Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Episode 7
Theatrical release poster, done in a classic tribute style to original Star Wars poster designer Tom Jung.
Directed by J.J. Abrams
Produced by Kathleen "KFK" Kennedy
Bob Igor
Written by J.J. Abrams
Lawrence "Empire Strikes Back" Kasdan
George Lucas (first draft, later chucked into the trash)
Michael "Little Miss Sunshine" Arndt (second draft, later shredded)
Starring Mark Hamill
Harrison Ford
Carrie Fisher
Peter Cushing(in spirit)
Alec Guinness (voiceover)
Antwan Danyells
Kenny "The Midget" Baker
Peter Mayhew
Adam Driver
Daisy Ridley
John Boyega
Oscar Isaac
Lupita Nyong'o
Andy Serkis
Domhnall Gleeson
Max von Sydow
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Maz Kanata
Edited by Lor San Tekka
Production
company
Distributed by Disney
Release date(s) December 18, 2015
Running time 2 hours which went by quite briskly, to the movie's credit, but this doesn't make up for its other shortcomings
Country United States
Language English
Budget 245 million New Republic credits, even though the script was just another story taken for free and the special effects look awkward/amateurish at points
Box office $2,068,223,624, an at-this-point-predictable record-breaking box office world record
“You've been here, but you don't know this story.”
~ Mark Hamill talking about the films production on a behind the scenes feature

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens in the opening crawl but not referred to as such in the advertising, because Disney wanted to forget the prequels ever existed give the movie a more "standalone" feel akin to the original Star Wars without that episode-numbering mumbo-jumbo) is a 2015 American epic space opera film and a remake of Star Wars: The 456 Edit directed by J.J. "Binks" Abrams. It is the seventh film to be released in the Star Wars saga, the first of the sequel trilogy, the first under Disney's ownership of the franchise, the seventh in terms of internal chronology, and the first (and possibly last) in terms of everyone trying to convince themselves that the franchise supposedly got its groove back even though the new movies are so far just retreading old ground.

Set in 34 ABY, thirty years after the Empire was taken down by a whiny teenager and a bunch of midgets in teddy bear costumes, the dark side is still alive and kicking; the Jedi Order has been wiped out (again) by the villainous First Order, Jedi leader Luke Skywalker has gone missing-in-action, and First Order Supreme Leader Snokey the Bear has constructed an enormous MacGuffin capable of destroying entire plotlines. Our three heroes — token girl power hero Rey, token goofy black guy Finn, and token X-wing pilot Cameron Poe — must find Luke while avoiding the clutches of Han Solo's and Princess Leia's emo son-turned-Snoke's apprentice Kylo Ren. Oh, and Rey is totally Luke's daughter, or Han's daughter, or Obi-Wan's nephew's granddaughter or something, because literally everybody is related to everybody else in this goddamn franchise.

After millions of nerds protested the Star Wars prequels by self-harming, burning Jar Jar Binks in effigy, and bitching on internet forums, the franchise was revived when J.J. Abrams, the director of such films as Star Trek: Into Darkness – The Wrath of Khan Remixed, Now with More Explosions and Bra/Panties Scenes and Super 8-0s Feel-Good Movie: The Goonies Meets E.T., took the helm to direct a remake of the first Star Wars film. After a decade of complaining about how different the prequels were from the original trilogy, this new film gave fans a chance to complain about something else: how similar it was to the original trilogy. The Force Awakens is famous for causing earth-shattering simultaneous nerdgasms and box office record-breakers across the globe, as well as putting the studios behind every other December 2015 release on suicide watch.

edit Plot

Luke went AWOL and some bad looking dudes called the First Order have made it their life job to shot the bajesus outta him. Even though the new Republic has been operating for like 30 years and stuff, they are funding the battle against the Order by proxy.

This group is called “Resistance”, a movement which has no purpose or goal in mind other than to resist the order. This should make THEM the bad buys, but Leia leads it as she reached the legal limit to serve as a Senator for Naboo. This makes it okay.

And now, Leia has found a clue to where Luke might be hiding…a desert planet called Jakku…
Color key

You may have noticed above that the plot below is color coded, this is to preserve the Original Trilogy’s scenes and help you visualise where each scene in Episode VII came from. For simplicity's sake, the bold brackets () mark the character/object/place from the original trilogy.

