Star Wars fans are filled to the brim with hope and anticipation due to the impending release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, with hype for the project reaching unprecedented levels in the past few weeks. Arguably, the only instance that rivals the pre-release buzz for Force Awakens is the last time the saga returned to theaters following a prolonged absence: 1999's Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace. And that's caused some moviegoers to view Force Awakens with caution.
While the prequel trilogy does have its fans, the films are generally considered to be disappointments that failed to live up to their potential. Star Wars super fan Simon Pegg (who has a small part in Episode VII) is among those with outright hatred for the prequels, and he feels Force Awakens will be the return-to-form viewers have long waited for.
Pegg spoke with the NY Daily News to promote his rom-com Man Up, and he was of course asked about the galaxy far, far away. The actor once again did not mince words when discussing the maligned prequels, calling them "a monumental misunderstanding of what the original three films were about." However, he was much more optimistic about Star Wars 7's prospects:
"To knock out ideas with (director) J.J. (Abrams), and every single day, whether you were on the set of something you recognized or a set that was brand new, it just felt like 'Star Wars' in a way that I hadn't felt in 32 years. It was genuinely magical.”
In addition to making a cameo as a costumed alien, Pegg was also involved in the creative process for Force Awakens. While he was on set, he acted as a sounding board for Abrams as the director ironed out some ideas, providing constructive criticism to ensure it was the best film possible. It's a great sign that Pegg served in this role. Not only is he a huge Star Wars fan, he's also a talented screenwriter (penning acclaimed works like Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead) and very familiar with what makes tentpole fare like this work well. It's safe to assume that Pegg's input only helped Abrams with the monumental undertaking.
As moviegoers begin to ponder whether or not The Force Awakens can match the expectations, Lucasfilm has given fans plenty of reasons to feel optimistic. The three trailers for the film have teased a rousing space adventure that balances nostalgia with the new. Many are also encouraged by Abrams' stance on using practical effects as often as possible, in an effort to match the visual aesthetic of the classic trilogy. Star Wars 7 may not reach the heights of A New Hope or The Empire Strikes Back (quite the bar to clear), but the pieces are in place for a very good movie, which is something the franchise needs right now.
Nobody involved with Star Wars is going to publicly trash The Force Awakens at this time, but it says something that everyone is excited and thrilled to share the film with the world. Even the curmudgeonly Harrison Ford was swayed back to the light side after he heard the pitch. Disney has used 2015 to throw a year-long Star Wars party, and it looks like it will all be worth it in the end.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.
Source: NY Daily News