Film: The Force Awakens

aka: Star Wars 7

"There has been an awakening... Have you felt it? The Dark Side... And the Light."
Supreme Leader Snoke

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakensnote  is the first film in the Star Wars Sequel Trilogy, directed by J. J. Abrams. Writing credits are shared by Abrams, Lawrence Kasdan, and Michael Arndt. The film's score is by John Williams. Though George Lucas is not writing the filmnote , he is a creative consultant that the crew of the film - especially Abrams - regularly talk with. The film is slated for release on December 18th, 2015.

Its story takes place 30 to 35 years after Return of the Jedi, and revolves around an Imperial deserter, a scavenger, an X-wing pilot, and a number of other Unlikely Heroes becoming involved in the conflict between an Imperial remnant known as the First Order and an offshoot of the former Rebel Alliance called the Resistance. Along the way, they cross paths with numerous characters from the Original Trilogy, including Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, Chewie, C-3PO, and R2-D2.

The film stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Daisy Ridley, Max von Sydow, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson, Adam Driver, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Christina Chong, Jessica Henwick, Billie Catherine Lourd, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, and Greg Gunberg. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Warwick Davisnote  from the Original Trilogy will also appear. Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb are in the movie, though it isn't clear who will play the characters.

The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars movie since The Phantom Menace to be filmed on a non-digital format (35mm film). It also emphasizes digitally edited Practical Effects, such as city models, Muppets, and animatronics, over wholesale Computer Generated Images, to recapture the style of the Original Trilogy. Filming locations include Scotland, Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull and Mývatn, the UAE's Abu Dhabi, England's Gloucestershire, Puzzlewood Forest, and Greenham Common, Ireland's Skellig Michael Island, the United States's New Mexico, and Vietnam's Hang En Cave.

The movie also has twenty tie-in books, releasing under the Journey To The Force Awakens banner, that fill in the 30 to 35 year gap between Return Of The Jedi and this film. In addition, a comic event called Star Wars: Shattered Empire will release before film, as will DICE's reboot of Star Wars: Battlefront (which has a free, downloadable mission set as a distant prologue to the film). Alan Dean Foster, ghostwriter of the novelization for the original Star Wars film, has been announced to write the official novelization of The Force Awakens.

Previews: Teaser 1, Teaser 2.

Tropes featured in this film:

