know they needed to find Poe's droid? Poe only entrusted the map to BB-8 as a last resort when it became clear he wasn't going to escape Jakku in his X-Wing, so wouldn't they have been looking for Poe himself? Well this is actually your first subtle clue that they already found him.
  • General Hux. Domhnall Gleeson gives an almost cartoonish performance with duck lips and plenty of Chewing the Scenery during his big speech, making him look rather ridiculous. Considering how obviously young and inexperienced he is, this is just an act to make him seem more intimidating than he really is to his own men; like Kylo Ren, he is trying to use theatrics to seem bigger than he really is. Note that this is also Truth in Television. Stage performance and public speaking is very different from doing it for screen. Since most of the audience can barely see the performer, subtle facial expressions and gestures can go completely unnoticed. Adolf Hitler also often seemed more then a little over-the-top in his public appearances. Contrast Hux's highly uptight persona when he's on the bridge versus Chewing the Scenery on-stage.
  • During the final lightsaber duel pairing Kylo Ren against Finn and Rey, Kylo clearly isn't running at a hundred percent. He's likely in a good deal of emotional distress after murdering his father, and isn't able to focus entirely on what he's doing. Further, he's nursing a gut shot from Chewie's blaster which has to be slowing him down as well. He seems to spend the fight pounding on his wound, either trying to control the bleeding or just trying to amp himself up with the pain to make himself stronger in the Dark Side. All this combined is why Finn and Rey, in much better shape physically, are able to stand their ground against him for a while.
  • Kylo Ren's habit of punching his side where the wound is. It's suggested by some to be him using pain to tap into a berserker rage, but look at his outfit. He's got average-fitting robes on his torso with a tight, wide leather cummerbund at the waist. He took a kinetic/laser bolt to the side, right where that belt is, and only seems to have minor blood loss. He's beating the belt to keep it in place to prevent him from bleeding out. That, or he's trying to beat the feeling back into his side because he's getting frostbite. This is incredibly common way to get blood flow back to your hands and feet.
  • As noted on the Funny page, despite him being considered something of a Memetic Loser, Kylo Ren did succeed in becoming exactly like his idol. Like Pre-A New Hope Anakin, in fact.
  • Also, Kylo Ren doesn't use the Force-Choke, but instead the more Light Side Force Stasis. Since he was trained by Luke, a Jedi, in the first place, of course he wouldn't have been taught how to choke people. Luke did use a choke-type power only once in the original trilogy, and it was non-lethal. He might not have even taught it to his students at all.
  • Ren is a man obsessed with ensuring Darth Vader's legacy of terror and murder upon the galaxy. So when he sees that Finn has Anakin's last Jedi lightsaber, the same one Anakin used to kill the younglings during his time as an out-of-armor Darth Vader, of course he becomes obsessed with taking it. When he disarms Finn and maims him, he finally has a chance to grab it and tries using the Force to do so — but the lightsaber instead flies into Rey's hand. This ties into the fit over Anakin/Vader's legacy two ways:
    • First, his actions have ironically pulled Rey back into the fight and given her a reason to finally take up the lightsaber. So the hilt flying towards him and then sailing past him and into her hand echoes how his actions, initially for his own benefit, have instead directly enabled Rey to rise and fight him, and as Luke's newest apprentice, she'll be trying to make sure Anakin's Light Side legacy outlives his Dark Side legacy.
    • Second, that lightsaber has a complex history itself. Yes, it was used to kill younglings, but it also helped save thousands of lives during the Clone Wars and Luke used it to fight Vader himself. It was also the only tangible legacy of Anakin that Luke had for the longest time. In other words, Ren and Rey aren't just metaphorically fighting over the Skywalker legacy; they're literally fighting over it as well.
    • To whit, in Attack of the Clones, when Anakin briefly lost his lightsaber, Obi-Wan said "This weapon is your life" as he gave it back. In Revenge of the Sith, Obi-Wan taking the lightsaber away was him accepting that Anakin was gone.
  • The lack of midi-chlorians. After the Jedi were killed, the only people who would have known about them were Obi-Wan, Palpatine, Yoda, and Anakin. All of them died before getting a chance to tell Luke about them. No one alive in the galaxy actually knows they exist. Except for Maz Kanata, possibly.
  • Lightsaber duels:
    • Initially, the lightsaber duels in The Force Awakens seemed very erratic and altogether like a couple of trainees swinging sticks. But that actually makes sense when you think about it. Both Rey and Finn have never fought with a lightsaber before and it shows, but Kylo Ren has the same erratic and wild fighting style. This could be chalked up to him being angry, in pain, or under emotional duress. But remember Luke: he never had any formal lightsaber training. He never learned forms or proper stances. All he did was fight Vader, and looking back he had much of the same fighting style that we see Kylo use. Since Luke taught Kylo, it makes sense that Kylo would have the same fighting style as Luke, especially when he is emotionally compromised.
    • By the same token, just how many other lightsaber-wielding opponents has Kylo ever had to fight? After the Knights of Ren (of which Kylo was the only one shown to be holding a lightsaber in the flashback) killed off Luke's Jedi students and Luke went off into seclusion, there would have basically been no experienced lightsaber users around at all! In the absence of opponents using the weapon, Kylo would have had no opportunity, or reason, to refine his style. Hacking down unarmed civilians and walls of equipment does not require much in the way of form.
  • Kylo Ren's level of endurance and unwillingness to accept that a fight is over have been mentioned already, and this is actually pretty poignant, because who else has all these qualities? Dear old granddaddy Anakin. Being a raw Determinator in the face of superior skill, having a baffling I Can Still Fight! attitude despite having no conceivable way to strike back... all are traits Anakin showed in spades during his younger years. Fighting Dooku? The only thing that takes him out is the trauma of losing a limb. Losing to Obi-Wan? If his lightsaber was within reach of his jaw he likely would've tried to keep swinging despite having lost all of his limbs. For better or worse, Kylo Ren did in fact inherit something somewhat positive from his grandfather after all.
  • First Order stormtroopers:
    • The First Order trains stormtroopers from child conscripts, rather than clones like the Old Republic or early Empire. Why this change if clones can be trained faster and in greater numbers? My guess: expense. Clone manufacturers would charge heavy prices, and the First Order aimed the majority of its funds into Starkiller Base so that they have a trump card, rather than an army without a fleet protecting it. Child soldiers take longer to train and longer to grow up, but the longer time is actually good for the First Order as it let them bide their time to prepare for the New Republic to become lax as memories of the Empire fade. We also don't know if Kamino and other old cloning factories are still around; the New Republic may have forced them to quit manufacturing so as to prevent more enemies from buying from them.
    • The Empire stopped using clones before the original trilogy. This makes the choice to use conscripts more as a way of continuing with that the old Empire used to do over what its Republic forebears did... while also incorporating the aspects that made the clone troopers superior fighters over the Imperial Stormtropers, namely that they are trained from birth as soldiers with rigorous training and absolute loyalty rather than conscripts with below-average training requirements.
