Before we get started, let it be known: there are spoilers here. Not just tiny, 'this person appears' spoilers: we're talking about huge moments and the very end of The Force Awakens. If you haven't seen the movie, bookmark this page, go watch it (twice) and come back — we don't want to spoil the movie for you.
Last warning: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.
Let's just get this out of the way: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was amazing. Not only did it manage to bring Star Wars back into pop culture (in a good way), it did so while juggling an entirely new story and paying homage to the Original Trilogy.
Speaking of the story, The Force Awakens did a lot to establish itself as the beginning of something new. Yes, familiar faces are a big part of the movie, but overall, Episode VII will clearly tie into future episodes more than the classic movies. As such, audiences will notice that there are more than a few questions left unanswered by the time the credits roll. Out of everything that The Force Awakens leaves open, here are the questions that are burning a hole in our brains:
What Will Happen With Luke And Rey?
Let's start off with the most obvious: at the end of The Force Awakens, Rey manages to track down Luke Skywalker by using the map created by BB-8 and R2-D2. The obvious question is: what happens next?
Given Luke's previous history with training Jedi (more on that later), there's a good chance that he won't be all that excited to start training Rey. On the other hand, much of The Force Awakens was devoted to proving just how powerful and determined Rey is — it's easy to assume that, even if Luke declines, she won't be taking "no" for an answer.
At the end of the day, it's not necessarily about whether Luke will train Rey or not — it's how he goes about doing it.
What Happened To Rey's Family?
You'd be forgiven if, by the end of The Force Awakens, you forgot that Rey was an orphan. That's not to say the movie doesn't handle her character well, it's just that she grows so much throughout the course of the movie that her origins become somewhat secondary.
Even so, there are a lot of unanswered questions in regard to Rey's childhood. Who are her parents, and more important, what kind of people would leave their daughter in the hands of a scavenger on some distant desert planet? Why would anyone have to do that?
It'll be interesting to see if the subject of Rey's parents resurfaces in future films: Star Wars has always used family as a running theme, and it doesn't look like that's about to change anytime soon.
Who Is Captain Phasma?
Let's be honest: Captain Phasma was the coolest-looking character in the movie, and yet, she did absolutely nothing.
Throughout the film, Phasma is portrayed as one of the First Order's most capable warriors, and seemingly leads an entire division of Stormtroopers — but she doesn't actually do much of anything. All Phasma does throughout The Force Awakens is walk around, give orders, look shiny and get captured. Fans don't even see what happens to her — while it helps set up a return in Episode VIII, it doesn't do much for her reputation.
Think of it this way: if you took away Boba Fett's awesome ship, jetpack, flamethrower and the fact that he tracked down/captured Han Solo, you'd have Captain Phasma. If she does return, we want to know who she is and what she did to warrant the specialized armor and personal army.
How Was The New Republic Formed?
By now, most fans know that Jakku was the last major battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire. The Force Awakens then picks up nearly 30 years later ... and doesn't do much to fill in the gaps.
While it's nice that the movie didn't stop for 45 minutes to explain 30 years of politics, it did gloss over a few major questions: for example, if the New Republic was formed, why does the Resistance need to exist? How was the First Order allowed to form in the wake of the Galactic Empire? On that note, how were they able to conquer a planet and convert it into a giant superweapon without eliciting any sort of response?
Again, it's great that the movie didn't have to stop and explain itself ... but a few more details wouldn't have hurt.
Who Is Supreme Leader Snoke?
When he first appears, it looks as though Supreme Leader Snoke is some giant, twisted monstrosity from the worst part of the galaxy ... and, while his size is ultimately revealed as a projection, there's no doubt that he's about as evil as they come.
That being said, the movie doesn't explain his presence at all. Yes, fans know that he seduced Kylo Ren to the Dark Side, and that he rules over the First Order, but other than that ... who is this guy? Is it Palpatine reborn, or cloned? Did he just pop up out of nowhere to rule over the First Order?
It's not surprising that fans didn't learn much about Snoke's character in The Force Awakens, but we'd be surprised if it didn't become a major subject in future episodes.
What Happened Between Luke And Kylo Ren?
If there's one mystery we're dying to solve after seeing The Force Awakens, it's what happened between Luke and his new Jedi order. Kylo Ren is a fantastic villain, and there's one scene in particular that cements him as one of the most reviled baddies in cinema (you know which one we're talking about) — but how did he get there?
The movie, as with much of its backstory, glosses over quite a bit. Fans know that Luke was initially training Kylo Ren (real name Ben Solo) as a Jedi before the events of The Force Awakens, but the film never really explores why Kylo eventually turns on his master. How was he able to convince his fellow students that Luke was the enemy? How is the First Order and Supreme Leader Snoke involved in all of it?
As with Snoke himself, Kylo's betrayal and Luke's self-imposed exile are sure to be central to future episodes ... and we're dying to learn how it all went down.
The Force Awakens did a lot to re-introduce fans to the world of Star Wars, and the film does a great job of getting people up to speed with all of the new stuff. That being said, there are more than a few story threads left dangling by the time the credits roll — as of now, it looks like fans will just have to wait for Episode VIII to figure everything out.
For more on Star Wars: Episode VII, check out our Force Awakens coverage hub!