[Warning: This post contains potential SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens]
Lucasfilm has done an admirable job keeping the secrets of J.J. Abrams' hotly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens under lock and key, but sooner or later, the mystery box was going to have to burst open. Thanks to coverage from EW this week, fans have started to learn more about the returning characters, villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), and plenty of other interesting tidbits.
Clues about the narrative are also starting to come out in official Star Wars: The Force Awakens merchandise, even though nothing was supposed to be available until "Force Friday" on September 4, 2015. A MicroMachines play set sold a month early gave fans plenty to speculate over, and now the upcoming action figure line has its own set of revelations.
Making Star Wars has a series of images from Facebook user "The Ultimate Toy Collector," who has gotten their hands on the complete first wave of Force Awakens 6" "Black Series" figures, which includes characters like Finn (John Boyega), Kylo Ren, and Chewbacca. Those eager to learn more about the plot will take a great interest in the packaging for the Rey (Daisy Ridley) and BB-8 combo pack, which gives some back story for the little droid.
On the back of the box, it says that BB-8 is the "spherical, loyal Astromech Droid of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron." That may come as a surprise to some, since BB-8 has almost exclusively been seen following Rey around as if she is the robot's rightful owner. Until now, nothing in marketing had even hinted at BB-8 having a larger connection to the galactic conflict. And like so many of the official details we've learned so far, it sheds a lot of light on previously released rumors.
A while back, an alleged description of the Force Awakens opening sequence came out, in which a Jakku villager named Nakka stumbles across Luke's old lightsaber (which apparently holds the key to opening a Sith tomb) and accidentally starts a fire in his home. After a village elder contacts the Resistance for aid, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) arrives only to find out he's been followed by the First Order. Poe hides the lightsaber in BB-8 while Kylo Ren and his stormtrooper squad land in the village to search for it. The evildoers eventually set the village ablaze when they are unable to locate the lightsaber.
Though this still has to be classified as rumor for now, it's becoming more and more likely this is how the new Star Wars movie will start. Much of what we've seen in the teaser trailers and still images play in line with the prior reports, including a rather telling shot of Kylo Ren using the Force on someone as things burn in the background. In a nice bit of homage to the original film, it seems as if BB-8 will be the droid the First Order is looking for, keeping a valuable MacGuffin safe from the villains. Things could still turn out differently, of course, but we're starting to get into the realm of too many coincidences.
Still, there's a handful of additional questions posed by this knowledge. Since BB-8 belongs to Poe Dameron, what exactly are the circumstances that lead the droid to Rey? One of the new pictures showed Rey purchasing BB-8 from some sort of scavenger, but her motivation for that transaction remains unknown. Does she recognize BB-8 as a familiar friend or is it just by chance (a la Luke and R2-D2) that their paths cross? Those answers are for another day, but perhaps the upcoming third trailer will peel back the curtain.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One 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: Making Star Wars