GA-97 Is the Most Important Character in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens'

Not Finn or Poe or Rey. Here's why the Resistance has a little droid at Maz's castle to thank for helping defeat the First Order.


Director J.J. Abrams’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a rousing space adventure, a throwback to the vibe of the original trilogy, and a perfect starting point for the new chapters in the saga. It is not, however, something that demands a ton of attention paid to the intricacies of the plot… but for those zeroing in on the little things, there is indeed one very small, seemingly insignificant detail on which the entire movie hinges. Take it away, and you could wrap up the entire saga right then and there. The Dark Side would swallow the light, the First Order would defeat the Resistance, everything the Skywalkers worked for would be moot. That this didn’t happen is all thanks to one little droid.

About an hour into The Force Awakens, Han (Harrison Ford, natch) brings Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) to the remote castle retreat run by his old friend and mystic, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o). The former stormtrooper and the desert scavenger are both trying to get somewhere. Finn needs to hitch a ride on a spaceship to escape the First Order, and Rey needs to get back to Jakku.

This movie’s version of Yoda hears them out, says she’s seen some shit so they won’t be able to pull one over on her, and imparts some wisdom on the group before the First Order shows up and destroys the entire place in an attempt to kidnap BB-8. If you recall, the little BB unit is carrying what’s essentially a little thumb drive that carries potential coordinates to Luke Skywalker’s mysterious location. Soon enough, the Resistance swoops in with Poe Dameron and a whole squadron of their best X-Wing pilots to fend the bad guys off, but not before Kylo Ren makes off with Rey, whose mind he plans to mine for the map’s contents. But how and why did this all go down? GA-97, that’s how.

Poe gets all the credit for saving the Resistance, but it's all about GA-97.

You’ll also recall that right as Han saunters in with his ragtag group of stowaways and their droid, another little rickety robot perks up, and without a hesitation talks into a little intercom to let the Resistance know that BB-8 is in the building. We’ll chalk it up to some inter-droid identification system to explain just how GA-97 knew in an instant that the BB unit that rolled into Maz’s castle was the one carrying the precious Skywalker information.

What makes it even crazier is that the First Order gets the jump on BB-8 because a humanoid named Bazine Netal also alerts them to BB-8’s presence.

Bazine Netal, unaware of the phrase "snitches get stitches."

We’ll assume that Maz’s castle is some interplanetary hub, just like the cantina on Mos Eisley in A New Hope, where a lot of people who want to disappear show up, and maybe both sides have a network of spies just positioned throughout the galaxy. But the coincidence of a Resistance-friendly droid and a First Order-friendly alien being in that exact spot, in that exact instance is a bit much.

This, however, plays into the tradition of important coincidences that have dotted the Star Wars saga since the beginning. Let’s run down a quick list of the skeptic’s favorites:

  • In A New Hope, C3P0 and R2-D2, carrying the Death Star plans, take the escape pod off Leia’s ship and land, of all the places, on Tatooine, the home of Leia’s secret brother and a place where Artoo and Threepio have visited before. Also, Threepio was built by Anakin, Luke and Leia’s father, who previously lived on the pla
  • In The Empire Strikes Back, Obi-Wan instructs Luke to head to the Dagobah System, and he just so happens to land at the exact spot on the exact planet where Yoda is hiding.
  • In The Phantom Menace, Qui-Gonn hides out with Padme on Tatooine, the one planet that’s the home of the kid who was prophesized to bring balance to the Force.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, Chewbacca and Yoda happen to meet in battle on the Wookiee planet of Kashyyyk decades before Chewbacca met Han Solo and helped save the galaxy with the help of Luke, the Jedi Yoda would eventually train.
  • In The Force Awakens, Rey just so happens to run into BB-8 and the map before also running into a stormtrooper looking for the same map. After that they just so happen to stumble across the Millennium Falcon, which just so happens to be on the same planet as the map is on and once belonged to Han Solo who suddenly finds it too. Also, Han also conveniently happens to have been best friends of the guy who the map leads to, and was in a relationship with the leader of the Resistance.
  • Also, two generations of Fetts just happen to be involved at the highest levels of two different intergalactic wars.

The point is that coincidences are part of Star Wars as much as the Force is part of Star Wars. But, plain and simple, take away GA-97 coincidentally being in Mazs castle and the Resistance would have been fucked. The First Order would have swept in by surprise, demolished the castle, most likely would have killed Han, Chewie, Finn, Rey, all of Maz’s friends and patrons, and made off with the droid Kylo Ren was looking for without any resistance from the, well, Resistance.

Chewie may not have gotten a medal at the end of A New Hope, but Leia better have made that little droid a general or something after that. The Resistance still lives to fight another day all thanks to a little insignificant droid named GA-97.

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