Posted on Monday, December 21st, 2015 by Peter Sciretta
Star Wars is back, and it’s fantastic. But Star Wars: The Force Awakens asks about as many questions as it answers, and having seen the movie three times now I’ve compiled a list of questions, some answered, others left a mystery.
While I don’t have all the answers, I have some of them. I’ve talked to my good sources, delved deep into the books, comic books, and even the official novelization to bring you answers and insight into the film, what it might mean for the future of not only the Star Wars saga but also the A Star Wars Story standalone movies. And when I don’t have answers, I have theories and present the evidence as its available. Journey with me to find the answers for some of the biggest Star Wars: The Force Awakens questions.
Here are some of the Force Awakens questions we will answer in this extensive piece (the links are to the page in which they appear):
- If The Rebellion Won At The End Of Return Of The Jedi, Why Isn’t The War Over?
- Is The Resistance Part Of The New Republic?
- What Has Everyone Been Up To For The Last 34 Years?
- How Did The Lightsaber Get In Maz’s Castle?
- What Happened To The Shot In Teaser Trailer #2 Of Maz Handing General Leia The Lightsaber?
- Who Was Max Von Sydow’s Character? Why Did He Have The Map?
- How Does Rey Know How To Use Force Powers?
- How Do Rey and Finn Know How To Fight With A Lightsaber?
- Is Rey a Skywalker?
- Or Is Rey A Kenobi?
- What If Rey’s Parents Were No One We Even Know?
- What Happens In Rey’s Vision?
- Who Was Rey Raised By?
- Who Are Finn’s Parents? How Did He Join The First Order?
- Why Does R2-D2 Suddenly Wake Up? Why Did He Have The Map?
- Why Did Kylo Ren Turn To The Dark Side?
- Who Are The Knights Of Ren?
- Who Is Supreme Leader Snoke? Is He A Giant?
- Is Supreme Leader Snoke Actually Darth Plagueis?
- Why Didn’t Snoke Want To Find Luke Skywalker?
- Why Didn’t Leia Train As a Jedi?
- How Did Kylo Get Darth Vader’s Mask?
- Why Was Finn Unable To Kill?
- Why Did Luke Skywalker Disappear? Has He Turned To The Dark Side Of The Force?
- What Happened To The Clone Army? Could The Clones Return?
- Did Phasma Survive The Destruction of Starkiller Base?
- Did Hux and Kylo Ran Survive The Destruction of Starkiller Base?
- How Is It That Rey Understands BB-8 & Chewbacca’s Languages?
- Who and Where Are Sarco Plank and Constable Zuvio?
And here we go.
If the Rebellion Won at the End of Return of the Jedi, Why Isn’t the War Over?
This isn’t so much unanswered as it is unclear in the film. The movie gives us some answers but the whole story must be filled in by the books like Star Wars: Aftermath and Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary.
- The war is over: The death of Emperor Palpatine has given the galaxy evidence that the Empire can be defeated, and according to the Visual Dictionary, “a longing for freedom and peace drove a great tide of revolution from sector to sector, to the point of a truce — unthinkable at the height of the Galactic Civil War — was signed between the New Republic and the weakened Empire.”
- A New Republic is formed: In Aftermath we learn that Chancellor Mon Mothma restores the Galactic Senate to create a forum for the republic, with all worlds having equal say in shaping the government. The Alliance rebranded as the New Republic.
- The New Republic has a military: The book says the New Republic fleet is the largest defense force in the galaxy, but nevertheless is a fraction of what it was during the Clone Wars.
- The Senate is restored: The senate was restored and passed the Military Disarmament Act. The Galactic Concordance peace treaty was signed which restricted the Empire’s ability to wage war, and turned its focus to reshaping galactic politics.
- The First Order rises up: With their abilities restricted, the old Empire withered away and eventually organized in the unknown regions of the galaxy as the First Order.
Is the Resistance Part of the New Republic?
