8 Questions You Had About 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens,' Answered

by John Boone 3:16 PM PST, December 29, 2015
Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

There’s a lot we don’t know about Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

We know some fun facts -- including the Star Trek cameo and who voiced BB-8 -- but Episode VII may have raised more questions that it answered. That said, here are eight big questions from The Force Awakens that we actually did get answers to -- after the fact.

(WARNING: All of the spoilers ahead. Seriously, ALL OF THE SPOILERS.)

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Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

1. Why did R2-D2 wake up? Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the Resistance are finally able to track down Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) when a "low powered" R2 suddenly awakens at the end of the movie and reveals a map of uncharted space. But where did R2-D2 get the map? And why did he decide to wake up?

The answer to the former dates back to 1997’s Star Wars: A New Hope. “We had the idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star,” writer Michael Arndt explained in a Q&A, on what the droid was up to during the rescue of Princess Leia. “That’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are,” Arndt said.

As for the latter, director JJ Abrams says, “BB-8 comes up and says something to him, which is basically, ‘I’ve got this piece of a map, do you happen to have the rest?’ [...] R2, who has been all over the galaxy, is still in his coma, but he hears this. It triggers something that would ultimately wake him up. While it may seem, you know, completely lucky and an easy way out, at that point in the movie, when you’ve lost a person, desperately, and somebody you hopefully care about is unconscious, you want someone to return.”

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

2. How did Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) survive the crash on Jakku? And how did he get to the Resistance? In the movie, he brushes it off by saying he ejected. In the novelization of The Force Awakens, we learn that a concussed Poe actually awoke in the crashed TIE fighter and later protects a scavenger from thugs, thus earning himself a ride to an outpost, where he is able to contact the Resistance.

3. What exactly happened between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and General Leia (Carrie Fisher)? Another answer that comes from the novel: Leia knew Supreme Leader Snoke would try to turn their son to the Dark Side, but did not tell Han, assuming that she, as the Force-sensitive parent, could protect Ben.

“I was afraid that your reactions would only drive him farther to the dark side," Leia says in the book. "I thought I could shield him from Snoke’s influence and you from what was happening." It’s her secret -- and Han’s guilt -- that causes the married couple to become estranged.

4. What happened to Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o)? Did she die when her temple was destroyed? Likely not, seeing as a scene shot where Maz travels to the Resistance base to deliver Luke’s lightsaber to General Leia. (A shot from the scene can even be seen in the trailers.)

“At one point, Maz used to continue along with the characters back to the Resistance base, but we realized that she really had nothing to do there of value, except to have her sitting around,” Abrams told Entertainment Weekly. “Lupita did film scenes on set for that sequence, but it felt like going right just to go left, and it was unnecessary. So we ended up leaving those things out.”

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5. What happened to that iconic shot of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)? Another scene that was cut from the final film saw the villainous Kylo unsheathing his lightsaber in the forest, but it seemed less essential in retrospect.

"When you’re in the editing room you realize, for instance, that introducing the character there actually diminishes their power," Abrams explained. "Or, giving that information actually distracts you from what you should be concentrating on. Or, having that moment happen concurrent with that moment actually gets in the way of both -- things like that."

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

6. Has Captain Phasma been thwarted? We may not know why Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) turned on the First Order so easily, but we do know that even though she was supposedly stuffed in a trash compactor, she isn't dead. Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy confirmed to The Los Angeles Times that Phasma will be back in Episode VII, saying, “She’s an important character, a baddie in the best sense of the word.”

7. Whose voices did Rey hear during her Force flashback? When Rey places her hand on Luke’s lightsaber, she hears voices of Master Jedis past, including Yoda (Frank Oz) and both iterations of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

“You hear Obi-Wan at the end say, ‘Rey … these are your first steps.’ Here’s the cool part. We asked Ewan McGregor to come in and do the line. And he was awesome and we were very grateful,” Abrams revealed to EW. But the “Rey” bit actually came from the late Alec Guinness, thanks to a clever editing of the actor saying “afraid.”

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd

8. Who are Rey's parents? We know that Rey’s parents left her on Jakku when she was a child -- probably with Simon Pegg’s Unkar Plutt -- but who are they? Fans were convinced that they had the answer when this video from the latest Disney Infinity appeared to have Kylo Ren shout, “Face me, cousin!”

So, is Rey actually Rey Skywalker, daughter of Jedi Master Luke Skywalker?! Possibly, but this is no confirmation. Kylo is indeed shouting, “Face me!” but then he says “Curses!” not cousin.

Guess we’ll add that back to the countless questions we still need answered from the film. Like, who is Lor San Tekka? What are the Knights of Ren? Who are Finn's parents? And when are Maz and Chewbacca going to go on their first date?

Now, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens cast field your fan questions for ET: