11 January 2016

FWS Rant: What I Hated from Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens (!SPOILERS!)

For the most part (about 2/3rds) The Force Awakens was the Star Wars we fans had been waiting for since 1983...but there was 1/3rd I was unhappy with and one thing specifically that really bothered me and pissed me off. I was asked repeatedly in person and in emails that I address this...so if you have not seen The Force Awakens...then turn back now.

Okay then...the thing that really pissed me off about The Force Awakens was the First Order's Starkiller Base. Here is my breakdown of why it pissed me off and why it was the worst element in the film.

1. Star Wars VII: Too Many Plot Points in the Kitchen

According to the opening crawl of the 7th Star Wars film, the main plot point seems to be about the disappearance of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. And for the first few minutes it was...until the film remembered that it needed to follow in the footsteps of the Star Wars IV: ANH. That underlie mission meant that the new empire had to have an big bad overkill space station that was a threat to the new rebellion and that space fighters were the only option to destroy this massive target. The Skywalker quest angle is tucked in here and there, but soon the Kylo Ren storyline and the Starkiller Base threat overshadows the main plot point. It is only in the last few minutes that we get back on the quest to find Skywalker. It seems that the film cannot decide which is the central storyline in the film, and instead shotguns the various plot points. This causes the Starkiller Base to be underwhelming and lacks the menace of the original Death Star. Could the writers have not created some better than the Starkiller Base?

2. Well...Damn, there goes the planet and the sun!
Unlike the Death Star in the original film, the Starkiller Base is completely undersold and half-baked in the film. It seems that all of a sudden the First Order has this solar system crushing weapon and then it uses it to wipe out the capital world of the New Republic. several other planets, and the bulk of their space fleet. But once again, the film fails to sell the idea of the Starkiller Base and there is a lack of basic storytelling here that dismisses the emotional investment of the audience. I felt nearly nothing for the lost planets of the New Republic, nor did I feel the threat of the Starkiller Base against the fighter base. Hell, I did not fully understand what really happened on-screen until I googled it after the film. If the damn thing was this powerful, why didn't the New Republic strike it before it was fully operational? And don't tell me that the New Republic did not know about the Starkiller Base...you cannot hide something of that size.

3. It is impressive...they can destroy whole planets! But not defend themselves from fighters?!
Here we go again, the space fighters wipe out the planet-sized space station to protect the rebel base. While the original Death Star was technologically beyond the level of technology seen on-screen, the Starkiller base is so beyond even that. This is when it comes to technological scale and The Force Awakens does a piss poor job of it. If the mighty First Order can construct solar system crushing weapon platform that can strike from lightyears away out of a fucking planet why cannot they defend themselves from some space fighters? Seriously?They can project a beam of mass destruction across lightyears, but somehow the Falcon gets under the radar? They can drain a star for energy, but the shields are controlled via an little control room that any Stormtrooper platoon leader can access? According to the Kardashev Scale, the First Order would be Level II civilization, but despite this technological ability, the base is poorly defended in all regards...makes you wonder. If the technological scaling was done correctly, those X-Wings would have swatted away like flies.

What Now? 
 So, if the First Order had been successful in destroy the Resistance base along with the entire planet and even the entire star system...what next? They had drained the nearby star to gas up the big raygun-of-death...does that mean that the Starkiller Base is out of gas? Or does that mean that the entire planet is moved to another star system to suck it dry like some sort of interstellar tick? That means that the Starkiller Base sucks worse than the Death Star and gets worse MPG than an Hummer! That also must mean that the First Order possess the technology to move entire planets! Move planets from star system to star system! That is amazing...but once again, they cannot defend themselves from some 30 year old X-Wings. Note to all villains and evil governments in the Star Wars galaxy: quit building space station mega-weapons! Also, what the hell would happen once the star was gone in the system where the base was? Would the Starkiller Base create black holes out of these exhausted stars? Would that not be dangerous?


  1. yeah this is nothing new for Star wars. Lets face Star wars and Common sense, these two things do not mix. As does star wars and sensible military tactics, these two do not mix.

    But you know what, this is star wars, and star wars bible says that Star fighters are the ultimate gods of warfare and nothing in the universe should ever dare to challenge their divine mastery of warfare, (Except other starfighters.) Lets face it, JJ Abrams decided that original trilogy Starfighters wherent OP enough, and that they needed to be even more overpowered than they have been in previous films, because as far as star wars is concerned, the starfighter is divine and everything else is nothing more than their fodder, and nothing shall ever rise to challenge the starfighters divine mastery of the stars.

    Yeah, im pretty annoyed with it too, but I'm not surprised the new film would portray starfighters as overpowered as they could possibly make them.

  2. That are only the worst points you mention. I searched the internet too after I saw the movie to understand what happened. I found out that Lucasart/Disney restarted the whole franchise and care a shit about old work like books, comics, games.

    Another point. The almighty Sith Lord can stop a blaster Bold but not an lightsaber swinging Stormtrooper? Why the hell had this special Tie Fighter two seats and a aft facing gun?

