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Star Wars: The Force Awakens is the seventh episode of the Star Wars saga. Production was announced by George Lucas in 2011, years after initially claiming that the story of Star Wars ended with Return of the Jedi. In 2012 Lucas sold Lucasfilm, along with the entire Star Wars franchise, to The Walt Disney Company who then assembled a new team to rework Episode VII to their own design. This marks the start of a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, and effectively reboots the franchise by casting off the old Star Wars Expanded Universe, opening the doors for new stories to take place in various media.
The film was widely anticipated and went on to break several box office records, and is currently the third highest grossing film of all time, behind Avatar and Titanic (unadjusted for inflation, as of February 2016). It won a Bafta for Best Special Visual Effects at the 2016 British Academy Film Awards, and was the American Film Institute's Movie of the Year for 2015.
The Force Awakens is set roughly 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi and follows new heroes Rey, Finn, and Poe Dameron, as they assist the the Resistance in the fight against the evil forces of the First Order, which has risen from the ashes of the defeated Galactic Empire.
Daisy Ridley, the actress who portrays Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars Episode VIII has revealed that she knows the identities of her characters parents, as she put an end to speculation that Rey's mother would be Jyn Erso from upcoming anthology film Rogue One.
There has been much speculation surrounding the Rey's parentage, and this has remained one of the unanswered mysteries of the Star Wars sequels. Additionally, director JJ Abrams added further fuel to the fire by revealing that Rey's parents are apparently not present in The Force Awakens. Abrams remained cryptic about the truth, however, stating only that "I can’t possibly say in this moment who they are. But I will say it is something that Rey thinks about, too."
This would appear to rule out the big three, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo, meaning that Rey and Kylo Ren may not be related as many fans have speculated.
Update: JJ Abrams has since clarified his statement by telling Entertainment Weekly that Rey "doesn’t discover [her parents] in Episode VII. Not that they may not already be in her world". So, it is once again open season on speculation in that area.
Despite claiming to know who Rey's parents are Ridley does not seem to think it is that big a deal anyway, instead focusing on the story of Rey finding her own place in the present. Star Wars Episode VIII is said to have a darker tone than The Force Awakens, but has not revealed whether her character will indeed become a fully-fledged Jedi after her meeting with Luke Skywalker.
Rogue One is due in cinemas 16 December 2016, with Star Wars Episode VIII releasing on 15 December 2017.
So a few days ago, ILM released a link to their portfolio of concept art drafted up for The Force Awakens.
It's really quite interesting to see how closely the film actually got to these concepts... and which ones didn't.
Plus, the artwork is just freaking beautiful.