I have vivid memories of seeing the trailer for The Phantom Menace for the first time, and dissolving into a puddle of tears and emotion. Of course, it was 1998, so it was on the big screen instead of on my phone, but the new trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens still had the same effect all these years later. You can see the trailer on the big screen this weekend in front of any movie at 30 select theaters across the country, or you can see it right now right here. Check it out below and read on for my thoughts and analysis.
The news that many of us have been waiting for has finally arrived: the cast for the new Star Wars movie has been announced! And while at this point there wasn’t a lot of doubt that some of the cast from the original trilogy would return, it’s still fantastic to see it confirmed, especially when accompanied by this awesome photo from what appears to be a script reading. So lets get the big news out of the way first. Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Organa), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), Kenny Baker (R2-D2) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) will all be reprising their roles in at least the first film of the new trilogy!
I’ve never had a spot on the anti-Star Wars prequels bandwagon. When The Phantom Menace came out in 1999, I was 14 and a huge Star Wars fan. I was too young at the time to go to a midnight showing, so I had to wait all day to see the film that evening, and I could not sit still. By the time the 20th Century Fox fanfare started playing, I was in tears, and stayed that way through most of the film. I remember everyone in the theater enjoying it immensely, laughing and cheering throughout, and I saw it again two days later. Needless to say, I’m a Star Wars fanboy, and while my 28 viewings of the Star Wars saga films in the theater are not anything close to a record, it’s safe to say that I was in no way disappointed by the prequels.
With the announcement that Disney and Lucasfilm will be making (at minimum) Episodes VII-IX, many people have found themselves revisiting that last Star Wars films that were released, giving the internet new justification for one of its favorite pastimes: prequel bashing. Many of these have been presented as “Lessons J.J. Abrams Can Learn from the Prequels” containing a list of grievances against the film. IGN recently featured an article of this type, and I want to address some of its complaints. I’m going to do my best to set aside my fanboyism because I truly feel that Episodes I-III are great films, and have been unfairly maligned in the last 14 years.