This article contains major Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers.
If you’re like us, then you’re probably still obsessing over every single line of dialogue, character name, and detail in Star Wars: The Force Awakens to find the story’s hidden secrets. Luckily for you, we’ve decided to compile a master list of ALL the easter eggs and references in the movie.
What will you find here? References to other new canon things as well as allusions to things from stories and characters from the Legends canon. That’s all the Star Wars books, comics, video games, and more that we could think of. We’ve caught a bunch of homages to the Original Trilogy of films, too!
If there’s something we missed, let us know in the comments or give our Star Wars expert John Saavedra a shout on Twitter. If we can verify it, we’ll add it here. Remember, this list is forever a work in progress, so your help is absolutely appreciated!
Again, we can’t stress enough that there are MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens in this article.
– Rey’s first appearance is in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Her backstory has not been explored, although Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka sheds light on her life before the events of the film.
– From Before the Awakening: Rey learns how to pilot ships from a flight simulator she spends her free time with before the events of the film.
– There have been other characters named “Rey” or “Rei” in Star Wars history, but none of any real note. As you’ll discover, “Finn” is a much more popular name.
– Rey’s outfit in the film is inspired by Ralph McQuarrie’s early concept art for Luke Starkiller. And her robes are very like Luke’s in A New Hope.
– When Rey scratches another day into the wall, you can see a Rebel X-Wing pilot doll in the corner of the shot.
– In the scene where Rey is eating against the foot of the fallen AT-AT, she puts on an old Rebel pilot helmet…While many believe it to be Luke’s Red Five helmet from A New Hope, it is revealed in The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary that it’s actually a completely different helmet.
– Rey also owns her own speeder like Luke did in A New Hope. They’re different models, though. Luke drives the X-34 landspeeder on Tatooine, while Rey’s is more of a speeder bike.
– Rey saves BB-8 from an alien scavenger on Jakku. That alien is called a Teedo. This is the species’ first appearance.
– In The Force Awakens novelization, we learn that the Teedos have their own religion and believe that there is a god that created sandstorms on Jakku.
– The strange-looking plant Rey eats in Maz Kanata’s castle can be found here on Earth. It’s called Romanesco broccoli or Romanesco cauliflower. (That one is courtesy of Neil deGrasse Tyson.)
– When Rey touches Luke’s lightsaber in Maz Kanata’s castle, she experiences visions of the past (?) through the Force energy in the weapon. This isn’t the first time characters have experienced visions of the past, present, and future (or surreal trips) by coming into contact with something imprinted with Force energy. An example from the films is the Dark Side Cave on Dagobah in The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke faces off with Darth Vader.
In Marvel’s Star Wars: Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto, Leia has a vision of Darth Maul after entering the hangar on Naboo from The Phantom Menace.
– In Rey’s vision, you can hear the familiar voices of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, Alec Guiness and Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Frank Oz as Yoda.
– Among the things Rey sees in the vision are the hallway where Luke and Darth Vader dueled in Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back and the rancor pit from Return of the Jedi. You can also hear Luke yelling, “NO!” after Vader reveals that he’s his father in The Empire Strikes Back.
– It can be deduced that Rey is Luke’s daughter, hidden from the rest of the galaxy when the First Order and the Knights of Ren began to terrorize the galaxy. Luke and Leia were also hidden from the galaxy by Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda, in order to keep them safe from the Sith.
– Like Rey’s first adventure, Luke’s adventure in A New Hope features a rescue mission in a massive enemy base. This is an inverse, though, since it’s Rey that needs to be “rescued.” She doesn’t, of course.
– Watching Rey sneaking around the Starkiller Base might remind you of Obi-Wan Kenobi stealthily deactivating the tractor beam on the Death Star. One fun little thing here: in A New Hope, as Kenobi is sneaking by, we hear Stormtroopers having a conversation about the BT-16 perimeter droid. In The Force Awakens, we can hear Stormtroopers referencing a “BT-17” in the background, while Rey is sneaking past them.
– The same kind of inverse can be found at the end of the film, when Rey tries to hand off the lightsaber to Luke. This will undoubtedly lead into Rey’s formal Jedi training. Many could say that Luke’s own training began when Obi-Wan gifted him with his father’s lightsaber. You could also say that Rey’s journey to find Luke on an undisclosed planet at the end of the film is a parallel to Luke’s journey to Dagobah to find Master Yoda.
– The scene in which Rey manages to pull the lightsaber out of the snow with the Force is an homage to the wampa cave scene in The Empire Strikes Back.
Kylo Ren/Ben Solo and the Knights of Ren
– Kylo Ren is a Force user, powerful in the Dark Side of the Force. He is a member of the Knights of Ren, a new faction of Dark Side acolytes, who work alongside the First Order. The leadership and structure of the Knights of Ren is unclear in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but it is to be believed that the faction is led by Supreme Leader Snoke (played by Andy Serkis), who is presumably also powerful in the Dark Side of the Force.
