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Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey (Daisy Ridley), a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo (Harrison Ford) to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), the last of the Jedi Knights.
- A rogue and a smuggler, formerly a key player in the Rebel Alliance. Ford said Han "does not aspire to the position of Obi-Wan, nor do I aspire to be some New Age Alec Guinness. His development is consistent with the character, and there are emotional elements which have occasioned his growth... There's a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things don't change..."
- One of the last remaining Jedi, who has gone into hiding. Regarding Luke, Han, and Leia, Abrams stated: "They'd be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who [the new characters] may have heard of, but maybe not. They'd be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale..."
- The former princess of the destroyed planet Alderaan, turned General of the Resistance, and Luke's twin sister. After the events ofReturn of the Jedi, she is described as "a little more battle weary, a little more broken hearted." Fisher described Leia as "Solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed." Abrams said: "The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there's not much goofing around where Leia's concerned."
- A dark warrior strong with the Force, originally a member of the Knights of Ren, and commander of the First Order. He is the son of Han and Leia. Driver said the team tried "not to think of him as being bad, or evil, or a villain. Something that was more three-dimensional. He's more dangerous and unpredictable, and morally justified in doing what he thinks is right."
- A scavenger abandoned as a child on the desert planet Jakku, who is waiting for her family to return. Ridley said: "She's completely self-sufficient and does everything for herself, until she meets [Finn] and an adventure begins." Cailey Fleming plays a young Rey.
- A reformed First Order stormtrooper. Boyega said that he learned he obtained the part "over a nice breakfast in Mayfair" where Abrams told him: "John, you're the new star of Star Wars." Boyega said: "When we find Finn, he's in incredible danger. And the way he reacts to this danger changes his life, and launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way." He said in another interview: "He's been taught about [Luke], he knows about his history. For him it's like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country."
- A Resistance X-wing fighter pilot. Isaac said: "He's the best freaking pilot in the galaxy... He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess, and he ends up coming up across [Finn], and their fates are forever intertwined."
- A wise and perceptive figure operating a somewhat shady cantina on the peaceful forest planet, Takodana. J. J. Abrams said Kanata has "lived over a thousand years. She's had this watering hole … and it's like another bar that you'd find in a corner of the Star Wars universe." According to Abrams, the character was based on his former high school English teacher, Rose Gilbert, who lectured at the Palisades Charter High School from 1961 to 2013. Abrams said the team "really wanted the story to feel authentic, despite being a wild fantasy. I mentioned Rose in an early story meeting as a sort of timeless, wise figure that I'd actually known in my life."
- Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke:
- The political leader of the First Order. He is Kylo Ren's master and is very powerful in the dark side. Serkis described Snoke as "quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful... He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design—you couldn't have gotten there with prosthetics... Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone and facial structure."
- Domhnall Gleeson as General Hux:
- The commander of the First Order's Starkiller Base. Gleeson described him as "pretty ruthless. A strong disciplinarian would be a mild way of putting it... He's kind of opposite Kylo Ren. They have their own relationship, which is individual and unusual. One of them is strong in different ways than the other. They're both vying for power."
- A humanoid protocol droid under Organa's service. Daniels said the actors were allowed to experiment with their performances, and that Abrams "made a field, a playpen where you were allowed to take your time and suggest things."
- A loyal Wookiee and Solo's longtime companion. Joonas Suotamo portrays the character in several action scenes, as the 71-year-old Mayhew suffered from knee problems.
- Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka:
- A retired adventurer on Jakku, aiding the Resistance in locating Skywalker.