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What Happens in Star Wars The Force Awakens?

Everything You Need to Remember About The Force Awakens Before Seeing The Last Jedi

Getting ready to see Star Wars: The Last Jedi and feeling a little fuzzy on recalling The Force Awakens? We've got you covered with everything you could possibly need to know about the movie's plot.

Meet the New Big Three

Episode VII opens with Resistance pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) on a secret mission to meet an old ally of General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) on the desert planet Jakku. Naturally things go awry immediately after Poe is handed a crucial segment of a map to the missing Jedi Master Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill). The tyrannical First Order arrives and Poe is captured, but not before giving the map to his trusty droid BB-8. Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), masked leader of the assault force, slays San Tekka and his fellow villagers before leaving.

On another part of Jakku, scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) salvages spaceship parts to barter for food. She finds them in the crashed Star Destroyers and X-wings from a battle over the planet long ago. Dealer Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg) drives a hard bargain, and Rey returns to her downed AT-AT home with only a quarter portion of food. Hers is a lonely life, but when she hears the cries of BB-8, Rey rushes to his rescue. Despite her initial brusqueness, they quickly form a bond.

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Aboard an orbiting warship, Kylo Ren uses brutal Force methods to uncover that Poe's droid has the map. Stormtrooper FN-2187 (John Boyega), who refused to slaughter the villagers on Jakku, sneaks Poe to a TIE fighter and they escape. General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) awaits the identity of the rogue stormtrooper, but Kylo knows the answer before the trooper's commander Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) can reveal his identity. The First Order fires a missile that hits the escaping TIE, which crash lands on Jakku.

Making Allies

FN-2187 regains consciousness in the desert. Poe is missing, but he has left three things with the defector: his Resistance jacket, the knowledge that BB-8 has a map to Luke, and a name: Finn. Stumbling to a town, Finn crosses paths with Rey, who detains him when BB-8 recognizes Poe's jacket. Moments later the First Order's pursuit closes in on BB-8 and Finn. Caught in the crossfire, Rey has no choice but to flee with them. The trio steal the Millennium Falcon, outfox the First Order's TIE fighters, and leave Jakku's orbit.

But Han Solo (Harrison Ford) wants his ship back. He and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) retake their old ship, only to discover its pilot Rey wants to enlist them to return BB-8 to the Resistance, led by Han's estranged wife. After a run-in with pirate gangs seeking to collect on his debts, Han agrees to assist Rey in her quest. He flies the Falcon to the lush green planet Takodana, intending to pass them off to an old acquaintance, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o).

The First Order Strikes

After Finn bails on Rey, she hears cries from the basement of Maz's castle, where she discovers Luke Skywalker's lightsaber. Touching it, she experiences a Force-back that reveals horrifying visions of Luke's, Kylo's, and her own pasts. Terrified, Rey flees Maz's castle just as the First Order fires its deadly Starkiller Base at the New Republic's capital.

Still pursuing BB-8, Kylo Ren leads an attack on Maz's castle. Finn has a change of heart and returns for Rey, who is being pursued by Kylo. Rey cannot escape Ren, who realizes she has seen the map to Luke Skywalker. The Resistance fighters led by Poe arrive to chase off the First Order, but not in time to stop Kylo from kidnapping Rey.

Despite an awkward reunion with Leia, Han is determined to help her when Starkiller Base turns its sights on her Resistance base. A plan is quickly formed: Han, Chewbacca, and Finn will sneak onto to Starkiller Base in the Falcon, and the Resistance fighters led by Poe will attack the oscillator once Han's team brings down the shields.

Rivalries Emerge

Intent on uncovering Luke's whereabouts, Kylo probes Rey's mind with the Force. She resists, then turns back his mental assault, discovering Kylo's fear that he will never be as powerful as his grandfather and idol, Darth Vader. Shocked that Rey can use the Force, Kylo consults his mentor, Supreme Leader Snoke. A survivor, Rey uses her new powers to escape the First Order prison cell and is reunited with Han, Finn, and Chewbacca after they compel Captain Phasma to lower the shields.

Fatal Confrontation

Even with the shields down, the Resistance X-wings aren't succeeding. Han improvises a plan to plant detonators in the base. He encounters Kylo Ren, who he knows as Ben Solo, his son. Snoke has foretold that Kylo would have to kill his father to level up his dark side power. Kylo ignites his lightsaber through Han's heart as Rey, Finn, and Chewbacca look on.

Chewbacca shoots Kylo then detonates the explosions. In his X-wing, Poe takes the opening and makes a critical strike on Starkiller Base. Kylo chases Rey and Finn into the snowy forest. After Finn is gravely wounded, Rey seizes Luke's lightsaber and duels Kylo. Remembering Maz's advice about trusting the Force, she bests him.

A New Quest

With Finn recovering at the Resistance base, Leia sends Rey to the planet Ahch-To to convince Luke to bring hope back to a galaxy torn asunder by the destruction of the New Republic.

Image Source: Everett Collection
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