It’s been a long, long time for Star Wars fans. But Episode VII - released in cinemas December 18 - is shaping up to be the movie the prequels should’ve been. Narrowing down our excitement about the new trilogy is a task worthy of the most highly trained Jedi, So here are the (appropriately enough) seven things we’re most excited about Star Wars: Episode VII.
1. It’s in the hands of a real fan
We’re eternally grateful to George Lucas for bringing us Star Wars in the first place, and modern filmmaking owes an immeasurable debt to the foresight and talent of George, but looking at Star Wars Episodes I-III, however, it would be difficult to argue that he wasn’t totally in sync with what people love about the original trilogy. With all its mentions of trade embargoes and the truly awful jar jar binks it wasn’t star wars’ finest hour. That’s not to suggest there weren’t great moments in the prequels, but they were few and far between. Episode VII director JJ Abrams, on the other hand, was 11 when the first Star Wars came out and that fan boyishness has stayed with him and comes across in everything we’ve seen of the movie so far. His work in rebooting the Star Trek franchise speaks for itself, so we can’t wait to see what he does with this new space universe. Go JJ!
2. The OLD gang are back!
There was a surprising lack of fan service in the Star Wars prequels. It wouldn’t have made sense to include Han Solo or Luke Skywalker given the time frame the movies were supposed to take place in, but the prequels lacked the nostalgic quality we’re expecting to see when Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford step back on screen in Episode VII. Any one of those moments alone will likely get a bigger reaction than anything we’ve seen from any of the prequels.
3. The return of practical special effects
Less is more with CGI these days and fortunately it seems that the makers of Episode VII feel exactly the same way, since leaked set pictures showed a giant, pig-like puppet creature, supposedly manned by no fewer than five puppeteers. Is this what all the aliens in the new saga are going to be like? We hope so. Sure, puppets come with their own limitations, but these always seemed to inspire filmmakers to come up with creative solutions rather than falling back on making everything look uber CGI – something moviegoers can really spot these days in modern movies.
4. The Millennium falcons return
The trailers for The Force Awakens have been pretty light on detail, one thing that they do feature prominently is the return of the Millennium Falcon, the most iconic spaceship in Star Wars history. This isn’t exactly a surprise given that the Millennium Falcon survived the ordeals of the original Star Wars trilogy, but rumours have made it clear that the ship will feature heavily in the newest film. Abrams made a wise choice in making the initial teaser trailer’s longest scene a shot of the Falcon flying over the familiar deserts of Tattooine. Accompanied by John Williams’ legendary score, this shot appeals to every fan’s nostalgic love for the Star Wars of old. It’s a seemingly small addition but the return of the falcon is a gesture of goodwill calculated to sell the movie to disenfranchised viewers. Whether that includes an older, gruffer Han Solo or a newer, younger pilot remains to be seen.
5. New HOT BOYS
One of the most exciting prospects of The Force Awakens is that a whole new cast of characters will be introduced, as the film takes place about 30 years after the last chronological film in the franchise, 1983’s Return of the Jedi. Even better, the cast for the new film is filled with talented totty. Oscar Isaac, strongly believed to be playing the lead character, is one of aTEEN’s top picks and has an impressive resume so far, including the title character in the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis, and even more exciting is that he’ll be the villain apocolapse in the next X-Men movie! Joining Isaac is Adam Driver (Girls), John Boyega (Attack the Block, 24) and Domhnall Gleeson (Harry Potter, The Revenant). It’s refreshing to see some actors who are not quite household names – but judging by the level of hype surrounding The Force Awakens, that is sure to change.
6. There’s still more to come….
And now we have more! 2016’s Star Wars spin-off movie has been given a title – Star Wars: Rogue One. Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will direct the standalone Star Wars movie and in the official announcement, it’s described as ‘the first film in a unique series of big-screen adventures that explores the characters and events beyond the core Star Wars saga’. Woop! woop! Furthermore, Felicity Jones has been confirmed for the movie. The title does tie into rumours of the film involving a pre-A New Hope heist story. Story details haven’t been confirmed, though.
And if that wasn’t exciting enough, Star Wars: Episode VIII will follow a bit sooner than we thought. We assumed it was being lined up for release in December 2017, but the actual release date is now in line with the 40th anniversary of the release of A New Hope. Star Wars: Episode VIII will arrive on May 26th 2017. Looper director Rian Johnson is confirmed as the writer and director of the movie. After that, Fantastic Four and Chronicle helmer Josh Trank will be tackling another standalone Star Wars movie, Phew!