– It is unclear whether the Knights of Ren have any relation to the Sith, the villains of the first six Star Wars films. It could be assumed that the Knights of Ren were also born from the ashes of their predecessors, like the other factions in the film.
– Additionally, no relation is stated between the Knights of Ren and the Acolytes of the Beyond, a group of Dark Side fanatics first introduced in Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig. In the book, the Acolytes of the Beyond purchase Darth Vader’s lightsaber, which was assumed lost after the Battle of Endor. It could also be assumed that the Acolytes of the Beyond acquired Darth Vader’s charred helmet from Endor.
– Kylo Ren’s cowl comes from his early days of Force training, according to The Force Awakens novelization. It is not specified is he donned it during his training with Luke Skywalker or Supreme Leader Snoke.
– Kylo Ren is shown to be obsessed with Darth Vader, worshipping the charred helmet of his Dark Side idol. The reason behind this is in fact that Vader/Anakin Skywalker is Kylo’s grandfather. It can be deduced in the film that Kylo wishes to continue Vader’s mission to eradicate the Jedi and bring order to the galaxy.
– It is unclear whether Kylo can actually contact Vader’s Force ghost in the movie. We never see it it actually happen, but Kylo asks Vader to show him the power of the Dark Side once more. It could just be another Force imprint on the helmet, of course. We know Anakin became a Force ghost at the end of Return of the Jedi, but as a Jedi, not a Sith.
Interestingly enough, there was early concept art for Anakin/Vader’s Force ghost, as revealed in The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The Force ghost is depicted as a man-machine hybrid, showing both phases of Anakin’s life. The art piece was created by Iain McCaig. You can look at it above.
– Before he assumed the title of Kylo Ren—”Ren” being a name given to all members of the Knights of Ren—the main villain of Star Wars: The Force Awakens was Ben Solo, son of Han and Leia. It’s a safe bet that Han and Leia named their son after Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi, the wise Jedi Master who trained Luke in the Original Trilogy.
– It is briefly mentioned in the film that Ben Solo went to train with his uncle, Luke Skywalker, in the ways of the Force. Luke was training a new group of young Jedi to form a new Jedi Order. More on this below.
– Ben falls to the Dark Side at some point during his training with Luke, who has taken him as his Padawan learner. It is suggested that Ben’s fall to the Dark Side was the main reason Luke’s attempt to build a new Order was thwarted.
– Leia regrets ever having let Ben go train with Luke. Han mentions that his son had “too much of Vader in him.” Like Anakin/Vader, Ben/Kylo struggles between the Dark Side and the splinters of the Light Side of the Force that still remain in him.
– Killing Han Solo seems to finally break Kylo’s connection to the Light Side, and sets him on the road to complete his training with Snoke. It is worth mentioning that the same breaking of the Light Side could have occurred to Luke had he struck down his own father in Return of the Jedi. Kylo’s story is sort of a mirror image of Luke’s.
– Speaking of mirror image, like Luke right before Return of the Jedi, Kylo constructs his own lightsaber prior to the events of The Force Awakens. This is a major moment of progress in a Force user’s training in both the Light Side and Dark Side.
– Yet another mirror image: when Kylo Ren faces Han Solo on the bridge, he says that Ben Solo is “dead” and that he, Kylo Ren, “killed” him. Obi-Wan also claimed Anakin was “killed” by Darth Vader in the Original Trilogy.
– In the novelization, Ren feels dissatisfied after killing Han, as if it hasn’t destroyed his connection to the light side. The novel also has Ren consider taking Rey as his apprentice much earlier than in the film, as early as their first meeting.
– Kylo ends the film with a big scar across his face that’s a bit reminiscent of Anakin’s scar in Revenge of the Sith, which he got during the Clone Wars.
– While Kylo Ren/Ben Solo is an original character and first introduced in The Force Awakens, he’s inspired in part by his Legends canon counterpart, Jacen Solo, who also eventually fell to the Dark Side in the Legacy of the Force book series. After years of serving the New Jedi Order, under the leadership of Luke Skywalker, Jacen joins the Sith and assumes the title of Darth Caedus, becoming the Dark Lady of the Sith Lumiya’s apprentice.
Lumiya, by the way, is a badass Sith with the lightsaber whip. She first appeared in Marvel’s original Star Wars comics, in issue #56, under a false identity. This isn’t important at all, but just too cool not to mention.
– Like Ben, Jacen started Jedi training at a young age at Luke’s Yavin 4 Jedi Academy. You can see much of his training and his early adventures in the Young Jedi Knights book series from Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta.
