This past week has certainly been a fruitful one for Star Wars Episode 7 teasers. In addition to 12 images officially released through Entertainment Weekly, an interesting photo of
Obi-Wan Kenobi Luke Skywalker was leaked by Film Junkee.
SPOILER ALERT: From this point on, I will be discussing plot points either officially teased by JJ Abrams (through Entertainment Weekly) or conjecture from previously-leaked rumors and official teasers. The leaked image of Luke Skywalker might remind you of Obi-Wan Kenobi as seen in 1977’s A New Hope, but Luke is rumored to appear only near the end of the movie, to play a much more prominent role in Episodes 8 and 9.
Background: The Force Awakens – from what?
Before I discuss the officially-released images posted by Entertainment Weekly and the leaked one of Luke Skywalker, some background information will be necessary for those of you who might not have read up on the Episode 7 rumors to this point. Although Darth Vader and Darth Sidious/The Emperor were vanquished in Return of the Jedi, it takes a much more sustained effort to dissolve the Empire’s massive bureaucracy and military.
The Empire has apparently been split into rival factions headed by former Imperial Grand Moffs and generals. The (perhaps) most prominent faction is called the First Order, and it’s headed by Supreme Leader Snoke, to whom Kylo Ren of the exotic triple-bladed lightsaber is an apprentice. Also working for the First Order are Captain Phasma (a chrome-colored stormtrooper played by Gwendoline Christie of Game of Thrones fame) and a general named Hux.
Opposing the First Order is an organization called the Resistance. The heroes you saw in the trailers include a former First Order stormtrooper known as Finn, a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku named Rey, R2D2, C3PO, Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca are all affiliated with this organization. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker is apparently in some form of self-imposed exile guarding an old Sith tomb.
The plot of The Force Awakens seems to revolve around an effort to find the owner of a severed hand holding an old Jedi lightsaber (apparently this is the one that Darth Vader cut off from Luke in The Empire Strikes Back, and it was somehow preserved for over 30 years). It seems a First Order stormtrooper named Finn decides to defect, somehow comes into possession of this artifact and crashes on the desert planet Jakku. There he meets a scavenger named Rey and they go on the run from First Order agents led by Captain Phasma (how goofy of a name is that?) and Kylo Ren, who are trying to recover the relic for themselves.
Plot points revealed by the images
Before I discuss the plot points revealed by the images, here are the images themselves, starting with the leaked one by Film Junkee and followed by the officially-released ones from Entertainment Weekly:
General Hux is referred to in some places as the “leader” of the First Order, but he’s apparently just the military commander, serving at the pleasure of Supreme Leader Snoke. Snoke’s apprentice Kylo Ren doesn’t exactly fit into the military hierarchy, and he allegedly clashes with General Hux. Think of it as a loose parody of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope. Speaking of Kylo Ren, the “Ren” appears to be a title rather than a last name – according to another Entertainment Weekly article he’s a member of the “Knights of Ren” (could that mean there’s a whole cult of users of the dark side of the Force in The Force Awakens?).
Some additional information gleaned from the photos include the following: the First Order operates out of Starkiller Base (as seen in the set photo with JJ Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan), C3PO has to get an arm replacement, at least one X-wing fighter is black and Jakku seems to have a creature resembling the Bantha of Tatooine. The happy homecoming Han and Chewie have with the Millenium Falcon has, of course, been known about since the trailer. What else have you gleaned from these photos? Please feel free to let us know in the comment below, or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.