Star Wars fans are impatiently counting down the days until J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens hits theaters and ushers in the next generation of the Skywalker family saga. Even though Disney and Lucasfilm are done releasing trailers for the film, they've increased their marketing presence (if that's even possible) by highlighting the movie's characters in a series of TV spots.
New franchise villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is a primary focus of the advertising, being positioned as the galaxy's new threat. Driver claims that Kylo is not necessarily an evil person, but his obsession with Darth Vader suggests otherwise. Abrams has confirmed that Kylo models his appearance after the legendary Sith Lord, and moviegoers can get an up close look at his outfit thanks to a new magazine cover.
The latest issue of Total Film features Kylo Ren on the cover wielding his now-famous crossguard lightsaber. The image appears to be lifted straight from Kylo's Force Awakens character poster, meaning that it's nothing new for fans to check out. Perhaps it's a sign that Total Film is about to share some new Star Wars 7 goodies just weeks ahead of the film's premiere though so stay tuned:
One publication that has been dropping a number of Star Wars exclusives is Empire, who continued unveiling some of their interviews by posting their conversation with Mark Hamill. As one would expect, the actor could not provide any hints about what's become of Luke Skywalker in the years since Return of the Jedi, but Hamill did comment on the emotions he felt returning to his famous role:
“It reminded me of when I was in Tunisia on the salt flats [shooting the first Star Wars]. If you could get into your own mind and shut out the crew and look at the horizon, you really felt like you were in a galaxy far, far away. I had that same wave of emotion happen to me when I was on Skellig Michael in Ireland. I wasn’t anticipating it.”
From the get-go, Abrams and company have made clear their intentions to recreate the aesthetic of the original trilogy, emphasizing the use of practical effects and sets to portray the universe. The marketing materials have (successfully) banked heavily on nostalgia, combining classic Star Wars imagery and music with the newer elements. It should please many that Hamill shares the sentiments of the fans, seeing the connection between the earlier films and Force Awakens just by being on-set, well before any of the footage was finished for a trailer.
Hamill's statement is just the next in a long line of comments from people encouraged that the franchise is in the right hands. Harrison Ford was impressed by Star Wars 7's emotional aspects, and super fan Simon Pegg said that making the film was a "genuinely magical" experience. There are some concerns that The Force Awakens won't be able to live up to the enormous expectations, but according to those who made it, all the waiting will be worth it in the end.
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.