Force Awakens facts

The new teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is only part of the treasure trove of new information we have on the film. The Star Wars Celebration event has a big Force Awakens costume and concept art gallery, with some really tasty details. Among them are vague teasers about the new factions in the film. The six existing Star Wars movies (and many related stories) have charted the fall of the Galactic Republic, the rise of the Empire that followed, and the Rebellion that fought the Empire to a standstill in Return of the Jedi.

But those two factions have evolved into The First Order and The Resistance. In addition to that info, we have some other character details thanks to official art and costumes, and a few other tidbits that dropped during Celebration panels. We’ll hand over all these Force Awakens facts below.

First up, let’s talk about the two main factions as we know them: The First Order, and The Resistance. Some of the players in this part of the game you’ll know by their familiar designs, but there are some tweaks that suggest other differences.

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The First Order

The remnants of the Empire have rebranded themselves, and are now called The First Order. Combined with the very fascist inspired display we saw in the teaser (above) that’s some pretty ominous stuff. But it gets worse: there are new troops, including a Flame Trooper whose only job is to burn enemies alive. Overall, the redesigned Stormtroopers, which “enforce the will of the First Order,” are clearly based on Empire designs, but also appear to no longer be clones. Does that mean they’ll be more fearsome overall?

And this doesn’t even get into the new TIE Fighter designs, much less the elite-looking Chrome Troopers. We’re guessing the Chrome Trooper is an elite unit, and that the individual seen in the trailer might be played by Gwendoline Christie. There is also speculation about the identity of the person on the center of the stage seen above — it could be the character played by Domhnall Gleeson, but there’s no confirmation on that.

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The Resistance

But the Rebels are still around, too, and there are some that are ready to fight the Empire, or the First Order, or whatever the hell they want to call themselves. The Resistance, as they’re now dubbed, has some upgraded tech based on familiar Rebel hardware. There are also a bunch of new R2-type droid domes that were built for the film, many of which exist just to be installed on the back of these X-Wings.

To build those guys, and to build the film’s R2D2, Kathleen Kennedy hired Lee Towersey and Oliver Steeples, who are members of the R2D2 Builders Club, based on their work seen at the last Celebration. They also built some R4, R5, and R6 units, and said that the new droids navigating the X-Wings will be specifically paired with chosen pilots.

One of those pilots is Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. The actor, asked about his role, said “He’s the best freakin’ pilot in the galaxy, that’s who he is.” Isaac added that Poe is “sent on a mission by a certain princess,” then he encounters Finn “and their fates are forever intertwined.”

Wait, what was that about a princess? Does Leia send Poe off in search of Luke?

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On the next page, we’ll break down what we learned about new characters such as Kylo Ren, Finn, Rey, and BB-8.

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