As hard as it may be to believe, the premiere of J.J. Abrams' hotly-anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a little over two months away (at the time of writing this). After years of speculation and rumors, we'll soon be able to see what's in store for the future of the saga - and whether or not it can live up to the lofty expectations fans have set.
The wait (which dates back to Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm in October 2012) has been very interminable and many fans would kill to get a chance to see the movie early. And as it turns out, a lucky select few will have the luxury of that opportunity a full four days before Episode VII's scheduled December 18, 2015 release date.
According to THR, the world premiere for The Force Awakens will take place on December 14 in Los Angeles. This will be the first of several events Disney has planned for the film. Following the LA debut, the studio will host a London premiere before trekking around the globe, though dates for these are unknown at the time.
As one might expect, there's going to be a great interest in attending this premiere. THR notes that there will be a plethora of "executives, agents, and journalists" vying to receive an invite. Since Disney has been so protective about guarding the movie's secrets, it's likely that they limit the number of advanced press screenings ahead of the premiere. So for many industry insiders, the Los Angeles premiere could mark their first opportunity to see what's sure to be one of the year's biggest films.
Given that the studio has been so careful about what they reveal in the marketing campaign, it is a little surprising that Disney would put together a premiere event so far ahead of its official release day. Some fans were already nervous about theaters in Europe getting The Force Awakens a full day early. Especially in today's era of instant reactions and social media, the fear of being spoiled runs rampant. It's unlikely that someone invited to the premiere would deliberately post major plot revelations on Twitter, but it's still a serious risk that seemingly goes against everything they've done up to this point.
Still, the premiere has plenty of potential benefits. This whole year has been a celebration of Star Wars, and this is arguably the best way to cap off the party. Abrams and most or all of the cast are believed to be attending, so it'll be a rare opportunity for the full team to come together and commemorate their work with family and friends. And especially if press screenings are minimal, it'll allow (hopefully) positive buzz to spread ahead of December 18, which would only help the film's impressive box office projections.
And for those planning to disconnect and hop off the grid on December 14, you can be very confident in Disney carefully selecting which industry professionals to invite to the premiere. This is not going to be a free-for-all where anyone can stop by to see the movie. Throughout this whole process, Lucasfilm has given us what they want us to see, when they want us to see it. They're only going to bring people they can trust to Los Angeles to mark the film's arrival.
Star Wars: Episode VII – 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.