Study Guide

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Summary

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Summary

Thirty years after the Ewoks did their triumphant yub-yub dance, the galaxy is once more in peril.

The First Order picked up where the old Empire left off, and while they're opposed by the Galactic Republic and a growing Resistance movement, they're clearly still doing what the Empire did best: oppressing innocents and wiping out entire planets.

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last remaining Jedi, has gone into hiding, and both the good guys and the bad are looking for him, hoping he'll turn the tide in the war. That's when Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), hotshot pilot for the Resistance, picks up an electronic map to Skywalker's location on the junkyard planet of Jakku.

His meeting is interrupted by an attack from the First Order, which takes him prisoner for some fun Q&A games with resident Sith Lord Kylo Ren. Before being captured, however, Poe gives the map to his droid BB-8, who promptly heads for the hills.

During the attack, one stormtrooper, later named Finn (John Boyega), decides that massacring innocent people isn't his bag (good man) and plots an exit strategy. He frees Poe Dameron, and the two escape from Kylo Ren's Star Destroyer in a hijacked TIE fighter. The Star Destroyer has the last laugh, however, winging them and sending them crashing down to Jakku.

Meanwhile, resident self-sufficient scrapper Rey (Daisy Ridley) rescues BB-8 from a local scumbag and takes him to the local watering hole the next day. There, she runs into Finn, who escaped the wreckage of the TIE fighter and now believes that Poe is dead. They hit it off—if you call Rey pounding Finn with her steel deathstick "hitting it off"—just in time for the First Order to attack.

They escape in a nearby ship—which turns out to be the Millennium Falcon—and kick a little TIE fighter butt before heading out into space to find the Resistance. Instead, they run into Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), currently smuggling a cargo of dangerous monsters in a much bigger ship…and ever so glad to have their personal rust bucket back.

Pirates attack, monsters get let loose, and Han and Chewie join the new kids behind the wheel of the Falcon.

Han takes Rey and Finn to see Maz, who knows the Force and can lead them to the Resistance. She reveals that Rey seems to be strong with the Force, which guides her down into a supremely creepy basement where a treasure awaits: Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, sliced off along with his hand in Cloud City and now in Maz's junk trunk. (We're really glad she didn't have the hand in there, too.)

The Force is calling to Rey, but she's not picking up that call. Neither is Finn, who basically finds a couple of ne'er-do-wells and splits: he's more frightened of the First Order than he is interested in helping his friend.

If you know your Campbell, you know that never ends well. Sure enough, the First Order attacks with Starkiller Base—a bigger, meaner, uglier Death Star—wiping out the Republic's capital before launching an attack on Maz's watering hole. They knock some stuff over but are driven away by the arrival of the Resistance...led by Poe, who didn't die in that sandpit after all.

Sadly, the damage is done. Kylo Ren abducts Rey to find out where Luke has gone—he's pretty sure she knows—and Finn gets to watch them fly away, knowing that he could have done more to help. Princess Leia—excuse us, General Leia—arrives to take stock of the situation and banter with her former flame, Han.

They travel to the Resistance base on the planet D'Qar, where they plot some way to destroy Starkiller Base before it turns its gentle attention on them (i.e., somewhat immediately).

Rey wakes up in Kylo Ren's rumpus room, and Ren proceeds to use the Sith mind-torture technique on her. She proves stronger than anticipated, however, and actually pulls some tidbits from his weaselly little mind: namely, that he's afraid he can't hack the whole dark side thing. Ren departs in a high snit, and his dark master, Supreme Leader Snoke, orders him to bring the girl to him.

Back with Team Good Guys, BB-8 runs into R2-D2, who's gone silent since Luke's disappearance and may never awaken again. BB-8's map to Luke is apparently incomplete, but that may be irrelevant, however, since Starkiller Base is looking their way, and they need to stop it right now.


Finn says he can cripple the base's shields if they can get him there, and Han and Chewie volunteer to get him there.

Back on Starkiller Base, Rey starts testing her Force powers with the unwitting help of her stormtrooper guard. One successful mind trick later, Rey is loose and armed. Outside, Han, Chewie, and Finn make a crash landing and get to work. They capture Finn's old commander, Captain Phasma, and force her to lower the shields, and then they plant explosives in important-looking places.

They're joined by Rey, who's eager to help.

Starkiller Base continues to slowly warm up in anticipation of D'Qar getting wiped off the galactic map. Kylo Ren interrupts, and Han confronts him, hoping to turn him away from the dark side. It doesn't go so well. Ren kills Han, and Chewie shoots Ren in the arm, then detonates the explosives, allowing Poe's X-wing squad to attack. Ren then follows the fleeing Finn and Rey out into the forests of Starkiller Base.

