When we first walked out of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we had questions: 33 of them, to be exact. But after seeing the movie several more times, our questions have only multiplied. Here are 43 burning questions that are going to drive us nuts until Episode VIII comes out.
Some of these questions actually have answers, while others remain a mystery. But even with the latter, we’ll do our best to provide a theory or two.
MAJOR SPOILERS FOLLOW
Who are Rey’s parents?
Almost everything about Rey is purposefully left a mystery. The film strongly hints that she’s related to one of our main characters—but since we get very little indication from Leia, most people think she’s related to Luke. That’s bolstered by the fact when Kylo Ren reads her mind, he sees an island with water. This is a huge clue. Is he seeing Rey’s future, from the end of the film, or her past, when she was with Luke before?
What is Rey’s background?
Again, unclear. We just know she’s very strong with the Force. In a flashback, we see young Rey being placed on Jakku by someone with a sinister voice. And it’s possible she’s on Jakku for safe-keeping, kind of like Luke was at the beginning of A New Hope. One theory is she was one of Luke’s students, daughter or not, who was lucky enough to get away before Kylo Ren killed everyone. She’s there as another new hope.
Why does Luke’s saber call to Rey?
Because she’s his daughter? Certainly possible. We used to think lightsabers were just inanimate objects, but the Star Wars cartoons have revealed that the crystals inside of them are much more than that. Still we’ve never seen anything like this happen, and it seems like a question that’ll be answered later. Maybe it’s a result of something Luke did to her before she was put on Jakku. If, in fact, they’ve ever met before.
Why did Ben Solo become Kylo Ren?
We know that Ben Solo, son of Han Solo and Leia Organa, was one of Luke Skywalker’s pupils until Supreme Leader Snoke turned him to the dark side and he murdered his fellow students. But why? What did Snoke say to him? Why was Ben so untrusting of Luke, his parents and the light side? These questions will almost certainly become the crux of the next few movies.
What the hell is up with Supreme Leader Snoke? How did he come to power, what are his powers and how big is he?
The Force Awakens only shows Snoke as the leader of The First Order. We don’t know how that happened. We just know that it did. We also don’t know what his powers are, except that he’s strong with the Force and was able to manipulate Kylo Ren and the rest of the First Order. But we don’t know where he came from, what he is, whether he’s a Sith, how he learned the Force, any of that. We don’t even know how big the character actually is. The hologram Hux and Kylo see is obviously incredibly large, but so was the hologram of the Emperor the first time we saw him. Odds are there is something weird with his size, simply because Andy Serkis said the character was impossible to do as a practical effect.
For more Snoke, we turn to his Star Wars Database entry that says “The Supreme Leader of the First Order, the mysterious Snoke has no permanent base of operations, preferring to contact his underlings from a mobile command post. Snoke is powerful with the dark side of the Force, and seduced Kylo Ren into abandoning the Jedi path to become his apprentice. But Snoke also commands General Hux and the technological war machine the First Order has engineered to destroy the New Republic and Leia Organa’s Resistance.”
Who is Finn?
We know Finn was raised from birth to be a Stormtrooper: FN-2187, to be precise. But beyond that, his lineage is incredibly mysterious. Will he have some famous parentage? Will we learn more about his stormtrooper friend who dies on Jakku? Or will he just remain that one stormtrooper who stood up for what is right? Episodes VIII and IX will almost certainly let us know.
Who is Lor San Tekka?
He’s the character, played by Max Von Sydow, who gets killed by Kylo Ren at the beginning of the film. What we know is Leia trusts him, he knows who Kylo Ren really is, and Kylo Ren knows him. He’s also, somehow, found a piece to Luke’s map. That’s not a lot, but he’s definitely important.
Read what the Star Wars database says: “A legendary traveler and explorer, Lor San Tekka is a longtime ally of the New Republic and the Resistance. After the Battle of Endor, San Tekka helped Luke Skywalker recover secret Jedi lore that the Empire had tried to erase, and Leia Organa hopes the old scout can now help find her brother. Following decades of adventure, San Tekka retired to live simply on Jakku, where he follows the dictates of the once-forbidden Church of the Force.” Can you say, Rogue One?
