Unless you’ve been unconscious for the last few days, you’re well aware that Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally opened and is in the process of taking over the damn world. J.J. Abrams’ seventh installment of the beloved space opera introduced a ton of new characters, some of which are front and center in the action, and others that are woefully underused or that leave us with a slew of dangling questions that we can’t wait to have answered. We’re roughly 18 months away from Rian Johnson’s Episode VIII, but here are the characters we need to see more of when that film hits on May 26, 2017 and as the Star Wars universe continues to expand.
There are, of course, MASSIVE SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens beyond this point. If you haven’t seen the movie already, for the love of God, stop reading and check out one of our many other Star Wars-centric articles. You’ve been warned.
Along with Daisy Ridley’s Rey and John Boyega’s Finn, Oscar Isaac’s badass pilot Poe Dameron was billed as one of the biggest additions to the franchise, forming a new Holy Trinity in the vein of Han, Luke, and Leia. During the opening act, he does, in fact, play a sizable role, teaming up with Finn to escape from captivity on board a First Order Star Destroyer. While he’s there he’s great, bringing an awesome new school version of Han Solo’s attitude and swagger. Unfortunately, he disappears for the middle of the movie, leaving you to think he may be dead (none of us really believed that, but the possibility was out there). We have since found out that Abrams originally intended for Poe, whose parents we meet in the Shattered Empire comic, to die, but found a way to keep him around. And we’re glad he did, we just want to see more of him in Episode VIII and beyond.
During the lead up, Gwendoline Christie’s badass chrome-plated stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, was built up to be this harrowing, menacing presence, part of a three-headed monster of evil along with Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). Gender-swapped in the development process (Benedict Cumberbatch was reportedly eyed for the part initially), J.J. Abrams even said she is his favorite of the new characters. But what we got in The Force Awakens is a character who is barely there, leading many to call her the new trilogy’s Boba Fett, full of potential, but with little actual presence. Her fate is up in the air—she may have been tossed in a garbage compactor, and may have been blown up with the destruction of Starkiller Base—but there’s so much potential, and there are reportedly big plans in store for her. We can’t wait.
Lor San Tekka
Lor San Tekka, played by Max Von Sydow, is one of the most curious, mysterious characters in The Force Awakens. Why do you cast an actor of his stature and caliber for a part that could have easily been nothing more than a handoff from a faceless character? Lor San Tekka has obviously been around a long time and has been in the shit. Kylo Ren knows him, remarking how old he’s become, and Leia "will always be royalty" to him. He is reportedly a "seasoned traveller and explorer," one that has "proven his worth to the New Republic and Resistance many times over," and an "old ally" as the opening crawl calls him, but that doesn’t really answer any of the questions we have. Was he involved in Luke Skywalker’s new Jedi training program? Why does he need to make things right, as he says (or is he merely speaking in a general sense)? There have been rumors that, during the heart of the Empire, he was part of the Church of the Force, an underground religion that worshiped the Force and the Jedi. Some have speculated that he could be a reformed Boba Fett, and other rumors indicate a younger version of the character could show up in one of the spinoff movies, like Rogue One. He’s obviously not showing up in the Episodes, as he dies at the hands of Kylo Ren, but he’s still super fascinating and we want some concrete answers moving forward.
The Dudes From The Raid
Gareth Evans’ Indonesian actioner The Raid and The Raid 2 are two of the best action movies in recent memory. J.J. Abrams is a fan and cast stars Iko Uwais and Yayan Ruhian as Tasu Leech and Razoo Quin-Fee, respectively, members of the Kanjiklub, a gang of vicious space pirates. Upon hearing that two of the best cinematic martial artists and fight coordinators currently working anywhere in the world were going to show up in a freaking Star Wars movie, we got pumped. Turns out, however, they don’t throw a single punch. What the hell? Odds are there was more to their presence originally, but that their scenes were cut down for time and pacing issues, but it just feels like a damn waste. Hopefully in Episode VIII, and perhaps beyond, we will see this nefarious space crew get an opportunity to kick some more ass, they have the chance to be out of control awesome. We presume that most of them die in the rampage on Han’s freighter, but they could come back in costume as other characters, and at least Rogue One has the chance to make full use of fellow martial arts master Donnie Yen. Let’s hope they don’t screw it up.
