The Force Awakens: 10 Revelations that Weren't in the Movie

'The Force Awakens Visual Dictionary' reveals this and so much more

Pablo Hidalgo has one of the coolest jobs on the planet.

He's essentially the keeper of Star Wars canon for the Lucasfilm Story Group, though his role goes much further than that. Among his many duties are writing books about Star Wars for DK Publishing and Scholastic. For fans of Disney's new Star Wars trilogy, Hidalgo's Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary is an invaluable resource.

The book is jam-packed with fascinating details and incredible full-color images to go with them. Below you'll find ten things from The Force Awakens that are given greater context and deeper explanations -- as well as some genuinely surprising revelations (see: #2, #6, #8, and #10). While these are some of the bigger entries from The Visual Dictionary, they're just a tiny fraction of what's inside.

Spoilers ahead for The Force Awakens.

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What happened to Han and Leia.

General Leia Organa and Han Solo
Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa and Harrison Ford as Han Solo. DK Publishing / Lucasfilm Ltd.

The Force Awakens didn't exactly make the status of Han and Leia's relationship clear, but The Visual Dictionary spells it out. After the Galactic Civil War ended with the Battle of Jakku, Han and Leia tied the knot. Not long after, Leia became pregnant with their son, Ben.

According to Han's profile on page 46, this family unit was happy for a time. Leia was a prominent politician, and Han scratched his itch for excitement by becoming -- get this -- "a successful racing pilot."

Anyone who's seen the movie knows what brought these good times to an end: Han and Leia sent Ben Solo to his uncle Luke's Jedi Academy, where Ben was somehow seduced to the dark side by Snoke. Ben took on the name Kylo Ren and slaughtered Luke's entire school.

Han and Leia were devastated by their son's betrayal, and although their feelings toward one another never changed, they both dealt with the pain by returning to what they did best. Leia founded the Resistance to monitor the First Order's rise, and Han grabbed Chewie (who'd returned to his own family on Kashyyyk) and went back to smuggling. Hence the situation we find them in, in the movie.

At some point during this latter time period, the Millennium Falcon was stolen from Han by a fellow named Ducain (another story for another day).

Trivia: The huge freighter that he was using in The Force Awakens was named the Eravana.

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Phasma's shiny armor comes from a surprising source.

Captain Phasma on Takodana
Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma. Annie Leibovitz / Vanity Fair / Lucasfilm Ltd.

Captain Phasma's shiny metal armor really sets her apart from the Stormtroopers she commands. But the chrome comes from a source you never would have imagined.

Think back: What else in Star Wars film history have we seen sporting chrome? Think way back... to the prequels. Remember those mirror-hulled ships Padme Amidala always flew on? Yep, Phasma's armor is from one of those.

But wait, it gets better. You'll never guess who's ship the chrome came from. Hint: It's not one of Padme's. Who else is a prominent character who hails from Naboo?

Palpatine! That's right, the Naboo Senator-turned-evil Emperor himself.

From pg. 28: "Phasma's armor is coated in salvaged chromium from a Naboo yacht once owned by Emperor Palpatine. Its polished finish helps reflect radiation, but it serves primarily as a symbol of past power."

It's pretty mind-boggling to think that Captain Phasma is wearing pieces of a ship that was owned by Darth Sidious, aka Emperor Palpatine.

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The "Awakening" happens to Rey -- and the Force.

Daisy Ridley as Rey. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Fans have speculated since before The Force Awakens' release just who the Force was awakening in. The movie mentions the awakening only once -- in an exchange between Snoke and Kylo Ren -- but never outright states who it referred to.

It's pretty obvious by the end of the film that it's a reference to Rey, but it goes a bit deeper than that. Page 33 of The Visual Dictionary explains that the reason this awakening is a big deal is that the Force has been dormant since Luke's students were killed and he disappeared. In that span of time, the only people in the galaxy truly using the Force were dark side users Kylo Ren and his master, Snoke.

Rey's awakening (which I believe began with her impressive maneuvering of the Falcon for Finn's locked-in-place shot) caused "a sudden ripple" in the Force that signaled a new Force-user's arrival, and awoke the Force itself.

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Kylo Ren and Snoke are not Sith.

Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke
Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Andy Serkis as Supreme Leader Snoke. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Obviously, Kylo Ren, aka Ben Solo, is not a Jedi. But he's not a Sith either, nor will he ever be. That's because he is, according to page 24, "the archetype of a new generation of dark side users" who have taken the place of the now-extinct Sith.

(Side note: Would this new generation of dark side users be the Knights of Ren? Seems likely, though this would be the first mention of the other six Knights being able to use the Force. It's not impossible, but it seems odd that all seven Knights wouldn't wield lightsabers.)

So what's the deal with this new archetype? Another note on the same page makes it sound like Snoke was the mastermind behind it. It says that Snoke considers Kylo Ren "the ideal embodiment of the Force, a focal point of both light and dark side ability."

