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Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars The Force Awakens Theatrical Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by J. J. Abrams
Produced by
Written by
Music by John Williams
Cinematography Dan Mindel
Edited by
Distributed by Walt Disney Studios
Motion Pictures
Release dates
  • December 14, 2015 (2015-12-14) (Los Angeles premiere)
  • December 18, 2015 (2015-12-18) (North America)
Running time
135 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $200 million[2][3]

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an upcoming American epic space opera[discuss] film directed, co-produced, and co-written by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. The story is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983).

The Force Awakens is the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, announced after The Walt Disney Company's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012. The film is produced by Abrams, his long-time collaborator Bryan Burk, and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy. Abrams co-wrote the film with Lawrence Kasdan, who co-wrote the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi. Abrams and Kasdan rewrote an initial script by Michael Arndt. John Williams, composer and conductor of the previous six films, returns to compose the film score. Star Wars creator George Lucas served as creative consultant during the film's early production stages.

The Force Awakens is produced by Lucasfilm and Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and will be distributed worldwide by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Filming began in April 2014 in Abu Dhabi and Iceland, with principal photography also taking place in Ireland and Pinewood Studios in England. Disney has backed the film with an extensive marketing campaign, and it is expected to break box office records with projected profits exceeding $1 billion. The Force Awakens will be released in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 18, 2015, more than ten years following the release of the franchise's last installment, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).


The Force Awakens is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi, and features new leads Finn, Rey, and Poe Dameron alongside characters returning from previous Star Wars films.[4]


  • Harrison Ford as Han Solo.[5] Of Han, Ford has stated that: "He does not aspire to the position of Obi-Wan, nor do I aspire to be some New Age Alec Guinness. His development is consistent with the character, and there are emotional elements which have occasioned his growth,"[6] while too adding that, "There's a lot of the rogue still left in Solo. Some things don't change."[6]
  • Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.[5] Regarding Luke, Han and Leia, Abrams stated: "They'd be as old and as mythic as the tale of King Arthur. They would be characters who they may have heard of, but maybe not. They'd be characters who they might believe existed, or just sounded like a fairy tale."[7]
  • Carrie Fisher as General Leia Organa.[8] She is referred to as General Organa, rather than Princess Leia.[9] After the events of Return of the Jedi, she is described as "[being] a little more battle weary, a little more broken hearted."[10] Fisher herself describes Leia as "Solitary. Under a lot of pressure. Committed as ever to her cause, but I would imagine feeling somewhat defeated, tired, and pissed", while Abrams revealed: "The stakes are pretty high in the story for her, so there's not much goofing around where Leia's concerned [...]"[11]
  • Adam Driver[5] as Kylo Ren, a dark warrior strong with the Force, originally a member of the Knights of Ren, and commander of the First Order.[12][13]
  • Daisy Ridley as Rey,[5][14] a scavenger on the desert planet Jakku.[15] Ridley said: "She's completely self-sufficient and does everything for herself, until she meets [Finn] and an adventure begins."[15]
  • John Boyega as Finn,[5][14] a redeemed First Order stormtrooper.[15][16] On receiving the role, Boyega stated that he learned he obtained the part "over a nice breakfast in Mayfair" where he stated Abrams exclaimed, "John, you're the new star of Star Wars."[17] Boyega stated: "When we find Finn, he's in incredible danger. And the way he reacts to this danger changes his life, and launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way."[15] Of Finn, Boyega has stated: "He's been taught about [Luke], he knows about his history. For him it's like joining the army and then learning about one of the great enemies of your country."[18] He is in possession of the lightsaber that once belonged to Luke, and to Anakin before him.[7]
  • Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron,[5][14] a Resistance X-wing pilot.[15][19] Isaac said: "He's the best freaking pilot in the galaxy... He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess, and he ends up coming up across [Finn], and their fates are forever intertwined."[15]
  • Lupita Nyong'o[20] as Maz Kanata, a pirate.[19] Nyong'o has stated of Kanata: "She's lived over a thousand years. She's had this watering hole for about a century, and it's like another bar that you'd find in a corner of the Star Wars universe."[21]
  • Andy Serkis[5] as Supreme Leader Snoke,[22] Kylo Ren's master and a powerful figure of the dark side.[23] Serkis describes the being as "[...] quite an enigmatic character, and strangely vulnerable at the same time as being quite powerful".[24] Of Snoke's appearance, Serkis added: "He is large. He appears tall. And also just the facial design – you couldn't have gotten there with prosthetics [...] Without giving too much away at this point, he has a very distinctive, idiosyncratic bone and facial structure."[24]
  • Domhnall Gleeson[5] as General Hux, leader of the primary First Order base, Starkiller Base.[25] While describing Hux, Gleeson stated: "He's pretty ruthless. A strong disciplinarian would be a mild way of putting it."[26] Gleeson continued by juxtaposing Hux with that of Driver's Ren: "He's kind of opposite Kylo Ren. They have their own relationship, which is individual and unusual. One of them is strong in different ways than the other. They're both vying for power."[26]
  • Anthony Daniels as C-3PO.[5] Daniels communicated that the piece was open to experimentation from the actors, to which he stated, "[Abrams] made a field, a playpen where you were allowed to take your time and suggest things [...]"[27]
  • Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca[5]
  • Max von Sydow[5]