Supreme Leader Snoke
While we finally got to lay eyes on the looming big bad of the new Star Wars trilogy, Andy Serkis’ performance captured Supreme Leader Snoke, there is a lot we don’t know. While Kylo Ren, General Hux, and Captain Phasma are more at the forefront of the battle with the Resistance, Snoke appears to be the puppet master of the First Order, pulling the strings from, well, we don’t know where. We only see him as a hologram, ordering his underlings about. We don’t know where he is, where he came from, how he’s so powerful with the Force, why he has such a hatred for the Republic, and much more. Though he appears as huge in The Force Awakens, we don’t even know of that’s his true size or simply a visual trick he uses to make himself more imposing. Filling a similar role as Emperor Palpatine in the original trilogy, the more we learn about Snoke, the more we’re likely to learn about the origins of the First Order, and vice versa.
Much like Poe Dameron, Maz Kanata, voiced and motion captured by Lupita Nyong’o, disappears, only she never returns. The thousand-year-old proprietor of an out of the way underworld watering hole, Maz is an interesting character who has seen a great many things and has a unique insight into the state of this far, far away galaxy. That said, she’s severely underutilized. After Kylo Ren and the First Order goons wreck up her place, we never see her again. We now know that additional scenes where she accompanies Han Solo and company to the Resistance headquarters were cut from the movie—including that shot where she hands Luke’s lightsaber to Leia—and we’ve heard that more of her story will unspool in future Episodes. So we haven’t seen the last of the little weirdo with the soothing voice, which is good because she’s too interesting not to give us more.
If you look at Temmin "Snap" Wexley, played by J.J. Abrams’ childhood pal Greg Grunberg and thought, oh, here’s just another cameo, you’re actually wrong. Sure, the director likes to include his old pal in most of his projects, even referring to the actor as a good luck charm, but the character is more than just a throwaway. In reality, he’s kind of the Wedge Antilles of The Force Awakens. Wedge only has a small presence in the films but has a rich, detailed story in the Expanded Universe. Similarly, though Snap only has a few lines and scenes in Abrams’ film—though his reconnaissance is key in the destruction of Starkiller Base—the character is a key part of the canon novel Aftermath by Chuck Wendig, where we meet him as a teenager in the wake of the Battle of Endor. His mother is a pilot in the Rebellion, and he helps break up a meeting between remnants of the Empire on the outer rim planet Akiva. Perhaps we’ll see more of him in upcoming Episodes, but it also seem likely we could see him show up again in the supplementary texts, especially as Aftermath is supposed to be the first of its own trilogy.
There hasn’t been a really good bureaucratic dick of a villain in the Star Wars universe for a while, but Domhnall Gleeson’s General Hux could hit a Grand Moff Tarkin kind of plateau. Like many of the other characters on this list, we see the potential Hux has to become a nice addition to the stable of antagonists—you don’t need the Force to be an evil bastard—but he largely took a back seat while The Force Awakens dealt with Rey, Finn, Kylo Ren, and Han Solo. With that sinister sneer, coupled with his prim, prissy administrative bend, he could be a smarmy, maniacal administrative asshole lording over underlings, citing regulations, and basically making life miserable for everyone who has the misfortune to come into contact with him.
We knew it was coming, but when we first saw Leia, it was one of the moments in The Force Awakens that made your breath catch. Watching her interact with Han, it was like the last 30 years never happened, and we realized that we still love them just as much as always. That said, she’s not around a whole lot, which makes sense given the narrative, but moving forward, she has the chance to be a huge emotional part of future Episodes. Though she felt it, we never really see her react to Han’s death, and since it’s her son that does that does the deed, there’s even more in play. Then there’s also what is sure to be a complex reaction to, presumably, seeing her long lost brother show up again. In addition to her role as a badass military leader and the face of the Resistance, which we can’t wait to see more of, it’s this emotional component we really want to see explored; she has the capacity to just gut us.
And, of course we need more Luke. For all the talk of the return of Luke Skywalker building up to The Force Awakens, he was kind of a red herring. Mark Hamill has one scene, no lines, and doesn’t do much beyond stand on the picturesque isle of Skellig Michael, turn around, and stare at Rey. All in all, he's in eight total shots in the movie, including Rey's dream sequence where he puts his hand on R2-D2. Obviously there’s much more to his story, but we don’t get any of it here. We want to find out where he’s been, why he left, why he tracked down the first Jedi temple, what happened at his academy, what’s the nature of his relationship with Rey, what he plans to do about Kylo Ren, the First Order, and Snoke, and so, so much more. I could sit here all day and list off things we want, even need, to know about Luke’s status, but that is obviously going to play a big part in the saga moving forward. We just might drive ourselves crazy speculating about it for the next 18 months until Episode VIII, hopefully, gives us some answers.
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