Special Edition Podcast

Special Edition – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Show Notes

Where once the book was closed, now it has reopened — and it’s time for a new chapter in the Star Wars Saga! Conor Kilpatrick, Ron Richards, and Josh Flanagan gather for a long, free-wheeling conversation on Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Running Time: 01:05:40

Star Wars The Force Awakens_Poster

“Main Title and The Attack on the Jakku Village” & “The Jedi Steps and Finale”
John Williams


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  1. Great special edition, guys. Thanks. I think it’s also interesting how Star Wars is apparently deeply rooted in comics:



  2. I like a lot of this, and I echo Ron’s general sentiment from just a little bit more innovation a little bit more departure from the new hoe forumaa, and I think that might’ve been accomplished by little bit more exploration of the people on the fringes, the people in the background. Some little bit of the scene somewhere that suggested maybe that the residents of Jaku weren’t so thrilled with the rebels hiding in ther midst and bringing the first order around.

    I have two general questions for everybody: A) did anyone think as that the movie would’ve just been better off having Kho Ryn as a sort of self made agent of darkness, with no formal instructor?

    And Conor-I understand your point that this is the first chapter the three chapter story basically, but do you think it’s beyond the pale to which this film also was a little stronger as the standalone chapter within the larger arch. I found myself wondering if the movie would’ve been stronger as the film, having not had that last final MacGuffin cameo that we were all waiting for, and starting that fresh the next film?

  3. Man guys. Thanks so much for inadvertently recommending to go on blackout. I loved this movie in entirety. Glad you guys enjoyed it as much as I did.

  4. I had some similar thoughts. Could Luke be Snoke? Hope not! Could Rey and Ben be twins? Seems unlikely to me, but who knows?

    One scenario I’m having fun imagining: could Ben Solo be the one who saved Rey? Although he slaughtered Luke’s students (and possibly Luke’s wife), could he not bring himself to murder his little cousin? It’s established that he struggles with being seduced by the Light. Maybe Snoke doesn’t know she was spared. Could Kylo have altered her memories before he left her on Jakku? Is Rey even her real name? Had Rey been training as a young Jedi and that’s why she’s so adept? Maybe Luke had no idea his daughter was still alive. Maybe he was so grief-addled that he lost his connection with the Force and that’s why he was in exile rather than out battling the First Order and the Knights of Ren.

    Ron, you mentioned that Leia recognized Rey? I missed that somehow. Was it subtle or did she say something? I want to take this into account with all my shaving-time speculation I’ll be doing for the next two years. I was really taken with Conor’s idea that Han will be a force that shapes the destinies of Rey and Fin; that’s a really touching notion. Maybe they’ll name their child Han.

    I’ve seen it twice and plan to see it with various family members a couple more times over the holidays. I really loved it. It was gratifying for me to hear that you three felt the same. I’m one or two years older than you guys, and I share the same intense connection to the original films. Thanks for the podcast, ya moof-milkers.

  5. Now that is a log in I have not used in a long time.

    Anyway, I just wanted to say how great it was listening to you. I feel like you all really hit the same notes and comments on the movie that I have talked to my friends about. we have a fb Thread where we will discuss, speculate and theorize without the use of blog posts and as our friends watch it we add them to the thread. with that said here will be the spoiler section of my comments:

    I loved that Luke didn’t show up till the end, It kept me on my toes, This movie added so much to the Lore of the Star wars universe, Having the troopers turn the corner and hear Kylo having a tantrum and just turning around and walking away was my favorite comedic beat of the movie. Now Rey has to be lukes daughter and my friends and I have come up with the idea that she was at the Jedi Academy with Ben Solo and Luke when she was young but when Ben went to the dark side there was still a part of him that couldn’t Kill his young cousin so he took her and hid her away on some remote desert planet, and so luke thinking he has failed so badly and that this failure has resulted in the death of not only his students but his daughter he runs into the unknown parts of a the galaxy. This would explain why she says she is waiting for her Family to come back and not her parents. Also it seems that Kylo takes an uncanny interest in her almost from the moment when Finn is reported with her. As if he knows a woman from that planet. Such a great film.

  6. Avatar photo PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    There is a terrific bit of satire on Netflix about the Internet and “Star Wars” from Season 2 of IFC’s The Birthday Boys, it’s the episode called “Cerf’s Folly.”

    (I closed my eyes during the trailer for “Batman Vs. Superman” but Lex Luther sounded wrong, wrong, wrong.)

  7. Thanks guys for this fantastic podcast. I loved the hell out of The Force Awakens and I’m glad all three of you really enjoyed it too.

