Gathering info about the newest Star Wars movie has been a long and tedious process. Hints have been dropped carefully by Disney, fans have made numerous theories and speculations based on tidbits, ever since the film was announced the internet has gone crazy. Fortunately now we can form more informed guesses about the plot and characters, so lets us start with the basics: the old generation actors from the prequels are back, what is their role in this new movie series?
We spent the majority of the prequels following the lovable Luke Skywalker around. We saw him save the rebellion(twice), become a Jedi, confront his father and ultimately change the balance of power in the whole galaxy. A classic and simple story, something the prequels did not manage to capture with their complicated plots and colorful special effects.
Anyway, there was much to be said about Luke even after the end of Return of the Jedi. The Expanded Universe, a collection of books, comics, toys and video games was going full force. He rebuilt the Jedi Order, traveled the universe and fought unimaginable threats. He became a known badass and maybe a bit of a Mary Sue.
Disney put a stop to all that, however, by declaring The Expanded Universe material non-canon. This meant that Luke's future could be something very different from what we were used to.
Indeed, the most popular and credible theory regarding Luke Skywalker is that he became an isolated recluse after the events in Return of the Jedi. He did not rebuild the Jedi order and instead chose to disappear for 30 years, doing whatever he is doing. But why? What made him hide away from the spotlight?
One possibility is fear. After all, as shown in both the prequels and the sequels, the Skywalker family is incredibly volatile. Prophecy or not, Anakin became Darth Vader quite easily. Luke himself showed signs of anger and rage in the sixth episode. Of course the more powerful you are the bigger villain you become. If Luke converts to the Dark Side he'd be way scarier than Darth Vader ever was.
This is all a bit simplistic though. We are talking about 30 years here, not taking a disciple even once seems very foolish. Especially when there are so few force users running around. There could be other explanations for that. For one, Luke might be guarding something incredibly important. Something that has to remain hidden and at the same time requires him to stand there and watch for years. Something related to the Sith perhaps? Even if the flesh dies, the powerful artifacts of the Dark Side remain. In this sense, Luke could be guarding a secret stash filled to the brim with shiny objects, or perhaps a Sith Tomb on a distant planet.
Whatever it is, we will definitely see him again, fighting the good fight. We can only hope his character arc is cohesive and well done.
Han Solo and Chewbacca
While not chosen by the Force, Han Solo and his sidekick did play a huge role in the prequels, almost as big as Luke's. Saving Luke's ass several times, the duo had its own separate story during the last movies. Eventually, by working together alongside the wonder twins(the Skywalkers), they managed to defeat a foe much bigger than them. In style.
Fortunately for the fans the charming(although a bit old now) rogue is back! Chewbacca is back too! Even the Millennium Falcon is back, although it seems that the pair only recently resorted to its services. The reasons behind their absence are so far unknown.
In fact most of Han Solo's role is still shrouded in mystery. The most popular theory makes him the guide of the new pair of faces(Finn and Rey). With them in toe he'll embark on a journey to find Luke Skywalker and stop the newly rising evil. It makes sense. Solo's interactions with fellow companions are always good, ranging from comedy gold to sheer intensity.
There is also the possibility that Han Solo and Princess Leia were estranged. Wild mass speculation about the matter ensued, of course. Did they ever make it as lovers? Was it all just not possible to begin with because of her force affinity or simple lack of chemistry? They did have quite good chemistry in the original trilogy, I'll tell you that! Then maybe something happened during the 30 years break and made them decide to separate? More likely for sure.
This, of course, only breeds more speculation. What if a new character from the movie is their child? And what if this child is also force sensitive? Well, there you go, the Force users aren't going to die so easily.
One thing we have to be thankful about for sure- blasters are way easier to operate than whips, so get on with it Harrison!
Princess Leia Organa
The classic damsel in distress, she used to be a big player in the rebellion, but her actual role in the movie was......less than honorable. She had to be saved again and then once again. Nevertheless, she did provide a bunch of heartwarming moments for the viewers, especially when she was a slave for Jabba the Hutt.
So what about her? Unfortunately she has been a big black hole throughout the whole movie advertising campaign. Yes, we know she'll be there. No, we don't know what she is supposed to do. The last trailer and poster finally showed her, without her buns, crying on Han Solo's chest. So they are together again I guess?
It is interesting to note a quote Luke Skywalker utters in one of the trailers: "The Force is strong in my family. My father has it... I have it... My sister has it... You have that power too." Two things can be gathered from this. One, Leia may finally get to do something incredibly badass! Two, that force user is most likely going to be a Skywalker child, and the chances are better for Leia to be the mother, not Luke to be the father.
And that is all. It is understandable to hide the old generation's roles while concentrating on the younger, new ones. After all they are the future of the franchise. Still, we can't help but be excited that Star Wars is finally moving forward, to a hopefully much brighter future.