  • Episode Four: A New Hope
  • Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Episode Six: Return of the Jedi

edit The Set Up

Resistance pilot Poe Dameron(R2-D2) meets an old dispensable man(Princess Leia) on Jakku(Tantive IV) to obtain an incomplete map to Luke(Death Star Plans). Poe hasn’t realised yet Luke may not be there anymore as he did disappear ages ago. Stormtroopers [1] commanded by the Kylo Ren(Darth Vader) arrive and the battalion torches the place(Tantive IV). Old man(Rebel Solider) gets mind raped(Force Choked) by Kylo Ren(Darth Vader), this gives Poe(Princess Leia) no time to get in his ship. So he violently inserts the map(Death Star Plans) into his droid BB8,(R2-D2) and buys the droid time to escape on a roll(into the escape pod).

Weirdly, one of the stormtroopers die during all this and the janitor on the squad tires to apply first aid. It goes about as well as it sounds. The dead solider leaves bloody fingers and traumatises his comrade, this causes the janitor to realise the ketchup stains he'd cleaned off the armour weren’t that. He decides to leave the First Order after he gets back into the heavily-monitored First Order Spaceship. This man is later known as Finn(Han Solo), we get to see his face when he takes his helmet off. Then Captain Phasma(Grand Moff Tarkin) walks in and questions why he did that, ruining any suspension of disbelief. This motivates him to leave the Order, flee as far as possible and seemingly have no role in their destruction whatsoever.

Then we’ve got this other masked figure(Jawa) inside a downed star destroyer(Desert) looking for parts(Droids). She takes these parts to trade it in for food. Her name is Rey(Luke Skywalker), and eventually she finds another local(Jawa) with B88(CP30 and R2-D2). She tries to part ways immediately after freeing the droid, understanding the complex bips and bops and gives the droid directions. The droid can't use them because all the sand dunes looks the same, so Rey takes him their personally. Rey is waiting on Jakku for her family to return to pick her up. BB-8 will find this hard to believe as they journey together, due to her extensive knowledge on flying ships, repairing ships, the history of who owned the Falcon, Multilingual abilities, hand-to-hand combat and children stories of the Jedi Order.

Red arm e7

This is a pivotal scene in the film where C3PO and O-MR1 battle a massive squid to recover C3PO's original arm. The Squid uses its acid tears and destroys O-MR1. Luckily, C3PO is able to finish the fight, armed with his new arm.

Now Poe(Princess Leia) is getting mind raped(Tortured) by Kylo(Darth Vader) aboard his ship(Death Star). Kylo figures out the map in the droid. Finn recuses Poe because he needs a pilot(Similar to the Princess Leia rescue) and they escape. As the First Order Generals scramble to figure out the defector, Kylo narrows down the perp to Finn with ease, having sensing his betrayal on Jakku before. Kylo had been going through similar things and dealing with Finn would've comprimised mind with something other than his obsession with Darth Vader. Back on the escaping ship, there is some terrible bonding dialogue, but this somehow brings them closer. Then they get shot down after Poe explains the age, height and gender of the B88 unit in painstaking detail(R2-D2’s message from Leia to Luke).

After the ship crashes onto Jakku(Tattotine), Finn pulls himself from the wreckage. Poe isn’t presumed to have gone down with the ship because he somehow managed to leave his jacket behind. Finn dons the jacket, successfully navigates to civilisation and drinks like a pig next to an actual alien pig. He then watches Rey fight some scavengers(Stormtroopers) who after the droid(R2-D2 and C3PO). Then Rey assaults him and the droid tasers him while he’s down, all because “he stole a jacket”. The act is somehow not considered racist as they make up quickly. Finn lies about his ties to the Resistance so poorly, it could only be a joke.