    Wy are the X-Wing pilots too stupid to fire their torpedos? I have not seen anyone using heavy weapons against this “critical Structure”. Where are the Y-Wing bomber?

    Lots of the scenes looked like remakes of old scenes, and not in the “homage” way but in the “I don´t want to use my brain” way instead of inventing an new remarkable scene for this movie.

    I would not be so harsh with the film if it was a good film for itself. The only real character was the Stormtrooper who breaks with the first order. He was the only one I cared a bit for. Everyone else were exchangeable.

    Back to the Superweapon. A single Imperial Star destroyer has the same power output than a small sun. When you can build such engines, why harvesting the energy from a real sun?

    I´m so in rage now that I am out of words now. May the force be with you, alwas.

  3. I agree with all the points you've made and the comments too. I can't believe how lazy they were to just make a bigger death star...how original :(

  4. There is an important lesson here for SF writers. Your story's universe needs to be self-consistent or people will rip it apart.

    I liked a lot of the individual scenes in the film, but I was very disappointed with the plot. It was unoriginal and riddled with plot holes. As pointed out in this blog, a lot of the story didn't make sense.


  5. I thought that the star killer core was the core of a planet that they hollowed out and after they fire their weapon they have to waight until the core recharges. Still dumb anyway. If Disney wants to make a sensible superweapon. Just have the first order recreate the sith numbers they had in the old republic (you know, when there were THOUSANDS of them)
    Also on your next post could you do one about organized crime.

  6. I found the lack of technological advancement in the new star wars film disappointing, I find it odd that they build a bigger version of the death star. The original death star could blow up planets, the new star killer base could blow up 3 or 4 planets at once....light years away, at the cost off killing a system, (draining the system's sun kills all habitable planets in the system) which if you want to blow up that many planets at once is handy, just seems pointless. It would make more sense, to me, if they put a star killing weapon on a bigger super star destroyer sized ship. Also, although great to see the x-wings and tie fighters on the big screen again, why no technological advancement, surely they'd have new craft after 30 years... With the re-imagining or rebooting of the star wars universe they missed an opportunity to create new iconic spacecraft, rather than reuse what has come before, including the plot.

  7. The Starkiller base defended itself just fine against X-wings. The attack, lead by Poe, *FAILED*. They flat out couldn't hurt the thing. While they were getting ready to jump out of the system, a *totally unrelated/lucky* event of Solo blowing up the guts of the station left it open to attack. This demolition was not planned, and had it not occurred, the mission would have been an absolute failure.

    This is in complete contrast to ANH. They *knew* where to hit it, and they knew *how* to hit it -- and it was that vulnerability which lead to it's destruction. An oversight in design lead to the Deathstar's demise. Starkiller base had no such flaws.

  8. About the destructive power of the base. If I remember right, the weapon turns planets only into molten junk, thats wat it looked on the screen. The Base Delta Zero operation achiefs something simlar, so the energy requirement should be equal. http://www.stardestroyer.net/ calculates the energy for this operation ( http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Tech/Beam/BaseDeltaZero.html ). The upper Limit is set to 1e27 Joule. Starkiller base melts six planets with one shot so it has around 6e27 Joule of power, maybe a bit more. For the destruction of Alderaan is an energy requirement of 1e38 Joule calculated. ( http://www.stardestroyer.net/Empire/Tech/Beam/Alderaan.htmln )
    Conclusion: When we look at the sheer firepower the Death Star is still superior. Starkiller base has only greater range.

  9. I mean, the movie overall is OK, and sure as hell a lot better than the disaster known as "THE PREQUELS", but still. JJ Abrams was probably going "Death star! Black helmeted guy! X-Wings! The Empire is back! Please please please love us again!" You can't really blame him for that.

  10. Recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying exploring it.

    I was more annoyed that the Republic seem to have spent the last 30 or so years doing absolutely nothing. Where were their capital ships? Why hadn't they taken over the Empire's shipyards?

    My friend suggested that they'd been too busy having committee meetings and focus groups... :-)

  11. I agree with some of this, I liked the movie overall but honestly I also got annoyed at a lot of things. Like why doesn't the power of the Republic crush The First Order? And like you said they just missed the whole giant starkiller base? Talk about a shitty government.

    And ill say it, Finn annoyed me. I know he's funny and cool and he can somehow become a Jedi in an hour but as a character he just felt very kiddish and dumbed down, but thats just me.

    1. Finn should have been written as an older stormtrooper who had seen and participated in one too many massacres rather than a rookie who just decides for no reason to reject a lifetime of conditioning to defect to the Resistance. That would have set up a stronger arc for him to play out over the course of the new trilogy.

  12. My biggest gripe about TFA is that the lead character is a complete Ma-Rey Sue. She's super nice and super competent and everyone just takes to her immediately. Nothing about her story feels "earned".

    I'm much more interested in Jyn Esso in "Rogue One". She has a much tougher road to walk: the Alliance doesn't like her. Her team-mates distrust her. She's flawed and imperfect and has something to prove.