I love Star Wars: The Force Awakens (TFA). Basically the entire world loves it, evidenced by its evisceration of all box office records. Also, it somehow gets better every time you rewatch it. Those of us who have seen it multiple times have undoubtedly encouraged others stuck in their “it’s too similar to A New Hope” phase to give it another shot. “You’ll see,” we’ll collectively say, because I am totally the authority of how everyone feels. “The nuances of Rey’s character really spring to life on a second viewing.”
So we have this hugely successful movie with high rewatchability value… this damn thing is never leaving the theaters. Which means the likelihood of you, yes you personally, seeing it again are quite high. Why not? The theater viewing experience is great, especially if you want to give 3D a shot this time around, or if you happen to like eating popcorn for dinner. Yet it also means that when you need to go to the bathroom, there’s no pause button.
Fortunately, as a thrice-over veteran of this film, I have perfected TFA pee breaks to a damned science, and I’m here to share my wisdom. I now present you with a definitive ranking of the 10 scenes you should consider for these trips, from least ideal to most. This list includes spoilers.
10. Leia and Han’s reunion
Technically this scene comes right at the end of the “Maz Kanata” sequence, but as soon as Finn runs up to Han and says “he took her, did you see?”, GO. Trust me, you’ll be back in time for Rey and Ben’s occlumency practice, which you’re not allowed to skip under any circumstances.
Picking this moment does have some pros: it’s just a bit beyond halfway through the movie, and when you get back, it will just be the final, action-packed chapter ahead of you. There’s also the fact that we all kind of have to admit something here: Carrie Fisher’s performance is legit weird.
However, your willingness to skip Han and Leia’s reunion might mean that you’re dead inside, because look at that internalized guilt. Harrison Ford’s acting in this scene is so gripping, and it so perfectly sets up the emotions surrounding his death later. There’s also a chance that you won’t make it back in time to witness the hug that launched our social justice flagship, PoeFinn. That jacket does suit him.
9. Rey eats dinner
Okay, admittedly, “nothing happens” here that you need to watch, other than Daisy Ridley establishing Rey’s characterization without words. Plus, her making dinner and saving BB-8 from Teedo gives you plenty of time to get back to your seat.
But… what’s the matter with you? Why do you already have to pee? Did you chug an extra-large soda? I mean, I guess I get it; that one preview with the sloths at the DMV made us all look for distractions, but seven hells! Pull it together, guy.
8. The resistance explains their attack plans
You’re going to miss more Han and Leia feels, so I’ll judge you for that, but this is also your last chance to relieve yourself before poop gets real. Err… bad choice of phrase (damnit, Bryan Konietzko!).
Get up the second Daniel Craig drops his weapon for Ray, and you may not even miss Han and Leia’s final hug. Instead, you’ll just skip Miles from Lost explaining about how oscillators stabilize solar-powered weaponized planets. Still, the risk vs. reward on this is quite high, especially given that there’s only like a half an hour of the movie left at this point. Just hold it.
7. Rey and Finn try to fix the Falcon
Yeah, this scene is adequate for a low-middle ranking here. I mean nothing super “crucial” happens, and if you miss Han and Chewie walking onto the Falcon, you can just bring up the trailer on your phone afterwards. But this is also the kind of scene that makes TFA what it is. I mean, we have banter between two of our new heroes, and BB-8 gives a thumbs up with a blowtorch. If this is “skippable” to you, then what did you even come for?
I’m sorry, I’m getting accusatory. I should tone it back on this list determined by my own arbitrary parameters.
6. Finn drinks dirty water
Finn first arriving at Not!Mos Eisley is a pretty okay choice. It takes a while for him to climb out of the tie fighter, for the ship to get eaten, for Finn to wander to Not Eisley (yeah, I’m proud of myself), and to find a source of water.
There’s a chance you’ll miss the first three seconds of his interaction with Rey, but she just chases and clocks him with her big ol’ stick. You have plenty of padding to get back before she adorably scrunches up her nose and says “I’ve never met a Resistance fighter before.”
However, this only comes at a half hour in, so unless you’re looking to go twice, there’s better options to come.
5. Rey and Finn fly Falcon on Jakku
When Rey and Finn first fly the Falcon on Jakku, it’s safe to say we’re moving away from the “set-up” portion of the film, and into the “middle” portion. Which is, by the way, the official time you can start paying attention to your bladder.
