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When leaving the theater after watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time, many fans had the exact same thought: "I can't wait to see more of these characters." Unfortunately, satisfaction for this feeling took a full two years to arrive, but now it's finally here. Rian Johnson's Star Wars: The Last Jedi (a.k.a. Star Wars: Episode VIII) is only mere days from hitting theaters around the globe, and is ready to tell the next chapter of the legendary big screen saga. Of course, because it's a sequel it will be helpful for audiences to remember what went down last time around, and it's in that department that we're here to help.
Do you plan on seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi this weekend, but have a schedule so busy that it prevents you from watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens again? Don't worry, because we have you covered. Below and across the next few pages we've gone over everything you need to know and remember about the canon so that you'll be fully caught up and on top of ever beat in the new blockbuster. Read on!
Rey Is Taking A Long, Hard Look Into Her Future
As the central heroine of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Rey (Daisy Ridley) saw her life completely change over the course of J.J. Abrams' film -- despite the fact that not a great deal of time passes from beginning to end of the story. She was a simple scrapper living on the desert planet Jakku when we first met her, but a fateful introduction to BB-8 led her on an amazing adventure that saw her meet characters like Finn (John Boyega), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew); become a member of The Resistance; and discover incredible gifts that have been with her for her entire life.
With that last part we are, of course, referring to the fact Rey is revealed to be Force sensitive: a potential Jedi able to tap into the special energy that binds all things together in the universe. It's while being held captive by Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order that she first discovers this, and it doesn't take her long to try and learn more about it. After the destruction of the Starkiller Base and a brief return to the Resistance base on D'Qar, Rey joins Chewbacca and R2-D2 for a trip to Ahch-To -- an isolated planet where she comes face-to-face with the legendary Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), and presents him with his long-lost lightsaber.
Luke Skywalker Is Alone
George Lucas took Luke Skywalker on a classic hero's journey in the original Star Wars trilogy, and while it was an experience of hardship and loss, he walked away from it all as the savior of millions across the galaxy. Unfortunately, things didn't exactly go incredibly well following the events of Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi. Luke did his best to follow in the footsteps of the masters in his order, and began training young people sensitive to the Force in the ways of the Jedi... but he ran into some serious trouble while working with his young nephew, Ben Solo.
The son of Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo, Ben had genetics on his side from a Force perspective when he was a kid -- but like his uncle, also saw himself tempted by the Dark Side over the Light. While we don't know the full story yet, Ben eventually turned on Luke, destroyed the Jedi Academy, and became Kylo Ren of the First Order, serving under Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis). Luke managed to survive all of this, but was driven into seclusion, as a means of both escaping from the hands of the First Order, and really everyone else in the universe.
Finn Is Healing Some Pretty Bad Wounds
Prior to the events featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Finn didn't really have much of a life. He was a Stormtrooper for the First Order, and wasn't even provided the dignity of having an actual name (he was merely called FN-2187). The details on his backstory beyond that are minimal, but what is important is the change of heart he experienced following a destructive night raid in a village on the planet Jakku. What he witnessed shook him to his core, and was enough to inspire him to team up with Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and try and escape the First Order's clutches.
Finn's experience getting away from the First Order brought him together with some very important people who would eventually change his life (including Poe and Rey), but it also came with a serious cost. Not only does he have a special target on his back because he is a recognized traitor, but he also has some serious scars back there too. In defense of Rey, Finn went toe-to-toe with Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and he eventually lost -- getting a slice up his spine for the trouble. The last time we saw him he was unconscious lying in a medical pod, which it seems is where we once again find him at the start of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Poe Dameron And General Leia Are Staring Down A Terrible Threat
There's no denying that the roster for the Resistance sports some pretty impressive names, including the respected General Leia Organa and ace pilot Poe Dameron, but don't be confused: they are in serious trouble when we first get to know them in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Much like how things were in the battle between the Empire and the Rebellion, The First Order fighting force is superior to the Resistance in basically every way, not only having far greater man power, but also access to much more powerful, destructive, and devastating technology.
It's because the Resistance is in trouble that the central mission in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is so vital. Luke Skywalker has become a legend and a symbol of hope around the universe by the time the story starts in J.J. Abrams' movie, and his presence could completely shift the tide for the Resistance as far as public support goes. Leia knows this, which is why she sends her best pilot to find the information that will help her locate her long lost brother. Naturally, the big question is whether or not Luke will even be interested in helping.
Kylo Ren Is Looking To Become Irredeemable
Kylo Ren a.k.a. Ben Solo was initially taught by Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Light Side of the Force, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens tells us that he was corrupted by the teachings of Supreme Leader Snoke. He has misguided dreams about destroying the Jedi to complete the legacy of his grandfather, Darth Vader, and from all outward appearances seems fully dedicated to the First Order. But perhaps the most important thing we learn about him in The Force Awakens is that he is in constant conflict within himself, never fully committed to the Dark Side.
Of course, the events of Star Wars: The Force Awakens see Kylo Ren do what he can to try and shut off the Light within him completely -- specifically by killing one of the most beloved sci-fi characters of all time (who also happens to be his dad). Kylo confesses to Han Solo that he is torn apart inside, and for a moment it seems like he is going to be drawn to the side of good, but then he stabs his father through the chest as a way of trying to fully commit to the Dark Side of the Force. Whether that will actually happen is something to be discovered in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Supreme Leader Snoke Is Looking To Complete Kylo Ren's Training
Supreme Leader Snoke is most certainly kept an enigma throughout Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The character only appears in hologram form, speaking exclusively to Kylo Ren and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), and not much is explained about him beyond the fact that he is the leader of the First Order (which you pretty much get from his title alone). Fans were definitely left wanting to know more about the character by the time the 2015 movie ended, but it's his last line of the film that could tell us a lot about where he is heading in the future.
When the Starkiller Base is on the verge of being destroyed in the third act of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Snoke has a hastened communication with General Hux, telling him and Kylo Ren to go and meet him on his ship. The plan, evidently, is for Snoke to have Kylo finally "complete his training." What exactly does this entail, and how will it change the relationship between Snoke and Kylo? The answers will presumably be found in Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
Captain Phasma Is Wanting Some Revenge
If we're being entirely blunt, Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) was a somewhat disappointing presence in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She certainly looks cool in her chrome Stormtrooper outfit, and she has a badass name, but she didn't actually get to do much of anything in the film outside of barking a few orders. Given the events that occur at the end of the movie, however, there is reason to believe that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will feature Phasma with a vendetta.
Phasma was Finn's commanding officer as a Stormtrooper, so he was pretty damn happy to take her down at the end of Star Wars: The Force Awakens when he is breaking into the Starkiller Base with Han Solo and Chewbacca. They successfully get her to lower the shields on the planet-sized weapon, allowing Resistance fighters to get their shots in, but it's what they do with her afterwards that probably has her super pissed off. She is no fan of Finn because of the fact that he is a traitor to the First Order, but she probably has a special kind of hate in her heart for him because of the fact that he leaves her in a garbage chute. Expect that to come up in the next chapter of the saga.