How will Kylo Ren complete his training?
At the end of the film, Snoke says he needs Kylo Ren to complete his training. Wouldn’t the murder of his father have done that? That seemed like Kylo’s way of ending once and for all his struggle between the light and the dark sides. Not to mention, defeat of one’s father is how Luke finished his training. However, if there’s still more, it seems like Snoke has some really evil stuff in store.
What is the Resistance in regards to the New Republic?
The movie tip toes around this point but here’s what we know. The First Order is rising to power. The New Republic, established after Return of the Jedi, doesn’t want to really acknowledge this. But—because of her personal stake in it—they’ve secretly backed the former princess, now General Leia, to form a small band, The Resistance, to battle the First Order.
What has Luke been doing while he’s been missing?
We’ll surely find out the answer to this question once we see Star Wars Episode VIII, but odds are he’s been meditating, becoming stronger with the Force, and maybe talking with Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin, who were last seen as ghosts alongside him. He was definitely waiting for the right time to reveal himself and the death of Han, coupled with the force awakening with Rey, seems to be the right time.
Did Luke Skywalker activate R2-D2?
You’d like to think that, but no. R2 has reportedly been on low power since Luke went missing and then, seemingly out of nowhere at the end of the movie, he turns on. The timing feels incredibly coincidental, unless Luke did it when he felt Han’s death and or Rey using the force. But according to J.J. Abrams, that’s not the case. In fact, it was BB-8’s presence with the missing piece of the map that woke him up. R2 is just old and it took a while for him to power back up after BB-8 made contact.
If Luke Skywalker didn’t want to be found, why did he leave a map? Or did he?
We know that Luke Skywalker vanished after Kylo Ren killed his students. But, for some reason, there’s a map to his location. That seems odd for someone who doesn’t want to be found, at least not by the wrong people. If Luke left the map himself, he obviously wanted to be found at some point. Then there’s the flip side. If he didn’t leave the map, where did it come from? And on a purely logistical level, why does the map have like 15 different points on it? According to screenwriter Michael Arndt (from that same interview), the map shows the locations of all the Jedi Temples, and R2-D2 had gotten most of it from accessing the computer on board the Death Star decades ago, which leads us to...
How did the First Order end up with pieces of the map?
Kylo Ren says the First Order has most of it from the Empire archives, which lines up with R2-D2 having it in his memory too. However, the Empire is gone, replaced by the growing First Order. So either Ren is lying, Luke was lazy, or the Empire was hunting Luke long before Ben Solo turned into Kylo Ren, the event that sent Luke off the grid.
Did the First Order destroy Coruscant?
Here’s one we can answer for certain. No. Though the planet we see destroyed looks very much like Coruscant, the film specifically mentions the Hosnian system. That’s the the seat of the New Republic Senate, which apparently moved from Chandrila, where the New Republic was first founded post-Return of the Jedi. Why it wasn’t in the hub of the galaxy, we don’t know. But we do know the Senate is no more.
Who is Rey waiting for on Jakku?
“My family,” whom she think she sees fly away in the flashback. But since we’ve established we don’t know who her family is, it seems likely that maybe her family are other Jedi. Or people that she thinks are family, who were employed by the Jedi. Like everything about Rey, this is a mystery. However it does seem, by the end of the film, someone was certainly waiting for her. Or at least expecting her.
Why did Poe Dameron leave Jakku?
Poe Dameron had one mission—get the map to Luke Skywalker. He’s forced to abandon that mission when the First Order arrives on Jakku and he’s captured. Later Finn breaks him out and Poe ends up back on Jakku where the map still is, along with his droid BB-8. But after survivng the crash, instead of going after BB-8, he tells Finn he just left. Poe had no reason to think Finn would complete his mission for him, so why did he leave? We don’t know. Maybe Poe was brainwashed—and later, we’ll see him turn?
How can Rey use the Force if she’s never been trained?
