3. Is this a brand-new Empire? Or a continuation of the old one?
My money is on the latter. Remember, The Force Awakens takes place 30 years after Return of the Jedi. It’s reasonable to assume that the Republic managed to wipe away all traces of the Empire, but now it’s beginning to return.
This also appears bolstered by the ruins of the Star Destroyer on the desert planet. And for further evidence, the new look of the stormtroopers also hints at a new Imperial regime that’s setting its own style.
Next: The Dark Lord Returns