This blog post will serve as a master post containing any OFFICIAL (that is, trailers, teasers, TV spots, or official tie-in material, panels, actor accounts or confirmations) information we have received about The Force Awakens (2015) so far. NOTHING unofficial will be reported here: this post will contain no rumors unless officially confirmed, so this post will be generally free from true spoilers the average fan could not find easy access to.
“Who is Luke Skywalker?”
Returning Heroes: We know that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia will return alongside R2-D2, C-3PO, and Chewbacca. Other returning heroes include Nien Numb and Admiral Ackbar. No word yet on Lando Calrissian’s return or any other smaller favorites. What have our heroes been up to? When Disney took over Lucasfilm, all books, comics, and media produced before 2015 is now labelled as Legends, or non-canon. That means that we won’t see anything like Jacen and Jaina Solo, the Yuuzhan Vong Invasion, the Dark Nest Trilogy, Jacen’s turn to Darth Caedus and the Second Galactic Civil War and the Corellian Rebellion, nor do we see the search for Mortis that comes from the battle with Callista and the One Sith Order.
New names: After the death of Emperor Palpatine, the Empire gets a face lift. It is no longer known as the Imperial Alliance; rather, it is known as the First Order. The First Order is led by Andy Serkis’ character Supreme Leader Snoke and Captain Phasma. Domhnall Glesson plays General Hux, commander of the mysterious hidden base known as Starkiller Base. The Rebel Alliance gets a new name, too. The newly victorious Rebel Alliance forms into the New Republic, but are still met with opposition by the First Order. They are known as the Resistance by 35 ABY, showing that even after the Empire kicked off over 50 years ago our heroes have yet to prevail over it and are still the underdogs in the Galactic Civil War
New heroes: So far, we have meet four new heroes.
-We have seen Rey on a beat-up speeder in a scavenger outfit (with another junkyard scavenger released in the Celebration costume department show) with a giant staff. With no official reveal of her last name, fans speculate that Rey is either a Skywalker or a Solo. She is a scavenger who prefers her alone time, but when war comes to Jakku, she can’t help but be swept up in the adventure of a lifetime.
-Finn was also introduced without a last name, but we see him in a Stormtrooper suit on the run from a probe droid. He joins the Resistance at some point and carries and wields Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber against Kylo Ren.
-Poe Dameron was introduced as an X-Wing pilot, but models reveal that he flies with BB-8, the cute little rolling droid. He is Leia Organa’s mentee, and one of the best pilots in the galaxy. His parents fought in the Battle of Endor. He flies alongside another pilot named Ello Asty and his X-Wing is serviced by Goss Toowers.
New (and updated villains): The First Order is quickly filling with new villains, all with classic styled but radically new looks.
-Kylo Ren was introduced with no small amount of controversy. Our first look at the villain showed his back as he lit a lightsaber….and revealed a crossguard blade. His true genealogy is still a secret, but in spirit he carries on the Skywalker legacy as he modeled his mask and life after Darth Vader. His surname, Ren, is not actually a name: it is a title (similar to the way we learned that Darth is a title). He is a part of a new group called the Knights of Ren, a group that we know nothing about. They may be connected to a group called the Acolytes from Beyond, a group that sought out Vader’s weapon. A Vanity Fair cover shoot confirms Adam Driver is underneath the mask and we see him as leader Snowtroopers on the unnamed ice planet.
–Captain Phasma, the “chrometrooper”, is commander of the Stormtrooper army.
-We were also shown an incredible amount of new troopers: a normal Stormtrooper, a flametrooper, a snowtrooper, and a Chrometrooper (Captain Phasma). We also see updated TIE Pilots and updated fighters with white wings against the dark grey hull.
-General Hux is the leader of Starkiller Base.
Story line: This is where you realize that this post is actually a lot thinner than it seemed. It turns out, we still don’t know much about the story. Luke’s saber is included, there’s a fight in a TIE hangar, there’s a chase involving the Millenium Falcon, Kylo and his stormtroopers burn a village down, Kylo and his stormtroopers are on the ice planet, the big heroes are involved, Han and Chewie are on the Falcon…but what’s tying all of this together? Ever the master of hiding plot points (even denying that Khan was the big villain in Star Trek: Into Darkness after we had confirmation), JJ Abrams has kept the plot quite secret so far.
Star Wars: Rebels: We don’t really know how the series will interact with the new movies, but locations seen in the show will be seen in the films. As of season one, all we’ve seen of the galaxy is the planet Lothal and the orbit around Mustafar. The Rebels: Servants of the Empire series revealed that the Hux family line has served the Imperials since at least 14 BBY with the introduction of Commandant Hux. Hopefully, the Imperial crackdown on Lothal led by Vader and two new Inquisitors will force our band of Rebels to explore the wider galaxy and show us locations that will appear in the Sequel Trilogy.