It takes Luke Skywalker a while to start to begin to use the Force, let alone Jedi Mind Trick someone. But Rey does it, basically, in her first few days. That seems odd unless you consider two things. Either the Force is stronger now, after having been kind of dormant for a while (see “How strong is Kylo Ren with the Force?”) or she had some previous training.
Where was Constable Zuvio?
Here’s a fun one. If you have shopped for Star Wars toys, you probably saw this creepy alien on shelves. He was even released as an official still from the movie. However, he’s not in the movie. Some people think he’s glimpsed in Rey’s flashback, but that’s not him. Apparently, he was on set as Rey and Finn are running through the market place on Jakku, but you can’t see him there either. Turns out, the action figure was simply made too early for the final cut.
Where exactly is Luke?
In the film, Han says the last he heard, Luke went off to find the very first Jedi Temple. So, is that where he is at the end of the movie? Or is it just some kind of random island? We know it was filmed on Skellig Michael in Ireland and that Rian Johnson returned there to shoot some footage for Episode VIII. Seems like we’ll get this answer, and more, in 2017.
Why doesn’t Leia try to save Kylo Ren herself?
Sons almost always have a deeper connection with their mothers. So why doesn’t Leia, a military general, go after her son instead of sending his father, whom Kylo clearly has such a disdain for? We don’t know. The answer might be as simple as Han Solo needed to die in this movie, and Leia can come back for another one.
Why is Rey so good at fixing machines?
We don’t know for sure, but it’s probably because she was forced to fend for herself on a small, desolate planet for so many years. She’s been working as a scavenger, pulling parts out of dead starships, and maybe she’s picked up some know-how along the way. Plus, don’t forget two other characters were great at fixing things as kids growing up on sparsely populated desert planets: Luke and Anakin Skywalker, the Jedi-stars of the last two trilogies. It’s in her DNA, if not literally then in a film sense.
What are the Knights of Ren?
We heard the phrase “The Knights of Ren” months before The Force Awakens was released. However, in the movie, we get one brief glimpse of them, which you see above, and Snoke calls Kylo their master. Who are these mysterious evil characters and where are they? Hopefully we’ll find out soon.
How strong is Kylo Ren with the Force?
We see Kylo Ren do some amazing things with the Force in this film, including freezing a blaster shot in mid air. He can also extract information from people’s minds, which even Darth Vader couldn’t do. (It would’ve made A New Hope a very different movie, wouldn’t it?) So either Snoke has taught Kylo stuff that’s far different than the past or, because there are so few people using the Force now, it’s that much stronger. Basically, we don’t know the answer, but it’s something to think about.
Why are the guys from The Raid in The Force Awakens, but don’t throw a punch?
When Finn and Rey meet Han Solo and Chewie, Han’s ship is boarded by two different groups of pirates. One of the groups, the Kanjiklub, is lead by Tasu Leech, played by Yayan Ruhian alongside Razoo Quin-Fee, played by Iko Uwais. Those names may not sound familiar, but they’re the stars and fight coordinators from the insane Indonesian action films, The Raid and The Raid 2. Their casting in the film, but lack of actual action scene for them to participate in, suggest Abrams cut this entire scene down for pacing issues.
Who could want the rathtars Han Solo is transporting?
When we first meet Han Solo in the film, he’s transporting these huge, gross, octopus mouth things called rathtars to someone named King Prana. Is there actually someone so evil they’d want this vile creatures? Could he be this trilogy’s Jabba the Hutt?
How did Maz Kanata get hold of Luke’s lightsaber?
Maz says this is a story for another time, which means maybe we’ll eventually get an answer. But here’s what we know. The saber was last seen on Bespin, after Darth Vader separated it and Luke’s hand. It went down a vent and probably ended up in some junkyard. Did someone go in there specifically looking for it? How could someone even know about it? And what would possess them to give it to Maz? The answer to these question seems like a key piece to the puzzle of the Star Wars universe.
Is Maz Kanata dead?
Though the First Order destroyed her bar when they invaded Takodana, it’s almost certain that this crazy alien who has lived for over 1,000 years is still around.
Why did Phasma give into Finn?
