by Vincenza Belletti
Unless you live in isolation on another planet, you’ve most likely heard of Star Wars. On Dec 18, Episode VII: The Force Awakens made its debut in theaters across the globe, the first film released since Episode III: Revenge of the Sith came out in 2005.
If you do happen to be living in isolation on another planet, Star Wars is a story of the Skywalker family. The first three films released, which tell the story of Luke Skywalker, are referred to as “the original trilogy” consisting of Episode IV: A New Hope (1977), Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983). The prequel trilogy recounts the story of Anakin Skywalker, Luke’s father, and came out after the original trilogy. The three films in this trilogy are Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005).
Due to of the success of the original trilogy and the release of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars has always been relevant. Adults had seen the original trilogy in theaters when they were kids and when the prequel trilogy came out, it presented them the opportunity to introduce their children to the films. Junior Emma Klein was introduced to the series by her parents when she was seven years old and went to see The Force Awakens with her family on Christmas Day. “I felt happy and nostalgic because I really enjoyed watching the films when I was younger, so watching a new one in theaters was exciting.”
Now, after 10 years since the last Star Wars film, The Force Awakens was met in theaters with unrelenting enthusiasm. The seventh Star Wars film broke the record for advance sales on Fandango by more than eight times, leaving its previous title holder, The Hunger Games, well in the rearview.
The Force Awakens has broken 16 worldwide box office records and over 50 domestic box office records, one of these being the highest grossing domestic film of all time, beating Avatar’s record in just 20 days. Several other records broken are fastest film to gross one billion dollars (12 days), biggest worldwide opening weekend and single weekend gross ($529 million), and biggest single day worldwide gross ($17.7 million on Dec 18).
Part of the reason the new film is gathering enormous attention is due to casting choices.
Disney, who bought
Lucasfilm from George Lucas, cast a female, Daisy Ridley, as the center of the story and two actors of color, John Boyega and Oscar Isaac, as the other two leading roles for the first time in Star Wars franchise history. Junior Sienna Lambo has been a Star Wars fan since she was ten when her father introduced her to the films and expressed how happy she was with the diverse cast. “I loved that a girl was cast as the center of the story and I loved Rey’s character. She was amazing and I’m glad there were people of color in the film. It needed to happen.”
Along with the new production company came a new director: J.J. Abrams. Before The Force Awakens came out, fans were unsure about a new director and wondered if he could fill the shoes George Lucas had left. After seeing the new film for the first time though, many fans would agree that he went above and beyond the expectations. “J.J. Abrams has done the original trilogy justice in many ways. Not only has he introduced feelings of nostalgia with the original cast as well as certain plot elements, he gave the movie franchise a refreshing new twist while possessing the feel of the original Star Wars,” said junior Youness Bella.
Star Wars fans had another reason to be hesitant about the new film’s success. The prequel trilogy was considered a letdown for most fans. They performed poorly in the box office compared to the original trilogy and received a total of five academy award nominations with not a single win. Fans feared that the sequel trilogy will be a letdown along these lines. Senior Amy Andrade has seen every Star Wars movie and said, “I didn’t have very much confidence in this new film to be good, but it really was. I have faith that it could be better considering the improvements in technology and it’s more diverse cast. It also being a sequel, as opposed to a prequel, gives the story some wiggle room. You’ve got the old cast, and new cast, with better technology to really bring it to life. The next couple of movies should be great.”
Every year, new Star Wars films are scheduled to be released until 2020. Along with the final two films in the sequel trilogy, 3 stand-alone spin off films are also in the lineup. Regardless of fan’s reactions to The Force Awakens, they will continue to buy tickets to the upcoming movie releases.