Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams’ Bad Robot Productions and distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after Return of the Jedi (1983), and follows Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron’s fight with the Resistance, led by veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, descended from the Galactic Empire.
The Force Awakens is the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy announced after Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. The film is produced by Abrams, his long-time collaborator Bryan Burk, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi, rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, composer for the previous six films, returned to compose its score. Star Wars creator George Lucas served as creative consultant during the film’s early production stages. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabi and Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and Pinewood Studios in England.
The Force Awakens premiered in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015, four days before its release in the United States and more than 10 years after the release of the franchise’s last live action installment. Critics compared it favorably to the original trilogy, praising its action sequences, characters, acting, special effects, musical score and emotional drama, though some criticized it as derivative. Disney backed the film with an extensive marketing campaign; it has broken many box office records, including the highest-grossing worldwide opening of all time and the fastest film to reach $1 billion. As of December 28, 2015, it has generated a global box office gross of over $1.228 billion, becoming the fourth highest-grossing film of 2015, the ninth highest of all time and the highest in the franchise without inflation adjustment. Episode VIII is scheduled for release on May 26, 2017, followed by the remaining film in the trilogy, Episode IX, in 2019.
Approximately 30 years after the destruction of the second Death Star, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has disappeared. The First Order has risen from the fallen Galactic Empire and seeks to eliminate Luke and the Republic. The Resistance, backed by the Republic and led by Luke’s twin sister, Leia Organa, opposes them while searching for Luke to enlist his aid.
Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets village elder Lor San Tekka on the planet Jakku to obtain a map to Luke’s location. Stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren destroy the village and capture Poe. Poe’s droid BB-8 escapes with the map, and encounters a scavenger, Rey, at a junkyard settlement. Ren tortures Poe and learns of BB-8. Stormtrooper FN-2187, unable to kill for the First Order, frees Poe and they escape in a stolen TIE fighter; Poe dubs FN-2187 “Finn”. They crash on Jakku, and Finn appears to be the only survivor. He encounters Rey and BB-8, but the First Order tracks them and launches an airstrike. The three flee the planet in a stolen, rundown ship, the Millennium Falcon.
The Falcon breaks down, and is captured by a much larger ship, piloted by Han Solo and Chewbacca, who reclaim their former vessel. Han explains that Luke tried to rebuild the Jedi Order but went into exile after a student turned to the dark side and destroyed all that Luke had built. Gangs seeking to settle debts with Solo board the ship and attack, but the five escape in the Falcon. The criminals inform the First Order of Han’s involvement. The Falcon crew view BB-8’s map and determine it is incomplete. They travel to the planet Takodana and meet with cantina owner Maz Kanata, who can help BB-8 reach the Resistance, but Finn wants to flee on his own. Rey is drawn to a vault and finds the lightsaber that belonged to Luke and his father before him. She experiences disturbing visions and flees into the woods. Maz gives Finn the lightsaber for safekeeping.
At the First Order’s Starkiller Base, a planet converted to a superweapon capable of destroying star systems, Supreme Leader Snoke orders General Hux to use it for the first time. It destroys the Republic capital and its fleet and Hux declares the end of the Republic. Snoke tells Ren that to overcome the call of the Light Side of the Force, Ren must kill his father, Han Solo. The First Order attacks Takodana. Han, Chewbacca, and Finn are saved by Resistance X-wing fighters led by Poe, but Rey is captured and taken to Starkiller Base. Ren interrogates Rey, but she resists his mind-reading. Discovering she too can use the Force, she escapes her cell with a Jedi mind trick.
Leia arrives at Takodana with C-3PO and reunites with Han and Chewbacca. At the Resistance base on D’Qar, BB-8 finds R2-D2, who has been inactive since Luke’s disappearance. As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D’Qar, the Resistance devises a plan to destroy it by attacking a critical facility. Leia urges Han to return their son alive. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca, and Finn infiltrate the base. They lower its shield, find Rey, set explosives, and encounter Ren. Han confronts Ren, calling him by his birth name, Ben, and implores him to abandon the dark side. Though conflicted, Ren ultimately rejects and kills Han. An enraged Chewbacca shoots Ren in the side and sets off the explosives, allowing the Resistance X-wing fighters to attack the weapon and start a chain reaction that destroys Starkiller Base.
The injured Ren pursues Finn and Rey to the surface. Finn battles Ren with the lightsaber, but is overpowered and badly wounded. Rey takes the lightsaber and fights Ren, overpowering him with the Force before they are separated by a fissure. Snoke orders Hux to evacuate and bring Ren to him, while Rey, Chewbacca, and Finn escape in the Falcon. On D’Qar, the Resistance celebrates while Leia, Chewbacca, and Rey mourn Han’s death. R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map, which Rey follows with R2-D2 and Chewbacca to an island on a distant planet. She finds Luke and presents him with his lightsaber.