“Go to the Ant thou Sluggard, Consider her Ways and Be Wise…”
When you want to overawe a man and usurp the rational power of his mind it’s an ancient and effective technique to make him feel physically small in comparison to something else. Drawing his inference from the natural world, man equates his lack of comparative size to weakness and, in a short intuitive leap, to metaphysical inconsequence.
The Pyramids, the great temples of Balbak, Karnak and Angkor Watt, St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the Spring Temple Buddha of Zhoacun Township in China which stands over 500 feet tall, demonstrate that the rhetorical trick of the monumental display is thousands of years old and as strong today than ever.
In The Force Awakens it’s cosmic villainy that casts itself large. The Starkiller base is many times larger than the original Death Star, which itself was famously the size of a small moon. The storm troopers of the First Order stage a giant Nazi- like rally, complete with maniacal, screeching, oratory. Most conspicuously, the Arch Villain, the quasi-mystical Supreme Leader Snoke is seen as a giant hologram 100 feet tall.
Conversely, in the Star Wars Universe, the good guys are often small in number and size. It’s a rag tag group of only six that rescues Lea from the thousands of imperial troops in a New Hope and in the set battle pieces the rebels are always outnumbered. Yoda, perhaps the most powerful character in the series, is also the smallest. “Size matters not,” he tells Luke on Dagobah.
Notably the first thing you notice about Kylo Ray when he makes his initial appearance on screen in the new film, aside from his mask, is that he’s a normal sized man, not nearly as imposing as Darth Vader, who when in his full armor, was supposed to be nearly be 7 feet tall.