WARNING: This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
After years of anticipation and waiting, Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is finally here, and though the film did answer some of the burning questions fans had, there are plenty left to be explored in the coming installments of the sequel trilogy. Star Wars 7 was essentially the tip of the iceberg and was more concerned with setting up a foundation for the films to build on instead of revealing everything all at once. It's arguably better that it played out this way, since it leaves much intrigue for Episode VIII. After all, moviegoers didn't learn the full story of the original trilogy in A New Hope.
The Force Awakens has plenty of ambiguous moments that left viewers questioning what exactly they saw, and it's unknown if a future movie will share additional answers. Fortunately, the Force Awakens screenplay (which has now been sent out for awards consideration) and the tie-in novel provide greater details concerning some of the movie's most talked-about scenes, giving fans materials to pour over before their next viewing of the movie. While we have covered a select few of the details already, we're compiling a "one-stop shop" list of the most noteworthy reveals from outside sources and what they might mean for the series moving forward.
FINAL SPOILER WARNING
The film does not state how old the new characters are, so fans were left to rely on the actors' ages to come up with a rough estimate. For instance, Daisy Ridley and John Boyega are 23, Adam Driver is 32, and Oscar Isaac is 36. Turns out, some of those numbers are a little off. The Force Awakens visual dictionary reveals that Rey (Ridley) is 19 during the events of the film, much like Luke during A New Hope. And while this isn't stated in anything that can officially be considered franchise canon, a tweet from Lucasfilm's Pablo Hidalgo said that Kylo (Driver) is either 29 or 30, which means he was born shortly after the Battle of Endor.
The age difference eliminates the possibility that the two are twins a la Luke and Leia, but they still could very well be related (more on this in a bit). One of the biggest mysteries is when exactly Kylo Ren turned to the Dark Side and everything went to hell, and nothing released so far has provided any indications. During Rey's vision sequence, a flashback shows her as a 5 year old girl being left on Jakku, which would make Ren around 15. If that seems like a young age to be consumed by the Dark Side, consider that Anakin Skywalker became Obi-Wan Kenobi's apprentice at 9 - so teaching children the ways of the Force is nothing new. Whoever abandoned Rey may have felt the conflict within Kylo and decided to hide Rey for her own protection.
Resistance Ally at Maz Kanta's
When Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Finn (Boyega), Rey, and BB-8 go to Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) on Takodana for help, First Order and Resistance allies alert their groups that BB-8 is on the planet, leading to a big battle. The one who alerts the Resistance is a droid who as far as anybody knows had never met BB-8 before. Whereas Kylo Ren knew the map to Luke Skywalker was contained inside a BB unit, nobody else knew what they were looking for. So how did the droid know to contact the Resistance?
Everyone's favorite protocol droid, C-3PO (Anthony Daniels), was responsible. The novelization states that C-3PO activated the Resistance's network of droid allies to search for the lovable soccer ball. He was actually supposed to turn on a tracking device on BB-8 before he got separated from Poe Dameron (Isaac), but he forgot. Fortunately, he was able to come through in a different way and get BB-8 back to Resistance HQ before anything bad happened.
Rey's Force Visions
Towards the middle of The Force Awakens, Rey is called down to the basement of Maz Kanata's castle and drawn to Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) old lightsaber he used in The Empire Strikes Back. Upon touching it, Rey has a disorientating Force vision that features several out of context scenes and images. These include Luke resting his hand on the domed head of R2-D2, and what has now been confirmed as Kylo Ren and his fellow Knights of Ren standing amidst slaughtered bodies in a rainstorm. Readers have already seen our theories for what's implied by the visions (and how an adorable species may have met its bitter end), but the screenplay has bits of clarifications.
There has been some debate as to when exactly in the timeline the Luke and R2 scene takes place. The script indicates that it took place at some point before The Force Awakens takes place, saying that there is a "burning temple at night" while Luke shares a moment with his droid companion. It suggests that this happened shortly after Kylo Ren led an attack on Luke's new Jedi academy (causing the elder Skywalker to flee). While the screenplay doesn't confirm anything beyond that, this knowledge could provide clues on the mysterious map to Luke that serves as the film's MacGuffin. BB-8 is in possession of a portion of it, while R2 has the rest. Luke very well could have stored information regarding his location in R2 (in case he was needed again) right before he left and told R2 to rest in low power mode until the time was right.
Young Rey's Guardian
During Rey's Force-inflicted visions, audiences also see a glimpse of the protagonist as a little girl, being left on the desert planet Jakku where she would stay until her fateful meeting with Finn (John Boyega). Out of the corner of the screen, there's an arm dragging Rey away as she begs for her family to come back. The movie does not reveal who Rey was left with, but the screenplay states that it is Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg), the Jakku junk dealer Rey does business with to receive portions of food. It is interesting to consider that Plutt was charged with watching over the young Rey, since their interactions in the final film do not come close to indicating a long history between the two.
Unfortunately, neither the novel, nor the screenplay expand beyond that, so this revelation will only raise more questions about Rey's backstory. Her parentage is clearly an element of the sequel trilogy that's being saved for another day, and there are no shortage of theories concerning her family bloodline. Based on the wording of the script, it would appear that whoever left Rey behind made a prearranged deal with Plutt, but since that character only shares scenes with Rey (and doesn't mention any other names), it's difficult to say who that might be. Regardless, Rey's history will almost certainly be a topic discussed in Episode VIII.