Look, let’s face it, if I run a big feature this morning about something other than Star Wars, is anyone gonna read it?
I’m thinking not. At the same time, I’m also thinking the average casual reader doesn’t have the time to do the kind of Internet legwork to assemble everything we learned yesterday about The Force Awakens, not just from the trailer, but from the Celebration itself, which revealed a bit more in panels and displays. So I’ve compiled this list as a summary of everything I saw and heard that went down, and how it all fits together. There are no spoilers beyond what was either in the trailer or said/displayed at the show – but there is some speculation as to how all the tidbits combine.
1. A Leaky Mystery Box.
Ironically, the one thing the Internet didn’t get right about The Force Awakens was the trailer – every early “description” I read online turned out to be fan fiction at best. And yet nothing in the trailer was a massive surprise to anyone with even a passing awareness of the spoiler leaks. Luke’s old lightsaber, Finn the Stormtrooper, the Vader mask, the “Chrometrooper” – all of them were among the many images and details leaked by spy sites during production.
The main take-away from this is to be cautious, because those other spoilers and designs out there are probably all true. The only ones I gazed at in any detail were simply alternate outfits for Han Solo, because I want to stay somewhat spoiler-free too, but I know the ending is out there, and given all that has turned out to be true I’m inclined to believe it’s real now.
This isn’t unprecedented – before Attack of the Clones came out, I read nearly the entirety of the screenplay online, so as to insulate myself from Phantom Menace-level disappointment (it worked). Though it was missing a few pages, most of them dealing with the Sand People and the Geonosis droid factory, it was very close to the final film. So JJ Abrams may not be used to this, but we are, and it never ruined the others for me. In fact, if you think you will be disappointed, I’d even suggest seeking the spoilers out, so you’ll be prepared…and you might be surprised how much of the end product is in the execution.
2. First Order of Business.
Star Wars is no longer about Rebels versus the Empire. As revealed by costumes and models on display, the bad guys now call themselves the First Order, and the good guys are the Resistance. This makes some degree of sense, like how Vladimir Putin doesn’t call his country the Soviet Union any more even when he tries to act like it still is. The Empire had a lousy image, and they probably paid a fortune to rebrand – though something tells me the First Order ends up about as popular in the universe as new Coke.
“You Resistance scum” doesn’t quite roll of the tongue as easily, though.
We all know Daisy Ridley’s playing a character named Rey, right? She was announced as such, there are costumes on display with that name, and she answered to it on the panel yesterday. So why his her vehicle called “Kira’s Bumper Car”?
It could be that she steals it. But the original fake trading card that announced her name called it “her” speeder, and there are other possibilities (this is speculations, not spoilers)…
Remember when Star Wars had an actress actually named Keira? Ms. Knightley, that is. She played a decoy version of the Queen of Naboo. And where have we had name confusion before in Star Wars casting? Well, how about that time the Episode I figures came out, and there was one named Padme Naberrie, and one named Queen Amidala, both with different fictional bios and the face of Natalie Portman.
Daisy Ridley was mostly unknown as an actress prior to this, but she very much looks like she could be related to both Knightley and Portman. It’s not an unreasonable guess that she was partially cast because of that resemblance, and what it could mean.
In what’s also an amusing coincidence, there is a prominent pop-culture heroine right now who was born with one name but raised under another. It’s Skye from Agents of SHIELD…and her character’s birth name is “Daisy.”
4. Say Goodbye to Palpat-Ian
If Emperor Palpatine does show up in any form, it won’t be one that looks like Ian McDiarmid. In his Q&A panel, the actor said he could officially confirm he is not in the new movie, and that George Lucas has repeatedly assured him that he is dead, dead, dead, with no identical clones lying around. (That’s not to say the character couldn’t return in some radically different way under Abrams’ guidance, possibly with a younger actor – after all, if you were an evil ruler cloning yourself, wouldn’t you make a younger body?)
Oddly, the following are things he says Lucas never assured him about: any of Darth Plagueis’ backstory, the nature of Anakin’s conception, and whether or not Palpatine had a more direct hand in Padme’s death than was obvious. Also, his big opera scene with Anakin in Episode II was shot later the same day as the fight with Mace Windu, during which he inhaled a massive amount of dust from the giant fans used to blow his hair around. Thus, the reason his voice in that opera scene starts to sound halfway between Palpatine and Sidious was not the result of an acting choice, but an incredibly sore throat. Lucas thought it sounded like a great transitional phase, and did not make him redub the scene. On the other hand, all his dialogue in Return of the Jedi is post-production audio.
5. Wookiee of the Years
Wookiees live for around 400 years, which is why Chewbacca isn’t gray yet.
No, I didn’t learn that from any panel. I learned it on Facebook and Twitter, as fans even nerdier than I am rushed to defend the fact that Han’s copilot doesn’t look significantly older.
So thank you, Internet. You gave me news I could use.
6. Giving a Dameron.
Oscar Isaac describes his character Poe Dameron as “the best freakin’ pilot in the galaxy.” What we now know is that he is sent on a mission by Princess Leia – who still seems to be referred to as a princess and not a queen – and along the way, encounters Finn. Because they’re still being cagey about the nature of Finn’s character, no-one will admit as yet that he’s a good guy. But I think it’s safe to assume that Finn and Poe team up on whatever the mission is.
7. Shoots From the (Broken) Hip First.
Harrison Ford actually can deliver a line without sounding like a disgruntled zombie. I’d say “I knew he could,” except, y’know…I didn’t. Not nowadays.
8. Just Deserts.
There is more than one desert planet in the Star Wars universe. Go figure, right? The one Rey lives on as a scavenger is called Jakku. So when someone has a desire to leave it, I guess you could say they wanna Jakku off.
Jakku is also Finnish for “jacket” – do a Google image search and you get a ton of women’s wear before anything Star Warsy shows up. Which could suggest Rey is metaphorically wearing a jacket to conceal something…
Did I miss anything? Did you see or hear any publicly released info I didn’t cover? Let me know below, but please don’t post leaked spoilers that have not been discussed or shown officialy.
Luke Y. Thompson has been writing professionally about movies and pop-culture since 1999, and has also been an actor in some extremely cheap culty and horror movies you will probably never hear much about (he is nonetheless mostly proud of them, as he met his wife on one). As editor of The Robot's Voice since 2012, he can take the blame for the majority of the site's content, all of which he creates because he loves you very, very much. (Although he loves nachos more. Sorry.)
Prior to TRV, Luke wrote for publications that include the New Times LA, Los Angeles CityBeat, E! Online, OC Weekly, Geekweek, GeekChicDaily, The L.A. Times, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and Nerdist