What does the line “there’s been an awakening” mean? When does this awakening occur? Peter at /FILM has written a well-researched piece exploring the answers to that very question that most Star Wars fans are going to enjoy. As I began reading the piece, I thought I had my angle ready to present to Peter, a real contribution to the discussion. Peter hits all the angles even culminating in the double entendre and multiple interpretations of the title and past Star Wars titles, so check it out.
If we have all the facts and there isn’t something happening off screen, the “awakening” occurs when Rey starts to fly the Falcon on Jakku, in my opinion. The cosmic Force has been dormant in the aftermath of Luke’s fledgling Jedi tribe being destroyed by Ben Solo. Most of the Force use after this event that would occur, outside of Kylo Ren, would be via people with intuitive connections to the Force (like Maz Kanata). But that is the kind of thing that’s always happening. It isn’t notable. It wouldn’t be an “awakening.”
When Rey “borrows” that piece of garbage, the Falcon, she takes a moment, collects herself and immerses herself in controlling the Falcon, probably with the use of the Force. How could Anakin Skywalker control a Podracer when no human could do it? Via the Force, intuitively. Rey is doing the same thing. Rey is finally tapping in to that energy current she has known is there but hasn’t really embraced yet. After Rey and Finn escape Jakku in the Falcon, Rey is truly amazed and pleased with herself after realizing she could do such an amazing thing. At that moment, the Force awoke in her, or started to.
Dave Filoni (George Lucas’ “Padawan”) confirms that even Han (at 10:45 of this video) uses the Force to do what he does:
When he’s in the moment, doing what he loves best, flying on the edge, he’s probably tapped into the Force.
So lets take that moment that Han taps into the Force to do his amazing things and actually hand it over to someone that should or will become a Jedi and you have an awakening of sorts.
I don’t think the awakening for Rey happened all at one time though. Perhaps the Falcon itself was the first eye opening, if you will. It was the first semblance of waking consciousness that the Force exists in a malleable way. When Rey meets Maz Kanata, Maz really pushes things along by acknowledging the energy field that binds the galaxy together and probably makes an intuitive and abstract feeling and thought into something more tangible.
When Kylo Ren tries to mind-probe Rey, she’s already begun her awakening. The bad guys have already acknowledged it and felt it. But you’ll notice that Kylo stresses out big time after she escapes, exclaiming, “She’s just beginning to test her powers. The longer it takes to find her, the more dangerous she becomes.” With that line in mind, the awakening to me at least, sounds like a longer process than a single moment.
Still, if I had to identify the catalyst for that moment of awakening, it would be when Rey pilots the Falcon and it culminates with Rey closing her eyes, reaching out with the Force and repelling Kylo Ren with a lightsaber. She closes her eyes and when she opens them at the end of the film, the sleeping giant of the light has awoken.
I also totally buy into the idea that Luke Skywalker returning to the galaxy is a part of Rey’s awakening.
Head over to /FILM and read Peter’s full article if you haven’t already.