Rey is knocked unconscious, and Finn fights off Ren with Luke's lightsaber. At least, he does for a little bit. Ren injures Finn and tries to claim the lightsaber with his telekinesis...only to see it fly past him and straight into Rey's hands. And...fight.

Rey's technique needs some work, but just when things look bleak, she finds that connection to the Force and further injures Ren. Poe and his squad find the sweet spot to blow up Starkiller Base but good. A fissure in the ground opens up as the base begins to fall apart, separating Rey and Finn from Ren.

Snoke orders the base evacuated and tells his forces to bring the injured Ren to him. Rey and Finn are rescued by Chewie in the Falcon, and the Resistance forces fly off just as Starkiller Base finally detonates.

Back on D'Qar, R2-D2 awakens and reveals the rest of the map that leads to Luke. Rey, R2, and Chewie board the Falcon to find him, on a distant ocean planet dotted with green islands. There, at the remains of the first Jedi Temple, Rey finds a grief-stricken Luke, who rises and turns to her as she holds out his lightsaber.

  • Scene 1

    Scene 1

    • Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) has gone into hiding, and the Galactic Empire 2.0—aka the First Order—has been up in everyone's face.
    • A brave resistance movement is fighting the First Order, aided by the Galactic Republic and General Leia (Carrie Fisher), who knows her brave resistance movements.
    • They're all looking for Luke because he's the last of the Jedi and could come in handy, but no one knows where he's gone.
  • Scene 2

    Scene 2

    • In the literal intergalactic junk heap that is Jakku, the Resistance's designated cocky pilot, Poe (Oscar Isaac), meets with Extremely Old Person Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow), who has a map leading straight to Luke.
    • Their tea session is interrupted by the First Order, which does its whole "running around and shooting people" thing.
    • Poe gives the map to his droid, BB-8, then orders him to head to the hills.
    • One of the stormtroopers participating in the massacre suddenly decides that massacres really aren't for him.
    • The stormtroopers soon round up the villagers, including Poe and Lor.
    • Supreme Ultimate Bad Boy Kylo Ren arrives and asks Lor where the map is.
    • Lor tells him to go jump in a lake while making cryptic references to Ren's family.
    • Ren gets all stabby with Lor before turning his delicate attention to Poe.
    • Poe gets to go with him up to his starship while the rest of the villagers are executed by the stormtroopers.
    • Once again, that same stormtrooper hesitates; he pulls off his helmet and gets a thorough dressing-down from the evil Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie).
    • BB-8 toddles off into the desert, zipping past the whole ugly scene.
  • Scene 3

    Scene 3

    • Morning on Jakku is apparently just as crummy as evening.
    • Local scavenger Rey (Daisy Ridley) begins another bracing workday scuttling around the remains of a wrecked Star Destroyer looking for junk.
    • She sells what she finds to Local Walking Boil Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg), who takes her for all she's worth.
    • She returns to her lovely abode in the remains of an AT-AT, puts a notch on the wall, eats her suspiciously fungal-looking dinner and…waits.
    • She's drawn to electronic cries of distress: it's BB-8, being hassled by the local weirdo.
    • Rey deploys her harsh, yo-yo vanquishing tone of voice and sends said weirdo on his way.
    • She doesn't want to keep BB-8, but the little guy is just so cute…
    • She agrees to let him spend the night.
    • Rey takes BB-8 to the local scuzz pit, Niima Outpost, the next day.
    • Plutt offers to buy him for a significant amount of food, but Rey refuses.
    • Plutt orders his Junior Boils to follow her.
  • Scene 4

    Scene 4

    • Up in Ren's Star Destroyer, Poe gets an up-close-and-personal demonstration of how much the dark side can hurt.
    • The hesitant stormtrooper—FN-2187—springs Poe; he's blowing this popsicle stand and needs a pilot to do it.
    • They slip into the hangar and steal a TIE fighter.
    • Joy ride time. As they zip out, Poe asks for the stormtrooper's name. FN-2187 sounds a little stodgy, so Poe renames him Finn.
    • Poe's flying is fancy, and Finn's shooting is, um, shooty, but they still get winged and tumble down to Jakku.
  • Scene 5

