On the promotional tour for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, while unable to say much about the movie itself, J.J. Abrams jokingly revealed the first spoken word from the film to Jimmy Kimmel as "This." Later, Abrams confirmed to Fox 5 DC reporter Kevin McCarthy that the second spoken word was "will." It didn’t sound like much, but now that we’ve seen the movie and have the full picture in front of us, did Abrams know this by heart because he knew his movie opened with a clear shot at the prequels?
One of the chief goals for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, stated or unstated, was to return the franchise to a fan-favorite pedestal after the disappointing Prequel Trilogy presided over by George Lucas. Sure, the prequels have their defenders, but there’s no question that the strength of the Star Wars brand was dinged by the CGI-heavy, Jar Jar-laden trilogy of films meant to relay the origin story of Anakin Skywalker… better known as Darth Vader. J.J. Abrams never said this, but it was understood that The Force Awakens needed to save Star Wars from the Prequels. So what is the opening line of dialogue in The Force Awakens?
This will begin to make things right.
The line of dialogue is spoken by the mysterious Lor San Tekka, an older gentleman played by the distinguished Max von Sydow. He’s speaking about a small piece of a much larger map, which he has been carrying for an undetermined amount of time, but is now ready to hand over to General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) through her proxy, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac). Tekka’s line refers to the map… but does it also refer to the Prequels? I’d bet money on it.
As mentioned, the three movies now known as the Prequel Trilogy have their fans. The Phantom Menace remains the highest-grossing Star Wars movie, though that record will only hold for a few more weeks. And the movies received decent marks from critics at the time. Revenge of the Sith notched a 79% on Rotten Tomatoes. (Attack of the Clones, however, bottomed out with a 66% Fresh… not so Fresh at all.)
But it was evident, from the onset, that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was meant to serve as a course correction, as a concerted effort to return to the methods of the Original Trilogy, a shift back to practical effects and better characterization, of stronger performances and an emphasis on emotion instead of visual wizardry. J.J. Abrams understood the task. I think he felt he accomplished it. And I think his opening line of dialogue was a shot at the prequels, as well as an assurance to fans that things are getting better starting now. What do you think? Do you agree? Was the line intentional? Weigh in below!
What do you think of the opening line of dialogue?