Short-cut to Star Wars
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Short-cut to Star Wars

Your ultra-minimalist guide to six films and what you need to know before the seventh takes over the world.

brunch Updated: Dec 12, 2015 22:32 IST
Star Wars: The Force Awakens,Luke Skywalker,George Lucas
May the force be with you: The Star Wars universe is full of heroes, villains, weird creatures, cute robots.

Not everyone is a Star Wars fan. Some of us haven’t even watched the six films, let alone followed the expanded universe of spinoff movies, animated TV shows, video games, Lego sets, trading cards, comics, books and fan art.

We know that Episodes 1, 2 and 3 were made after (but set before) films 4, 5, 6. We know a bit about the story. But mostly, we’re clueless. (If you know nothing about the franchise, be warned, spoilers ahead).

And now, with Disney taking over Star Wars’ creator George Lucas’s franchise, a new beast has been spawned: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens. Episode 8 releases next year and Episode 9 in 2019. Time to catch up on the adventures of the galaxy far far away...

The story so far…

Slave boy Anakin Skywalker is a prodigious exponent of the Force who, along with his jedi (the light side) trainer Obi Wan, has fought evil and powerful siths (the dark side) before he is an adult. He’s the good guy, fighting the emperor even when his side has been reduced to just him, wise old jedi master Yoda, Obi Wan and a few others. But fearing for the life of his pregnant wife, he decides to join the siths. Obi Wan, however fights him, leaving him for dead. He’s rescued by the emperor, who turns him into Darth Vader.

And his pregnant wife? She dies anyway, giving birth to a boy and girl. Years later, a princess on a ship attacked by Vader sends a message to Obi Wan, but it reaches Luke Skywalker instead. Luke finds Obi, and with Han Solo (a smuggler) and Chewbacca (his loveable sidekick) sets off to rescue her. Obi Wan trains Luke to use the Force, and they find and fight Vader on the Death Star (a spaceship that can destroy whole planets). The team frees the princess, but Vader kills Obi. Luke and Han eventually destroy the ship. But here’s the twist: Vader is Luke’s father; the princess, Leia, is Luke’s sister. Noooo! In the end, Vader makes amends by helping Luke battle the emperor, sacrificing himself in the process. Leia ends up with Han. Peace is restored. Geekdom suddenly becomes profitable.


Set 30 years after Darth Vader’s death, the latest installment has several characters, old and new, that will steer the plot (and fuel even more fodder for fans). Here are some of them:

KYLO REN: A new villain cometh. He’s no sith, but he is a dark-side-of-the-Force ally of the oppressive First Order. He’s looking to finish what Vader started. Is that why he’s built his own, and much scarier-looking lightsaber?

LUKE SKYWALKER: Luke is back, and the Force is still with him. But what was he doing for 30 years? With the Dark Side resurfacing, we’ll find out if his lightsaber still has it.

FINN: New to the films, Finn is a former Stormtrooper (the bad-guy army of soldiers) who was trained to “do one thing” but “has nothing left to fight for”. He needs purpose, and judging by that lightsaber he’s holding, he may just become a jedi. But does he have the Force?

REY: Another new face, Rey (below) is scrappy – a scavenger, a survivor. Could she be related to someone from the previous films? She’s part of the newly-formed Resistance to the First Order, oh and she seems to know Finn…

LEIA ORGANA: She seems to be still with Han Solo. Could Rey and Kylo Ren be her children?

HAN SOLO and CHEWBACCA (below): They’re back and their starship, the Millennium Falcon is too.

CAPTAIN PHASMA: Another bad guy, though this one’s a woman, a ruthless, power-hungry Stormtrooper leader in silver armour. Watch out!

C-3PO and R2D2: Of course they’d be back. C3P0 and R2-D2 are the only side characters to appear in all seven Star Wars films. The neurotic gold-plated droid that Anakin built as a child is still around, but now with a red left arm. His trouble-seeking best friend R2D2 shows little change, but we still can’t understand his little bleeps.

BB-8: A new machine to love. This one looks like R2’s head sitting on a sphere. And boy, can it move. Let’s see where it goes.

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From HT Brunch, December 13

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First Published: Dec 12, 2015 22:32 IST