'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (2023)

Many articles about "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" seem to be written for fans of the series, or at least for people who have some sort of working knowledge of a galaxy far, far away.

This is not one of those articles.

Given that the film is expected to break box office records, it's safe to assume that some moviegoers will have little or no knowledge of the six-film saga. Here's a basic guide for people interested enough to see the seventh film in the series, but perhaps not enough to see the previous six.

'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (1)

What is "Star Wars" about?

The original trilogy, released between 1977 and 1983, is "Star Wars" (later titled "A New Hope"), "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi." These films cover the adventures of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) fighting a rebellion against the villainous Galactic Empire. Skywalker attempts to become a Jedi, a nearly extinct group best described to outsiders as lightsaber-wielding spacemen, learning under the tutelage of Jedi masters Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) and Yoda (Frank Oz). On the other hand, Luke's father, Darth Vader (voiced by James Earl Jones), and his master, the Sith Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid), are the mortal enemies of the Jedi.

Following the success of the first three films, creator George Lucas released the prequel trilogy ("The Phantom Menace", "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith") between 1999 and 2005. These films take place more than two decades before the originals , covers Darth Vader's backstory, showing his time as the anxious but powerful Jedi Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) before his fall to evil, as well as Palpatine's rise to power and the massacre of the Jedi.

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'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (2)

What is the Force? Why does he have to wake up?

The Force, described by Jedi Master Kenobi, "is an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us, penetrates us, and unites the galaxy." Jedi and Sith, when trained, can interact with and manipulate the Force, giving them superhuman abilities. This can be as simple as moving objects at a distance or running really, really fast, to much more advanced powers like seeing visions of the future or shooting lightning from your fingers.

The films portray the battle between the Jedi and the Sith as an important factor in the fate of the galaxy. In the prequels, Palpatine, a Sith Lord who pulls strings in the Galactic Senate, uses a war he secretly helped create to get his political colleagues to give him more "emergency powers". The Galactic Republic army, formed from clones, is used to massacre all the Jedi, with the help of Darth Vader. With most of the Jedi dead and no one to oppose him, Palpatine uses Vader's help to end the war and declares himself the first Emperor of the Galactic Empire, replacing the now defunct Galactic Republic.

When the original movies were released, the villains Palpatine and Vader were secure in their power over the galaxy, while the good guys Kenobi and Yoda were forced into hiding as the only surviving Jedi. The Jedi are now considered a relic of the past and are met with scorn. Kenobi, Yoda, Palpatine and Vader die at the end of the original trilogy, leaving the Sith presumably extinct and only one Jedi alive, Luke Skywalker. (Lida was never trained.) The Force Awakens seems to hint at a new battle between the dark side and the light.

'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (3)

Why are people obsessed with Darth Vader? What does the voice in the trailer mean when he says he wants to "finish what you started"?

The story of the first six "Star Wars" films is very much the rise, fall and eventual redemption of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader. His story is also important to know how the dark side works and why it can be so seductive.

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Anakin was a slave boy turned Jedi Knight who saw his first taste of revenge in killing those responsible for his mother's death. Later, after marrying Padme Amidala (Natalie Portman), Anakin is taken advantage of by Palpatine, using Anakin's fear that his wife will also die. Anakin is convinced that the dark side, which increases one's powers through strong emotions such as anger and fear, will make him strong enough to save her.

Anakin's march towards the dark side comes to a head when he is confronted by Kenobi (played in the prequel trilogy by Ewan McGregor) and Anakin's pregnant wife. Anakin, now known as Darth Vader, was seriously injured in the ensuing battle with Kenobi and is equipped with his iconic black suit which keeps him alive. Amidala dies during childbirth shortly after, but Luke and Leia survive.

In the original trilogy, Luke Skywalker, now a young adult, believes that Vader can be saved and brought back to the light. During the final confrontation, Palpatine and Vader try to get Luke to give in to the dark side and embrace his anger and fear, just as his father did. Luke briefly succumbs to Vader's relentless taunts and launches a furious (and successful) attack, but relents and throws away his lightsaber, saying he will never turn back. Palpatine attacks Luke, but Vader turns on his master and kills Palpatine. Vader, gravely wounded when he attacked Palpatine, makes peace with Luke before dying in his arms.

