A New Hope Awakens: where homage becomes plagiarism

takes a look at just how similar the new Star Wars film was to A New Hope

Image: Disney / Lucas Film

Image: Disney / Lucas Film

This article contains spoilers

A long time ago, in a galaxy where giant yellow letters float through space (presumably fleeing the star destroyer right behind them), a fascist organisation called the First Order/Empire are engaged in a guerrilla war against the Resistance/Rebel Alliance.

On the dusty desert planet of Jakku/Tattooine a plucky, apparently-parentless scavenger stumbles across BB-8/R2-D2, a small droid carrying the lost rebel map/plans. After the First Order/Empire send Stormtroopers to recover the map/plans, our defiant protagonists must transport BB-D2 to the Rebel Resistance. They commandeer the Millennium Falcon (a ship that did the Kessel Run in 12/14 parsecs!), and hide in its storage cellar. A less dust-covered protagonist of the opposite gender joins and helps transport the droid. He/she is equally parentless, but a far better actor.

Our heroes are joined by a weary-but-wise old hand, played by Harrison Ford/Alec Guinness, who educates them in the ways of the force while standing in the Falcon’s sitting room. Said old hand is later poetically light-sabered while trying to disable shields/a tractor beam and save a kidnapped female protagonist. Don’t feel too sad; he was paid multiple times more than the rest of the cast.

Meanwhile, aboard the Starkiller/Death Star, masked antagonist Kylo Ren/Darth Vader talks to a hologram of the Supreme Leader/Emperor, and force chokes his own officers. He is kept in check by the grey-suited General Hux/Moff Tarkin, a ruthless bureaucrat who styles himself closely on the Nuremburg Rally. It emerges that the Starkiller/Death Star is no moon, but instead a giant intergalactic death ray which they use to blow up the Republic/Alderaan in order to prove to controversy-loving Buzzfeed writers that they are not, in fact, the good guys.

Everything hots up towards the end; having been briefed by a large brown squid-thing, Poe Dameron/Wedge Antilles leads the resistance/rebel fleet to destroy the Starkiller/Death Star, via a small ventilation shaft/equally crappy plot device. After flying through an iconic trench, Wedge/Poe flies into the Starkiller/Death Star, shoots some cylindrical components, and enjoys the wide shot explosion.

Halfway through there is a plot twist – it appears that one character is another character’s father – and given that this is a trilogy it seems fair to assume that in the sequel the First Order/Empire will probably strike back. But never fear. It seems from the final five minutes that Luke Skywalker is still, somehow, the New Hope.

It’s gloriously entertaining sci-fi fun with great concepts, a brilliant John Williams score and enough merchandising opportunities to keep Toys ‘R’ Us alive for at least another couple of years. I’m just not sure we needed the remake.


  1. You haven’t attempted to explain why it lacked originality at all, just written a lengthy narrative describing its similarities to A New Hope. The title is misleading.

    That said, I completely agree with the rest. It was mostly entertaining and visually spectacular but the lack of originality was ridiculous.

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  2. Star Wars Episode VII may have been better as an epilogue film, and not the start of a sequel trilogy.

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  3. Star Wars has never been about originality. A New Hope was practically an exercise in plagiarism, and that’s not a bad thing.

    People need to stop worrying about originality and start worrying about making things good.

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  4. Star wars was ground breaking back in 1977. There’s no better confirmation of originality than that. Everyone’s saying that force awakes isn’t original. Is that a surprise when the star wars story has been told in full in the first 6 episodes?

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