This week, moviegoers will return to that magical galaxy far, far away when Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on Friday, December 15.
For Star Wars fanatics, the two-year wait between The Last Jedi and 2015’s The Force Awakens has been excruciating. Star Wars fans’ fealty to the franchise is well-documented, and they’ve been analyzing every single second of every interview and trailer, positing theories as to what’s going to happen in director Rian Johnson’s new installment and trying to uncover the movie’s biggest mysteries.
But not all of us have the encyclopedic knowledge of Star Wars stans, and two years is plenty of time in which to forget some, or many, of the details of The Force Awakens. So for those who haven’t been obsessively revisiting the film in preparation for The Last Jedi, here’s a crash course in what the major players were up to when we last saw them.
Star Wars is, of course, about individual journeys, awakenings, and growing up. But those all happen in the context of a bigger galactic struggle.
In The Force Awakens, the First Order uses its Starkiller Base to wipe out Hosnian Prime, the capital of the New Republic. Now aware of the immense power of the Starkiller base, the Resistance figures out a way to destroy it and, for the moment, save themselves.
The question going into The Last Jedi isn’t whether the First Order will strike back but what the scope of its vengeance will be. The villains are smarting from defeat, but they, led by the sinister Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), will certainly have a plan to strike back with a fury. Everyone — including the Resistance and Organa — knows that this is coming, regardless of whether they’re prepared.
The Force Awakens presented us with two giant mysteries: the current location of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) and the origin of new protagonist Rey (Daisy Ridley). Sensing the danger that the First Order presents, Organa is looking for her Jedi brother for some help. Thanks to a map assembled by helpful droids BB-8 and R2-D2, Rey finds him on a mountain island called Ahch-To and presents him with a lightsaber.
But from what we see in the Last Jedi trailer, this likely isn’t going to be a sunny meeting, with Skywalker telling Rey, “It’s time for the Jedi to end.”