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When watching a Star Wars film, we get the sense that every seemingly insignificant cantina patron or X-Wing pilot is carrying with them untold stories, and that’s exactly what makes the franchise’s universe so rich. It’s also why the Expanded Universe is appealing to passionate fans; we get to learn more about ridiculously minor elements of the movies that are only tangentially connected to the main characters. For example, a random dude running by during the Cloud City escape in The Empire Strikes Back receives a full name (Willrow Hood), an elaborate personal history and plenty of devotees at every convention.

Even after the sale of Star Wars to Disney, this love of background characters has carried over into the new franchise, and The Force Awakens is jam-packed with Willrow Hoods of its own. Many appear during the Maz’s Castle sequence, J.J. Abrams’ tribute to the cantina scene in A New Hope, while others scuttle past Rey on Jakku.

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When the movie was first released in December, little was known about these passersby, but now, thanks to the release of dozens of canon books, many extraneous players now possess hilariously detailed backstories.

From that red robot pirate Finn speaks with in Maz’s Castle to an alien who does nothing but stand behind Rey on Jakku, here are 8 characters from Star Wars: The Force Awakens who already have crazy origin stories.

May 22, 2016
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