My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. We all have it.
And by “it” I don’t mean the Force… Unfortunately, we measly humans don't have access to the coveted Jedi power. But what we do have is a sweltering fever for Star Wars, and it’s as hot as Princess Leia in a gold bikini. Even those who have never watched a single Star Wars movie before are jumping onto the bandwagon. Something about it is just so intriguing.
The Star Wars franchise is worth a whopping $30 billion, and even after Disney acquired Lucasfilm back in 2012, the legendary series still managed to retain every member of its colossal following. Must be quite the story.
In honour of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, this article assigns a Star Wars character to various universities in Ontario. I’ve decided to focus mainly on characters that appeared in the latest movie. Though the developments for the new characters aren’t as in-depth yet, a lot was still revealed about them in their movie debut. A warning to all readers: this article contains spoilers, so if you haven’t watched the latest movie yet, you might want to do so first before you continue reading. Here are 9 Ontario Universities As Star Wars characters:
1. Luke Skywalker - University of Toronto
It's been roughly 30 years since the Battle of Endor, and Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be found. Literally. He rarely appears in Episode VII, since the entire movie is based on finding out where he's been hiding all this time. Nevertheless, Luke is undeniably one of the most beloved characters in the entire franchise and he deserves a mention. He's come a long way from being that young, sheltered farm boy from Tatooine, and his days of being a "new" hope for the universe have long past. Throughout the saga, he has grown into a powerful Jedi warrior and has accomplished astronomical feats with his friends, including the destruction of two Death Stars, the defeat of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine, and the consequential takedown of the Empire (at least, for the time being).
Comparatively, the University of Toronto has also achieved its own share of game-changing triumphs in its lifespan so far. It's name is thrown around everywhere just like Luke's is, and its students are surely destined for the same calibre of greatness as him. Like Luke, UofT students can sometimes be impatient, reckless and impulsive; especially when it comes to finishing their heavy workloads. They desire to be a part of something larger than themselves, and often get into situations where they are in over their heads (ex., thinking they can learn an entire course in a single night). UofT students take on the same path of self-discovery that Luke did; starting off as vulnerable freshmen and eventually evolving into wholly confident individuals. In no time, they'll also be walking into Jabba's palace completely unarmed.
Photo cred - craveonline.com
Han Solo - Western University
In a way, Episode VII was kind of Han's story. He also didn't make many appearances in the movie; however, his presence was still crucial since he was essentially the bridge between old characters and new. Han's character evolution, in a basic sense, could be described as "reckless boy turned responsible man". Back in 1977, we were introduced to an arrogant, cynical and selfish Han who only cared about other people's concerns if there was something in it for him. 30 years after the the Battle of Endor, we see a much more noble Han; a Han that is less selfish and more trustworthy. Of course, fragments of the "old" Han still surface now and then, and that's not a bad thing at all. Besides, without his characteristic sarcasm and humour, Star Wars just wouldn't be the same.
Western University shares several similarities with Han. Its student community is known for being very lively and spirited, and these traits are a reflection of Han's charismatic personality. Similar to Han, Western students have the tendency to be headstrong and mischievous but are also wise and accomplished. Despite the stereotypes held against them claiming that they are selfish and untrustworthy, Western students actually have hearts of gold and are extremely loyal to their friends, just like Han. Western students progress from being party animals to honourable members of the society without losing their likeable charm; a trajectory that is akin to Han's progression from galactic smuggler to Resistance battalion leader.
Photo cred - radiofresh.bg
3. Leia Organa - McMaster University
Princess Leia is the quintessential poster child for success. She's highly involved in galactic affairs - she's the Princess of Alderaan, a representative of the Imperial Senate, a key member of the Rebellion and a General in the Resistance against the First Order. On top of all this, Jedi blood also runs through her veins (she's Luke's sister after all), and in following her family's legacy she became a full-fledged Jedi knight for the New Jedi Order at the end of the Swarm War. Relationship wise, she's still romantically-linked to Han after all these years. In fact, they had three children together; one of which ends up becoming the main antagonist in Episode VII. All in all, Princess Leia defies all of the cutesy princess stereotypes and proves that women can be forces of nature too.
Like Leia, McMaster University is also no stranger to accomplishment. It's students are intellectual, multitalented and highly involved in their community. They are devoted to the same cause of freedom that Leia is, and this often makes them radical and outspoken. One stereotype against McMaster students is one claiming that they are somewhat uptight and don't know how to have fun. Such description is in line with Princess Leia's overall personality, as she is more about business than pleasure. Nevertheless, McMaster students are just as determined as Princess Leia, and they're surely meant to do great things in the future.
Photo cred - telegraph.co.uk
4. Finn - Ryerson University
Finn is one of the new guys to the story. Initially, he's a Stormtrooper for the First Order, and a very good one at that - his commander Captain Phasma even said that his "targeting was exemplary" and that the rest of his comrades should take example from him. However, a moral struggle eventually leads Finn to abandon his post as a Stormtrooper and join the Resistance movement instead. All his life he was led to believe that the First Order was necessary to bring order to a lawless galaxy; that is, until he met Rey, a Jakku scavenger and Resistance member who he quickly became friends with upon chance encounter. Although there is no confirmation whether Finn is Force-sensitive or not, he was able put up a fight against Kylo Ren (the evil son of Han and Leia) using Luke Skywalker's light saber.
