This is a guest post courtesy of Elizabeth Eckhart. Thanks Elizabeth for the insights and StarWars.com for the images!
Star Wars is more than a movie franchise; it’s a billion dollar empire. With fans clamoring for everything and anything even remotely connected to the series – from home goods and toys to theme park rides – it’s no wonder that the latest Star Wars film is one of the most highly anticipated movies of the year. Fans even participated in a huge event, Star Wars: The Force Awakens Week, which amped up the excitement surrounding the premiere about ten levels and nearly broke the Internet. It’s clear that everyone is waiting for something quite epic this go-round.
So, what can we expect to see in The Force Awakens? For one, there will be less CGI and more practical effects. However, fans needn’t worry: although there will be less CGI, the action, amazing aerial battles, and stunning vehicle designs that the franchise is known for will be present. Filming of The Force Awakens took the cast and crew around the world, from the deserts of Abu Dhabi to England’s Pinewood Studios. That the latter actually made additions to its building to ensure it was large enough to handle the production signals that we’re in for some spectacular effects.
One very exciting fact about The Force Awakens is that it will bring some new characters to the screen. John Boyega will take on the role of Finn and Oscar Isaac will play Poe Dameron. As the trailers and leaked info have confirmed, we’ll also be getting a strong female lead in the form of Rey, played by Daisy Ridley. At least four additional new characters will be involved in the plot, including a villain who is supposed to live up to the legacy of Darth Vader. As if all of this wasn’t enough, there will also be several new worlds added to the mix in The Force Awakens, including Hosnian Prime, D’Qar, Jakku, and Tokodana.
The Force Awakens – or Episode VII, as some prefer to call it – takes place 30 years after the conclusion of the Battle of Endor and all that happened in Return of the Jedi. To give The Force Awakens the authenticity it needs to be a part of George Lucas’ trilogy, the age and histories of mainstay characters such as Han, Luke, and Leia were factored into the plot.
Speaking of Leia, she’s apparently dropped the title of “Princess” and is now referred to as “General Leia” in the new movie. This development likely reflects her power and command as a leader of The Resistance, and should be a welcome change among fans. Those who are new to Star Wars movies should probably catch up with the previous classic films – with all that will be coming at us in this latest story line, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for veteran Star Wars fans to take a refresher course as well.
One big question that has surrounded the latest addition to the franchise is this: why is Luke Skywalker MIA from the film’s teasers and trailer? Does this mean that he’s going to be a villain instead of a protagonist now? Are they really going to find his hand? Is Luke’s absence the result of some super-complicated contractual or film rights deal? No one has been able to confirm any of the many rumors swirling around, but since The Force Awakens is about to hit theaters, it won’t be long before we all find out. What can be said for sure is that Mark Hamill will reprise his role as Luke Skywalker and the character will be getting some screen time.
Since A New Hope premiered in 1977, an innumerable amount of spin-offs and merchandise have been produced, keeping the franchise alive and well. From television shows like Star Wars Rebels and Star Wars: Droid Tales, available through DirecTV and Disney XD, to comic book miniseries such as Lando by Charles Soule and Chewbacca by Gerry Duggan, Star Wars has become a legendary pop culture series. Evidently, it will continue to live up to its legacy with more films to come.
With sci-fi veteran J.J. Abrams directing and co-writing this movie, it’s pretty much inconceivable at this point that The Force Awakens will be anything less than incredible. Fans had been waiting and wondering whether the franchise itself would be awakened with the addition of a new movie for some time, and we’re all finally about to get what we’ve been asking for.