If we were pressed to make a complaint about the wonderful [Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](tag:711158) it would probably be that there just wasn't enough of it, goshdangit. Though we got a pretty solid plot (even if it was a little bit too A New Hope-esque) there's still a great deal of character backstory we'd like to discover; but sadly there just wasn't enough time in the film, that's the nature of cinema.
But of course that's why we have tie-in media like the numerous official novelizations, the comic books (which are excellent and you should totally check them out), and the Star Wars Visual Dictionary. Taking a peek at these sources does fill in a lot of backstory for us, you just need to do the legwork.
Oh wait, no you don't 'cause we've done it for you. Check out our guide to the minor Star Wars 7 characters you really should get to know.
Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o)
It may seem a bit unfair to call Maz Kanata a minor character given that she plays a pretty important role as the guardian of Luke Skywalker's (Mark Hamill) lightsaber, which she then passes onto Rey (Daisy Ridley), but she certainly could've used a bit more fleshing out.
What we do know about Maz is that she's very, very old, like, older than Yoda. According to Star Wars canon she's at more than a thousand years of age when she appears in The Force Awakens, and possibly the oldest living being in the galaxy. Which makes her a pretty big deal. She's also Force sensitive — though she never trained as a Jedi — and has watched the struggle between light and dark for centuries. She hid her Force sensitivity until the death of Emperor Palpatine, after which she set out to track down Luke's lost lightsaber.
She was supposed to have more of a presence in the film, accompanying our heroes to the Resistance base after her castle is destroyed by the First Order, but scenes with her handing Luke's lightsaber off to General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) were cut from the final film. At least from that we know that Maz Kanata must have survived the First Order attack, which means we'll hopefully see more of her when Star Wars 8 rolls around.
Lor San Tekka (Max von Sydow)
Poor Lor San Tekka, we didn't get to see much of him in The Force Awakens, mainly because Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) showed up pretty sharpish to make him very dead indeed.
But what about the life of Lor San Tekka? He was a member of the Church of the Force, an underground religious group comprised of those who followed the Jedi ideals but were not Force sensitives themselves. The Church believed that the Jedi would again return in order to bring balance to the Force, hence why Lor San Tekka was assisting the Resistance in finding Luke.
Through the Church he investigated the history of the light side of the Force, becoming known as a master of Jedi lore. He was also an experienced explorer, visiting even the most remote areas of the galaxy throughout his life. He assisted the New Republic in knowledge gathering after the Battle of Endor, and was a longtime ally of both Luke and Leia. He also knew Ben Solo as a boy, before he became Kylo Ren, as he taunts him with mention of family before his death.
When Luke disappeared, he began seeking the map to find the First Jedi Temple, and eventually discovered a fragment which he passed to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and BB-8 just before his death.
Jessika Pava (Jessica Henwick)
Though Jessika Pava didn't have a huge part in the film, she's become very popular with the fanbase due to the fact that she's the first female X-Wing fighter pilot that we see in the Star Wars movies, and one of the few who has spoken dialogue.
An admirer of Luke Skywalker for his skill at piloting, Pava flew as the T-70 X-wing fighter pilot Blue Three during the attack on Starkiller Base. Before the Awakening reveals that she joined the Resistance in her late teens or early twenties, and in The Weapon Of A Jedi she has an encounter with C-3PO, who tells her stories of Luke's heroics during the war.
FN-2199 (David Acord / Liang Yang)
Another minor character beloved by the fanbase, the stormtrooper FN-2199 — nicknamed "Nines" in Before the Awakening and affectionately known in Internet memes as TR-8TR for his famous "Traitor!" line — actually has a lot of backstory with Finn / FN-2187 (John Boyega) in the book.
A redheaded First Order stormtrooper who himself displays some reluctance in killing innocents, he trained with Finn as part of a unit under Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). Following his comrade's defection to the Resistance, he singles Finn out at Maz Kanata's castle and challenges him.
He was shot by Han Solo — wounding him — and as of now we're still unsure whether or not he survived the battle.
Unkar Plutt (Simon Pegg)
Simon Pegg's sneaky cameo role as Jakku junkboss Unkar Plutt hasn't gone unnoticed by fans, especially as Rey's flashback shows that he's the one she was left with when her family abandoned her on Jakku. Clearly, he harbors no love for the Scavenger though, as he sends his thugs after her more than once.
Before the events of The Force Awakens, Unkar spent his days swapping survival rations for scrap in the Concession Stand at Niima Outpost, and at some point stole the Millennium Falcon which lay dusty in his scrapyard.
In the The Force Awakens's novelization, it's revealed that he tracked Rey and Finn to Maz's castle with a group of thugs and attacked her in an attempt to get the Falcon back. Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) wasn't having any of this though, rescuing Rey and ripping off one of Unkar's arms in the process. Don't mess with a Wookiee.
Korr Sella (Maisie Richardson-Sellers)
Korr Sella is an interesting one because, though she has a pretty detailed backstory with Leia, she's only in The Force Awakens for a moment before she gets blown the hell up.
The Visual Dictionary and The Force Awakens novelization reveal much about her backstory; a commander in the Resistance, Korr was Leia's envoy to the New Republic and the Galactic Senate. However, the warnings she took from Leia to the Senate regarding the First Order went largely ignored, and she was present on Hosnian Prime — the Republic Capital — delivering one of these warnings when the planet was obliterated by the First Order and Starkiller Base, ending her life.
It was a shame we didn't get to see an interaction between Korra Sella and General Leia in the movie as this would've lent some more weight to the destruction of Hosnian Prime — a planet which we didn't have much emotional investment in when the Republic was destroyed.