I love “Star Wars.” That’s definitely not a secret to those who know me well — or have seen my collection of memorabilia at home. I even have a small Darth Vader figurine sitting on my desk at work. 😉 I’ve loved “Star Wars” for a long time. As kids, my little brother and I would run around the backyard, pretending to be our favorite characters, and as I got older, I discovered the Expanded Universe novels, introducing me to even more characters and stories.
It’s been interesting to see how “Star Wars” has captured my imagination over the years. Other interests have come and gone, or at least faded to the background. But something about “Star Wars” continues to fascinate me, and I think it will take quite a bit to top “The Empire Strikes Back” as my all-time favorite film.
So of course I’m excited — and terrified — by the prospect of a new “Star Wars” movie. I remember when it looked like “Revenge of the Sith” would be the last of the “Star Wars” films, and the most I was hoping for was that those rumors of a live-action “Star Wars” TV show would be true. Then I remember the day this announcement came seemingly out of nowhere: Disney had purchased Lucasfilm, and we’d be getting more live-action “Star Wars” movies. The follow-up announcement that one of my favorite directors, J.J. Abrams, would be directing the new “Star Wars” movie was even better.
But as excited as I am, I’m also a little nervous. All the signs are promising: the trailer looks good — REALLY good; the cast is solid, and brings back favorite characters from the original trilogy; and I’m a big fan of J.J. Abrams’ work in general (his 2009 “Star Trek” film actually sits at No. 2 on my ranking of all-time favorite movies, right behind “The Empire Strikes Back”). However, we’ve all seen films that didn’t live up to the breathtaking promise of their trailers, and there’s so much hype for this movie that the bar has been set really, really high. Abrams had a difficult task: capturing the magic of the original trilogy but also bringing us something captivating and new. The pressure is perhaps even greater now that two of 2015’s other most anticipated films — “Age of Ultron” and “Spectre” — didn’t quite live up to all the hopes fans had for them.
Still, I have purchased my tickets, and I’m planning to walk into the theater Dec. 17 (the movie officially releases on Dec. 18 but I couldn’t resist the lure of a sneak preview showing the night before) with high hopes. Until then, it’s fun to see all the fan theories and try to dissect the trailers, which tease a lot more than they reveal.
I don’t think Luke Skywalker is actually Kylo Ren, one theory that has been floating around. We haven’t seen much of Luke in the trailers (if we’ve seen him at all) and it’s true he could have gone to the dark side. I personally hope not, since I think that would rob the ending of “Return of the Jedi” of some of its power. Luke turned his father, Darth Vader, from the dark side; I don’t want to see Luke fall to the dark side himself. There are also questions of what Han and Leia are doing now, and if the film will pick up any of the plot lines from the Expanded Universe novels, where Han and Leia are married. Could the scavenger Rey and the dark side master Kylo Ren possibly be their children (Han and Leia had twins in the books)? Is Finn really a stormtrooper, or is he an undercover Rebel or Jedi? There are so many possibilities, and I hope there won’t be any spoilers before the movie, because I want to be completely surprised.
There’s just one month to go now for “The Force Awakens” and I’m definitely counting down the days. Of course I could be wrong, but I’ve got the same gut feeling I had before the first Marvel team-up “The Avengers”: this is going to be big, and it’s going to be special. Here’s hoping the Force is with J.J. Abrams, and that “The Force Awakens” is worth the wait.