Abrams Saves Star Wars Franchise

Colin Jones, Staff Writer

The release of the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has re-ignited fan debate across the globe. The biggest movie release of the decade doesn’t happen for more than a year, but the world’s anticipation is palpable nonetheless.

As is common when strong emotional attachments are involved, opinions vary. Some praise director J.J. Abrams as the savior of the franchise, but others believe Episode VII will be just as much of a disappointment as the infamous prequel trilogy.

As someone who was not alive in 1976, when the first movie opened and captivated audiences around the world, I don’t have the powerful memories that bind people to those first Star Wars films. But I do believe, as do so many devotees of the original trilogy, that the prequels were truly terrible movies. Regardless, I’d consider myself a pretty strong fan, and when the new trailer came out, I was excited. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I believe that Abrams will do justice to the spirit of George Lucas’s creation.

Many do not feel the same way.

“Bit unmoved by the Star Wars trailer,” said one Twitter user. “Maybe I’m just afraid to get hurt again.”

They cite such things as the absence of familiar faces and the inclusion of a three-bladed lightsaber as the reasons for their discontent. One Twitter user wrote, “Hilt on light saber stupid and impractical childhood ruined everything ruined!!!” Comedian and Star Wars fan Stephen Colbert included the post in his commentary on the new trailer- specifically, on the controversial design of the weapon.

Actress Anna Kendrick tweeted, “STAR WARS!!!! Language and emojis fail to express what’s in my heart at this moment.”

I would argue that Abrams is making a smart decision in keeping people on their toes with the inclusion of Star Wars veterans such as Mark Hamill and Harrison Ford, who are returning to their roles as Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, respectively. And I think that the new style of lightsaber is, quite frankly, pretty awesome.

Based on the trailer, I think that The Force Awakens will be a visually impressive film at the very least. From the new design of the stormtrooper’s armor, to the epic image of two X-Wing fighters screaming across a lake against a backdrop of foggy peaks to the Millenium Falcon’s dogfight with two TIE fighters, I have no doubt that Abrams is making the new Star Wars a treat for the eyes.

And he’s bringing a slew of talented actors to the show as well. Andy Serkis, who portrayed such characters as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Caesar the chimpanzee in the Planet of the Apes reboot films, is confirmed to be in the new Star Wars movie. The aforementioned Hamill and Ford, as well as Carrie Fisher and Peter Mayhew, who played the Wookiee Chewbacca in the original trilogy, will be making appearances alongside newcomers like John Boyega, who starred in the 2011 action film Attack the Block, and Daisy Ridley, featured in TV shows like Mr. Selfridge and Casualty.

Abrams is no stranger to sci-fi franchises with devoted fanbases, as he did direct the Star Trek reboots to immensely positive responses.

Episode VII is in good hands, and Lucas, for all his faults, did a good job choosing his successor in Abrams.

May the force be with him.