Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens (a 15-Minute Force production): Chapter Two: Everything That Crashes Must Converge (Or: Apologies to Flannery O’Connor)

15minuteFinn

00:15:01 – 00:30:00

It’s not often that those of us who work here at 15-Minute Force studios (chained to our desks and fed a steady diet of protein bars and Red Bull) get to make Flannery O’Connor references. If the title of this chapter was too opaque, it is an homage to Everything That Rises Must Converge, a collection of O’Connor short stories I was forced to read in college that I enjoyed anyway. O’Connor was a U.S. Southerner who died too soon, and her short stories are a thing of beauty. If you are from the South, as I am, you may see yourself and your family in them.

Other than the title, this chapter has nothing to do with Flannery O’Connor, however. Which is why I apologized to her.

My reason for the title will become apparent shortly.

As we were leaving Chapter One of the Awakens Edition of the 15-Minute Force, Rey was drawn to BB-8’s beeps and Michael Winslow sound effects. The astromech droid is caught in a net and is being dragged away by a mounted alien creature Rey later says is named Teedo. Rey argues with Teedo in his language, then cuts BB-8 out of the net.

Rey is resourceful and brave, as any Disney Princess should be.

Rey straightens out BB-8’s antenna and then begins talking to the droid. She demonstrates the same ability Luke seemed to with R2-D2. She can understand what the droid is saying. She gives the droid directions to Niima Outpost, but BB-8 wants to stay with her. Reluctantly, she agrees, but says he goes in the morning.

In the next scene, Poe Dameron—who has already been on the receiving end of some rough interrogation judging by the blood on his face—is interrogated by Kylo Ren, who refers to Poe as the best pilot in the Resistance. Ren is using the Force on him to find out the location of the map to Skywalker. At this point, Kylo Ren still seems intimidating and mysterious to me. The sound of him using the Force is rough and violent. It seems that there is nothing smooth about Kylo Ren.

Poe screams and we cut away to Kylo Ren leaving the chamber, telling General Hux that the map is located in a BB unit on Jakku. It’s up to the general to locate it.

In the next scene, we’re at the Niima Outpost again, with Rey and BB-8. It’s the next day. The two have a conversation about waiting for people. BB-8 is waiting for Poe Dameron, of course. Rey, we find out from her end of the conversation, is waiting for her family. They’ll be back. One day. And, as of this moment, I had no reason to doubt this.

Rey trades with Unkar Plutt again. He offers her a half-portion for five pieces, which she thinks is unfair. But then Unkar offers 60 portions for BB-8. She seems to consider it before announcing that the droid isn’t for sale.

After she leaves, the unscrupulous Unkar gets on a communicator and orders someone to follow Rey and get that droid. Bad Unkar.

Back on the Star Destroyer, we see a Stormtrooper get Poe Dameron out of his cell. The Stormtrooper reveals that he is FN-2187 when he takes off his helmet. He tells Poe that he’s helping him escape and asks if he can fly a TIE fighter.

Poe says he can fly anything, but wants to know why this Stormtrooper is helping him escape.

FN-2187 says, “Because it’s the right thing to do.”

Poe doesn’t buy it. “You need a pilot.”

I need a pilot,” the Stormtrooper agrees, and Poe breaks out in a huge grin.

We’re gonna do this,” he says.

In the following sequence it becomes obvious that FN-2187 is going to provide a lot of the comic relief in this movie, but not in an annoying Jar Jar or C-3PO kind of way. He’s genuinely funny.

Poe and FN-2187 steal a TIE fighter. Introductions are made. Poe refuses to call him FN-2187 and instead christens him Finn, which will be his name from here on out.

During the escape sequence, I noticed Herr Starr from Preacher in the background as a First Order officer. Pip Torrens. While using the Internet to discover that his character name here is Colonel Kaplan, I also discovered that Torrens also played Tommy Lascelles on Netflix’s The Crown and was genuinely surprised. This actor disappears into his roles. I never connected the two Torrens roles.

Back on the Star Destroyer, General Hux tells Kylo Ren that the Resistance pilot is escaping and had help from one of their own. Ren immediately knows it’s that Stormtrooper from the village, FN-2187.

