New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Facts: Fresh Characters, Old Vehicles, And Revised Factions

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.

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.


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?


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

Kylo Ren

Who and/or what is Kylo Ren? We're guessing this is Adam Driver's role, and we can see that the character has a distinctive lightsaber design — not just in the crossbar hilt, but in the ragged details of the blade. These costume designs won't give you any serious clues, but there is one thing: this design seems not only ominous, but protective. Is this derived from the need to exist in a desert landscape? There's also a big of Eastern influence in the design of his mask.

And check out the photos below which offer the best look yet at the character's controversial lightsaber hilt.



Finn is the perpetually-distressed (so far) former Stormtrooper played by John Boyega. (On stage with JJ Abrams he playfully danced around confirmation as to whether or not he's a Stormtrooper. He is.) Once he gets out of that Trooper suit, he scores some duds that would look right at home in the original trilogy. He also manages to find a lightsaber, as the concept art below shows. But is he using that as a weapon, or is he transporting it? And is that Anakin's saber?

Boyega said that "Finn is in incredible danger, and the way he deals with the danger launches him into the Star Wars universe in a unique way." Does that unique way involve blasting his way out of a TIE Fighter hanger, as the new teaser suggests?

Boyega also charmingly revealed that did didn't tell his parents he was cast in the film until after the cast photo was released, telling them instead that he was studying up for a role in 24. And he sheepishly asked Harrison Ford to sign a large "Han in Stormtrooper Suit" action figure for him. He said Ford growled "this is weird," before signing it.



The heroine of The Force Awakens, and possibly the entire new trilogy, is a scrappy and determined-looking young woman on the planet Jakku. Actress Daisy Ridley explained that Rey is a scavenger in a ship graveyard, and that she is quite "self-sufficient and solitary, until she meets another character" and her adventure begins. Presumably that other character is Finn.

The costume designs below show some really interesting details. One is that Rey is holding what appears to be Han Solo's signature blaster. Between this and the Finn concept art with the lightsaber, it's almost like Finn and Rey are a revised version of the Luke and Han pair from A New Hope.

The details of Rey's desert costume are terrific, with many flourishes that are recognizable from other Star Wars costume elements — the flowing white of Leia's first costume, the Hoth-like goggles, the Tusken Raider-ready accessories — but combine for a distinctive look.


poe-rey-finn copy

On the final page, we'll tell you what we know about the desert planet Jakku, and show off a couple costume designs for locals on that rock.


Few people had heard the name "Jakku" before today, and many people still assumed that the desert planet seen in the first teaser trailer might be Luke Skywalker's adoptive home, Tatooine. But Jakku is the setting for at least a good chunk of the first act of The Force Awakens, with Rey hailing from the planet and Finn landing there. It seems that the Millennium Falcon is on Jakku as well, though how or why it came to be there is open to question.

Then there's the presence of that crashed X-Wing and Star Destroyer in the opening shot, and the implication (thanks to Rey's work as a ship graveyard scavenger) that there are many more downed ships on the planet.

The angle we see on the Star Destroyer at the opening (above) and what looks like the hind end of a Destroyer that the Falcon flies into at the teaser's end seem totally different, meaning there could be two crashed command craft on Jakku.

So what happened here, or in the skies above?

Edit: As it turns out, the planet was the center of a gigantic battle between the Rebels and Imperial forces, as we'll see in the new Star Wars Battlefront video game. As Germain said, after the Rebel victory in the Battle of Endor, "the Battle of Jakku [was] the pivotal moment when the New Republic confronted key Imperial holdouts on a remote desert planet on the Outer Rim."


The Millennium Falcon

Finally, we get back to our old "home," the Millennium Falcon. Shots from the teaser, such as the one above, show the interior to be just as grimy and unkempt as it always has been. Whew! And we see Han Solo and Chewbacca coming on board with weapons drawn, presumably because they plan to take their old ship from whomever has been piloting it. Want to bet that shot of BB-8 peering around a Falcon bulkhead (below) is the robot observing Han and Chewie?