It’s hard to believe it’s already been a few months since we experienced Star Wars: The Force Awakens for the first time. We didn’t know much about Rey, Poe Dameron, and Finn before December 18, but now they’re like old friends. Don’t get me wrong, we still have plenty to learn about who they are and how they fit into the galaxy, but we’re at least acquainted with them. If you read Star Wars: Before the Awakening, you got to know the trio better. The anthology book by Greg Rucka with illustrations by Phil Noto went back in time to explore what life was like for Finn, Rey, and Poe before the events of the film.
I won’t give away all the interesting tidbits from Before the Awakening, but these are a few of the cool things we learned about Finn’s, Rey’s, and Poe’s backgrounds.
Finn, a.k.a. FN-2187, left the First Order behind after the village raid on Jakku. But what kind of life did he have before that?
1. FN-2187 was a model stormtrooper. He was praised by Captain Phasma and held up as an example to others — he even earned marks in the top one percent. In other words, he ruined the bell curve for everyone else.
2. Despite being an ideal soldier, FN-2187 was flawed in one major way in the eyes of his superiors. He was kind. He showed concern for his squad mates and that was not acceptable. His compassionate inclinations in the book were a glimpse of what we see develop in The Force Awakens.
3. He was the only trooper in his squad who didn’t have a nickname.
4. If FN-2187 and his fellow cadets had free time, they probably spent it reading or watching First Order-approved literature or vids because of course the First Order-practiced censorship.
Rey has survived alone on Jakku for years and years. She has a roof over her head and she’s learned to scavenge parts to trade for food, but what was day-to-day life like? The Force Awakens showed us the basics, but Before the Awakening went into more detail and revealed some other facts.
5. Teedo is both the name of a character and the name of a race. The Teedos on Jakku believed in a malevolent god called R’iia.
6. Rey didn’t have stores of food and water. She kept some water in reserve, hidden inside her AT-AT home, but she lived hand to mouth with portions. She was constantly hungry. When a three-day storm swept across the desert and kept her from working, she ran out of food on the second day.
7. She cobbled together a computer from crashed ships and found a data chip with a functioning flight simulator program. She used the program in her spare time, like when she was trapped by the storm, and gained experience navigating a number of different ships.
8. She recognized violence was part of living on Jakku and learned to defend herself. She had to participate in so many fights over the years she can’t remember the exact number.
Poe is the best pilot in the Resistance, maybe in the galaxy. However, he used to fly for the New Republic’s Navy. Before the Awakening went into his past and explored why and how Poe joined the Resistance.
9. The first ship Poe flew was his mother’s (you know, Shara Bey from Marvel Comics’ Shattered Empire) RZ-1 A-wing.
10. Poe spoke up to his superiors about his concerns regarding the First Order. He was dismissed because the New Republic didn’t believe the First Order to be a threat. Poe disregarded orders in order to do what he felt was the right thing.
11. Poe was part of the “victory kid” generation. These were sentient beings conceived after the Battle of Endor, when Emperor Palpatine was killed and the Empire began its fall.
12. General Leia Organa recruited Poe for the Resistance.
Have you read Before the Awakening? Head to the comments and tell me which parts you found to be the most interesting.
Amy Ratcliffe is a writer obsessed with Star Wars, Disney, and coffee. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.