If you feel a disturbance in the Force, it’s millions of voices suddenly crying out the new title of Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens.
The reveal comes as the movie finishes its final day of shooting (with many more months of post-production to come).
Now the heavy-duty fans will weigh in, and their judgment tends to be far less forgiving than The Emperor or Darth Vader. The one thing we can all agree on is it beats the hell out of The Phantom Menace, and although it strikes a little close to the vanilla side, it may be reassuring to some who are glad the new trilogy is going tried-and-true rather than skewing campy, vague, or avant-garde.
It does raise one question: Has the Force been … slumbering? We certainly saw it help Luke Skywalker launch those proton torpedoes into the thermal exhaust port of the original Death Star, and as “Weird Al” Yankovic sang in his immortal Kinks spoof Yoda “I picked up a box / I lifted some rocks / While I stood on my head.” The Force was certainly at work there, right. And the Dark Side was getting a workout helping Darth Vader crush windpipes of the people who disappointed him.
But remember Han Solo dismissing talk of the Force with “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.” Maybe this energy that binds the galaxy together has only been visible to a select few, while the denizens of the galaxy put their faith in the science and technology of interstellar travel?
Whatever the case, the Force is hitting the snooze button for now. We won’t know the full story until 13 months from now.
The cast and crew of the J.J. Abrams film already celebrated their wrap party last weekend, although sources told EW there were still a few days left before the cameras at Pinewood Studios outside London. The shoot — spanning from the deserts of Abu Dhabi to the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, England — was anything but smooth, having been thrown into crisis after Han Solo himself, Harrison Ford, broke his leg on set in an accident involving a falling door on the Millennium Falcon.
The set was also plagued by spoiler leaks — or was it? The flow of rumors and apparent concept images has been non-stop, but how much of it is accurate remains an open question. The grapevine got the title wrong, with some fan sites such as Ain’t It Cool News grabbing headlines by reporting that it had confirmed the film would be called The Ancient Fear.
Of course, Return of the Jedi was filmed under the fake title Blue Harvest, a common technique on high profile films to remain slightly more low-key. (The Avengers, for instance, was nicknamed Group Hug.)
The new Star Wars film, which picks up three decades after the events of Return of the Jedi, is headlined by original trilogy stars Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Kenny Baker (R2-D2), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), with new additions including Lupita Nyong’o (the best supporting actress Oscar-winner from 12 Years a Slave) and Gwendoline Christie, the 6-foot-3 British actress best known as the female knight Brienne of Tarth from Game of Thrones.
Other new additions include Adam Driver (Girls), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), John Boyega (Attack the Block), newcomer Daisy Ridley, performance-capture maestro Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), and the imperious Max von Sydow from The Exorcist.
Hype is already underway. C-3PO star Daniels recently tweeted this expectation-setter:
Episode VII, er … The Force Awakens, produced by Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and veteran Abrams collaborator Bryan Burke, is set for release Dec. 18, 2015.
So do you like this title, or would you rather kiss a Wookiee?