    Scene 5

    • Finn wakes up and thinks that Poe is dead. He barely escapes the TIE fighter wreckage before stumbling off into the desert.
    • Twelve hours later, Finn stumbles into Niima Outpost, slurping down water from the local trough currently being enjoyed by some slobbery-nosed beast of burden.
    • He bumps into Rey and BB-8, who are a little irked with him; he's wearing Poe's jacket.
    • Finn claims to be a member of the Resistance and says he can lead them to safety.
    • They're interrupted by an attack from the First Order, which hopes to reclaim BB-8 (though they really just enjoy blowing things up).
    • Rey, Finn, and BB-8 escape the explosions in a local junker...which turns out to be the Millennium Falcon.
    • TIE fighters come screaming out of the sun at them, but Finn's shooting and Rey's flying turns them into briquettes.
    • Rey and Finn high five each other as the Falcon speeds away.
  • Scene 6

    Scene 6

    • A hapless lieutenant reports to Kylo Ren the First Order's failure to nab BB-8.
    • The nearby bulkhead tastes Ren's wrath.
    • The lieutenant then mentions a girl accompanying the droid; the wrath increases.
  • Scene 7

    Scene 7

    • Finn tries to help Rey as she desperately attempts to fix damage to the Falcon.
    • Finn tells BB-8 that he's not actually with the Resistance and asks him to play along by revealing the location of the Resistance base.
    • BB-8 plays along.
    • Before they can zip off, however, the Falcon is picked up by an ominous-looking freighter.
    • Rey, Finn, and BB-8 hide while preparing to flood the ship with poisonous gas.
    • The door opens, and Han Solo and Chewbacca arrive. Gas...averted.
    • Notes are compared, and the five quickly determine that shooting each other will not be necessary.
    • Han reveals that he's hauling Rathtars—large, dangerous monsters—on the way to some king.
    • Another interruption: two rival gangs who Han ripped off, looking for their money.
    • Rey and Finn hide while Han tries to sweet-talk them into leaving.
    • The sweet-talking does not go well.
    • Rey decides to save Han from the increasingly agitated gangs by closing the blast doors.
    • The blast doors open instead.
    • The Rathtars get out, and wacky mayhem ensues.
    • Finn, Rey, Han, Chewie, BB-8, and the gangs run for their lives.
    • Finn is nabbed by a Rathtar, but Rey saves him by closing a bulkhead on the thing's tentacles. Ouch.
    • Team Good Guys collectively makes it to the Falcon, and they blast off, with one of the Rathtars clinging to the outside of the cockpit.
    • Going to hyperspace takes care of it.
    • The gang leader tattles on them to the First Order.
  • Scene 8

    Scene 8

    • Supreme Leader Snoke muses that BB-8 and the map to Skywalker will soon be in the hands of the Resistance.
    • He decides to fire up Starkiller Base and end things in one planet-exploding stroke.
    • Snoke confides to Ren that BB-8 is now in the hands of Ren's father. Oh, dang: Han Solo is Kylo Ren's dad.
    • Ren assures him that dear old dad means nothing to him; Snoke is skeptical.
  • Scene 9

    Scene 9

    • Han and Rey fix little problems with the Falcon, while Finn tries to bandage an incredibly irritated Chewbacca.
    • Once Chewie's wounds are bound, Rey and Finn explain what they're up to; Finn maintains his lying lie that he's a member of the Resistance.
    • BB-8 shows the gang his map; the map is incomplete.
    • Han explains that Luke was training a new generation of Jedi and his prize pupil—Kylo Ren—went rogue on him. Ren destroyed the rest of the Jedi, and Luke went into hiding at the first Jedi Temple.
    • Han tells them that he used to think the Force was "a bunch of mumbo jumbo," but he's since learned otherwise.
    • He agrees to take them to Takodana, home to an acquaintance of his, Maz Kanata, who can help get BB-8 to the Resistance.
  • Scene 10

    Scene 10

    • They arrive at Maz's dive—built out of a much older temple or fortress—and Han offers Rey a spot on his ship.
    • Rey appreciates the offer but says she has to get back to Jakku.
    • They enter the castle/bar, and Maz spots Han from across the room.
    • She sizes up the group while various skulky figures alert both the Resistance and the First Order that they're here.
    • (Meanwhile, Kylo Ren meditates aboard his Star Destroyer on the not-at-all-creepy skull of his grandfather, Darth Vader.)
    • Maz spots the fear in Finn's eyes, and he says that the First Order terrifies him. She points out a couple of pilots who can take him far away.
    • Rey confronts him, and he admits that he's a runaway stormtrooper, but she still begs him not to go.
    • He leaves anyway. Joseph Campbell fans, take note.
    • Rey watches him go but is distracted by the sound of a girl crying
    • She follows the sound to the basement, where she finds a lightsaber—Luke Skywalker's lightsaber—in an old trunk.
    • When she picks it up, she has a vision: the destruction of Luke's Jedi school; Cloud City, where Luke lost his hand; herself being abandoned as a baby; and a confrontation with the wrong kind of tall, dark stranger in the woods.
    • The vision ends, and Rey finds Maz is there.
    • She says that the lightsaber is calling to Rey.
    • Rey claims she never wants to touch it again, and she runs out of Maz's place into the nearby woods (again, Campbell fans, mark this one with a pin).
    • BB-8 follows her.
  • Scene 11

