Star Wars The Force Awakens is only 17 days away. In two and a half week's time, you'll know the fate of the galaxy post-Palpatine and how successful Luke has been in bringing balance to the Force.
But until we get the full details in theaters on December 17 and 18, the team at DICE, the developers of Star Wars Battlefront, may have given us some key plot points with the new map called the Battle of Jakku that will be a pivotal scene in the new film.
Gamers around the world got their first look at the Tatooine-like desert planet at a Battlefront event held in London and livestreamed on Twitch. The event, which pit pro-gamers Vikkstar123 against Ali-A in a best of three match in a new game mode called Turning Point, gave us a tantalizing look at what is being called "the end of the Galactic Empire as we know it."
(It's worth pointing out here that the Battle of Jakku will be offered as free DLC for Star Wars Battlefront, starting tomorrow for those that preordered the game, or one week from tomorrow for those that didn't.)
If you don't want one second of the new film or its plot spoiled for you, tread carefully. However, if you want to know why Jakku is the Battle of Hoth for the new generation, read on young padawan.
The battle takes place one year after Return of the Jedi
Let that sink in for a minute. While it's been years (decades?) since you saw the Emperor fall into the reactor and Vader finally relinquish the control of the dark side, it's only been one year in the Star Wars universe.
That means the universe is still mostly owned by the Empire, including this little rock of a planet called Jakku. So what makes this Tatooine clone so worthwhile of a spot to wage a Battle of Hoth-sized scrimmage over?
Long story short, an Imperial Captain crashed her Star Destroyer on Jakku to stop the recently established New Republic from getting information on Imperial strongholds. The Imperials had a strong advantage over the worn-down Rebel Alliance, and it was thought by Imperial command that they might be crushed if the bulk of the remaining forces were brought on en masse.
Cue a long battle, the crashing of ships and general destruction, and the Rebels win the day, albeit taking more casualties than they'd like.
That should wrap everything in a nice bow, except…
There's a second Battle of Jakku
Take one look at the map and it's clear that even for a desert planet located in the Western Reaches of the galaxy past the Inner Rim, Jakku is a literal wasteland. Seriously, it looks like something out of Mad Max.
Speed up 29 years and because of the earlier battle the planet's surface is covered in wreckage before the fighting really begins, and it really only gets worse when the Empire tries to pull a Braveheart and stages a last stand there.
Turns out 29 years is a pretty significant amount of time. That would put Luke at a ripe, old 52 years of age (our best estimates put him around 23 years old at the end of the third film) and Han would be pushing 60.
But the main characters aren't the only one's who have changed in that time.
The Empire, as seen in the trailer for the new film and on Jakku, is only a small fraction of what it once was. It no longer has a death grip on the universe and the Battle of Jakku is the last critical battle against the remnants of the old Galactic Empire.
'The end of the Galactic Empire as we know it'
Said in the trailer for the new map, this line proves that Jakku is going to be one of the most pivotal points in the new film - in size and importance comparable to the Battle of Endor or the Forest Moon of Endor.
But while every previous major encounter between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire has included one or more of the main characters (Luke, Leia, Han or Vader), Jakku is strangely hero-less. Apparently, according to Star Wars Battlefront lead level designer Dennis Brännvall, this is intentional.
During the match between Vikkstar123 and Ali-A, Brännvall said that at this pivotal moment, no heroes were around to save the day and that they had other priorities to take care of in other parts of the galaxy.
Now, what could be more important than fighting the last sect of the Empire I have no idea. But those were his words, not mine.
'Our victory over the Empire on Endor was just the beginning'
Here's another interesting quote from the new DLC trailer. While everyone who's read an expanded universe novel knows that the fight against the Empire didn't end the day the Emperor died, 29 years is a long time to be fighting against an enemy without a leader.
Sure, we have some idea that Finn, Rey, Kylo Ren and Phasma must fit in here somewhere, but even today's Battlefront event didn't have the answers we were searching for.
If you're looking for some predictions, though, fan theories include that this trilogy will be about the Dark Side balancing the Force - i.e. the bad guys win something for once - and that Luke might finally fulfill Yoda's prophetic warning of turning into a Sith.
Until we gain Force-like abilities to see into the future, the only way we'll find out what happens during the Battle of Jakku is to play it for ourselves when the map goes live for those that preordered the game tomorrow.
- Want more on Battlefront? Check out our Star Wars Battlefront review!