  • The expanded universe material being retitled "Legends" makes more sense after it's revealed that a large part of the galaxy believes the stories of Han, Luke, and Leia to be just that. The old EU stories are the legends being told in the remote areas.
  • Kylo Ren's speech to Han: "I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?" He's not talking about rejoining the Light Side, he's just not sure if he has the strength to kill his own father. He might not even be addressing Han, in his head — he might be praying to Darth Vader, like he does to Vader's helmet earlier in the movie, and simply wording it the way he did so as not to cause suspicion.
  • Finn spends most of the film trying to run away as far as possible from the First Order, even saying they can't be stopped. He keeps this up even after meeting the Famed In-Story Han and Chewie. He only shows a change of habit after Rey gets kidnapped. But more likely, his view changed from Poe and the Resistance's Big Damn Heroes moment. Specifically, Poe's single sweep that takes out half a dozen TIE fighters plus ground troops. Finn might have said Screw This, I'm Out of Here! to the First Order, but he still grew up with their vehement if contradictory propaganda that the Resistance both stole from the First Order and yet will be annihilated by it. It's only when he sees the Resistance first hand that his conditioning starts to crack.
  • Kylo Ren's use of mind reading was foreshadowed all the way back in Return of the Jedi where Vader was able to read Luke's feelings and learn that Leia was also his daughter. What Ren is doing then is simply the weaponized version of it. It also makes immediate sense when you think about one of the most iconic Force Powers around: Mind Tricks are implanting thoughts into a weak-minded individual. If a Jedi or Sith can implant thoughts, logically they should also be able to extract them, as well.
  • Speaking of mind reading, looking back over the whole franchise, isn't mind reading the one thing Kylo Ren does better than any of the Jedi or Sith ever did? You'll notice that when Vader was trying to learn the location of the Rebels' base from Leia, he didn't try to extract it from her mind the way Kylo extracted the location of that missing piece of the map from Poe. Vader also didn't try using the old Jedi mind trick (even though he'd surely have learned it from Obi-wan as part of his training at some point) to try to bamboozle her into talking with something like "You will tell me the location of your principal Rebel base." "I will tell you the location of our principal Rebel base."

    Maybe he just figured Leia wasn't weak-minded enough to be influenced that way, but more likely he figured the Jedi mind trick just doesn't work that way: even if Leia's mind was sufficiently susceptible to that trick (this being back before he or anyone else realized she had Force sensitivity), probably all that would result from mind-tricking her is that she would tell him the Rebel base was anywhere he consciously or subconsciously wanted it to be, including somewhere on Coruscant or in the middle of a black hole. That's why Vader tried to torture it out of her, and let Tarkin hold her planet hostage to try to threaten it out of her. Neither Darth Vader nor Darth Sidious were ever able to read more than Luke's emotions, with Vader rightly guessing at the climax of their battle that the emotion he was picking up from Luke was an instinctively protective feeling a brother typically has for his sister... not unlike the feelings Anakin Skywalker once had for his mother and then for his wife (which Darth Sidious picked up and exploited for his own advantage).

    The logical conclusion from all this? Since neither Luke nor either of his mentors nor Vader and his master ever demonstrated any such ability to extract detailed and specific information from an unwilling mind, Snoke must be the expert on using the Force to read minds, and the one who taught Kylo Ren how to do so as well. When Kylo's attempt to extract Rey's memories of the map backfired on him, you'll notice that he immediately turned to Snoke, insisting that he believed he could still extract her memories of the map from her if Snoke would provide some "guidance" to his probing. Snoke pretty obviously predates both Darth Sidious and Darth Vader, as he knows dark-side techniques none of their generation of the Sith ever did; and Ben Solo surely never learned any such technique from Luke.
  • Finn's extreme nervousness, as opposed to Poe's calm self-assurance, during their escape makes sense when you realize that Finn is merely the Stormtrooper equivalent of a private, whereas Poe is a commander who leads multiple fighter squadrons! Poe is accustomed to being in charge of nervous junior personnel.
  • In Japanese, "Ren" means "lotus", which is, coincidentally, what "Padma" means in Sanskrit. Kylo Ren is a member of the Knights of Ren, and he has modeled himself upon the Knight of Padmé, Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. Very appropriate since he's their grandson.
  • Luke's backstory during this film makes more sense if you remember that Luke is the Author Avatar to George Lucas. Some time after ROTJ, Luke had tried to produce another Jedi Order (read: trilogy). But it was attacked by others, and being disheartened, "he walked away from everything."
  • Poe's flippancy towards Kylo Ren makes sense with the revelation that Ren is Leia's son. It's pretty hard to be intimidated by the guy who used to get his diapers changed by your boss! Poe might even have known Ren prior to Ren turning on his family, and therefore would have even less reason to be intimidated by him.
  • First Order and Empire symbolism:
    • Where the Original Trilogy's Empire reflected the brutal regimes of the Twentieth Century (Nazi Germany's snazzy uniforms and terrifying amorality and Cold War USSR's nuclear capability), the First Order reflects the 9/11 attacks on a major city, as well as the rise of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and Daesh both by indoctrinating and radicalizing the middle-class youth such as Ben Solo and his Knights of Ren, presumably also former Jedi trainees under Luke and by making child soldiers from a young age such as Finn and his brothers-in-arms, who have been taught since youth that the First Order's rise and domination is destined and unstoppable.
    • The First Order could also reflect the rise of the military juntas in South America. The Order most resembles National Reorganization Process in Argentina, especially terrifyingly they trusted their own beliefs, to the point where they could have remained in power to this day, if not for the Falklands War. Their situation is even similar to the film's - the junta had guerrilla fighters opposing them. Like the Resistance, the guerrillas struggled to hold against the junta's sheer might from the start. However, the guerrillas were ultimately annihilated, while the Resistance manages to cling on despite severe damage.
    • J.J. Abrams himself has stated that the inspiration for the First Order was "what if ODESSA worked?" (specifically, that after hiding out, the SS would re-establish the NAZI party and continue the war effort after a time). The similarities to the SS, then, are not coincidental in the slightest.
  • Speaking of historical symbolism, it's also hard not to see Kylo Ren's Bloodbath Villain Origin (massacring the rest of Luke's new Jedi pupils) as another reference to recent history.
  • Similar to the Fridge Brilliance entry for Revenge of the Sith, Kylo Ren's voice changer not only makes him sound more intimidating, it helps distance himself from his past self, Ben Solo.
  • The X-Wings coming in at wavetop level in their Big Damn Heroes moment, while Rule of Cool was certainly a factor, Finn told Rey to fly the Falcon down low because it messes with the sensors on the TIEs. It looks that by coming in as low as they did, Blue and Red Squadrons managed to evade detection till they were right on top of the First Order forces.