Additionally, Kenny Baker and Tim Rose reprise their roles as R2-D2 and Admiral Ackbar, respectively, from previous films.[5][28] Gwendoline Christie stars as Captain Phasma, an officer in the First Order,[20][29] and Kiran Shah stars as Teedo, a scavenger on Jakku who rides a semi-mechanical Luggabeast.[30][31] Additionally, Crystal Clarke, Pip Andersen,[32] Christina Chong,[33] Miltos Yerolemou,[34] Greg Grunberg,[35] Warwick Davis,[36] Billie Lourd,[37] Maisie Richardson-Sellers,[38] Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Cecep Arif Rahman,[39] Amybeth Hargreaves,[40] Leanne Best,[41] Jessica Henwick,[42] and Simon Pegg[25] were cast in unspecified roles.



Star Wars creator George Lucas discussed ideas for a sequel trilogy several times after the conclusion of the original trilogy, but denied any intent to make it.[43] In October 2012, he sold his production company Lucasfilm and with it the Star Wars franchise to Disney.[44] Speaking alongside the new Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, Lucas said: "I always said I wasn't going to do any more, and that's true, because I'm not going to do any more. But that doesn't mean I'm unwilling to turn it over to Kathy to do more."[45]

As creative consultant on the film, Lucas attended early story meetings and advised on the details of the Star Wars universe.[44] Among the materials he turned over to the production team were his rough story treatments for Episodes VIIIX ; he later stated that Disney had discarded his story ideas[46][47] and that he had had no further involvement with the film.[48] Lucas' son Jett told The Guardian that his father was "very torn" about having sold the rights to the franchise, despite having hand-picked Abrams to direct, and that his father was "there to guide" but that "he wants to let it go and become its new generation."[49] In November 2015, Lucas said that Disney was "not that keen" to involve him and conceded: “If I get in there, I'm just going to cause trouble because they’re not going to do what I want them to do, and I don’t have the control to do that any more, and all it would do is just muck everything up."[50]

Episode VII's first screenplay was written by Michael Arndt.[51][52][53] David Fincher[54] and Brad Bird were approached as directors, but Bird was committed to Tomorrowland.[55] Guillermo del Toro was also considered, but was busy with his own projects.[56] In January 2013, J. J. Abrams was announced as the director of Star Wars Episode VII, with Lawrence Kasdan and Simon Kinberg as project consultants.[57][58] The production announced the exit of Arndt from the project on October 24, 2013, and Kasdan and Abrams took over script duties.[59] Abrams cited time concerns over the change of writers,[60] and expressed relief that the release date was announced for December 2015 instead of a previously discussed summer release.[61] He said the key for the film was to return to the roots of the first Star Wars film and be based more on emotion than explanation.[62] In January 2014, Abrams confirmed that the script was complete.[63] In April 2014, Lucasfilm clarified that Episodes VII–IX would not feature storylines from the Expanded Universe, though other elements could be included as with the TV series Star Wars Rebels.[64]

