Yeah, I said it: I've never seen a Star Wars film.
That is, I hadn't, until I went with two other BuzzFeeders, Will Varner and Maritsa Patrinos (and one former BuzzFeeder, Dan Meth) to see The Force Awakens.
Before the movie started, Will, Maritsa, and Dan, who are all very well-versed in the franchise, quizzed me on some Star Wars trivia to see how much I already knew. Turns out, I knew embarrassingly little.
Will Varner: What do you think Star Wars is about?
Me: Honestly, I don't know. All I know is that Darth Vader is the bad guy, and there's, like, the Death Star, which I guess is his ship? And, I don't know, does Luke fight against him and he doesn't know it's his dad?
WV: What does Luke fight with?
Me: Lightsaber. [laughs]
WV: What's a lightsaber?
Me: It's like a, some kind of radioactive, something. Well, it's not radioactive.
Dan Meth: Who are Luke's friends?
Me: I don't know. I have no idea.
Maritsa Patrinos: Do you know where Luke is from?
WV: What does Luke do besides fight Darth Vader?
Me: I feel like I should know that. Oh, he's a Jedi.
WV: Tell us, what does it mean to be a Jedi?
Me: Uhh...you have to train.
DM: What are the names of the robots?
Me: R2-D2 and C-3P0. R2-D2 is the short one and C-3P0 is the British one. [laughs]
WV: What are their personalities?
Me: R2-D2 is really quirky and just, like, I don't know, rolls around. I think C-3P0 is more intelligent and wise.
WV: What are the names of the Star Wars movies?
Me: Completely beats me. I know there are different episodes and they're in backwards chronological order, is that right? Is that right?!
WV: Sort of. Who are some of the women in Star Wars?
Me: Leia, and there's a queen. Right?
WV: Yes, there is a queen.
DM: I was like, "Nope," but then I was like, "Yeah, there is!"
MP: There's Leia, and there's a queen, and that's it, in the entire universe!
WV: When did the first Star Wars come out?
Me: Um...'70...I'm basing this on me watching That '70s Show pretty recently.
WV: That's a perfect sound byte.
DM: She knows That '70s Show better than Star Wars.
WV: What are some quotes?
Me: "Use the Force," and "Luke, I am your father."
DM: Name every character you can.
Me: I mean, that's all I know. Oh, Yoda is another one.
WV: What do you know about Yoda?
Me: He's the one that talks in that weird...way that he talks.
Me: He has big ears and wears a robe. Is he the one that trains Luke as a Jedi? And, oh...fuck. What's the name of that thing that Tanner* loves so much?
WV: We're not going to say.
MP: We don't discuss that.
Me: I love it because that thing is so annoying.
MP: Does he love to hate it?
WV: He loves to hate it, yeah.
Me: Oh, Jar Jar Binks, that's what it is.
MP: What movie is Jar Jar Binks in, do you know?
Me: I have no idea.
WV: What does Jar Jar Binks do?
Me: Uhh, I don't know, but he seems annoying, like, in a good way.
MP: Hard disagree.
WV: He's annoying, but not in a "good way."
[*The "thing" that Tanner (another Star Wars aficionado and co-worker) has is an infamous toy that is universally reviled around the office. You press a button and it dances to the cantina song (Yes, I know the cantina song), and it's VERY LOUD. Most people hate it, but I love it because of how annoying it is. Tanner also has displayed several other Jar Jar Binks toys prominently on his desk, which he bought on eBay.]
MP: Why does Darth Vader wear that suit?
Me: I don't know, does he not have a head? [laughs]
MP: I would love that.
DM: Who does the voice of Darth Vader?
Me: Oh, I know who it is but I can't remember his name.
WV: So, this movie is called The Force Awakens.
Me: I know!
WV: You tell us what's going to happen.
Me: Well, I'm assuming something, like, the good powers in the last movie, like, something happened, like, a bad thing happened in the last movie...
MP: Do you know what the Force is?
Me: Um, no, not really. Like, good powers? I don't know.
DM: Do you know the names of any of the aliens or alien species?
