With only a week to go, excitement for the latest episode of the Star Wars saga has hit fever pitch. Before you head out to the cinema, here are 10 things you should know about the film.
1. It’s set 30 years after the end of Return of the Jedi
We’re not getting another set of prequels here, or even a series of spin-off stories. The Force Awakens takes place three decades after Skywalker and pals took down the Empire.
2.The Empire and the Rebel Alliance are no more
When Darth Vader killed Emperor Palpatine, the Galactic Empire was broken. In its shadow a new group has emerged called the First Order, bent on ruling the galaxy.
Fighting against the First Order are The Resistance, which was originally founded by Princess Leia.
3.There’s a whole new cast …
The Force Awakens revolves around an entirely new set of characters. Rey (Daisy Ridley) is scavenger on the desert planet of Jakku, and Finn (John Boyega) is a stormtrooper who turns renegade.
The casting of relative unknowns should strike a chord with fans of the original trilogy. Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford weren’t that well known prior to their roles in Episode IV.
4… but expect to see some familiar faces too
It wouldn’t be quite as special if we weren’t treated to a cameo or three. Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill are all reprising their roles in the new film.
Since the story is set 30 years after Episode VI, we now get to see an older, wiser Han Solo; a more mature Leia Organa; and a crazy, bearded Luke Skywalker.
5.George Lucas has had less control, but has given it his approval
If you check the credits on IMDB for The Force Awakens, you’ll see that Lucas is listed only as “creative consultant”. This means that he’s had less influence on the film, paving the way for fresh blood to take on the series.
Lucas has seen the finished film, and said: “I think the fans are going to love it. It’s very much the kind of movie they’ve been looking for.”
6.The film is co-written by Lawrence Kasdan (Ep. V and VI) and Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Catching Fire)
Episode V The Empire Strikes Back is said to be the best film in the Star Wars franchise, and having Lawrence Kasdan back in the writing seat should please fans of the original films.
Add to the mix Michael Arndt, who was deftly able to pen an emotional punch in the face with Toy Story 3, and we’re looking at a film that should please new and old fans alike.
7.The stormtroopers aren’t clones
In Episode II, the trooper army was made up of clones of the bounty hunter Jango Fett (Boba Fett’s dad). Since Episode II was released, fans have wondered if the stormtroopers that came after were also clones. They weren’t clones, and neither are the stormtroopers in The Force Awakens.
8.The entire history of Episodes I-VI are a secret
For those of you who’ve seen the trailers, one of Han Solo’s lines would have stood out: “It’s true. All of it. The dark side. The Jedi. They’re real”.
Everything that has happened – from the beginning of The Phantom Menace all the way up to the end of Return of the Jedi – has been covered up and turned into a legend.
Not everyone has had the wool pulled over their eyes, though. Sith Lord Kylo Ren has kept Darth Vader’s helmet as a relic, and has vowed to finish Vader’s conquest of the galaxy.
9.Jar Jar Binks will not be in this film
Director JJ Abrams has gone on record saying that the only way Jar Jar would appear in the film is as a skeleton on one of the desert planets. Fans rejoice.
10. It might actually be great.
Many of us had our hearts broken when the prequels failed to live up to the high standard set by the original trilogy. But here we have the potential for something absolutely amazing.
Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens is in cinemas from December 17th.
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