13 Things You Never Knew About The Force Awakens

The Force Awakens is the film that kicked off a new Star Wars era. The movie smashed box office records, raking over $2 billion. It’s the second-highest-grossing Star Wars film, just behind A New Hope, when adjusted for inflation. The film was a critical success and was nominated for multiple awards, including the Academy, Grammys, Saturn, and Visual Effects Society Awards.

As a major shift in Star Wars storytelling, The Force Awakens was the groundwork for shows set in this era, like The Mandalorian, Star Wars Resistance, and Ahsoka. With such an essential piece in the franchise, facts about the movie are fun to dive into. Here are 13 bits of trivia about The Force Awakens.

1. What’s in a Name?

rey rise of the skywalker.jpg
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Rey’s character changed in development for the film as well as her name. Some of her early working names were “Sally,” “Echo,” and “Kira,” with that last one sticking around the longest. Kira had two companions, Sam and John Doe, who would become Finn and Poe.

2. A Unique Background

Finn The Force Awakens
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

Finn’s stormtrooper background came from the mind of longtime Lucasfilm writer Lawrence Kasdan. They wanted to give the character backstory drastically different from the other male leads in previous Star Wars films.

3. The Fanboy

Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and Daisy Ridley in Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker (2019)
Photo Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

As a lifelong Star Wars fan, John Boyega auditioned nine times for the role of Finn. J.J. Abrams joked in the documentary Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey that Boyega was the biggest fan in the main cast.

4. Almost Dead

Poe Dameron
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures

In the original script, Poe Dameron was supposed to die. J.J. Abrams wanted Oscar Isaac to play Poe, but Isaac was hesitant as he previously played several characters who were killed off after being introduced. This made Abrams change the script so Isaac would join the project.

5. The Worst Day

The Force Awakens, General Leia Organa, Rey Skywalker
Image Credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Carrie Fisher has been known as the iconic Princess Leia for over 40 years, but that doesn’t mean she’s not human. On her first day on set for The Force Awakens, she was nervous about stepping back into the role. She hadn’t acted in some time, and the nerves made her mess up her first significant scene filmed. In the behind-the-scenes featurette on the DVD and Blu-ray, she said it was “the worst day I ever had on a film set in my life.”

6. Don’t Squish Han!

Han Solo
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Harrison Ford had a close call on the set of The Force Awakens. The Millennium Falcon had a hydraulic door, and Ford accidentally got caught under it. Thankfully, he escaped the incident with only a few broken bones and a dislocated ankle, but it could have been far worse. The door could have ended his life as it weighed as much as a small car.

7. Give Me a Hand

Luke Skywalker Mark Hamill
Image Credit Lucasfilm.

One rumor that lived on the internet was that the film's original opening was different. It was said an earlier script had the severed hand of Luke Skywalker still holding onto his lightsaber from The Empire Strikes Back, floating through space. Mark Hamill confirmed this on Twitter, stating, “Fact check: TRUE.”

8. Passing The Torch

The Force Awakens, Chewbacca, Han Solo, Finn
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

The Force Awakens would be Peter Mayhew’s last film role as Chewbacca. The actor struggled with health conditions, so he shared the part with newcomer Joonas Suotamo, who would officially take over Chewie starting with The Last Jedi. Though, Mayhew would be credited as the “Chewbacca consultant” in The Last Jedi.

9. History Maker

Captain Phasma
Image Credit: Lucasfilm.

Captain Phasma’s design was once an early design for Kylo Ren before making Phasma her own character. Phasma was initially supposed to be a man, but the creators hired Gwendoline Christie in response to fan backlash for the lack of women in the cast announcement.

The move was historic, making her the first leading female villain for the franchise and only the third female villain after Zam Wesell in Episode II: Attack of the Clones and the non-canon Charal from Ewoks: The Battle for Endor.

10. A Change of Color

Top 10 Moments I Wanted to Punch Kylo Ren in the Face
Image Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Another early design for Kylo Ren was a red and black oval-shaped mask. It has a black circle on the front and was used in concept art for the character. Eventually, the creators went in a different direction, but the mask design was reused for the Guavian Death Gang.

11. Method Acting

Kylo ren
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd.

Adam Driver often stayed in character between takes, keeping on his Kylo Ren helmet. He didn’t want to approach this role as being in Star Wars but like any other role he would take on. Driver disliked watching himself on screen, though he made an exception by watching The Force Awakens in a private screening with Carrie Fisher and Daisy Ridley.

12. The Teacher

Maz Kanata, The Force Awakens
Image Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

When creating Maz Kanata, J.J. Abrams knew he wanted her to be a mentor figure like Yoda. It turned out that he and co-production designer Rick Carter had the same favorite high school teacher. Her name was Rose Gilbert, and she won multiple awards, teaching until the age of 94. She became the inspiration for Kanata, and they kept pictures of her on set.

13. Warwick’s Wollivan

Image Credit: Lucasfilms Ltd.

Warwick Davis has been a staple in Star Wars ever since he played Wicket in Return of the Jedi. Starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Davis has made a point to appear in every Star Wars film. His cameo in The Force Awakens is in Maz’s castle playing an alien named Wollivan. It continues a trend of Warwick portraying characters with names that start with a “W.”