  8. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who went on a 99% media black out. I only saw the first teaser trailer because I’ve never been a big fan of JJ Abrams. (something about him rubs me the wrong way) but having gone into to this movie blind of expectations made me enjoy it a lot more than if I had seen all the spoilerific stuff floating around. I feel like a part of my soul has been given back to me and I’ve noticed I’m a lot happier since seeing this film on thursday.

    also, I don’t think Rey is anyone’s kid. I think she’s just one person in a big united galaxy that also has the force or force potential and found herself stumbling into an adventure that awakened her ability. why does she have to be Luke’s kid?

    guys… why are there no hand rails in the SW universe? when Han walked out there I was sure he was gonna’ die but I was worried it would because he fell off the edge. it was a HUGE catwalk with no railing! they don’t have regulations against building stuff like that? haha. I also wish his body hadn’t fallen into… the nothingness below. that made me more sad than him dying. no body to take back to Leia.

    finally…. Phasma is so not dead. she just isn’t I know it. they didn’t show us how much of a B/A she is because she gets to be bigger and badder in the next film or maybe even change her ways and turn on the first order. I would say she got Boba Fett’d in that she didn’t do much but everyone blew her character out of proportion and made her bigger than she actually was.

    I really liked this movie a lot. glad to hear y’all enjoyed it too.

    • That was one part that I didn’t like – Phasma is supposedly a bad-ass stormtrooper, but an old man and a janitor wave guns in her face and all of a sudden she’s willing to compromise everything. Uh….

      Also, about that thing – haven’t we learned from multiple mega-weapons that you need to be careful of weak spots? I’m sure from an engineering perspective there has to be some kind of thing like that, but wouldn’t you ring it with turbolaser turrets and back-up shields and missiles and extra-strong armor plating and every other thing you can think of?

    • Phasma is the new Boba Fett

    • My theory on Phasma is that she’s not actually a Stormtrooper, she’s a Resistance agent. Think about her two biggest scenes.

      1) Right after the battle on Jakku when she see’s Finn with his helmet off she tells him to report to her command. The very next time we see Finn he is helping Poe escape. Seems like suspicious timing unless she helped Finn or at least planted the idea.

      2) The scene you mention seems really strange unless she doesn’t resist because she doesn’t want to. She helps Han and Finn because they are Resistance…and so is she.

      That’s my theory at least.

  9. Wonderful podcast, guys. This is easily my favourite long-form, spoiler-filled discussion of the movie I’ve come across yet. I too loved the movie and I largely agree with your problems with it and the stuff that you praised. I’m more with Conor than Ron in terms of the way it echoes a New Hope but also because I thought that it drew a lot from all three films and I would definitely have preferred it if it was just the New Republic vs New Order (I can’t not refer to it as that after listening to the podcast), without the Resistance to confuse matters. One area that I do quite strongly disagree is with the humour around Finn, which is kind of a departure, it’s true but I thought most of those jokes really landed for me. In fact, I dare say that this is easily the funniest Star Wars film to date.

    And, yes, definitely see it twice. I liked it quite a bit more than I already did the second tiem around.

  10. I just had to pipe in with the same reaction as Josh and Conor. I have very little love for Star Wars anymore as an adult, but I took my oldest son (he’s 9) to see this (his first SW film in an actual theater!!!). We went to a sold out screening with 600 fellow Cub Scouts and their parents, and it was absolutely wonderful getting to see that movie with a theater of kids. They completely got into it, they applauded, they laughed and cheered. And one poor six year old behind me screamed out at the penultimate moment on the bridge, and his mother had to comfort him (I felt awful for him – I may never forget that experience).

    Afterward I felt the same way about the naysayers – yes, as an adult I can see the narrative issues, and that it wasn’t as unique as the prequels (but uniqueness doesn’t make a film watchable), but I do not care. Emotionally it hit all the right notes (even the subtext of the film of characters failing or abandoning their kids pulled me in). It was an experience that was kind of priceless, and I’m so grateful I got to share it with my son.

    Now in two years my daughter will be old enough to go, and I can see the 8th film with both of them.

  11. @Josh How old was your son when you first showed him New Hope?

  12. My one issue with the movie was that Finn had a complete emotional arc but he got left hanging plot wise. Rey got a good ending and set up for the next film, but it seemed like there wasn’t much emotional development at all. My opinions on her might change on a second viewing but that’s where I’m at now. They probably felt they could do that because they had another movie coming but it makes this one feels incomplete.

