Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the proper franchise follow-up for which rabid fans have been waiting since back in the days when Kajagoogoo and Spandau Ballet were climbing the Billboard charts. A fresh director in J.J. Abrams will finally be bringing the band back together, firing up the Millennium Falcon, and hopefully working out any engine kinks that would disqualify the iconic vessel from repeating anything below the high standard of a 12 parsec Kessel Run.
Luke, Leia, Han Chewie, R2 and 3PO are all ready to reprise their parts and show that aging only slows down nursing home nerfherders. However, if there’s one thing that we’ve learned about the Star Wars universe, is that for all its vastness with myriads of planets and star systems, it’s also of a small world for our characters and we often run into connections that the push the limits of coincidence. (That would be because of The Force, right?) Thus, we are a little more than reasonably sure that our main group of classic heroes won’t be the only familiar faces we’ll encounter by the time Force rouses itself to lucidity on December 18. Keeping in mind that all the things that occurred in Expanded Universe novels and comics have been rendered non-canon by new owners, Disney, here are five other folks that we think we’ll be encountering.
5. General VeersThe man who lead the snowy attack on the Rebel base on the planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, Veers was ruthless and efficient. Played by Julian Glover, who is currently killing it as the manipulative, sycophantic Grand Maester Pycelle on Game of Thrones, the idea that Veers might still be out there in the sequel era is not all that outrageous. Besides, his loyalty to the Lannisters must be superseded by any recall to active duty by the remnants of the Galactic Empire. Interestingly enough, Veers and his squad of AT-AT Walkers carried out what would be the Empire’s ONLY successful military campaign in the entire Original Trilogy! How can we not get him back?
4. Admiral AckbarThe Mon Calamari mastermind behind the seemingly suicidal space theater of the Battle of Endor, Ackbar has since become an Internet phenomena thanks to the proliferation of his famous warning shout of "It’s a trap!" The meme has propelled the character from relative obscurity to borderline icon status. That reason alone would be enough to bring him back in some official capacity in the New Republic government. Plus, he was the only non-Jedi character (besides Han’s halfhearted attempt to mollify Luke) to use "May the Force be with us" as a rallying cry. This could suggest his importance as a friend of the Jedi, which would be more apparent than ever as more of them emerge.
3. Mon MothmaOne of the lesser dished-out bits of Star Wars references, Mon Mothma is actually one of the founding members of the entire Rebellion in the Original Trilogy and an important leader. Probably most famous for lamenting the fact that "many Bothans died to bring us this message" (a quote that became a meme in its own right), Mothma also had the distinction as being a character who was meant to appear in the Prequel Trilogy, played by actress, Genevieve O’Reilly. Unfortunately, her big scene in Revenge of the Sith was cut at the last minute. Nevertheless, it seems almost obligatory that she would be back as the president or at least some kind of elder statesman in the New Republic government.
2. Mace WinduPlayed by the incomparable Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu was second in command of the Jedi Order only beneath Yoda. The Jedi master’s proficiency with his distinctly purple lightsaber made him one of the most feared fighters in the galaxy. However, in Revenge of the Sith he ran into a bit of a raw deal, ending up maimed, betrayed and tossed away after he was seemingly on the verge of defeating the source of all of the galaxy’s troubles in then-Chancellor Palpatine, the secret Sith Lord, Darth Sidious. Truth be told, Mace was kind of a just-a-filler character that probably never truly lived up to Jackson’s acting potential. However, he was an important figure in the prequel trilogy, and given the nature of his fate, you could not find a better Jedi spirit to warn our current heroes of betrayals.
1. Darth VaderThis might be an obvious choice, but Darth Vader IS Star Wars. He is the ultimate villain, and the face of the franchise. While everyone knows he died in Return of the Jedi from respiratory failure after absorbing enough Force lightning to send the DeLorean back in time, Anakin Skywalker, Vader’s former self, resurfaced before his death and he would come back as a Jedi ghost (Sebastian Shaw or Hayden Christensen, take your pick). How cool would it be if a malevolent Darth Vader Sith spirit showed up when conjured by the new bad guys, while at the same time, a separate, beneficent Anakin Skywalker spirit continued to give sagely advice to the heroes from beyond the grave. It wouldn’t be a central focus of the film, but it would be a nice homage to the dual nature of the iconic character, and a very Star Wars thing to do.
Which of these characters do you think will be in The Force Awakens?