By Megan McCluskey
December 15, 2015

Disney and Lucasfilm have kept details about Star Wars: The Force Awakens heavily under wraps. But there is some interesting information that has been revealed. Read on to catch up on everything we know so far about the highly-anticipated film before it hits theaters on Dec. 18.

The characters:

The Force Awakens introduces a fresh group of protagonists, including Rey (Daisy Ridley), a scavenger who grew up on the planet Jakku after being left there as a child, Finn (John Boyega), a Stormtrooper who defects from the First Order to join the Resistance, Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), a X-wing pilot in the Resistance and a leader in the fight against the First Order, and BB-8, an adorable new droid.

There are several new antagonists as well, with the Darth Vader-obsessed masked Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), the first major female villain in Star Wars, leading the pack.

The film also offers some familiar faces from the original trilogy. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Peter Mayhew, Anthony Daniels and Kenny Baker all reprise their roles as Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia (General Organa), Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2, respectively. However, although Leia and Han have been heavily featured in promotions, everything about Luke is a secret. The beloved character has yet to appear — at least openly — in any trailer or poster for the movie, fueling much speculation about his fate.

Other notable cast members include Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o who plays Maz Kanata, a computer-generated, thousand-year-old, space pirate whose goggle-covered eyes will reveal mysterious depths of her character.

The plot:

The film is the first in the Star Wars sequel trilogy and is set 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi as the Resistance battles the evil First Order. According to Boyega, Finn and the rest of the Stormtroopers have grown up being fed First Order propaganda in order to make them believe that Luke and the rebels were the villains of the original trilogy’s events. After defecting and becoming stranded by himself in the deserts of Jakku, he meets Rey, which is when the adventure truly begins.

Production:

Director J.J. Abrams was intent on the movie being an homage to George Lucas’s trilogy. He brought in Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, to help with the script and John Williams to score his seventh film in the series. Abrams also used real sets and locations as often as possible in order to return to to the original tone rather than the CGI-heavy one of the prequels.

“There were cases where we literally used the same filters as the original movies so certain things would feel a certain way. The goal was to make something that felt very much of the DNA of Star Wars that we know and love, and yet, a new story,” he told Rolling Stone.

Fun facts:

The first word uttered in the film will be “this,” according to Abrams.

The ranks of Stormtroopers are no longer made up of clones, explaining why Finn doesn’t look like Jango Fett, the genetic template for the clone troopers in the prequels.

Everyone’s favorite smuggling ship, the Millennium Falcon, will return to soar through space along with new X-Wings and TIE fighters.

Jar Jar Binks and the Ewoks do not make an appearance, according to Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy.

Abrams has said that there will not be a Marvel-esque post-credits teaser.

The film reportedly passes the Bechdel Test, meaning that two female characters speak to one another about something other than a man.

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