Played by Simon Pegg in a nearly-unrecognizable cameo, the enormous junk dealer on Jakku seems to have been around for a while, and knows Rey pretty well, whether she likes it or not. If there’s someone who sees Rey being dropped off for the world’s worst babysitting service on the desert planet of Jakku, it’s Plutt, or at the very least, someone in his network of smugglers, slave drivers, and thieves. He could probably be convinced to talk for the price of a lowly BB-8 droid, if he survived the First Order’s assault on Jakku, but it doesn’t seem like he’d be able to run all that fast. RIP, probably, Plutt.
While The Force Awakens gives us a full complement of Star Wars characters we’ve loved since the 1970s, it also introduces us to a ton of new characters, and you can bet that every single one of them is going to get an action figure. In addition to being reintroduced to the main cast, we see brief moments with a ton of other minor characters. And while their screen time in The Force Awakens may be brief, that’s never stopped anyone in Star Wars from being really important. We’ll never forget that many Bothan spies died (offscreen) to get us those Death Star plans. Here are a few new characters who are probably more important than you realized. And be warned: spoilers ahead.
Lor San Tekka
Max von Sydow is an award-winning actor, so it seems unlikely that he’d get a brief, throwaway role as the old man who happens to have a piece of the map to Luke Skywalker’s location. He’s had dealings with Kylo Ren and Leia Organa, and he’s very familiar with the ways of the Force, so while the current mythology tells us that Luke is the only living Jedi, could it be that Lor San Tekka has a bit more of the Force in him than we can see? How do you keep that map safe for a few decades without having some of that old Jedi twinkle in your eye? Whoever this guy is, he’s got a significant role in the Rebellion and the Resistance, so we hope to see more from him, and not just as a guy who has a fancy flash drive.
When Snap Wexley appears on screen for the first time, nerds everywhere recognized him as “That Guy From Heroes,” while their girlfriends recognized him as “That Guy From Felicity.” Snap is obviously a pilot of some repute, has a history with the good guys, and seems to be this trilogy’s Wedge Antilles—or if you’re feeling sassy, Jek Porkins. So far, Snap has survived the first huge battle against the First Order’s superweapon, so he’s already got one up on poor ol’ Porky. The original trilogy hints at the importance of Wedge a few times, but never really gets into what he’s all about. It’s not as though we really need the full backstory on a lone lesser pilot, but at least it would make up for past wrongs against Wedge.
The diminutive Maz Kanata almost seems like a throwaway character, until it’s revealed that she somehow has Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber, knows about the Force, and can kinda see Rey’s destiny with her crazy optometrist goggles. Even though her ancient castle is destroyed by the First Order and Kylo Ren, she survives the assault, and seems to have the resilience to rebuild. She’s like an awesome cross between Jabba the Hutt and Yoda, and she seems to know a lot about the undercurrents of the universe, both moral and immoral, so it seems likely that she’ll be a point of reference in the future, if this new crew knows what’s good for them.
It can’t be stated enough that Captain Phasma has been a disappointment. You can’t dress a well-known actress up in really shiny armor and have her role be relegated to yelling at a guy who sucks at being a Stormtrooper and then killing millions of First Order soldiers because she doesn’t want to be shot. She obviously has some importance somewhere, but it isn’t in The Force Awakens. Once she drops the shields around the Starkiller Base, she’s never seen again, so whether or not she’s still alive is up for debate. But Phasma must have some greater meaning, because she can’t possibly be this meaningless.
If you need any proof that the First Order is still employing the greasy tactics used by The Empire, you’ll find it in Bazine Netal. When Han Solo and his new group of pals enter Maz Kanata’s castle, spies from both the First Order and the Resistance take notice and report to their respective bosses. While the Resistance gets some kind of weird robot dude, the First Order is still using space-prostitutes and mercenaries to gather their information. Even though this new version of the Empire seems extraordinarily straight-laced, they’re not shy about scraping the floors of whatever cantina they can find to get what they want. This is a surely a sign of things to come.