GET UP TO LIGHT SPEED
Your crib sheet for 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!