Now, this kind of action sequence is thrilling to watch, and the Rey/Finn banter is kept constant throughout. I’d say this is another scene that is so quintessentially Star Wars. But at the end of the day, if the choice is between skipping an action sequence, and skipping dialogue, go with the former.
The way Abrams utilized the ship and the gun were inventive, there’s no denying. This is a good action sequence. But the fact is, if you head to the restroom at the beginning of this scene, you’ll still catch some of the chase at the end without feeling shafted. As Rey puts it, “the garbage will do.”
4. The Battle at Maz’s place
This is when the First Order and the Resistance both show up at Maz’s place. Did that planet even have a name? Not!Yavin IV? Or was that the Resistance’s base.
Anyway, what you’d be missing: Rey’s off in the woods learning how to use a blaster; Finn tries to hold his own with a lightsaber; Han reminds us why we’re okay with getting a new, young generation of protagonists; Kylo Ren confronts Rey; Poe and Finn give me Korrasami feels as the latter shouts, “that’s one hell of a pilot!”
There’s a lot going on, and none of it hurts. Rey’s first interaction with Kylo Ren in particular is gripping and rather important.
However, three things place this scene towards the top of my list. 1.) The timing couldn’t be better. This is just a little over halfway through the movie. 2.) Who Maz is or why we should care was never fully established, so aside from seeing how our heroes react to the circumstances, the buy-in for this battle is just sort of the generic tie fighters vs. x-wing. 3.) Fucking memes have ruined my ability to enjoy this scene, and I’m taking you down with me:
3. Hux’s speech and firing on the Republic
Perhaps this is splitting hairs, because Hux’s speech and the First Order firing on the Republic happens about 4 seconds before the scene I just described. And like, this is our only glimpse at the Republic, a governmental body I’ve been envisioning since I watched the collapse of the Empire in Return of the Jedi. But since the narrative doesn’t treat it as important, why should we?
There’s also the fact that Bill Weasley totally kills it in this scene. It’s a pretty moving speech too…kinda. A hell of a lot more compelling than the one Palpatine gave to “thunderous applause,” at the least. But, also, ♫ Godwin Godwin Godwin ♫! We get it; thanks Abrams.
2. The Maz sequence (interior)
Don’t you dare think about getting up before Han is done being a curmudgeonly dad with Rey! But right after that is fine. Or even a little bit longer after that.
You see the Maz sequence is a break in the action, and it’s definitely that point where you’re going to not be able to ignore your bladder. It’s also long, so you can tailor what you skip. The first part is the establishing shots with the not-at-all-subtle callbacks to Mos Eisley and Jabba’s Palace.
However this one comes at the cost of Ben holding up grandpa’s helmet and being all conflicted about the pull of the light.
After that, we’ve got Maz inserting herself in Han and Leia’s relationship issues. It’s also where Finn says that no one can win against the First Order, and he “runs,” much to Rey’s disappointment.
Finally, it ends with Rey’s vision quest thing, and trust me when I say that you can leave as she and BB-8 go thumping down the stairs, and get back before she tries to rebel against Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth.
Look, you want my actual opinion? Every part of this sequence is lovely. I personally wouldn’t want to miss any vague mention of Han and Leia’s relationship, a pivotal moment in Finn’s arc, or the first flashes of Rey’s destiny. But there’s no denying that it is situated at exactly the halfway mark, it’s a “break” in the action, and you can choose to leave during the part you remember best from your last viewing, which makes it a solid option.
Or you could make the smartest decision of all and go with the Kylie Endorsed™ choice for best bathroom break:
1. The rathtar scene
At just before the halfway mark, inconsequential to the main plot, and full of people and creatures we never see again, this sequence was made for those moviegoers who started their morning with an intense workout and then needed to hydrate heavily throughout the day to make up for it. Which is totally not something that I did before seeing The Dark Knight.
I mean, it’s kind of cute to see Harrison Ford argue with a Scottish gang and the all important Kanjiklub, I guess? And the tentacled rathtar things looked alright, for CGI. It’s just… aside from Rey’s funny “that was lucky” quip, I’m really not sure what was supposed to be holding my attention. It was fine, for what it was. It gave us a spurt of action before Maz. Okay.
But missing out on witnessing the results of Han’s midlife crisis (seriously, is he the world’s worst smuggler?) is really not something about which I’m going to feel too broken up. Unlike him and Leia.
So there you have it. May you have a happy and comfortable viewing.