Lets continue with recapping the events since the Battle of Endor….
- Leia sees the threat, but the New Republic is unwilling to act: Princess Leia tries to get the New Republic to take notice of the rising threat of the First Order but they think she’s either being an alarmist or a warmonger and refuse to take action.
- The Resistance is formed: With the Senate too slow in providing support, Leia created a small private force called the Resistance to keep watch on the rising threat of the First Order. According to the book, the New Republic “tolerates the Resistance, though it is wary of risking war with the First Order.” The opening crawl for the film says the New Republic “supports” the Resistance, and General Hux also believes this to be the case in his speech.
- The power structure of the First Order: Kylo Ren “exists outside the formal command structure of the First Order, and has a direct link to the shadowy Supreme Leader Snoke who is ultimately in charge of these forces of darkness.” Kylo’s agenda trumps the military objectives of the upper command of the First Order, and he has personally been responsible for the disappearance of the Jedi order.
- The Senate leaves Coruscant: As the new senate believes all worlds should have equal say, they decided the Senate would leave Coruscant. Instead the capital shifts across member worlds by a process of election, hosting the Senate on a rotating basis.
So basically, the remnants of the Empire have reorganized as the First Order in the far reaches of the galaxy, the Senate is too bogged down in politics to take action, so Leia independently creates a small force called the Resistance to keep watch on the rising threat.
Now as for the events of this film, the Senate has convened on Hosnian Prime. Some people miss this but the Starkiller base destroys this planet during their show of power, effectively killing all the members of the senate.
What Has Everyone Been Up to for the Last 34 Years?
This is another question that is partially answered in the film, but I thought you might want to know some of the extra details revealed in the books:
- Han Solo: After the Galactic War ended, he married Leia Organa, became “a family man” (could they have had more than one son?) and “for a time – a successful racing pilot.” They sent their son Ben to train under Luke Skywalker because they feared he had “too much Vader in him.” The tragic events that followed broke up their marriage, and Han went back to his old life as “a tramp freighter captain, smuggler, and freelance law bender.” Having lost the Millennium Falcon, Han eventually settled on an enormous bulk freighter named the Eravana, which he uses to haul massive shipments of legally questionable cargo. Chewbacca returned as Solo’s wingman.
- Chewbacca: After the Battle of Endor, Chewbacca helped lead the New Republic effort to liberate Kashyyk from Imperial rule. With his sidekick now settling down with a family, Chewbacca returned to Kashyyk and reconnected with his larger family. When Han Solo returned to his left as a smuggler, Chewbacca once again joined him. Chewie is now 234 years old, which is not yet approaching the middle age for a Wookiee.
- Leia Organa: After the Battle of Endor, Leia (no longer a princess) became a influential New Republic politician, married Han and gave birth to a son. The family days ended after the tragic events at the new Jedi Academy. She argued that the New Republic was not doing enough to secure the safety of its citizens, and she was “estranged from the senate for her refusal to let the ghosts of the last war stay dead.” Leia is concerned about the suspicious activities of the First Order but the New Republic brands her as an alarmist. So she starts up the Resistance to take a closer watch.
- R2-D2: He accompanied Luke Skywalker in his journeys across the galaxy after the Battle of Endor, and was “witness to triumph and tragedy.” After Luke Skywalker vanished, R2-D2 went into low power mode, where “his diagnostic systems are attempting to organize the vast trove of information in his databanks from over seven decades of uninterrupted operation.” His data has never been wiped since Anakin Skywalker’s ownership.
- C-3PO: The protocol droid has been with Leia pretty much since childhood (give or take a few years), and he followed the former Princess to work for the Resistance where he not only is a translator but has been tasked with keeping track with the organization’s movement pool of spy droids across the galaxy, managing the influx of information the comes from the field. He has been upgraded his TronLang III communications package to increase his language fluency to over seven million forms of communication. He sports a salvaged red arm, which is a memento of another druid’s sacrifice (the story will be revealed in an upcoming comic book). Although you may miss it, C-3PO gets his arm restored to normal at the end of the film (you can see him waving at the Millennium Falcon as it takes off to find Luke Skywalker).
