Last week’s broadcast of Monday Night Football spoke to jocks and nerds alike. During halftime of the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants, ESPN aired a full-length trailer for the upcoming sci-fi film “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Needless to say, everyone lost their collective minds.
The seventh installment in the beloved Star Wars saga, “The Force Awakens” looks to resurrect a franchise that many feel saw its best days in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The first three releases — “A New Hope,” “The Empire Strikes Back” and “Return of the Jedi” — were well-received by critics and moviegoers alike.
“I grew up watching those three movies,” said Matt Hurst, a BYU senior and avid Star Wars fan. “It’s hard to figure out how much of my love for them is nostalgia and how much is the quality of the movies, but I think they might be three of the best films of the 20th century.”
The new film is set approximately 30 years after the events of “Return of the Jedi.” It will feature a new selection of lead characters alongside many of the characters for the original trilogy. Actors Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher are slated to reprise their roles as Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
The original Star Wars trilogy gained a devoted following upon its release. Fans of the films had to wait almost 20 years for a prequel trilogy — “The Phantom Menace,” “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith.” The three new films were considered to be a near-universal disappointment.
The screenwriting was panned, the computer-generated imagery was criticized and the acting was openly mocked, particularly that of Hayden Christensen, who starred as Anakin Skywalker. Hurst said the first trilogy is a lot better than the second.
“There were definitely things in the newer trilogy that could have been improved upon,” added junior and Star Wars fanatic Brycen Bingham. “But such is life. I’m not looking to critique too much.”
The general consensus of the Star Wars fandom is that the franchise was ultimately harmed by the last three movies, so it’s understandable why many bristled at the announcement of a third trilogy. But that skepticism has been largely tapered by the sheer awesomeness of the full-length trailer that was released last Monday.
“I almost cried when I saw it,” said Mason Blackham, a junior studying statistics. “It looks like it’s full of everything that made Star Wars great… I was worried about these new movies, but I’m not anymore.”
Hurst agreed that the trailer hearkened back to what worked for the original trilogy. “It looked like they’re going back to the feel and look of the first movies, and that’s resonating with fans,” he said. “They’re very conscious of past mistakes and you can tell they’re respectful of the legacy they have to live up to.”
Hurst added that if the movie disappoints fans, director J. J. Abrams will be forever known as “Jar Jar Abrams” among the Star Wars faithful — a reference to the universally hated “Phantom Menace” character Jar Jar Binks.
Still, not much is known about the upcoming film. “The trailer was awesome because it had enough to keep us interested and excited, but it didn’t give away too much,” said Bingham. “I could see it being bad, or good. I don’t know. But it’s going to be a moneymaker, that’s for sure.”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is scheduled to be released on December 18.