The Force is a big stand-in for fate in The Force Awakens (along with God, the universe, and any other grand cosmic concept you can think of). As such, there's always been a question about whether the Force has destined these characters for a specific path or whether they get to make their own choices along the way.
We suspect it's a little of both: the Force lays out the options and the characters choose, with the future of the universe hinging on the consequences of those choices. It's fate and free will working together to make the Force do its thing.
So, you know, no pressure, guys.
Questions About Fate vs. Free Will
At what points do you think events are guided solely by the Force? Why or why not?
When do characters make bad choices of their own free will? What makes them bad choices, and how are the characters punished for them?
Why is it important that the characters have to make choices, instead of the Force simply calling all of the shots?
How does fate determine free will and free will determine fate in the film?
Chew on This
The universe here is driven by a combination of fate (the Force) and free will (the choices the characters make).
There is no real free will here. The Force is pretty much behind the wheel the whole time.