NOTE: This guide will be updated with SPOILERS for Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens after opening weekend. In the meantime, if you’re looking for Star Wars 7 spoilers, check out our Biggest Force Awakens Spoilers and Reveals list.

When it was first announced that the Star Wars brand had been acquired by Disney, with the intention to make a whole new sequel trilogy of live-action films, there were a lot of questions: Who would direct? How would Episode 7 tie-into the larger Star Wars saga? Would divisive franchise creator George Lucas be involved? However, one question was asked more than any other: Will Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford, the original heroes of Star Wars, return – and, if so, how big a role will they play? Two years later, and we now know that Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Leia Organa are set to return for The Force Awakens – in significant roles.

Yet, as anticipation builds for Episode 7, fans are becoming increasingly excited about the new faces set for debut in The Force Awakens – whether light or dark, Resistance or The First Order. Seeing Luke Skywalker back on the big screen will be a moment to remember but Episode 7 also features a diverse cast of fresh faces poised to lead new adventures in the Galaxy Far, Far Away. That said, with thirty years since the events depicted in Return of the Jedi, a lot has changed and, viewers may need a crash-course in who-is-who for The Force Awakens.

As a result, we’ve put together a guide of all the characters (and organizations) that are set for appearance in Star Wars: Episode 7. We’ll give background on new characters as well as help fans get reacquainted with familiar faces and finish-up by covering the various organized groups in The Force Awakens: heroic, malevolent, and unscrupulous, alike.

NOTE: This guide is based on officially confirmed information only – and, to that end, we’ve left off several rumored characters (examples: Admiral Ackbar and Nien Nunb). We’ll update the post as further details and characters are revealed or confirmed.

Finn

John Boyega as Finn in Star Wars The Force Awakens Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: John Boyega (Attack the Block)

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The First Order)

Background: Finn begins his journey in the Star Wars story as a member of The First Order; however, for reasons that have yet to be revealed, Finn abandons his post as a Stormtrooper. According to Finn, he was raised “to do one thing” but “has nothing left to fight for.” Stranded in a desert on the remote world Jakku, Finn encounters a local junk scavenger Rey – who sets him on a journey of self discovery and a place in The Resistance. Promotional marketing (trailers and images) for Star Wars 7 show Finn wielding Luke Skywalker’s blue lightsaber – suggesting the hero will become a Jedi warrior. Still, at this time there is no official confirmation that Finn is Force-sensitive – and it’s still possible, though unlikely, that there’s another explanation for his lightsaber duel.

Rey

Rey Star Wars Episode 7 Force Awakens Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Daisy Ridley

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The Resistance

Background: While little is, currently, known about Rey’s past, we know she spent much of her life scavenging the desert of Jakku – in order to survive. Rey asserts that she is “no one” but director J.J. Abrams has previously stated that Rey’s lack of a last name is intentional – and could hint at a connection to established Star Wars characters. Either way, a capable and strong-willed fighter, Rey has stood up to many of Jakku’s most unscrupulous residents. However, as The First Order regains power around the galaxy, Rey aligns with The Resistance in order to fight back. Fans will have to wait for more details to find out if Rey is already a Resistance fighter by the time she crosses paths with Finn but, regardless of where she really comes from, Rey is bound to become a key warrior in battle against The First Order.

Kylo Ren

star wars 7 force awakens reshoots Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Adam Driver (Girls)

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The First Order

Background: Kylo Ren was initially believed to be Episode 7‘s version of a Sith lap dog (following in the footsteps of Darth Maul and Darth Vader ahead of him); yet, in the time since, Abrams has indicated that Ren isn’t actually a Sith and is, instead, a Force-weilding warrior operating under orders from powerful Dark Side figure Supreme Leader Snoke. Similar reports have suggested that Ren might, at this point, simply be a want-to-be Sith, who is also obsessed with Darth Vader, but is unable to fully control the immense power of the Dark Side. His goal: to “finish what [Vader] started. To that end, Ren may have cobbled together his own cross-guard lightsaber – even though he is not (or is not yet) an actual Sith.

Poe Dameron

Star Wars 7 Poe Dameron Oscar Isaac X Wing Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Oscar Isaac (X-Men: Apocalypse)

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The Resistance

Background: Continuing the legacy of brave Rebel Alliance fighter pilots (such as Wedge Antilles), Poe Dameron is one of The Resistance’s most talented and brave X-wing squadron leaders. Currently, little is known of Dameron’s backstory, or the reason he joined-up with The Resistance; however, marketing materials and Star Wars: Episode 7 toys have revealed the hero’s callsign to be “Black Leader” – indicating that he commands a deadly team of T-70 X-wing fighters (refined successors to the original T-65 X-wings) known as “Black Squadron.”

Captain Phasma

Star Wars 7 Captain Phasma Character Name Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones)

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The First Order

Background: A fierce First Order loyalist, Captain Phasma leads the next generation of stormtroopers into battle. Little is known about the woman underneath the specialized silver armor, including whether or not Phasma is even human, but official character descriptions have suggested the character is one of The First Order’s most ruthless and power-hungry warriors. Prior rumors have also pegged the character as a Jedi hunter, or possibly the officer sent to kill Finn after he deserts the First Order; that said, neither of those rumors have been confirmed (yet) by Lucasfilm.

