The Force will be with you, always, especially since Disney-controlled Star Wars’ marketing campaign has become the ultimate power in the galaxy. Hype leading up to Episode VII: The Force Awakens, in theaters Dec. 18, covers every parsec of the media. Monday night was no exception as ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live dedicated a full episode to that galaxy far, far away.
From a certain point of view, the highlights were few and far between. Ewok-sized bits of information, most of which fanboys probably already knew, were casually mentioned during the hour-long show.
The biggest news was from director J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost). Though reported two days prior, Abrams confirmed with Jimmy Kimmel that The Force Awakens was fully armed and operational as of early Saturday morning.
That still left anxious fans to count down 25 days and 10 minutes until the premiere, which may be worse than being slowly digested for over 1,000 years inside a Sarlacc. Kimmel pressed for even a word of new information, which turned out to be the first spoken word in the new film.
Here it is.
To the roar of the crowd, the mundane pronoun exploded onto a screen in Star Wars’ iconic yellow font, as seen in the film’s opening crawls. Now fans have 25 days to ponder, “’This’ what?”
Abrams also brought a never-before-seen 16-second clip, which can be viewed at the end of the Youtube video below.
Kimmel and Abrams were later joined by some of the cast members. Daisey Ridley plays Rey, a scavenger living on a desolate planet. John Boyega (Attack the Block) crashes into Rey’s life as Finn, an AWOL stormtrooper. The duo will cross paths with Adam Driver (HBO’s Girls), who wields a three-bladed lightsaber as Kylo Ren. And Carrie Fisher reprises her role as Princess – sorry, General – Leia.
The new leads detailed the moments they found out they had been cast in Star Wars.
“I was, like, 19,” Carrie Fisher joked, referring to her days of cinnamon-bun hairstyles and underwear-less outfits beginning in 1976.
Ridley was at a play, Boyega’s dad didn’t know what Star Wars even was, and Abrams accidentally spoiled Driver’s surprise to his wife, but each shared cute moments that would warm even Darth Vader’s cold, mechanized heart. After all, who wouldn’t be excited to be in a Star Wars film?
The cast also emphasized the secrecy surrounding their roles and the film’s production. When asked if it was always him acting beneath his helmeted character, Adam Driver nervously looked at Abrams.
The director is known for keeping his projects, especially major productions like Star Trek and now Star Wars, under lock and key. According to Boyega, the cast could only practice their lines at Pinewood Studios in England, where the scripts were not allowed to leave the premises in order to reduce spoiler leaks.
Other brief appearances included R2-D2, who whistled and beeped around the set, as well as Harrison Ford, who will return as an aged Han Solo alongside his furry sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew).
We would be honored if Mark Hamill would join us, but the one and only Luke Skywalker was yet again absent.
“Where’s Luke?” has become one of the latest questions trending among Star Wars fans, opening the blast doors to speculation about the iconic Jedi’s whereabouts in The Force Awakens as well as his allegiance to the Light and Dark Sides of the Force.
It’s got fans talking, though, looking to the future, to the horizon. The hype train isn’t stopping. Last week, EA DICE released a rebooted Star Wars Battlefront to video game consoles. HP unveiled an Empire-themed notebook laptop. Google encouraged users to choose between the Light and Dark Side, the decision altering several Google apps. And North American film fans topped it all off with record-breaking advance ticket presales exceeding $50 million, with a month still left to go.
Everything is proceeding as Disney has foreseen.