– Although he doesn’t murder Han Solo in Legends canon, Jacen does kill his aunt, Mara Jade Skywalker, in Legacy of the Force novel Sacrifice by Karen Traviss. This was a big deal at the time. Mara Jade, who was first introduced in 1991’s Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, became one of the most important characters in Legends canon, considered part of the main heroes alongside Luke, Han, and Leia.
– Kylo Ren also shares some elements of his story with Kyp Durron, a Legends character introduced in Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson. Durron was also trained in Luke Skywalker’s Jedi Order, had a close relationship with Han Solo, and eventually turned to the dark side and possessed a superweapon, the Sun Crusher, capable of destroying entire planetary systems.
– It’s interesting that Kylo Ren was named Ben for the film, since in Legends canon, Luke and Mara had a son named Ben Skywalker. To add to that, Jacen Solo’s apprentice in Legends canon is Ben Skywalker, until the young Jedi fell to the Dark Side.
– Finn is quite new to Star Wars canon, first appearing in The Force Awakens. He is a First Order Stormtrooper, designation FN-2187 and known simply as Eight-Seven by his fellow soldiers. Finn is in the trooper division led by Captain Phasma.
– Finn’s “2187” designation is an homage to Princess Leia’s cell block on the Death Star in A New Hope. She’s being kept in cell 2187. These four numbers actually hold a bit of significance to George Lucas, who was inspired to make his first movie, THX 1138, because of a short film called 21-87 by Arthur Lipsett.
– Finn’s planet of origin and relatives are unknown. He reveals during the film that the First Order took him from his home as a child and trained him to become a soldier. Finn also hints that all First Order Stormtroopers are recruited this way, marking the end of both the clone era of armor-clad soldiers and volunteer Imperial Academy era.
– Finn hits the same dejarik table on the Millennium Falcon that was first shown in A New Hope. In that movie, Artoo played Chewie while on their way to Alderaan. As a fun little easter egg, the small creature that was body-slammed by the much larger creature in A New Hope is seen bashing the larger creature over the head with a mace. Revenge!
– Finn’s jacket is not unlike Luke’s at the end of A New Hope, except his is brown and Luke’s is yellow. We see Luke use his jacket throughout Marvel’s new Star Wars comic series.
– The little ball Finn finds on the Falcon is the same training remote Luke used when learning to use the Force and his lightsaber in A New Hope.
– There have been several characters named Finn in Star Wars Expanded Universe history. In Legends, there’s Finn, a Sith Master who fought in the New Sith Wars approximately 2000 years before the Battle of Yavin. He appeared in Dark Horse Comic’s Star Wars Tales #17.
There’s also Finn Galfridian, who fought in the Yuuzhan Vong War in the pages of Dark Horse’s Star Wars: Invasion. And there are plenty of others, including pirate Finn Tegotash and Twi-lek Jedi Finn Ertay from The Clone Wars animated series. Basically, there are a lot of Finns in Star Wars.
– Finn is not the first Stormtrooper to become a deserter. Most famously, Timothy Zahn’s 2007 Legends novel Allegiance told the story of a group of five Imperial deserters known as the Hand of Judgment. Troopers Daric LaRone, Korlo Brightwater, Taxtro Grave, Saberan Marcross, and Joak Quiller abandoned their posts on the Star Destroyer Reprisal just months after the Battle of Yavin.
– Many fans will also draw parallels to a Legends’ Kyle Katarn. Star of Dark Forces and the Jedi Knight series of video games, the character was also a stormtrooper before defecting to the Rebellion. He carried a blaster and a lightsaber throughout his career, and even wears a brown jacket similar to Finn’s at one point. Personally, we don’t think Mr. Abrams and Mr. Kasdan were thinking Katarn in this instance, though.
– As far as we know, Finn is the first person to wield Anakin Skywalker’s lightsaber since Luke lost it in his duel against Vader on Cloud City. This will most likely change at some point.
– John Boyega is the third black actor to play a major character in a Star Wars film. Billy Dee Williams, who played Lando Calrissian in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is the first. Samuel L. Jackson, who played Jedi Master Mace Windu in the Prequels, is the second.
– Poe Dameron is first mentioned by Leia Organa in the novel Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry.
– Both of Poe’s parents were members of the Rebel Alliance during the Galactic Civil War. His mother, Shara Bey, was an A-Wing pilot who flew with Green Squadron during the Battle of Endor. She also adventured with Princess Leia to Naboo during the Empire’s Operation: Cinder in the days after Endor.
Shara accompanied Luke Skywalker on a mission to take back the Force-sensitive tree that grew at the center of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. You can read all of her adventures in Marvel’s Star Wars: Shattered Empire by Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto.