Then Kylo Ren gives the First Order their first order of movie and orders them to first deploy airstrikes on the shipyard, so the droid can’t escape. But the Millennium Falcon while its circuits are fried has plot and fan armour enabled. Having never flown a ship before, Rey illegally pilots the Falcon. Finn mans the turret, the ship flies through the wreckage of downed ships and they manage to escape.[2] Then they speak at each other at the same time when they make it into deep space and it’s unclear if they are arguing or celebrating.

edit Moving the Droid

Then Han Solo and Chewbacca try to impound their ship, believing it to be another replica tarnishing the original’s reputation. Before Rey and Finn can explain to Han and Chewie what is going on, a Scottish man walks in and a squid gets involved. Scottish man dies yelling something about whiskey and the squid is made into calamari which Han hopes he can sell to a local Cantina(Moss Essey Cantina). General Hux(Tarkin) and Kylo Ren(Darth Vader) get special permission from Supreme Leader Snoke(Emperor Palentine) to use the planet superweapon and people die. It is not clear which planet(s) get hit. Then Kylo retires to pray to a continuity error, Darth Vader’s charred Helmet as – in the weirdest twist – it gives him strength and teachings in the dark side of force.

Meanwhile, the Falcon crew views Luke Skywalker’s map and Han Solo(Ben Kenboi) - the man who you’d think would have experience in space navigation – has no clue where it could be. Then he gives this long monologue about Luke. Turns out he tried taking on multiple apprentices to make the new Jedi Order, but in doing so violated many of the golden rules you only get one apprentice, so you can keep an eye on him; or if they are too strong, dump them on a desert planet; or the one about having sex[3], it's left ambiguous. The first apprentice to turn to dark side had a history of midicloriod abuse and came from a seriously broken home. He ended up murdering everyone minus Luke(Obi-Wan Kenobi)who survived by hiding underneath fallen rubble (This mirrors Obi-Wan Kenobi's speech to Luke).

Han takes Finn and Rey to Takodana (Tatotine), so he can deliver the calamari to Maz Kanata's(Yoda) Bar (Moss Cantina). By pure happenstance, she has Resistance contacts and informs the base about the B-88 unit. First Order spies firstly order their drinks before radioing the base of the First Order to give them exactly the same tip-off. Finn really wants to bail, figuring that the Resistance will show up and take it from there (Han deciding to leave before the Death Star Assault). Maz (Now Obi-Wan Kenobi) is a bit slow giving Rey a lightsaber, (the same lightsaber) as she is currently fumigating the basement to remove vermin. The lightsaber, tired of waiting for the plot to move on, starts screaming in frustration and Rey hears the wailing. After pulling the saber from its storage box (That Cave on Dagoba), Rey starts tripping (Luke's Battle with Imaginary Vader). Maz eventually finds her and pulls her out. She gets super excited that Rey can use the force and forces the lightsaber on her, saying "You're set for life!". Rey hears "Don't bother going back for your parents who might be worried about you and might have arrived after you left the planet.". This hits a nerve and Rey runs into the forest sulking.

The First Order show up to get the droid. Finn - having realised that Starkiller Base might have blown up his escape destination - runs back. Maz confuses Finn with Rey and gives him the lightsaber instead of a Trooper's rifle. Han uses Chewie's gun for the first time ever and a Stormtrooper is actually able to hold his own against Finn's lightsaber antics. Rey tries to hold off troopers who followed BB-8 into the forest, before getting captured by Kylo Ren, who never excelled at maths, and he believes that an individual who's seen the map = physical copy of the map. As the First Order retreats Resistance Fighters show up for a bit of a dogfight(Hoth Battle).

edit Deja Vu

Turns out Poe is among the squadron, he and Finn have a touching reunion back at the Resistance Base. Han and Leia do not have the same chemistry as their relationship, well, let's just say it was a child-friendly Disney move. Kylo Ren has now brought Rey to Starkiller Base and attempts another mind rape, but Rey realises she can fight it by thinking hard. Kylo Ren(Vader) takes off his helmet(Ditto) and looks more dashing then intimidating(Ditto). He tries to charm Rey with dinner, but Rey doesn't like romance one bit and declines. A rejected Kylo leaves in a huff, not before returning to fetch his helmet off the floor and making an off-hand comment to train her on the ways of the force if it turns out Luke passed away(Vader tempting Luke).

