There are spoilers for The Force Awakens in this post.
One of my favorite parts of TFA was the three new heroes we meet: Poe, Finn, and Rey. I like how analogous they are to the original trio of Luke, Han, and Leia, but as I was watching the movie I started to think about how each of the new characters has a mix of the old ones in them, both in their roles in the story as well as their personality.
We’ll start with Poe Dameron, the first hero we meet. Poe is our Princess Leia stand-in in this reimagining of A New Hope. He is a rebellion agent on a secret mission; fearing capture he puts vital information in a droid for safekeeping. Sound familiar?
He also shares Leia’s bold defiance toward enemy authority figures. While Leia insults Vader’s intelligence and Tarkin’s “stench,” Poe offers smart-ass quips to Kylo Ren, the dude who just stopped a blaster bolt in midair.
Along these same lines, Poe’s personality seems a lot like Han’s, the cocky pilot who always plays it cool. Finn’s excited when he’s gunning TIEs during their escape (“Did you SEE that?!), but Poe is more concerned about what to call him. Can’t you just see Poe saying “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.” to him? I think he’s an interesting mix of idealist with a touch of cynic.
It’s impossible to bring up Poe’s job as a pilot with connecting him with Luke. Poe is also an excellent X-wing pilot, and a capable squadron leader (probably better than Luke, honestly). And the relationship (friendship, even) he has with BB-8 reminds me of how close Luke and Artoo are.
With Poe’s capture and escape enters “Finn,” our stormtrooper defector. At first he seems a lot like Luke, a n00b who’s out of his depth with this rebellion thing. He has freedom for the first time in his life and doesn’t really know what to do with it.
But as we carry on we see that he’s really our Han Solo character. He’s not invested in the rebellion and wants to go his own way, even over the objection of his new friends. He does come back though, to save his friend (Rey/Luke), and ends up saving the day as well.
Personality-wise, he has a lot of bluster like Han, but I don’t think he always believes it like Han does. I kinda loved the way he was clumsily hitting on Rey. I almost wrote that this would make him like Han as well, but then I realized that Han would be way, way more smooth. That was definitely a Luke move.
(So if Poe and Finn are Leia and Han, does that mean we’ll get to see them making out in the next movie? I kinda doubt it, but the first suggestion when Googling for Poe might lead us to think otherwise?)
This leaves Rey as our Luke, starting out on her hero’s journey. She grew up on a desert planet, bereft of her parents, longing for something more. Like Luke, she refuses the Call at first, wanting to return to Jakku while Han and Maz try to help her take her place in the wider galaxy and understand that “there’s nothing for [her there] now.”
She spends the latter part of the movie learning to use her fledgling Force powers, which she seems to be picking up quickly (quicker than Luke, anyway).
Han is playing our Obi-Wan here, the wise mentor figure setting her on her path. She sees Han sacrifice himself to Kylo Ren, and I think it has a similar effect on her as Luke seeing Vader kill Obi-Wan.
The difference is that she is able to confront Kylo Ren almost right away. The relative closeness of their ages seems to me to preclude his being her father in any way, but it seems possible (likely even) that there is a familial connection between them. (They are certainly teasing something for her backstory.) Like Luke before making the shot that blew up the Death Star, Rey uses the Force to calm and focus herself, managing to hold off Ren and escape.
We see her similarities to Han throughout the movie, starting as soon as she flies the Falcon for the first time. She and Han finish each other’s sentences about ship mechanics, and Chewie even accepts flying with her in the Falcon after Han’s death. She has his knack for languages, too.
Rey’s looks are her most obvious connection with Leia. Especially when she smiles, Daisy Ridley looks a bit like Keira Knightley, who played Sabé, the decoy double of Padmé Amidala, Leia’s mother. (That kind of resemblance cannot be a coincidence.)
But it goes deeper than that. Rey is just a much a spitfire as Leia, and has her sense of natural authority. She’s the one with the ideas, calling the shots when she and Finn are in danger, like Leia directing her “rescuers” into the garbage chute. And can’t you just seeing Leia saying “Stop taking my hand!” the same way she said “Someone get this walking carpet out of my way!”?
Our new trio of Rey, Finn, and Poe is the backbone of TFA and really elevated it above its rehashed plot by giving us some new twists in with the more familiar elements. I can’t wait to see where these characters go in the next movies–I mean, Rey and Poe haven’t even met yet! I could see them really hitting it off. Maybe they’ll meet when they each go to visit Finn…now I’m getting ahead of myself. Anyway, feel free to share your views on these characters in the comments.