I'll throw in a few more lines here for good measure.
[NO SPOILERS AHEAD—WAIT, JUST KIDDING]
PREDICTION: Han Solo dies. At the very least, someone you care about from the original trilogy will not survive to the end of this trilogy. Probably two or three characters, really. Maybe the droids.
PREDICTION: Copious callbacks to the original trilogy that straddle the line between reverence for the original trilogy and pandering to the fans who love anything that references the original trilogy.
RESULT: I was sure I'd get this one right, but I had no idea how right I'd be. If you take out all the sections that closely parallel anything in the original trilogy, you almost don't have a movie. If nobody told you the name of the planet, you'd swear Jakku was Tatooine. Starkiller Base is the Death Star carved into the planet Hoth. There's a lot of time spent running around wooded areas that look like they'd fit right in on Endor. The whole adventure starts with Stormtroopers chasing a droid with critical information across a desert. Somebody with no gunnery experience uses a turret to fend off TIE fighters. The Millennium Falcon flies through the guts of an Imperial vessel in a high-stakes action sequence. People use the Falcon's secret cargo compartment in the floor as a hiding place. There's a confrontation on a catwalk over a huge chasm. The inside of Maz Kanata's castle bears a striking resemblance to the Mos Eisley cantina, complete with one of the heroes chartering a ship out of there. The Rebels plot an assault from their tiny base and suffer heavy casualties in a major battle. The heroes go sneaking around an Imperial stronghold. One of the heroes gets grabbed by a tentacle monster. Need I go on?
The Force Awakens has the courtesy to do its homages respectfully, and everything familiar has a meaningful twist that keeps it from being a straight rehash of the other movies, but man alive. We tolerate it now because it's so well done, and because we've been craving a thoughtfully planned and superbly executed new Star Wars film since 1983 (or 1980, if you're one of those people). In time, I expect The Force Awakens will become the Mega Man 3 of Star Wars marathons—the one that's fine on its own, but a little tiresome when you realize how much of it you just saw.
PREDICTION: A sudden realization that the actors from the original trilogy are way older than everyone else in the movie.
RESULT: I am relieved to say that I mostly got this one wrong. There's a broader age range than I was expecting, with a good mix of middle-aged and older actors rounding out the cast of young'uns (heck, one of the characters is 1000 years old!), and the younger actors demonstrate a maturity I'm no longer accustomed to seeing from their demographic in the cinema. What could have been another case of "Look, Leonard Nimoy! Anybody remember him?" ended up being a graceful merger of old and new. I also credit the costumers and makeup artists, who captured that 1977 fashion aesthetic and updated it to look just contemporary enough not to feel dated—one look at Poe Dameron's hair, and it's like we were prepping for the Death Star trench run all over again. Everyone looks like they belong in the same universe.
However, I credit myself with a minor victory here. The first time you see BB-8 and R2-D2 together, the latter really looks like a relic of a bygone era of sci-fi. It's less pronounced once Artoo is moving around again, but I've never seen everyone's favorite astromech droid look so much like a quaint old prop made from a trash can.
PREDICTION: Ideas repurposed from the old Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends).
RESULT: I'll admit that I'm not well-versed enough in the Expanded Universe to catch everything that might've been in the movie, but Han and Leia having a Force-sensitive child, Luke training a new generation of Jedi, and Stormtroopers being used by a new regime in the wake of the Empire's collapse are all part of the old Expanded Universe. I was kinda hoping for Mara Jade, but there's still time.
PREDICTION: An earnest attempt to convince you that the prequels aren't all bad.
RESULT: Well, you can't win 'em all. I found no trace of the prequels here, aside from the marketplace scene toward the beginning reminding me a bit of Phantom Menace. Though, to be fair, all that time spent reimagining parts of the original trilogy left no room for an attempt to convince us that the prequels aren't all bad.
PREDICTION: The heroes get captured, because that's pretty much a requirement nowadays.
RESULT: Yep. Poe, BB-8, Rey, Finn, Han, and Chewie each get captured by the end of the movie (and Rey almost gets captured once as well). For bonus points, the heroes turn the tables and capture Captain Phasma to shut down the shield generator (oh, and there's another original trilogy parallel—somebody's gotta shut down a shield generator). Fortunately, being captured is usually an inconvenience that serves as an opportunity for character development, and it never sidetracks the heroes on some elaborate escape plan that interferes with the main plot (I'm looking at you, Doctor Who).
PREDICTION: Despite starring a woman and a person of color, the film will still manage to screw up equal representation.
RESULT: I am so happy I was wrong about this one. The film goes out of its way to throw gender, race, and age conventions aside and give every character an equal chance to shine. Hollywood has needed a big-name movie to remind the general public that a woman can be strong without being an indestructible man-hating machine, a black man can hold a leading role in a film that makes no mention of skin color, and people over age 70 can be in good enough shape to be action heroes.
PREDICTION: The soccer-ball droid will have more charisma and depth than at least one of the other main characters.
RESULT: I would argue that BB-8 has a smidge more depth and charisma than Poe, but that's probably because the former has more screen time. As suggested above, the characters feel like people, and for once, the novelty character doesn't steal the spotlight from everyone else.
PREDICTION: LENS FLA—oh, wait; wrong film. A moment where you could swear you're watching one of the Star Trek reboot movies.
RESULT: The Force Awakens is a film by people who are clearly passionate about Star Wars and who also know what they're doing. Although the film never once reminded me of the Star Trek reboot movies, it gave me a glimpse of what Star Trek 2009 could have been like with different writers and a J.J. Abrams who had grown up loving the franchise. All that near-rehashing of old material I mentioned above? That's exactly what you do with a reboot. Star Trek could have been the homage melange with heartwarming character beats, and Star Wars could have been the brand-new story with a few references to old material here and there, and everyone would have been happy. I might've gotten this prediction wrong, but the result is eye-opening.
PREDICTION: No matter what the movie is like, the fan community will not be able to agree on whether it's any good.
RESULT: It's still too early to say too much on this point, but so far it looks like I'm right on the mark. A little bit of Googling reveals that the film is indeed polarizing among at least a small sample of fans, with most loving it and a few hating it—little or no middle ground.
For my part, I enjoyed the movie. More than I expected. Despite a small twinge when I saw his name pop up in the credits, I'm proud of J.J. Abrams—and everyone involved—for doing Star Wars justice. The film isn't perfect, and I'll need to rewatch it after this trilogy is complete to draw final conclusions about it, but it does a lot of things well that Star Wars—and Hollywood—have needed to do well for a long time. It is my hope that The Force Awakens will be a stepping stone that helps move us beyond squabbling over casting choices and directorial decisions and puts our focus as fans and filmmakers back on telling and enjoying a good story in that galaxy far, far away.