– Poe’s dad, Kes Dameron, also fought in the Battle of Endor for the Rebel Alliance. He was part of a special ground force known as the Pathfinders, the same team Han Solo led during Return of the Jedi. Their mission was to destroy the Death Star II’s deflector shield generator as well as mop up the remaining Imperial forces on Endor after the space battle was won.
– Poe is the leader of Black Squadron, the fighter squadron that took down Starkiller Base in The Force Awakens. He is referred to as Black Leader.
– When Poe and Finn blast their way out of the Finalizer, you can hear a Stormtrooper give a pretty hearty Wilhelm Scream, a classic sound effect used in all Star Wars films.
– Poe’s final run through Starkiller Base is very similar to Luke’s trench run on the Death Star in A New Hope. Poe even gets his own trench to zip through. The bad guys really need to hire a new engineer for these giant superweapons.
– Poe flies a newer version (T-70) of the Original Trilogy’s X-Wing (T-65B). His fighter is colored black and orange. This new X-Wing is based on Ralph McQuarrie’s original design for the fighter in A New Hope. Read way more about that here.
– Oscar Isaac, who is Guatemalan and Cuban, is the first Hispanic actor to portray a major character in a Star Wars film. Previously, Puerto Rican actor Jimmy Smits portrayed supporting character Bail Organa in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.
– Oscar Isaac may have had some say in where Poe’s canonical homeworld is. Isaac said in an interview that he would like Poe’s homeworld to be Yavin IV, since “that last scene [in A New Hope] was shot in Guatemala and you know, I think that Poe Dameron is from that planet … ” This was later canonized when the Shattered Empire comic series showed Poe’s parents settling on Yavin IV.
Han Solo, Chewbacca, and The Millennium Falcon
– Han Solo and Chewbacca’s adventures after Return of the Jedi haven’t been touched upon too heavily in the new canon. We see Han leading the Pathfinders in Star Wars: Shattered Empire, as the Rebels mop up the last remaining Imperials on Endor. They’re also mentioned in a brief interlude in Aftermath, in which they’re about to head out on a mission to free Kashyyyk, Chewie’s homeworld, from the Empire.
– It is mentioned in The Force Awakens that Han and Chewie lost the Millennium Falcon to a man named Ducain, who is first mentioned in Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka. The Falcon has had many owners over the years, in both Legends and new canon, but the most famous owner prior to the films was Lando Calrissian, who lost the ship in a sabacc card game to Han.
– In Legends, the Falcon even goes through several different names before being christened the Millennium Falcon. At different points, the ship was calledCorell’s Pride, Fickle Flyer, Meetyl’s Misery, Jackpot, Stellar Envoy, and Second Chance. And there are a few more names, too. The ship has even had several different paint jobs, but now this is getting ridiculous.
– The Millennium Falcon in The Force Awakens has a rectangular antenna as opposed to the round antenna from the Original Trilogy. The ship lost its original antenna during the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi.
– When Rey and Finn are scrambling to hide on the Falcon when captured by Han and Chewie, they use the same secret panel compartments from A New Hope and the gas masks from The Empire Strikes Back.
– Han Solo, Chewie, Rey, and Finn face off against both the Guavian Death Gang and the Kanjiklub Gang on the cargo freighter. While this is the first time gangs have appeared in a Star Wars movie—I wouldn’t count Jabba the Hutt’s group since that’s more of a criminal empire—they pretty much run wild in both Legends and new canon. There are too many to name here, so just go look them up yourself. Or play BioWare’s Knights of the Old Republic for a really awesome take on space gangs.
– The octopus-like creatures that Han and Chewie are smuggling in the cargo ship are called rathtars. This is their first appearance. You might also notice a pretty big homage to Harrison Ford’s other big role, Indiana Jones, as the rathtar rolls down the hallways like a particular killer boulder from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
– Han and Chewie use the same weapons from the Original Trilogy, the DL-44 and bowcaster respectively. You can read way more about Han’s blaster here.
– Han delivers one of Star Wars‘ most famous lines: “I have a bad feeling about this.” This line has become a pretty big in-joke in the Star Wars universe.
– Needless to say, Han and Chewie go on many adventures in the post-Return of the Jedi Legends canon. Interestingly enough, when it’s finally time to break up the duo, it’s Chewbacca that sacrifices himself. In the first New Jedi Order book Vector Prime, Chewie dies on the planet Sernpidal when a moon (!) crashes into the planet and crushes the Wookie, in the early days of the Yuuzhan Vong War, approximately 25 years after the Battle of Yavin.
– That’s not to say Han doesn’t face much tragedy in Legends. In the years after Return of the Jedi, besides the death of Chewie, Han lost both of his sons. Anakin Solo died during the Yuuzhan Vong War and Jacen fell to the Dark Side and was eventually killed by his twin sister Jaina.
