Study Guide

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Quotes

  • Good vs. Evil

    LOR SAN TEKKA: This will begin to make things right. I've traveled too far, and seen too much, to ignore the despair in the galaxy. Without the Jedi, there can be no balance in the Force.

    Star Wars is big on balance, even when it pushes both halves of the big Force divide against each other. So before the film gets down to talking about the temptations of evil and the difficulty of being good, it reminds us what's at stake…and why.

    KYLO REN: Look how old you've become.

    LOR SAN TEKKA: Something far worse has happened to you.

    Ground zero for the good vs. evil battle in this movie is Kylo Ren, the former Ben Solo who clearly decided that quick and easy was the route for him. In that sense, he's just like his Uncle Luke, who was also tempted by the dark side.

    The difference is that we first met Luke when he was pretty much a light side dude, and Kylo Ren clearly drank the dark side Kool-Aid—a big gulp of it—before we got on the scene.

    UNKAR PLUTT: Follow the girl and get that droid.

    Here's the thing about Star Wars: there really isn't any such thing as a neutral party. You either get redeemed (like Han and Lando Calrissian) or you put yourself firmly on Team Bad Guy (like Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett). Unkar Plutt seems to be on nobody's side, but he certainly doesn't mean our heroes any good at all here.

    GENERAL HUX: The weapon. It is ready. I believe the time has come to use it. We shall destroy the government that supports the Resistance, the Republic. Without their friends to protect them, the Resistance will be vulnerable, and we will stop them before they reach Skywalker.

    This is an interesting way of pointing out how evil uses bureaucracy to disguise the consequences of its actions. Hux is talking about instantly wiping out an entire planet with billions of people on it. Billions.

    Yet, it's all about larger ends, ultimate goals, and destroying a "government" (not countless sentient lives). That's the job of characters like Hux in the Star Wars saga: to represent the kind of evil that doesn't wear a black cape.

    KYLO REN: By the grace of your training, I will not be seduced.

    SNOKE: We shall see. We shall see.

    Back to Ren here, and the fact that he doesn't seem to have the courage of his convictions. The light side tugs at him the way the dark side tugged at Luke, making his the flip side of the struggle we saw in Episodes IV-VI.

    KYLO REN: I feel it again. The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way.

    We have to wonder: who is he talking to here? Ostensibly, it's to Darth Vader's charred skull (pause to let skin stop crawling), and the presumption is that Vader's spirit speaks to him the way Obi-Wan's spirit spoke to Luke.

    But Vader was redeemed at the end of Jedi, and even shows up as a happy light side spirit next to Obi-Wan and Yoda. So whom, exactly, is Ren communing with, and why is that person/ghost/creepy old dude speaking through Vader?

    MAZ: The only fight: against the dark side. Through the ages, I've seen evil take many forms. The Sith. The Empire. Today, it is the First Order. Their shadow is spreading across the galaxy. We must face them. Fight them. All of us.

    Leave it to the wizened old lady running the bar to cut to the chase and let us know exactly what this fight is about.

    It makes an interesting counterpoint to the emphasis elsewhere in the saga that the Force is all about balance. The First Order intends to throw that balance off and let the dark side rule supreme…but balance also means that the light side needs to accept the existence of darkness in order to keep the Force in the creamy middle where it's supposed to be.

    MAZ: That lightsaber was Luke's. And his father's before him. And now, it calls to you!

    It's important to note here, again, that Luke's father in this case wasn't strictly Darth Vader (who had a red lightsaber like all Sith Lords do). It was Anakin's, and while it may be touched by some evil deeds (like the slaughter of a school full of children), it's not a weapon of the dark side. The Force has a pretty good idea what it intends to do with this kid.

    REY: You...you're afraid...that you will never be as strong as...Darth Vader!

    Fear leads to the dark side…even fearing that your grandpa could kick your butt in the Wearing a Black Mask and Killing People department. Rey really cuts through him to the core: that his evil isn't motivated by anger or a need to be strong, but fear…which is where it always comes from.

    SNOKE: If what you say about this girl is true, bring her to me.

    Woah. We've heard this little nugget before: the Emperor leveled it against Luke Skywalker, intending to turn him to the dark side. We suspect things might be a little different with Rey, but sooner or later, she's going to be tempted by the dark side. It's kind of the way these movies go.

