Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 American epic space opera film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams.
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The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, where the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire have become the Resistance and the First Order, respectively, and follows new leads Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron alongside characters returning from previous Star Wars films.
The Force Awakens is the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, announced after The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. The film is produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Abrams, and his long-time collaborator Bryan Burk. Abrams co-wrote the film with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi. Abrams and Kasdan rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, composer for the previous six films, returns to compose the score. Star Wars creator George Lucas served as creative consultant during the film's early production stages. The Force Awakens is produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and will be distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabi and Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and Pinewood Studios in England.
The Force Awakens premiered in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015, and is scheduled for release on December 18, 2015, in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D, more than 10 years after the release of the franchise's last major installment, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). Critics compared it favorably to the original trilogy, praising its action sequences, characters, and emotional drama, though some criticized it as derivative. Disney backed the film with an extensive marketing campaign, and it is expected to break box office records with projected profits exceeding $1 billion. Two sequels, Episode VIII and Episode IX, are scheduled for May 26, 2017 and 2019 respectively.
Thirty years after the second Death Star's destruction, Luke Skywalker, the last Jedi, has vanished. The First Order, a successor to the fallen Galactic Empire, is scouring the galaxy for Luke, as is the Resistance, a military force backed by the Republic and led by Luke's sister General Leia Organa. Poe Dameron, the Resistance's best pilot, is sent to retrieve a map to Luke's location from a village on the planet Jakku, but Stormtroopers led by Captain Phasma and Kylo Ren, a powerful user of the Dark Side of the Force, capture Poe and wipe out the village. Poe's droid, BB-8, escapes with the map, eventually finding its way to a junkyard settlement and befriending the scavenger Rey.
As Ren uses the Force on Poe to learn about BB-8, a Stormtrooper repulsed by the First Order's brutality decides to escape and frees Poe. Their stolen TIE fighter crashes on Jakku and the Stormtrooper, dubbed "Finn" by Dameron, appears to be the only survivor. He makes his way to the nearest settlement and, upon encountering Rey and BB-8, claims to be part of the Resistance. The First Order tracks Finn to the settlement and launches an airstrike, forcing Rey, Finn and BB-8 to steal a run-down ship—unaware it is the Millennium Falcon—and flee the planet.
The Falcon is found by Han Solo and Chewbacca, who explain that Luke disappeared after his apprentice turned to the Dark Side and became Kylo Ren. At Starkiller Base, a planet converted into a superweapon capable of destroying whole star systems, Ren is told by the First Order's Supreme Commander Snoke that to overcome the Light Side, he must kill his father, Han Solo. On the planet Takodana, the Falcon crew meet Maz Kanata, who can help BB-8 reach the Resistance, but Finn decides he'd rather keep running. Rey is drawn by the Force to a storeroom where Maz is keeping Anakin Skywalker's lightsaber, but she flees rather than take up the weapon.
The First Order descends on Takodana, tipped off to BB-8's presence, as Starkiller Base destroys the Republic capital. Han, Chewbacca and Finn battle the First Order with help from a squadron of Resistance X-Wing fighters led by Poe, who survived the crash of Jakku, but Rey is captured by Kylo Ren and taken to Starkiller Base. Ren attempts to steal the map from Rey's mind, but she is able to resist him, and later uses the Force to escape her cell. Han is reunited with Leia when he, Chewbacca and Finn are brought to the Resistance base on D'Oar, where the droid R2-D2 has been dormant since Luke's disappearance.
As Starkiller Base prepares to fire on D'Oar, the Resistance devises a plan to sneak onto the surface and lower the planetary shields so their fighters can attack the superweapon's weak point. Using the Falcon, Han, Chewbacca and Finn infiltrate the base, lower the shields and reunite with Rey, but Poe's X-Wing squadron cannot penetrate the weapon, so Han and Chewbacca use explosives to create an opening. Ren attempts to stop them and confronts Han, who tries to convince his son to abandon the Dark Side; despite being addressed as "Ben", Ren kills Han and chases Finn and Rey onto the surface. Poe destroys the weapon, triggering a chain reaction that will destroy Starkiller Base.
Finn tries to fight Ren using Anakin's lightsaber, but when he is grievously wounded, Rey calls upon the Force, takes up the lightsaber and defeats Ren, though he escapes. Rey, Finn and Chewbacca evacuate on the Falcon as the planet is destroyed, and while the Resistance celebrates their victory, Leia, Chewbacca and Rey mourn the loss of Han. R2-D2 awakens and, using BB-8's map, reveals Luke's location. Rey, Chewbacca and R2-D2 follow the map, and Rey presents Luke with the lightsaber.
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