We knew Captain Phasma wasn’t going to have a huge rule in The Force Awakens, and she’ll be back for Episode VIII—but it’s incredibly odd that she simply lets Finn walk in and order her to shut down the shields on Starkiller Base. She’s the boss! A bad-ass! Loyal to the First Order to the end! Plus, Phasma ran an evaluation on him and knows Finn isn’t capable of killing in cold blood, so the reason for her compliance is highly suspect.
How is Phasma actually alive?
After Phasma gives up her entire fleet at the drop of a hat, Han, Chewie and Finn supposedly put her in a garbage chute to a trash compactor. (Get it? Like from the first movie!) And then the entire planet is blown up soon after. Assuming that’s true, and that she’s in Episode VIII, there’s got to be a story of how she gets out.
What does BB-8 say to Rey at the end of the film?
One of the final two lines of dialogue from the film, aside from “May the Force be with you,” comes from BB-8. He rattles off something to Rey, she nods, and heads off in the Falcon to see Luke. Though it may have been some simple send off, it’s odd that it’s in there at all, especially after the only use of the most iconic line in the entire franchise. That, along with Rey’s stern look, suggest it’s important.
Was that Obi-Wan Kenobi you heard at the end of Rey’s flashback?
Yes, from both actors who played the role. J.J. Abrams has confirmed that both Ewan McGregor and Alec Guinness provided their voices for Rey’s flashback scene. Guinness’ voice was posthumously take from a syllable in the word “Afraid” to say “Rey.” Oh, and Frank Oz is in there as Yoda too.
What does The Force Awakens mean?
Most Star Wars titles are never ultra literal and The Force Awakens bolsters that statement. It most likely refers both to Rey’s discovery of her powers as well as Kylo embracing his.
What’s next for everyone?
Will Rey train with Luke to become a Jedi? How will Finn fit into the Resistance? Does Leia have what it takes to take down her son? And will Luke join back into the fight? The questions never stop. Thankfully, we have Star Wars Episode VIII coming in just 17 short months.
When did Kylo Ren go bad?
Though the film never explicitly says it, it is safe to assume Ben Solo, aka Kylo Ren, is the apprentice that destroyed Luke’s Jedi school. However, a few pieces don’t add up as easily. Leia says she sent Ben to train with Luke. She also says she lost him when she sent him away. Are those two events the same one? Also, in Rey’s flashback we see Kylo with the Knights of Ren killing a bunch of people. If those murder victims are Luke’s students, did Ben reject Luke, become a Knight of Ren and come back with his posse? It’s not exactly clear.
How long has it actually been since Han and Leia last saw each other?
This kind of goes with the last one. We know it was Ben turning to the dark side that drove Han and Leia apart. Leia formed the Resistance and Han started smuggling again. What we don’t know is exactly how long this has been. 5 years? 10 years? It can’t be too long ago, because Ben had to be old enough to make such a rash decision. Speaking of which...
How old are the new characters?
This is a seemingly simple question, but it helps fill in a few of the potential gaps when it comes to some others. According to the Creative Executive of the Lucasfilm Story Group, Pablo Hidalgo, Rey is 19 and Kylo Ren is about 30. That means he was born right after Return of the Jedi, Rey about a decade later.
Does it makes sense for Leia and Rey to hug at the end of the movie?
Once everyone gets back to the Resistance base after the destruction of Starkiller, Leia slowly walks up and hugs Rey. It’s a sweet moment, until you kind of dissect it. They’ve never met. They’ve never seen photos of each other. Leia has heard of Rey but we don’t know if the reverse is true. Plus Chewie, Han’s best friend, is right there. Leia and Rey both have the power of the Force so maybe that subconsciously draws them together, not to mention Rey is the only person who stands back and acts sad. But it feels a bit odd, because the film surely implies these are two important figures commiserating the loss of Han Solo. So can Leia sense who Rey is, or how she feels about Solo? There seems to be a missing piece to this simple gesture. On the other hand, Leia might just be doing her duties as a leader—hugging a subordinate who needs consoling.
Who drags Rey away in the flashback?