Even though Vader is dead, he is probably still the icon of the dark side and the poster child for Imperial power. Characters who idolize Vader probably want to see their goal realized: the destruction of the Jedi and the dominance of the Empire (or what's left of it).

Why do people ask "Where's Luke?" Why is he missing from the trailers?

Fans want to know what happened to Luke after he used the dark side to defeat his father. Losing his composure and becoming enraged, he calmed down, tossing aside his weapon in defiance and refusing to kill Vader. Although Vader saved his son's life by killing Palpatine, and Luke seemed somewhat at peace at the end of "Return of the Jedi," it's unclear what his brief end with the dark side would mean in the long run. As Yoda once ominously said, "Once you begin the dark path, you will forever master your destiny."

After 30 years, is Luke still a noble Jedi or has he turned to the dark side? Due to the mystery surrounding his return, Luke's first appearance in "The Force Awakens" is likely to be an important plot point. Expect gasps if he turns out to be the new movie's big bad.

'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (4)

(Video) A Total Beginner's Guide to Star Wars | Mashable

If so much of "Star Wars"it's about the skywalker family does that mean there will be more of them?

Likewise, Luke's fate, whether or not he or his twin sister Leia had children, is also potentially an important plot point. Anyone who is the grandson of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader can have the potential to become a powerful hero or terrifying villain.

Many noticed that Rey (Daisy Ridley) has no last name. Both Anakin and Luke Skywalker grew up like no other on a bleak, desert planet, which seems to be the case for Rey. Her paternity could be an important plot point, especially if she is related to Luke or Leia.

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And to Princess Leia and Han Solo?

Ford and Fisher reprising their roles are part of "The Force Awakens" marketing efforts. Solo is a self-absorbed smuggler who ends up becoming one of the film's heroes. Solo also has a romantic relationship with Princess Leia, leading to some speculation that Rey is their daughter.

Leia, once one of the main leaders of the rebellion, is now a general. She didn't find out her parentage—or her Force abilities—until later in "Return of the Jedi," so it's unclear what training or experience she has in the Jedi arts.

So where does that leave the story?

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At the end of "Return of the Jedi," the Rebels destroyed the Empire's superweapon, the Death Star, sparking huge celebrations on several planets. Leia and Han share a romantic moment as Luke burns what's left of Vader's body.

The Rebels and Jedi seemed to have triumphed over the Empire and the dark side. But 30 years have passed since.

'Star Wars': A Beginner's Guide (6)

Anything else?

-"Star Wars" is big on super-weapons. "A New Hope" features the Death Star, a moon-sized battle station capable of destroying a planet. This was destroyed by Luke Skywalker, so Emperor Palpatine built another one. The second Death Star was destroyed by the rebellion in "Return of the Jedi". Not to be outdone, the new villains rely on Starkiller Base, which can destroy an entire star system.

— Some deceased Jedi can communicate with the living as 'force ghosts'. Kenobi does this regularly after his death in "A New Hope". Anakin Skywalker and Yoda also appear before Luke at the end of "Return of the Jedi". Because of this, dead Jedi from previous films could theoretically appear in "The Force Awakens" or subsequent films.

“The bad guys use red lightsabers, while the good guys usually use blue or green. It's an easy way to know who's who. "Star Wars" isn't usually very subtle when it comes to good versus evil.

"A lot of fans, especially older fans who grew up with the original movies, think the prequel trilogy is a disappointment. If 'The Force Awakens' fails, you can expect a lot of your fellow viewers to be upset. And if you're going with a die-hard fan, there's likely to be a lot of complaining on the ride home.

(Video) Beginners Guide to Star Wars: The Old Republic | 2023

But hey, at least you managed to keep up.


What is the correct sequence of Star Wars? ›

Instead of going with release order, you can also try chronological order based on when the movies are supposed to take place. This would mean starting with Episode I, II, and III of the prequel trilogy, before moving to IV, V, VI of the original movies, then finishing with VII, VIII, IX from the sequels.

Why did they make Star Wars 4 5 and 6 before 1 2 and 3? ›

One of the biggest questions fans have had is why 1977's Star Wars was called Episode IV, despite being the first film in what would become a blockbuster franchise. The logical explanation is that the prequel trilogy was (naturally) set before the original; hence, the numbering.

