'The Force Awakens' Recaptures Jedi Spirit While Bringing New Questions For Fans

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened on Friday to record breaking audiences and revenues. For fans, it was a chance to return to the original Star Wars cast, while for Disney Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger, he could boast in a letter to staff about the film being one of the proudest and exciting moments in Disney's history.

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 16: Director J.J. Abrams attends the European Premiere of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" at Leicester Square on December 16, 2015 in London, England. [Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]As reported in Variety, for director J. J. Abrams, it was a chance to return the franchise back to its original concept. While the last trilogy was laden with lots of digital trickery, lame dialog, and irritating characters like Jar Jar Binks, the new Star Wars series promises a return to the kind of storytelling and cinematic effects offered in the original franchise. This time, instead of a strong focus on CGI, the series now focuses on in-camera effects. Returning to the roots of science fiction and fantasy, Abrams revived the spirit of adventure and the sense of humor missing from the last set of prequels, which focused on political machinations and trade wars.

The success of the new film was reflected in its numbers too. It broke the weekend opening record with $238 million in ticket sales in the United States while netting $517 million globally. Critics received it well by giving it a 95 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans were also satisfied with the film, and it received an "A" CinemaScore. The Force Awakens is expected to join such blockbusters as Avatar and Titanic by grossing $2 billion worldwide for the film while earning at least $5 billion in merchandising. Greg Foster, CEO of Imax Entertainment, said that fans were hoping it would be great.

"The stars totally aligned. People have been rooting for this movie to be great since the first trailer. It's just going to keep clobbering everything in its path."
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Kylo Ren
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Kylo Ren [Photo Credit Lucasfilms]In SpinOff Online, fans received a rare treat when J.J. Abrams explained why antagonist Kylo Ren turned to the dark side. As previously reported in the Inquisitr, many fans believed that Jedi Luke Skywalker might even be Kylo Ren. Although Ren isn't a Sith Lord, he promises to finish what Darth Vader started. Abrams explained that even though Vader turned briefly to the light at the end, it is Vader, and not Anakin Skywalker, that Ren idolizes.
"Kylo Ren idolizes Darth Vader, not Anakin Skywalker. He idolizes what Vader represents and what Vader was trying to do. The idea that Vader didn't succeed, if you look at it from Ren's point of view, he was seduced by the enemy and failed because of that seduction. So the idea is that Ren wants to complete the thing that Vader started."
Abrams explained further that Kylo Ren, portrayed by Adam Driver, is driven away from the light by an incredible power.
"An incredible power. An incredible Force and an incredible potential, that was like with many young people sort of misguided and unclear. The story for him is one of conflict — not just external conflict, but internal conflict, and it's what makes him, I think, an interesting villain."
The question of why Ren turns to the Dark Side wasn't the only question The Force Awakens failed to answer. "Who is Supreme Leader Snoke?" is another question that fans have had since the film opened. It opens the door to new theories including the further role of Snoke in the following sequels of the Star Wars franchise. Fans will have to wait for future episodes to find out.

Disney credits the success of the movie to a two-year marketing campaign, as well as keeping fans engaged by offering up shots of Han Solo, BB-8, and Kylo Ren, uniting the old Star Wars universe with the new. Speculation about the plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, a closely guarded secret, kept fans wondering what was going to happen next in the Star Wars universe, and introducing the series to new fans with its stories of Jedi Knights and Sith Lords.