Next week, we’ll see the first Star Wars movie in over a decade, although you could be forgiven for thinking that Star Wars: The Force Awakens already opened and we’re already fans of it. Disney has gone all out to make the film’s release an inescapable force of nature. We know the names “Kylo Ren”, “Rey”, and “BB-8” as well as we do “Darth Vader”, “Luke Skywalker”, and “R2-D2” even though we haven’t seen the latest Star Wars movie, and in truth, don’t know much beyond a few superficial details regarding the new characters.
I understand the excitement. I understand there are people who don’t only want The Force Awakens to be good; they need it to be great. It has to make up for the prequels. It has to reach a new generation. It has to make Star Wars burn bright again. It’s crazy expectations for a film, and yet I look around and I wonder how many people will be capable of bringing any skepticism into the movie.
“It’s true. All of it—the Dark Side, a Jedi—they’re real,” is a line Han Solo says in the final trailer for The Force Awakens. That’s the same Han Solo who said in A New Hope:
“I’ve seen a lot of strange stuff, but I’ve never seen anything to make me believe that there’s one all-powerful Force controlling everything. ‘Cause no mystical energy field controls my destiny. It’s all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.”
The Force Awakens ad campaign has basically said, “If the cynical Han Solo can be on board, then you have to be too. And if you don’t already believe in the magic that’s about to unfold, we shall pummel you with marketing until you do.”
And I want to believe that J.J. Abrams’ film will be terrific, and yet I have a few reasons for not believing in The Force Awakens with all my geeky heart and soul.