Your ultimate guide to everything we know and don't know about Star Wars Episode VII so far

(AP)
Think of the new film as a puzzle. A very slow puzzle.
It won't all fall into place for more than a year, but director JJ Abrams knows how to keep our curiosity piqued. As more pieces emerge we're beginning to see what "Star Wars: Episode VII" is going to look like, slowly but surely.

After the latest exciting announcement that Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie have joined the cast, let's take a look back to remember which details we know already and which remain as hard to see as the dark side.

The Date
What we know: Thank goodness we know the official release date, December 18, 2015. That's one year, six months, two weeks and one day from today. Not that anyone's counting.

The Name
What we know: It will start with "Star Wars Episode VII:" (Or at least, it better. Don't let the "Roman numerals confuse me" camp win, Abrams).

What we don't know: The rest of the name. There's a rumor that the working title is "The Ancient Fear," but that hasn't been confirmed officially.

The Story
What we know: It's set 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi, the 1983 film that's last chronologically.

Along with Abrams, Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan is writing it, so hopefully it won't disappoint. No pressure with everyone talking about it 18 months in advance, right?

In case you missed it, here's the teaser the duo posted on Star Wars Day, May 4.



What we don't know: Just about everything else. But that's part of the fun, right?

The Cast
What we know: A very full-looking cast list has been announced, yay!


The new episode will feature a gold mine of oldie-but-goodies brought back to life: Han Solo, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3PO will all be played by their original actors.

There's also plenty of new-ish-comers that will have Millennial geeks rejoicing. In addition to Brienne from Game of Thrones and the woman who stole the show at the Oscars, expect to catch Bill Weasley from Harry Potter, Gollum from Lord of the Rings and Adam Slacker from HBO's Girls.

Mark Hamill (Luke) told the Hollywood Reporter last year not to expect the veterans to dominate the screen time. "We'll be the link to the past, but the kids will be doing the heavy lifting." 'Kids,' cute Mark.

What we don't know: Who any of the newbies will be playing.

The Team
What we know: Even if everything else is somehow an absolute failure, the score will still be music to our ears. Legendary John Williams, who has scored just about anything Star Wars-related you can think of, is at it again. And guess what? He doesn't know any more about the story than we do.


What we don't know: What George Lucas thinks... about anything. Billed only as a "creative consultant," Lucas has been pretty hands-off, at least publicly.

The Look
What we know: Original trilogy fans, rejoice! TMZ obtained first-look set photos, and it looks like this effects team is going back to basics, leaning heavily on the tools they have for live-action. Who knows, maybe Luke will have a flashback and we'll get to be reunited with puppet Yoda.

Update: TMZ has more photos, and these new set pieces will be familiar to fans. While there is no official confirmation, I think it's safe to say that we can expect either the Millennium Falcon or a ship that looks a whole lot like it.

We also know that one lucky fan will get to see the set before the rest of us. Disney and Lucasfilm recently announced its charitable initiative, Star Wars: Force for Change, will sponsor one lucky fan's trip to play a part in the movie.


What we don't know: No official trailers or posters yet. Abrams and the Star Wars team will, of course, time these carefully.

Which announcement has made you most excited so far? What details do you wish they'd hurry up and announce already?
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