  13. I loved the podcast and agree almost completely with everything you all said. I suppose it helps that I was a kid, age 6, when the first one came out so your commentary on this being the second go around for us was spot on. Conor, I disagree with one thing you said. You felt that Finn had a unique story and was the only “new” character of the new crew. I feel that he is Han. They are both the reluctant hero; they are both running- Finn from the First Order and Han from Jabba and Bounty Hunters; finally, they both choose to return to save Rey and Luke. They have slightly different motivations, but are essentially on the same arc.

    Keep up the great podcasts! First comment, but years of listening.

  14. A charming, speech impaired droid evades an evil regime with plans vital to the victory of an underground rebellion. When said droid crash-lands on a desert planet they are found by a directionless youth who does not know their parents. Our hero gains passage aboard the ship that made the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs and is aided by its crewmen, a smart-mouthed smuggler and his Wookie companion, along with a plucky and capable love interest for our hero, whose determined to do what’s right. Together they attempt to meet up with the rebel faction and battle the evil galactic powers-that-be. Meanwhile those powers, under the supervision of a stern general, in the presence of a dark, masked, force-wielding figure and overseen by an eerie, decrepit overlord, have constructed a vast, spherical weapon capable of destroying entire planets, beginning with the hub of support for the freedom-fighters. This new threat to the dark military’s goes only hastens the need for their victory. Visiting new worlds, encountering threatening locales, such as sleazy dive bars hosting a wild and wonderful array of characters and experiencing a daring, covert rescue from the enemy stronghold after an abduction by the dark lord, the protagonist gets closer to their mentor figure and learns much about themselves and expands their natural gifting. Finally the band of adventurers meet up with the rebel forces and a plan is hatched that aims to destroy the deadly space-weapon. While in the enemy base however there are revelations of familial ties and the heroes mentor is lost at the hands of the black clad, lightsaber welding antagonist, as the watch, powerless to stop it or seek retribution at the time. Ultimately a brave and motley crew of X-Wing pilots make a valiant run to the heart of the enemy’s super-weapon and through thrilling dogfights and strafing of the target, manage to destroy it. After much celebration our heroes await what must come next and the desert-raised orphan goes in search of an older, wiser and new mentor, whose long since hidden on a remote planet and become a hermit after betrayal and the decimation of the Jedi way. From him our hero must further learn the ways of the force. The story continues…

    • Do you think you’re the only one who noticed the similarities with A New Hope? Practically every single review of the film mentions them. Did you think this was some sort of revelation? It probably took you what? Fifteen minutes to type that? Instead you could have just typed “This had a lot of plot similarities to A New Hope.”

    • Avatar photo PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

      I feel that the producers of TFA gave the audience a chance to experience a beautiful rendition of a classic movie. It’s like listening to John Coltrane covering Rodgers & Hammerstein’s song “My Favorite Things.”

      Sharp post, @bobby2889.

    • You’ll be fine.

  15. Finally got to see it a second time. Seeing it relaxed, I loved it even more.

  16. Really liked this movie, a redemption of sorts for the 1,2, and 3. I highly recommend reading or listening to the audiobook the official novel version of the movie, much deeper and more detailed narrative of the movie.


    I am not an expert in Star Wars lore so this question may seem silly… I thought that a Jedi was forbidden to marry, thus the whole thing with Anakin and Amidala. If that restriction was still enforced, how could Rey be Luke’s daughter or Kenobi’s granddaughter?

    • I very much doubt that restriction was still enforced. The old Jedi Order is dead so Luke can pretty much make it up as he goes along – ad I’m sure he finds the whole celibacy thing as stupid as the rest of us do.

  17. Perhaps I’m over the deteriorating repetitive nostalgia of current culture, or perhaps this is not a very well plotted movie, but I had almost no emotional connection to this film once I left the theater.

    It was very “tell-y” and not “show-y” and was so fast paced-ily crammed that it forgot its own point: Find Luke Skywalker.
    and meandered off into the fanboy box ticking (alien filled cantina, Deathstar-esque X-Wing Battles, lightsaber duels) to the point where when we finally reach the film’s opening-crawl-promised big baton passing moment it’s presented as an afterthought. And the majority emotional response seems to be “wow, its cool to see Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker again, not that the entire film and all the suffering has led to this big cathartic moment.

    oh, well.
    i could go on but why?
    Ultimately any criticism of it is pointless.

    The film is so fast paced, joke filled (even perhaps 2 too many) finely acted, well made nostalgia stroking; that if someone claims not to have been mindless entertained while watching it they’re either posturing or reactionary.

    One’s opinion of this film will come down to one’s expectation of your culture.
    Help me kill some time with some feel good distraction taking me away from thoughts of my impending demise…well, you just watched an amazing film.

    (even if Star Wars (A New Hope) was more streamlined and better plotted)

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