  • Overlapping with Meta Casting, Mark Hamill, who plays Luke, is left-handed, and if you watch closely, you'll see that Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey is also left-handed, e.g. she uses her left hand to summon the Skywalker lightsaber. It helps to foreshadow the reveal that Rey's the true Force-sensitive hero of the story. It also helps solidify the popular theory that Rey is Luke's daughter; while handedness is not a purely genetic inheritance, it's at least a thematic nod.
  • At first, the First Order's Nazi parallels might seem over the top, considering the Empire was already Putting on the Reich. But the Empire also had a lot of influences from World War I-era Imperial Germany (Stormtroopers, Vader's helmet, being a monarchy with an Emperor). With this in mind, the transition from the Empire to the First Order more closely mirrors Germany's situation in between the two World Wars. Their stronger presence this time round also mirrors how Nazi Germany was at the beginning of the war — lightning fast, seemingly unstoppable and possessing largely superior firepower. The total loyalty of nearly every soldier also reflects Hitler's infamous policy of demanding complete obedience from every member of the Party.
    • Although it's not part of their appearance or overall aesthetic, the First Order mirrors Imperial Japan as well, particularly in how they encourage their troops to commit war crimes. Their combat situation reflects the general state of the Second Sino-Japanese War. The First Order is better supplied, and seems completely unstoppable. The Resistance is in China's position - unwilling to surrender, but lacking sources of equipment and suffering heavy losses in most confrontations with the Order. Additionally, China tried and failed to gain foreign aid from Britain and America prior to 1941, like how the Resistance lacks the support of the Republic.
  • When Rey first tries to use the Jedi Mind Trick when held prisoner, it takes her a few tries to get it to work. It only works the third time, when, after Rey has attempted it twice: the first in a haughty tone, and the second through fear, it only works when she is completely and utterly calm. It makes sense, considering that the Force is not as effective when you're anything other than calm and focused.
  • The planet where Starkiller Base is located has a thick cover of snow all year round. At first this could be explained as just a colder-biome planet. But then you find out that the weapon is drawing energy from the nearby sun. It was probably a milder planet before a few test drains.
  • Han Solo's trick of emerging out of lightspeed close to Starkiller Base's surface. Why didn't he do it before, say, to get past the shields of the Death Star during the Battle of Endor? Because he wouldn't have enough maneuvering room to pull up before crashing into the Death Star's surface. Starkiller Base's planetary shield encompasses its atmosphere, leaving a significant gap between the shield and the planet's surface — which the Falcon barely clears. Since it's Lando piloting the Falcon, he might not have been willing to pull the trick off on a borrowed ship. Also, he's flying with an entire fleet of ships whose pilots may not all be capable of pulling off that same trick.
    • Han Solo's shield-bypassing trick is also a case of Shown Their Work; assuming the hyper-space drives operate in the fourth dimension, basically exploiting a loophole in the laws of physics that prevent anything from going faster than the speed of light by allowing one to "skip" significant amounts of the three-dimensional space between one's origin point and destination (thereby simply shortening the distance of one's journey rather than actually exceeding the speed of light), the same loophole allows one to "skip" past the planet's deflector shields too. Of course, now that Han Solo has established that one can use a hyper-space drive to bypass energy shields in this manner, Chewbacca and Finn had best let Leia and the rest of the Resistance know about this innovation of his so they can get busy building hyper-space drones and hyper-space missiles to bypass enemy shields, and so that they can work on perfecting the technique of landing a ship on a planet right out of hyper-space. (Coming in at a gentler angle than Han Solo did would give the pilot more time to pull up and try to avoid crashing than he got.)
  • Chewbacca's Roaring Rampage of Revenge at Han's murder can be explained easily enough by how he and Han were close friends. However, there was an extra wrinkle. Chewie owed Han a life debt (as Han had freed him from slavery), and Han being killed — while Chewie was in the room and powerless to stop it — probably made him feel that he had failed to honor the debt to his friend, adding that little extra bit of The Berserker to the mix. Also, it was Chewie's idea for them to split up in the first place.
  • Per everything we've seen in the old canon, a Life Debt extends to the family of the one holding the debt. Even though "Kylo Ren" is effectively a "madclaw" and his life forfeit by Wookiee standards, Chewie probably wouldn't be able to kill him.
  • Odds are that Phasma had the access codes for the compactor's door, something that Han and company were lacking in A New Hope.
  • Why aren't Kylo Ren or Snoke named "Darth"? You'd think Ren in particular would want to become like his idol by taking the same title. Four reasons:
    1. The First Order is presumably trying to lay low until Starkiller Base is ready. Having your supreme leader and one of your commanding officers flaunting a Sith title would be a surefire way to get Luke, Han and Leia to recognise you're a big deal and pressure the New Republic to wipe you out.
    2. In Kylo Ren's case, after he's defeated by Rey, Snoke says to Hux that it is time Ren finished his training. Even if Snoke was using the Darth title, Ren hasn't finished his training and wouldn't be worthy of it yet.
    3. Even the word "Sith" is only spoken once in the entire film, by a character who is explicitly a thousand years old. It's entirely possible that Kylo Ren doesn't even know who the Sith were, that Vader was one, or the significance of the Darth title, hence him not using that title himself.
    4. Palpatine himself never used his Sith title publicly, and in fact it was not introduced into the films until the prequel trilogy. In the original trilogy he was referred to exclusively as The Emperor. Snoke may not be using it for the same reasons, preferring "Supreme Leader" and Kylo Ren is not technically a Sith, he is one of the Knights of Ren. Hence his adopted surname.
  • Kylo Ren Take That!:
    • Kylo Ren is a Take That! to all the fans who were Rooting for the Empire. He tries to paint himself as a cool, threatening badass by taking on the trappings of the villains of the previous trilogy, but beneath the helmet he's just a nerd who has no idea what the true meaning of what he's doing is, and he idolizes Darth Vader without realising that what made Vader so admirable in the first place (and, out of universe, his entire character arc) was his redemption.
    • He could also be a deconstruction of Nerd in Evil's Helmet, or a darker and edgier take on it (fitting, considering that the classic example is the Darth Vader parody from Spaceballs). Kylo Ren is an emotionally stunted idiot in way over his head, obsessed with relics of a past that he barely understands or even knows about. In a lighter, comedic series, he'd be Adorkable — but in a serious action piece, we see he's a despicable man-child who makes everything worse because he is not mature enough to do the right thing.
  • Similarly, the First Order is a Take That! to the Original Trilogy purists, the fans so obsessed about the "good old days" of the OT that, even though the galaxy's moved on, they're unwilling to go along with those who don't share their beliefs. Think about it, they're obsessed with seeking out Luke S. and attacking him for supposedly slighting them years before, and their first official act is the destruction of the Galactic Senate. And their greatest plan is basically just a variation on what has already failed twice before, just because it was how they used to do it.