Marvel Comics: As of yet, we have no way of knowing if and how the current ongoing series from Marvel (Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Kanan: The Last Padawan) or the mini-series titles (Princess Leia, Lando, and Chewbacca) will affect post-Endor continuity. We know that they will release two mini series to directly lead into the film: Shattered Empire and C-3PO. Shattered Empire focuses on A-Wing pilot Shara Bey and X-Wing Pilot Kes Dameron as the Rebellion quickly organizes to remove Imperial presence from Endor. The series also details the Empire’s plans to crack down on planets that hold information on Palpatine before he became the Emperor. One of the first Battles of Naboo is detailed in the comic. C-3PO plans to explain how 3PO came to get his red arm (December).
Post-Battle of Endor: The first year after the Battle of Endor was a turbulent year as the New Republic established itself on Chandrila and the Empire fought back with their remaining armies and fleets. There were a few key battles including the Battle of Jakku and the Battles of Naboo.
-Star Wars: Battlefront will show us the Battle of Jakku, the desert planet we see in both of the trailers released so far where we meet Rey and BB-8. The Battle of Jakku is similar in scope to the Battle of Endor and the Empire hoped to end the fledgling New Republic in the Battle. The Star Destroyer Inflictor and X-Wing Fighter both go down during the battle – the DLC including the battle is set to be released on December 8th.
-Star Wars: Aftermath kicks off a trilogy of adult novels following the Battle of Endor, based on the point of view of some new characters, a ragtag team of Rebels who set out to rescue Wedge Antilles. Wedge is captured on a mission for the newly formed New Republic as he witnesses an odd show of force in the Akiva system, where the Empire is regrouping to plan a counterattack to reinstate their hold on the galaxy. The book also shows us glimpses into the way that the New Republic functions, its military strategy, and how the government will work as a democracy on Chandrila. The book also features interludes that show the galaxy at large, featuring Taris, Coruscant (Level 1313), Chandrila, Tattooine, and Jakku. (Also present? A possible mention of Darth Vader’s lightsaber and Boba Fett’s armor.) The sequel to Aftermath, Life Debt, specifically picks up on an interlude showing a certain planet’s freedom from Imperial slavers…
–Lost Stars details the Battle of Jakku, especially focusing on the Star Destroyer that crash landed, the Inflictor. It also details a bit about the post-Endor military side of the Empire. Moff Randd thinks that the Empire will have its greatest victory over Jakku, thinking that it may be the end of the New Republic.
-A new mobile game, Star Wars Conquest will show us the sector that contains Hoth and Bespin and let us experience the events of the destruction of the second Death Star had on Imperial strongholds in familiar locations. Moff Adelhard, governor over the Anoat sector, sets up an Iron Blockade to block transmissions and trade from the outside of the sector. The Alliance must rely on bounty hunters to break the blockade and spread the news about the death of Palpatine.
-Finally, we know that the Marvel series Shattered Empire deals with the Empire itself as we witness the fall-out of the battle of Endor. The story features a new couple as the stars, A-Wing Pilot Shara Bey and X-Wing Pilot Kes Dameron, with familiar faces throughout without dominating the story. This story details one of the Battles of Naboo and Leia’s growing Force sensitivity.
The Journey to The Force Awakens: Smuggler’s Run shows us a bit of Han Solo’s future as he travels with Chewbacca. Weapon of a Jedi introduces us to Sarco Plank, a character revealed in the Behind the Scenes video and introduces us to X-Wing Pilot Jessika Pava. Moving Target reveals the most: Princess Leia is tasked by her droid PZ-4CO to write a memoir. We are also introduced to a few New Republic leaders who might be important in the film. Still coming from the series are a line of short stories focusing on the aliens we will meet in Maz Kanata’s castle to be released in December, with a story focusing on Bazine in November. On the day of the movie, a middle grade reader will deal with the New Three before the events of the movie.
Locale: The trailer shows us two planets, a desert planet and an icy planet. So far, we know that the desert planet is called Jakku, where a pivotal battle took place after the Battle of Endor. We do not know yet where the icy planet is, but it is home to planet destroying Starkiller Base (commanded by General Hux).
Until then…what? Never fear: there’s plenty of Star Wars to keep you occupied! Until the movie, we can look forward to the gamut of novels and books coming out of the Journey to the Force Awakens series, Battlefront: Twilight Company on November 3rd, Battlefront the game, Marvel’s Star Wars and Darth Vader (converging in a crossover event: Vader Down), Chewbacca, and Kanan with Rebels season 2 on the way!