– Han’s death in The Force Awakens mirrors that of Obi-Wan’s: a face-off in an enemy base between father/son (metaphorically in Obi-Wan and Anakin’s situation) that ends with the son killing the father.
Luke Skywalker and The New Jedi Order
– Almost nothing is known about Luke’s new canon adventures after Return of the Jedi. He is featured in the final issue of Star Wars: Shattered Empire. In the story, he goes on a mission to rescue the remnants of the Force-sensitive tree that stood at the heart of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant before the rise of the Empire. It is implied that this is Luke’s first step to rebuilding the Jedi Order.
– Interestingly enough, Luke finds two trees during his mission and gifts one of them to Shara Bey, Poe Dameron’s mother. Shara then settles down on Yavin 4 with her family, where she plants the tree. In Legends canon, Luke establishes the New Jedi Order on Yavin 4.
– It is revealed in The Force Awakens that Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi before something went terribly wrong and one of his students turned to the Dark Side and destroyed it all. In Legends, Luke also rebuilds the Jedi Order, which is often called upon to protect the New Republic and the Galactic Alliance in the years after Return of the Jedi.
Of course, there are plenty of setbacks for Luke in that era. Dark Jedi arise, cults that worship the Sith attempt to wield ancient artifacts, the Imperial Remnant often causes trouble, Force-immune aliens invade the galaxy, and his nephew (Jacen Solo) brings about the rebirth of the Sith in the later years of the Legends canon. It shouldn’t be surprising that Luke’s road will be quite rocky during the Sequel Trilogy.
– In Legends, Luke himself also falls to the Dark Side and briefly becomes a reborn minion of Emperor Palpatine in Dark Horse Comics’ Dark Empire by Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy. It’s not implied whether Luke ever fell to the Dark Side in the years between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens in new canon. My guess is no.
– It is implied that Luke went into exile after his nephew Ben Solo’s fall to the Dark Side. In Legends, when his nephew Jacen Solo joined the Sith in Legacy of the Force, Luke faced the repercussions, including exile from Coruscant and the Jedi Order by the Galactic Alliance.
– Luke’s robes at the end of The Force Awakens are similar to Obi-Wan’s robes. In fact, it seems that Luke has embraced the classic look of the Jedi from even before the Prequel Era. In Legends, Luke kept his black uniform from Return of the Jedi for quite a while in the EU, but eventually did settle on the traditional Jedi robes.
– Luke has long hair and a beard in the final scene of the film. For the life of me, I can’t remember Luke ever being depicted with facial hair in any Star Wars book cover art, comic book, or video game. But the beard kind of makes sense, doesn’t it?
– Luke’s hideout is on the planet Ahch-To, according to The Force Awakens screenplay.
The New Republic and Resistance
– Anyone familiar with the Legends canon Star Wars expanded universe of books, comics, and video games, has heard of the New Republic, the government that was formed after the fall of the Galactic Empire. In Legends (and in the new canon), the New Republic is created out of the Rebel Alliance.
– In both versions of the canon, Mon Mothma, who first appeared in Return of the Jedi, becomes the first leader of the new government. A new senate made up of representatives of all member planets is also formed in both instances.
– The capital of the New Republic differs based on the canon. In Legends, the capital of the Republic became Coruscant, after it was finally captured from the Imperial Remnant (see below) three years after the Battle of Endor. You can see these events unfold in Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston’s excellent X-Wing series of novels, which follows the adventures of Wedge Antilles and Rogue Squadron.
– In new canon, the capital of the New Republic was established on Chandrila, the homeworld of Mon Mothma. This was established in Chuck Wendig’s novel Star Wars: Aftermath. At some point, the capital was moved to Hosnian Prime, one of the planets that is blown up by Starkiller Base.
– On Hosnian Prime, we get a close-up of an unnamed woman right before the planet is destroyed. We learned from The Force Awakens novelization that her name is Korr Sella. She was an aid to General Leia who was sent to the Senate to gain support from the New Republic for the Resistance.
– The New Republic was first introduced in 1991’s Legends novel Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn. In the book, which is the first part of Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, the New Republic faces off with the revitalized Imperial forces led by Chiss commander Grand Admiral Thrawn. These events took place five years after the Battle of Endor.
– Legends canon showed the decline and fall of the New Republic in The New Jedi Order book series, which saw the Yuuzhan Vong invasion crush the government, as the alien war machine conquered Coruscant. Out of the ashes of the New Republic came the Galactic Alliance, which was formed from former New Republic members, as well as the Imperial Remnant and the Hapes Consortium. Through the desperate battle against their deep space conquerors, the Galactic Alliance finally managed to truly unite the galaxy under one government.
