Normally, as films near their release dates, plot details are gradually revealed, through trailers, cast interviews and whatever else. With less than two months till the new Star Wars film hits cinemas, however, details about what happens in ‘The Force Awakens’ are foggier than Yoda’s Dagobah swamp. The trailer that dropped late last night shone a little light on what to expect from undoubtedly the year’s most anticipated blockbuster, but it mainly raised questions. Questions like these…
1. WHO ARE REY’S PARENTS?
Rey, played by British newcomer Daisy Ridley, starts off the film as a scavenger on desert planet Jakku. Her situation is very, very similar to that of the films’ Skywalkers – both Anakin and Luke Skywalker grew up on desert planet Tatooine, living in poverty, before going on to play crucial roles in the events of the films. Anakin – who became Darth Vader – was a slave alongside his mother, while Luke lived with his aunt and uncle on an isolated moisture farm.
Rey doesn’t live with her family. Ridley has called her ‘solitary’. There are strong rumours that she’s the daughter of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). If so, she’s got Skywalker heritage (via Leia, who was Vader’s daughter), and has yet to discover it.
2. HOW DOES FINN GET TO DESERT PLANET JAKKU?
Finn (John Boyega) is a soon-to-be ex-stormtrooper in the First Order, which, despite the Emperor and Darth Vader both being killed at the end of Episode VI, Return of the Jedi, has essentially become the new Empire – a dark dominant force in the galaxy.
It seems pretty clear he will meet Rey on Rey’s home planet of Jakku towards the beginning of the film, before banding up and finding Han Solo – but how did he get to Jakku in the first place? His beaten-up TIE fighter ship is seen spiralling down towards the planet at the start of the film, but it’s unclear why.
3. WHO ARE THE KNIGHTS OF REN – AND HOW ARE THEY SO POWERFUL?
The bad guys – other than the First Order, of course – are the Knights of Ren, led by Kylo Ren (Girls’ Adam Driver). They seem to have some connection with the Force, as Kylo wields the red, crossguarded lightsaber, but who knows where he got it. And how did the group form? Are they inspired by the Sith? Do they serve anyone? So many questions.
4. WHERE IS POE DAMERON FIGHTING INITIALLY? AND WHO FOR, EXACTLY?
The first we see of X-wing pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) in action in the trailer is him speeding over a green, lush planet fighting off TIE fighters. Isaac has already revealed that his character would have been watching as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo received an award for their part in destroying the Death Star in Episode IV, A New Hope. That was on the Rebel base and moon, Yavin 4 – which could well be the same planet glimpsed around the 1.25 mark in the new trailer.
We know that Dameron is fighting for what the Rebel Alliance from the original trilogy became – the Resistance, which seeks to restore the Republic to the galaxy after it was twisted into the evil Empire during Episodes 1-3. And apparently Leia is now a General, leader of the Resistance, and thus Dameron’s boss.
5. WHAT IS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF GWENDOLINE CHRISTIE’S CHARACTER?
So far we’ve not seen Christie (who plays Game of Thrones’ Brienne) in the flesh – just her helmeted head, as she plays the First Order’s Captain Phasma. She appeared in the last trailer, leading the chase of Han Solo’s ship the Millennium Falcon, and here we see her surrounded by soldiers with fire blazing around them. Either A) her part is too small to reveal in a trailer B) her part is too significant to reveal in a trailer, or C) there’s a surprise in store for when she takes off that helmet.
6. WHERE HAS LEIA BEEN?
We kind of know this: Leia’s leading the Resistance. But is she on what we’re assuming is Yavin 4, with Poe Dameron? Or somewhere else? Her face only appears for about a millisecond, just before the 2 minute mark, where she’s hugging Han Solo. Where is that? And why does she look so, so sad? Plenty of mystery there.
7. WHERE DID FINN COME ACROSS LUKE’S LIGHTSABER?
Judging from the footage from the second trailer, in which a hand is holding Luke Skywalker’s old lightsaber, it could be Leia who is handling it after going to recover it from somewhere near Cloud City. Luke had lost it, after the hand that was holding it was severed by Darth Vader, towards the end of Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back.
In this trailer, we see John Boyega holding said lightsaber in a confrontation with evil dude, Kylo Ren. We can probably assume that makes Finn a Jedi. But…
8. IS REY ALSO A JEDI?
If the theories are correct that Rey is Han Solo and Leia’s daughter, there’s a chance she’s inherited the Force capabilities of her grandfather and uncle, Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker.
Those theories are probably correct – Ridley’s certainly hinted at it herself – and it’s likely we’re not seeing her in lightsaber-wielding Jedi action yet because that would give the game away about her parents.
9. WHERE IS LUPITA NYONG’O?
The Oscar-winning actress (12 Years A Slave) plays an alien pirate named Maz Kanata via motion capture. She’s not been in any of the promotional material at all – although it looks as though it’s her flag-covered compound Han Solo and Finn are entering.
10. WHY IS KYLO REN OBSESSED WITH DARTH VADER?
There’s a theory knocking about that Kylo Ren, like Rey, is Han Solo and Leia’s son. And it seems like he’s got a connection to Leia’s dad, the evil (but ultimately redeemed) Darth Vader, or Anakin Skywalker. Holding his helmet, which is shrivelled up from being burnt on a funeral pyre on jungle planet Endor at the end of Episode VI, Return Of The Jedi, Ren says, “I will finish what you started”. Could he be Vader’s grandson?
11. WHO ARE OUR HEROES SURRENDERING TO?
In this image, Han and Chewie are holding their hands above their heads, on what looks like the same Yavin 4 planet Poe Dameron might be fighting on. They don’t look terrified, so perhaps they’re being held at gunpoint by a surprised Resistance, having just arrived.
12. WHAT ‘STORIES’ ARE FINN AND REY TALKING ABOUT?
Towards the middle of the trailer Rey says, “There are stories about what happened.” Han Solo replies, “It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side, the Jedi. They’re real.” It’s possible that 30 years on from Episode VI, no one actually knows what happened with the Death Star(s), or that the Emperor was a Sith Lord. That seems weird, but it would certainly fit with the title, about the Force awakening – presumably after a long time.
13. WHERE IS KYLO REN’S BASE?
In the picture is Poe Dameron, in an X-wing above a snow planet. Bad guy Kylo Ren is, according to one fan theory, an artefact hunter, and another theory posits that he’s from the ice world Rhen Var, which is apparently littered with Jedi and Sith relics. The ice world from the trailer could be Kylo Ren’s base, under attack from Resistance forces. And the planet could very well be Rhen Var.
14. IS IT LEIA WHO ASKS REY ‘WHO ARE YOU?’
At the start of the trailer, Rey is asked by a female voice, “Who are you?”, to which Rey responds, “I’m no one.” Irony etc aside – could the voice asking the question be Leia, potentially Rey’s mother?
15. WHERE THE HELL IS LUKE?
There are many, many theories for this. He’s not on the poster. He’s not in any of the trailers (except perhaps in a short scene where a hooded figure touches R2D2 with a metallic hand).
The most believable theory is that Luke did something terrible with the Force, has retreated into exile to avoid damaging anyone any further, and to prevent anyone from resurrecting the Jedi/Sith dichotomy that the Force tends towards. Looks like that’s happened anyway though.