There was never a doubt that J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens would be a massive box office success when it was released in December 2015. The biggest question leading up to its premiere was whether or not the Star Wars magic would be back in terms of word-of-mouth. With all that was riding on The Force Awakens' success, the movie almost had to receive a positive reception or else the three years of buildup and hype for a new era of Star Wars on film would be for naught.
Fortunately, when critics started weighing in, it became clear that Abrams had delivered a return to form that established an exciting future for the franchise (read our review). Many fans who saw it were in agreement, praising the exciting action and memorable characters, going back to the theater several times to see the film again and again. If there are any holdouts refusing to buy into the saga's comeback, a new TV spot showcasing pull-out quotes from reviews should provide added incentive (watch it above).
The commercial features the thoughts of reputable outlets like USA Today and The Wall Street Journal, which essentially sum up the feelings of the collective Star Wars fan base. In many minds, Episode VII reminded the moviegoing community why they fell in love with the galaxy far, far away nearly four decades ago. Some feel it follows the classic trilogy a little too closely, but the consensus seems to be it's the best Star Wars has been in a while.
Since the ad is only 15 seconds long, there isn't much footage wise. However, Lucasfilm does include a new shot of the lovable BB-8 giving Finn a thumbs up on the Millennium Falcon, one of the movie's funniest moments. Its inclusion in the spot does in essence spoil the earned laugh it gets in the film, but after The Force Awakens crushed just about every box office record out there, the studio is comfortable sharing more from the finished product (see: the second wave of tie-in merchandise). And besides, there are plenty of other comedy bits in Star Wars 7 to enjoy.
The near universal approval rating The Force Awakens scored will only raise expectations for the movies that will follow. Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (the first live-action anthology film) is 2016's most anticipated film in a year that includes Batman V Superman and Captain America: Civil War. Rogue One star Ben Mendelsohn admitted that Episode VII gives their film "something to reach for," so hopefully Rogue One can be another thrilling adventure. And the pressure is already mounting for Episode VIII and Episode IX directors Rian Johnson and Colin Trevorrow, who are tasked with continuing the forward momentum Abrams established for the sequel trilogy.
Luckily, Lucasfilm seems to have a solid foundation in place, with talented people working on the various projects in development. Whether it's Episode VIII, the young Han Solo anthology film, or anything in between, everyone at the studio understands the magnitude of what they're doing and how important it is to get their movies "right." Abrams set the tone and now it's up to the others to keep the goodwill The Force Awakens generated. As of now, fans are rightfully feeling confident the property is in great hands.
Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens is now in theaters, and will be followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode 8 on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode 9 is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.