With International Star Wars Day officially upon on us, Ciaran Duggan talks the new film, the “dark times” and breaking records:
On April 16th 2015, a new trailer was released for the film entitled Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. The trailer debuted at Star Wars: Celebration Anaheim during a live panel featuring the president of Lucasfilm, Kathleen Kennedy, as well as the cast and the director of Episode VII, J.J. Abrams. The trailer received 88 million hits within the space of twenty-four hours, breaking the record for the most-watched movie trailer in this time span. It is pretty stark that the anticipation for The Force Awakens is huge, and as May 4th is upon us, it would be pertinent to reflect on the upcoming return of Star Wars to the cinematic screen.
On 30th October 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. The acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney signalled the dawn of a new era of Star Wars. The cinematic release of Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith  was deemed to be the final chapter of a Star Wars film franchise which had encompassed a total of six movies. At the time, 2005 was seen as a watershed year which would mark the climax of the franchise. This theory has been debunked, as showcased by the fandom’s endearment to the Star Wars franchise in the years spanning 2005-2012.
In 2008, a new Star Wars television series entitled Star Wars: The Clone Wars debuted on Cartoon Network: a show which has steadily evolved into a hugely popular TV series and successfully rekindled fans’ endearment to Star Wars, as well as inspire a new generation of followers. The inception of a range of Star Wars podcasts has also maintained this endearment.
The likes of the Forcecast, Star Wars Underworld & Rebel Force Radio have further stimulated fans to maintain their love for Star Wars, as these podcasts impart weekly Star Wars news. Moreover, fans were still able to interact with other fans, as well as famed celebrities, by visiting a range of events which have included Star Wars Weekends at Orlando Disneyland, as well as the ultimate fan event entitled Star Wars Celebration.
All of these examples showcase Star Wars fandom perpetually existed in the so-called ‘dark times’, where it seemed the film franchise had ceased to continue. As a result, the acquisition of Lucasfilm by Disney served to incite mainstream attention to the Star Wars saga like never before.
Since 2012, Disney have announced that more Star Wars films will debut in the form of a sequel trilogy [episodes VII, VII & XI]. Plans have also been set to air spin-off films concentrated on specific characters or events within the Star Wars universe [such as the recently previewed Rogue One]. In addition, a new popular TV Show has been released named Star Wars: Rebels which has epitomised the mainstream audiences’ revived interest in Star Wars fandom. Moreover, the ultimate fan event – Star Wars Celebration – recently took place in Anaheim. Anaheim Celebration has been labelled as the biggest Celebration yet, as the attendance for the event amounted to the highest of any prior Celebration – 70,000.
These instances all serve to commemorate and celebrate the pop culture phenomenon which is Star Wars. The following of the franchise has never been bigger or better since its inception in 1977. It is incontrovertible that the release of The Force Awakens will break box office records. The force remains ever present and palpable with the Star Wars saga.
You can watch the first official teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens below:
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