‘The Force Awakens’ Plot Hole About Luke’s “Myth” Status May Actually Be Easy To Explain
While there are some giant, destiny-filled unanswered questions about Star Wars: Episode VII that we'll be mulling over until the next installment, one of the things that has been bugging me most is a smaller detail that permeates the film. Spoilers for The Force Awakens ahead. Who cares about her mysterious parentage for now, why does Rey think Luke Skywalker is a myth in The Force Awakens ? Legend, sure, but didn't he like... just recently disappear? How does she know his name but not that he was a real person? I'm confused.
According to a companion book, The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. In that time, the Empire has collapsed and the Republic has attempted to rebuild until the First Order came along, the Rebels became the Resistance and there is a New Republic, yadda yadda yadda. Since Luke Skywalker is about 19 years old when we first meet him, by my approximation, it has been less than 60 years since Revenge of The Sith and the fall of the Jedi Order. Has everyone forgotten the past already?
In an interview with Good Morning America, director JJ Abrams talked about this aspect of the story where he is picking it up in The Force Awakens . “The idea of a new group of young people, not knowing who he is or who any of the characters were, is the beginning of what became the story of the film," Abrams said. So this is definitely intentional. It did lead to my favorite joke in the film, when Finn misused the phrase "use the Force" as a sort of generic rallying cry. Still, why are the stories of the Jedi and Luke not well-known to his generation?
I don't live in space — well, I guess by living on a planet we all do... anyway, I didn't live a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But in my universe, I don't know anyone who thinks that something like polio, or the Mickey Mouse Club (my most comparable example of something that existed 60 and 30 years ago but does not today), are myths. If they did, they would be labeled a conspiracy theorist. Are there Force Truthers out there? I can't.
However, I don't think it's a plot hole necessarily, or even an attempt to retcon the prequel films. This is just an interesting aspect of the Star Wars universe that is worth examining. At the start of the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo also treated the Force and the Jedi as if they were myths, and Han Solo was definitely a child when Emperor Palpatine rose. Of course, the two of them grew up on the Outer Rim — in an environment similar to Rey (but Jakku is Inner Rim) but that might explain it right there. I'm sure they don't have Google Alerts, or even History classes. News travels slow in the galaxy, and fact could mix with fiction.
My roommate posited that the Jedi have been reduced to myth as a result of both the Empire and the First Order's attempts to control the message that's being put out there. They physically eradicated the Jedi, and now they are repeating the big lie that Jedi Knights never existed in the first place. That's definitely a good theory, and it fits that someone just a little bit rebellious like Rey would enjoy hearing about these characters. I'm fascinated by what Tales of the Old Republic book Rey was reading that said "and the Jedi could control the weak-minded just by giving clear, simple orders using only their voice and the Force" because clearly she knew something about mind tricks.
The new Star Wars movie was light on exposition and that's something I am thankful for, but the fact that the characters and world of the original Star Wars stories are just as legendary to the new heroes as they are to us fans at home is an especially tantalizing detail that I would love to learn more about in the future.
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Images: Lucasfilm; Giphy (2)