It’s finally here. After a year of teasers, trailers, innumerable TV spots, and a frankly overwhelming barrage of tie-in marketing, the day has finally come—Star Wars: The Force Awakens premieres on Friday. (Or on Thursday evening, if you’re a true fan….) Like the twin-sunned desert planet Tatooine at midday, the fervor over the new movie is only going to get hotter.
Are you one of the die-hards who have been waiting for this movie since the Cold War, lining up their stormtrooper action figures on the shelf with pedantic precision? Are you perhaps among the weary contingent of non-fans, hunkering down to endure the storm of Star Wars hype until it all blows over? Or are you somewhere in the middle, the masses excited for a good blockbuster but who probably don’t own a $259 Force FX lightsaber (available on Amazon.com, if you’re wondering)? No matter who you are, you probably can’t escape the indomitable dreadnaught of Star Wars marketing this holiday season. So you’d best enjoy it.
I wasn’t around for the original premiere in 1977, but when I did manage to get born a decade or so later, I quickly made up for lost time and watched all the movies as a child. I bought all the toys I could find and devoured all the Star Wars books I could get my hands on. I watched each of the prequels at least three times in theaters, and I can tell you all the differences between the theatrical releases of the original trilogy, the 1997 VHS Special Editions, the 2004 DVD editions, and the 2011 Blu-Ray versions. I own two of the aforementioned lightsabers, the entire set of Star Wars Pez dispensers, and more random Star Wars stuff than my old bedroom at my parents’ house has room for, as my mom reminds me whenever I visit. So it’s safe to say that out of the three categories mentioned above, I more or less fall into the first one. In other words, I’m excited for the new movie.
Naturally, I’m not the only one. We all remember the disappointment of the prequels, and we hope that The Force Awakens, like Luke Skywalker bring his father back from the dark side, will redeem the franchise. If it’s good, the new movie will herald a new era of Star Wars movies and merchandise, the likes of which the world has never seen. Disney has at least five more movies announced (Episodes VIII and IX, as well as three spinoffs), so you’d best get comfortable. But really, there’s no reason to be too apprehensive. The Force Awakens is in the capable hands of director JJ Abrams, who proved he can reinvigorate a beloved sci-fi franchise with the Star Trek reboots. The trailers look promising (tell me you didn’t tear up a little when Han Solo said, “Chewie, we’re home!”).
So are you ready? The Force Awakens could be just okay, or it could fulfill all of our fanboy dreams. We’ll find out tomorrow (Or tonight..) Looking at the reviews, it’s likely to demolish the box office like the Death Star obliterating poor Alderaan. In the meantime, let’s all don our Star Wars-themed Christmas sweaters, drink hot chocolate from Yoda-shaped mugs, and debate whether Han shot first. The Force is calling to you—let it in.