‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’: 7 More Questions the Movie Didn’t Answer

Spoilers ahead for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens swept through every box office record imaginable, with fans doubling back for second and third viewings. With these repeat showings come a whole new round of questions, with two years to go until we get any actionable answers from Episode VIIIWe’ve already covered a few points: Rey’s mysterious origin, Ben Solo’s turn to the Dark Side, and the sudden appearance of Anakin and Luke’s old lightsaber, among many others.

Our next round of questions continues our quest to find some semblance of answers from an otherwise unexplained universe. This is, of course, all by design on the part of Disney and J.J. Abrams as a way of keeping fans excited and engaged in the years between films. All the same, it still leaves us wondering about a whole lot of things. Such as…

1. Why did R2-D2 suddenly activate in the final moments of the movie?

R2-D2 and a masked figure as seen in 'Star Wars The Force Awakens'

R2-D2 and a masked figure as seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Source: Lucasfilm

J.J. Abrams offered a vague answer to this question in a Q&A, but it’s still hard to shake the strong feeling of a deus ex machina moment from R2-D2 at the end of The Force Awakens. In it, R2 conveniently wakes up with most of the map to Luke Skywalker in his hard drive, needing only the piece BB-8 couriered to the Resistance to complete it. What we don’t know is twofold: 1. How did R2 have that map to begin with, and 2. Why did he suddenly wake up to deliver that information so late in the game?

For the former of those two questions, the answer comes from screenwriter Michael Arndt, laying out an “idea about R2 plugging into the information base of the Death Star [in Episode IV], and that’s how he was able to get the full map and find where the Jedi temples are.” As for the latter, Abrams conveniently explains that as the droid being slow to fully activate following BB-8’s initial interaction earlier in the film. Neither are entirely satisfying answers, but there you have it.

2. How did the First Order manage to train an entire generation of Stormtroopers like Finn from birth?

Finn (John Boyega) - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Finn (John Boyega) | Source: Lucasfilm

We see a brief moment of explanation in an exchange between General Hux and Kylo Ren, concerning the training of the First Order’s new-look Stormtroopers. Rather than utilizing the clones of the prequels or the enlisted men of the original trilogy, the First Order trains all their soldiers from birth, assigning them numerical designations in place of actual names. This opens up a whole other line of questions, leading us to wonder how the First Order, with decidedly fewer resources than the Empire, managed to gather together tens of thousands of babies directly following Return of the Jedi, and then spend the ensuing years training them to be the next generation of white-armored soldiers. More than that, how did Finn, a Stormtrooper who we’re told has no history of insubordination, end up so disenchanted with the horrors of war after just one battle?

3. Why did Captain Phasma obey Han and Finn’s order to turn off the Starkiller shields?

Captain Phasma

Captain Phasma | Source: Lucasfilm

Captain Phasma is something of an enigma already. We know little about who she is, why she gets the different armor, or even what her eventual fate was in the end of The Force Awakens. In true Darth Maul and Boba Fett fashion though, we see an insanely cool character minimized to a few lines and a (supposedly) unceremonious death.

While Han and Finn are roaming around the Starkiller Base looking for a way to deactivate the shields, they grab Phasma, hold a gun to her head, and demand she do the job for them. Without hesitation, she obeys, and then is dispatched down a trash chute, never to be heard from again in the movie. Why a well-disciplined and formidable officer like Phasma would leave her base vulnerable after the mere threat of death is beyond us (or any other fans for that matter).

4. Who is Lor San Tekka?

Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Lor San Tekka (Max Von Sydow) in Star Wars: The Force Awakens | Source: Lucasfilm

Max Van Sydow’s character, Lor San Tekka, speaks the very first lines of the film, and yet we have almost no background on who he is, or how he came to possess the final piece of the map to Luke Skywalker. According to a Wookieepedia entry for the character, he’s “a follower of the Church of the Force, an underground faith of loosely affiliated followers of Jedi ideals.” Tekka hints at knowing Leia during her days a Princess, meaning he’s been around since the days of the original trilogy, operating behind the scenes. He also seems to recognize Kylo Ren as Ben Solo, immediately before Kylo kills him. Perhaps we’ll learn more about Lor San Tekka through flashback sequences in future films, but for now, we’re very much in the dark.

5. How are Kylo Ren’s Force abilities different from other Sith and Jedi?

Kylo Ren in Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

Kylo Ren | Source: Lucasfilm

From the opening moments of The Force Awakens, Kylo Ren clearly shows he’s not like any Force user we’ve ever seen in the Star Wars saga. He can stop a blaster bolt in mid-air, invade the minds of his victims to extract information, hold an enemy’s body motionless, and with a wave of his hand, can render someone completely unconscious. All these powers are new to the franchise, as abilities that not even the likes of Luke, Darth Vader, Yoda, or even Emperor Palpatine ever demonstrated a propensity for. It could be that Kylo Ren’s lineage as a Skywalker descendant gives him unique powers, leading us to wonder whether Luke ever developed similar abilities in the years since Return of the Jedi. 

6. Will the ghosts of Obi Wan, Yoda, and/or Anakin play a role in future films?

Anakin, Yoda, and Obi Wan Kenobi - Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Anakin, Yoda, and Obi Wan Kenobi | Source: Lucasfilm

If you were listening closely, you may have noticed small voice cameos from the likes of Yoda and Obi Wan in Rey’s vision, after she touched Anakin and Luke’s old lightsaber. J.J. Abrams even confirmed that Frank Oz and Ewan McGregor came in to record audio for the scene, with Obi Wan’s line directly addressing Rey by name. This of course has led to all sorts of speculation concerning the future use of Force ghosts in the new franchise. Alec Guinness appeared both in voice and in person following his death in A New Hope, so it certainly wouldn’t be unprecedented. Just no ghost-Hayden Christensen please.

7. What’s going to happen now that the New Republic has been completely destroyed?

General Leia, Carrie Fisher - Star Wars: The Force Awakens

General Leia | Source: Lucasfilm

This one was sort of glossed over in favor of more pressing plot points, but it seems like kind of a big deal that the New Republic was completely obliterated by the First Order. This is the acting governing body of the galaxy we’re talking about here, and it was destroyed in an instant by the first and only use of the Starkiller weapon. With the weapon destroyed along with the stronghold of the First Order, it’s worth asking: Who the hell is left? There’s no more Senate, most of the First Order’s army appeared to be wiped out in the explosion of the Starkiller, and what remains appears to be a massive power vacuum.

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