  • It would make sense that The Force Awakens would have the same beats as A New Hope (and a bit of The Empire Strikes Back). As pointed out in Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, the entire history of the Star Wars universe has been nothing but a cyclical war between one faction and another faction, both having Jedi and Sith inevitably fighting for their respective sides. It goes to show that, even in the new canon, History Repeats Itself.
  • Kylo Ren taking out his frustrations on the surrounding equipment; might not necessarily be just him throwing temper tantrums when situations turn on him; they can actually be quite symbolic of his internal battle to purge himself of the call to the Light. This can be observed in that he, at this stage of his development, doesn't do the one thing his grandfather was infamous for; killing his underlings outright whenever they failed him, with no remorse. Kylo Ren likely wants to be the kind of Bad Boss his grandfather was, but that urge to return to the light won't let him go all the way.
  • Many people think that Captain Phasma would be a better choice than a random stormtrooper when fighting Finn. However, this scene has three purposes: It shows why Finn can hold himself in a fight against Kylo Ren, it shows that those Stormtroopers aren't child's play, and it serves to remind us of how awesome Chewie's bowcaster is (since, if Han used it on Phasma and she survived and retreated, she would look like a weaker character; also, the bowcaster would seem lamer, weakening the moment when Kylo weathers its blast).
  • It seems unusual that the two criminal gangs that confront Han are comprised of human members. However, it stands to reason that human gangs might have rose to prominence in the power vacuum left by Jabba. Either that, or maybe in the New Republic there are far more opportunities for non-humans other than organised crime (and a bunch of ex-Imperial humans that are out of employment).
  • Finn wasn't immediately eaten by the rathtar that grabbed him because the thing was full after eating multiple gangsters. It was going to take him somewhere safe and store him for later munching. The novelization makes Finn's survival a little harder to explain by outright stating that humans are actually completely inedible to rathtars. The rathtars are just tearing them to pieces and spitting them back out again, because that's just what they do to every living thing they ever encounter, hence their reputation.
  • There seems to be an assumption that Kylo Ren's lightsaber techniques are less flashy than the prequels because he isn't yet fully trained, however there's definitely an argument to be made that Luke intentionally trained his students in a style that was Boring, but Practical. He didn't have years to teach them lightsaber ballet, he was training an attack force to wipe out the remnants of the Empire, so he taught his students how to use their weapons, and the Force, in simple, efficient ways, without a bunch of fancy flips and kicks. Most notably, Kylo was able to stop a blaster bolt in mid-air, something we never saw even Anakin do at his prime.
  • Han, Leia, and Luke likely told Ben all about his grandfather, and what a horrible man he turned into and all the horrible things he did, and told him again and again and again not to be like that. And what's the first thing any kid does when his parents tell him over and over and over again not to do something? Kylo Ren is going through the most destructive case of teenage rebellion in history.
  • Starkiller Base becoming a new star when it explodes. We are shown that to power its weapon it needs all of the raw plasma within a nearby star — what's most likely to happen when that much material is released from high-pressure containment? Not only that, how about the planets of that system? With its star suddenly moved tens of millions of kilometers, the gravitational consequences for the system would be enormous.
  • The stormtrooper Rey mind tricks into letting freeing her from prison is played by Daniel Craig and nicknamed JB-007. James Bond always did have a problem letting beautiful young women get him into trouble.
  • Finn is visibly not Rey's long-lost brother. Since Rey is shaping up to be a lot like Luke, and neither Rey nor Finn know their parents, the audience might have worried about Squick. The writers sidestepped the problem with the casting. Finn is definitely not Poe's brother, either. Ship away.
  • Kylo Ren resents his father (and by extension, his whole family) because Han Solo is a legend, beloved by the Republic for liberating the Galaxy. But Han wasn't a legend. He was a man. Ben could not reconcile the flawed man his father was with the legend. So what does he do? He idolises Darth Vader, a man he never met and doesn't understand. His mental image of Vader being the mythic figure he is can never be tainted by reality.
  • Some insight into how Kylo Ren was corrupted by Snoke can be taken from how Snoke treats him. Snoke talks to Kylo Ren very much like an overindulgent parent. He corrects, but mostly gives advice with a strong dose of ego-stroking and gives Ren nearly free reign over everything. A teenager feeling abandoned by his parents for shipping him off to be trained rather than trying to understand his turmoil would easily fall victim to such an influence. It also explains Kylo Ren's Manchild attitude, despite being around 30, and illustrates the way in which Snoke keeps Ren complacent with his incomplete training and continually doing what he is told rather than exploring his power further and potentially overthrowing Snoke.
  • The Prequels' portrayal of the Jedi taking children at a very young age to train, giving them minimal familial contact, and forbidding love and families to Jedi has long been a point of criticism fans have leveled at the Jedi. Many would call it questionable, and some even evil, with the case of Anakin cited for why it was a poor system. Kylo Ren presents a case for exactly what the Jedi were probably concerned about, and the dangers that familial attachments and legacies could pose to someone training to use the Force.
  • The Resistance actually lost. Yes, they found the map to Luke and destroyed Starkiller Base, but look at the cost. They lost half of their X-Wing fleet, and more importantly, Starkiller Base destroyed the (current) seat of the Republic. The Republic which secretly funds the Resistance. And, supplemental materials say that post-''RotJ'', the Republic disbanded most of its navy, favoring individual planetary defenses but still keeping a navy at the capital. We can see ships getting destroyed by the Starkiller attack. So the Republic, which controls most of the galaxy, just lost almost every senator, its fleet, and is likely in chaos. Now look at the First Order. It lost TIE fighters and Starkiller Base. A big loss, yes. But its leadership got away and it didn't lose any capital ships. They even had time to evacuate the base. The First Order might have just gotten a big advantage in the war. This seems to be further implied by Supreme Leader Snoke's relative lack of urgency while being told about the eventual destruction of the presumably costly installation; he clearly didn't seem to mind losing it, focusing on preserving the assets that are his soldiers' lives. On the other hand, the First Order has just proven that it's a real threat, so while they've seized the initiative, they've also just pissed off the Republic, and the capital ships and fighters were probably mothballed, rather than scrapped.
  • Finn probably doesn't have sexist views on women seeing as how his commander is a woman. Presumably, many women work in the First Order. Rey, meanwhile, had to survive on a desert planet with several unsavory people. She's probably experienced her fair share of misogyny. So, when Finn tries to take her hand as they run, she probably found it sexist, while he just wanted to help someone in need, explaining why she got so angry and why he kept on doing it. Finn was also trained from birth to work in tandem with other people as a team, while Rey has always lived a solitary life. He'd be used to people unquestionably trusting him when he needs to yank them around, while she's only ever been pulled places by people who wanted to use her for something.
