11 Spoilery 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Questions We're Obsessing Over

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm
Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

This article contains detailed information concerning the plot and action of Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. Read at your own risk. Find our spoiler-free take here. Speculation and argument encouraged.

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Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

1. Who are Rey's parents?

The Force Awakens pegs our new favorite Jakku loner as a next branch in the Skywalker family tree. The final shot of the film -- Rey handing a grizzled Luke his blue lightsaber -- has many assuming that the two are father and daughter. But is it that simple? There’s definitely a familiar connection between Rey and Ben "Kylo Ren" Solo when the latter struggles to pry open her mind with the Force. The Force Awakens keeps it cryptic enough that it could be cousinly, or even siblingly. Or check this: Anakin Skywalker was supposedly "born from the Force" to his mum Shmi Skywalker (see: The Phantom Menace). It’s possible Rey’s mother existed outside the lineage and whatever midi-chlorian magic pushed Anakin out of the ether did the same for Rey. We’re ruling out pre-revelation Luke and Leia because... well, because.

2. What was that flashforward-flashback about?

When Rey discovers Luke’s lightsaber, a jolt of Force energy envelops her in hallucinatory memories. We see Kylo Ren slicing and dicing his fellow Jedi, as alluded to earlier in the movie. We hear the voices of... well, it’s not exactly clear, although post-mortem interviews reveal voice-only cameos by Obi-Wans Alec Guinness and Ewan McGregor. The past swells into the present. A fallen Luke, now with a fleshless, metallic hand, leans against R2-D2 as his padawan goes postal. Is the lightsaber acting like a Harry Potter pensieve, somehow imbued with Luke’s own memories, or does this particular connection with Rey conjure up vital information? The vision is pure J.J. Abrams mystery-box fluff, but knowing Kylo Ren struggles with lightness infecting his evil, and that Luke went searching for the first Jedi temple for answers, this entire scene could be a fast-forwarded version of Dark Side Contagion. You know, Locke on Lost was a nice guy, before that smoke cloud got ahold of him. 

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

3. How did Kylo Ren obtain Darth Vader’s mask?

Last seen burning up in a pyre on the yub-nubbing forests of Endor, Darth Vader’s iconic mask became an altar piece for the disturbed Ben Solo. He is the ultimate fanboy, but without Sith eBay, how did the angsty Knight of Ren come across the crispy relic? Maybe this is where Supreme Leader Snoke comes in. Like the White Queen and Edmund from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Darth’s helmet could be the Star Wars universe’s Turkish delight. Free stuff does terrible things to nice people.

4. Speaking of: who (or what) is Supreme Leader Snoke?

The sequel trilogy’s big bad (emphasis on big) is Supreme Leader Snoke, the ruler of the Nazi-esque First Order and General Hux and Kylo Ren’s boss. But who is this mysterious, scar-faced villain? A Sith lord? Gollum’s galactic cousin who suffers from gigantism? And given that we only see Snoke projected as a hologram, is he actually 25ft tall, or is he just trying to compensate for something? The geekier sect might see a resemblance to Star Wars Rebels’ Inquisitor. The better guess is the one character in The Force Awakens who isn’t a callback. He's just some really, really pissed-off dude.

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

5. How did Maz get the lightsaber?

"That’s a long story for another time," Maz Kanata, Lupita Nyong’o’s alien bartender/Yoda stand-in, tells Han Solo to avoid a spat of mid-action exposition. How did the prized Jedi weapon make its way from a run-in with Darth Vader on the Cloud City of Bespin to Maz’s pub on Takodana? There were rumors that The Force Awakens originally opened with Luke’s severed hand falling down from space to the sandy dunes of Jakku. If Episode VIII decides to unravel the mystery -- versus handing off the explanation to Expanded Universe comics and novels -- a similar "accident" could be in the cards. Apparently the lightsaber can channel the voices of dead Jedi into its owner’s mind, so why not steer itself towards a desired resting place?

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

6. How does R2-D2 wake up from his coma?

In a movie filled with imaginative plotting, R2-D2 waking up from his robotic slumber was the most head-scratching moment of the whole film. As it plays out on screen, the scene feels way too convenient for our heroes, giving them the one essential piece of information they’ve been looking for at a seemingly random moment. Did Luke feel the disturbance following Rey’s battle with Kylo Ren and give his droid pal a Force push? At a screening this weekend, Abrams and co-writers Lawrence Kasdan and Michael Arndt explained that R2 had recovered the data from plugging into the Death Star and that his awakening was a result of BB-8 asking him for the data earlier in the movie. The entire explanation is a bit more detailed but not exactly convincing.

7. Why does C-3PO have a red arm?

It’s hard to feel too invested in this question given how irritating C-3PO is and how inessential he is to the plot of The Force Awakens. But, still: what was up with that red arm? A one-off Marvel comic by James Robinson and Tony Harris was supposed to explain away this mystery for the die-hards this month, but, according to Bleeding Cool, the issue has been delayed until February. How will you survive until then? 

Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm

8. Why was Captain Phasma such a bad stormtrooper?

With metallic armor, a high military ranking, and a Game of Thrones cast member behind the helmet, Captain Phasma is no ordinary stormtrooper. To top it off, fans were psyched to finally see a menacing female villain in a Star Wars film (because, sadly, there weren't many female Star Wars characters to begin with). She almost worked; in her first appearance, bossing Finn around Jakku, she looks tough as hell. But when she gets taken hostage by Han, Chewie, and Finn later in the movie, she crumbles like one of those weak space-chess pieces in the Falcon, powering down the shields and setting the stage for Poe’s triumphant final aerial attack. What gives, Captain Phasma? It's unclear if she survived the movie's explosive finale, and more unclear if she'll ever have her moment in the two suns.

9. Why was Nien Nunb still flying in the Rebel military at his advanced age?

Nien Nunb is one of the most joyful characters in the Star Wars universe -- have you heard this guy laugh? In the 30 years since Return of the Jedi, you’d think he’d retired on a space-yacht somewhere with Lando. Instead, in The Force Awakens, he’s now a pilot for the Resistance, playing second fiddle to the less-experienced Poe Dameron. Didn’t this dude have a retirement package? Or is he just that addicted to the thrill of combat? Hear us out: Nien Nunb spinoff. We need an explanation.

Walt Disney Pictures/LucasFilm

10. How the heck did the Starkiller Base fire its first laser if every blast takes up an entire star and The First Order drains the planet's sun in the final act? Does it move??

Man, what a cumbersome cannon.

11. And the most important question: space bread -- how does it work?

After trading some scrap metal for her daily ration, we see Rey pour unappetizing, shrink-wrapped powder into a pan and -- poof! -- out comes a delicious, spherical loaf of space bread, which appears to have the texture of naan and the pleasing roundness of a large steamed bun. Jakku may be a bleak, sandy wasteland, but its native cuisine looks dope, not to mention super quick and easy to make (great for orphaned scavengers living alone on a budget!). Where can we get some?

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