Han Solo might be the same scoundrel he’s always been in “The Force Awakens,” but we’ll find Princess Leia considerably changed when we revisit Carrie Fisher’s iconic character in the latest installment of the “Star Wars” saga.
Entertainment Weekly has been releasing a veritable cornucopia of teases for the upcoming sci-fi sequel in its “Star Wars” special issue, from new photos to intriguing hints about the state of the galaxy far, far away.
Here are five things we’ve learned about “Episode VII,” courtesy of the magazine.
Leia is no longer known as “Princess.”
“She’s referred to as General,” according to director J.J. Abrams. “But … there’s a moment in the movie where a character sort of slips and calls her ‘Princess.'” Will it be Han, who used that honorific as a source of affectionate mockery in the original trilogy? We’ll have to wait and see.
“The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there’s not much goofing around where Leia’s concerned,” Abrams added. “But it felt historic to have her, especially with Harrison [Ford], back in scenes together. I can only imagine the baggage that they bring to it, I’m just a fan who loves this stuff, but they’ve been living with it — and living in it — since ’77.”
According to Fisher, when we meet her again in “The Force Awakens,” we’ll find Leia “solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed.”
There’s a third participant in Finn and Kylo Ren’s forest duel.
We’ve seen Finn’s (John Boyega) snowy showdown with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) teased in the trailers, but what the footage didn’t show was that Rey (Daisy Ridley) is present too — looking equally worried before Finn ignites his lightsaber.
“Obviously that makes things a bit more tricky for Finn,” Boyega said of the confrontation. “That’s genuine fear.”
Rey is in search of identity — and family.
As we learned in the recently released international trailer, Rey (Daisy Ridley) has been waiting for her family for a long time, and EW reveals she was abandoned by her family on the desert world of Jakku when she was a child, and is oblivious as to why.
“She’s been alone for a long time,” Ridley told EW. “When something occurs when you’re 5, you know what went on but you don’t understand the reasoning. She’s hopeful for what lies ahead, whether that involves the past or not.”
She added, “Rey, Finn, and Kylo, they all start off in a place where they have been led to feel like they’re wanting. She’s never sat around a table and had a meal with someone else. She works to feed herself, and she goes to sleep, and she gets up again. It is a sad life … The film, for Rey, is a journey of finding out that no one is no one.”
Finn and Poe have a history.
The theatrical trailer showed Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron seemingly being tortured by Kylo Ren, and the footage also saw Poe and Finn exchanging greetings beside an X-Wing fighter — but a new image confirms that the two meet fairly early on in the film, while Finn is still serving as a Stormtrooper for the First Order. Somehow, the two escape the bad guys’ clutches and Finn ends up wearing Poe’s jacket — although the how and why of the encounter remains a mystery.
The First Order has a twisted way of ensuring loyalty.
In the original “Star Wars” trilogy, the Stormtroopers were nothing more than faceless minions of the Empire, but “The Force Awakens” aims to give the characters more depth. According to EW, “soldiers raised from childhood to serve this remnant of the scattered Imperial forces are fed propaganda about the heroes of the Rebellion. Unlike Rey, [Finn] has learned a lot about Luke Skywalker — but he has been taught he was a villain who destroyed the benevolent Empire.”
Boyega added that Finn is “looking for a greater purpose, rather than thinking, ‘This is the only thing I can do … He wants to change. He wants to make a difference. He’s trying to find some kind of moral dignity in this war.”
And, while Gwendoline Christie’s Captain Phasma doesn’t appear “in many scenes,” according to Abrams, “her presence is powerfully felt when she’s there.”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” flies into theaters on Dec. 18.
To see more photos from EW’s “Star Wars” feature, click here.