The Star Wars series has had three starting points in terms of storytelling, with A New Hope starting things off for the Original trilogy, The Phantom Menace for the prequels, and The Force Awakens for the sequel trilogy. While the prequel movie had its own outline, the original and trilogy’s first films are strikingly similar.
Not only do they feature the same characters of Luke, Han, Leia, and a few others, the movies can be considered the very same because of many factors. It’s interesting to see how Rey’s story is basically the same one that Luke went through, which is just one of many other aspects that the films have in common.
The Protagonist Is An Orphan On A Desert Planet
The roles of the protagonist in the fourth and seventh movies go to Luke Skywalker and Rey, respectively, and both characters are in the same kind of place emotionally and physically. Luke starts off on Tatooine while Rey is shown on Jakku.
Both planets are desert landscapes that offer the protagonists nothing in terms of fulfillment. Luke has his aunt and uncle as guardians but generally feels lonely; Rey is all on her own. The two are then thrust into their heroic roles seemingly due to happenstance until they learn they have bigger connections.
A MacGuffin Drives The Plot
The two movies are starting points for the new generation of characters, and a MacGuffin is used as a way to introduce them. In A New Hope, it’s the plans to destroy the Death Star that everyone is after and the characters scramble around the galaxy to collect them.
In the case of The Force Awakens, it is Luke himself who is the MacGuffin, as his location is the driving force behind the motivations of those involved in the story. It’s squarely because of the plans and location that the plot progresses, without which the events wouldn’t have been possible.
The Villain Is A Masked User Of The Dark Side Of The Force
The introduction of the villain takes place in a flurry where he first arrives as a destructive force looking for the MacGuffin. Both Kylo Ren and Darth Vader are intimidating, tall figures whose characterizations are shrouded in mystery, especially due to their appearances.
Although Darth Vader’s mask never came off, he and Kylo Ren both show up wearing masks that alter their voices and make their use of the dark side of the Force stand out. The movies also make sure to dedicate certain scenes which establish how deadly their powers are.
The Villain Is An Underling To A Mysterious Dictator
Palpatine didn’t appear in A New Hope in person, although the characters speak of him so much that his presence looms throughout. Snoke has a small part to play in terms of physically showing up in The Force Awakens, but Kylo Ren works under his command.
The movies also establish that the big bads are dictator-type figures who command their forces with an iron fist. While Darth Vader and Kylo Ren take on the role of the primary villains in the movies, it’s clear that they are actually underlings to the true antagonists and carrying out orders on their behalf.
A Droid Carries An Important Message That Everyone’s After
The MacGuffin in the movies is carried by a droid who doesn’t speak and communicates in an abstract manner. In both cases, the droids are given the important plans and messages in a hurry and end up in the possession of the protagonist in the desert.
In A New Hope, it is R2-D2 who takes up this role, and the characters are chasing the plans that the droid has. Similarly, The Force Awakens features BB-8 as Poe’s droid who escapes to Jakku and is found by Rey during her work as a scavenger.
The Hero Finds A Mentor & Father Figure Who Is Killed By The Villain
Obi-Wan is generally considered the best character in A New Hope due to his connection with the heroes and his mastery of the Force. He’s the type of father figure Luke craved who guided him in the ways of the Jedi, eventually meeting his end at the hands of his former surrogate son, Darth Vader.
The Force Awakens takes a page out of this book by placing Han Solo as Rey’s father figure. Like Obi-Wan, Han introduces Rey to the knowledge of the force – although he’s not a Jedi – and ultimately dies at the hands of his son Kylo Ren. The two movies almost identically feature the protagonists screaming in agony as they watch their father figures get killed from afar.
A Bromance Between A Young Adventurer & An Ace Pilot
Han is a striking contrast to Luke’s personality and ranks as the best character in the original Star Wars for most. He developed a bromance with Luke based upon their differences and the fact that they were united with the goal of saving Leia and destroying the Death Star.
In The Force Awakens, another bromance is featured between Poe and Finn, with the former acting as the “bad boy” character who meets the straitlaced Finn as the two team up to face the villains. Both Han and Poe ultimately influence Luke and Finn to shed their shy attitudes, while the latter two serve as their friends’ moral compass.
The Heroes Are Rebel Forces
Both movies start off with a central character captured by the antagonists, with the person working for rebel forces. The outlook at the time is that the villains are in control of the galaxy and the resistance fighters are looking to launch a republic or preserve it.
In A New Hope, the Empire takes on the role of the overarching antagonist, while the First Order is directly in conflict with the New Republic in The Force Awakens. Poe Dameron is the character captured in the later film and Princess Leia in the original, although Leia is a leader of the resistance in both cases.
The Hero Learns They Are Force-Sensitive & Develop Their Skills Quickly
Watching Luke gain the lightsaber for the first time is a Star Wars scene that gets better with each viewing, and the moment is emulated in The Force Awakens when Rey takes control of the same lightsaber more than 30 years later.
In the two stories, the protagonists are unaware that they are Force-sensitive and realize they have powers based on the strong feelings that come with the Force. Jedi are supposed to train extensively to master their skills, but Luke and Rey develop their skills very quickly in their respective movies.
The Villains Possess A Massive Planet-Sized Base
The massive frame of the Death Star is a special effect that still holds up for Star Wars, and the legacy of the tower remains strong to this day. Its impact on the story was repeated in The Force Awakens with the introduction of the Starkiller Base, which was an actual planet converted into a superweapon.
The two weapons look very similar and have basically the same function; they also happen to be in the possession of the villains. In the two movies, the heroes infiltrate the Death Star and the Starkiller Base to destroy it, which leads to their victory, but the antagonist flees in time.