At the Resistance(Rebel) base on D'Qar(Yaben 4), everyone is now worried about getting blown to smithereens and the First Order knows where they are(Did they track them? Idk). Harrison breaks character and complains, sick and tired of blowing these things up. Unlike the previous ones, Starkiller Base is really big, shielded - an intrusion team will need to take care of that(Endor) - and has a weak spot that requires a bomber run. Han starts going senile and volunteers to fly straight into the Starkiller Base's Shield in the oldest, weakest ship that should've been retired years ago, The Millennial Falcon. Chewie's worried grunts and calls go unnoticed. Finn has to go with him as he knows where everything is due to his dealings with poop (he was a jantior, not a soldier dammit).

The Falcon successfully flies through the Starkiller Base's shield because it wasn't switched on. Rey (Obi-Wan) - after getting assaulted mentally by Kylo - figures that she might be able to do it to others and 'convinces' the Stormtrooper (Ditto)to get her out of her cell (you're not looking for these droids, etc). Finn (Luke) is able to disable the shields by forcing Captain Phasma (Boba Fett)[4] to turn them off before discovering it was already off. Han suggest they throw her in the trash compactor(Sand Beast thing that swallows Fett) and never speak of this failure again, the captain perishes. Finn spots Rey spidermanning around and they unite to open the power core up for the bomber run(Endor Shield Generator).

Kylo ren stops blaster bolt

A scene early in the movie, where Kylo stops a blaster bolt using nothing but his bare hands. This is never used or brought up again.

Kylo arrives to stop them and Han decides to reason with him on a suspended platform above a dangerously large deep hole(Fight between Vader and Luke on Bespin). A fight breaks out between the First Order and Resistance over the planet's snowy surface(Hoth Battle). It is then relieved that Kylo Ren is actually - if you switch his first name and last name, replace the 'k' with a 's', 'y' with an 'o', 'r' with a 'b' - Ben Solo (I am your father). Han(Luke) gets run through with the saber and falls off the platform trying to get away (Luke jumping after his hand gets cut off). Chewie is able to perform a near perfect assassination in a fit of rage, but the bolt only gives Kylo a flesh wound. Chewie, Rey and Finn try running away, even though Kylo has an injury he still wants to fight.

Finn (Han) defends himself against Kylo (Woompa) outside the generator building in the snowy forest using Anakin's lightsaber (so Luke can sleep inside it). Finn suddenly becomes spineless and plays dead, the saber falls into the snow. While Kylo applies first aid by punching his wounded side, the Anakin's lightsaber begins to vibrate and flies out of the snow. Rey (Luke) catches it and engages with Kylo (Yeti). Due to the weather, the fight is called off and they go their separate ways. Poe (Luke) bombs the power generator and Starkiller Base (Death Star) goes critical and explodes.

All the resistance members celebrate back at home. R2-D2 wakes up and with B-88's help, they combine their processing power to create a complete map to Luke. Rey and Chewie head to the big X in the slowest, least modern fighter, Minimum-Effort Falcon. After landing on a small island(Daggoba), Rey spends half a day climbing it to find Luke (Yoda). When she finds Luke, the she presents the lightsaber to him, but he doesn't take it and her arm gets tired.

The movie ends with Rey pegging the lightsaber at Luke's face, sick of waiting for something to happen.

edit FAQ

Three weeks into the run of this movie, concerns were raised about minor plot points. Luckly, Entertainment Weekly interviewed the leads, the questions that were answered have been reproduced below:

Jj mystery box

Movie Director J.J. Abrams talks about the importance of mystery boxes (unresolved plot threads) at a TED Talk. He highlights you should never create too many mystery boxes, unless you know you are not going to be cancelled and you have an answer for each of them.

What happened to C-P30's arm?

The suit was partially spray-painted as C-P30 was not going to be in the film, but they ran out of money.

How did Anakin's lightsaber end up in a bar?

After falling from Bespin's Cloud city, it grew wings, flew into space and made its way to the bar.

Who are Rey's Parents?

Two Human Beings

How exactly is everyone related?

Common Ancestor.

Who is Snoke?

This guy.

Why are the First Order called the First Order?

They also known as just the Order, the first part really doesn't matter.[5]

How did Poe get home?

That was never filmed and there never will be answer, Poe was meant to die at the beginning of the movie.

Does anyone actually have character development?

Sort of; Finn goes from being afraid to not afraid and Rey levels up in force powers, so as much as a horror movie and an RPG boss fight.

edit Production

edit Development

The Force Awakens was based on Star Wars: The 456 Edit, a fan edit of the original trilogy masterfully put together by Star Trek reboot director J.J. "Jar Jar" Abrams on a break between his projects way back in 2010 and posted on YouTube. Mainly inspired by the prequel edits of the same kind, J.J. believed that the same short of shortening could be applied without having any of the main story beats lost. Sadly, Star Wars creator/Lucasfilm founder George Lucas saw this as mocking his digital remastering and sent a Seize and Desist letter to Abrams. The video and subsequently many mirrors were taken down, although George did take a personal copy for future reference.

When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, George felt it was time to release a brand-new trilogy. At the meeting, George showed an exert from this edit as an example of what the trilogy shouldn’t be about. Unfortunately for him, the executives decided that it was perfect and rejected any further input from Lucas. J.J. Abrams was given the biggest paycheck in existence to worm him away from Star Trek and work began on heavily reformatting the movie into something consumable.

edit Production

edit Rule 63: Captain Phasma

After Lucas had been unceremoniously thrown from the project, writer Michael Arndt took the reigns. He had a good crack, but sadly J. J. Abrams and veteran consultant writer Kasdan didn't think the script was a safe bet. Michael's script was run through the shredder and he left the project. Surprisingly, when J. J. started talking to others on set about Michael leaving, major news outlets begun reporting that J. J. himself was leaving - leading to more confusion. The script begun again, penned this time by Kasdan and J. J. himself.

Now, all the characters couldn't be removed otherwise the movie would need to be delayed and Disney didn't want audiences to sour. So they went ahead, jotted something down quickly and the actors (not all of them had been cast at this point) came to London to have their first script reading. A photo of this reading was uploaded and one online article, pointed out the lack of female leads. To try and stop this possible uproar, J. J. and Kasdan attempted to cast a female from the remaining roles, except most of the major characters would require significant redesign if chosen. Luckily, Captain Phasma's design was asexual enough to perform this quick fix. Benedict Cumberbatch did play this role for a while before being overdubbed with Gwendoline Christie voice, like Orson Welles when he got dubbed by James Earl Jones. Take note (if you ever watch this film again), that the Captain suspiciously doesn't take her helmet off throughout the movie.

edit Harrison Ford gets "Trash Compacted"

“Now we had lots of money and technology and so they built a fucking great hydraulic door which closed at light speed and somebody said, ‘Ooh I wonder what this is?’”
~ Harrison Ford on The Jonathan Ross Show

One of the main talking points that was stressed by the cast and crew concerns the use of "Practical Effects". Lots of money sunk into gunpowder and sets, but one of most amazing purchases had to be a hydraulic door. This door was made especially to be the door leading into the Falcon and closed downwards. During filming, Harrison was trying to head through this door, when it unexpectedly closed on his left foot. J.J. then discovered the hard way that hydraulic doors cannot be lifted by a human being. A week later after seeing the doctor, J.J. discovered he'd broken his back in the process. Harrison had to airlifted to hospital and Star Wars was delayed for two months. Ford still lives with the mental trauma. It is not known who pressed the button.

J.J. - while it may first seem bizarre - has gone on record saying it was a "Great Gift". Not in the injury's sense, but because everyone working on the project got leave. This gave the director time to re-shot most of the scenes and rejig the script. It turns out Rey and Finn's chemistry was very different to the final product seen by audiences. While J.J. won't go into detail, it was rumoured to be on the levels of Star Trek: Into Darkness lewd.

edit Post-Production

Even though there was a very large push in the advertising campaign about practical effects, it may come as surprise that post-production began while the movie was still being filmed. When you use complicated set-design and go on location, it is very hard to go back for re-shoots. When the editors began, they first had to wade through 64,000,000,000,000 bytes of footage and it was pretty hard-going.

This changed when Harrison got his leg injury and halted the daily input of new footage. Allowing these changes to be made.

