The all-too dreamy Oscar Isaac gets all-too little screen time as crack Resistance pilot Poe Dameron in The Force Awakens. An infinite supply of fan art featuring him and Finn together in what is obviously a canon relationship assuages his absence somewhat, but we can always do with more.
Unfortunately, the biggest piece of tie-in material about Poe doesn't actually feature him in-person even once. Instead, the comic book miniseries Star Wars: Shattered Empire focuses on the eventual hero's parents getting it on after the destruction of the second Death Star.
Well, they do other things, too. Like go on a theme park ride of interactions with the original trilogy's principle cast. Shara Bey -- Poe's mother -- and her husband -- Kes Dameron -- are instrumental in the early days of "Operation: Cinder." That would be Emperor Palpatine's dead man's switch for punishing the galaxy in the event of his death. This included him borrowing the Weather Dominator from Cobra Commander, and attempting to obliterate his own home world of Naboo.
That would have been fine (no more Gungans!) except that Bey and Leia were there on a diplomatic mission at the time. They handled it, of course, but that wasn't the end. Shara also helped Luke return a pair of Force-sensitive trees -- yep -- from Palpatine's post-mortem clutches. Meanwhile, Kes helped Han uncover the plans for Cinder in the first place, allowing for some much needed reinforcements at the battle over Naboo.
Poe had already been born at this point, though he's no doubt adorable baby self is nowhere to be seen. Partly because of him, and partly because the pair were entirely too horny, Shara and Kes mustered out of the rebellion in order to become the only healthy, happy couple in their galaxy. Years later and after his mother's death Poe would discover her important role in the Alliance, only to defect from the New Republic and into Leia's Resistance.
Maybe this relatively non-tragic background is what made Poe into basically the best catalyst for friendship The Force Awakens' main cast could have asked for. Maybe not. Maybe it's just because ohmygod aren't he and Finn precious together? Either way, we're happy Kes and Shara blessed the galaxy with his handsome chin, perfect hair and expert hugging skills.
We know precious little about Supreme Leader Snoke, even through the new expanded Star Wars universe. It's clear that Disney wants to keep this enigmatic ruler just that for the time being. What we do know, besides the obvious clues in The Force Awakens, mostly comes from The Force Awakens' visual dictionary, and its novelization by Alan Dean Foster.
The lack of new plot in these particular tomes doesn't make the minor clues they offer any less tantalizing. For instance, Snoke isn't a Sith. To the best of our current knowledge, that lineage went the way of Jabba's Rancor following the deaths of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine. He does, however, chomp one Leia Organa's flavor as a "Force-sensitive."
This allows him to see the potential in Ben, a.k.a. Kylo Ren, and begin turning him to the side of the First Order. Note that I didn't say the Dark Side. It seems that what Snoke sees in his ostensible apprentice is a blend of light and dark, good and evil, that makes him stronger than either. We know from The Force Awakens that Ren/Ben is all about that internal turmoil. It seems that Snoke would rather encourage this conflict rather than douse it.
And it seems Snoke is in a position to know. He's been active since at least the Clone Wars, and had several apprentices before seizing on Skywalker blood. As if it wasn't obvious already you can probably count on this meaning that Snoke is somebody quite important to the past of the Star Wars universe.
At the very least these little tidbits set Snoke apart from his imperious predecessor. Hopefully, the latter movies will reflect this and keep him from seeming like an inferior Palpatine knockoff. Clearly something must be done in order to get people to stop laughing at his name.