J.J. Abrams’ vision for a hybrid of the old and the new is reinforced throughout the bonus features for “The Force Awakens” Blu-ray combo pack. It’s both a retelling and expansion of the first trilogy, with Rey (Daisy Ridley) as the new Luke Skywaker (Mark Hamill) role, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as the new Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) as the new Darth Vader, only with different personalities and emotional dynamics that are more relatable today. In fact, we learn that Dameron was killed off early in the script and that Isaac objected because it was becoming a recurring pattern.
But when you get right down to it, “The Force Awakens” is about history repeating itself and bad parenting, which is underscored by Driver in the doc by Lauren Laurent Bouzereau, “Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey.”
“If you really imagine the stakes of him, in his youth,” explained Driver in assessing the transformation from Ben Solo to Kylo Ren, “having all these special powers and having your parents kind of be absent during that process on their own agendas, equally as selfish. He’s lost in the world that he was raised in, and feels that he was kind of abandoned by the people that he’s closest with. He’s angry because of that, I think, and he has a huge grudge on his shoulders.”
Abrams amplified the theme of bad parenting in the doc: “It’s more than just having a ‘Bad Seed’ as a kid. Snoke had targeted this kid and knew that this kid was going to be incredibly powerful in The Force and wanted him as an ally. So this mother and father had a target as a son, someone who’s watching their boy, and these parents aren’t there enough to guide him.”
Lawrence Kasdan even addressed this prior to the release: “Everything I’ve ever done on my own is about the fact that we’re at war with ourselves and the constant battle between our sense of responsibility and our desires, which are not necessarily related to our responsibilities,” he told me.
This also helps explain why the heart and soul of the movie rests with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and his futile attempt to save his son. At the beginning, he has no purpose and even states that he used to be Han Solo. But then he gets dragged back into the Resistance, and is reunited with his ex-wife, Leia (Carrie Fisher), and is forced to confront Kylo/Ben.
Meanwhile, although we’ve yet to learn Rey’s backstory, Hamill revealed in the doc that Luke is “very conflicted” about her discovering him on Ahch-To. For those convinced that Luke’s her father, one need only refer to the “Excalibur” nature of the climactic lightsaber duel in the snow between Kylo and Rey.
There are six deleted scenes on the Blu-ray (“Finn and the Villager,” “Jakku Message,” “X-Wings Prepare for Lightspeed,” “Kylo Searches The Falcon,” “Snow Speeder Chase” and “Finn Will Be Fine (plus “Tunnel Standoff” only on Digital HD or by redeeming the digital copy). You can view a teaser above as well as “Tunnel Standoff” below.
Deleted Scenes Teaser
Tunnel Standoff (Digital HD)
BB-8: From Sketch to Screen