Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens has received mixed reviews since its debut.
While initial audience reaction to the movie was overwhelmingly positive, the mood has soured somewhat in the year since the film’s release, as many viewers began to criticize the film for its similarity to the original Star Wars, often referred to as A New Hope.
Let’s get two things straight: firstly, the people who criticize The Force Awakens for containing no original story elements whatsoever, are terrible killjoys of the worst kind.
Secondly, they’re absolutely correct.
There’s nothing very unique in The Force Awakens, an issue that’s compounded by the fact that protagonist Rey doesn’t run up against any significant obstacle to success throughout the movie. Some fans have labelled her a Mary Sue, a character that is amazing at everything and has no flaws, and it’s easy to see why.
Rey is great at beating up alien weirdos and turncoat Stormtroopers.
She’s an amazing pilot and engineer despite never leaving her home planet.
It takes her a few seconds to master a complex Force persuasion technique that took Luke Skywalker until Return of the Jedi to learn (and even then, he wasn’t very good at it).
She’s able to beat Darth Vader Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle the first time she picks up a laser sword.
Fans of the movie will quibble over the details here, but it’s pretty clear that Rey is almost entirely unbeatable in The Force Awakens.
That’s why a new deleted scene, which will show up on the movie’s 3D Blu-Ray release, is so interesting.
In a small clip released by Entertainment Weekly, we get to see Rey get utterly schooled after pulling out a blaster in the movie’s cantina scene.
Who knocks her back? The enormous blob monster, Unkar Plutt.
Apparently, this guy is capable of doing what the entire First Order, Kylo Ren included, fail to do—disarm and demoralize the otherwise unbeatable Rey.
Of course, then Chewbacca shows up, and Plutt pushes him around a bit. Big mistake.
While the clip doesn’t show it, we all know where this is going, as it’s not wise to upset a Wookie, and Plutt loses an arm soon after.
It’s interesting that this scene was left out of the movie. Obviously, it’s entirely unnecessary, as Unkar Plutt is about as threatening as a bag of warm mayonnaise, and his relevance to the story disappears the moment Rey (easily) steals the Millennium Falcon.
Even so, it’s interesting to see Rey slapped down so easily when she pulls a gun on the disgusting goo monster. A few scenes of her being less than perfect might have gone some way toward making her victory at Starkiller base a little more hard-won, and a little less patronizingly easy.
Either The First Order are the dumbest group of villains the galaxy has ever seen, or Unkar Plutt is secretly the best bar fighter in the Outer Rim.
No doubt, following convention, Episode VIII will provide those who complain about Rey’s superhuman abilities with a few opportunities to see her fail miserably as a Jedi, possibly by walking into caves with her lightsaber, or getting her hand severed by a man in black.
All of this will create a more nuanced story, but it won’t help complaints that JJ Abrams is just taking credit for story points written by George Lucas forty years ago.