– The Resistance is first mentioned in the novels The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry and Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry. You can find the faction’s first appearance in the prologues and epilogues of both of those books. It is established that Princess Leia Organa has become a General and leader of the Resistance.
– Furthermore, it is revealed in Before the Awakening by Greg Rucka that the Resistance and the First Order are both splinter groups at the time of the film, which takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. The Resistance is a small faction of soldiers operating loosely within the New Republic. Their ultimate goal is to act as a watchdog against the machinations of the First Order, the villainous faction born out of the ashes of the Empire. The Senate and the Senate Intelligence Committee don’t put a lot of stock in the Resistance; one officer describes both factions as “overstated.” The Resistance takes the First Order more seriously than the rest of the New Republic – a stance proven correct in The Force Awakens.
– The Resistance uses the starbird symbol once used by the Rebel Alliance in the Original Trilogy. You’ll notice Resistance pilots wearing the familiar symbol on their helmet, and they’ve donned the signature orange flight suits, too!
– The Resistance Base is located on the planet D’Qar in the Ileenium System in the Outer Rim. The planet was first introduced in the novel Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. In the story, the Rebellion’s Corona Squad investigate the planet for a possible Imperial outpost, but find nothing. The Rebels then established an outpost there that eventually became the Resistance Base.
– Jess Pava, one of Poe’s pilots in Black Squadron, was introduced in Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci and Jason Fry.
Supreme Leader Snoke, Phasma, & the First Order
– There isn’t much that can be deduced from Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis, from his appearance in The Force Awakens. He absolutely definitely isn’t a giant, at least. His face, while reminiscent of Darth Plagueis’ long, gray face, isn’t quite the face of a Muun.
So, to knock down the fan theory a little, Snoke probably isn’t Plagueis in disguise. But it could be said that we don’t know what Plagueis actually looks like since his appearance was erased after the canon reboot and he’s never been shown in any of the new canon material since. But seriously, probably not the same guy.
– Snoke appears to his minions, namely General Hux and Kylo Ren, as a hologram, much in the same way Emperor Palpatine appeared to Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. His speech to Kylo Ren about Han Solo is even reminiscent of Palpatine’s instructions to Vader about Luke in ESB. In both cases, the relatives are goners.
– Snoke says it’s time to complete Kylo’s training at the end of the film, after Kylo has killed Han Solo. Palpatine wished for Luke to strike down Darth Vader in order to complete his training in the Dark Side of the Force.
– It is unclear if the film is actually Snoke’s first appearance. At the end of Star Wars: Aftermath, it is revealed that there has been a mastermind working in the shadows, manipulating both the Empire and the New Republic. He is known only as “The Operator” in the book. This could be Snoke’s initial step in his plan to retake the galaxy.
– Captain Phasma is surprisingly the first “Chrome Trooper” in Star Wars history. This is perhaps an homage to the “Chrome era” of sci-fi serials such as Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers.
That said, there have been precursors to this design in Legends canon. For example, the Sith Troopers from Knights of the Old Republic wore chrome armor. While technically not the same, both units serve the same oppressive function.
There have also been other variations on the classic white Stormtrooper armor. Shadow Troopers wear all-black armor, and they’re not to be confused with Legends’ “Shadowtroopers,” which were Stormtrooper-Dark Jedi hybrids introduced in the video game Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast.
– Interestingly enough, Phasma’s armor is made from the hull plates of a Naboo starship.
– Captain Phasma, played by Gwendoline Christie, isn’t the first female Stormtrooper, although she is the first in the films. An anonymous female Stormtrooper was first introduced in the pages of Star Wars: Legacy Vol.1 #0. This unidentified character was part of the infamous 501st Legion of Stormtroopers, approximately 130 years after the Battle of Yavin. Jes Gistang, who first appeared in the same series’ fourth issue, is the first female Stormtrooper to be named.
Of course, neither of these characters exist anymore, since the canon reboot. Therefore, Captain Phasma, along with an unidentified female Stormtrooper in The Force Awakens‘ Starkiller Base, are the new canon’s first female Stormtroopers.
– It is implied that Phasma is thrown into a trash compactor after being captured by Finn, Han, and Chewie. Han, Chewie, Leia, and Luke were trapped in a trash compactor in A New Hope.
– Abrams came up with Phasma’s name because of his love for the movie Phantasm.
– The Stormtrooper who duels with Finn on Takodana isn’t the first Stormtrooper to be able to go head to head against an enemy with a lightsaber. As said above, Legends’ Shadowtroopers were Force-sensitive hybrids who carried lightsabers and could perform the same feats as the Jedi. There were also the Legends’ Cuis clones, six prototype Stormtroopers that were created from the genome of a Dark Jedi and trained by Darth Vader in his fight against the Rebellion.