What are the first words in Star Wars? ›

The phrase "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...." which remains static on the screen and the Star Wars logo which shrinks to a central point is common to all of the films and are followed by a film-specific opening crawl.

Who is Luke Skywalkers most loyal friend and first mate? ›

Chewbacca | StarWars.com.

How to start Star Wars in order? ›

The chronological movie order
  1. Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)
  2. Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)
  3. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  4. Solo (2018)
  5. Rogue One (2016)
  6. Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)
  7. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  8. Episode VI: The Return of the Jedi (1983)
May 4, 2023

Why is Order 66 in Star Wars? ›

What Happened? The name "Order 66" comes from the secretive clone protocol that labeled all as Jedi traitors to the Republic and sentenced them to execution. The order was built into an inhibitor chip in the clones' brains, so following the instruction was compulsory.

What is order 67 in Star Wars? ›

Order 67 was an order requiring clone troopers to dance. During the Battle of Utapau, Darth Sidious accidentally issued Order 67 when he meant to use Order 66. Just after the order was executed, Cody and his troops began dancing.

What was Order 69 in Star Wars? ›

Order 69 was one of many orders in a series of contingency orders which the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic were programmed with. This order demanded that all attractive female Jedi were not to be executed, but instead captured and married to the most successful trooper in the capturing unit.

Did Vader know Leia was his daughter? ›

During the iconic opening moments of Star Wars: A New Hope, Darth Vader has a tense confrontation with Princess Leia, an adversary who, unknown to him, is actually his daughter. Despite participating in Leia's interrogation, the Sith Lord doesn't uncover his familial connection with the rebellious royal.

What is the B word in Star Wars? ›

Bantha poodoo - This is a Huttese phrase basically meaning "Bantha fodder," and it first appears in Return of the Jedi. Jabba the Hutt is the character to speak the phrase as an insult.

Has the F word been said in Star Wars? ›

It's canon now - We have our first 'motherf***er' in Star Wars.” Other viewers quickly agreed that the F-bomb was used, stating: “Yes he did!

What is Darth Vader's famous line? ›

You don't know the power of the dark side! I must obey my master.” Darth Vader's internal struggle between the light side and the dark is truly shown in this quote.

Who is Luke's first Padawan? ›

Apart from his mother, Ben Solo became the first apprentice of his uncle Luke Skywalker, and proved to be the most gifted student of the Jedi Master. In 15 ABY, prior to his tenth birthday, Solo decided he would begin his Jedi training and joined Skywalker's initiative to restore the Jedi Order.

Was Anakin Luke or Rey the chosen one? ›

Unwilling to see his son die, Vader gave his life to save Luke, thereby dying as Anakin Skywalker. Anakin ultimately fulfilled his role as the Chosen One and brought balance to the Force, fulfilling Qui-Gon Jinn's belief in the prophecy that foretold Anakin's destiny.

Who was Luke's Padawan? ›

Luke Skywalker took on multiple students for training, including Leia Organa, and Rey. Apprentices Voe, Hennix, and Tai studied alongside Ben Solo at Luke's Jedi Temple. Rey was later mentored in the ways of the Force by Leia in a Padawan-like relationship.

How should a beginner watch Star Wars? ›

Here's everything you'd need to know.
  1. Star Wars: A New Hope (1977)
  2. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
  3. Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi (1983)
  4. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace (1999)
  5. Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones (2002)
  6. Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith (2005)
  7. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
May 4, 2022

Can I skip the first Star Wars? ›

In 1977, people watched A New Hope without even knowing there'd be a prequel series, and they got along just fine. With that in mind, go ahead and skip those prequels. However, there may be references or callbacks to those movies that you may miss if you skip them entirely. If you're okay with that, go right ahead.

Should you start Star Wars with Episode 1 or 4? ›

George Lucas: “Start with one. That's the way to do it right: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. That's the way they're supposed to be done. Just because it took a long time to film it doesn't mean you don't do it in order.”

Did any younglings survive Order 66? ›

Nari. Nari was played by Benny Saldfie in Obi-Wan Kenobi. The young Jedi survived Order 66 as a youngling. He tracked down Obi-Wan on Tatooine, hoping the Jedi master would help him.

