Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm are (at the time of writing this) about to flood stores with tie-in merchandise for the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens – the next live-action film installment in the Star Wars franchise – on a day that is known as “Force Friday”. Hence, as part of the buildup to that event, various pieces of related promotional artwork for the movie have made their way online – much of which has focused on the main villains of director J.J. Abrams’ project.

The central antagonists of Force Awakens work for a organization that is known as The First Order: a militaristic body that has modeled itself after the Galactic Empire that was formed by the late Emperor Palpatine (some fifty years prior to the events of Abrams’ film). So far, the Force Awakens promotional campaign has highlighted three particular high-ranking members of the First Order – the same characters who are featured front and center, in a newly-released international banner for the movie.

Featured below is said Force Awakens banner, featuring the characters Captain Phasma (Game of Thrones‘ Gwendoline Christie), Kylo Ren (Girls‘ Adam Driver), and General Hux (Ex Machina‘s Domhnall Gleeson). The trio are accompanied in the background by their legions of troops, who appear to be located on the same as-yet unidentified planet – one where the wintery landscape includes snow-covered mountains – that has been glimpsed briefly in Force Awakens trailers and TV spots released thus far.

UPDATE: It looks like that banner (via CBM) is really a fan-made poster (via JPosters):

star wars 7 force awakens first order poster Star Wars 7 Banner: The First Order On the March [Updated]

Here’s a rundown of what we know about these three Force Awakens antagonists, so far:

  • Kylo Ren is a member of the Knights of Ren, a group that models itself after the Sith; hence, Kylo specifically designed his mask to resemble Darth Vader’s breathing apparatus. The character’s cross-guard lightsaber design is his own creation, which accounts for its somewhat rough functionality (like the “spitty” cross-guard blades). Much like The Inquisitor on Star Wars Rebels (the canon Disney XD Star Wars animated TV series), Kylo’s skills in the Dark Side are believed to be relatively unrefined, compared to those possessed by a full-blown Sith master.
  • General Hux is one of the First Order’s leaders, though it’s not clear exactly where he ranks in the organization – especially compared to the mysterious Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), whom Kylo Ren answers to directly. Much like Grand Moff Tarkin and Agent Kallus (from Star Wars Rebels) before him, it’s feasible that Hux oversees the First Order’s ongoing efforts to battle The Resistance: an organization that has grown from the original Rebel Alliance that battled the Galactic Empire.

MORE: Why Star Wars Rebels Is Essential Viewing For Episode 7

Star Wars 7 Captain Phasma Character Name Star Wars 7 Banner: The First Order On the March [Updated]

  • Captain Phasma is reported to be a stormtrooper captain who, in Force Awakens, goes on the hunt for Finn (John Boyega) – the First Order soldier whose actions help set the movie’s plot into motion – when he goes AWOL (either by accident or choice) and crash lands on the desert planet of Jakku. It has long been rumored (even before the character’s name was officially confirmed) that Phasma has some talents with the Force too, meaning she may be connected to an organization like the Knights of Ren, is secretly a Sith Lord herself… or that Phasma has another backstory, altogether.

Abrams’ reputation for being secretive is well established by this point, so don’t expect the “Force Friday” merchandise to offer too many clues or new details about the aforementioned characters in Force Awakens. However, it’s possible that the impending third Force Awakens theatrical trailer will offer some additional insight on such matters (without spoiling too much about the film at the same time, of course).

NEXT: Star Wars 7 New Character Guide

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

Source: CBM

Update Source: JPosters

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