Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out in less than a month, and even though several of the characters are brand new, we already know a fair bit about them thanks to extensive trailer footage and exclusive interviews with the cast and crew. Here’s everything you need to know about the latest film’s ensemble ahead of December 17.
"Where’s Luke?" is the question on every fan’s lips, because he’s not on the poster or in the trailers. After bringing down the evil Empire at the end of 1983’s Return Of The Jedi, he seems to have disappeared – but where? Rumours suggest he’s now a hermit, having failed to find a Force-sensitive apprentice until now – which would fit with the new film’s title.
Sarcastic gun-toter Han was part of the original films’ trio alongside twins Luke and Leia, who were instrumental in bringing down the Empire. He’s 32 years older now, and director JJ Abrams says, “When you live a life, you’ve had loss, you’ve experienced love and family and epiphanies and tragedies and disappointments and surprises. Those things accumulate.”
Our new protagonist was abandoned on desert planet Jakku at the age of five. She now scavenges in the planet’s junkyard to make a living. Other than speculation that she’s potentially a Jedi, most attention has been paid to what her heritage could be, with one fan theory suggesting that she’s the daughter of Han Solo and Leia.
Teaming up with Rey is Finn, a disillusioned stormtrooper in the Empire’s nefarious replacement – the First Order – who quits and crash-lands on Jakku. He acquires Luke’s old lightsaber (which Luke lost when Darth Vader cut off his hand in 1983’s The Empire Strikes Back) so he's presumably a user of the Force – though we haven’t seen him use it yet.
Rounding off the new films’ trio is Poe, a Resistance X-wing pilot. One theory suggests he is sent to Jakku after Luke’s lightsaber is found there, but is captured by the First Order while there. Then Finn, still with the First Order, frees him from being tortured by new baddie Kylo Ren – but as they escape they crash-land on Jakku again and are separated.
This tiny droid is owned by X-wing pilot Poe Dameron, but in all the trailers he’s been hanging out with Rey. The same fan theory from above suggests Poe hid Luke’s lightsaber inside the spherical robot, which is how Finn eventually gets it. But perhaps the theorists should just wait to see what happens in the movie.
The first female stormtrooper captain is played by Game Of Thrones’ Brienne, aka Gwendoline Christie. Abrams says, “She’s not in many scenes, but her presence is powerfully felt when she’s there.” It’s hard to argue with that – in all the trailers she looks well scary.
Judging from the clips released so far, Kylo's a screwed-up, menacing type – part of the mysterious Knights of Ren – who works with the First Order, and is looking to “finish what [Darth Vader] started” – whatever that means. We know he has confrontations with both Rey and Finn, and his freaky lightsaber looks like it can do some serious damage.
There’s been little detail revealed about Hux, but he's kind of guy who’d always have his boots polished, and he’s on the side of the new Empire – the First Order . Click here for an exclusive EW picture of him.
The First Order’s Snoke, like Luke, is one of the big characters shrouded in mystery. We haven’t even seen what Snoke looks like yet, but according to Empire, the motion capture character is over 7m tall, and Serkis says, “He is severely damaged. Although he's a powerful leader, he comes across as vulnerable."
New kid on the block BB8 might steal R2-D2’s thunder in this new episode. But R2 (or as some people write, Artoo) is the blooping hero of many an episode, all the way from 1977’s A New Hope to 2005’s Revenge Of The Sith. From the trailer, it looks like Artoo could be hanging out with Luke – if that’s the hooded figure in the picture.
This alien pilot is played by Lupita Nyong’o via motion capture. She’s over 1,000 years old and her eyes are covered with those goggles because, as JJ Abrams says, “Her eyes are an important aspect of her character." She owns a castle which houses smugglers and other mischievous types, and judging by the trailers, it’s likely Han Solo and Finn end up there.
Artoo’s mate C-3PO is a humanoid droid who helps translate between the galaxy’s millions of languages and gives tips on etiquette. He was rebuilt by Anakin in 1999’s The Phantom Menace and has been in all six films so far. In this one, though, he’s got a red arm, and no one’s sure why.