Everything We Know So Far About The New Star Wars Film
Everything We Know So Far About The New Star Wars Film
Not that we have a calendar on which we are ticking off the slow, slow days, whilst pleading with the gods to make things move a bit quicker, but there are now under 250 days until the release of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Excitement has been stoked again with the release of a second trailer which has emerged this evening (watch it here) and you could rewrite the Bible many times over with the amount of speculation there's been.
Here's your definitive guide to what we know so far.
This is the main villain (probably)
Meet Kylo Ren, the villain of the piece (well, for Episode VII at least). Previously shown in the original trailer wielding his controversial cross hilt lightsaber (which, for what it's worth, we love), a Spanish fan site has shed a little more light on the character by posting the above image from some promotional artwork (which also features Storm Troopers with FLAMETHROWERS). Masked, menacing, he (or she?) has some relationship with the old Empire given the ships floating about his figure.
The New-look Stormtrooper Looks Like This
So, really not that different, but cool nonetheless. The above image was picked up by fan site Star Wars Underground although, of course, technically we'd already seen it as the first thing in the teaser trailer.
The First Trailer Is Still Very Exciting
It's now been viewed over 77 million times, which is just 1.07 billion times fewer that Justin Bieber's Baby. Look, we never said this was a fair and just world.
The Cast Includes Old Favourites and Newcomers
As revealed prior to the release of the teaser trailer: "Actors John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow will join the original stars of the saga, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker in the new film." Some of the newcomers are very new indeed - so discover 20 things you probably didn't know about them here. The youngsters are expected to be playing the children of characters such as Leia, Han and Luke, but we don't know for certain yet.
Since that initial announcement, Lupita Nyong'o, Gwendoline Christie and Billie Lourd (Carrie Fisher's daughter) have also been revealed to be playing a part. Meanwhile, Lizo Mzimba tweeted that Jessica Henwicj, James McCardle, Tony Bailey and Sam Carr are also involved. Other actors cast in unspecified roles are Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen, Christina Chong, Miltos Yerolemou, Greg Grunberg, Warwick David, Maisie Richardson-Sellers, Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Cecept Arif Rahman, Amybeth Hargreaves and Leanne Best.
Adam Driver is rumoured to be playing a Darth Vader-esque villain, Isaac a Han Solo-style role, Boyega a Jedi and Ridley the daughter of Han and Leia.
The Plot Rumours
Since you’re here, we expect you to understand you are willingly embarking on a journey into the murky world of potential spoilers. There might be truth in some of them, they might be way off – that’s the nature of the rumour beast. It’s harder than bullseyeing wamp rats in a T-16.
We know the action takes place 30 years after the Battle of Endor, portrayed at the close of Return of the Jedi. Emperor Palpatine is dead, as is his apprentice Darth Vader (c’mon, you know this).
Early rumours suggest that rather than opening with the now-iconic shot of a spacecraft lumbering through the inky black, Episode VII will begin with a hand. Luke Skywalker’s hand, tumbling through space, holding his lightsaber. The hand falls onto a desert planet (Tattooine?), before being discovered by our new cast members Daisy Ridley (probably a young Force-sensitive soul and very likely to be a central character given that she's confirmed for episodes VIII and IVand John Boyega, a Storm Trooper with Force powers looking to escape his current life.
In recognising the lightsaber as a Force weapon, the duo set off in search of the owner in the hopes of learning more about their own abilities. They encounter Han Solo and Chewie along the way, who remark that they haven't seen their old friend Luke - owner of said lightsabre - since the Battle of Endor.
Since the trailer (see above) dropped last year, fans have further speculated that Kylo Ren, the dark Jedi/Sith show briefly in the footage, could be on the hunt for Luke Skywalker.
Another element thrown into the mix parallels this idea of a "Search for Luke" story, but centring on the plight of the next generation of Skywalkers, who could be twins. The following quote, attributed the J J Abrams himself, adds further details:
"Ultimately it's about twins, and which will take a path towards darkness and follow in their father's footsteps, or at least that is what it used to be, that may come later as I think changes are being undertaken to bring the original cast into the forefront of the story leading to ramifications that lead up to the next generation of Skywalkers."
There are also some interesting noises being made about a character known in the wider Star Wars canon as The Inquisitor making an appearance. Hired by Darth Vader to hunt down any remaining Jedi, The Inquisitor and a band of Jedi Hunters have been left to their own devices after the fall of the Empire. In addition to helping some existing pockets of Empire forces, the Jedi Hunters have been on the lookout for the elusive Jedi Master Luke Skywalker.
The reason we bother to include any of these spoilers? Because Abrams had said some of them are true.
"There are a ton of rumours – some true, some false," he told the BBC. "But I'm grateful for everyone who would want to read a spoiler because it means that they care and want to see the movie. I know what it feels like, as an enormous Star Wars fan myself."
So well done you.
The Droid is Called BB-8
According to Mark Hamill - and confirmed in some style at the Star Wars Celebration Conference - he is a working remote-controlled prop and is not a CGI creation, which chimes with Rhian Johnson's assertion that JJ Abrams will be eschewing technology for more of an old-school, 'real' feel: "I think people are coming back around to [practical effects]. It feels like there is sort of that gravity pulling us back toward it. I think that more and more people are hitting kind of a critical mass in terms of the CG-driven action scene lending itself to a very specific type of action scene, where physics go out of the window and it becomes so big so quick." And while we're on the subject...
It's not just going to be a CGI-fest
A major complaint of George Lucas' prequel trilogy was the woeful nature of many of the film's CGI characters (don't mention the 'other' JJ). Yoda looked ridiculous, battles appeared lifted from video games and spaceships had an unnatural glow.
The good news is, Abrams and co. are aware of the failings of CGI - particularly in how badly it ages. Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy revealed at a Star Wars Celebration event in Essen, Germany, that there were ongoing discussions over the use of 'more practical effects': "Looking at all the Star Wars movies and getting a feel for what even some of the early films did, combining real locations and special effects – that’s something we’re looking very seriously at... It’s using model makers; it’s using real droids; it’s taking advantage of artwork that you actually can touch and feel... And we want to do that in combination with CG effects. We figure that’s what will make it real."
John Williams Is Doing The Music
Well, he didn't do a bad job first time round did he?
Episode VIII and the spin-offs are already in the works
May 26, 2017 is the next date for Star Wars fans to put in their diary, as that's when Episode VIII will land. It'll be directed by Looper's Rian Johnson (pictured above) and will launch forty years and a day since A New Hope. In addition, a standalone spin-off film, Rogue One, directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) and starring Felicity Jones, will be released for Christmas 2016. Josh Trank (Chronicle, Fantastic Four) is handling another spin-off film, with details on the project likely to be announced at the Star Wars Celebrations that take place on 16 - 19 April.