  • Kylo Ren's helmet:
    • He's not relying on it for life support like Darth Vader, and when he takes it off we see that he's not horribly scarred, so he's not using it to hide any injuries or ugliness. He's just an ordinary guy. He doesn't look or sound very scary, and he knows it, so he wears the helmet to make himself scary.
    • Another possible reason may be that he's bad at hiding his emotions without it. When he's unmasked, his face practically spells out what he's thinking/feeling — curiosity with Rey, Oh, Crap! when Hux berates him, sadness with his father, anger with Finn, etc. That's the sort of thing that undermines your respectability when you're trying to be terrifying, so naturally he'd want to cover it up.
  • Finn's inability to read Han's facial tics is a side effect of his stormtrooper training. They're expected to wear their helmets at all times, so if they need to signal each other they'd have to rely on hand gestures.
  • Why was Poe able to fly a TIE so well despite having never gotten in one before? Poe could easily have logged dozens of hours in simulated TIEs as the OpForce in various simulation exercises. It's entirely possible the Republic flies a mixed fleet of X-Wings and TIE fighters, as a lot were probably seized when the Empire fell. And the reason he had such trouble with the launch sequence? Nobody bothered programming TIE launch procedures into the simulator, as the point of said exercises was combat training, not takeoff and landing practice. And even if there were such procedures, they almost certainly didn't involve something that would presumably be done by a ground crew.
  • Kylo Ren probably didn't want to kill Rey. Snoke said he wanted her brought to him, so he may have been holding back in their duel in addition to his wounds. Also of note is that he doesn't seem to tell Snoke Rey's escaped, and is probably trying to find her before he finds out.
  • Kylo Ren idolises Vader and wishes to emulate him without knowing what Anakin was like. In A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Luke idolises Anakin and wants to emulate him without knowing that he is actually Vader. Nephew and Uncle are Not So Different.
  • On Jakku, Rey is shown putting on a Rebel Alliance helmet that she apparently just keeps around the place. The name on the side reads (in the official GFFA alphabet) R&A Elig;H. This opens up a lot of possibilities. Did a Rebel couple settle on Jakku and then leave their little girl behind with some of their stuff (voluntarily or involuntarily)? Or is Rey even her name? Did she used to run around wearing that thing, and so the locals started calling her Rey? Could her name be something else entirely?
  • When the subtitle for the movie was first announced, many people were critical. What does this mean, the Force awakens? When was the Force not awake? Then when people saw the movie, they realized that it was the Force doing the awakening: the Force awakens Rey.
  • Kylo and Ben:
    • Kylo pulling a That Man Is Dead regarding Ben Solo gives some legitimacy to Obi-Wan's questionable actions of first claiming that Darth Vader killed Anakin Skywalker and later saying that it's true "from a certain point of view". Perhaps that's what falling to the Dark Side is all about. You "kill" your past self and take a new name, even if it's not necessarily a "Darth" title. If that concept is simply the way things work from the perspective of traditionally-trained Force users, it may never even have occurred to Obi-Wan that the "Vader killed Anakin" story could be construed as a lie.
    • Along with this is Obi-Wan's comment that the Force both "controls one's actions" and also "obeys one's commands", so basically it gives you back what you put into it. It seems to be what is meant by falling to the Dark Side, and Yoda's steps of doing so. The more negative emotion that you have and put out into the Force, the more it connects you to the Dark Side, which feeds those emotions back to you and amplifies them. That is why one "falls" to the Dark Side, they are so immersed in the Dark Side that it takes a notable effort of will or positive emotion to overcome all the negativity. The amplification of negative emotions and personality traits could also, essentially, create an alternate personality to the point of essentially being a new person, just with the same experience and memories.
  • It's remarked on that Kylo Ren has so far avoided the Evil Makes You Ugly trope — the novel describes him as looking much like anyone else but for unusually intense eyes, and plenty of viewers have found him attractive. However, Rey has landed one large and nasty facial wound on him already. It's possible that he's going to end up looking far more monstrous on the outside as his arc goes on.
  • Kylo Ren kills Han, his father, to sever his ties to the Light Side. However, this seems to have the opposite effect, with the murder making Ren even more unstable. In other words, once he was struck down, he became more powerful than Ren could possibly imagine.
  • Kylo seems to have had much more complicated feelings about his father than he did his mother. But this makes sense. Kylo told Rey that as a father-figure Han would "only disappoint you". What has been going on for years now? Well, Leia has been the leader of the Resistance and a major thorn in the First Order's side. Personal issues aside, Kylo can regard her as a Worthy Opponent, whom he must defeat (and ideally kill) in order to advance the goals of the First Order. But Han ran away and became a smuggler again. If he hates Leia for any reason at all, he can at least hate for being the leader of his enemies. With Han he has to work to find it within himself to hate his father. Han hasn't been standing in the First Order's way all these years. Darth Vader is Kylo's hero. Leia is his adversary. What is Han, other than the broken-hearted father who is neither the terrifying Sith Lord the galaxy feared nor the heroic leader that those Kylo seeks to crush look to for guidance. Han is, in Kylo's eyes, not a legend, just a man. Which makes it harder for him to make an icon out of him to respect or despise.
  • The real reason Rey was able to mind trick the Stormtrooper is not because she's "just that good" — while Rey is undeniably very strong with the Force and likely has been using it subconsciously to survive since she was a child, it is not the reason she was able to succeed with the mind trick so quickly. Jedi mind tricks only work on the weak-minded, and who is more weak-minded than someone who has been brainwashed, programmed, and reprogrammed since they were a small child? In making their soldiers singlemindedly loyal, the First Order inadvertently made them easy pickings for mind tricks. Rey tried the mind trick on someone extremely susceptible to mind control/mental suggestion, which is why she was able to use it effectively so quickly. Both the Empire and the First Order likely considered that a feature rather than a bug. Neither has had to contend with significant numbers of Jedi adversaries, but both have been run by users of the Dark Side. Being able to use the Force to amplify orders into mental commands has probably been useful to people like Palpatine, Vader, Snoke and Kylo Ren. The last never expected Rey to attempt the Jedi Mind Trick, otherwise he would have assigned an interrogation droid to guard her, or else just made her stormtrooper guard stand outside the cell.
    • Such conditioning would also explain why Kylo Ren clearly sensed on Jakku that the stormtrooper FN-2187's loyalty was wavering... and didn't bother to do or say anything about it. This would hardly be the first time he's ever noticed such a wavering, and before now, nothing more ever developed from such flickers of disloyalty. Up to now, any time a stormtrooper started doubting the righteousness of his cause, Phasma would immediately ship him off to "reconditioning" (presumably a part of the brainwashing these stormtroopers undergo from childhood) and his loyalty would quickly be reinforced. Moreover, while Phasma ordered FN-2187 to reconditioning, she never actually bothered to make sure that was where he went, and why would she? Every time this happened before, the straying stormtrooper in question never had anywhere else to go. If it hadn't occurred to the one who'd come to be known as Finn that the high-profile prisoner he'd just seen his bosses bring aboard was an excellent pilot and that he might be able to escape the First Order if he sprang that prisoner, he might have ended up no better off than any of the other straying stormtroopers before him.
