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There's no denying that there are deliberate references to 1977's Star Wars in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In fact, a lot of them are pretty easy to spot, and act as fitting tributes to the sci-fi classic that started it all. That said, watching them all back to back does paint an interesting picture – a picture you can see in the following supercut.
The video, entitled "A New Awakening – Star Wars Episode IV and VII Shot Comparison," was shared by Uproxx, and was created by Vimeo user Zachary Antell. Much like many of the Star Wars fans out in the audience when Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened, Antell had a sneaking suspicion that he'd seen some of the actions shown in the film before. Which leads to the carefully edited results you see above, highlighting one of the main criticisms that fans had about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Stop us if you've heard this one: a young person, living on a desert planet with a lust for adventure, runs across a droid with secret plans to an ultimate weapon. Said young person meets some like minded friends, goes on an epic quest, and ends up saving the day for the Rebellion. Yet as much as people want to criticize Star Wars: The Force Awakens for using a lot of the same images and story beats that Star Wars: A New Hope, taking the whole film's message into account justified why so many familiar moments are being recycled for the film.
With one of the big themes of Star Wars: The Force Awakens being the recurrence of people and events throughout galactic history, the repeated events of the Rebellion's fight against the Empire is a natural cycle that's lead to the formations of the Resistance and the First Order. But even if you subscribe to that theory, that still doesn't explain the slew of visual cues and references that the 2015 box office success lift directly from the visual playbook of Star Wars: A New Hope. In particular, the dogfight between the Millennium Falcon and a bunch of TIE Fighters on Tattooine cribs a lot of visual elements from George Lucas' original vision.
Despite the majority of references to Star Wars: A New Hope, there's a chance that Star Wars: Episode VIII could use the building blocks of Star Wars: The Force Awakens to drive a unique finale to the series' latest trilogy. The lesson of history's repeating cycle leading to nothing more than a self-serving cycle of war and peace could see Rey, Finn, and Poe fighting not only for peace, but also to break the circle of events between the past and the present. More than likely, this will not be the case; but it's still a thought. A thought that you can carry with you as you watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens on Digital HD this Friday, or on Blu-ray / DVD next Tuesday.