Star Wars 7 smashes ticket sale records, but what will the film be about? – The Week UK

Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens this week smashed records that had previously been set by The Hunger Games for most tickets sold on the first day of release, Variety magazine has revealed. But as StarWarsNewsNet.com notes, Star Wars 7 didn’t just beat the record, “it obliterated it.”

“It didn’t just surpass that picture, it shattered its benchmark, outselling The Hunger Games eight times over. Traffic to the online ticketer Fandago’s site surged to seven times more than its peak level in less than 24 hours”, Variety reports.

Several cinemas reported that their sites crashed. The Alamo Drafthouse theatre group had so many problems throughout the say that the CEO of the Texas-based cinema chain issued an apology calling the release “the single biggest simultaneous surge for movie tickets our industry has ever seen”.

“This is an extraordinary time for the industry, which experienced unprecedented ticketing demand last night for Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” Fandango said in a statement. “The enthusiasm for this year’s most anticipated movie is out of this world and we expect it to continue all the way to its debut on Dec 18.”

After the release earlier this week of the latest full-length trailer for Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens (below), many fans might still be wondering what the new film is all about. Fortunately, a Star Wars “super fan” has mapped out the entire plot of the forthcoming film by piecing together the various leaks, rumours and spoilers that have come out over the past twelve months.

Not so long ago, in a galaxy nearby, fan site MakingStarWars.net compiled all the most credible plot details that have so far been published online into a coherent synopsis that many Star Wars obsessives believe could provide an accurate insight into the most hotly anticipated film of the decade. So what will Star Wars 7 be all about?

Warning: possible spoilers ahead

Even after being edited by MakingStarWars.net, Star Wars fan DarthLightlyBruise’s comprehensive overview runs to 3,800 words. According to the summary, Star Wars 7 will open with a blue lightsaber tumbling through space before coming to rest on a desert planet called Jakku. The lightsaber ends up in the hands of a character named the Vicar, played by Max von Sydow.

Understanding the significance of the weapon, the Vicar gets in touch with the Resistance – the new incarnation of the Rebel Alliance. Soon a pilot named Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac, arrives to collect the lightsaber. However, the First Order – a remnant of the evil Galactic Empire – intercepts the communication and arrives to collect the Jedi weapon. Dameron stores it in a droid named BB-8 and sends him on his way.

As the film progresses we meet a stormtrooper named Finn – played by British actor John Boyega, who goes awol after being traumatised by war. While on the run, Finn meets villain Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and a beautiful junk scavenger named Rey (Daisy Ridley).

The film also features appearances from Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) and – eventually – Queen Leia (Carrie Fisher), the leader of the Resistance. When Leia and Han meet, it is clear that they have become estranged but as the film progresses they rekindle their love.

The narrative of the film follows the Resistance’s effort to return the lightsaber to its rightful owner. But who could that be? Some suggest Luke Skywalker lies in wait at the end of the film.

As CinemaBlend notes, “this is all based on the unconfirmed rumours that have made the rounds. The fan essentially places them in an order that makes sense and, using some conjecture and knowledge of these movies to link them together, creates a potential narrative”.

So what may be gleaned from the latest trailer that wasn’t known previously? According to The Verge‘s scene-by-scene analysis, several new themes become clear.

First, the reincarnation of the Empire, the First Order, “seem more fanatical than the old Imperials” and appears to be made up of “true believers rather than conscripted soldiers.”

Second, the main villain of the piece, Kylo Ren, can be seen standing on the deck of what appears to be a Star Destroyer possibly overseeing the construction of the “strange new Death Star-ish orb” that some fans spotted in the poster. Is another planet-destroying weapon under construction?

Finally, in the trailer Han explains that stories about the past were “all true”. The Verge offers two possible explanations for why there may be some uncertainty about the past in the minds of the two young leads. “Both Rey and Finn could simply be bumpkins who know little about the galaxy outside their homeworlds, but maybe the end of the Empire wasn’t as well publicised as the parties at the end of Return of the Jedi suggested. Or maybe, without the Empire’s logistical and communication links, the galaxy was kicked into a dark age where stories travelled slowly and people travelled irregularly.”

All will be revealed when the film arrives in cinemas in late December.

Even the film’s young stars look impressed

Not even the film’s new leads look as though they were prepared for the scale of the project they have just completed. Both John Boyega, who plays the film’s rogue Storm Trooper, Finn, and Daisy Ridley, who plays new heroine, Rey, posted their reactions to the latest trailer on their Instagram accounts.

Both appear to be entirely overwhelmed by the short clip. Ridley bursts into tears while watching the trailer on her iPhone, while Boyega nods approvingly before throwing himself over the couch and onto the floor screaming “what?”

