This week sees the premiere of one of the most highly anticipated movies of all time! Well, in our household at least. We don’t have advent calendars counting down to Christmas, we have the kids crossing off the days until THE FORCE AWAKENS! My boys (big and small) have been counting down to this event for about 365 days now. A brand spanking new STAR WARS movie is being released this Thursday and we can barely sleep from all the excitement!
I never belonged to either side -Dark or Light- until I met my husband. I’m pretty sure he based our compatibility on whether or not I felt an affinity with the force. He made sit and watch the 3 movies (that’s all that had been made when we met) back to back and waited to see my reaction. Luckily for both of us- I saw what all the fuss was about. It’s not just some sic-fi geek movie about light sabers and wookies. It’s a movie with strong characters that evolve from episode to episode. It’s about the struggle to stay away from the dark side. To be able to control the force and use it for good and not evil. There’s a love story, a betrayal and the ultimate sacrifice.
Now I know there are a whole bunch of mums, and perhaps dads out there that may be about to go and see The Force Awakens this week with hardly any background knowledge on who’s who and what’s what.
So we’ve compiled a list of the basics to see you through Episode VII without looking like a complete Jar Jar Binks. If that sentence means nothing to you then you DEFINITELY need to read on…
1. There are three original movies which came out before the three prequel movies.
The original movies are:
Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983)
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
Episode VII: The Force awakens (2015)
There are 2 more to come:
Episode VIII (2017)
Episode IX (2019)
The first Star Wars (later subtitled A New Hope) made its debut in 1977. Two sequels followed: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983). Those three movies, which followed protagonists Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford), are also referred to as Episodes IV, V and VI, respectively. Then, there was a 16-year gap before the next Star Wars film, The Phantom Menace (1999), the first of three prequels. Two more films (both depicting events before A New Hope) followed: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Revenge of the Sith (2005). The prequels are Episodes I, II and III, and they focus on Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd and then Hayden Christensen), Padme Amadala (Natalie Portman), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, who’s also in the original films played by Alec Guinness) and Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson). The originals are generally held in a higher regard than the prequels by the fans, partially because of the prequels’ denser plots, heavy CGI and fewer practical effects. Chronologically, The Force Awakens is Episode VII, and is set about 30 years after Return of the Jedi. – USA TODAY
2. Luke and Leia, in the original films, are the children of Padme and Anakin, from the prequels. They are twins. They are siblings. This is awkward.
Leia, who’s a princess when we meet her in A New Hope, is related to Luke, who works on a farm with his aunt and uncle at the start of the movie. The characters don’t find out until Return of the Jedi that they are actually long-lost twins who were adopted by different families. This is a very surprising revelation, considering Luke crushed on Leia when he first saw her, and Leia planted a kiss on Luke’s lips in The Empire Strikes Back (though it was mostly to make Han Solo jealous). Their parents are Padme, a queen and senator who died (of something like a broken heart) after giving birth to them, and Anakin, who abandoned them, because he turned to the Dark Side. – USA Today
3. Anakin becomes Darth Vader.
Darth Vader is the bad guy in the original movies — the killer in the black mask who breathes loudly. He used to look like the blond-haired Christensen and was a Jedi, which is a good knight who uses the metaphysical power of the Force to guard justice in the galaxy, but eventually he turned to the Dark Side. Before doing that, Anakin married and had babies with Padme, whom he met when he was only a child in The Phantom Menace. (Don’t worry: They didn’t fall in love until he was legal.) In the original movies, the full-on baddie Darth Vader eventually tells Luke, in a battle in Empire Strikes Back, that he is Luke’s father. (If you know one thing, you probably know this.) In the same fight, Luke’s right hand gets chopped off by a lightsaber (those laser swords). Eventually, Luke gets a fantastic prosthetic hand and has a rematch with Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi, where Vader redeems himself by saving Luke from the even more evil Emperor, and then dies shortly after. – USA TODAY
4. Leia loves Han. He knows.
After being too shy to admit their love for one another, Leia does eventually tell the “scoundrel” (as she calls him) Han that she loves him, before he gets frozen in carbonite in Empire Strikes Back. His memorable response? “I know.” Leia gets to say the “I know” line back to Han in Return of the Jedi. – USA Today
5. Jar Jar Binks: Most Annoying character ever!
OK, now back to the prequel films: We encounter the good-hearted, amphibious Jar Jar Binks, a Gungan, in The Phantom Menace. People actively dislike this guy. Though apparently meant to be a funny sidekick, Jar Jar Binks is more often perceived as the worst character of the franchise, whose clumsiness gets him and his crew (Padme and Jedis Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn) into trouble. Jar Jar is naive, sounds Jamaican, has a unique dialect (saying “Meesa” instead of “I”) and is the subject of conspiracy theories. Fans saw less of the CGI character in subsequent films. – USA Today
6. ‘May the Force be with you.’
This is a Star Wars phrase often used as a way to say “goodbye and good luck.” On fan holiday Star Wars Day, which takes place on May 4, Jedi faithful say “May the 4th be with you.” Get it?
7. When people purposefully sound dyslexic, they are likely quoting Yoda.
Have you heard people say things like, “Patience you must have, my young Padawan,” or “Powerful you have become”? Those are Yoda quotes. (By the way, “Padawan” basically means a Jedi-in-training.) The wise Yoda, though elderly and small, is one of the most powerful Jedi masters in the universe. He appears in both prequel and original Star Wars films (he’s hundreds of years old), most notably teaching Luke, the franchise hero, how to harness the Force. – USA Today
Photos courtesy of USA Today