  • The comparative smoothness of Finn and Poe's escape from the Finalizer as compared to the messy breakout of Leia on the Death Star in Episode IV. Han, Luke and Chewie had their clumsy attempt at infiltrating the cell block where Leia was being held thwarted by an Imperial officer who insisted on verifying their improvised excuse for being there. But they knew nothing about the Imperial organizational structure. Finn, an actual stormtrooper stationed on the Finalizer, is quite familiar with the kind of Bad Boss Kylo Ren is and how nobody of lower rank than General Hux would be insane enough to question one of his alleged orders or demand that Kylo submit any kind of formal request for a prisoner transfer if he wanted one brought to him. That's why, with just a little judicious name-dropping, Finn is able to walk off with a high-value POW with nobody questioning him.
    • Fridge Brilliance to this Fridge Brilliance: he's also seen firsthand that, if they believe an order to come from Kylo Ren, other troopers are not surprised by it showing no regard to proper procedure and to be opaque in its reasoning or even downright weird. Kylo's that sort of boss.
  • At first glance, the wings on Kylo's shuttle seem of kind silly, folding up when the ship needs to land, despite them not being in the way even when in flight mode (unlike the Lambda-class shuttles from the Original Trilogy). Then it occurred to me that when the wings fold up, it makes the shuttle look like a bird of prey, raising its wings as it lands on its victim. It's impractical, sure, but it certainly wins points for intimidation, which is probably exactly what the First Order is going for.
    • It also takes up a lot less room on a landing field or docking bay in its folded configuration, which happens to be the most common use for folding wings in Real Life aircraft.
  • Rey being able to pull off a Psychic Block Defense on Kylo Ren seems implausible, until you realize that that is not what she actually did. Kylo, who quite literally worships his grandfather, very likely views the galaxy from a "What Would Vader Do?" perspective. As he struggles to extract what he wants from Rey's mind, his insecurity about living up to Vader's legacy is at the forefront of his mind. It's probably the first thought that Rey actually reads, and when she remarks about it out loud, Kylo has an Oh, Crap! moment and is so flustered that he freaks out and runs off to seek guidance from Snoke — even forgetting to put his helmet back on! She Dun Möched him!
  • Nines being able to take on someone wielding a lightsaber makes a bit more sense when you think about it. He knows Finn perfectly well, since they trained in the same unit together. Furthermore, Nines clearly knows how to use that stun baton, normally using it as riot gear. While Finn no doubt received the same training, he has no idea how to properly use a lightsaber (he doesn't even recognize it as a weapon) — in fact, non-Force-sensitives can't wield them in the first place without serious training. Add in a dash of Villainous Breakdown by way of TRAITOR!!, and you have the recipe for one of the most awesome curb-stompings in all of film.
  • Finn's initial reluctance to join with the Resistance and desire to run away from the First Order makes sense when one recognizes that Finn has been raised by the First Order a young age. He's no doubt had "THE FIRST ORDER IS INVINCIBLE!" hammered into him his whole life and thus thinks that there's nothing he can do but get away from them. Not to mention he's probably got a good idea of what Starkiller Base is capable of, so he doesn't want to be anywhere near what might be a prospective target for them.
  • After the raid on the village, Finn is the only Stormtrooper who's armour is obviously dirty from the battle. He's the only one of them to see how evil the First Order is.
  • According to Aftermath, Ben Solo was born right around nine months after the Battle of Endor. I guess we know how Han and Leia celebrated the fall of the Empire.
    • Becomes Fridge Horror when you realize that it's entirely possible Ben Solo was conceived the night that Darth Vader died.
  • Of course, since Finn and Rey were getting along pretty well by the end of the film, a fair number of fans who've been shipping them were rather disappointed by Rian Johnson's stating that he's not planning any romantic arcs in the next movie. Considering that the next movie picks up right where this one left off, though, it makes sense that Finn and Rey should remain Just Friends for now: they've only just met! They've known each other for all of, what, two days? The Time Skip between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back was a lot longer, with plenty of time for the Love Triangle between Luke and Leia and Han Solo to develop. Finn in particular has only barely gotten started on making friends, let alone getting to know anyone well enough to start having any romances.
  • Why did Chewbacca seemingly dislike Finn for most of the movie? It's some kind like Evil-Detecting Dog, he knew that Finn was a bad guy... or rather, working for the bad guys as a Stormtrooper. Even Han correctly deduced that Finn wasn't a Resistance soldier, though he didn't know that Finn was working for the enemy before.
    • Finn also called him "that thing" when they first met. Like Han said, "*that thing* can understand you, so watch it." Who else assumed Chewbacca wasn't sapient enough and called him "that thing"? The Imperial Officer at the cell block on the first Death Star. Degradation of non humans was a big Imperial thing. Even if he doesn't catch on to that, he's still probably going to take it personally.
  • Chewbacca is more concerned with injured Finn instead of hugging Leia and mourning for Han's death actually makes sense. Chewbacca is a soldier, so he's conditioned to prioritize injured ally first. There'll be another time to mourn for a dead friend. Leia had similar sentiment in A New Hope where she outright said there's no time to mourn for her dead family and planet while there's a giant space station intended to destroy their military base.
    • On the other hand, Rey isn't a soldier and thus she's more emotional than either Chewbacca or Leia. So, after ensuring that Finn got medical attention, of course Rey felt the need to comfort herself over everything she went through in the movie. That's why she hugged Leia, Han's widow and the only person who approached and welcomed her personally.
  • Han Solo offered Rey a job very soon after meeting her. Well, it's not just because he took a quick shine to her. He implies he lost a bunch of employees to the Rathtars, so he was likely looking for new hands on deck anyway. Rey happened to be just what he was looking for. That, and Han's old and probably quite aware of his mortality. He likely doesn't want to leave Chewie and the Falcon alone.
  • The film (intentionally or not) continues the original trilogy's habit of giving its characters Meaningful Names. For example, in some languages, 'Ben' means 'son', making Ben Solo 'the son of Solo'. Another provides a tease to Rey being a Skywalker - 'Luke' means 'light', and 'Reys' (or 'rays') transmit light.
  • Similar to Vader being Dutch for Father, Kylo Ren’s past is subtly there in his name. The KY comes from Skywalker and LO comes from his surname, Solo.
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    Fridge Horror 
  • The nightmare sequence. There is a brief shot of what appears to be a Jedi training ground, full of corpses, with Kylo Ren standing in the center. Ren probably knew what his grandfather did at Coruscant and tried to emulate him.