Me: No. Oh, I know another character, Chewbacca. He makes a funny noise.
DM: What's the name of the giant gross thing?
Me: Oh, um, yeah, I know that thing. It's Boba Fett, right? No, that's not right.
DM: No, I'm talking about Jabba the Hutt. [Oops. In my defense, the two names DO sound kind of similar!]
WV: Why do you think people care about Star Wars so much? Why this movie? It's just a movie.
Me: Because it's...I don't know, it's probably extremely influential; one of the most influential sci-fi movies, and one of the earliest ones, and probably really ahead of its time as far as special effects.
By the end of the discussion, all the experts agreed that Star Wars is influential, but that my overall knowledge of it was frighteningly shallow.
DM: I feel like now I know that you don't know anything.
Finally, the lights dimmed, the movie started, and I immediately started scribbling down a TON of mildly indecipherable notes. Here are some of my thoughts, questions, and observations (the ones I can read, at least):
1. BB-8 is slow. How is he even helping? This is something I stand by, and it will be a recurring theme in this post.
2. Darth Vader has a new helmet. I thought Kylo Ren was Darth Vader for a good third of the film.
3. Do lightsabers always kill?
4. That female Stormtrooper is cool.
5. What is happening?
6. BB-8 is sad and lonely. Someone get that dude a friend. I'm laughing at BB-8 at this point.
7. Leia's disguise looks like a Ninja Turtle. I still thought Rey was Leia. I didn't think the characters aged from one movie to the next; I thought they were just played by different actors.
8. What planet is this? Is this Earth?
9. What language is she speaking?
10. Again, BB-8 needs to be looked after/saved. He's like a lost dog. Shouldn't robots be self-sufficient? Leia taking care of BB-8 reminds me of the "Dumb Dog" scene from Annie. SMDH.
11. I still don't know who Darth Vader has captured. Han Solo?
12. I like Leia's hair.
13. Finn + Han Solo = bromance. I was actually talking about Poe Dameron, not Han Solo. I had no idea who anyone was.
14. Jakku? Is that where everyone is from?
15. It looks like it's hard to run in a Stormtrooper suit.
16. Darth Vader looks health goth.
17. WTF is that giant rhino thing? I HATE IT.
18. I don't think this is Leia anymore. I hope this girl and Finn fall in love. They obviously will. This is the main thing I care about at this point.
19. BB-8 is tragic.
20. Everyone is very excited that they're getting on a large ship. The ship looks familiar. It's like the S.S. Star Wars or something.
21. Darth Vader has major anger issues.
22. What's the First Order?
23. I think the First Order is Darth Vader's organization.
24. OK, THIS is Han Solo. And Chewie!
25. MILLENNIUM FALCON! That's the ship.
26. Han Solo is chill.
27. Not sure who these groups of people are who are mad at Han Solo.
28. What's that giant squid thing? I LOVE it.
29. WHO IS THE GIANT? He looks like a huge Voldermort. No one around me seems to know who this is. Hearing audible "WTF"s.
30. Huge Voldermort just confused me so much more, tbh. Is he like Health Goth Darth Vader's supervisor or something?
31. BB-8's helpful feaures: taser, projector...umm...lighter...
32. Han Solo has TONS of corny catchphrases. I wrote down "This was a mistake!" "Huge!" which I'm assuming was said by him, and which also obviously reminded me, again, of Arrested Development.
33. Are they on Earth now? How can they just casually breathe on all these planets? Are they human?
34. "You got a lot to learn." lol, Han Solo with another classic one-liner.
35. WAIT OMG THAT WASN'T DARTH VADER? THAT'S HIS SON? OR GRANDSON? Wow. That's Darth Vader's health goth son! Still not correct.
36. The First Order scene is VERY Nazi-esque. Shit.
37. BB-8 once again pulling the lost dog routine.
38. BB-8 offering some moral support.
39. "I like this thing" — Han shooting someone.
40. I hope Luke is in this. Where's Luke?
41. Health Goth Darth Vader and Rey should kiss.
42. HGDV wants BB-8. Why? He does NOTHING. Either they must just be best friends, or I missed the part where they explained why he's good.
