Star Wars; synonymous with epic storytelling, dazzling visual and special effects and the genius of the unique universe created by George Lucas. However, it is a universe currently experiencing an awkward and risky period, where money rules and the ghosts of previous ventures haunt it.
These ghosts in the eyes of Star Wars fans are the prequels; ‘The Gungan Menace’ and ‘Attack of the Merchandise’, also known as Episodes One and Two. These films are still passable as purely entertaining romps but when compared to the ground-breaking, generation-defining original trilogy there is a clear lack of something.
What that something is has been debated over. Some say the relatable, heroic characters that gave the original films such personality were missing. Others suggest that George Lucas had lost himself in the universe and was now pushing more abstract ideas that had been originally turned down by the studio (such as Luke Skywalker being envisioned as a short, green alien called Starkiller). Others suggest that the money poured into these films meant the unique live and practical effects were lost, and the realisation that the merchandise for the film could make vast amounts of money, setting up the numerous products eclipsed the importance of a good story.
Though it is unclear why these films were below the expected standard for a Star Wars film, the memory of them hangs over the upcoming film, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Will the ever growing toy and video games industry come to influence the films artistic choices? Can the money of new franchise owners, Disney, really breathe life into a series of films that reached a natural end? How much of George Lucas’ vision and already well-developed universe will remain and be used?
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These questions have been partly answered by the series of trailers and press releases over the past year or so, culminating in the two and half minute spectacular released on 19th October that has attained in excess of 51 million views at the time of writing.
Familiar faces appeared in the trailer and have been a core part of the advertising campaign for the film, particularly with Harrison Ford making several television appearances and being name dropped frequently by the team involved. Icons such as the Millennium Falcon and X-Wings screamed across the screen in a cacophony of explosions and screeching ion engines (a slightly more technical point for the Star Wars enthusiasts). New characters such as the dark Kylo Ren have continued to build suspense about the exciting new direction of this upcoming trilogy.
The trailer is simply sublime and well balanced, offering a scintillating, appetite-teasing masterpiece that has got many lukewarm and non Star Wars fans intrigued. It has silenced some critics and tells us that we should be excited, not fearful, of this brave new venture.
The trailer gives us a good indication that J.J. Abrams and Disney have combined perfectly to bring viewers something new, something old and something the Star Wars universe has been clamouring for for a long time…a new hope.
By Arran Byers