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After watching The Force Awakens, I couldn't help but think it's a total remake of A New Hope given the amount of similar subplots.

I've listed entire subplots of both movies that are identical in story (but not in realisation). Are there others? Which ones?

  1. An important message is given to a droid and the droid is sent on its own on a sand-planet to protect that message. The message is about something very important for both main factions of the galaxy and has to be delivered to the group later joined by the protagonist. The antagonist sends his troops after that droid.

  2. The protagonist is a 20-something year old living on a sand planet who rescues/retrieves that droid from scavengers. They find a rebel guy and get off the sand-planet with him (on the Falcon Millenium) after the situation has become unsustainable.

  3. In terms of objects, the protagonist acquires the lightsaber of the previous trilogy's protagonist and happens to be really good with spaceships.

  4. The antagonist answers to a bigger, shady villain. He has for home a planet-wide weapon made to destroy planets and is a real big deal there.

  5. The protagonist's group finishes its plan to destroy the planet-wide weapon and sends a X-Wings there to destroy its weak point.

  6. The antagonist kills his previous "figure of authority", furthermore in a situation that was provoked by that previous "figure of authority".

  7. The planet-wide weapon is destroyed just seconds before it can fire again, thanks to the protagonist's friends' best pilot.

Please respect the following:

  • limit yourself to entire character-focused situations or subplots;
  • make the description easily identifiable;
  • do not include specific or anecdotal scenes, cameos or nods.
  • Can anyone not bothered by spoilers edit my question to properly hide the spoilers? It seems I can't use >! as described in the help page. – Olivier Grégoire Dec 18 '15 at 23:46
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    You can use the >! spoiler tag, but it does’t work well with paragraphs unless there is some content between the paragraphs. I added empty HTML comment tags (<!-- -->) to fix it. This work quite well for the markdown processing here on Stack Exchange when something should work seems to choke. – JakeGould Dec 18 '15 at 23:49
  • Thank you, I really didn't want to make anyone angry by leaving these plots visible like that. I hope no one has actually been spoiled. – Olivier Grégoire Dec 18 '15 at 23:52
  • I think you are fine. I’ve seen worse spoilers and I posted an answer since there are things I noticed I wanted to post about. In general, The Force Awakens uses Star Wars (aka: A New Hope) as an overall template, but there are allusions to action in other original trilogy films as well. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 0:14
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    Indeed, but given the timestamps, this question was first, so I dare to say that it's the other question that is strongly related to this one :-p – Olivier Grégoire Dec 24 '15 at 10:17
9

As far as the first Star Wars film (aka: A New Hope) goes this struck me as similar:

  1. A group of innocent villagers—as a well as a tangentially connected protector/ally—are indiscriminately massacred by soldiers hunting for the lost droid. Remember how Jawas were killed and Uncle Ben and Aunt Beru were killed in Star Wars? Pretty much like that whole opening scene in The Force Awakens plot-wise.

And this:

  1. A key protagonist is rescued from imprisonment by someone unknown to the protagonist but sympathetic to their cause and is dressed as a Stormtrooper. In A New Hope Leia is rescued from the Death Star by Luke and Han (disguised as Stormtroopers) and Chewbacca (their supposed prisoner). Leia knows who Ben Kenobi is, but she doesn’t know who this “short” Stormtrooper (aka: Luke) is who breaks into her prison cell to rescue her but believes him and follows him. In The Force Awakens an actual Stormtrooper who is sick of what he does as a Stormtrooper decides to rescue a key Resistance pilot to escape the First Order. The Resistance pilot has no idea who this Stormtrooper is but follows him to escape. This also parallels the backstory of Luke’s friend Biggs Darklighter who leaves the Empire to join the Rebellion as well. And even Han Solo’s backstory as well. As explained here, Han was an Imperial Officer and he was ordered to kill Chewbacca—who was rescuing Wookie children destined to be used as slaves—but didn’t. The friendship helped convince Han Solo to leave the Imperial Navy and become a smuggler instead.

On that last note:

  1. In general, people discover new choices in life and decide to follow them. Luke discovers a whole new world via the droids and Ben Kenobi and the Rebellion. Finn decides he’s sick of the murder and bloodshed he sees and defects with the aid of a Resistance pilot. Rey and Finn meet up and discover their destinies are better off elsewhere with the help of a droid. Han Solo and Chewbacca in both films are smugglers who are in debt but then realize that helping their friends in the end is the best thing they can do.

And this is a snarky Internet meme image being passed around, but I believe it’s pretty much on the nose as far as Star Wars/The Force Awakens parallels go:

  1. Snarky Internet meme explaining how “The Force Awakens” is just a rehash of the first “Star Wars” film.

  • The first plot description is spot-on! The second plot you describe is part of my second plot description. In the third plot description, would you care to elaborate? When I try to remember The Force Awakens, I have no clue who you're speaking about (mostly because the only scene I see has the protagonist know everybody). Also, this question is specifically about A New Hope / The Force Awakens, not about other movies (I had most of what you wrote for the other films, but the similarity is much more striking with A New Hope, hence the specificity of the question). – Olivier Grégoire Dec 19 '15 at 0:36
  • @OlivierGrégoire Did you see The Force Awakens? Check my edits to that point and others. – JakeGould Dec 19 '15 at 0:48
  • Yes, I saw it last Wednesday (day of release over here). And thanks, your explanation is clearer: I was stuck in the 3rd pard of The Force Awakens – Olivier Grégoire Dec 19 '15 at 0:49
  • I don't know what to do with this answer. It basically holds only three points as requested and limited by the question - specifically for clarity - and goes way beyond in the clarity limit or the movies as it takes non-movie background and other movies into the dump. I'll be clear, I can't accept it as it is. Keep points 1, 3, 4 and 10 (and mayyybe 2 but is a duplicate of one of the points I already highlighted in the question) for the accepted answer. The rest is too much and, IMO, pollutes the answer to the specific question asked. Now, I'm not forcing you nor am I gonna change the answer. – Olivier Grégoire Dec 19 '15 at 11:52
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    "the backstory of Luke’s friend Biggs Darklighter who leaves the Empire to join the Rebellion as well" -- is this actually canon? I know that a scene where Biggs told Luke that he was joining the Imperial Navy and planning on jumping ship to get to the Rebels was in the original screenplay, but the scene was cut. Did any references to how Biggs reached the Rebels survive? – Jules Jun 11 '17 at 17:13

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