Star Wars: The Force Awakens—What We Know So Far

Happy Star Wars Day! May the 4th be with you. Star Wars fans have been using this pun for years—as far back as 1979!—to celebrate their love and passion for the saga from a galaxy far, far away. A riff on the popular phrase, “May the force be with you,” May the 4th has grown into a worldwide, grassroots tradition each year, with fans online and offline proclaiming it “Star Wars Day.” Plus, for the first time ever, you can spend the day watching every Star Wars movie thus far on Digital HD.

So what better day than today to discuss the things we know so far about the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, perhaps the most anticipated film in a decade? J.J. Abrams, director of the film, which opens December 18, is known for creating great characters, spectacle, and intense action, but he’s also the king of secrets. Which means, of course, getting information about the new film has been about as easy as breaking into Fort Knox! But from what we have been able to pull together from news reports—and from the awesome Star Wars Celebration this past month in Anaheim—here is what we know so far:

The film is set 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi, and many of our favorite characters from the original trilogy are back! Mark Hamill returns as Luke, Carrie Fisher as Leia, Harrison Ford as Han, Peter Mayhew as Chewie, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, and Kenny Baker as R2-D2.


Of course, there’s a cast of newcomers this time, too. They include Daisy Ridley as Rey, a scavenger on the desolate planet of Jakku; Oscar Isaac as Poe, the fighter pilot (Isaac says Poe is “the best friggin’ pilot in the galaxy.”); and John Boyega as Finn, who may or may not be a stormtrooper (although the trailer showed footage of him dressed in stormtrooper armor).

Then there’s the music—it wouldn’t be Star Wars without legendary Oscar®-winning composer John Williams, who provided the musical score for all six previous Star Wars films, along with such classics as Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park, and the original Superman. Williams is back to score The Force Awakens and contribute new music for the trilogy. And, for the first time ever, he’ll record the score in Los Angeles, as opposed to London’s Abbey Road, where he recorded the first six. As fans know, the iconic Star Wars music is so woven into the fabric of the film, that just the first few notes of the opening fanfare is enough to make us light up our plastic lightsabers in salute. His return is great news, indeed!

As for the look of the film, J.J. Abrams wanted to use many more practical sets and props, which meant building large-scale spaceships and sets. There will be CGI, of course, but just like the first film, J.J. says he wants audiences to believe that people actually are in this universe, and it’s real. Speaking of which, the new droid in this film, BB-8, is an actual, real thing. J.J. felt it was better for the actors to actually see BB-8 on set rather than just imagine his digital image. When BB-8 rolled across the stage at Star Wars Celebration, fans went nuts.


They also went nuts for the second trailer, which showed the hulking remains of a downed Star Destroyer, attacking TIE Fighters, and a lightsaber being passed from generation to generation—which is only fitting, considering The Force Awakens is, in a sense, the passing of the lightsaber from one generation to the next. It makes a person feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

“Chewie…we’re home.”

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