EPISODE VII News Blast: Who Is Max Von Sydow? Where Does Daisy Ridley Live? And More!

Here's a face full of STAR WARS scoops. 

While I was away at Fantastic Fest I didn't think too much about Star Wars, but now that I'm home I've poked some of my sources and have been getting interesting intel in return. I have for you today a trio of intriguing tidbits, none of which are spoilery. You may very well see big time confirmation of some of this stuff soon. 

First up: Max von Sydow! We know he's in the movie, but who is he playing? According to my sources von Sydow is playing a key character who gets the story in motion. 

Remember that I told you the movie begins with the discovery of the lightsaber? Well, it isn't Daisy Ridley who discovers it but rather a blue alien guy. He brings it to a salvage yard where Kira - that seems to be what Ridley's character's name is, or at least what they're calling her on set - sees it. She's hanging out there with von Sydow, who is an old cyborg dude, a guy who maybe has dementia. He talks a lot of nonsense. But as soon as that lightsbaber shows up, he gets lucid. He recognizes it. He begins to talk about the old days, name drops a couple of Prequel Trilogy characters, even. And then, after Kira and the alien leave he makes a call to a mysterious figure. "It's here," he says. But who is he calling? 

That would be a spoiler!

Next: Kira's got a pretty cool place to call home. She lives inside an abandoned AT-AT, knocked over on its side. Remember, AT-ATs are 'all-terrain,' so while we saw them only on a snow world, they would work just as easily on the desert planet where Episode VII opens. 

UPDATE: MakingStarWars also has this information, and they've described the AT-AT in much greater detail than I have patience to do.

Finally: You know all those shots from Greenham Common Air Base, with the X-Wing fighters and the Millenium Falcon? That's a familiar location - it's the Massassi Temple from the original Star Wars. Yup, they're back on Yavin IV. 

Ok, here's one bonus piece of info: there are pieces of concept art that show Chewbacca with a cybernetic hand, having lost it in a battle sometime after the events of Jedi. Will that be in the final film? I don't know - there's other concept art where he's got both furry hands intact. 

And one final thing: I'm still hearing almost nothing about Leia. What role does she have in this movie, if any?