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Monday, November 30, 2015

"The Force Awakens" Soundtrack Reveals More Spoilers

Though you can buy The Force Awakens-themed toys and other merchandise in practically every shopping mall in America, you'll have to wait until December 18th for the most spoiler-y material, including the visual dictionary, official novelization, and the film's soundtrack. This served as Disney and Lucasfilm's simple and foolproof plan of keeping the movie's secrets until its theatrical release. 
But this weekend, Amazon France accidentally leaked the titles of all 23 pieces of John Williams' music on the soundtrack, and the Internet scooped it up and spread it around before Amazon could quickly delete it. There's no title like "Rey Finds Out Han and Leia Are Her Parents", or "Han Solo Death Theme", but one can still infer quite a bit. 

The following is the listing of all the tracks, along with some educated guesses of their significance. If it wasn't clear already, SPOILER ALERT!
  1. Main Title and the Attack on the Jakku Village- This tells us when we'll hear the classic Star Wars theme, and confirms that the First Order's attack on the Jakku village, involving Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, Finn, Poe Dameron, BB-8, and Lor San Tekka, will be one of the first scenes in the film. 
  2. The Scavenger- No doubt about it, this is Rey's first scene in the film, quite possibly when she's looking through the crashed Star Destroyer on Jakku. 
  3. I Can Fly Anything-  After being captured and tortured by Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron is freed by Finn, who's decided to leave the First Order, and needs a pilot off of the Star Destroyer. He asks Poe if he can fly a TIE fighter, and hotshot pilot Poe presumably replies "I can fly anything".
  4. Rey Meets BB-8- Pretty self-explanatory. After escaping the previous night's massacre, BB-8 winds up in the hands of Rey. 
  5. Follow Me- We've heard these words before; Rey says this while offering Finn a hand, after they've been knocked down by a TIE fighter's lasers, in a few of the TV spots. This music will demonstrate Rey's self-sufficiency and strength as she takes control of the situation. 
  6. Rey’s Theme- It doesn't take a genius to guess that this music will play during a particularly important scene with Rey. 
  7. The Falcon- This must be when Rey and Finn bump into the Millennium Falcon and hijack it to evade TIEs throughout the bowels of the crashed Star Destroyer. 
  8. That Girl with the Staff- Another line that must refer to a piece of dialogue said in the film. Is this when Rey first shows off her combat expertise as she beats up some thugs? 
  9. The Rathtars!- Ummmm. Since these tracks are in chronological order, this must take place approximately when Finn and Rey meet Han Solo and Chewbacca. Based on intel from Making Star Wars, the Rathtars are either a gang aboard a huge freighter that the Falcon gets sucked into, or the name of a species held in the Falcon's cargo bay. 
  10. Finn’s Confession- What's his secret? The most obvious explanation is that this is when Finn admits to being a runaway stormtrooper, and maybe even explains how he was recruited from birth. Rey, Han, and Chewie may not receive this very well, but hopefully they'll forgive him when he tells them about the First Order's plans.
  11. Maz’s Counsel- Presumably, after hearing about the First Order's superweapon, our heroes will fly to Maz Kanata's pirate castle on Takodana for her help with finding Luke. She might provide some insight into Rey's destiny, too.
  12. The Starkiller- Just the name of this track oozes with evil. This is when the First Order demonstrates their new superweapon. 
  13. Kylo Ren Arrives at the Battle- The party don't start 'til he walks in. After receiving intel from a spy in Kanata's castle, the First Order arrives guns-a-blazin'. Kylo drops in with some ground troops to capture any survivors.
  14. The Abduction- Sensing a powerful presence in the Force, Kylo runs off into the jungle to abduct Rey. She's got a blaster and a whole lot of fury, but he deflects her shots with ease and defeats her. Sibling rivalries, anyone? 
  15. Han and Leia- The reunion of two former friends (and lovers) totally deserves its own track. This takes place when Han, Chewie, Finn, Maz, and a squadron of X-Wings return to Resistance base D'Qar after the battle on Takodana. 
  16. March of the Resistance- The First Order's not the only one with an army. On D'Qar, the Resistance will prepare for a final assault against the First Order. Rumor has it that this time, they've got a superweapon of their own to match the Starkiller. 
  17. Snoke- The movie's most mysterious character is getting his own theme. Andy Serkis' motion-captured Sith Lord, Supreme Leader Snoke, appears to be the Emperor-esque figure of the First Order. We know that Snoke will be heard in some fashion earlier in the movie, to deliver his signature line, "There has been an awakening, have you felt it?", but this track may play as we get our first look at his huge alien form. 
    Andy Serkis in his mo-cap gear, behind-the-scenes of The Force Awakens
  18. On the Inside- Hmm, maybe this takes place on Starkiller Base, as Rey is held prisoner by Kylo Ren. According to Making Star Wars, she manages to escape from her cell by tricking the guard with an old-fashioned Jedi mind trick. This would make her on the inside of the First Order's base of operations. 
  19. Torn Apart- These words could signify someone being emotionally distraught, or something (like Starkiller Base) literally tearing apart. 
  20. The Ways of the Force- This music must play while Leia says "The Force, it's calling to you, just let it in" but is she talking to Rey, Finn, or both? 
  21. Scherzo for X-Wings- This is why we have dictionaries, people. "Scherzo" is a musical lingo defined as "a movement or passage of light or playful character, especially as the second or third movement of a sonata or a symphony". Does this mean that the X-Wing vs TIE battle over Starkiller Base will have some kind of playful vibe? 
  22. Farewell and the Trip- Once again, Making Star Wars provides an explanation. Following the climactic battle, the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker are somehow known, and Leia suggests that Rey visit him first. Rey bids farewell to Finn and (her parents?) Han and Leia, before leaving in the Millennium Falcon with Chewie and BB-8. 
  23. The Jedi Steps and Finale- Many have theorized that these steps are where our heroes stand during a New Hope-style awards ceremony, but according to the same site, Rey walks up "a set of old stone steps carved into a mountain", and places Anakin's blue lightsaber in the hands of Luke. None of this is confirmed, but it would sure make a great ending. 
What do you think of this soundtrack? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deciphering Empire Magazine's "The Force Awakens" Starmap