BB-8

Star Wars BB 8 Force Awakens Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: N/A

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Affiliation: The Resistance

Background: BB-8 is an astromech droid with connections to Poe Dameron, Rey, and the larger Residence force; though, based on marketing alone, it’s unclear who encountered BB-8 first. Rumors have suggested that BB-8 belongs to Dameron, as his on-board X-wing co-pilot; however, other reports have pegged the astromech droid as a Resistance asset carrying a sensitive piece of Jedi tech (similar to R2-D2 in Star Wars) that is being hunted by the First Order – only to be, inadvertently, rescued by Rey on Jakku. While fans will have to wait a bit longer to find out BB-8’s place in the larger story, Abrams has confirmed the droid’s sphere-shape is an homage to Ralph McQuarrie’s pre-production R2-D2 design.

Luke Skywalker

star wars force awakens luke theories Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Mark Hamill

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope (with a baby cameo in Episode 3)

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Rebellion)

Background: The new hope of Star Wars – Episode 4, Luke Skywalker became a powerful Jedi warrior – and, with the help of his father Anakin Skywalker, destroyed Emperor Palpatine’s autocratic strangle hold on the galaxy. Unconfirmed rumors suggest that following Return of the Jedi, Luke left his friends and the rebellion, retreating into isolation. Instead of rebuilding the Jedi Order and seeking out new younglings, Skywalker worried that, like his father before him, fear would drive him into the arms of the Dark Side – and he would become a danger to the ones he loved. However, as the Dark Side once again resurfaces, Skywalker must step back into the light – and help bring balance to the force once more.

Leia Organa

Billie Lourd Not playing young Leia Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Carrie Fisher

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope (with a baby cameo in Episode 3)

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Rebellion)

Background: Hidden from her true father, Anakin Skywalker for decades, Leia was already a key member of the Rebellion, following in her adopted father’s footsteps, when a chance encounter with her biological brother, Luke, led Leia to discover her Jedi parentage. One of the only characters that has not been shown in sequel trilogy trailers and merchandise, Leia Organa’s life (and potential Jedi powers) after the destruction of the Empire remain a mystery to fans – for now. A shot of Han Solo comforting Leia could indicate the pair are still together, working in the newly-formed Resistance, but Lucasfilm has yet to offer official comment on their marital status. Similarly, reports have suggested that Rey and/or Kylo Ren could be lost or estranged Solo children; though, until the studio offers official confirmation, the reports should be taken with a grain of salt.

Han Solo

Star Wars 7 Han Solo Harrison Ford Force Awakens Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Harrison Ford

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Rebellion)

Background: After Han Solo shot Greedo (first), the galactic scoundrel smuggled young Luke Skywalker and Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi off Tatooine and onto the galactic war stage – becoming one of the most important heroes in the Rebel Alliance. Even though Force Awakens trailers show Han Solo and his first mate Chewbacca returning to their iconic starship the Millennium Falcon (after a seemingly lengthy absence) and advising Finn and Rey, Lucasfilm hasn’t revealed much of Han Solo’s role in The Force Awakens. Nevertheless, reports have hinted that Solo could play a relatively large role in the sequel: as the go-between that helps Finn and Rey locate Luke Skywalker – teaching the new heroes about the true events of Star Wars: Episode 4 – 6.

Chewbacca

Best Movie Sidekicks Chewbacca Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Peter Mayhew

First Appearances: Star Wars: The Clone Wars – Season 3, Episode 22 “Wookie Hunt” (also: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope)

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Rebellion)

Background: Han Solo’s lovable best friend and first mate, Chewbacca was both the muscle and the heart of the Millennium Falcon during the Rebellion era. The Wookie’s post-Episode 6 adventures were chronicled in numerous Expanded Universe storylines – now relegated to non-canonical “legends”; though, Lucasfilm has kept Chewbacca’s role in Episode 7 under wraps. As mentioned, the most recent trailer for The Force Awakens shows that Han and Chewbacca eventually find their way back to their iconic modified YT-1300 freighter but where the wookie has spent the last thirty years remains a mystery.

C-3Po

C 3PO comic cover Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Anthony Daniels

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (also: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope)

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Galactic Republic and The Rebellion)

Background: The childhood creation of future-Jedi warrior Anakin Skywalker, C-3P0 was initially built from discarded protocol droid parts – to aid Anakin’s mother in life of Tatooine. Years later, the droid was reunited with his creator and future best (droid) friend R2-D2 – who brought C-3P0 into service of the Galactic Republic (and later the Rebellion). Like most of the returning Star Wars characters, it is assumed that C-3Po remained close to his former allies in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi and is now lending his services to the Resistance; however, nothing is certain – except that the shiny gold-plated droid now bears a red left arm (that will be explained a Force Awakens comic book prequel).