- Luke Skywalker: After the battle of Endor, Luke Skywalker set up a new Jedi Academy where he hoped to train over a new generation of Jedi. He vanished after one of his students was persuaded by the dark side and massacred most of the young Padawans. He felt responsible for the tragic events and went into exile, but where? Those who knew him best believe he went in search of the first Jedi temple.
How Did the Lightsaber Get in Maz’s Castle?
In the film, Maz tells us that she came across the lightsaber many years ago and has kept it safe and locked up. But how did she come into possession of Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber that Luke Skywalker lost in Cloud City? As Maz Kanata puts it in the movie, “It’s a good question for another time.” I’m assuming a future Star Wars novel or comic book will explore this story, or maybe it will be revealed in one of the Star Wars Saga or A Star Wars Story stand alone movies. So we just don’t know how she ended up with it.
Possible Explanation: One of the first rumors to hit the web came from Devin Faraci who reported the following:
Imagine the standard Star Wars crawl, and when it ends the camera pans up to the stars. But instead of a spaceship zooming into frame we see… a hand! A severed hand, tumbling through space. A severed hand gripping a light saber. That hand falls onto a desert planet, where it is discovered by characters who will be our heroes. One is Daisy Ridley.
Turns out Devin was partially right. The original opening crawl ended with the lightsaber tumbling through space towards a planet, but not a desert planet. Rey never found the lightsaber on Jakku, it always came to her in Maz’s castle. The shot apparently got abandoned at some point in the process, probably because the reveal in the basement of Maz’s castle is more powerful. Although I love the idea of the imagery of the saber flying through space, but the opening shot of the silhouette of Star Destroyer blocking out an entire planet is also cool.
In a report from July, MakingStarWars shared what appears to be an earlier version of the events that take place in Maz’s castle. The report claims that Rey didn’t originally find the lightsaber by wandering through the castle’s basement, but instead that after the First Order began their attack, “Maz ushers the heroes inside the castle and down a staircase” and begins to tell them who Luke Skywalker was and why he is important. “They enter an underground chamber. Maz has them all hold hands.” According to that unconfirmed report, the vision included the following extra bits:
We then see a peasant dropping the lightsaber and starting a fire. He panics and runs, but decides to go back for the lightsaber, saving it.We then see a local trader walking away with the weapon.The trader sells the sword to a prosperous man. Then there’s a battle raging and the sword is being used by the clan against the Seven.
I’m not sure exactly how this all fits together unfortunately. Leaving how Maz got the saber as a mystery is probably more interesting. I’m sure we’ll hear the story (probably a different story) someday.
What Happened to the Shot in Teaser Trailer #2 of Maz Handing General Leia the Lightsaber?
Remember the second teaser trailer, the one that reuses the Luke Skywalker voiceover from the original trilogy? There is a shot of Lupita Nyong’o‘s character Maz Kanata handing over the Skywalker lightsaber to General Leia. From what we see from the background of the shot, the scene appears to take place in the Resistance headquarters. Yet in the movie Maz is never seen in the war room with Leia, and has no interaction with the former Princess. So what happened to this scene?
Possible Explanation: If it’s a deleted scene, it potentially confirms that Maz survived the attack on her castle. Its not uncommon for shots to appear in a trailer and not be in the final film, especially shots from early trailers when a final cut is far from locked. But the shot in the trailer features a completely computer generated performance, which is costly to produce. It’s been widely reported that Abrams did secret reshoots for Force Awakens in his Bad Robot offices, and some of the reshoots apparently involved reworking the scenes in which Maz appears — so it’s likely that something got changed along the way.
Our sources tell us that in the shooting script, Maz left with the Resistance since her castle was left completely destroyed and presented Leia with the lightsaber in the war room.