The latest edition of Empire Magazine is filled with Star Wars: The Force Awakens details, cast interviews, and other exclusive content, including a detailed map of the Star Wars universe, updated with the planets that the newest installment will visit. Click on the image and zoom in to read the labels. 
Taking a quick look at the map, you can see all the familiar Star Wars planets: Coruscant, Tatooine, Hoth, Yavin, et cetera. Other less-known worlds like Ithor, Rattatak, and Malastare, have all been referenced and/or visited somewhere in the Star Wars canon. The new planets -- Jakku, Takodana, D'Qar, Starkiller Base, and Hosnian Prime -- are highlighted in red. Let's decipher what the locations (and identities) of these planets can tell us. All of my speculation is based off of the trailers and TV spots. If it wasn't clear already, a *SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed. 

Jakku

We've known about this desert world for quite a while now. I could go into detail about all of the events that will take place here during the beginning of the movie, but instead I'll show it in the form of screenshots and gifs, in chronological order: 

If there were ever any theories that Jakku is actually Tatooine with one sun mysteriously missing, consider them debunked; the map clearly shows the two planets as separate entities on completely different sides of the galaxy. 

Takodana

This is the jungle planet where our heroes will go to visit Maz Kanata's castle for her assistance in finding Luke. Unfortunately, the First Order will somehow follow them. Check out what's in store for Takodana: 
Though you can see that Jakku and Takodana are fairly close, Rey and Finn will make a stop between them. According to Making Star Wars, they'll get pulled into a huge freighter where Han and Chewie will be less than pleased to see youngsters on their ship. But after an incident with a gang, Rey and Finn will earn Han's respect...and he'll confirm to them the myths of the Dark Side, the Jedi, and the Force. 

D'Qar

D'Qar is reportedly the home of the Resistance. After the events on Takodana, our heroes (possibly minus Rey, who might get captured by Kylo) will retreat to D'Qar and regroup the Resistance's forces. This is also where Han and Leia reunite after many years apart, and where they embrace in the trailerJust a few days ago, The Cantina Cast found a TV spot that might just offer our first look at D'Qar, while the Falcon and several X-Wings approach it. 

Starkiller Base

Another pretty familiar planet. Starkiller Base is the base of the First Order. Oh, and it also doubles as a superweapon that can literally kill stars. 
The map shows Starkiller Base to be in the Unknown Regions, far away from any major planets. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, notice how the map just labels its "origin point". This means that just like the Death Star, Starkiller Base is going on the move. Eek! 

Hosnian Prime 

Here we have the biggest mystery. Google all you want, you won't be able to find even the faintest evidence about Hosnian Prime's role in the movie. Hmm, this is somewhat reminiscent of something (or rather, someone) else in the movie that's similarly been kept under wraps. Maybe a certain missing Jedi? 
That's right, I predict that Hosnian Prime is where Luke's been hiding all these years, along with old pal R2-D2. From that one shot of the two (above), you can't see much of the planet's surface or terrain, but Making Star Wars suggests that it's a "watery planet of rocky islands". (Be careful, because that page is chock full of potential spoilers.) 

With these 5 planets, The Force Awakens has more than enough unique environments to fulfill the quota established by previous Star Wars films, so does that mean we'll see absolutely zero familiar worlds? Maybe not. This intriguing shot of the Knights of Ren standing in a thunderstorm is rumored to take place on the moon of Endor, when the Knights reclaim Darth Vader's crushed helmet:
Even with a few scenes on Endor, The Force Awakens' general lack of familiar planets seems a bit extreme. But unless planets have gotten renamed in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi, we'll just have to accept it. 

What do you make of this new information? Do you think Luke is on Hosnian Prime? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all.