Released: December 18th, 2015
Runtime: 2hrs 18 mins
Directed by: J.J Abrams
Written by: Lawrence Kasdan, J.J Abrams, Michael Arndt
Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie, Simon Pegg, Warwick Davis, Tim Rose, Ewan McGregor, Frank Oz
Significant characters introduced: Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, Kylo Ren, Maz Kanata, Supreme Leader Snoke, General Hux, Captain Phasma, Unker Plutt
Notable universe developments: Han and Leia have had a son who’s turned to the Dark Side; Luke has exiled himself; the Empire has risen once more – this time in the guise of the First Order; Rey finds that she has a natural aptitude for using the Force; Han Solo dies; mystery swirls around the parentage of Rey, who was abandoned on Jakku as a child.
Opening crawl: “Luke Skywalker has vanished. In his absence the sinister FIRST ORDER has risen from the ashes of the Empire and will not rest until Luke, the last Jedi, has been destroyed. With the support of the REPUBLIC, General Leia Organa leads the brave RESISTANCE. She is desperate to find her brother Luke and gain his help in restoring peace and justice to the galaxy. Leia has sent her most daring pilot on a secret mission to Jakku, where an old ally has discovered a clue to Luke’s whereabouts…”
Thirty years after the events of Episode VI, the New Republic is defending itself from the First Order – the latest incarnation of the old Galactic Empire. Seeking information about the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) makes contact with Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow) on Jakku – but they’re soon attacked by stormtroopers under the command of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). Poe is captured, but not before he hides the information inside his BB-8 droid, which successfully escapes.
A scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley) finds the BB-8 unit on Jakku, while Poe is being tortured by Kylo Ren. Extracting what he needs using the Force, Ren leaves Poe, who’s rescued by stormtrooper FN-2187 (John Boyega), who questions the methods and goals of the First Order. The pair steal a TIE fighter and escape, with Poe naming his rescuer ‘Finn.’ Crashing on Jakku, Poe disappears and Finn encounters Rey and BB-8. When they then come under fire from the First Order, they escape in a ship they find languishing in the local scrapyard – which is revealed to be the Millennium Falcon.
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The Falcon is soon captured by Han Solo and Chewbacca, seeking to reclaim their ship. On hearing of the circumstances of Rey, Finn and BB-8, Han Solo and Chewbacca join forces with them to get the droid to the Rebel Alliance. Meanwhile, the First Order’s Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) orders Kylo Ren and General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) to test the new super-weapon – the Starkiller Base.
Han explains that Luke had been trying to re-build the Jedi Order, but disappeared into self-imposed exile when an apprentice turned to the Dark Side and killed his fellow students. On Takodana, Rey encounters the lightsaber of Luke and Anakin Skywalker, and experiences dark and disturbing visions. The First Order destroys the capital of the Republic, using the Starkiller Base, and Poe reappears leading a squadron of resistance pilots on a mission to defend Takodana against the First Order. Leia – now General Leia Organa – arrives with her Rebel fleet and is reunited with old allies. At the same time, Kylo Ren abducts Rey and interrogates her.
Rey discovers that she’s able to use The Force and fights off Ren’s attempts to extract information from her. She’s able to escape using a Jedi mind trick and reunites with Han, Finn and Chewbacca, who are trying to infiltrate the First Order base to sabotage the defences of the Starkiller Base. Having already revealed in conversation with Leia that Kylo Ren is their son – and the murderous Jedi apprentice that caused Luke to flee – Han confronts Ren in an attempt to redeem him and turn him back toward the Light. Ren responds by killing him.
The Starkiller Base is destroyed and Kylo Ren and Rey have a final lightsaber battle, before being separated by an expanding fissure in the land. Finn, trying to help, is rendered comatose. The heroes return to the Rebel base and BB-8 collaborates with R2-D2 to reveal the full map of Luke’s location. Rey travels to the hideaway, finds Luke on an isolated, windswept clifftop and hands him his lightsaber.