Rey’s flashback scene is such a huge moment in The Force Awakens. And arguably the most interesting part is when we see a young Rey being dragged away, watching the ship that left her there leave. A hand is dragging Rey and though we don’t see this person’s face, we hear their voice. And I’m pretty sure it’s Unkar Plutt, the same alien who Rey has to sell scrap metal to for food. The same alien who somehow owns the Millennium Falcon.
If that’s the case—and we don’t know for sure but it looks and sounds like it—this raises some huge questions. Was Plutt paid to take Rey? We see him treat her very coldly some 15 or so years later. Is there a story behind that, or has it always been that way? Also, did he really get the Falcon through the people Rey said, or was it part of his compensation?
Is there more to Kylo Ren owning Darth Vader’s helmet?
We know Kylo Ren has Darth Vader’s helmet, which we last saw burning to a crisp on Endor. We also know he idolizes his grandfather. So did Ren actually go to Endor himself to get the helmet? The Visual Dictionary tells us it was “scavenged from a funeral pyre on Endor,” but it doesn’t say by whom. We also know there are groups out there trading in Sith goods (as seen in Aftermath). What’s the connective tissue here, if any? And are the ashes Ren places his own helmet in from the same place? There just feels like there’s more here.
Why did Rey and Finn change jackets on Starkiller Base?
When Finn arrives on Starkiller Base, he’s wearing Poe’s leather jacket. Later, when he and Rey run to open the doors for Han and Chewie, Rey is wearing it. A few scenes later, watching the Han and Kylo showdown happen, Finn puts the jacket back on. There’s obviously a story here—and from what we can discern from multiple reports, J.J. Abrams cut out a big bike chase sequence here which would’ve included the footage showing why Finn gave Rey the jacket, and vice versa.
So what’s going on with the governing powers in this universe?
We touched upon this a bit in “What is the Resistance in regards to the New Republic?” but there’s still more. When the Rebels won at Endor, they established the New Republic and the Empire continued without a leader. Eventually, after the Battle of Jakku, the Empire gave up and signed a peace treaty, all but ending its reign. The unhappy people from the Empire then began to form what would become the First Order. But it wasn’t until Ben Solo betrayed Luke Skywalker that Leia Organa began to see them as a threat. She formed the Resistance but the New Republic would only back them in secret, presumably not to scare everyone else in the New Republic. And that was all well and good until, as we saw in the movie, the Republic was likely wiped out by Starkiller Base. Without a governing body, who knows what could happen for both the First Order and the Resistance? Maybe The Empire will strike back.
How can Finn and Rey physically compete with Kylo Ren?
This has become one of the most popular questions since the release of the movie. Many believe in the final snow battle Kylo Ren, someone well-versed in the Force, would have destroyed Finn and Rey, two fighters who are seemingly well below his skill level. That may be true but there are several things to consider.
First, Ren was injured. Chewbacca shot him in the side with his powerful Bowcaster. Plus, as the fight goes on, he gets more and more injured. So, by the time he’s facing Rey, he’s got multiple injuries. Second, both Rey and Finn are good fighters. Finn was raised as a stormtrooper where combat was certainly in his wheelhouse, and we’ve seen how great Rey is with her staff. It’s not a leap to think either of them, against an injured Kylo, can hold their own for at least a bit. Even so, Finn is defeated and Rey spends a portion of their fight running away, only winning when she finally uses the Force.
Third, just how good of a fighter is Kylo Ren really? We don’t see him use his lightsaber to great effect throughout the movie. In fact, what we do know of him and his saber is that he’s mostly incomplete. He’s not fully trained, his saber is piecemeal, he’s great with the Force—but with a blade? We don’t actually know. Maybe he’s not as skilled as everyone assumes.
Is that a grave by Luke at the end of the movie?
When Rey finally finds Luke Skywalker on his deserted island, he’s standing by what some fans have speculated is a gravestone. Now, that’s certainly possible, but after seeing the film multiple times, it really does look a little too skinny to be a headstone. Odds are, it’s just a rock that happened to be placed there.
Additional reporting by Charlie Jane Anders, James Whitbrook, Cheryl Eddy, Rob Bricken and Katharine Trendacosta.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.