As if we needed any further reminders that Star Wars: The Force Awakens is almost upon us, Disney/Lucasfilm have released the final poster and trailer for Episode VII.The poster itself is pleasingly old school, harking back to the classic Drew Sturzan one sheets of previous Star Wars films. The prominence of Daisy Ridley's character Rey in the middle of the poster would seem to confirm that she plays a major role in the film. The same goes for John Boyega's Finn and obviously Adam Driver's Kylo Ren is the main villain, complete with laser hilted light sabre. It's good to see Han, Leia, C3PO and R2D2 on the poster but why no Mark Hamill? He's definitely in the film but his absence from the poster might add weight to rumours that part of the plot revolves around a search for the missing Luke. The addition of stormtroopers, X-wings, star destroyers and the Millennium Falcon all bode well but the sight of what looks like another Death Star is worrying. Do we really need a third film where a Death Star forms part of the plot, after all the plan to use one has already failed twice. Hopefully it's just a cheeky bit of misdirection but if it isn't, can we suggest the builders finish it quickly and cover any exhaust ports.Disney/Lucasfilm and especially writer/director J. J. Abrams have been very cagey about the release of images and information regarding the new film. Abrams is notorious for keeping key plot points secret and spreading disinformation, even if that slightly back-fired with the whole Khan revelation in Star Trek into Darkness. As far as Star Wars: The Force Awakens is concerned, much of the early images and footage regarding the film appeared to be designed to put fans' fears at rest after the terrible CGI-fests that the prequels became. Abrams has emphasised story and characters as important, he's used talented young actors and obviously he has the original cast returning. He's also stressed the importance of shooting on film, building actual sets, going on locations and using prosthetics or practical sets where possible.
As a result the first teaser, apparently released against Abrams wishes, was just a series of brief shots culminating in the fan-pleasing sight of the Millennium Falcon flying over a desert planet. The next trailer included far more shots and although actual plot points remained a mystery the epic scale of the film was apparent. Still no real footage of the original cast until the end, when we got an equally fan-pleasing shot of Han and Chewie aboard the Millennium Falcon. Now with the third and final trailer we get to see the incredible world that Abrams has created. Unlike the prequels, this looks like a genuine Star Wars film with a magical combination of practical effects and cutting edge digital technology.
The plot still remains a mystery but there's plenty of footage of the young stars, along with loads of action and more Han Solo. There's also a shot of Princess Leia but still no Luke, we guess we'll have to wait until the actual film to see Mark Hamill back in character. However the trailer itself is awesome, perfectly balancing teasing shots with excitement to generate even more interest in what is easily the most anticipated film in a generation. Of course the previous 'most anticipate film in a generation' was The Phantom Menace and that also looked brilliant in the trailers but we all know how it ultimately turned out. However the force appears to be strong with young Abrams and based upon the evidence to date he's knocked Episode VII out of the park.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in the UK on the 17th of December 2015 and tickets went on sale on the 19th of October, immediately crashing the booking systems of a number of major cinema chains due to unprecedented demand. In fact it's being reported that the opening day screenings, which start just after midnight on the 17th, have already sold out. Disney/Lucasfilm have booked every IMAX cinema worldwide for two weeks of exclusive screenings and no other major film is being released in the two weeks before or after The Force Awakens opens, giving the film the highly lucrative Christmas period almost entirely to itself. So the latest Star Wars movie is certainly going to be a hit, the only questions now are how big of a hit and can it dethrone Avatar - we'll find out in two months. Until then... just let the force in.
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