(L-R) Producer Kathleen Kennedy, writer and director J. J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan speaking at the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International


In May 2013, it was confirmed that Episode VII would be filmed in the United Kingdom.[65] Representatives from Lucasfilm met with Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to agree to produce Episode VII in the UK.[65] Beginning in September 2013, production spaces at the Bad Robot facility were converted for shooting of Episode VII for the benefit of shooting a minor portion of the film in the United States.[66]

The film's costume designer was Michael Kaplan, who had previously worked with Abrams on his Star Trek films.[67] Film editors Mary Jo Markey and Maryann Brandon, also long-term collaborators with Abrams, were also signed.[68] In August 2013, it was announced that cinematographer Daniel Mindel would be shooting the film on 35 mm film (specifically Kodak 5219).[69] In October 2013, other crew members were confirmed, including sound designer Ben Burtt, director of photography Daniel Mindel, production designers Rick Carter and Darren Gilford, costume designer Michael Kaplan, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould, re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom, supervising sound editor Matthew Wood, visual effects supervisor Roger Guyett, and executive producers Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin.[70][71][72][73]


The cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens at the 2015 San Diego Comic Con International (L–R: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford)

Casting began around August 2013, with Abrams meeting with potential actors for script readings and screen tests. Open auditions were held in the UK, Ireland, and the United States in November 2013 for the roles of Rachel and Thomas.[74][75][76] Casting began in earnest in January 2014, due to changes to the script by Kasdan and Abrams.[77] Screen tests with actors continued until at least three weeks before the official announcement on April 29, 2014, with final casting decisions being made only a few weeks prior. Actors testing had strict non-disclosure agreements, preventing them, their agents or publicists from commenting on their potential involvement.[78]

Though Lucas intimated that previous cast members Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill would return for the new film as early as March 2013,[44] their casting was not confirmed until over a year later.[5] Saoirse Ronan,[79] Michael B. Jordan,[80] and Lupita Nyong'o[81] auditioned for new characters; industry publications reported Jesse Plemons was considered, possibly for Luke Skywalker's son;[82] Adam Driver for an unnamed villain;[83] and Maisie Richardson-Sellers for an unknown character.[84] In March 2014, actor Dominic Monaghan said that Abrams was looking for three unknown actors to play the leads in Episode VII and that rumors of bigger-name stars were untrue.[85]

Daisy Ridley was chosen for the film by February 2014, and by the end of that month a deal had been worked out with Driver, who was able to work around his Girls schedule. By March 2014, talks with Andy Serkis and Oscar Isaac began and continued into April 2014. In April, John Boyega began talks after dropping out of a Jesse Owens biopic.[78] Denis Lawson, who played Wedge Antilles in the original trilogy, was asked to reprise his role, but declined, stating that it would have "bored" him.[86]

On April 29, 2014, the cast was announced with a photo of the first table read of the script at Pinewood Studios near London,[5] picturing director Abrams with Ford, Daisy Ridley, Fisher, Peter Mayhew, producer Bryan Burk, Lucasfilm president and producer Kathleen Kennedy, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Hamill, Serkis, Oscar Isaac, Boyega, Driver, and writer Lawrence Kasdan. Not pictured but included in the cast are Max von Sydow and Kenny Baker. The announcement was originally planned for May 4 (Star Wars Day), but announced early due to fears of media leaks. More casting is expected, including a major female role.[87] In June 2014, Lupita Nyong'o and Gwendoline Christie were announced in the cast.[20]

To prepare for his role, Hamill grew out his beard[88] and was assigned a personal trainer and a nutritionist at the request of the producers, who wanted him to resemble an older Luke.[89] Fisher was also assigned a personal trainer and a nutritionist to prepare for her role.[89] The production team built a new C-3PO suit to accommodate Daniels.[90] In May 2014, Fisher's mother, Debbie Reynolds, stated that Fisher had already lost 40 pounds in preparation for the film.[91]

