In this edition of Star Wars Insights I want to take a look at a couple of issues/concerns that have come to light since Rian Johnson confirmed that there would be now gap between The Force Awakens and Episode VIII, and that the new movie would pick up where The Force Awakens left off. Let's look at how this can be done whilst allowing the story to move forward. Read on for more....
Here is one concern about Episode VIII picking up immediately after The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren will not have time to run back to Snoke and complete his training. That was one of the last commands Snoke issued as Starkiller base tore its left apart, "Leave the base at once and come to me with Kylo Ren. It is time to complete his training."
So we need to see this training don't we? If VIII picks up on Ahch-To when Rey meets Luke then where/when will Kylo's training take place? Surely we wouldn't waste an entire act of the film training Kylo Ren and delaying the action?
Well I have a little theory about a potential time jump hidden in The Force Awakens and how that might be utilized to preserve the traditional opening sequence of a Star Wars movie and indicate to us the audience, that Kylo has received his training from Snoke.
A Brief History Of Time - Star Wars Style
Star Wars has never really paid close attention to that passage of time. I'm hearing a lot of fans discussing how long Rey's journey to Ahch-To was and how that could be retconned to explain the time required to mop up some The Force Awakens story points. Mainly Kylo Ren healing from his dust up with Rey and his training under Snoke.
But Star Wars has never been to clear about things like lengths of a journey though hyperspace and how relativity might effect those people traveling. It simply doesn't get cornered by these things. Look at Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back. Han and Leia leave Hoth on the Falcon moments before Luke leaves in his X-Wing. The Falcon heads off, sans hyperdrive and has a huge Star Destroyer shaped issue, a run in with an asteroid field, hide in the belly of a space slug, hide on the side of a Star Destroyer and then they run to Bespin's Cloud City. Meanwhile, Luke arrives on Dagobah, meets Yoda, starts training and has a Force vision in the tree cave, before glimpsing the future and running of to save his friends. All of this takes place during intercuts in the same section of the film, but never do the film makers indicate just how long has passed. Han and Leia are wearing the same clothes throughout, but Luke seems to be undergoing considerable training. Is Luke getting the budget intro package from Yoda and only brushing up on skills he already processes over the course of a few days? Or are Han and Leia slumming it for weeks? It is simply not indicated onscreen. And I'm choosing to discount any after marker EU/Connective materials explanation. It's simply just not explained onscreen. So the same could be true of The Force Awakens and Episode VIII.
Hidden Time Jump
There might be an obvious answer to our issue staring us in the face. Did J.J. Abrams and co hide a time jump in the closing moments of The Force Awakens? We go from Starkiller Base exploding to the return of our heroes and the "Leia shuns Chewy so she can hug a girl she has never met before (or has she?) moment" on D'Qar. Then we cut to Finn, who is lying on (we assume) a hospital bed, apparently stable, and Rey says goodbye. Is this where we have jumped forward in time? Could week's have passed? Certainly days may have passed. We get additional clues. Leia seems pretty relaxed and somewhat regal, even though I'm certain she has had to deal with her son dabbling with patricide. Then we see C-3PO and he has had his gold arm installed again. So someone is implying that time has passed here on D'Qar.
So how will VIII start? We know Rian Johnson's view. The new movie picks up immediately after The Force Awakens. He has also said VIII will be dark and weird. How about this....
We pan down from the opening crawl and see a First Order Star Destroyer. It's bigger than anything we saw in The Force Awakens, and it is home to Snoke. Here we get to see how a Dark Side master teaches his apprentice. Remember they don't have to be Sith, but Snoke was explicit, he wants to train Kylo Ren and I doubt it's in how to use Microsoft Excel. When Yoda trained Luke it was done in a very natural way, running jumping, swinging from vines, maybe Snoke takes a more detached approach and has droids attacking Ren as he pushes the young man to explore his own mind with the Force, delve deep to uncover secrets taken from Rey's subconscious in The Force Awakens and here we could see Kylo's image of the Island on Ahch-To. The version we see in the announcement footage as we cross and ocean to meet it. Could Rian's alternate take of Rey meeting Luke be Kylo Ren's vision? All of this could have transpired during the hidden time jump in The Force Awakens, which would allow us to rejoin Luke and Rey on Acht-To without missing a beat. This could also be how the First Order locate Luke and why we have heard of the Knights Of Ren arriving on Ahch-To with Kylo Ren and attacking our heroes.
This way, nobody gets short changed. Kylo gets his training. Training that twill lead him to Luke and Rey and we don't miss any of Luke and Rey's interaction, and we get to preserve the Star Wars opening shot of a ship in space after the crawl. No time has passed but we get to see what Kylo did during the hidden time jump at the end of The Force Awakens.
I'm certain Rian has a plan to address these thing simply and satisfactorily, but I wanted to float the idea that we might not wander to far from the traditional Star Wars structure, whilst also exploring something original and cool.
What do you think? How will VIII handle the moment Luke meets Rey? Will we see Kylo Ren training with Snoke? Was there a significant time jump in The Force Awakens closing moments? Leave your thoughts in the comments below....
Thank you for reading,