There are just weeks left until J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens hits theaters, ushering in a new era for the galaxy far, far away on film. To help make the wait (slightly) more bearable for fans, Disney and Lucasfilm have been releasing an endless stream of television commercials that reveal snippets of footage or dialogue that were not a part of the trailers.
With each one that comes out, there's always a risk that a Force Awakens plot point will be spoiled before the premiere (officially, that is), but Lucasfilm has done a good job keeping the film's major revelations under wraps. What they've shown with the TV advertisements has only added to the intrigue and speculation, planting seeds for the various theories fans have brewing.
The studio continued the marketing blitz today with yet another TV spot, this one more focused on Rey (Daisy Ridley). The first bits of footage and dialogue (where Rey talks to BB-8 about waiting for her family) are taken straight from the international trailer that was released earlier this month. What follows are some new lines from Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o), a character whose voice (but not appearance) has played a big role in the campaign recently.
Maz says to someone, "Dear child. The belonging you seek is not behind you. It is ahead." There's a chance that Finn (John Boyega) could be receiving this bit of wisdom (he's looking for a new cause to fight for), but the more plausible option is Rey. From the way the spot is edited, Maz seems to be talking directly to the Jakku scavenger, attempting to comfort her after she's spent a lifetime in isolation. Rey's family (the belonging she thinks she's seeking) is a thing of the past; she needs to move forward to find her place in the universe.
There are also some glimpses of villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) igniting his crossguard lightsaber, and a legion of First Order stormtroopers raising their arms after hearing a speech from what looks like General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson). It's easy to see the parallels between the First Order and Nazi Germany, which was actually something Abrams tried to emulate when piecing the film together. The former Galactic Empire suffered a great defeat at the Battle of Endor, but their numbers are as strong as ever 30 years later.
In addition, Lucasfilm released the first Force Awakens clip, showing an extended portion of Rey and Finn's escape from Jakku as they look to outrun the First Order in an abandoned ship they find in the desert. As you would expect, things don't go as planned:
Nostalgia has been a key element in the Star Wars 7 marketing (most prominently with the music), but the taglines crafted for the TV spots (i.e. "A New Journey Will Begin") make it clear that The Force Awakens represents a fresh chapter in the franchise's history. As fun as it will be to see Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher in their iconic roles once again, the burden to continue the Star Wars tradition will fall on the cast of youngsters. Lucasfilm has smartly put them front and center from the beginning, and there's no reason to believe they won't be up for the task.
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.