Rules of the Force: During the stop-over on Takodana, Rey is drawn towards a collection of ancient artifacts in Maz Kanata’s pirate castle. Rey soon spots a lightsaber which, upon touching it, sparks off a string of visions depicting events from the past, present, and future. Rey sees Cloud City, Luke Skywalker, and R2-D2. There are glimpses of her family abandoning her on Jakku and an eventual confrontation with Kylo Ren. It’s the most vivid and wide-reaching Jedi vision yet and greatly expands the rule book in this regard.
Who has a bad feeling about this? Han Solo brings the old classic back with a bang during that scene aboard the Eravana. Realizing the two Rathtars have been set loose upon the feighter, Han utters the iconic line. He’s not wrong, either.
Galactic stop-offs: The Force Awakens begins on Rey’s home planet of Jakku, a frontier desert world home to an eclectic mix of thieves and other scavenger types. Previously mentioned in the pre-sequel novel Aftermath, this marked the planet’s first film appearance. Next is Takodana, home to pirate queen Maz Kanata. A scenic world bursting with greenery, the planet’s most striking feature is its ancient castle, which serves as a gathering place for the galaxy’s various smugglers and spies. There’s also D’Qar, another lushly green planet and base for General Leia Organa’s Resistance which featured in another of the spin-off novels, Lost Stars. The cosmopolitan world of Hosnian Prime, seat of the Republic, makes a first appearance alongside four other unnamed planets occupying the Hosnian system, though they aren’t around for long thanks to the Starkiller Base, the film’s giant Death Star-like weapon which masquerades as a snowy, wooded planet. Last but not least, there is a first glimpse of Ahch-To, the mainly water-based planet where Luke resides.
Who wins? It’s a big win for the Dark Side, despite a few casualties along the way. The First Order’s Starkiller Base succeeds in destroying the planetary system of Hosnian Prime, taking with it the New Republic’s capital and Senate, along with a hefty portion of its fleet. That’s a pretty major score. Kylo Ren also dispatches arguably one of the Resistance’s biggest assets in Han Solo, just as he was about to re-enter the fray.
They didn’t have it all their own way, of course. The Resistance did manage to destroy the Starkiller Base eventually. Their leader, Kylo Ren, also gets a bit of a kicking and comes away from the whole experience with a pretty major scar across his face, courtesy of Rey. There’s also the prospect of Luke Skywalker’s return to contend with, too. Even so, it’s a big win for the boys in black.
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