  • Fate vs. Free Will

    FINN: This is a rescue, I'm helping you escape. Can you fly a TIE fighter?

    POE: You with the Resistance?

    FINN: What? That's crazy. No, no, no! I'm breaking you out. Can you fly a TIE fighter?

    POE: I can fly anything. Why, why are you helping me?

    FINN: Because it's the right thing to do.

    Here's an example of free will feeding into fate. Finn makes a conscious decision to flee the First Order…which sends him to Poe…which leads him to Rey…which leads them all to whatever destiny the Force has in mind.

    UNKAR PLUTT: What about the droid?

    REY: What about him?

    UNKAR PLUTT: I'll pay for him. Sixty portions.

    REY: Actually...the droid's not for sale.

    Obviously, turning BB-8 over to Unkar Plutt would be a bad thing, but a girl's gotta eat, and refusing food over principle when you're hungry all the time is a big deal. Rey needs to choose…and the good news is, she doesn't hesitate.

    FINN: Hey. Rey. You're a pilot—you can fly anywhere! Why go back? You got a family? You got a boyfriend?

    This is important because it means Rey is on Jakku by choice; she thinks someone is coming back for her. She decides to cling to the hope that her family will return because it's all she's had for so long that letting go is hard. Even so, it's a choice—an easy choice rather than the right choice, but a choice nonetheless.

    BALA-TIK: Inform the First Order that Han Solo has the droid they want. And it's aboard the Millennium Falcon.

    And just when free will seems to have won the argument, destiny throws down with a big fistful of Right Place, Right Time. One of Star Wars'secret weapons is that it can conveniently throw characters together simply because the Force wills it…and arranged for Rey's escape vehicle to just happen to belong to a crusty, old smuggler.

    REY: You're offering me a job.

    HAN: I'm thinking about it. Well?

    REY: If you were, I'd be flattered. But I have to get home.

    HAN: Jakku?

    REY: I've already been away too long.

    Rey is so attached to Jakku that she's willing to turn down a much more exciting position on the Falconjust to get back. Choices always have consequences, and Rey thinks she's making a sacrifice by choosing to stay behind.

    FINN: I'm not Resistance. I'm not a hero. I'm a stormtrooper. Like all of them, I was taken from a family I'll never know. And raised to do one thing. But my first battle, I made a choice. I wasn't going to kill for them. So I ran. Right into you. And you looked at me like no one ever had. I was ashamed of what I was. But I'm done with the First Order. I'm never going back.

    Here's Finn's problem: having made the choice to run, he thinks he has to keep running in order to stay safe. It doesn't work that way…and choosing to keep running rather than staying with his friends is still apt to bite him on the rear.

    FINN: But I'm done with the First Order. I'm never going back. Rey, come with me.

    REY: Don't go.

    FINN: Take care of yourself. Please.

    Important moment—do you follow your own instincts, or do you stand by your friend? Finn goes with his instincts. But notice also how he doesn't end up leaving, and he and Rey are put on the same path. The Force still determines their destinies. They can choose to accept it or reject it, but all they're deciding is how painful and difficult it might be.

    MAZ: The light. It's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it.

    REY: I'm never touching that again. I don't want any part of this.

    Again with the refusal of the call. To quote another blockbuster of this kind, "you will find adventure, or adventure will find you." Sit tight, Rey, because this ride's about to get very bumpy.

    HAN: Listen to me, will you? I know every time you...every time you look at me, you're reminded of him.

    LEIA: You think I want to forget him? I want him back!

    HAN: There was nothing we could've done. There was too much Vader in him.

    LEIA: That's why I wanted him to train with Luke. I just never should have sent him away. That's when I lost him. That's when I lost you both.

    HAN: We both had to deal with it in our own way. I went back to the only thing I was ever good at.

    Here's a choice of a different kind: continue to hide from what happened to your kid, or confront him and try to change it. It might not change him at all, but at least your own conscience will be clearer.

    KYLO REN: I'm being torn apart. I want to be free of this pain. I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it. Will you help me?

    HAN: Yes. Anything.