    Scene 11

    • General Hux of the First Order—who's been studying up on his Hitler speeches—stands in front of his troops on Starkiller Base and says nasty things about the Republic and the Resistance.
    • When he finishes, the base fires up and wipes out the core system of the Republic.
  • Scene 12

    Scene 12

    • Alone in the woods, Rey spots BB-8 following her and tells him to go back.
    • Back at Maz's place, Finn thinks better of leaving after watching the Republic's capital get wiped off the map and goes to find Rey.
    • He runs into Han and Chewie, plus Maz, who gives him Luke's lightsaber.
    • They're interrupted by an attack from the First Order.
    • Maz's place is assaulted and destroyed.
    • Stormtroopers attack Rey and BB-8 in the woods, but she guns them down before retreating.
    • She tells BB-8 to keep going while she holds off the stormtroopers.
    • Kylo Ren lands and heads into the woods after Rey.
    • Han, Chewie, Finn, and Maz emerge from the rubble to bust some stormtrooper heads.
    • Fun with weapons: Han gets to try Chewie's bowcaster while Finn slices and dices with Luke's lightsaber.
    • It isn't enough; stormtroopers capture them and force them to surrender.
    • And cue the cavalry…
    • Poe Dameron, alive and well, leads a squadron of X-wing fighters as the Resistance arrives to bust up this party.
    • In the woods, Kylo Ren confronts Rey, sensing her Force powers and memories of the map, which she saw in the Millennium Falcon.
    • He knocks her out with a dark side whammy and carries her back to his ship.
    • The First Order pulls back on Ren's orders.
    • Finn, seeing him board his ship with Rey in tow, runs helplessly after the retreating vehicle.
  • Scene 13

    Scene 13

    • A Resistance shuttle lands as the First Order clears out.
    • General Leia and C-3PO emerge.
    • Leia and Han are reunited after years apart; it's a little awkward, and C-3PO doesn't help in that department.
    • Han claims he saw Kylo Ren—formerly their son, Ben.
    • They all take off for D'Qar, headquarters of the Resistance.
    • Poe and Finn reunite, and Finn gets to keep Poe's jacket. Besties.
    • C-3PO reports that BB-8's map is only partially complete and won't be any good without the rest of it.
    • BB-8 finds R2-D2 at the base, in low power mode, as he's been ever since Luke left.
    • Han and Leia hash it out about their son and the pain they both feel about the whole betraying-Luke-and-going-over-to-the-dark-side thing.
    • Han doesn't think he can be saved, but Leia thinks there's still good in him.
    • Han agrees to go after him.
  • Scene 14

    Scene 14

    • Rey awakens in the gentle hands of Kylo Ren.
    • He asks about the droid, and she tells him nothing.
    • He starts in with the Force, tapping into her loneliness and fear, her feelings for Han as a father figure, and dreams she's had about an island in the middle of a huge ocean.
    • He pushes harder, and she has a surprise for him: she can see his fears and anxieties as much as he can see hers.
    • He retreats to powwow with General Hux and Supreme Leader Snoke.
    • They're cranky that he let the droid go, and Snoke decides to blow up Resistance headquarters with Starkiller Base.
    • He then tells Ren to bring Rey to him (with appropriately ominous musical accompaniment).
    • Luckily, Rey isn't taking any of this lying down.
    • She mind tricks the guard into releasing her and dropping his weapon.
    • Buh-bye, Rey.
    • Ren returns to find her gone and commences with another dark side snit. Again, the bulkhead tastes his mighty wrath.
  • Scene 15

    Scene 15

    • Back with the Resistance, Finn tells everyone what he can about Starkiller Base.
    • It's bigger than the Death Star—a lot bigger—and now it's charging to literally blow the planet out from under them.
    • It sucks up the power of a nearby sun to run its Mega-Ray of Doom.
    • Han asks if there's any way to blow it up, and Resistance leaders mention an "oscillator" that could be induced to blow it up real good.
    • The planet has shields protecting it from attack; Han, Chewie, and Finn agree to go in and shut down the shields.
    • Finn is going on the mission to find Rey.
    • How can he do this? As Han says, "You wouldn't like it."
    • Han and Leia say good-bye, and the Falcon blasts off.
  • Scene 16

