Thanks to a 1979 London Evening News headline, May 4th is forever deemed Star Wars Day and the “force” is awakening around the world to celebrate. Anticipation is palpable for the December 18 debut of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the latest installment in George Lucas’ historic series, which is being released by Disney. The release of a new trailer by director J.J. Abrams, at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, has the fan force whipped into a feverish lather, reaching a crescendo today.
The headline in that sleepy, London evening paper years ago concerned the election of British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and said “May the Fourth Be with You, Maggie. Congratulations.” A grassroots effort to draft the colloquialism by aficionados of the sci-fi film transformed May 4 into yearly opportunity for the celebration of the all things Lucas. The enthusiasm is even grander with the year-end, long-awaited release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Sneak Peak At New Characters
The June issue of Vanity Fair will treat fans to a first look at some of the characters and their amazing costumes. Famed photographer Annie Leibovitz took a crew to Pinewood Studios in London, to take some pictures of the new characters in Abram’s flick. Mystery always surrounds Star Wars releases but this photo shoot let a few secrets out of the bag for fans.
Girls star, Adam Driver, makes his first appearance in the series as bad dude, Kylo Ren. Black is back as Driver wields the latest rendition of the light saber while he fronts a band of snowtroopers. Lupita Nyong’o will portray the CGI character, Maz Kanata. Images of Nyong’o with optical tracking dots covering her face like stars from a distant galaxy are sure to excite fan-boys and girls, alike in expectation of her portrayal of a rogue pirate.
Rounding out the cast is the veteran, Harrison Ford, reprising his role as Hans Solo; surely cause for the force to awaken literally and figuratively around the world to celebrate Star Wars Day.
Abrams Nervous To Direct Iconic Ford as Hans Solo
Even with an impressive directorial portfolio himself, J. J. Abrams lamented that he was somewhat trepidatious at the thought of directing the one and only, Harrison Ford, in a role that is thought to be one of his defining characters. Abrams considers Ford to be one of the greatest actors in film history, period. Even as a broken leg from a vintage plane crash sidelined Ford for a period during the filming, his influence and determination to recover galvanized the cast and crew. Abrams reports that Ford came back “with a fire in his eyes.”
Abrams is proud to be associated with this new release, and remembers his first experience of George Lucas’ creations vividly. Seeing those titles trace across the screen reminds him of the “incredible characters” and “amazing universes” that made him believe in other worlds. He acclaims Lucas’ brilliance in a way that brought hope and heart to the screen.
New Planets and Old Veterans For This Installment
The sneak-peek trailer gifted fans with a look at inhabitants of the new desert planet, Jakku. This portion of the trailer featured actress, Daisy Ridley, as the character, Rey, piloting her speeder across the arid plains of this new location. Long-time fans will find comfort in the musical contribution of veteran composer, John Williams. His themes have provided the soundtrack to the Star Wars franchise from the beginning. Likewise, veteran writer and longtime franchise associate, Lawrence Kasdan, worked with Abrams in the writing of the screenplay.
New and old fans alike have even more to herald this day, with the upcoming Christmas-time movie release. Around the world as well as in galaxies far, far way, the force is awakening in a powerful celebration of Star Wars Day.
By Chris Marion
Photo by Jiuguang Wang – Creativecommons Flickr License