The unbearable wait for The Force Awakens continues, however JJ Abrams has opted to drop a good bit of information on the film in a recent interview.
Abrams, who's notorious for his secrecy on set, has been leaving out little droplets of info and story on The Force Awakens, which is both interesting and, at the same, completely stringing us out. We're guessing Abrams is taking his strategy from drug dealers. Feed a little bit. Keep people hooked, get them strung out, feed a little more. It's ingenious. And absolutely diabolical.
Speaking of diabolical, Abrams' latest information concerns the villains of The Force Awakens, namely The First Order, or as we're calling them The Artists Formerly Known As The Galactic Empire.
What's struck us about the images and trailers we've seen so far of the villains is that it's very heavily influenced by the Nazis in World War II. Sure, the original trilogy had little nods and winks here and there; e.g., the word 'Stormtrooper' was first coined by the Nazis, Darth Vader's helmet is partially inspired by the helmets they wore. This time around, however, it would seem they're ramping the imagery right up to eleven. For Abrams, that's intentional.
"That all came out of conversations about what would have happened if the Nazis all went to Argentina but then started working together again? What could be born of that? Could The First Order exist as a group that actually admired The Empire? Could the work of The Empire be seen as unfulfilled? And could Vader be a martyr? Could there be a need to see through what didn’t get done?"
It's interesting to note that Darth Vader's helmet was front and centre in the first trailer, which tells us that he stills feature largely in the universe. Moreover, he's also quite a central character in Star Wars: Rebels. There's been little clues and hints, here and there, about how Rebels will play in The Force Awakens in terms of plot and characters.
More interestingly, however, is what Abrams had to say about Adam Driver's character, Kylo Ren. "He is a character who came to the name Kylo Ren when he joined a group called the Knights of Ren. He is not your prototypical mustache-twirling bad guy. Kylo Ren is not a Sith. He works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force."
We kinda already guessed that Kylo Ren would be something more than just a straight-up bad guy. In fact, all rumours we've heard seem to suggest that Kylo Ren has a familial connection to the original cast in some way. That Abrams is saying Kylo Ren isn't the name the character was born with is pretty telling. The Supreme Leader Snoke he mentions is Andy Serkis' character, who was that deep / creepy voice you heard in the trailer. We haven't seen anything in terms of what he looks like, although we do know that Serkis is playing him via motion capture.
It's understood that Snoke will essentially play the role that the Emperor played in the original series; the big baddie that sits in the corner and mutters really cryptic statements while cackling uncontrollably. The relationship between Kylo Ren, Snoke and Domhnall Gleeson's General Hux is also intriguing. We know that Hux is a military leader and works out of a place called Starkiller Base - which is a reference to the original Star Wars script and the draft name for Luke Skywalker. The inference seems to be that Kylo Ren and General Hux have an uneasy alliance together and that Ren is a loose cannon who pretty much does whatever he wants.
Hardcore Star Wars fans will note that there's a correlation here between this and the Thrawn Trilogy, which had the clone of a long-dead Jedi Master who went insane and reluctantly joined forces with the remnants of the Empire who were led by a blue-skinned alien called Thrawn, who was a Grand Admiral and was really called Mitth'raw'nuruodo - you've stopped reading, haven't you?
Look, this is cool and all, but we really can't take much more of this. WE NEED THIS FILM RIGHT NOW. IT'S NOT FUNNY ANYMORE.