    Scene 16

    • Inside Starkiller Base, Ren continues searching for Rey.
    • The Falcon breaches Starkiller's shields by coming out of hyperspace inside them...right on the planet's surface.
    • It's a bumpy landing, but they manage.
    • Ren suddenly stops his search, sensing dear old dad.
    • Finn reveals that he actually worked in sanitation and doesn't know how to shut off the shields...but he has a thought.
    • That thought is Captain Phasma.
    • Han, Chewie, and Finn sneak into the base, abduct Phasma, and force her to lower the shields.
    • With the shields down, Poe's X-wings are free to launch their attack.
    • TIE fighters are ordered to engage them.
    • While they fight, Starkiller Base continues sucking up energy from the sun; when it goes dark, the base can fire.
  • Scene 17

    Scene 17

    • Han, Chewie, and Finn run into Rey, looking for a way out of the base.
    • Chewie reveals that Finn wanted to come back for Rey.
    • The X-wings continue their attack, but they can't inflict enough damage.
    • Han and the gang resolve to use explosives they brought with them to help the X-wings along.
    • They plant the explosives in a vast, chasm-y part of the base.
    • Kylo Ren appears on a catwalk in the middle of the chasm.
    • Han calls him by his given name—Ben—and moves out to talk to him.
    • He convinces Ren to take off his mask and pleads with him to give up this dark side fussin' and feudin'.
    • Ren seems torn, and he asks for Han's help in resolving his inner torment.
    • Han agrees, and Ren starts to hand him his lightsaber...and then hesitates.
    • The light from the sun goes out.
    • Ren activates his lightsaber, skewering Han in two.
    • Han looks really surprised, and he tumbles down into the chasm.
    • Chewie freaks out.
    • Rey and Finn freak out.
    • General freaking out commences.
    • Chewie fires at Ren, hitting him in the side.
    • He then detonates the explosives, helping Poe's X-wings inflict more damage.
    • One problem: the base is now charged and will begin firing semi-immediately.
  • Scene 18

    Scene 18

    • Rey and Finn retreat toward the Falcon, only to meet Ren, bleeding and cranky, in the woods.
    • He uses his Force powers to throw Rey against a nearby tree, knocking her unconscious.
    • Ren then demands Luke's lightsaber from Finn.
    • Finn declines.
    • And...fight.
    • Finn is plucky but hopelessly outmatched, and Ren soon scores a crippling hit across Finn's back.
    • Luke's lightsaber goes tumbling.
    • Ren reaches out with the Force to grab it...only to watch it fly past his face and into the hands of a suddenly reawakened Rey.
    • Elsewhere, the base prepares to fire, and Poe puts everything into one last do-or-die X-wing run.
    • Rey and Ren duke it out in the trees, all flashy and Force-y.
    • Ren makes a lame attempt to seduce Rey to the dark side.
    • Rey takes the opportunity to tap into the Force herself and uses it to add a fresh new scar to Ren's face.
    • The ground beneath them splits open as Starkiller Base reels from the damage being inflicted.
    • Poe's X-wings do their work, and the planet begins to collapse.
    • General Hux retreats, and Snoke orders him to bring Kylo Ren to him to complete his training.
    • Rey finds Finn's body and stays close.
    • She's apparently prepared to go down with the planet...until Chewie pops up with the Falcon.
    • They get Finn aboard and take off, just as Poe puts the final moves on Starkiller Base and destroys it for good.
    • Notable bad guys have presumably escaped the explosion to make more evil in future films.
  • Scene 19

    Scene 19

    • The Falcon and the X-wings return to the Resistance base.
    • Chewie is sad. Really, really sad.
    • Rey and Leia are sad, too, and give each other a hug of mutual support.
    • Finn, on the other hand, is still alive and gets rushed to the medical bay.
    • Also in the good news column? R2-D2 wakes up.
    • He has the rest of the map leading to Luke, and with BB-8's final piece, they now know exactly where to find the last of the Jedi.
    • Rey says good-bye to Finn and hops aboard the Falcon with Chewie and R2.
  • Scene 20

    Scene 20

    • They fly to the planet of Ahch-To: a huge ocean dotted with little green islands, presumably just like the ones in Rey's dreams.
    • The Falcon lands on one of them, and Rey climbs a series of steps toward the top of the island, while Chewie and R2 stay behind.
    • She reaches the top and a series of simple stone dwellings.
    • Standing nearby, looking out at the sea, is a single, robed figure.
    • He turns as she approaches and lowers his hood, revealing the old, grief-stricken face of Luke Skywalker.
    • She holds his lightsaber out silently.
    • They regard each other with understanding, and the scene fades out.