Star Wars is one of the most beloved franchises of all time, with blockbuster films, bestselling novels, comics, toys, and games spiraling around the core of its iconic galaxy far, far away. Among the most exciting news items for fans of the franchise came when principal photography on Disney’s first installment of the new trilogy wrapped last fall. And with the better part of a year before Episode VII hits theaters, speculation is running rampant. For the past few months, one frontrunner, Makingstarwars.net, has been parading a steady succession of spoilers around the Interwebs. They have a pretty believable and unassuming style and claim to be privy to insider information, so it’s easy to see why so many of us have taken the bait. Paired with a recent pool of leaked concept art, some major theories involving familiar characters are looking more credible all the time. The speculation surrounding Luke Skywalker’s circumstances prior to and throughout the film have been coming together nicely, spreading around the Internet as all but confirmed. And until recently, I was one of the worst offenders. That is, until I sat down to watch Disney’s Frozen.
You might inquire -- and rightfully so -- what a Disney princess and a Jedi Master have to do with each other. I probably would have said the same before I settled down for date night earlier this week. In the preceding months, I’d done my due diligence and kept up with the rumors and latest gossip involving all my favorite Star Wars elements. I’d done my homework, and I continue to do so on a semi-regular basis. Because I, like most other certifiably sane humans on this Earth, love me some Star Wars. As a writer, I also enjoy analyzing the finer points of character and plot development. However, if what I’ve discovered is any indication, there’s nothing subtle about the prank Disney just pulled.
As Frozen began and the characters were introduced, I couldn’t help but notice right away that Elsa’s character arc was revealing exactly like the leaked details of Luke Skywalker’s storyline in Episode VII. And not just a little alike, but exactly. Elsa quickly develops powers beyond her control, a situation which spirals into the princess inadvertently injuring her sister, Anna, and leads Elsa into a self-imposed exile. She fears her own abilities so much that when the truth finally comes out, she rushes off into the mountains and builds a giant ice palace and catalyses a chain of events that has far-reaching effects for the whole kingdom, going a little nuts in the process. Her sister works up the courage to go looking for her, accompanied by a strapping young male hero and a hilarious anthropomorphic snowman named Olaf.
If this is sounding at all familiar to you, that’s because this exact storyline has been leaked and confirmed by numerous web outlets as the plot to Episode VII. Substitute Elsa’s sister for Luke’s niece Rey, played by Daisey Ridley, the strapping young hero for John Boyega’s stormtrooper Finn, and Olaf the snowman for the soccer ball-esque BB-8, and you have (if the leaks are true) what amounts to a force-sensitive remake of Frozen.
There’s no credible reason to believe that Disney would do this. It’s way too blatant. Reboots are one thing, but making a movie just like a previous movie is a sin that fans might not ever forget. Sure, Star Wars is founded on the principles of classical story elements and a strictly structured plotline. The Hero’s Journey as presented in A New Hope, has been lauded time and again for its example of textbook execution. And as the now infamous Red Letter Media prequel reviews pointed out, structuring a plot via classical story elements is a surefire way to build characters and plots that audiences can connect with. That said, it seems like there’s no way in the (now defunct) Expanded Universe that Disney would go so far as to immediately repeat a previously-told story to capitalize on past successes. At least I really hope not.
Part I of Red Letter Media's Phantom Menace Review (Not suitable for children, or really anyone else for that matter)
The most plausible solution, other than assuming a cynical, anti-studio stance against the new overlords of the Force, is that Disney has played an enormous prank on all of us. They’ve “leaked” the plot of Frozen and spun it to look like the storyline of The Force Awakens. It’s entirely possible that some of the leaked concept art is legitimate, and possibly some of the story details as well. But just enough to make you believe that Luke Skywalker has turned into a Disney Princess. After all, half-truths are the best truths.
However, if the leaks are genuine and this really does end up being Luke’s character arc in Episode VII, I think Disney owes us a Star Wars-themed remix of “Let It Go.”