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'Star Wars': The Story So Far...

Here’s what you need to know before watching ”Episode VII”

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Episode I (1999)
The Phantom Menace
Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) rescue Queen Padmé Amidala of Naboo (Natalie Portman) from the invading Trade Federation. Qui-Gon frees Tatooine slave boy Anakin Skywalker (Jake Lloyd). Padmé retakes her home planet, but Qui-Gon is mortally wounded by Darth Maul (Ray Park).

Episode II (2002)
Attack of the Clones
Obi-Wan discovers the existence of a clone army and is snared by separatist leader Count Dooku (Christopher Lee). The teenage Anakin (Hayden Christensen), Padmé, R2-D2, and C-3PO try to rescue Obi-Wan but are captured. Yoda arrives with the clone army to save the day. Anakin and Padmé secretly marry.

Episode III (2005)
Revenge of the Sith
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid) persuades Anakin to come over to the dark side and gives him a new name: Darth Vader. Anakin is horribly burned following a lightsaber fight with Obi-Wan. Padmé dies after giving birth to twins, Luke and Leia, who are separated and hidden for their own safety.

Episode IV (1977)
A New Hope
The grown-up Luke (Mark Hamill), Obi-Wan (Alec Guinness), C-3PO, and R2-D2 team with smuggler Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and first mate Chewbacca to rescue Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) from Vader. Luke joins the Rebel Alliance and destroys the Empire’s Death Star, aided by the now dead but still wise Obi-Wan.

Episode V (1980)
The Empire Strikes Back
Luke receives Jedi training from Yoda while Han and Leia hide out at Cloud City, ruled by Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). Gazoinks, it’s a trap! Leia tells Han she loves him. Han says, “I know.” Han is frozen in carbonite. Vader reveals to Luke that he is his father, and severs Luke’s hand during a lightsaber duel. Also? Cliff from Cheers.

Episode VI (1983)
Return of the Jedi
Luke orchestrates the rescue of Han from the pudgy clutches of Jabba the Hutt. The Lando-led Rebel ships destroy the replacement Death Star. Vader kills the evil Emperor but is fatally injured. A celebratory Ewok dance party ensues.

The Rebel Alliance
No hacks allowed. The minds behind Episode VII are all masters of the creative force.

Ben Burtt
Sound Designer
The father of modern sound design, Burtt worked on the first Star Wars trilogy and used a groundbreaking blend of altered real-world sounds, adding texture to characters and objects: Darth Vader’s gasping breath, Chewbacca’s soulful roar, R2-D2’s droid babble, and the hum and crash of battling lightsabers.

Michael Kaplan
Costume Designer
Kaplan is new to the Star Wars universe, after his years in the realm of Abrams’ Star Trek reboots. As we wait to see how three decades alter galactic fashion (are brown robes still “in” for Jedis?), this film reunites the costume designer with Harrison Ford after their work together on 1982’s Blade Runner.

Dan Mindel
Cinematographer
Mindel, who teamed with Abrams on the Star Trek films and Mission: Impossible III, has revealed that the new trilogy will jettison George Lucas’ all-digital approach on Episodes II and III. These new Star Wars stories will be shot on 35mm film, just like the old ones, to create the visual warmth and grittiness that purists love.

John Williams
Composer
This was news worthy of fanfare: the announcement at a Star Wars fan gathering last summer that John Williams will return to compose the music for Episode VII. Williams, now 82, has made an indelible mark on epic moviemaking, from Jaws to Superman to Harry Potter. But Star Wars may be his most unforgettable of all.