    Bad guys make choices too…in fact it's those choices that often make them bad guys. And of course, once you make certain choices—like say, stabbing your father to death as he's reaching out to help you—then your fate becomes locked in.

  • Friendship

    POE: I'll come back for you! It will be all right.

    Poe really means it when he says this, even though BB-8 is just a droid and considered pretty much a slave (or, at best, a pet dog). What does it say about Poe that he's still willing to go back for BB-8…even if they don't need that map anymore?

    UNKAR PLUTT: What about the droid?

    REY: What about him?

    UNKAR PLUTT: I'll pay for him. Sixty portions.

    REY: Actually...the droid's not for sale.

    Rey is just as fast on the upswing as Poe, and figures it out pretty quick, too. BB-8 is important to the galaxy, yes. But more importantly, she's willing to give up food for him, on a planet where survival is a day-to-day thing. That's going above and beyond.

    POE: Hey, what's your name?

    FINN: FN-2187!

    POE: FN-whaa?

    FINN: That's the only name they ever gave me!

    POE: Well, I ain't using it! FN, huh? Finn. I'm gonna call you Finn! That all right?

    FINN: "Finn." Yeah, "Finn," I like that!

    We don't think much of names, but the process of naming is really important. That's why parents agonize over it. Poe is a free spirit, but he knows the meaning of giving his new friend a proper name.

    FINN: Now that was some flying! How did you do that? No one trained you? No one? That was amazing! You set me up for it! That was pretty good.

    REY (simultaneously): Good shooting! Thanks! I—I don't know!—I've flown some ships, but I've never left the planet! Your last shot was dead on. You got him with one blast! It was perfect!

    This is one of those moments that we live for in Star Wars: these two just doing the kind of goofy, spontaneous things that friends do. There's a rule in screenwriting: show, don't tell. This is showing a friendship instead of just telling us that they're friends.

    REY: You have to keep going, stay out of sight. I'll try to fight 'em off.

    Rey is mirroring Poe's words to BB-8 at the beginning of the film, and it's another sign that she's more than just an owner.

    FINN: That's where my friend was taken. I've got to get there, fast!

    Now, here's a good friend: the whole galaxy is at stake, with planets blowing up and whatnot, and he's only interested in getting his buddy back. Funny thing about Star Wars: saving a friend often means saving the galaxy, too.

    HAN: You okay, Big Deal?

    FINN: Thanks!

    Ah, Han's not so bad. He even makes sure Finn knows that he's a buddy.

    C-3PO: Oh, my dear friend. How I've missed you.

    It just wouldn't be right not to acknowledge that Star Wars'oldest, closest friends—the first ones we ever see—get their moment.

    REY: We'll see each other again. I believe that. Thank you, my friend.

    We kind of believe that, too. More importantly, though, it represents a pledge on Rey's part: no matter what might happen to them, they're bound by ties no amount of distance—even hyperspace—can breach. Almost as if they're going to be buddies in another movie or two.

    POE: You completed my mission, Finn. That's my jacket?

    FINN: Oh, here.

    POE: No, no, no. Keep it. It suits you.

    Again, Poe is helping his friend—raised by faceless military goons to be a faceless military goon—find an identity to help him determine who he is. That's real friendship.

  • Coming of Age

    REY: I've never met a Resistance fighter before.

    FINN: Well, this is what we look like. Some of us. Others look different.

    REY: BB-8 says he's on a secret mission; he has to get back to your base.

    FINN: Apparently he's carrying a map that leads to Luke Skywalker, and everyone's after it.

    This is the call to adventure as clearly as it can call. That's an easy sign of a character coming of age: being tasked to complete something super important.

    REY: I didn't know there was this much green in the whole galaxy...

    Another good sign of coming of age: seeing somewhere new and going somewhere you've never been before. It broadens the horizons in more ways than one.

    HAN: You might need this.

    REY: I think I can handle myself.

    HAN: I know you do. That's why I'm giving it to you. Take it.

    Notice that coming of age isn't portrayed as an all-at-once thing in this film. It's a series of little steps that don't seem like much at the time, but which add up to something huge.

    REY: Are you offering me a job?

    HAN: I wouldn't be nice to you. It doesn't pay much.

    REY: You're offering me a job.

