Drew Struzan: 'Force Awakens' May Be The Best 'Star Wars' Yet

Drew Struzan talks Star Wars: The Force Awakens

After more than 30 years, fans hoping to see what became of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher) and Han Solo (Harrison Ford) following the Battle of Endor are pretty close to getting their answers. Star Wars: The Force Awakens is already among the most-anticipated films to hit theaters in recent years, and as the marketing machine ramps up ahead of the film's release in December 2015, excitement is only growing.

Thus far, fans have been encouraged by news that director J.J. Abrams' film will prominently feature both fan-favorite characters and practical effects in an effort to capture the spirit of the first three Star Wars films.  Now today brings another bit of new hope to the franchise's latest installment.

Movie Weekly recently caught up with Drew Struzan, who has famously provided poster art for each Star Wars film dating back to the 1997 rerelease of the original trilogy. He recently returned to the franchise to create a special The Force Awakens poster for Disney's D23 Expo and has now shared his thoughts on Abrams' film. Here's what he had to say:

"I’ve never worked with J.J before and so we started working on it and he showed me like half the movie and it was just… a wonderful film and I know it’s going to be grand. I got to read the script and subsequently I’ve seen half of it and I can tell you and the fans this, Honest to God, it is far and away probably going to be the best Star Wars you’ve ever seen. … Well, it’s beautifully made and it’s a wonderful story. ... To me, [the new poster] represents the film. The spirit of the film, the new characters, the battle again to find the truth, to grow up, to find the purpose in life. It’s all those things that Star Wars had to be and is still. And I hope to represent that again to a new generation."

Little by little, details on new characters like the villainous Kylo Ren has begun to leak out, as has the film's apparent focus on exactly who Luke has become by the time the story kicks in. Still, while most of the information that has been released thus far appears to be in line with what most fans would hope to see in a sequel to Return of the Jedi, it's a bold claim for Struzan to declare The Force Awakens "the best" film in the series. After all, he said himself that he has yet to see a complete cut of the film, and as the artist designing the poster, he wasn't involved in the day-to-day production of The Force Awakens.

In any case, his description of the theme - and, presumably, the ascent of characters like Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) as central figures in the ongoing galactic saga - nicely mirrors the heart of A New Hope. Whether the massive Star Wars fanbase embraces it as superior to either that film or The Empire Strikes Back (both of which are in contention for the most beloved film in the series) is another matter entirely. If nothing else, Struzan's words certainly make us that much more excited to decide for ourselves.

NEXT: J.J. Abrams Reveals His Favorite Character In Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015, followed by Star Wars: Rogue One on December 16, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars film on May 25, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars standalone film in 2020.

Source: Movie Weekly

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