“There’s been an awakening… have you felt it? The Dark Side… and the light.”
Yes fanboys and fangirls, the first footage of J.J. Abrams’s highly-incredibly-totally anticipated blockbuster film sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens is finally here. Episode VII of George Lucas’s celebrated series, now controlled by Disney, opens with what sounds like The Emperor (Palpatine, the cackling, Dark Side of the Force-wielding Naboo Senator), perhaps played by Girls standout Adam Driver, menacingly uttering the above words.
Abrams’s film, which is due in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015, is reportedly set 30 years after the fall of the Empire and Darth Vader, and follows a trio of young leads—presumably played by John Boyega (Attack the Block), newcomer Daisy Ridley, and Driver. And in the trailer, we see Boyega’s character come to in the desert (Tatooine?), a spinning, R2-D2-like robot frantically beeping and booping, a battalion of Stormtroopers being deployed from a cargo plane ready for battle, Ridley looking like a young Princess Leia riding what appears to be a heavily updated version of Luke Skywalker's X-34 landspeeder from A New Hope, and Oscar Isaac as an X-wing pilot for the Rebel Alliance, a la Wedge Antilles.
There’s also a Sith Lord stumbling through the woods before drawing a crucifix lightsaber. Then, John Williams’s iconic score kicks in—he’s reprising the original one for this film—as the brand, spanking new Millennium Falcon (!) flies into view upside down and then right-side up, engaged in a firefight with the Empire’s TIE fighters over the desert.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens had a lot of its second unit photography done in Abu Dhabi, which accounts for the desert shots, while the screenplay was composed by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan, who scripted The Empire Strikes Back. And the footage from the trailer seems to confirm earlier reports that Boyega will play a Stormtrooper who deserts and teams up with Ridley’s character. Those same earlier reports also suggested that the film deals with a severed hand gripping a lightsaber that floats through space and winds up in Boyega/Ridley’s possession, who are then tasked with bringing it to its rightful owner—which brings them in contact with Han Solo and Chewbacca.
The film will see its original cast reprise their roles, including Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), and Kenny Baker (R2-D2), and be joined by Boyega, Ridley, Driver, Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow, Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, and more. Also, there is rumored to be small cameos by A-listers Daniel Craig, Hugh Jackman, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Downey Jr., if the UK gossip columns are to be believed.