    HAN: I'm thinking about it.

    Hey, what's more coming-of-age than a job? And a job on the Millennium Falcon? Who could pass that up?

    MAZ: That lightsaber was Luke's. And his father's before him. And now, it calls to you!

    This means more than just accepting a job or seeing through a task. The Force is attempting to communicate with Rey not because she needs its guidance, but because it needs something from her.

    KYLO REN: She's just beginning to test her powers. The longer it takes to find her, the more dangerous she becomes.

    The clock is ticking, it seems, which suggests that coming of age is a finite process. Kylo Ren wants to stop Rey not only to corrupt her to the dark side, but possibly to save his own skin…since she may be stronger than he is.

    FINN: He took her! Did you see that? He took her. She's gone!

    HAN: Yeah, yeah, I know...

    This is a little odd: it may actually be that Han is coming of age. He's in his 70s, and he's still pretty much running away from his mistakes. By acknowledging that his son has taken Rey away, he's acknowledging that he can't just ignore the rift between them anymore. He has to pay the piper for being a not-great father.

    KYLO REN: We're not done yet.

    REY: You're a monster!

    KYLO REN: It's just us now. Han Solo can't save you.

    It all comes back to facing your demons—the guy in the scary mask who makes you wet your pants with fear. Look that evil dude right in the eye and get ready for a fight. We all have to face him sometime, and when we do, we're just a little bit stronger for it.

    KYLO REN: That lightsaber. It belongs to me!

    FINN: Come get it.

    The last step to coming of age is standing on your own, alone. Finn manages to do quite well with the moment, even though the lightsaber isn't his, either.

  • Spirituality

    REY: The Jedi were real?

    HAN: I used to wonder that myself. Thought it was a bunch of mumbo-jumbo—magical power holding together good, evil, the dark side, and the light. Crazy thing is, it's true. The Force, the Jedi, all of it. It's all true.

    This is a big deal because Han was always the doubting Thomas. He never actually said that he believed in the Force, even when he saw what Luke and Vader could do with it. Even he seems to have gotten with the program.

    MAZ: If you live long enough, you see the same eyes in different people.

    This is a subtle way of saying that everyone is connected, that souls share common links through shared experiences. In other words, that the Force is always there.

    MAZ: Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku, they're never coming back. But...there's someone who still could.

    REY: Luke.

    MAZ: The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead. I am no Jedi, but I know the Force. It moves through and surrounds every living thing. Close your eyes. Feel it. The light. It's always been there. It will guide you. The saber. Take it.

    There's something very comforting about that, something similar to what many religious people feel: a sense of warmth and belonging, a light to show the way. Rey is afraid of it because it will lead her into danger…but also that it's taking her in a direction that she's not sure she wants to go.

    KYLO REN: She's strong with the Force, untrained but stronger than she knows.

    Even the bad guys can rely on the Force to show them who the dangerous ones are. That provides conflict between darkness and light, ensuring, over the long run, that the balance of the Force is maintained.

    REY: You will remove these restraints. And leave this cell, with the door open.

    STORMTROOPER: I will remove these restraints. And leave this cell, with the door open.

    REY: And you will drop your weapon.

    STORMTROOPER: And I'll drop my weapon.

    This is the big difference between the Force and our earthly religions: you can see the effects of the Force in Star Wars. Here, we need to make a leap of faith.

    KYLO REN: You need a teacher! I can show you the ways of the Force!

    REY: The Force.

    The Force is always a very personal connection in Star Wars. Notice the difference between the way Kylo Ren offers training (or how Darth Vader offered training in Empire) with, say, Yoda or Qui-Gon Jinn, who usually offer their students a choice (or, in Yoda's case, are actively reluctant).

    KYLO REN: At night, desperate to sleep...you imagine an ocean. I see it—I see the island...

    Like earthly religions, the Force often speaks through visions or dreams, bringing messages we can't always understand and may not even be sure come from God but which affect us like Rey's visions clearly affect her.

    HAN: People are counting on us! The galaxy is counting on us!

    FINN: Solo, we'll figure it out! We'll use the Force!

    HAN: That's not how the Force works—!

