A chasm between
Father and son, tensions build
In truth, a long bridge
First, a few administrative updates. My Friday posts have been lacking because I have a doctors appointment every Friday now since I’m in the last haul of my pregnancy. And because I am considered high risk, I have to go to the hospital for this appointment instead of my normal doctors and the hospital is further. So by the time I’m done with all the monitoring and driving round trip, I’ve lost about 2 hours of my day and I spend the rest of that time catching up on my work.
Secondly, I am due in 3.5 weeks! Soooo soooooon. I don’t know what’s going to happen with this blog, but I’m sure I’ll be taking a hiatus for a while as I begin my new life and learn how to adjust. Follow me on Instagram if you are interested in updates, if not, eventually I’m sure I’ll be back. This is my only outlet for Star Wars! I need something to keep me sane, haha.
Third, Mei-Mei and I have started a once-a-month Friday initiative where we will both be coloring the same page from the same Star Wars coloring book. We won’t confer with each other and it’s just a chance to see what we did differently and why. This month, she colored in the one I did just a few days ago on May the 4th. Check it out!
I watched the Han Solo death scene three times last night. It’s just so good. I think it could be one of the best scenes in the movie acting-wise, cinematically, and artistically. Abrams did a great job with it.
First, there’s that really long bridge separating both Kylo Ren and Han Solo. Though bridges are known as a support, it’s made to look almost like a chasm in this instance, emphasizing the long distance emotionally and physically between these two characters. When Rey and Finn barge in on the top landing, the light falls as a spotlight onto the two characters. When we take in that expansive shot, it’s foreboding, but the light gives hope: you thinks that maybe there could be redemption here.
Kylo Ren calls out, “Han Solo!” after Han had yelled his name. I noticed last night that Han calls his son by his true name (I would expect nothing less), but Kylo Ren also uses Han’s true name. Not “Father” or “Dad” or anything like that…Han Solo. I’ve written about the importance of names in Star Wars before, but this is just another perfect example of how by using Han’s given name, Kylo Ren distances himself from his father. Han uses “Ben” to try to bring his son closer and Kylo Ren uses “Han Solo” to create a distance.
As we transition into the conversation between Kylo and Han, Kylo removes his helmet (and also his conviction) and turns into the petulant child that most people have grown to despise about the character. Instead, I found that it made a lot of sense. He’s trying to defend his actions and his turn to the dark side (though not spelled out like that) to his father. Sometimes I find myself acting like a child a bit when I’m trying to defend myself against my mother or father’s unspoken accusations. I am listing reasons and I sound a little pathetic, even to myself, similar to Kylo’s excuses that Han’s “son” was weak and foolish so he had to be destroyed. And when Kylo says Snoke is “wise”, it’s almost like he’s grasping at straws.
When we get to that moment when Kylo Ren acknowledges that he knows what he has to do but doesn’t know if he has the strength, I find the acting of both Adam Driver and Harrison Ford really comes up a notch…especially on Driver’s end. The tears were in his eyes when he was struggling and petulant but they slowly disappear as he hands the lightsaber to his father. The beam of light that was on the bridge disappears and you know that last glimmer of hope is gone. As Han tries to wrest the lightsaber, Adam Driver’s subtle progression from conflicted to decided is perfect. I remember thinking this the very first time I saw the movie in the theaters too. You can tell that he realizes he does have the strength and he commits the unforgivable act of murdering his own father.
But after Han Solo registers surprise, he pulls his hand up to touch his son’s face. His last act before death takes him is one of kindness and love. I teared up watching this yesterday, and I’m sure it’s because I’m going to be a parent so soon, and I realized that no matter what – parents really do love their children. No matter what. Han just got killed by his son whom he trusted, but reached up to touch his face one last time before falling off the bridge.
Interestingly, if you read the script for this scene, there is no directive for Han Solo to touch Kylo’s face. This was Ford’s interpretation of Han Solo’s last moments.
Han’s last moment is looking into his son’s face. HAN’S
KNEES BUCKLE. The blade tilts down with him… until KYLO
REN EXTINGUISHES IT AND HAN HOLDS onto the catwalk — his
life slipping away.
Finally Han FALLS BACK, OFF THE CATWALK, INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE STRUCTURE
As the scene wraps up, we watch Chewie attempt to gun down Kylo Ren, hitting him with a blaster bolt that seriously weakens him. I’m not sure if anyone else noticed, but when Kylo Ren leaves the oscillator, he also leaves behind his mask.
Will we see him with another mask in VIII? A new mask? Or, if the mask was to hide his indecision and conflict with the light side, will he now no longer need one? He’s got a pretty good looking scar to make him look a little more intimidating so they might decide to keep him mask-less.
I enjoyed this scene even when watching it in the theaters, but being able to rewatch it at home and picking up all these nuances has brought it to a new level. I think it’s one of the best scenes in TFA.
What do you take away from this scene?