That's... kind of unexpected. Kylo himself clearly saw his draw to the light side as a weakness in the movie. But this entry makes it sound as if Snoke considers his ability to access both sides of the Force to be his greatest asset. Hmm.

Maybe both the Sith and the Jedi are being replaced.

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Lor San Tekka's backstory.

Lor San Tekka
Max von Sydow as Lor San Tekka on Jakku. Lucasfilm Ltd.

So who was that old guy at the beginning of The Force Awakens? The one that gives Poe Dameron the map to the first Jedi Temple, aka Luke Skywalker's location?

Lor San Tekka, as explained on page 14, was an explorer, a Rebel sympathizer, and a personal friend to Leia Organa. When the Empire destroyed all existing records of galactic history, San Tekka sought out much of that knowledge on his own and learned it first-hand. He was also a strong supporter of the Jedi who knew more about their history than just about anyone.

So what was he doing on Jakku? Apparently, when he decided to retire, he helped form this remote desert colony called Tuanul Village. Every member of this small community is a follower of the Church of the Force, which is based on faith in the Force itself. (Reminds me of Qui-Gon Jinn's convictions about "the will of the living Force.")

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The deal with Kylo Ren's lightsaber.

Kylo Ren raises his lightsaber toward Finn and Rey
Kylo Ren raises his lightsaber toward Finn and Rey. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Why is Kylo Ren's lightsaber all wild and spitty? And what's up with that cross-guard design? All is explained in The Visual Dictionary.

The lightsaber is ragged and unstable because the kyber crystal Kylo uses in its core is cracked. Why he's using a cracked crystal is not revealed.

The crossguard design has two reasons for being. First, according to page 27, the saber uses a design "dating back thousands of years to the Great Scourge of Malachor," a conflict we saw the distant aftermath of on an episode of Star Wars Rebels. The second reason is a functional one. The weapon is so powerful that "the crystal barely contains the power of the weapon, necessitating lateral plasma vents that become the crossguard quillions."

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The origins of the First Order.

First Order Stormtroopers
First Order Stormtroopers. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The First Order obviously has deep roots in the Galactic Empire, but exactly how the First Order came to be is never addressed in the movie. But this book explains it all.

In short: When the Rebel Alliance won the war, the two parties signed a treaty that disarmed the remnants of the Empire, effectively killing it. All that remained were some "political hardliners," according to page 8, and a few high-ranking officers who never truly gave up the fight.

There's a significant quadrant of the galaxy known as the "Unknown Regions," which has gone mostly unexplored over the years. No one knows much about what's out there. It's here that the remains of the Empire retreated to, to regroup and plan for the future.

Modern First Order officers like General Hux are second-generation members of this secluded movement, raised in an isolated environment where Imperial ideals were revered and methods (such as Stormtrooper training) were perfected.

The First Order is much smaller than the Empire was, but it built a surprisingly large military machine during its thirty years of exile, including an army that far outnumbers General Leia Organa's meager Resistance.

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Poe's familiar homeworld.

Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron
Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron with BB-8 on D'Qar. Lucasfilm Ltd.

As detailed in Marvel Comics' Shattered Empire miniseries, Poe Dameron's parents were Rebel soldiers. When the war ended, they decided to settle down with their son. They joined a new colony just established on...

Yavin IV.

Page 12 says that Poe grew up in this settlement, which was located near the same Massassi ruins that the Rebel Alliance used prior to the destruction of the first Death Star.

With roots like those, no wonder he's so loyal to the Resistance.

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BB-8's orange disks are modular.

BB-8 on Takodana. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Those orange circles covering BB-8's body? They're called "tool-bay disks," according to page 11. BB-8's six disks are interchangeable, so they can be replaced with upgraded hardware at any time, with very little programming required.

BB-8 is plug-and-play. Neat.

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The long, storied history of Maz's Castle.

Maz's Castle
Maz Kanata's Castle on Takodana. Lucasfilm Ltd.

The castle used by Maz Kanata as her neutral ground safe haven for pirates and travelers of all kinds is "thousands of years old," according to page 74.

As you can imagine, it holds its share of history from all that time that should make fertile storytelling ground for novels, comic books, or video games. But perhaps its most notorious bit of history comes from a time before the castle was built.

The Visual Dictionary reveals that the land the castle was built on is "an ancient battleground between the Jedi and the Sith." Perhaps that battle from long ago gives the area a stronger attunement to the Force, which could be why Force-sensitive Maz chose the castle as her home.

There's so much more to discover in this spectacular treasure trove.

You'll find the backstories about those criminal organizations, the Guavian Death Gang and Kanjiklub. Then there's the history of the New Republic, why the Senate was on Hosnian Prime (before it was destroyed), and the identity of the current Chancellor. Want to know how Starkiller Base was built?

It's all in there. Star Wars: The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary is available now.

Images reproduced by permission of DK, a division of Penguin Random House from Star Wars: The Force AwakensTM The Visual Dictionary ©2016 by Pablo Hidalgo. All rights reserved.