  • It's more than likely that Poe Dameron, whose parents were very good friends with Luke, Leia, and Han, and who is only slightly older than Kylo Ren, knew him as Ben Solo, and they were probably friends as children. Now re-watch that torture scene again. Poe could've also believed that the Knights of Ren killed his boyhood friend, the son of his lifelong hero. And From a Certain Point of View… he'd be right.
  • Any attempts to depict Anakin's lightsaber as a reminder of Anakin's better side will be stymied by remembering that there is the blood of Jedi younglings (figuratively) on its blade.
  • Remember how Obi-Wan felt when Alderaan was destroyed? How Yoda felt during Order 66? Imagine how Luke felt when Starkiller Base fired.
  • In addition to above, Luke most likely felt Kylo Ren killing Han Solo through the Force as well, given that Leia can also felt it despite being on different planets. It's especially painful for Luke because remember that back in The Empire Strikes Back, Luke foresaw Han's destiny through the Force when training under Yoda and, fearing for his friend's life, abandoned his training to go rescue Han Solo, eventually failing, but at least he tried, and he and Leia eventually got the chance to free Han from carbonite in the next movie. Fast forward thirty years later, Luke is in the same situation once again, but this time he is powerless to do anything, and unlike the first time, Han Solo is gone for real.
  • Another addition, if Luke felt Kylo Ren killing Han Solo and the destruction caused by Starkiller Base through the Force, then he has yet another thing to blame himself over. Luke not only has to live with the knowledge that his pupil was responsible for the deaths of his other students, but now also that Ben Solo killed his brother-in-law and committed mass genocide. Hell, he could have been a step away from getting over his self pity and jumping in a ship to go help fight the First Order only to get smacked back down by these events that he inevitably will start questioning whether or not he COULD have done something to stop if he hadn't been wallowing in self pity halfway across the galaxy this whole time and thus retreat even further into his shell than he did before.
  • To make matters worse, his remaining in exile during these events amounts to his practicing what he learned from Yoda: that he shouldn't allow others to manipulate him through personal attachments to his friends and lure him into a trap. Considering that Vader tortured Luke's friends in part just to give him the premonitions that would lure him to Bespin in an attempt to rescue them, it's likely Snoke (who's been around long enough to have witnessed all of these events) was trying the exact same thing to lure Luke out of his hiding place when ordering Hux to fire up their latest planet-killing super-weapon, and when challenging Kylo Ren to face his father. The worst part of all? Luke had finally learned Yoda's lesson (that sometimes you have to sacrifice those nearest and dearest to you if you want their cause to prevail) just in time for it to be completely and hopelessly wrong. Had he gone "brashly" charging off to save his nearest and dearest friends the way he did the last time he got such terrible premonitions, he might have prevented billions of deaths and assured the New Republic's ongoing political stability. Talk about survivor's guilt!
  • Rey's vintage Rebel Alliance pilot's helmet? However it came into her possession, it likely came off of a corpse somewhere, given the general state of Jakku.
  • The Light Side of the Force got very lucky in the end. If not for Starkiller Base's damage causing that fissure to open, Rey may have killed Ren. Look at her actions once off Jakku: she shoots with anger, and when Han dies, she's furious and sad. She's striking at Kylo Ren with a lot of rage and doesn't immediately deactivate the lightsaber once he is defeated and looks like she is thinking about killing him, even after the chasm opens between them. Remember how Palpatine told Luke to give into his hatred and kill him, and come to the Dark Side? Rey almost did just that. And she may not have stopped by choice.
  • Finn's trooper friend who leaves the bloody handprint on his helmet and first gets him to crack his training? He was killed by Poe, his next best buddy. Does Finn know this? Will he have a problem with it?
  • The realization that this is the second time that Leia has lost virtually everyone she loves or even knows in the opening film of a Star Wars trilogy.
  • You know how in A New Hope, Obi-Wan told Luke that Darth Vader "betrayed and murdered your father", before it's explained in Return of the Jedi that "what [he] said was true, from a certain point of view"? Here, Kylo Ren literally does that as he kills Han Solo; he tricks him into thinking he wants to reconcile before stabbing him. Kylo also invokes this when he refuses to address Han Solo as "father", even when first sensing him, and tells him, "Your son is dead. He was weak and foolish, like his father, so I destroyed him."
  • Kylo Ren's disturbing line that he can "take whatever he wants" at the beginning of his interrogation of Rey may well have been an atttempt to be kind. The way he says it sounds like he is trying to talk her into just telling him so that he doesn't have to torture her and prove his claim. It illustrates Kylo Ren's conflict that he has some compassion, but that compassion gets twisted by his immersion in the Dark Side.
  • Rey's first reaction to Kylo trying to probe her mind is not determination, like Poe, but tearful and terrified resignation. It could be her inexperience with being attacked through the Force combined with her understandable fear of Ren (whom she had first seen in the traumatic Force vision) but it does raise some implications about what may have happened to her growing up on Jakku.
  • Chewie is angry, Finn is shocked, but Rey is in visible anguish at Han's death to the point where after Chewie and Finn's reactions stop she's still pained. She just started using her abilities, she felt his death through the Force as well as saw it. Leia could feel it light-years away, Rey was only a few stories up from it. It probably felt like her soul tearing apart. Ren himself mentioned that Rey was already looking to Han as a surrogate father. Feeling his death in the Force or not, she's only recently consciously accepted that her real parents are never coming back for her, and only very recently relived the moment that they left her life forever. And now she's being abandoned with finality yet again.
  • Maz's collection of trinkets:
    • Luke's lightsaber (and before that: Anakin/Vader's) was dropped down a shaft that was shown to dump anything and everything into Bespin's atmosphere. Han was suitably shocked to see it in Maz's basement, since he probably heard about the event from Luke or Leia, because the lightsaber shouldn't exist any more.
    • She has a giant collection of artifacts in her basement that she's been collecting for what could be over a thousand years, one of which just happens to be the lightsaber that Luke lost in Cloud City. How many other "tales for another time" does she have stashed away in there? It gives her "Those beasts!" line more weight: the First Order is destroying a thousand years of history by destroying her castle.
  • If Anakin's spirit is watching, you'd imagine he'd be horrified to find his grandson loving him for the terrible things he'd done when he was Vader. That call to the light Ren's feeling? It could just be Anakin screaming "stop, you idiot!"
  • The destruction of Alderaan (with Leia herself forced to watch) must have cast a horrible shadow over her later life, even in the happy time after her seeming success — and then what does her own son do? He makes himself complicit in the perpetration of an equivalent planetwide massacre times five, with the whole galaxy forced to watch. Imagine losing your family and society to an atrocity on that scale, then having your own child wholeheartedly embrace the philosophies that allowed such a thing to take place.
  • Kylo Ren is the frequent butt of jokes about his whiny, emo mentality and temper tantrums. The humor in this tends to fade when you consider that the First Order has multiple similarities to today's terrorist groups (think ISIS or Al-Qaeda). Kylo Ren is basically the leader of a terrorist cell, with access to, not just guns, but an army... And force powers... And an evil mentor... And a multi-planet-destroying superweapon that fires through hyperspace...