Did any clones resist Order 66? ›

Some clones disobeyed the infamous order than decimated the Jedi order, and refused to execute it. SOME of these Clones include; Captain Rex: Captain Rex, as most know removed his chip that would later be the way that Palpatine would execute order 66. Wolffe: As with Captain Rex Wolffe removed his bio chip.

What does order 37 mean in Star Wars? ›

Order 37 was one of 150 contingency orders that all clones had been programmed to follow, due to the inhibitor chip inserted in their brain at birth. This particular order dealt with the capture of a single wanted individual through the mass arrest and threatened execution of a civilian population.

What was order 99 Star Wars? ›

Order 99 was an order arranged by Jedi Master CaptainR1. It turned the storm troopers back to side of the new Republic. During the clone wars, clone commando "Roger" refused Order 66.

What was Order 77 Star Wars? ›

Order 77 was the brother of Order 66 and Order 44 in theory. Once ordered, the Stormtrooper commanders were to kill their Inquisitors. The order also effected in order to steal, burn and rob places throughout the galaxy.

What is Order 150 Star Wars? ›

The 150 general orders were a set of orders memorized by every clone trooper of the Grand Army of the Galactic Republic. Along with the Republic's Supreme Chancellor, the Galactic Senate's Republic Security Council was capable of activating any of the orders.

What was order 1? ›

1. Ordered, That the 22d day of February, 1862, be the day for a general movement of the land and naval forces of the United States against the insurgent forces; that especially the army at and about Fortress Monroe.

What was Order 151 in Star Wars? ›

The newly christened Emperor Palpatine hands down Order 151 in secret to his loyal clone troopers. This order is very similar to Order 66, but specifically targeting Darth Vader. Clone troopers, upon receiving this order, would hunt down and eliminate the Dark Lord of the Sith.

What is order 32 Star Wars? ›

Order 32: Argue with fans on social media. Order 33: Kill half the Jedi. Order 34: Start planning for Death Star 3.

Does r2d2 remember Anakin? ›

C-3P0's memory was wiped at the end of Episode III so if he wasn't told he had no idea that his maker was the future Darth Vader. R2-D2 remembers it all and if I had to guess he is quiet sad about Anakin's turn to the dark side.

Why didn t Vader recognize C3PO? ›

The real answer is: When the original trilogy was written and filmed, Anakin Skywalker was not the creator of C3PO. There was no consideration given to who Vader would recognize, because there was no reason for Vader to recognize the droid, at all.

Does Vader recognize R2? ›

Yes, he did. In the comic Thank the Maker, Darth Vader comes into possession briefly of 3PO's disassembled head while on Cloud City. How did R2-D2 and C-3P0 feel about Anakin Skywalker turning to the dark side and becoming Darth Vader?

What is a swear word in Star Wars? ›

More common Star Wars swear words and curse phrases include the likes of "kriffing," "karabast," and "e chu ta." The old Expanded Universe introduced a range of profanities inspired by the Sith, who serve as the Devil figures in many galactic mythologies; there were even some amusing ones inspired by Palpatine himself.

Which word is never spoken in a Star Wars movie? ›

An early Star Wars draft hides the origin of the Sith, and only Legends materials used it until The Phantom Menace.

What is a moof milker? ›

A moof was a creature of the galaxy that had hoofed feet and a thick hide, and secreted milk. Moof milk could be used to make yogurt. There were individuals who milked moofs, which inspired the term "moof-milker," an insult to a person's intelligence.

What is the most famous line spoken from Star Wars? ›

One of the most iconic lines in the entire franchise (and in movie history), is "May the Force be with you." But there are many more lines throughout the 130+ hours of Star Wars content, and these are some of the best, broken down by which movie or TV show they appear in.

What is the most popular saying in Star Wars? ›

The most oft-repeated line, “May the Force be with you,” became the punny name of the official Star Wars holiday, May The 4th Be With You, unofficially known as Star Wars Day.

What is code 66 Star Wars? ›

Order 66, also known as Clone Protocol 66, was one of the series of contingency orders that the clone troopers of the Grand Army of the Republic were required to obey without question. The order branded members of the Jedi Order as traitors to the Republic and called for their immediate execution without question.