  • 3-D Movie: The movie will have a 3-D conversion in time for release, in regular and IMAX formats.
  • Absentee Actor: Wedge Antilles's original actor has confirmed he turned down the offer of making a return. Lawrence Kasdan has said that Lando is not in the movie, but that he has a potential future in other Star Wars movies.
    • Surprisingly, Ian McDiarmid warrants mention despite the events of VI. He has confirmed that Palpatine is truly dead in the series, but he has also said could possibly make an appearance in flashbacks or as a Sith spirit in future installments.
  • Aerith and Bob: Continues the proud Star Wars tradition of mixing real-sounding names with Space Opera ones. We've got Rey, Kylo Ren, Poe Dameron, and Finn.
  • Artificial Limbs:
    • A prosthetic arm was shown to be part of the movie as part of the Force For Change drive.
    • The second teaser shows a cloaked figure strongly implied to be Luke resting a cybernetic hand on R2's dome, however, the synthetic skin of the hand seems to have worn off.
  • Badass Beard: After becoming a Jedi in the last film, Luke Skywalker has grown a beard.
  • Black Cloak: Kylo Ren, the wielder of the crossguard-saber, wears one. The second teaser trailer and promotional images have since revealed he is also masked.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The term "Light Side" and the implied dichotomy of equal opposing aspects were never used in the previous movies, though the dichotomy was addressed in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.note 
    • Similarly, the Star Wars: Battlefront tie-in to the game coins the term "New Republic", which is used in this film. As no canon work after Return Of The Jedi was released before this movie was in post-production, this is the first time that the term is pulled over from the Legends setting.
  • Changing of the Guard: Progressively. According to J. J. Abrams's rewrite of Michael Arndt's script, the cast of the Original Trilogy has a greater presence in the script, although the focus is still primarily on the newcomers.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Continuity Reboot: Not for the movie itself (which adheres to the existing films and Star Wars: The Clone Wars), but for the franchise's entire Expanded Universe. Most of the Star Wars Expanded Universe has been rebranded as Star Wars Legends, and fit snugly into its own Alternate Continuity. Star Wars Rebels is the first major work to be set in the restructured continuity.
  • Cool Starship: It's Star Wars, no doubt there will be many examples. Confirmed so far are the return of the Millennium Falcon and a new generation X-wing closer to the original concept art. On the First Order side of things, it looks like they're still using TIE Fighters though now sharing the Stormtrooper color scheme of white & black. The second teaser also gave us a glimpse of a new class of Star Destroyer with a ram-like bow and looks to be even bigger than the old Imperial-class ships of the OT.
  • Cool Sword: Kylo Ren's weapon is an unstable lightsaber with a crossguard of two smaller blades. The "crossguard saber" also comes from the EU, making it a Canon Immigrant as well.
  • Creepy Monotone: Supreme Leader Snoke's voice in the trailer, which doubles as Evil Sounds Deep.
  • Cypher Language: The Aurebesh alphabet makes an appearance.
  • Darth Vader Clone: Kylo Ren, a Heavy that uses the Dark Side and wears black robes and a metallic black mask with a re-breather wielding a red lightsaber. Ren also holds a position of power in the First Order, as Vader did in the Empire.
  • Dawn of an Era: The movie takes place 30 to 35 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, with the Republic existing as a small-but-growing institution while the Empire's presence is weakened, but still felt.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The entire planet of Jakku is filled with destroyed spaceships from a massive battle between the Empire and Rebel Alliance decades ago. Of particular note is a capsized Super Star Destroyer.
  • Do a Barrel Roll: The Millennium Falcon doesn't actually do a barrel roll — the camera does note .
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: The new stormtrooper design is much more sleek and streamlined than in the original trilogy. BB-8, the ball droid, is also streamlined compared to older astromechs like R2-D2.
  • Four-Star Badass: One character from the casting call was described in the casting call as being a "military type".
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In the teaser trailer, fans noticed that the X-wing pilot Poe Dameron had lettering on his vest. When translated, it says "Pull to Inflate."
  • Genre Throwback: The film mixes the boxy, worn looking 70's sci fi aesthetic of the original trilogy (complete with being filmed on 35mm film instead of digital film, and having practical effects) with digital special effects, elements of the sleeker new age design sense of the prequel trilogy, and cinematography techniques of contemporary films.
  • Happy Ending Override: This movie overrides the idea that the Galaxy would be at peace once Emperor Palpatine died. The Empire (which has redubbed itself as the First Order) is fractured, but it still has a presence in the Galaxy, and the Republic doesn't have an immediate resurgence. Just because the Emperor died doesn't mean that the entirety of his Empire would fall with him.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Finn begins the movie as a stormtrooper, but defects from the First Order pretty shortly after the story kicks in.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Han Solo has apparently taken to wearing a black leather jacket in place of his iconic black vest from the original trilogy, while Finn takes to wearing a brown leather jacket after his defection from the First Order.
  • Heroic Lineage: The second teaser reuses a re-recorded version of Luke's lines to Leia in Return of the Jedi about the Skywalker lineage:
    Luke: The Force is strong in my family. My father has it, I have it, my sister has it. You have that power too.
  • Keystone Army: Subverted. Despite the Empire losing the Battle of Endor due to the Emperor's death in Return of the Jedi, their remnants are still the premier power in the galaxy decades later.
  • Jump Scare: In the first teaser, Finn pops up in a ball of sweat after a few seconds of the shot of Jakku.
  • Lens Flare: While this is a staple of J. J. Abrams's films, the footage shown thus far seems to downplay it to levels comparable to the Original Trilogy.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: You have the six major players in the original movies (Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, and C-3PO), characters aligned with the Resistance (Finn, Rey, Poe, BB-8, and Maz Kanata), and characters aligned with the First Order (Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, General Hux, and Supreme Leader Snoke). That's already at 15, and that's before even getting to several cast members with undisclosed roles, including Max Von Sydow, Warwick Davis, Miltos Yerolemou, Greg Gunberg, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Christina Chong, Jessica Henwick, Billie Catherine Lourd, and Maisie Richardson-Sellers, which brings the total up to 25.
