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EW Reveals 12 Exclusive THE FORCE AWAKENS Images in New Issue

Entertainment Weekly made plenty of ripples across the internet today with previews of their upcoming magazine issue (available this Friday) headlining their Fall Movie Preview with some exclusive photos and interviews about STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS.

Below we’ll include some preview images of the photos you’ll get in Friday’s new issue, along with some interview clips with director J.J. Abrams and co-writer Lawrence Kasdan who reveal a few new details about how Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy talked Abrams into directing Episode VII, hints of Kylo Ren’s origin story and name, and more.

While Abrams is still editing THE FORCE AWAKENS in its post-production phase and shaping its story, his comments in EW’s new article are perhaps the most revealing made by the notoriously secretive director. Are Abrams’ comments and reveals — do they really qualify as spoilers? — simply an expression of his confidence in THE FORCE AWAKENS? Also, since Abrams remains tight-lipped on the nature of Luke Skywalker’s presence and the First Order’s arising in this sequel, are such revealed details only small (yet interesting) potatoes compared to the truly big secrets Abrams et al are keeping to themselves?

Let’s focus on what new details we’ve learned in EW’s upcoming issue and the photos accompanying them, along with some character speculation that might venture into potential spoiler territory:
REY and FINN

Played respectively by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, Rey and Finn remain less defined in both name and nature than some other TFA characters by design. As Abrams succinctly puts in in this issue: “I will only say about that that it is completely intentional that their last names aren’t public record.” This likely will only stoke rumors that Rey and Finn are the children of Han and Leia — especially with the recent Star Wars comic revelation that Han Solo was married before he joined up with Leia and the Rebels. Could Finn be the son of Solo with Sana as his mother?

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Finn (John Boyega) surviving the crash of his TIE fighter on the planet Jakku from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm


Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal Rey (Daisy Ridely) and Finn (John Boyega) on the run from First Order stormtroopers on the planet Jakku from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Rey (Daisy Ridely) freeing droid BB-8 from capture on the planet Jakku from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

 

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Rey (Daisy Ridely) freeing droid BB-8 from capture on the planet Jakku from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Likewise, we learn that Kylo Ren’s name is not his given name, either, which leaves the rumor door open for Rey and Kylo possibly being the twin offspring of Han and Leia, mirroring to some extent the stories of their offspring in the now-non-canon Legacy novels of the Expanded Universe. Kylo’s seeming-but-unconfirmed Force abilities (he build his own broadsword-style lightsaber, EW reveals) certainly points to the chance he springs from the Skywalker family, either with Leia or Luke as his parent.

Indeed, should that hold true, then is Kylo Ren’s emergence in this film an indication of the Force awakening again as he reaches maturity? Will the Skywalker family help determine the destiny of the galaxy in this Sequel Trilogy?

Meanwhile Rey easily fits the image of Leia’s daughter in looks and bearing as a take-charge woman, most evident with footage of Rey piloting the Millennium Falcon solo, as it were, seen in the Comic-Con making-of reel.

 

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Issac) from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm
POE DAMERON

Oscar Issac plays the dashing X-wing pilot who, it’s revealed, is a member of the Resistance, a splinter faction arising from the ashes of the fallen Empire, not a member of the First Order yet apparently not affiliated with the New Republic either.

Abrams won’t reveal the politics of this post-Empire galaxy yet, but the director makes it clear in interviews that the galaxy is hardly settled in its rule or ways 30-plus years after the Emperor’s defeat and death.

Note that Poe sports an “old” Rebel symbol patch on his flight suit in this new photo, so perhaps the Resistance is (at least in part) formed by former Rebellion pilots and soldiers who helped fight off remaining elements of the Imperial war machine?

Might the Resistance serve as some kind of buffer force or security effort to assist in erasing the tyranny of the former Empire as the Rebellion slowly gained control and order across the galaxy in what must have been a couple decades of post-Palpatine fighting that ensued after the Battle of Endor?