– The concept that Stormtroopers could duel against Jedi started all the way back with Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art for A New Hope, which shows a Stormtrooper holding a sword. It’s surprising that this idea was never put to use in the films until The Force Awakens.
Of course, the First Order Stormtrooper in the film isn’t using a lightsaber or sword, but a Z6 riot control baton. He does have the shield, though!
– You’ll notice that Snowtroopers and Flametroopers carry the same insignia as the Stormtroopers designed by Ralph McQuarrie during the production of The Empire Strikes Back. Thanks to Star Wars Underworld for pointing that out.
– The First Order Star Destroyer in The Force Awakens is called Finalizer.
– General Hux, much like Grand Moff Tarkin, believes his superweapon, Starkiller Base, will eradicate his enemies once and for all. Fortunately for him, he is smart enough to run when things take a turn for the worse. Tarkin wasn’t so lucky.
– The Visual Dictionary establishes Hux, Kylo Ren, and Phasma as the three leaders of the First Order, with equal power but different specialties and an uneasy alliance.
– Starkiller Base is an ice planet that is turned into a massive superweapon with the ability to destroy planets, which is very much like the Death Star from the Original Trilogy. It’s mechanized planet design is most likely a play on the Death Star’s resemblance to a moon. Like A New Hope, The Force Awakens ends with the weapon’s destruction.
– Like the Empire in A New Hope, the First Order ends the Galactic Senate once again, this time by blowing up the New Republic’s capital, Hosnian Prime, with a giant superweapon. In the former, the Emperor simply abolished the Senate.
– Starkiller Base is named after George Lucas’ original name for Luke, which was “Luke Starkiller.” In the Legends video game The Force Unleashed, the main character is also named Starkiller. And there have been plenty of other characters in Star Wars history with the name, too.
– The Separatists also had a superweapon called the Starkiller during the Clone Wars era. This weapon first appeared in companion materials for the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars role-playing game.
– Starkiller Base sucks up the energy from a star system’s sun in order to charge its massive weapon, which can destroy several planets at once. While not exactly the same, Legends did feature a superweapon that could exploit a system’s sun in order to unleash chaos upon multiple planets.
The Sun Crusher was introduced in the novel Jedi Search by Kevin J. Anderson. In the story, this weapon was secretly created by the Empire and was capable of causing stars to go supernova and destroy all of the planets in the blast radius. Unlike Starkiller Base’s massive scale, though, the Sun Crusher was no bigger than a starfighter. Impressive. Most impressive.
As far as harnessing the power of a star, the Knights of the Old Republic series has featured at least two space stations that stripped stars of their energy. One was the Star Forge in the first KotOR game. And there’s also the Sun Razer from the comics based on The Old Republic MMO. There are probably more, but you get the picture.
– It is said that the First Order was born out of the ashes of the Empire, which finally fell to the New Republic at the Battle of Jakku a year after the Battle of Endor. We see a ship graveyard left over from that battle in the opening scenes of The Force Awakens.
– The Battle of Jakku made its first appearance in the novel Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. It is also playable in the video game Star Wars Battlefront.
– The Empire never actually falls to the New Republic in Legends canon, although they suffer several devastating defeats, including those depicted in the Thrawn Trilogy. The “final collapse,” though, happened in the pages of Dark Horse Comics’ Crimson Empire II. The Empire died 11 years after the Battle of Yavin due to in-fighting between several Imperial Warlords who wanted to claim power after the death of the Emperor. This all came to a head at the Battle of Ord Cantrell, where the self-proclaimed Galactic Emperor Xandel Carivus was defeated and killed.
– A year after the Battle of Ord Cantrell, the Imperial Remnant was established from the various territories still under the control of Imperial Warlords. The Remnant still followed doctrine of Emperor Palpatine’s government, but it did abolish slavery and anti-alien sentiment. Imperial Admiral Gilad Pellaeon served as Supreme Commander of the Remnant in this time.
– The Imperial Remnant did eventually join with the New Republic and the Hapes Consortium to form the Galactic Alliance in their fight against the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. Later years saw the Remnant break away from the Galactic Alliance. Eventually, the Imperial Remnant turned into the Fel Empire, which reclaimed much of the galaxy it had lost after Palpatine’s Empire fell.
Droids, Maz Kanata, and the Rest
– BB-8’s design is based on Ralph McQuarrie’s early concept art for a “round” R2-D2 in A New Hope. Actors/comedians Bill Hader and Ben Schwartz provided the voice of the new droid.
– C-3PO has a red arm during The Force Awakens. Although we’re not told how Threepio acquired the replacement arm, we will find out in Marvel’s C-3PO one-shot from James Robinson and Tony Harris.