What is Yoda famous for saying? ›

1. "Do or do not. There is no try." This quote is a simple lesson in commitment and the power in giving something our all—not just giving it a try.

What was Darth Vader's last word? ›

You were right about me. Tell your sister… you were right.” Those were the last words Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, ever said while he was alive.

What is Darth Vader's side called? ›

History. Before he became a disciple of the dark side, Darth Vader was Anakin Skywalker, a goodhearted Jedi and hero of the Clone Wars.

Why was Kylo Ren not a Darth? ›

Even though Kylo Ren uses a red lightsaber, harnesses the dark side of the Force, and wears a cape, he is not a Sith. Because of that, he can never hold the title of Darth. Instead, he was just a chaotic mess of the dark side (until he eventually found his way back to the light).

Who is Yoda's old Padawan? ›

The Separatist leader, Count Dooku, proved to be a Sith Lord. The dark warrior threatened to destroy Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel, but Yoda intervened. Yoda drew his blade and engaged Dooku -- his former Padawan -- in spectacular combat.

Who is the father of Rey? ›

In a new excerpt, it's revealed that the names of Rey's parents are Dathan and Miramir. Dathan is the dad and Miramir the mother, if you were wondering; it's not always clear with these names from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Who is the strongest Jedi? ›

Master Yoda has risen above all others to claim the top spot as the most powerful Jedi of all time and the true chosen one according to IGN's audience. He won pretty handily as well, as he was victorious in 89,756 of his 95,243 battles and had a win percentage of 94.2%.

Who is Anakin's father? ›

Anakin Skywalker is the son of Shmi Skywalker, born without a father through the Force. He is the secret husband of Padmé Amidala, the father of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa, the father-in-law of Han Solo, and the maternal grandfather of Ben Solo.

Who killed Palpatine? ›

5 Emperor Palpatine's Death In Return Of The Jedi

By killing Palpatine, Darth Vader not only struck a decisive blow to Star Wars' Galactic Empire but also destroyed the Sith Order of Darth Bane's dynasty as the Chosen One prophecy predicted.

Was Kylo Ren a Padawan? ›

Kylo Ren is a fictional character in the Star Wars franchise. He first appeared as the primary antagonist of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), in which he is portrayed by Adam Driver.
Kylo Ren.
Kylo Ren / Ben Solo
OccupationJedi Padawan Supreme Leader of the First Order Master of the Knights of Ren
18 more rows

Who is the GREY Jedi? ›

Qui-Gon Jinn was called a Grey Jedi by his peers for defying the council in training Anakin Skywalker (and then passing his training on to Obi-Wan Kenobi).

Who was the most powerful Jedi before Yoda? ›

We also know Anakin was the most powerful Jedi by the time of facing Dooku.

What is the difference between the first order and the final order in Star Wars? ›

While the First Order's Stormtroopers were trained and indoctrinated since birth, the Final Order's military forces were subjected to an even more intense upbringing of brainwashing, having been born on the Sith world of Exegol and being the offspring of Sith Eternal cult members.

Why did Star Wars start with Episode 4? ›

One of the main reasons Lucas chose to begin with Episode IV was that it was the most self-contained and action-packed part of the saga that could stand alone as a successful movie.

Should you watch Star Wars in chronological order for the first time? ›

The Star Wars movies in chronological order sets the movies in a real timeline so you experience the story as it would unfold for the characters. Below, we have every Star Wars movie as well as the spin-offs. If you start the movies in this order you could watch them in a weekend.

Should you watch Star Wars in chronological order or release order for a first time? ›

A New Hope is a way better introduction to the universe than The Phantom Menace is, so go with release. Release order is still the best option, even if someone is a newbie.

How old is Anakin in Episode 1? ›

*According to sources published at the time the prequels came out, Anakin was 20 in Episode II, but 9 in Episode I, which took place ten years earlier. The explanation for this was that he turned ten right after Episode I, and the two movies are actually about ten years and one month apart.

Is Jar Jar A Sith Lord? ›

Darth Jar Jar, known to most as Jar Jar Binks, was a Gungan Sith Lord. He survived the Battle of Naboo and became a Representative of Naboo, when he helped to give Darth Sidious emergency powers. After the fall of the Galactic Empire, he forced a small alien named Snoke under his evil wing.


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