    Any parent knows Han's tone of voice here: the same tone they use when they try to explain why God won't make cookies appear just by praying for them. The Force isn't a catch-all solution to every problem. It's something very, very different and needs to be understood as such.

    LEIA: May the Force be with you.

    Believe it or not, this is the last line of dialogue in the film. Frankly, we'd be really disappointed if it were anything else. It's not only the best tagline in the history of everything, but a reminder that these jumped-up space cowboys are actually touching on something more spiritual and profound.

  • Family

    KYLO REN: You know what I've come for.

    LOR SAN TEKKA: I know where you come from. Before you called yourself Kylo Ren.

    KYLO REN: The map to Skywalker. We know you've found it, and now you're going to give it to the First Order.

    LOR SAN TEKKA: The First Order rose from the dark side...you did not.

    KYLO REN: I'll show you the dark side.

    LOR SAN TEKKA: You may try, but you cannot deny the truth that is your family.

    Family isn't something you can walk away from. Okay, it is, but there's going to be consequences if you do. Lor is letting Kylo Ren know that he may wish to separate himself from his family, but they may have other ideas…and if he's not careful, that's going to muck up the whole Dark Lord of the Sith thing he's trying to get going.

    REY: Don't give up. He still might show up. Whoever it is you're waiting for. Classified. I know all about waiting. For my family. They'll be back. One day.

    This is Rey's defining trait early in the film. She waits for a long-lost family, hoping they'll come for her. They're not. Seriously, like ever. But that hope is all she has. It's what defines her…at least until a better option comes along.

    MAZ: Whomever you're waiting for on Jakku, they're never coming back. But...there's someone who still could.

    REY: Luke.

    Regardless of who Rey's family really turns out to be, Luke is, in essence, her spiritual family: the guy who can give her that sense of belonging that she's missed and help guide her on the right path.

    REN: And Han Solo. You feel like he's the father you never had. He would have disappointed you.

    Daddy issues alert. Ren is motivated in large part because his father let him down. We're not privy to the reasons, but when dad's a career criminal with a habit of stepping out on his responsibilities, you can make an educated guess.

    In response, Ren turns to another relative for inspiration: his grandpa.

    REY: You...you're afraid...that you will never be as strong as...Darth Vader!

    That mental interrogation thing works both ways, doesn't it, Ren? Rey pulls Ren's dark, dirty secret out of him and sheds a whole lot of light on why Ren is doing what he's doing. Daddy let you down, look to the elder generation to provide a path. (The irony, of course, is that Darth Vader eventually renounced the dark side and was redeemed. That may explain why Ren may have some conflicted feelings…)

    REN: Forgive me. I feel it again. The pull to the light. Supreme Leader senses it. Show me again the power of the darkness, and I will let nothing stand in our way. Show me, Grandfather, and I will finish what you started.

    It's interesting that, while Ren has completely abandoned his living family, he still clings to his dead gramps in order to feed his power. Seems he's not comfortable going it completely alone, and he still needs some contact with his family after all.

    LEIA: No matter how much we fought, I've always hated watching you leave.

    HAN: That's why I did it. So you'd miss me.

    LEIA: I did miss you.

    HAN: It wasn't all bad, was it? Huh? Some of it was...good.

    LEIA: Pretty good.

    HAN: Some things never change.

    LEIA: True. You still drive me crazy.

    Aw, you crazy kids. Family is blood, true, but family is also the people you welcome into your life…especially when you marry them and start a whole new family. These two have been bickering for a long time, but they clearly still love each other.

    HAN: Listen to me, will you? I know every time you...every time you look at me, you're reminded of him.

    LEIA: You think I want to forget him? I want him back!

    Neither Han nor Leia can forget their son, which is why they're willing to do anything to save him…even if that means leaving themselves open to an attack from him.

    YOUNG REY: No, come back!

    UNKAR PLUTT: Quiet, girl!

    We don't know who's on that departing ship…and frankly, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that Rey feels abandoned by them, making them a family that wasn't there for her.

    KYLO REN: Your son is gone. He was weak and foolish, like his father. So I destroyed him.

    HAN: That's what Snoke wants you to believe, but it's not true. My son is alive.

    Time will tell whether Han was right or not…though considering that Kylo Ren made a Han-kebab out of him, it will come too late for him if it does.