  • The Magic Comes Back: The Force is indeed awakening in the Galaxy after years of dormancy.
  • Mauve Shirt: One of the top-billed new characters is Finn, a garden-variety Imperial stormtrooper who's prominent enough to be a main character.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: C-3PO gets an all-new, dark red arm. Although he had one in Attack of the Clones, the color of the arm is a lot more pronounced than it was in that movie.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: BB-8 has the head of an R2 droid floating on a rotating sphere.
  • Mood Whiplash: The first teaser starts with Finn popping into frame in a desert, visibly stressed and sweating. This is followed up by the adorable BB-8 rolling by, even as the super-serious music continues to play. This levity is then followed up by sinister-looking stormtroopers.
  • Mooks: Stormtroopers are in this movie, with all-new armor. In fact, one of the main characters, played by John Boyega, starts off as one. Only time will tell if he's a better shot than his comrades.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Gwendoline Christie's plays a stormtrooper officer named Captain Phasma, aka the Chrome Trooper.
  • Muppet: Many of the non-Human Aliens are puppets made by the Henson Workshop. These include a strange-looking merchant that carries several caged bird-creatures upon his back and a giant creature that resembles both a boar and a rhinoceros, which is operated by five people.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The First Order has taken even more Nazi imagery than the Empire did.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: The creative team behind Battlefront (2015) has confirmed that there was indeed a "Battle of Jakku" some time before the events of the film, but it isn't depicted in the film itself. It's very likely that the derelict spaceships from the second teaser are meant to be the wreckage of the battle.
  • Passing the Torch: Part of the relationship between the new stars and original cast. The second trailer repurposes Luke's "the Force is strong in my family" speech to Leia from Return of the Jedi - which now ends, not begins, with "You have that power too" - implying a new Force user in the Skywalker line.
  • Posthumous Character: Although Darth Vader is long dead, his image appears to be important to the First Order.
  • Power Trio:
    • Luke, Han, and Leia return.
    • Finn, Rey, and Poe seem to form a new one.
  • Putting on the Reich: Imperial uniforms in the OT were based on the Wehrmacht in terms of look. First Order uniforms are based on the SS.
  • Putting the Band Back Together: In real life, and possibly in-universe as well.
  • Retraux: Halfway. Although a number of old-fashioned techniques are being used for the film, modern techniques (such as CGI and digital editing) are being implemented to avoid having Special Effect Failures.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The film brings back: Lawrence Kasdan to write the screenplay. The original cast and the Millennium Falcon. A boatload of miniatures, animatronics and practical effects. And the Used Future aesthetic that was ditched in the prequels.
  • Revival: The Force Awakens picks up three decades after where Return of the Jedi left off, Passing the Torch from the Original Trilogy's heroes to a new generation of adventurers caught up in the continuing war between The Empire and La Résistance.
  • Robot Buddy: While R2-D2 and C-3PO are back, BB-8, a new droid that rolls around on a spherical body, is introduced.
  • Scavenger World: Jakku gives off the vibe of one by featuring large, barren expanses while also featuring several abandoned supply stations, though there are still cities on the planet.
  • Scenery Gorn: Jakku's surface is littered with the broken hulks of X-wings and Star Destroyers that fell in a battle decades ago.
  • Serkis Folk:
    • Surprising absolutely no one, Andy Serkis plays an alien character (Supreme Commander Snoke) rendered with CGI motion-capture. His mo-cap studio will also help with any other CGI characters in the Sequel Trilogy.
    • Lupita Nyong'o will be playing Maz Kanata, another CGI motion-capture character.
  • Sequel Escalation: The movie has a $200,000,000 budget, nearly twice the amount that it took to film any of the Prequel Trilogy films. That money is being put to use in a way that involves some of the most convincing practical effects and stunning CGI ever shown in a Star Wars movie.
  • Serial Escalation: Where do you go after double-bladed lightsabers, classy curved hilts & dual-wielding, cyborgs who wield four lightsabers at once, dual-wielding double-bladed lightsabers, and double-bladed lightsabers that spin on an axis? A 3-bladed lightsaber Claymore with supercharged, unstable blades.
  • Shoot the Money: Inverted with the first teaser trailer, which shows off several impressive shots meant to make the film's props look rough and weary. Played straight with the shot of the Millennium Falcon at the end.
  • Shout-Out: The shot of Rey and Finn running from a TIE Fighter attack in the second teaser is framed like the cropduster scene in North By Northwest.
  • Signature Team Transport: The Millennium Falcon is back in business.
  • Single-Biome Planet: As is tradition.
    • Shifting Sand Land: Filming for Jakku was done in Abu Dhabi.
    • The Lost Woods: The scene(s) filmed in Puzzlewood Forest will likely be this. The Skellig Michael Island location could also qualify.
    • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The scene(s) filmed in Iceland most likely will be this.
  • Space Pirates: Maz Kanata is one and her castle is filled with them.
  • Token Trio: Finn (black male), Rey (white female) and Poe (white hispanic male). One of the rare instances where even the lead trio isn't anchored by a White Male Lead.
  • Tomboyish Name: Daisy Ridley's character is confirmed to be called Rey.
  • Used Future: The film returns to this aesthetic as it was used in the original trilogy, as it is set decades after it. Though a few ships and items look sleeker, such as the stormtroopers and the X-wings, some things look exactly the same as they did back in Return of the Jedi (or how they would have appeared), give or take a few tweaks (like the Millennium Falcon, which was completely unmodified save for a new satellite dish). Judging from the second teaser, Luke can't even find the materials (or the time) to maintain his prosthetic hand properly.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: The "Awakening" speech from the first teaser.
  • White Male Lead: Averted by the new Power Trio of Finn, Rey, and Poe being played by black, female, and Latino actors respectively. Notable since this is one the biggest money franchises in existence and marketability is the heart of this trope.

"Chewie... we're home."

Alternative Title(s):

Star Wars 7