13 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

The year of Star Wars will be topped off by the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. This is what you need to know before the movie actually launches. 

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2015 is the year of Star Wars, with the universe getting new life in it thanks to countless new productions created by their new owners, Disney. George Lucas’ creation seems safe in the hands of the mega-corporation who also owns Marvel, Pixar, and countless other big names in the industry, and the new productions include books, TV shows, comics, video games, and of course, movies, The first one of these, which is announced for December 17th 2015 is the much touted seventh episode, and it’s full name is Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Many more will come out yearly, all the way up to 2019, but here’s the first few things you should know about these productions before entering the movie theater whether you’re a huge or casual fan.

The new movie is being directed by J.J. Abrams

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens JJ Abrams

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For the first time ever, there is going to be a Star Wars movie not directed by its creator George Lucas. Ever since the release of Star Wars Episode 3 viewers had been wondering how much of the magic was the responsibility of George Lucas himself. Now, after Disney (who are also behind Marvel and Pixar) bought the rights to the saga off of him, we’ll get an original, new take from the director we already know from the hit TV show Lost and from the last two Star Trek movies, JJ Abrams himself!

The Internet doesn’t really know how to feel about it as of now, and while everyone is incredibly hyped to see his take on the Star Wars universe, there’s still a group that can’t get over how different his Star Trek movies were when compared to the originals. While some users are ready to scream failure (“if he doesn’t get the movies right, we’ll call him JarJar Abrams!”), we are confident he will create a worthy successor. We already think Kylo Ren and Rey look amazing, amongst other characters,

The movie’s official title is Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

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For the longest times, fans referred to this film as “Star Wars Episode VII”, but throughout the year more bits and pieces of information kept coming, and now we can confirm that the official title is Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, but will sometimes be referred to as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. A lot of official merchandise such as action figures, puzzles, and more already feature this name, and with the release date so close, there is just no going back.

Filming is already done

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII Han Solo

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The movie has already finished shooting, and is now in post-production stages with no reshoots scheduled. The whole process took some six months, with the photography stages starting on May 16, 2014 and ending the first week of November in 2014. The movie was filmed in a variety of countries and locations such as Ireland, in the Skellig Michael island or Abu Dhabi’s desert, but the majority of scenes were taken from the English studio Pinewood Studios, which had to be expanded just so this movie could be created. Harrison Ford (Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and so many other beloved characters) was famously injured in a work accident, but the movie was luckily completed without having to delay the release date at all.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will feature the entire original cast

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII Hamil Ford Fisher

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Good news, everyone! The three main leads from the original trilogy are back reprising their roles. Mark Hamill will be back as not-so-young-anymore Jedi master Luke Skywalker, Carrie Fisher will reprise her role as Princess Leia, and Harrison Ford will again become the most beloved intergalactic smuggler, Han Solo. While Ford and Fisher had been making movies all these years, Hamill had kind of retreated and became a voice actor for several TV shows and videogames (being Batman’s The Joker his most well-known role),

With the new movie taking place oficially 30 years after the Battle of Endor in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, all of the original leads get to reprise their roles as aged versions of their own characters along with several newcomers that will bring a breath of fresh air to the series. Apparently, Ford only had to slip into his Han Solo clothes to be ready for the film, but both Hamill and Fisher had to undergo some training and lose weight before they were considered ready to play their parts. Oh, well, that’s Hollywood for you.

There is a spectacular official trailer

An official trailer was shown on TV on October 19th, 2015, during the half-time of an NFL game, and apparently this was enough to shatter all ratings expectations. Right afterwards, the video was uploaded to YouTube where it already has over 48 million views. Below you can enjoy this new trailer featuring some of the newcomers and some of the classic characters we talked about above. One thing we’d like to point out? Luke is nowhere to be seen in this trailer, and his movie look and role seems to be one of the highest kept secrets.

There are several new heroes

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens features at least two new heroes (at least, we assume them to be heroes as of now, but with this saga, you never know). They are, as of now, known as Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley), with no last names revealed – could they be the son or daughter of any characters from previous films? Regardless, Finn seems to be a (former?) Storm Trooper who also has been training to wield lightsabers, which is interesting as hell. On the other hand, Rey seems to be a scavenger who roams the desert along with BB8, the robot who is kind of like the new R2-D2. Rumor has it that these characters might meet as Finn tries to find Luke Skywalker’s old light saber, the one he lost in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Good thing there’s a scavenger in this movie, right?

There is at least one new villain

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens Kylo Ren

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Darth Vader and Palpatine both died at the end of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, with the first having found redemption after a climatic duel with Luke Skywalker. And while their shoes are going to be hard to fill, newcomer Kylo Ren seems to have the makings of a legendary villain and one of the most memorable designs in the saga since Darth Maul. We don’t know a lot about Kylo Ren yet, but his character is played by Adam Driver in the movie, and he sports the all-black with red light saber look of the Sith, along with a mask that hides his real face. Yet, the most interesting bit about his design is the crossguard above the handle of his light saber, which is apparently a more ragged version of Star Wars’ most iconic weapon.

Many of us saw him and immediately assumed he was a Sith, but the official descriptions say he is a member of a secretive order called The Knights of Ren, which formed after the events of Return of the Jedi, and who all take the surname Ren just like the Sith took the moniker Darth. We expect great things from Kylo, and there definitely seems to be some potential here.