In May, Abrams announced a donation contest for UNICEF from the Star Wars set in Abu Dhabi; the winner was allowed to visit the set, meet members of the cast and appear in the film.[92]

In October 2014, Warwick Davis, who played Wald and Weazle in The Phantom Menace and Wicket the Ewok in Return of the Jedi, announced that he would appear in The Force Awakens, but did not reveal his role.[93] In November 2014, Reynolds confirmed that Fisher's daughter, Billie Lourd, is in the film.[37]

Isaac's uncle, a massive Star Wars fan, was cast as an extra in the film at the invitation of Abrams upon visiting the set.[94]


view over Skellig Michael showing stone beehive structures and Small Skellig island in the distance
concrete missile silo covered in grass
Skellig Michael in Ireland (top) and former RAF Greenham Common in England served as filming locations.

In February 2014, Abrams said filming would begin in May and last about three months.[62] Sources told Hitfix that filming would wrap in September 2014.[95] The official announcement came on March 18, when Disney and Lucasfilm announced that principal photography would commence in May and be based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England.[96] In March, it was revealed that pre-production filming would be taking place in Iceland prior to the start of official filming in May, consisting of landscape shots which would be used for scenery in the film.[97] On April 2, Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan Horn confirmed that filming had begun,[98] filming in secret in the U.A.E. emirate of Abu Dhabi by a second-unit.[99][100] Later that month, it was revealed that in addition to 35mm film, segments of the film were being shot in the 65mm IMAX format.[101] On July 8, Bad Robot reported on Twitter that the film would be at least partially shot on IMAX cameras.[102]

In early May 2014, the studio posted a selfie taken by Iger with Chewbacca. Iger stated the photo was taken when he visited Pinewood Studios two weeks earlier to discuss the shoot, "which was just about to start", with Abrams, Kennedy, and Horn.[103] Principal photography began in Abu Dhabi on May 16, 2014.[104][105][106] Abrams and members of the cast went to Abu Dhabi in early May, where large sets were built at the location, including a shuttle-like spacecraft, a large tower and a big market, and explosives were used to create a "blast crater". Cast members were spotted practicing driving vehicles that would be used during filming.[107] Production moved to Pinewood Studios in June.[108]

On June 12, Harrison Ford fractured his leg while filming at Pinewood after a hydraulic door fell on him, and was taken to a hospital. Production was suspended for two weeks to accommodate Ford's injury.[109] Ford's son Ben stated that Ford's ankle would likely need a plate and screws and that filming could be altered slightly, with the crew needing to shoot Ford from the waist up for a short time until he recovered.[110] Jake Steinfeld, Ford's personal trainer, said in July that Ford was recovering rapidly.[111] Coincidentally, Abrams also injured his back when he was trying to help lift the door after Ford's accident. However, he kept this to himself and did not tell anyone about it for over a month.[112]

On July 29, 2014, filming took place over three days at Skellig Michael island off the coast of County Kerry in Ireland with a cast including Mark Hamill and Daisy Ridley.[113][114] Production was halted for two weeks in early August 2014 so Abrams could rework shooting in Ford's absence and resumed with a fully healed Ford in mid-August.[115][116] In September 2014, the former RAF Greenham Common military base in Berkshire, near Pinewood Studios, was used as a filming location and featured set constructions of several spaceships from the Star Wars Universe.[117][118] Principal photography ended on November 3, 2014.[119]


Cinematographer Daniel Mindel stated that The Force Awakens would use real locations and scale models over computer-generated imagery to make it aesthetically similar to the original Star Wars trilogy.[120] Rian Johnson, director of Episode VIII, reiterated that Abrams would use little CGI and more practical, traditional special effects, saying: "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 the window and it becomes so big so quick.”[121] Abrams' intention in prioritising practical special effects was to recreate the visual realism and authenticity of the original Star Wars.[122] To that end, the droid BB-8 was a physical prop that was developed by Disney Research in partnership with Sphero,[123] created by special effects artist Neal Scanlan and operated live on set with the actors.[124][125] In August 2015, Abrams gave the estimated running time of the film as 124–125 minutes.[126]