Poe and Finn seem to work well together. Finn objects when Poe is turning them back towards Jakku. Poe tells him that he has to get to his droid before the First Order does. He then tells Finn about BB-8 having the map to Luke Skywalker, right before they are hit by cannon fire and begin spiraling out of control towards the planet.

We also have a very brief scene between General Hux and Captain Phasma. Phasma says this was FN-2187’s first offense of non-conformity. It seems that the First Order uses brainwashed humans rather than clones as its Stormtroopers.

Finn regains consciousness in the Jakku desert. He was ejected from the TIE. He makes his way to the downed fighter, calling for Poe. He manages to save Poe’s leather jacket from the wreckage, but there’s no sign of Poe Dameron.

Then the TIE begins to sink in the sand. I don’t know if this is a result of a sinkhole or a Thresher Maw. But, it goes down quick. These are obviously the Sinking Fields Rey was warning BB-8 about earlier. The TIE explodes underground, sending up a huge plume of sand.

Finn begins removing his Stormtrooper armor as he walks through the desert. He uses Poe’s jacket for shade before he puts it on. Eventually, from the top of a dune, he sees the Niima Outpost.

Cut to: The Star Destroyer bridge. Now we get another scene between General Hux and Kylo Ren. They are having an argument. According to Hux, SUPREME LEADER SNOKE said to capture the droid if they could, destroy it if they must. Kylo Ren wants the droid captured unharmed, and he reminds Hux that it was one of his men who just helped Poe escape. Hux warns Ren not to let his personal interests interfere with orders from Snoke.

I believe this was our first reference to Snoke. It seems that, just as Darth Vader had his Master, the Emperor, Kylo Ren has Supreme Leader Snoke. For the moment, it’s just a name to us.

Kylo Ren wants that map. He tells General Hux that, for his sake, he suggests he gets it. These two don’t like each other much.

Finn lurches into the Niima Outpost, gasping for water. He eventually drinks deeply at an animal trough, alongside an animal. He hears Rey begin to scuffle with the two ruffians Unkar sent to steal the droid from her. He seems to be coming to her aid, but she doesn’t need it. With her quarterstaff, she easily defeats her attackers.

Then BB-8 points out Finn to Rey, calling him a thief because he’s wearing Poe Dameron’s jacket. Rey comes after Finn, who tries to run but is also easily taken down by the spunky scavenger girl.

Finn tells his story about helping Poe escape from the First Order, and then about their crash. He tells them that Poe didn’t make it. When Rey asks if he’s with the Resistance, Finn lies and says that he is.

Rey says BB-8 claims to be on a secret mission and needs to get back to the Resistance base. Finn tells Rey that the droid is carrying a map to Luke Skywalker. Rey says that she thought Skywalker was a myth.

Here is where we reach the 30-minute mark and the end of our chapter. This chapter has been all about converging storylines. First, Rey and BB-8 come together. Then, Poe and Finn come together. After the TIE fighter crash, Poe is separated from the group again, but the storylines of Finn, Rey and BB-8 suddenly converge.

We have a story goal that is identical to the one we had in A New Hope. Get the droid with the secret plans back to the Rebel base—or the Resistance base, in this case. And, similarly, the bad guys—the First Order instead of the Empire this time—are also trying to find the droid. As Luke needed help to get off Tatooine, it’s safe to assume that our unlikely heroes are going to need help to get off Jakku. What form do you think that help will arrive in? Hmm . . .

I’m enjoying this viewing of the movie as much as I did the first time. It is fast-moving and genuinely exciting. The space battle effects are amazing. I don’t remember everything that happens next, so I’m looking forward to our next chapter.

One question does occur to me now, though. If the Republic has taken the place of the Empire, then the First Order are now like the Rebel Alliance in the earlier films. Right? If that’s the case, then what is the Resistance? What is it resisting? Not the Republic, surely. I’m confused.

Until next time . . . Your Soldiers Are Obviously Skilled at Committing High Treason. Perhaps Leader Snoke Should Consider Using a Clone Army . . . And May the 15-Minute Force Be with You.

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