GET UP TO LIGHT SPEED

Your crib sheet for The Force Awak­ens

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Star Wars The Force Awakens -

We’ve plun­dered press re­leases, in­ter­views, nov­els, comics and games* to piece to­gether what’s been hap­pen­ing since Re­turn Of The Jedi. Facts in black, SFX spec­u­la­tion in red.

SOON AF­TER RE­TURN Of THE JEDI...

The em­pire didn’t go qui­etly af­ter the em­peror’s demise. Im­pe­rial rem­nants con­tin­ued to fight the Re­bel­lion (soon re­branded as the new Re­pub­lic) across the gal­axy.

The late em­peror left a “will” com­mand­ing loyal of­fi­cers to purge plan­ets of strate­gic im­por­tance – in­clud­ing his homeworld, na­boo.

A piv­otal bat­tle took place be­tween the new Re­pub­lic and the em­pire over the desert world of Jakku, a year af­ter the Bat­tle of en­dor. The skir­mish is where the Star de­stroyer In­flic­tor (the wreck seen in the sec­ond trailer) crash-landed on the planet.

darth Vader turned into an icon and a mar­tyr – acolytes painted “Vader Lives” tags on walls, while his lightsaber be­came a sought-af­ter col­lec­tor’s item.

While on a mis­sion to lib­er­ate Im­pe­rial-oc­cu­pied star sys­tems, Han Solo and chew­bacca de­fied or­ders and gath­ered a rag­tag as­sort­ment of smug­glers and scoundrels in a quest to lib­er­ate chewie’s homeworld, Kashyyyk.

Some Man­dalo­rian ar­mour “pit­ted and pocked, as if with some kind of acid” was found on Ta­tooine. If this doesn’t mean Boba Fett es­caped the sar­lacc, it’s a very cruel joke.

OVER THE NEXT 30 YEARS...

The First Or­der, a group with sim­i­lar ideals to the em­pire, will even­tu­ally spring up to take its place. chuck Wendig’s Af­ter­math novel, set af­ter the Bat­tle Of en­dor, re­vealed a name­less, ma­nip­u­la­tive Im­pe­rial ad­mi­ral who, believ­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion had be­come an “ugly, inel­e­gant ma­chine”, moved to fill the post-Pal­pa­tine power vac­uum. We’re as­sum­ing he played a key role in the for­ma­tion of the First Or­der – who knows, he may turn out to be the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s lead­ing light, supreme Leader snoke.

A new or­gan­i­sa­tion called the Re­sis­tance will be­come the prin­ci­pal ad­ver­sary of the First Or­der. They carry rebel al­liance in­signia, so it looks like the group will grow out of the new re­pub­lic.

THE FORCE AWAK­ENS ERA

The Jedi and the Force have ap­par­ently dis­ap­peared into myth.

The First Or­der has built a new su­per­weapon to put the death Star to shame. Starkiller Base is an ice planet armed with the fire­power to wipe out en­tire star sys­tems. The fa­cil­ity is com­manded by gen­eral Hux.

Episodes I-IX (the “Saga” movies) fo­cus on the Sky­walker fam­ily, so pre­sum­ably at least one of the new char­ac­ters will con­tinue the lin­eage. JJ Abrams says “it’s com­pletely in­ten­tional that [Rey and Finn’s] last names aren’t pub­lic record,” so don’t be sur­prised if one (or both) turns out to be a chip off the old sky­walker or solo block.

Finn is a First Or­der Stormtrooper who de­cides he’s “got noth­ing to fight for” and does a run­ner. We’ve seen him bran­dish­ing Anakin and Luke’s old lightsaber – does he feel the Force, or is this a red her­ring?

Finn will join forces with Rey , a scav­enger on Jakku. She claims she’s “no one”, but the trailer im­plies the Force is call­ing to her.

Poe dameron is the “best frickin’ pi­lot in the gal­axy”, sent on a mis­sion by a princess. His par­ents fought along­side Han, Luke and Leia in the Rebel Al­liance, and he grew up on yavin IV near a tree (taken from the old Jedi Tem­ple) that feels the Force. Could all three leads be Force sen­si­tive?

Maz Kanata is a pi­rate and the owner of a cas­tle pop­u­lated by a Jabba’s Palace-like ar­ray of aliens. Our guess is she’s the alien on the poster, and prob­a­bly the per­son hand­ing Luke’s lightsaber to Leia in the sec­ond trailer. We also reckon it’s her voice talk­ing about let­ting the Force in in the lat­est trailer.

Shiny Stormtrooper cap­tain Phasma is the big-screen fran­chise’s first fe­male vil­lain and, says ac­tress gwen­do­line christie, “the cap­tain of the Stormtroop­ers”.

Bad guy Kylo Ren is a mem­ber of the Knights of Ren and seem­ingly Vader’s big­gest fan. He built his own lightsaber, but is not a Sith – he’s more of a dark Side work-in-progress, who works for Snoke.

Snoke is the owner of the voice talk­ing about “an awak­en­ing” in the first teaser. He’s a per­for­mance-cap­ture char­ac­ter, so could be alien, ma­chine or a hu­man with some kind of aug­men­ta­tion.

Luke is not on the poster. Abrams has said “it’s no ac­ci­dent”.

C-3PO has some­how ac­quired a red arm.

We still have no idea who or what Max Von Sy­dow is play­ing.

Jar Jar Binks may fea­ture – as a skele­ton in the desert.

* We’ve only used le­git­i­mate sources, so there’s noth­ing here from leaked scripts!

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