In February 2014, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) announced plans to open a facility in London, citing Disney's Star Wars films as a catalyst for the expansion. ILM's Vancouver branch will also work on the special effects for the film.[127]


It's all a continuation of an initial set of ideas. It's a bit like adding paragraphs to a letter that’s been going on for a number of years. Starting with a completely new film, a story that I don't know, characters that I haven't met, my whole approach to writing music is completely different—trying to find an identity, trying to find melodic identifications if that’s needed for the characters, and so on.

—John Williams on returning to the Star Wars universe[128]

In July 2013, John Williams was confirmed to compose the score.[129] Williams composed music for the film's first two trailers.[130][131] He began writing themes for the film at the beginning of 2015, and by June had been through most of the film reels, working on a daily basis.[132] In May 2015, Williams stated that he would return to themes from the previous films, such as ones for Luke, Leia and Han, in ways that "will seem very natural and right in the moments for which we've chosen to do these kinds of quotes. There aren't many of them, but there are a few that I think are important and will seem very much a part of the fabric of the piece in a positive and constructive way." He said that working with Abrams was similar to the process he went through with Lucas in the earlier films.[128]

Recording sessions for The Force Awakens began in June 2015 at the Sony Pictures Studios' Barbra Streisand Scoring Stage in Culver City, with William Ross conducting most of the music.[133] The first day of recording was June 1, 2015.[134] Williams attended the sessions and conducted the remainder of the recordings.[135][136] The score was recorded by a freelance orchestra over several months, with sessions continuing on and off throughout the summer and fall of 2015. The last day of recording was November 14, 2015. [137][138][131] The film's soundtrack will be released by Walt Disney Records on December 18, 2015.[139]


Star Wars: The Force Awakens is scheduled to premiere in Los Angeles on December 14, 2015.[140] It will be released in France, Italy and other European nations on December 16, in Germany and the United Kingdom on December 17, and in the United States and Japan on December 18,[141][142] in 3D and IMAX 3D.[143] The film is set to be released approximately 390 IMAX screens in the United States and Canada,[144] and over 400 screens internationally. Beginning from December 18, 2015, it will occupy the whole of IMAX screens in North America for four straight weeks up to January 14, 2016 making it a rare occurrence for a single film to dominate the whole of IMAX screens for a long time. Warner Bros. Pictures' The Hobbit trilogy were the last films to receive such a release.[145] The film is also scheduled to be released in the Dolby Vision format in Dolby Cinema in North America.[146]

On November 6, 2014, the title of the film was announced as Star Wars: The Force Awakens.[147] Although the title does not include the words "Episode VII", Episode VII will be included in the opening crawl.[148] Advance ticket sales for the film began on October 19, 2015,[149] and were in strong demand, resulting in online movie ticket sites crashing.[150][151] Vue Cinemas, the U.K.'s third-largest theater chain, sold 45,000 tickets in 24 hours, 10,000 of which were sold in 90 minutes, a record for the theater.[152] It pre-sold a record breaking $6.5 million worth of IMAX ticket sales on a single day. IMAX has never previously registered more than $1 million in pre-sales on a single day.[144]


On November 28, 2014, Lucasfilm released a 90-second teaser trailer to promote The Force Awakens. It was screened in selected cinemas across the United States and Canada and in theaters worldwide in December 2014. It was also released on YouTube and the iTunes store,[153] generating a record 58.2 million views on YouTube in its first week.[154] Critics compared the brief footage favorably to the production values of the original trilogy. The Hollywood Reporter called the trailer "perfectly potent nostalgia", praising its mix of old and new.[155] Empire was impressed by the continuity with the first films – "the feel of classic Star Wars" – but noted the absence of Hamill, Ford, and Fisher and speculated about the significance of the new characters.[156] The Guardian wrote that the use of the Star Wars fanfare by John Williams reinforced brand loyalty among fans.[157]

