There are only 121 days left until Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is released to a cautiously optimistic audience of literally everyone on Earth. Can you feel the excitement??? We’re close enough to Dec. 18 that we’re finally getting actual information, like character descriptions and plot summaries, yet still far enough away that there’s no need to worry about the film leaking and some jag on Twitter spoiling it for you. After the info dump that was Comic-Con and D23, it’s worth rounding up everything we know about The Force Awakens, not including any rumors about who’s playing whose kid or why this character has that last name.
Okay, fine, one or two (probably baseless) rumors, but that’s it.
1. Returning cast members from the original trilogy include Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Warwick Davis, and this guy.
2. The new faces: John Boyega (Stormtrooper Finn), Daisy Ridley (scavenger Rey), Lenny the Wonder Dog star Oscar Isaac (X-wing pilot Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (villainous Kylo Ren), Andy Serkis, Gwendoline Christie, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
3. Daniel Craig has a cameo as a Stormtrooper, unless he doesn’t. Simon Pegg, however, is for sure in the film and he was also “important and helpful in the process,” according to J.J. Abrams. I assume he spent most of his time on set reciting his Phantom Menace rant.
4. Back to the main cast. Isaac is playing the “best friggin’ pilot in the galaxy,” who “will also be on a mission assigned to him by a certain princess.” Kylo Ren (not his real name) is a Darth Vader fanatic, so much so that he “[modeled] his own helmet on him and [built] his own unique lightsaber.” Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux is “longing to reveal the full might of the First Order’s military power,” while Nyong’o’s CGI character Maz Kanata is “a pirate with a large crew and who seemingly may only be on the side that makes her the most money.”
5. Okay, but what the hell is The Force Awakens about? Disney has kept the plot details quiet, but we know it takes place 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi and, well, there’s not much else to officially announce. Other than who’s bad (General Hux, Kylo, etc.), and that Finn starts the movie as a Stormtrooper and ends it holding a lightsaber (as seen in the poster below).
This EW summary sort of helps.
The Empire has morphed into a junta known as The First Order, while X-Wing pilots like Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron now fly for a splinter group known as the Resistance. Princess Leia (Fisher) has come into possession of the lightsaber once possessed by her father, Darth Vader, and later lost by Luke (Hamill) when Vader separated him from his arm during that “join me” duel in The Empire Strikes Back.
The amount of screen time the Skywalker twins may get is still unclear, although Luke’s fate is obviously a key factor. Ford’s Han Solo, however, will be one of the leads, piloting the Millennium Falcon alongside his old pal Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew.) Among the newcomers, desert scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) and runaway stormtrooper Finn (John Boyega) will be running for their lives, with the rolling droid BB-8 trying to keep up. Eventually all five of them end up aboard that familiar starship.
On Team Dark Side is Darth Vader obsessive Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the First Order’s merciless General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and chrome-armored officer Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). (Via Entertainment Weekly)
6. There’s an intentional reliance on practical, not CGI effects.
7. A Korean TV spot gave us our best look yet at the First Order, a “remnant of the Empire that remains a fearsome threat to the galaxy and its denizens.”
8. If you do want to read a ton of rumors and potential spoilers, here you go.
9. Fine, here’s another POTENTIAL SPOILER. A hardcore fan compiled every Force Awakens rumor into one very long plot summary. It may be eerily right, it could be hilariously wrong, but the whole thing can be seen at Making Star Wars. Here’s a snippet:
We now cut back to the First Order Star Destroyer, hovering above the planet. The villain Kylo Ren is torturing Poe Dameron. Ren is confident he will get the information he needs. He emerges from the interrogation knowing that the lightsaber is now carried by a droid, BB-8. Kylo Ren delivers this information to his superior, codenamed “The General,” who is played by Domhnall Gleeson. (Via Making Star Wars)
10. A good sign for The Force Awakens: The most recent cut is 124 minutes long. That’s closer to A New Hope (121), The Empire Strikes Back (124), and Return of the Jedi (131) than it is The Phantom Menace (133), Attack of the Clones (142), and Revenge of the Sith (140).
11. Legendary artist Drew Struzan designed the official poster, something he’s done for the entire franchise, while John Williams composed the score.
12. Abrams very nearly killed Jar Jar Binks in Episode VII. “I have a thought about putting Jar Jar Binks’s bones in the desert there,” he said. “I’m serious! Only three people will notice, but they’ll love it.” Just stay away from everyone’s second favorite character, Lobot.
13. That’s not Tatooine; it’s a new sand planet called Jakku.
14. When will the next trailer be released/analyzed? Sometime in the fall, probably Sept. 14, because “that’s when ESPN will start airing Monday Night Football, and, considering what they’ve got to air, they can probably use all the viewership they can get.”
15. Ball Droid could be the new dancing Groot (that’s good), or the new Jar Jar (that’s bad).
Only time will tell.