Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) is a 2015 American epic space-opera film produced, co-written and directed by J. J. Abrams. It is the first installment in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, following up the story of Return of the Jedi (1983), and the seventh episode of the nine-part "Skywalker saga". It was produced by Lucasfilm Ltd. and Abrams's production company Bad Robot Productions, and was distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film's ensemble cast includes Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens follows Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron, and Han Solo's search for Luke Skywalker and their fight in the Resistance, led by General Leia Organa and veterans of the Rebel Alliance, against Kylo Ren and the First Order, a successor to the Galactic Empire.
The film was announced after The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012, and was the first Star Wars film to not extensively involve franchise creator George Lucas, who only served as a creative consultant in the early stages. The film was produced by Abrams, his longtime collaborator Bryan Burk, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, co-writer of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983), rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, the composer for the previous six films, returned to compose the film's score. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabi and Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and at Pinewood Studios in England, and wrapped in November 2014.
The Force Awakens was widely anticipated, and Disney backed the film with extensive marketing campaigns. It premiered in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015, before its wide release in the United States on December 18. The film received praise for its screenplay, direction, acting performances (particularly those of Ford, Driver, Ridley, and Boyega), musical score, visual effects, and action sequences, although some critics found it derivative of the original trilogy. The film broke various box office records and became, unadjusted for inflation, the highest-grossing installment in the franchise, the highest-grossing film in North America, the highest-grossing film of 2015, and the fourth-highest-grossing film of all time, with a worldwide gross of over $2 billion and a net profit of over $780 million. Among films' box office adjusted for inflation, it is the top-grossing sequel of all time in North America. It received five nominations at the 88th Academy Awards and four nominations at the 69th British Academy Film Awards, where it won the award for Best Special Visual Effects. It was followed by The Last Jedi in December 2017, and was be followed by The Rise of Skywalker, which was released in December 2019.
As a new threat to the galaxy rises, Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, an ex-stormtrooper, must join Han Solo and Chewbacca to search for the one hope of restoring peace.