– Plenty of other droids from the Prequels and Original Trilogy appear in the film as well, including the GNK power droid—the one that looks like a garbage can—on Jakku. There’s also the interrogator droid on Starkiller Base, a servant droid on Takodana, and a MSE-6 series repair droid on the Finalizer.
– The film’s story truly begins when BB-8 has a chance encounter with the main character in a desert planet. That’s exactly what happens with Artoo and Luke in A New Hope. BB-8 is even captured by a scavenger along the way, much in the same way as Artoo and the Jawas.
– In fact, A New Hope, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens all start on a desert planet. Coincidence? I THINK NOT.
– In certain Jakku scenes, you can see an arch in the distance. That arch is based on Ralph McQuarrie concept art. Thanks to Star Wars Underworld for pointing that out.
– Lor San Tekka, Max von Sydow’s character, is an elder of a Jakku village with a piece of a map with the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker. He first appears in The Force Awakens.
– It is revealed in The Force Awakens novelization, and further elaborated upon in The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary, that Lor San Tekka is a member of the Church of the Force, an underground faith that worshiped the ideals of the Jedi in the days after Order 66 and the extermination of the Jedi Order.
– Maz Kanata, played by Lupita Nyong’o, is a space pirate. Although pirates have never been shown in the films, they have always been a big part of the Star Wars universe. Perhaps the most famous of all space pirates in new canon is Hondo Ohnaka, the Weequay from The Clone Wars and Rebels animated series.
– Maz Kanata’s castle first appeared in “The Face of Evil,” a short story e-book by Landy Q. Walker. The castle is on the planet Takodana.
– Among the flags hanging at Maz Kanata’s castle are the Mandalorian flag and the Ohnaka Clan flag. These could be nods to Boba Fett and Hondo Ohnaka respectively.
– Bazine Netal, the thief who informs the First Order that BB-8 is on Takodana, is first introduced in the short story e-book “The Perfect Weapon” by Delilah S. Dawson.
– Sidon Ithano and Quiggold, the alien pirates Finn talks to when he’s trying to run to the Outer Rim, were first introduced in “The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku,” a short story e-book by Landy Q. Walker. In the story, they’re looking for kyber crystals that once belonged to the infamous Sith.
– Upon entering the castle, one of the first aliens you sees is called a Hassk. This creature is an homage Ralph McQuarrie’s original concept art for the Mos Eisley Cantina in A New Hope.
– The cantina music you hear in Maz Kanata’s castle was not composed by John Williams. It’s a piece composed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, currently making waves on Broadway with Hamilton. Miranda and J.J. Abrams sang the vocals for the song.
– The Sullustan who flies alongside Poe Dameron during the Battle at Starkiller Base is indeed Nien Nunb, the alien who co-piloted the Millennium Falcon with Lando Calrissian during the Battle of Endor.
– Admiral Ackbar is now part of the Resistance. In the years after his victory at the Battle of Endor, the Mon Calamari led the military forces of the New Republic. We see him act in this capacity in Star Wars: Aftermath.
– Abrams re-uses two actors from his hit drama series Lost: Greg Grunberg, who played pilot Seth Norris in the pilot episode, and Ken Leung, who played a medium in the later seasons of the show.
– Greg Gunberg’s character is Temmin “Snap” Wexley, a character first introduced in Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig.
– The Stormtrooper that Rey Jedi mind tricks on Starkiller Base is actually played by Daniel Craig (James Bond himself) in a cameo role.
– Unkar Plutt, the scavenger trader on Jakku, is played by Simon Pegg, who has worked with J.J. Abrams before on the last two Star Trek films.
– Carrie Fisher’s daughter, Billie Lourd, is in the movie, as an aid at the Resistance Base, and she’s wearing them same buns as her mother in A New Hope.
– Abrams’ father, Gerry, makes a cameo as Resistance Captain Cypress. He’s also appeared in the director’s Star Trek movies.
– Warwick Davis—the Ewok Wicket from Return of the Jedi—appears in Maz’s castle as a character named Wollivan.
– Besides Gwendoline Christie and Max von Sydow, a handful of other Game of Thrones actors appear in the film, including Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jessica Henwick, Mark Stanley, Miltos Yerolemou, and Emun Elliott .
– Michael Giacchino, frequent Abrams collaborator, did not score the director’s latest film, but he does appear as a Stormtrooper named FN-3181. This may be a play on George Lucas’ THX1138.
– Comedian Judah Friedlander (30 Rock) cameos as one of the patrons of Maz’s castle.
– In early development, the original title for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was “Shadow of the Empire,” which bears more than a passing resemblance to the 90s Star Wars multimedia series Shadows of the Empire.
Did we miss anything? Tell us in the comments! We’re updating this guide constantly…
Additional reporting by Megan Crouse.
This article originally ran in December 2015.