Rey’s vision in Maz Kanata’s castle is perhaps the most intriguing scene in all of Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The moment I saw her pick up the Skywalker lightsaber and the images of Cloud City, Luke Skywalker and the Knights of Ren flashed across the screen, I couldn’t wait for the movie to be released on DVD because I wanted to pause and rewind and watch that scene every which way possible. I have watched that scene many times, and I have many theories on what it all means, but nothing concrete. In a new audio clip J.J. Abrams shed’s some light on what went into creating Rey’s Force vision, or as he calls it, a “Force-back”.
In this scene she is drawn to this place. Almost like Cinderella and she goes to this box, which when she opens, she discovers something that of course has no meaning to her. She’s never seen this before, she doesn’t know what it is. But it has meaning to the audience. Touching the lightsaber triggers what we called the Force-back. There were many iterations of this, in one from this Cloud City corridor she looked down and saw Vader fighting Luke which we ended up cutting. We wanted it to be a more personal story, something that she couldn’t comprehend, that was overwhelming to her, frightening to her. That was taking her through all of these elemental experiences of fire, of rain, snow, wind, but also that she was being confronted with truths about the Force, about the past, the Knights of Ren here, the past for herself. She realizes the cries she heard were actually her own cries as a young girl being taken away from her family. And then she hears a voice “Rey”. And that’s Obi-Wan Kenobi.
While it’s interesting to hear J.J. talk about that scene, he ultimately just describes what’s happening. I feel like he’s giving us more the direction he would have given Daisy Ridley before filming the scene so she’d know how to act and react.
While I wouldn’t expect J.J. to answers any of the questions I and many fans have, I would’ve liked a little hint on how this might tie into the rest of the story and whether we can expect this vision to be revisited further down the road. It’s not at all clear, and I can’t help but wonder if Rey’s Force-back is this trilogy’s version of Luke and the cave on Dagobah. A cool scene that doesn’t make much sense, and is never brought up again.
In looking at the images from Rey’s Force-back, I fully expect that the events will be explained. Not necessarily in the context of her vision, i.e., why did the Force choose to show Rey the things it did, but rather that events in her Force-back are all pertinent to the story. Why was Rey abandoned on Jakku, and who left her there? Who are the Knights of Ren and what role did they play in the destruction of Luke’s new Jedi Order? These are the crux of this new story, and they are not singular to Rey. Will the Force-back be referenced again? Maybe not, but I have faith that answers to the questions it conjures will be forthcoming in Episode VIII and IX.
The Cantina Cast
The wretched hive your Jedi Master warned you about!