On December 11, 2014, Abrams and Kennedy released a series of eight mock Topps trading cards revealing the names of several characters.[14] On April 16, 2015, a second teaser trailer, this one lasting two minutes, was shown at the opening panel at the Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said the reaction to the trailer was "staggering... the entire room of almost eight thousand people just leapt to their feet and roared, I mean I can't think of anything I've ever been to – other than a rock concert – that felt quite like that."[158] The trailer was viewed over 88 million times within the first 24 hours of release, breaking the record of 62 million held by Furious 7 in November 2014.[159][160] According to the Guinness World Records, the second teaser trailer amassed 30.65 million in 24 hours setting a new world record for the "Most viewed movie trailer on YouTube in 24 hours."[161] The event was broadcast live by Verizon on YouTube, and in movie theaters. The trailer shows many of the new characters and the first footage of Chewbacca and Han Solo. The Huffington Post‍ '​s Graham Milne wrote that the trailer "was an affirmation of something that we'd long been told was never going to happen. This was a gift. This was faith rewarded. About damn time."[162]

Vanity Fair was the first magazine to release an exclusive cover issue devoted to The Force Awakens. The magazine, released on May 7, 2015, features all new interviews and brand new photos of the cast members photographed by Annie Leibovitz.[163][164] At the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International, in addition to a panel with many of the actors, a behind-the-scenes look at the film debuted, highlighting the use of practical sets and effects for the film. The featurette was positively received, with Nigel M. Smith of The Guardian stating, "The featurette’s angle is a strong one and connects with fans of the original trilogy in an incredibly poignant way. It also does a sly job of teasing Fisher’s new look as Leia and Simon Pegg’s mysterious involvement as a rumored alien in the movie, without actually showing the actors in action." Smith compared the marketing strategy for the film to that of another of Abrams' films, Super 8, saying, "the promos... are notable for what they tease, not what they give away."[165]

Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm presented a look at The Force Awakens at Disney's D23 Expo in August 2015.[166] Drew Struzan—who designed the poster artwork for the previous Star Wars films—produced a commemorative poster for the film that was given to the event's attendees.[167] In October 2015, Lucasfilm unveiled the theatrical release poster for the film, as well as a third trailer.[168] The poster was noted for omitting Luke Skywalker and revealing a previously unseen Death Star-like "orb".[169] The trailer debuted during the halftime break of Monday Night Football, before releasing online.[170] The reaction to the trailer by fans on social media was "frenzied", with Lizo Mzimba of the BBC saying, "Perhaps the most significant thing about the final trailer before the film's release is how little of the story it reveals".[171] Robbie Collin of the The Daily Telegraph, felt the trailer was "a perfect blend of old and new, in keeping with the old-fashioned Star Wars aesthetic".[172] The trailer received 128 million global views in 24 hours, a new record for the most views of a trailer in 24 hours. 16 million of the views came from its airing on Monday Night Football.[173] At the end of the month, Air France announced a "Flight and Cinema" package, providing customers who book select flights to Paris, transportation to a theater to see the film, since France is one of the first countries to release the film.[174] On November 6, a Japanese trailer for the film was released.[175][176] After seeing the new trailer Forbes' Ollie Barder stated the trailer gave him "hope" that the film would not "let us all down like the prequels did... [with] a worthwhile story this time."[177]

On December 17, 2015, select theaters across North America will air a Star Wars Marathon, airing the six previous Star Wars episode films in 2D, followed by The Force Awakens in 3D. Attendees will receive a special lanyard featuring exclusive marathon art.[178]


Disney Publishing Worldwide and Lucasfilm announced a series of 20 books and e-books, titled "Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens", with releases starting in late 2015, prior to the film. The series will include books by Del Rey and Disney-Lucasfilm publishers and comic books from Marvel Comics. All titles under the program are canonical to the Star Wars universe.[179] The first novel, Star Wars: Aftermath, was released in September 2015 and is written by Chuck Wendig. The story is set shortly after the film Return of the Jedi and deals with the consequences of the deaths of Palpatine and Darth Vader, as well as the power vacuum formed in the Empire's rule over the galaxy and the actions of the Rebellion during the following months. It is intended to be the first in a trilogy of novels that will bridge the Star Wars timeline between the original trilogy and The Force Awakens.[180] Alan Dean Foster will write the novelization of the film.[181]