R2-D2

Force Awakens R2 D2 and Luke Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Portrayed by: Kenny Baker

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (also: Star Wars – Episode 4: A New Hope)

Affiliation: The Resistance (formerly: The Galactic Republic and The Rebellion)

Background: One of four astromech droids assigned to Queen Amidala’s J-type 327 Nubian royal starship, which is damaged attempting to break through the Trade Federation blockade, R2-D2 becomes a trusted companion to Obi-Wan Kenobi following the events of Episode 1. The droid’s connection to the Jedi eventually leads R2-D2 into the service of Senator Bail Organa – founding member of the Rebel Alliance (and adopted father to Leia Skywalker). Later, at the height of Imperial oppression, Leia implanted stolen Death Star schematics inside R2-D2’s memory, and sends the droid on a mission to find Kenobi (via chance encounter with her brother Luke on Tatooine). After aiding in the destruction of Emperor Palpatine, the fate of R2-D2 is currently unknown; though, trailers for The Force Awakens hint at a reunion between Luke and his former astromech companion.

The Resistance

The Resistance Star Wars 7 Force Awakens X Wing Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Background: Following the defeat of Emperor Palpatine and the second Death Star, the Resistance struck a powerful blow to the Empire but the war was not over. Speaking to the future of the Rebel Alliance in The Force Awakens prequel novel, Aftermath, Admiral Akbar states: “The Empire’s weapon may be destroyed, but the Empire itself lives on. Its oppressive hand closes around the throats of good, free-thinking people across the galaxy, from the Coruscant Core to the farthest systems in the Outer Rim. We must remember that our fight continues. Our rebellion is over. But the war … the war is just beginning.

As a result, the Rebel Alliance evolved into the Resistance – and, thirty years later, the Resistance has inspired a new generation of heroes, developed modernized vehicles, and forged powerful alliances.

Key Members (revealed in Hasbro toys):

  • Ello Asty – A skilled (if occasionally reckless) X-wing starfighter pilot for the Resistance.
  • Goss Toowers – Part of the tireless technical crew that provides mechanical support to the Resistance’s fleet of starfighters.
  • PZ-4CO – A constant fixture in Resistance base control rooms, offering tactical data and communications support during important operations.
  • B-U4D (Buford) – Tough and hard-working, B-U4D (Buford) is part of the ground crew that keeps the Resistance starfighters fueled and combat-ready.

The First Order

storm troopers 10 was star wars prequels improve series Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

First Appearance: Star Wars – Episode 7: The Force Awakens

Background: Just as the Akbar recognized that the death of Emperor Palpatine did not mean the end of galactic war, many Imperial fighters also braced for a lengthy war, regrouping under a new banner: The First Order. Borrowing (and repurposing) assets and tenants of their former Empire, Imperial sympathizers spent the next thirty years rebuilding their fighting force and developing new weapons to intimidate and oppress the galaxy. Though unconfirmed, concept artwork reveals that the First Order has even built a super-weapon significantly more lethal than the Death Star – one that could wipe out an entire star system rather than a single planet.

Key Members:

  • General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) – Leader of the First Order military installation, Starkiller Base.
  • Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) – Kylo Ren’s mysterious master and a powerful Dark Force wielder.
  • First Order Stormtroopers – Highly trained soldiers with a fierce loyalty to the First Order.

Pirates, Gangs, & Miscellaneous Aliens

Star Wars 7 Force Awakens Teedo Luggabeast Star Wars: Episode 7   The Force Awakens Character Guide

Background: As with all prior Star Wars films (and TV series), The Force Awakens will include planet-hopping adventure – where, along the way, Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron will meet a diverse host of alien inhabitants. How exactly all these characters fit into the full Episode 7 storyline remains to be seen (not to mention the size of their respective roles) but pre-release toys and marketing provide brief insight into some of the supporting extra-terrestrials our heroes will encounter.

Key Members (revealed in Hasbro toys):

  • Teedo (played by Kiran Shah) – A small, brutish scavenger that roams Jakku’s vast wasteland on his semi-mechanical Luggabeast.
  • Sarco Plank – A scavenger and trader who scours frontier worlds for riches. Sarco Plank must wear a specialized mask that keeps his native atmosphere circulating through his alien lungs.
  • Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong’o) – An alien pirate lord who is rumored to provide Finn and Rey with vital information on their journey – and is heard in the final Force Awakens trailer.
  • Tasu Leech – Tasu Leech leads the notorious Kanjiklub gang, an intergalactic criminal organization.
  • Guavian Gang – The security soldiers of the Guavian Gang wear high impact armor that makes them stand out from other deadly criminals.
  • Constable Zuvio – A vigilant law officer on a mostly lawless world, the tough and humorless Constable Zuvio keeps order in a frontier trading post.
  • Unkar Plutt – A Jakku junk dealer.

As indicated, this is only a partial list – based on official announcements and reveals. Did we miss anyone? Have additional details that should be included? Sound off in the comments – and we’ll update the guide with new information, images, and characters right up until the release of Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens.

Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.

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