Poe certainly harkens back to that X-wing squad image of a fighter for justice and freedom in the old Rebellion model of characters, even if his ship is painted a stealthy shade of black.
GENERAL HUX and CAPTAIN PHASMA

Finally we get a good look at Domhnall Gleeson as Hux, “a cruel leader of The First Order who craves to show the galaxy his might” according to EW’s photo caption. His dark uniform, black gloves and jacket worn on his shoulders like a cape evokes a little bit of Vader’s fashion vibe, but TSWS suspects Hux will be much more a combination of Tarkin and Palpatine in both ruthlessness and ambition for power. Plasma, on the other hand, brings a lot of Vader’s military menace in her chrome armor, brought to life in by GAME OF THRONES’ Gwendoline Christie in a superb casting move. Let’s hope that Phasma, along with Rey and Leia, help update the STAR WARS cinematic realm with a growing group of strong female characters inhabited by dynamic, talented actresses.

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of First Order chrome-armored soldier Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm


Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Entertainment Weekly’s new image of Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) on the Millennium Falcon from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

HAN SOLO and CHEWBACCA

So just how busy has Han (Harrison Ford) been over the past 30 years since helping defeat the Empire at the end of RETURN OF THE JEDI? Is Han a father a couple times over by now. Do his allegiances lie with both Leia and the New Republic or has he gone on his own way once again with trusty Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) as co-pilot?

All we know from a recent spate of photos and film clips is that he spends more than a little time in the Falcon with both Finn and Rey at his side in the cockpit. Is Han taking them out on a sort of driver’s test to familiarize themselves with the old man’s ride, or do they end up separated from the others, having to fend for themselves as THE FORCE AWAKENS plot advances? And will the Falcon get passed down to a new generation of owner(s) after Episode VII concludes?

Here some potential plot spoilers arise, so read on at your own risk…
KYLO REN

Portrayed by Adam Driver, has now been described as a somewhat obsessed devotee of Darth Vader, now-dead Lord of the Sith and former Jedi Knight who was once Anakin Skywalker, Luke and Leia’s father. With the Force running strong in the Skywalker family, what if Kylo ends up being Han and Leia’s son, having forsaken his Solo/Skywalker name to join the Knights of Ren (as revealed in EW’s special issue) and follow in the dark ways of his apparent idol, Vader? Or perhaps more intriguing: what if Kylo inherits Force ability from his father Luke Skywalker, not Leia?

George Lucas always talked about story echoes in reverberating throughout the STAR WARS Saga, so it wouldn’t surprise us at all if the Force awakens again in the galaxy with Skywalker offspring, both for good and potentially evil. This dark distancing from the Skywalker family, name and galactic notoriety might make sense for a son overshadowed by renowned, heroic parents and yearning to live outside their shadow. Yet how better to hide than to forsake his own family and become a lone disciple of the darkest side of the Skywalker lineage, especially if Luke is now a retired Jedi and hermit much like Ben Kenobi was (as rumors suggest), living far from the spotlight on the fringe of the galaxy? If the Force awakens to such a Dark Side nightmare as Kylo Ren, forging his mask and fiery lightsaber in Darth Vader’s own image, then might that be the wake up call that summons Luke — possibly his father — back into action to restore balance once more? Hard to see, the future is . . . but such echoes of Skywalker destiny would certainly make sense in this new Sequel Trilogy which is expected to put this young generation of characters center stage in and beyond Episode VII.

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) from STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

Entertainment Weekly’s new image reveal of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) flanked by First Order stormtroopers setting a Jakku village aflame in STAR WARS: EPISODE VII. Image Credit: Lucasfilm

J.J. ABRAMS and LAWRENCE KASDAN

Despite the previous release of photos and two exciting trailers, little is known about THE FORCE AWAKENS’ story, which makes some of the discussions in EW’s interviews with Abrams and seem like opening the floodgates by comparison. Still none of these article revelations are huge plot spoilers: instead, they remain just intriguing enough to whet fans’ appetites to see the film this December. Credit to Lucasfilm for getting Kasdan back to write TFA and oversee the relaunch of STAR WARS films in general, being a valuable veteran from the Original Trilogy which leads directly — give or take three decades — into Episode VII. Also interesting to read in EW’s article that Kasdan was invited to join in writing for the Prequel films but declined because it didn’t match his life as a writer/filmmaker at the time. Yet revisiting STAR WARS thirty years after JEDI and answering the question Kennedy teased Abrams with — who is Luke Skywalker? — definitely fit Kasdan’s mindset now, having also lived thirty years after JEDI himself. I can’t be sure yet, but it sounds like this is a smart storytelling team that is about to spark STAR WARS to new cinematic life once again.