It was 30 years between the end of
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and…not quite as long between Force Awakens and its follow-up The Last Jedi. But things move fast in galaxies far, far away, so use this character guide to catch up with everyone since we last left them in 2015. (The announced new characters of Last Jedi we’ll let reveal during the movie itself.)
Rey (Daisy Ridley)
We first meet desert orphan Rey scavenging for parts on planet Jakku, where she’s been long since abandoned by her family for reasons unknown. After encountering Stormtrooper turncoat Finn and the droid BB-8 (who has the partial map to Luke Skywalker’s whereabouts), she steals the Millennium Falcon and meets the rest of the surviving original trilogy heroes. Rey becomes Force-overpowered, resisting even Kylo Ren’s mind tricks, and helps take down ultimate weapon Starkiller Base, before flying off to planet Ahch-To, where Luke has spent years cultivating a cave-beard.
Luke (Mark Hamill)
Luke Skywalker aka hero of the original trilogy aka The Last Jedi. After defeating the Empire in Return of the Jedi, Luke establishes a school for the Force-sensitive to mold into Jedi, before betrayal at the hands of student Kylo Ren. Ren slaughters the school while Luke goes into hiding, allowing the First Order to rise from the ashes of the Empire.
Kylo Ren (Adam Driver)
Son of Princess Leia and Han Solo, the latter of whom Ren murders towards the climax of Force Awakens. Ren’s bloodline made him primed for grooming by First Order leader Snoke, though Ren’s rage issues are a continual hindrance. He’s wounded by Chewbacca and defeated by Rey at the end of Force Awakens.
Leia (Carrie Fisher)
Princess Leia will be in The Last Jedi, despite Fisher’s untimely passing. (It’s Episode IX that went through extensive rewriting due to her death.) In the decades following Return of the Jedi, Leia rose to General within the Resistance, though her pleas to take the First Order threat seriously fell on deaf ears at the New Republic senate. Subsequently, she helps formulate and execute the plan to destroy the Starkiller Base.
Finn (John Boyega)
A Stormtrooper defector. He releases captured Resistance pilot Poe and the two crash land on Jakku, becoming separated. He assists Rey and BB-8 in escaping Jakku, and by the end of Force Awakens, is put into a medical coma following a mismatched showdown with Kylo Ren.
Poe (Oscar Isaac)
Resistance pilot sent to Jakku to learn of Luke’s whereabouts, whom they hope will help in the fight against the First Order. Poe is captured and forced to confess about BB-8, his droid who knows where to find Luke. After being freed by Finn, Poe returns to the Resistance and fires the fatal shot from his X-wing upon the conveniently vulnerable Starkiller Base, foiling the First Order’s plans.
Poe’s trusty sidekick, though he spends most of Force Awakens cavorting with Rey and Finn and trying to avoid capture.
Chewbacca( Peter Mayhew, Joonas Suotamo)
Longtime criminal partner of the now dearly departed Han Solo. He shoots Kylo with his crossbow for murdering Han and detonates the explosives that reduced the Starkiller Base’s defenses.
R2D2 became deactivated in the years after Return of the Jedi, though the slumber is broken when compelled to complete BB-8’s map which leads to Luke.
R2D2’s keeper, and the galaxy’s biggest worrywart. He hasn’t had much of an arc, even since the days of A New Hope, though we’re sure he’ll do something accidentally fortuitous on behalf of the good guys.
General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson)
First Order military upstart. Hux introduces the First Order’s power to the galaxy by activating the Starkiller Base and destroying New Republic headquarters.
Snoke (Andy Serkis)
First Order leader, who corrupted Ben Solo (now Kylo Ren) to the dark side. Snoke also authorized using the Starkiller Base on the New Republic.
Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie)
Shiny and chrome, the much-hyped Phasma ultimately didn’t do much in Force Awakens, besides taking the classic Star Wars trip down a trash compactor. Expect an increased presence in Last Jedi.
Admiral Ackbar (Tim Rose)
Ackbar, announcer of traps, helped cook up a stratagem to take out the Starkiller Base in Force Awakens.
Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o)
What could you expect to find in Maz’s cantina, besides weird aliens, theme songs, and fan theories? None other than the Skywalker family lightsaber, which eventually makes its way into Rey’s possession. Alas, Maz’s cantina was destroyed following a First Order ambush, but she’ll be back for Last Jedi.