Ever since Disney acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion in 2012, moviegoers around the globe have anxiously been awaiting the arrival of a new Star Wars movie. In just a few weeks, J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters, and the already high levels of anticipation have reached a fever pitch. As fans obsess over the latest trailers and TV spots, the $1 billion question in the back of everyone's mind is whether or not Star Wars 7 can meet its outrageous expectations.
The marketing campaign has given viewers plenty of reasons to feel optimistic about The Force Awakens, but after The Phantom Menace, some fans are curbing their enthusiasm until it finally comes out. No matter if the movie is great, bad, or somewhere in between, it'll be the biggest talking point of the holiday film season, and star John Boyega is interested to see how the people respond.
While at the 2016 Film Independent Indie Spirit Awards, Boyega was asked by Deadline how he thought Episode VII would be received. In contrast from his own jubilant reaction to the third and final Star Wars trailer, Boyega seemed uncertain about the opinions Force Awakens will generate:
“I think for now, based on what I saw, and based on my experiences on the set, I just don’t know. This is a discussion I was having with J.J. [Abrams] yesterday and I was just like ‘How are people going to react to this movie?’ But there’s going to be a reaction for sure. I’m going to try to see it as many times as possible with different audiences just to gauge everyone’s opinions of it.”
Abrams is no stranger to controversy in his franchise films, and even he recently admitted Star Trek Into Darkness had too many Wrath of Khan references. The hope is that Abrams has learned from his experiences and will make sure Force Awakens is something that honors the Star Wars tradition, yet stands on its own merits in rousing fashion. As Boyega suggests, that's difficult to determine right now, but his quote should not be construed as a red flag. Several involved with The Force Awakens have spoken highly of its ability to rekindle old emotions and be "genuinely magical," and Boyega is simply curious if the fans will agree with those sentiments.
One thing people do know for certain is what Star Wars will be rated when it reaches theaters. On FilmRatings.com (hat tip Making Star Wars), The Force Awakens is officially PG-13 for "sci-fi action violence." This makes Episode VII the second installment in the franchise to attain this rating, following 2005's Revenge of the Sith, after the first five movies were all PG. And it really shouldn't be surprising this is the case.
PG-13 has become the go-to rating for all major tentpole projects these days (even the dark and gritty DC Expanded Universe), since it essentially casts the widest net in terms of audience appeal. It hits the sweet spot of not being "too kid friendly" for older moviegoers, while also being appropriate enough for youngsters. For something with the cross-generational appeal of something like Star Wars, that's exactly the target they needed to hit.
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.