  • Kylo Ren got his start by murdering his own classmates en masse in their place of study. It's probably meant to mirror Anakin's murder of his fellow Jedi, including younglings. However, realizing that Ben could have been no more than 16 at the time makes it significantly more disturbing.
    • Bloodline establishes that he was 23 when it happened.
  • Kylo Ren intended Finn to have a painful, slow death in revenge for betraying the First Order, causing so much trouble, and wounding his shoulder. After Finn is disarmed, Ren is well within range of a killing blow. Instead he hits Finn and rakes the lightsaber up his back. Fatal injuries if untreated, but not instantly lethal.
  • It's frequently mentioned that Kylo Ren resembles the younger, less secure Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader via his Hair-Trigger Temper and moody behavior. However, as whiny as young Anakin was, he got a lot more competent and scary after he had his first fight with Obi-Wan and cemented his place on the Dark Side. If Kylo Ren follows the same pattern, he will have Taken A Level In Bad Ass and become a true nightmare for the heroes the next time we see him.
  • Starkiller Base is a planet sized weapon that shoots huge amounts of energy from one side of the galaxy to a planet that's on the other side. These things exist in real life.
  • Kylo Ren's achieved Memetic Loser status in the fandom, but it's worth noting that he's far from incompetent. He's repeatedly shown as smart, a capable commander, and an effective agent of the First Order. His flaw is his instability. Darth Vader could be a Bad Boss, but he had a pattern, so much so that some underlings stepped up to be killed by him to spare others, since they knew what he'd do. Vader was also more subservient to his boss and the chain of command. Kylo Ren is so unstable that anything could set him off. He's unpredictable and terrifyingly dangerous because of that. Kylo Ren's minions (with the exception of General Hux and Captain Phasma) are flat out terrified of him. Kylo Ren is The Dreaded to his own faction.
  • Leia comforted Rey at the end when she arrived at the Resistance base. But what if Rey had succeeded in killing Kylo Ren? She was trying very hard to do just that, and had it not been for an earthquake seperating them, she might have. And one must suspect that the two of them will fight at least one more time, and Rey may yet kill him in the end. For all the horrible things that Kylo Ren has done, how is Leia going to feel about Rey afterwards?
  • Everyone has focused on Rey's parents — but what about Finn's parents? The brief glimpse of him as a child in his file shows him to be no more than five years old. Are his parents still alive and looking for their child; or did the First Order kill them and take him?
    • Or did they give him up of their own free will because they believed in the cause for which he was being trained?
  • Several times in the movie, Kylo attempting to be kind or fighting off the temptation of the Light Side come off as creepy and unsettling; this could be due to Snoke, as a result of the time spent at his side as an apprentice and the hint of conditioning/brainwashing by Snoke.
  • By the end of the film it's possible that Kylo Ren is becoming more Vader-like. In his last engagement he's wounded and clearly in pain from injuries to the gut and shoulder — places that in Real Life would lead to long-lasting problems and discomfort and possibly never be quite right again- and channeling the pain into what even for him is frantic aggression. It's been said by Word of God that Vader's ventilator and other artificial organs, though imposing, gave him constant pain to live with, which did nothing for his temper. Now Kylo Ren had enough anger management problems in full health...
  • Rey has received accusations of being a Mary Sue, with one of the reasons being that when she fights Kylo Ren with the Skywalker Lightsaber, she defeats him, thus making it look like as if she's really good at lightsaber dueling despite having never picked one up before. However, consider the following:
    • As has already been noted above, Rey grew up on a barren Crapsack World of a desert planet, where she has had to defend herself. She has demonstrated pretty high skill in hand-to-hand combat using a quarterstaff, and as a scavenger, would have to have intimate knowledge of ships and how they work to know what's valuable and what isn't. Also, she used to sneak into ships (such as the Falcon) at night and fiddle around with the controls, according to the novelization.
    • If you observe carefully, Rey didn't have a structured fighting style. It basically consists of hacking and slashing, rather than a specific complex style of fighting that we've seen characters such as Mace Windu, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Yoda use.
    • This is not unlike how Luke won against Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, where he basically won after he started hacking and slashing, rather than use a specific form. This is portrayed as Luke's brush with the Dark Side, as he used the anger he felt after Vader threatened to turn his sister to the Dark Side, and he only stopped after cutting off Vader's mechanical arm.
    • In the climax of The Force Awakens, Kylo has already killed Han and severely wounded Finn, thus pissing off Rey more than Darth Vader pissed off Luke in the climax of Return of the Jedi.
    • Don't forget Kylo took a Bowcaster shot to the chest. So Finn and Rey were basically fighting the heavy weight champion of the world moments after he was hit by a truck.
    • Add all of this together, and you have a reason as for why Rey beat Kylo — She was using the Dark Side of the Force. She harnessed her anger and hate in that moments, and curb stomped Kylo as a result of that. And considering the wounds she gave Kylo, it's safe to say that she would've killed him had a chasm not formed and split the ground between the two. She was literally seconds away from turning to the Dark Side and undergoing a Face–Heel Turn.
  • Rey might think it's her fault Han got killed. If she didn't get captured, or heck, even have BB-8 show them the map, Han and Finn would never have come to rescue her and the confrontation between Ben and Han wouldn't have happened. Imagine living with the guilt that the death of one of the galaxy's greatest heroes is on your hands. That happy exterior Rey has when her and Chewie are taking off at the end? For all we know, that could be a façade.
  • Nobody seems to have given much thought until now to the implications of Chewie's shooting Kylo Ren. Consider this: Growing up, Chewbacca was most likely the closest thing Ben Solo had to a paternal uncle. Given Luke's responsibilities as the last Jedi, Ben was almost certainly closer to Chewie than to anybody else barring his parents. And the first thing that happens once Ren kills Han and completes his turn to the Dark Side is that Chewie shoots to kill. That pounding on his side during the forest fight may have been Kylo's way of tapping into the Dark Side by reminding himself: This is what love gets you.
  • Related to the above: the Dark Side has certainly learned from the conversion of Darth Vader, compelling Kylo Ren explicitly to try to destroy his family and in doing so alienate anyone left alive even further. The whole point is that he does have the capacity to love but must never have the opportunity to do so again.
  • It actually makes the scene with Han not only more tearjerking but more disturbing if one takes Ren's tears and words about being 'torn' as honest: he really does love his dad — certainly he knows he does when his dad is there in front of him- and he goes through with the premeditated murder anyway because he's too deeply conditioned into believing that this feeling is wrong. Being sincerely loved by Ben Solo will not protect you from Kylo Ren, if it's expedient for you to suffer and die. Hell, being sincerely loved by Ben Solo is a motive for Kylo Ren to murder you.

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