  • All the Returning Characters (Luke, Han, Leia, etc) were meant to be introduced at the start, now were staggered throughout the movie.
  • The cover on R2-D2 was to come off at the end of the movie and was done by C3P0, instead of BB-8 in the middle.
  • Finn told Rey right away he was a Stormtrooper in the first draft, which makes even less sense.
  • Finn and Rey didn't hide from Han and Chewbie entering the Falcon, when they got abducted. Originally they were still arguing/congratulating each other.
  • Removal of Leia's and Han's convoluted guilt about their son turning to the Dark Side.
  • Removal of Jar Jar Bink's Corpse after J. J. Abrams snuck it into a shot on Jakku.

edit Reception

edit Theatre Skips A Bit

Movie theatre spoilers

The spoiled scene in question taken by a disgruntled patron. To be fair, if the movie suddenly jumped to the end of Episode VII IV with Starkiller Base firing at a planet the Death Star exploding, I'd be mad too.

Upon midnight screenings across the world, millions of people flocked to see the film. The ArcLight Theater in Hollywood had a different story though. The cinema goers were watching the whole thing in 3-D, when the two projectors auto-focused and bugged out. The house lights went back on and people looked around in confusion. Then after a few false starts, the projectors righted themselves and said, “Right, where were we?”, before picking some arbitrary point in the movie's future. Lots thought it was the end of the movie, so many just walked out thinking they had been spoiled.

edit Monopoly's Fatal Mistake

“The Reason? Uh...to stop spoilers for movie, yeah. The spoiler? It was to do with a key plot line about how she takes on Kylo Ren and joins the Rebel Alliance.”
~ Hasbro Spokeperson on why there was no Rey figure at the start of January 2016
“The REAL Reason? Uh...insufficient interest.”
~ Hasbro Spokeperson after discovering that people are not that stupid

Even though Rey was present in many Star Wars themed Merchandise, such as Guess Who, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens and various figurines, this wasn't enough. One extremely concerned 8-year old girl hand wrote a letter to Hasbro regarding Rey's absence from the highly anticipated, high-stakes, five-star board game. Eventuality Hasbro coughed up a figure after the whole matter went mainstream. However, after all the controversy calmed down and no one cared anymore, actor Oscar Isaac (who played Poe Dameron) quietly looked into why he hadn't been put in this game. Oscar found that of the four original playable figures, two of them only were in the movie for five seconds - Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker. The other two were Kylo Ren and Finn, both had prominent roles to play. Oscar DM'd Hasbro on tweeter asking about the real problem and they told him they could only go off the movie poster and trailers.

Star wars force awakens poster

The Movie Poster with Nostalgia engaged.

Star wars the force awakens chinese version

The Movie Poster attempting to appeal to Chinese Tastes.

edit Critical reception

Anyone between the ages of 37–50 and 0–14 in 2015 thought The Force Awakens was one of the most amazing things that they had ever seen in their life; in the former's case it helped them relive their childhood memories of the original trilogy, while in the latter's case it was their introduction to Star Wars as they were too young for the prequels. However, those aged 15–28 in 2015 did not like it because it wasn't like their beloved prequels that they grew up with, and in fact seemed to give the prequels the middle finger by making as few direct references to them as possible. Critics who liked the redressing of the ideas gave it a gold star. Others were furious and confused due to the lingering plot threads and unanswered questions. George Lucas had been concerned that the story was going to be a soft reboot from the moment he stopped being consulted and not a new trilogy, he didn't feel any joy in being right. The smart shut-ins had already realised the alarming problem that would plague future instalments. If the Death Star's size and destruction points have been maxed out, along with its one time use, a Death Star the size of a sun has to be built before Episode IX. Maybe they'll use the Suncrusher from the EU, dare I say it.




edit Notes

  1. Even though there is a design change they still called that
  2. This is the only bit taken from the prequel trilogy and is the only time Rey becomes Anakin Skywalker when he drove in that pod racing scene.
  3. Anakin Skywalker(Kylo Ren) did this and turned to the dark side. It has a 100% success rate.
  4. The reason Captain Phasma isn't Grand Moff Tarkin here is really down to her loyalty. The Novel Phasma explains that she is really self-centered FYI. Fun Fact: if you can be bothered to read the all-to-real Captain Phasma comic she deleted any records of her lowering the shields in the first place. But, this doesn't make sense at all as (A) They weren't on to begin with and (B)Didn't the planet go bye bye? Unsure, please help. Brain Melting
  5. In Star Wars: Battlefront 2's Single Player Campaign, Emperor Palentine's last order was being carried out by the Empire who's remaining members became the First Order, so the response in retrospect does not clear things up.
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