There’s been an awakening in the nerds. Have you felt it? If you haven’t, the gist is this: Star Wars is back. Big, bold, and set to storm cinemas all over again. Following Disney’s acquisition of the franchise in 2012, the film comes courtesy of director J.J. Abrams, best known for Star Trek and Lost, and his infamous tendency towards lens flaring. So how’s it looking? A handful of teasers and big, fan-servicey trailers say it’s looking pretty fucking good. (Understatement of the Year, right there).
What we know so far is this: the film takes place some years after the end of Return of the Jedi. Without the (other) Death Star, Darth Vader, or the Emperor, the Empire has lost a degree of control. However, Kylo Ren – a would-be Sith lord with an apparent fascination for Vader himself – intends to pick up the pieces. Into the mix is swept Finn, a Stormtrooper with a conscience; Rey, a scavenger girl from a very Tatooine-esque dustbowl world, Jakku; Poe, a pilot in the Rebel Alliance, and a number of returning favourites including Han, Leia, Chewie, C3PO, R2D2 and the Millennium Falcon (she counts as a character, okay?).
"A handful of teasers and big, fan-servicey trailers say it’s looking pretty fucking good. (Understatement of the Year, right there)."
There’s also some distinctive shots of derelict Star Destroyers, crumbling hulls embedded in desert sands, as well as sneak peeks at the Stormtrooper’s rebranded armour including one distinctive and distinguished Captain Phasma. Imposing in dark chrome armour and black-on-red shoulder-cape, she’s portrayed by geek-favourite Gwendoline Christie, best known for her stunning (and endearing) performance of Brienne of Tarth. This and many other things are shaping it into a very, very promising film indeed.
As for what we can expect from the plot, it’s looking like Finn’s turn from the Empire might be followed by a turn to the Force, as some brief shots show him facing off against Kylo’s distinctive crossblade sabre with a blue one of his own. Rey, however, is our primary protagonist, and ties to the Skywalker family will ostensibly bring her into the universe’s lore, perhaps rising from humble backwater origins to shape the destiny of the galaxy. Where have we seen that before, I wonder?
There’s two more sequels in the works, too, meaning there’s not just the reputation of a legendary (and, in the last decade or so, controversial) franchise on the line, but its future prospects. J.J. is confident he can deliver, as are the rest of the cast, and frankly I see no reason to doubt it. There’s a lot to look forward to on December the 17th, when we lucky Brits get our taste of Star Wars’ return to the silver screen a day ahead of America. And there won’t be a single fucking Gungan in sight.