Disney Consumer Products and Lucasfilm announced that September 4, 2015 would be deemed "Force Friday" and would be the official launch of all of the merchandise for The Force Awakens. Beginning at 12:01am, fans could buy toys, books, clothing and various other products at Disney Stores and other retailers throughout the world.[182] Disney and Maker Studios hosted an 18-hour live-streaming presentation on YouTube, showcasing multiple merchandise products beginning on September 3, 2015.[183][184] Among these products were a remote-controlled BB-8 developed by Sphero. Sphero had participated in a Disney-run startup accelerator in July 2014, where they were invited into a private meeting with Disney CEO Bob Iger, in which they were shown on-set photos and imagery of BB-8 before its public unveiling.[185][186] Many retailers were unable to meet demand for Star Wars products.[187]

Box office projection

With an estimated budget of $200 million ($423 million including marketing, printing and advertising costs, and making and distribution of home videos), The Force Awakens is predicted to be a major box office success.[3][188] Reports in April 2015 from The Hollywood Reporter and Amboee Brand Intelligence predicted the film would earn up to $540 million worldwide for its opening, breaking the record for the biggest worldwide opening (currently held by Jurassic World with $524.1 million in June 2015), as well as breaking the record for the biggest U.S. opening (also held by Jurassic World, with $208.8 million). They also believed that The Force Awakens would have the widest release ever, across 4,500 theaters in North America (a record currently held by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse with 4,468 theaters).[189] Box office analyst Phil Contrino likened the film to Avatar (2009), which opened to $77 million in North America and went on to earn $2.8 billion worldwide, saying The Force Awakens would earn $1 billion "without blinking" and could cross $2 billion.[189] In August 2015, predicted an opening weekend of $615 million worldwide, including a $300 million opening in North America.[190]


Rian Johnson confirmed in August 2014 that he would direct Episode VIII.[121] In March 2015, Isaac confirmed he would reprise his role as Poe Dameron.[191] Like The Force Awakens, filming for Episode VIII will take place at Pinewood Studios near London.[192][193] Some second-unit filming was done in September 2015 in Ireland with principal photography to begin in March 2016.[193][194] It is scheduled for release on May 26, 2017.[195]

In August 2015, Colin Trevorrow was announced as the director of Episode IX.[196]

See also


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  2. ^ Holland, Luke (April 7, 2014). "Star Wars Episode VII: what we know as shooting starts". The Guardian. Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b David Lieberman (June 23, 2015). "‘Star Wars VII’ Could Become The 3rd Highest Grossing Film Ever – Analyst". (Penske Media Corporation). Retrieved June 25, 2015. 
  4. ^ "STAR WARS: EPISODE VII SET TO ROLL CAMERAS MAY 2014". March 18, 2014. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "Star wars: episode vii cast announced". Star April 29, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Breznican, Anthony (November 11, 2015). "Harrison Ford IS Han Solo". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Breznican, Anthony (November 12, 2015). "Where is Luke Skywalker? J.J. Abrams and Mark Hamill grapple with the question". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Leia Organa Gets a New Title for The Force Awakens". SuperHeroHype. 
  9. ^ Child, Ben (November 11, 2015). "Entertainment Weekly's new Star Wars: The Force Awakens issue – 10 things we learned". The Guardian. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  10. ^ Breznican, Anthony (November 11, 2015). "Leia's Return". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  11. ^ Breznican, Anthony (November 11, 2015). "She's not called 'Princess' Leia anymore ...". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2015. 
  12. ^ Breznican, Anthony (August 12, 2015). "Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren's shroud is pulled back at last, but...". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 12, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Databank: Kylo Ren". Retrieved September 6, 2015. 
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