The X-wings are coming back

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens Poe Dameron

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The latest Star Wars Trilogy and assorted productions might have skewered some fans’ preconceptions and made it seem like Star Wars is a series of movies about the Sith, Jedi, and their eternal conflict, but the truth is the original films were about rebels trying to survive a war against an Empire, and most of the action happened when spaceships battled it out X-wing against Tie Fighter, and not necessarily when two characters fought light saber in hand.

JJ Abrams and his team seem to be decided to bring some of this magic back to the films, so one of the main new characters is going to be Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), defined by the actor as “the best fricken pilot in the galaxy”. Apparently, he gets a mission from “a certain princess” to do something, but as of now, we’re not sure what this entails. His cocky demeanor, though, already reminds us of a certain smuggler, and we can’t wait to see what his interactions with Leia look like…

R2-D2 and C-3PO will return

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These two droids and Anakin Skywalker (you know, the villain formerly known as Darth Vader) had been the only characters that showed up in each and every Star Wars movie to date. Now, with Anakin dead, they are the only ones who will have been in seven Star Wars theatrical releases, which is quite a feat by itself. Regardless, it’s not like characters stop showing up in the Star Wars universe just because they’ve died, this isn’t Game of Thrones.

Back to the topic of droids, though, we have absolutely no idea what roles they will play, but apparently they will be separated, as R2-D2 seems to be somewhere with Luke Skywalker, while C-3PO is… well, we don’t know where he is. A protocol droid would be useful to a diplomat, though, and one of the main characters happens to be a rebel princess, so we kind of imagine he will be around there. We can confirm that C-3PO is going to be played by Anthony Daniels, just like in all the other movies, so he will definitely have his recognizable voice and mannerisms.

The Empire isn’t done just yet

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The Empire didn’t leave Endor’s moons unscathed, having lost its two main leaders (Darth Vader and Darth Sidious aka the Emperor) and its greatest battle asset, the Death Star. Regardless, the Empire is huge and it would take more than one blow to bring it down, no matter how hard that blow was. Ever since that battle, the Empire has reformed itself under the leadership of a group that calls themselves “The First Order”, out of which Finn might have come from. Rest assured, then, this movie will have Stormtroopers, Tie Fighters, and all that good stuff, and it’s not like the Rebels have already won.

There is an official poster by Drew Struzan

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Several key members of the staff were brought back to the fold for this new entry in the Star Wars series, and just like (to no one’s surprise) composer John Williams is writing the score for this film, another great return was recently announced as the poster artist Drew Struzan revealed an incredible, official piece to promote these new movies, because it just wouldn’t be the same without him. Struzan had actually retired and had to be talked into agreeing to this piece, but once he finally did, it was as if all the pieces had fallen in place. The poster is a really cool throwback to the first trilogy, which at the time was a throwback to old serials, and depicts a lot of interesting bits and things from the story. The bottom left corner shows an aged Han Solo with a bunch of X-wings on a light background. The centerpiece features both Rey at the center and Finn right behind her, while the top right has a space themed background featuring the new baddie Kylo Ren.

There is also a more traditional poster

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A second poster also exists, and it also features a lot of interesting details. This poster is quite fun, as the biggest parts of it are devoted to newcomers Finn, Rey, and Kylo Ren who seem to be the heart of the new film. What’s more, each one of them features a light saber or weapon of their own, so it seems Rey will be anything but a damsel in distress, which is quite cool. Right under them, we start seeing familiar faces with Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewie and the droids, but also newcomers Poe Dameron and the adorable BB8 who has already inspired one of the cutest drones we’ve ever seen. Besides them, the background seems to be comprised of spaceships with a Millennium Falcon and several X-wings taking a huge chunk, along with some empire Tie Fighters and other assorted ships. The bottom features a row of Storm Troopers along with the credits and release date, but as any fan with a keen eye might have noticed, there is something missing: Luke Skywalker is nowhere to be seen, despite the fact that Hamill’s name is the second-billed one in the movie poster, even before Carrie Fisher’s or any of the newcomers. What are you playing at, Disney?

Even more movies are coming out

10 Things You Should Know About Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens Rogue One

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is the first Star Wars movie in over a decade, but Disney didn’t just buy the franchise to release a simple trilogy. The company of the mouse seems to have huge plans for its future, and along the future Star Wars Episode VIII (coming out in 2017) and Star Wars Episode IX (coming out in 2019), there are going to be a series of self-contained films releasing over time so there is at least one Star Wars film coming out every year for the foreseeable future. The other confirmed movies, as of now, are Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016), which seems to be about a team of X-wing pilots, an Untitled Han Solo Anthology film coming out in 2018, and an Untitled Boba Fett Anthology film that has yet to be announced.

Disney already has some experience with this production model for movies thanks to their work with the Marvel cinematic universe, which is pretty coherent and smooth, packed with references to other movies, and working together to build up to specific events. We don’t know yet whether these anthology movies will affect the main new trilogy somehow, but we predict they will be tangentially referenced, and mostly be self-contained films. Regardless, they all sound pretty exciting, and we’re particularly interested in Star Wars Rogue One, which already has many actors confirmed including the amazingly talented Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) and Diego Luna (Y Tu Mamá También, The Terminal, and many more).

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