43. Does Leia love Han Solo? Wait, they have a son? WHAT IS HAPPENING?
44. Poe is back! The bromance is ALIVE AGAIN!
45. I hope the big slug thing makes an appearance.
46. HGDV IS ADAM FROM GIRLS?!?? OMG.
47. I'M SO HAPPY.
48. I hope he calls Rey "Kid."
49. His hair looks great. Keep the helmet off.
50. Oops, I forgot to pay attention to what he was saying.
51. I think he's complaining to Huge Voldermort. He needs validation from him.
52. "Scavenger Scum" is me, actually.
53. BB-8 trying to be included during a strategy meeting.
54. Who can and cannot understand Chewie?
55. Finn will do what it takes to find Rey so he can smooch her.
56. OMG HGDV is Han Solo's son?? The plot thickens! I had heard someone mention that Han Solo was his father earlier on, but thought I heard wrong.
57. I drank too much coffee and really have to pee.
58. I think HGDV is gonna jump! Uh...never mind!
59. OH FUCKING SHIT! YOU FUCKING HEALTH GOTH LIAR! I HATE YOU! BAD SON! BAD SON!! He didn't even get a last catchphrase!
60. You made Chewie cry! I get the feeling you don't want to get on Chewie's bad side. Chewie will get his revenge!
61. Keep the sweaty HGDV close-ups comin'!
62. DID FINN DIE? Nah, they'll fix him.
63. Who makes/manufactures clothing and uniforms in this universe?
64. R2-D2 decided to wake up. Is Luke coming?
65. LOL, BB-8 is like, "Finally, a friend!"
66. BB-8 finally helped by completing a HOLOGRAM PUZZLE.
67. FOREHEAD SMOOCH! Not exactly the long-awaited Finn/Rey kiss I had been hoping for, but it'll do.
68. Leia and Rey have had a costume change. Rey is RUNWAY READY now.
69. Rey is walking up this cool, twisted mountain path — it reminds me of the game Monument Valley. I hope THAT becomes a movie. If Angry Birds can be adapted for film, truly anything is possible.
70. OK, is this the Jedi teacher? But not Yoda. Wait, is this Boba Fett?
71. Wait, it's over? OK.
We concluded the viewing with another interview to see how much I had learned.
MP: So, what'd you think?
Me: I liked it! I thought the special effects were really good, and the score was really good. I think I was paying attention to that and the costumes almost more than the plot — like I was kind of confused about the plot.
WV: What questions do you have about the plot?
Me: Some of the backstory stuff, like I was wondering when Luke was going to come, and then he never did,** and for a long time I thought that guy was Darth Vader, and then he wasn't.
WV: Which guy?
Me: Uh, I don't know his name, that's the thing — the guy — their son.
WV: Kylo Ren.
DM: Did they say Ben? Is that his given name?
WV: Yeah, Ben.
Me: Ben? Is that his name?
WV: I guess so. I guess that's his given name, and he changed it.
Me: I also thought that...I forgot that girl's name already, I keep forgetting it — Rey — I thought she was Leia for a long time. I don't know what else I was specifically confused about.
WV: What do you understand about the Republic?
Me: The Republic is the dark side, right?
WV: What did you learn about the Force?
Me: Some people just have it inherently, and some people don't, and Rey ended up realizing she had it, which means something. I don't know what that means.
MP: What can you do with it?
Me: Mind power and mind control. Is that the whole thing? Like, you can train your mind to control other people?
WV: Part of it.
Me: All right. [laughs]
WV: What was the relationship between Han Solo and Chewbacca?
Me: I don't know, they're best friends?
WV: What's the purpose of the robots?
Me: I think it's a utility thing, but C-3P0 seems way more intelligent and "human."
MP: Who's your favorite character?
Me: Probably Chewie; he was so cute. And then he got really sad.
[**After this interview, I was informed that the guy Rey meets on the mountain at the very end is, in fact, Luke. I didn't pick up on that at all at the time.]