Ryerson and Finn share the same conflict of confused identity. Ryerson University is constantly faced with the uncertainty of whether it is actually a university or a high school in disguise in the same way that Finn struggles to decide whether he is a Stormtrooper or Resistance warrior. Nevertheless, Ryerson students approach things with an admirable perseverance, and they are protective of those they care about (ex. they have each others' backs when it comes to notes or assignment-sharing). Like Finn, they also have a solid moral compass and always aim to do the right thing.
Photo cred - starwars.com
5. Rey - University of Waterloo
Rey is another newcomer. She's a resident of the desert planet of Jakku and has spent most of her life relying on scavenging to survive. Living alone has helped her become tough, and she's picked up a few skills that make her an valuable asset, including melee combat and tinkering. She has stood up to most of the local thugs in her area, and was even able to defeat Kylo Ren in an epic light saber duel. She is also force-sensitive, having been called to the very light saber used by both Luke and Anakin Skywalker. Her knowledge of mechanics is deeply extensive, perhaps even more than that of Han Solo himself, as she was able to repair his Millennium Falcon even if it hadn't been flown in over a decade.
Because Rey is so technologically savvy, she is the perfect representative for the University of Waterloo, which has been coined "the Silicon Valley of Canada". Like Ren, University of Waterloo students are quick learners with natural abilities. They approach difficult situations, such as midterms and exams, with an unexpected calm and focus. They can also relate to Rey's scavenger lifestyle, as living away from home often necessitates improvisation when it comes to food and, well, survival in general. Furthermore, Rey's Jedi potential can be compared to the promising potential of UW students, who are often sought after by esteemed employers.
6. Kylo Ren - York University
Kylo Ren is the son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. As a child, he was sent to Jedi training along with other kids who were also Force-sensitive. As he grew older, he became obsessed with his grandfather, Darth Vader, and wanted nothing more than to "finish what he [Vader] started." Regardless of the positive role models in his life, like Luke Skywalker (who was his uncle and Jedi mentor), he was still more inclined to the Dark Side. Technically he isn't a Sith; however, he definitely aspires to be one someday. He operates under the command of Supreme Leader Snoke, one of the leaders of the First Order, who taught him how to access the Dark Side of the Force. However, Kylo Ren could never fully harness the power, and was told that he would only be able to do so if he killed his own father. That being said, here's a BIG spoiler for you - we say bye bye to Han Solo in Episode VII.
York University and Kylo Ren both face the same unfair stereotype that they are inferior. York University, despite being extremely successful and reputable, is often seen as subordinate to other universities in Ontario. Kylo Ren experiences this same devaluing; being told that he will never be as great as his idol, Darth Vader. Regardless, both York University and Kylo Ren have proven themselves to be worthy on more occasions than one. YorkU has put forth some amazing alumni, and Kylo Ren was able to achieve his ambition of completely embracing the Dark Side by killing his own father.
Photo cred - cinemablend.com
7. Poe Dameron - University of Guelph
Poe Dameron is a member of the Resistance and is one of its most talented pilots. He continues in the footsteps of past heroes like Wedge Antilles, and leads a team of X-wing fighters known as the "Black Squadron". Poe is extremely determined and committed to the Resistance cause. When Kylo Ren invaded Jakka in search of a piece of intel regarding Luke Skywalker's location, Poe acted quickly by giving the intel to his droid, BB-8, and covering for it while it escaped. He's also a very selfless and cooperative character - he let Finn keep his leather jacket even when Finn tried to return it to him, and also willingly agreed to help Finn save Rey when she was captured by the First Order without hesitation.
Like Poe, Guelph students are selfless and trusting of others. They aren't quick to judge and they usually give people the benefit of the doubt. Guelph students also generally have their priorities in check, just like Poe does. Most of the time they'll refuse to go to The Bullring Pub until their assignments have been finished to completion. One conflict that both Guelph students and Poe typically encounter involves a commitment to duty versus a commitment to one's comrades. Guelph students generally have each others' backs, and will typically choose to help those in need even if it means sacrificing some of their own study time.
8. Captain Phasma - Queen's University
Captain Phasma is an avid loyalist of the First Order and the ruthless leader of the next generation of Stormtroopers. She is extremely influential, having convinced her entire team that the First Order should be put above all, even their own lives. She's also a keen observer of behaviour (ex. she noticed Finn had doubts about allegiance to the First Order) and an obsessive perfectionist (ex. she prides herself for having memorized all the serial numbers of the storm troopers under her command). With her tactical intelligence and die-hard professionalism, Captain Phasma is a force to be reckoned with.
Queen's students share many similarities with Captain Phasma. Queen's is a top-tier institution and it's name alone guarantees its students a high level of influence in the professional world. Queen's students are also leaders in every sense and contribute to several global research initiatives. Despite their reputation for throwing crazy parties, Queen's students exhibit the same type of commendable professionalism that Captain Phasma does.
9. BB-8 - Wilfrid Laurier University
BB-8 is an astromech droid for the Resistance force. Like R2-D2, it carries sensitive Jedi technology, and is constantly pursued throughout the movie by the First Order. After Poe orders it to flee with the Jedi intel during a surprise encounter with Kylo Ren, BB-8 encounters Rey and ends up accompanying her throughout her adventure.
Like BB-8, Laurier students make great companions. They're good friends to have especially in Waterloo, since they generally like to explore the city and often know the best places to go. In this sense, they kind of carry useful 'intel' in the same way the BB-8 does. Also, BB-8 is such a little cutie. Laurier can probably relate to this because it's got some cute people in its student body.
If you enjoyed this article, make sure to also check out my other articles in this series: