Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally arrived this past weekend! More than three long years after Disney purchased LucasFilm for $4 billion in October 2012, the next chapter in the beloved Star Wars saga has broken box office records left and right. Ever since the sequel was first announced, countless rumors have surfaced, some of which were proven to be true, some false, and some we can't quite determine yet. With that in mind, we've decided to break down the 13 biggest secrets and spoilers that were revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This should go without saying, but if you didn't see Star Wars: The Force Awakens over the last couple days, there will be HUGE SPOILERS REVEALED below, so read on at your own risk.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already a hit with the nation's critics, currently sitting at an astounding 95% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with 241 "Fresh" reviews and just 10 "Rotten" picks. It has already broken box office records by the dozen, with the highest advanced ticket sales in history, and scoring the highest Thursday preview gross in history, with $57 million, shattering Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2's four-year old preview record of $43.5 million. Star Wars: The Force Awakens also became the first movie to make more than $100 million on its opening day ($120.5 million), and broke the opening weekend record with a jaw-dropping $238 million, shattering the record set this summer by Jurassic World ($208.8 million).
Star Wars: The Force Awakens introduces three new heroes into the Star Wars universe, John Boyega's Finn, Daisy Ridley's Rey and Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron, along with Adam Driver's villainous Kylo Ren. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa) are also reprising their iconic roles from the original trilogy. The Star Wars: The Force Awakens supporting cast includes Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux, Lupita Nyong'o as Maz Kanata, Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke and Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens also marks the first Star Wars movie that George Lucas is not involved in. The franchise creator was expected to serve as some sort of consultant on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the sequels that will follow, but he revealed in several interviews that Disney wasn't interested in his ideas, although he revealed earlier this month that he "really liked" the movie. Still, even without George Lucas at the helm, the franchise is in very good hands, with producer Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams, who will serve as producer on the several follow-ups coming in the next few years.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be followed by the first spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, arriving on December 16, 2016. Star Wars: Episode VIII is slated for release on May 26, 2017, with Star Wars Anthology: Han Solo Movie arriving on May 25, 2018 and Star Wars: Episode IX premiering sometime in 2019. Lucasfilm is also developing a Third Star Wars Spin-Off Movie, which is presumably set to arrive in 2020. Josh Trank was initially set to direct, before he left the project earlier this year, and LucasFilm hasn't announced his replacement yet.
As we look ahead to all of these adventures that will follow Star Wars: The Force Awakens, examining these spoilers and secrets could give us a better idea of what fans may be able to expect in these highly-anticipated follow-ups. Star Wars: Episode VIII director Rian Johnson has already shot some scenes at Skellig Michael Island in Ireland, a key location in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but principal photography won't begin in earnest until January. While there is very little we know about that new adventure, the secrets and spoilers revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens tease that Star Wars: Episode VIII could be even more epic.
With that in mind, we present 13 secrets and spoilers revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and what they could mean for the sci-fi adventures set to follow. This is your absolute last warning for SPOILERS, so if you haven't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, or if you aren't averse to spoilers, then turn away now and come back after you've seen this epic blockbuster. We begin with possibly the biggest secret of all, that fans have been waiting years and years for.
1 Luke Skywalker Is Finally Revealed!
In the three years following LucasFilm's purchase and the announcement of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker has been shrouded in secrecy, more than any other character in the movie. Over time, we eventually learned some details about key characters, and most of the main players were shown in either the trailers, TV spots, posters and other materials, but Luke Skywalker was still nowhere to be found. Director J.J. Abrams has stated in the past that Luke's exclusion from the marketing materials was done on purpose, and it turns out there was a very good reason for that: we barely see him at all.
As many fans guessed, it was, in fact, Luke Skywalker's mechanical hand that is seen being placed on R2-D2, but what we didn't know is that this scene is actually part of a powerful vision that Rey (Daisy Ridley) has, when she first touches Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, given to her by Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o). Still, we don't see Luke in full until the very, very end of the movie, when the holographic map to Luke Skywalker is finally complete, after the First Order is defeated. The film ends with Rey finally tracking down Luke Skywalker, to return his lightsaber as we finally get to see the bearded, exiled Jedi for the first time in 32 years. It's an incredible, and important moment, that sets the stage for Star Wars: Episode VIII. In fact, Luke's lair of exile was shot on Skellig Michael Island, which is where the first scenes of Star Wars: Episode VIII were shot this fall. One can only hope we see much more of Luke in that adventure, set for release in 2017.
2 The Force Is Strong With Rey
We can chalk this up to another rumor proven to be true, one which had unconventional origins. While most rumors come from shadowy, unidentified sources, this one came from Topps trading cards. Back in September, a few of these new trading cards were revealed, featuring Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Each card featured an insignia that showed each character's affiliations, and most were surprised that Rey's card featured both the Rebel Alliance, a.k.a. Resistance logo, AND the Jedi Order logo. We had never seen any indication that Rey was aligned with the Jedi order before, and the cards were particularly confusing since, at that point, we had seen several bits of footage with Finn wielding a lightsaber, and yet his card didn't feature the Jedi logo.
J.J. Abrams confirmed that both Rey and Finn's surnames have been kept secret for a reason, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens didn't provide us with any concrete answers as to these characters' lineage. We did learn, however, that, in the waning years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, Luke Skywalker had started training others in the ways of The Force, and it's completely possible that Rey, who we learned had been abandoned on the desert planet Jakku, was one of Luke's students, but we don't know for sure. Another prevalent theory is that Rey is actually Luke Skywalker's daughter, which would explain why she is so strong with the Force, but that hasn't been proven to be true either. Still, she appeared to be recalling memories of her training during her epic battle with Kylo Ren, but even if she isn't one of Luke's students, The Force is undoubtedly strong with Rey. Speaking of Kylo Ren...
3 Kylo Ren Is the Son of Han Solo and Leia Organa
While it wasn't quite as dramatic as Darth Vader revealing he's Luke Skywalker's father in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back, we learned that Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo, the son of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). We learned in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi that Leia is Luke's sister, meaning she is strong with The Force also, and that Ben/Kylo's strength with the Force was passed down from his mother. It is revealed in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that Ben was being trained as a Jedi by Luke Skywalker, before he was seduced to the Dark Side of the Force by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). This brings us back to Luke Skywalker himself.
4 Luke Skywalker Went Into Exile Because of Kylo Ren
While Luke Skywalker is only seen on screen for perhaps a minute or two, he is still a massive part of the story, who is referenced several times by many characters before his reveal. We learn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that, after Ben Solo was seduced by Snoke, he wiped out all of these Jedi in training, turning on his master, Luke Skywalker. It is believed that this betrayal was what sent Luke Skywalker into exile, in what is rumored to be a Jedi temple that holds a legendary source of power. Kylo Ren's primary mission in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is to retrieve the missing part of a map that leads to Skywalker's whereabouts. Why is Kylo Ren searching for Skywalker? That wasn't exactly revealed, but one could assume that Kylo wants to kill his former master, the last Jedi left in the galaxy. But Kylo never finds out Luke's location, thanks to one of the other beloved new characters, BB-8.
5 Poe Dameron Hides the Resistance Secret Inside BB-8
As footage slowly started to be released from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, many fans began to assume that BB-8 belonged to Rey, since the ball droid was often seen following this Jakku scavenger around. As it turns out, BB-8 actually belongs to Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), as we learned in the opening moments of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, when Poe is sent to Jakku on a mission to retrieve a disk that contains important information. Shortly after retrieving the disk from Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow), The First Order attacks, causing Poe to put this disk inside BB-8, telling him to get as far away from there as he can. Rey eventually rescues BB-8 in the desert, and we learn at the end that the disk held inside BB-8 is actually the missing part of the map to locate Luke Skywalker, with the other half hidden inside the dormant R2-D2, who comes back to life after the First Order threat is defeated.
6 Maz Kanata Has Been Keeping Luke Skywalker's Lightsaber
Aside from Luke Skywalker, one of the most mysterious characters in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is Maz Kanata. Director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the diminutive creature with strange goggles on the poster released this fall was in fact Maz Kanata, portrayed through motion capture by Lupita Nyong'o, who has a very important role in this story. We first meet Maz when Han Solo leads Rey and Finn to her bar, which, as rumored, is quite reminiscent of the infamous Mos Eisley Cantina from Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. Maz Kanata certainly sees something in Rey, leading Maz to give Rey the lightsaber used by Luke Skywalker. As we mentioned before, Rey starts having these visions after touching the lightsaber, which hints that either Rey was trained by Luke, or, perhaps, he could be her father. While we don't exactly get an answer as to why Rey has this vision, we also don't know how Maz Kanata came to be in possession of Luke's lightsaber. Is Maz another Jedi like Luke? We don't know for sure, but hopefully we find more about this diminutive alien in Star Wars: Episode VIII. You'll also recall that an early rumor revealed that Rey and Finn find Luke's lightsaber in the Jakku desert, which proved to be 100% false.
7 Finn's Backstory Offers More Questions Than Answers
Finn was literally the first face we saw when the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer dropped last November, and we saw right away that he was a Stormtrooper... a distraught Stormtrooper at that. We learn quite a bit about Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, including that Finn is actually a nickname, given to him by his new BFF Poe Dameron, after Finn betrays the First Order and helps Poe escape. When Poe asks what his name is, he can only reply with his Stormtrooper number, FN-2187. We learn that Finn was taken by the First Order at a very young age, and he was brainwashed and trained to serve their army. Obviously, their methods didn't quite take to Finn, since he turns against this evil alliance, enlisting Poe's help in their daring escape, since he's essentially the only one who may be sympathetic to his desire for escape. Unfortunately, since we don't know Finn's real name, and he has no memories of his family or childhood, we don't know who his parents are, which hopefully is a mystery that is being saved for Star Wars: Episode VIII.
8 Han Solo and Leia Organa Are No Longer an Item
While we see plenty of Han Solo and Leia Organa in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we don't see them together too much, but the scenes they do share reveal critical details, such as the fact that their son Ben has now become Kylo Ren. It is also revealed during Han and Leia's awkward interactions that they are no longer a couple, having grown apart after their son was seduced by The Dark Side. When they first meet, it's clear that they haven't seen each other in years, with Leia rising through the ranks to become a General in the Resistance, while Han simply returned to his former occupation, smuggling, with his trusted companion Chewbacca. Unfortunately, their reunion is short-lived, which leads into our next item, another rumor that proved to be true.
9 Han Solo Is Killed By His Son, Kylo Ren
Continuing the Star Wars's tradition of father-son strife in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren was confirmed to be the son of Han Solo, as this evil young man struck down his unarmed father in one of the film's most poignant moments. The death of Han Solo had been rumored for quite some time, so, unfortunately, it may not have been as shocking as the filmmakers may have hoped. Of course, LucasFilm never confirmed the report, nor have they confirmed any of the thousands of rumors that sprung up, but it was out there nonetheless, and Han's death at the hands of Kylo played out almost exactly as it was described in the original rumor. However, that rumor didn't add the important detail of Kylo being Han's son. As powerful a scene as it is, it would have been so much more shocking had this information not leaked beforehand.
10 Starkiller Base Destroys the New Republic
Last month, director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the massive planet seen on the poster is actually the Starkiller Base, which is infinitely more powerful and larger than the Death Star. This base, which is actually a large ice planet, is capable of destroying an entire system of planets in one fell swoop. We saw in the trailers some of this base's destructive powers, but what we didn't know at the time was that its first target was the New Republic. Much like The First Order grew out of the ashes of The Empire, the New Republic was formed to govern the galaxy and support the Resistance. We saw in Star Wars: The Force Awakens that the Starkiller Base wiped out the New Republic, killing all of the galaxy's important politicians. While it is just a small part of this story, the mass slaughter of the New Republic will surely come into play in 2017's Star Wars: Episode VIII.
11 Fan Favorites Nien Nunb and Admiral Akbar Are Back
A TV spot released last month revealed that Nien Numb, Lando Calrissian's (Billy Dee Williams) co-pilot in Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, is back in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, but we also saw the return of another beloved character, Admiral Akbar. We hadn't seen Akbar in any of the previously released footage for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and his return was quite a welcomed sight for many fans. We don't see much of either character in this new adventure, but they are part of the connective tissue that links Star Wars: The Force Awakens to the beloved original trilogy. Both characters essentially resume their roles from Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi, with Akbar consulting on battle plans with General Leia, and Nien Numb serving as one of the X-Wing pilots.
12 Rey's Visions Could Make Her More Powerful Than Previously Imagined
When Rey was first handed the lightsaber by Maz Kanata, she had powerful visions not only of the past, but also the present and future. She is actually "called", or drawn to the lightsaber itself in Maz Kanata's bar. When she touches the lightsaber, Rey actually accesses Luke Skywalker's memories, while also glimpsing potential future scenarios as well, including her eventual confrontation with Kylo Ren, before it actually happens. These visions could only be achieved by someone incredibly powerful with The Force, which is ironic since Rey has no idea she even wields such power. She eventually learns about the true power she possesses, when she manages to overpower Kylo Ren's use of The Force, as she causes Luke's lightsaber to come to her, not Kylo Ren.
13 Supreme Leader Snoke Finally Revealed
It was confirmed long ago that Andy Serkis is providing the voice and motion capture for Supreme Leader Snoke, but we never saw any glimpse of this character in the trailers and other footage released in the lead-up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. When we finally did see Snoke, he was revealed to be a truly massive figure, who both Kylo Ren and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) answer to. It was also revealed that he uttered the cryptic voice over lines in the first trailer, such as "There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" We assume that Snoke is powerful with The Force as well, but, unlike Kylo Ren, Darth Vader and the Emperor before him, we don't actually get to see this villain wield his power, except through ordering Ren and Hux to do his bidding. Perhaps we'll get to see Snoke engage in battle in Star Wars: Episode VIII.
That wraps up our breakdown of the biggest spoilers and secrets in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is currently playing in theaters worldwide. Star Wars: Episode VIII won't hit theaters until May 26, 2017, but we have just one short year to wait until the first spinoff, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, arriving on December 16, 2016. Stay tuned for more on all of the upcoming Star Wars movies, and chime in with your thoughts on the spoilers and secrets of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.