According to Cinemabland, Ridley has embraced her new role throughout the film’s production. “Ridley is all about the Star Wars experience,” the site says. “She’s captured everything from teaser screen captures, posters and her character’s Topps trading card, to panel appearances, tiny Rey cos-players and her godfather’s dog macking on a Chewbacca stuffed animal.”

Boyega’s reaction too is “a testament to how passionate he feels about being able to contribute to this massive franchise”, the site says.

See the two stars’ reactions below.

How and where to get tickets

19 October

Disney announced that its hotly-anticipated new film, Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, will open with a series of special 3D screenings as advance booking for tickets for the new film began this morning at 8am – two months ahead of the film’s release in UK cinemas.

Cinema chains across the UK and Ireland announced ticket sales via their Twitter accounts, and a new trailer is set to be released tonight during a game of American Football, Sky News reports.

The Odeon cinema chain wrote on its official Twitter account: “Ready are you? What know you of ready? #StarWarsTheForceAwakens tickets are on sale TOMORROW (Monday) morning!”

Some fans expressed disappointment that tickets to the child-friendly film were going on sale during the morning rush hour when many parents would be commuting to work.

The official Star Wars website also announced that some fans would be able to watch the entire series of films in a special “marathon” event culminating in a screening of the new film in 3D.

“The Star Wars Marathon Event is the ultimate fan experience. All seven movies. One epic journey. Guests will see each of the six previously released Star Wars episodes in digital 2D beginning with The Phantom Menace and concluding with the opening of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in 3D!” 

Disney also unveiled the film’s new poster, which “showcases an awakening of the dark side… and the light.” 

To book tickets, UK fans can visit the official Odeon site or Vue.

A new trailer for the film will screen during ESPN’s Monday Night Football, which begins at 1:30am BST. UK fans will be able to watch the trailer online soon after.

Star Wars 7: Daisy Ridley’s Rey is ‘extremely significant’

16 October

Rey, the new female character in Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens, will be “extremely significant”, the movie’s producer Kathleen Kennedy has promised.

In an interview in which she called on Hollywood to do more to promote women, Kennedy fuelled speculation that Rey – played by English actress Daisy Ridley – is a descendant of the Skywalkers.

Kennedy, one of the industry’s most senior women, told The Guardian that Rey would be “extremely significant” but refused to divulge more details, insisting: “I don’t want to spoil the story.”

Speculation has been feverish among Star Wars fanatics that Rey is the child of either Luke Skywalker or Princess Leia. Her ancestry is one of the biggest mysteries surrounding The Force Awakens, the next chapter of the franchise, which will be released in December.

Speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, Kennedy also revealed that six out of eight of the people involved in developing the film were women and that 50 per cent of her executive team were female.

“Having a balance of men and women in the room changes the story,” she said. “The dialogue, the point of view.”

She said the number of women in influential positions in the movie industry is declining. “In a weird way, a few years ago there were more,” she said. “The numbers never climb significantly but more women were running studios than there are today.”

Calling on the industry to do more to “nurture” female talent, she said: “It’s a lot to do with opportunity and there has to be a concerted effort to create the opportunity.”

Star Wars 7: Battlefront reboots with The Force Awakens tie-ins

13 October

The Star Wars Battlefront reboot is due out in mid-November, but reviewers have already started putting the beta game through its paces and have found plenty to like, and dislike.

The Star Wars Battlefront video games, based on the Star Wars films by George Lucas, are first and third person shooter games allowing players to take on the role of soldiers in either of two opposing armies in different time periods of the Star Wars universe.

The series started in 2004, and the new 2015 game from EA and Dice reboots the series by focusing on capturing the look of the films. It even has narrative tie-ins to the upcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens, due out in December.

According to Coming Soon, fans who pre-order Star Wars Battlefront will be among the first players to experience the Battle of Jakku, a special downloadable addition to the Star Wars Battlefront game world that also serves as a direct prequel to The Force Awakens. 

The battle marks “the pivotal moment when the New Republic confronted key Imperial holdouts on a remote desert planet on the Outer Rim” and will explain how the giant Star Destroyer ended up buried in the sand of Jakku.

Some reviewers testing the beta version of Battlefront have been enjoying the old-style charm of the game.

Chris Plant on The Verge says the game is “like a relic from the previous decade”, stripping away many of the supposed improvements of online shooters – advanced loadouts, weapon customisation and in-world hubs. Battlefront also has “one of the most friendly user-interfaces I’ve experienced in years”, says Plant. It’s all about the fighting – practicing your aim, testing the jetpack, or learning how best to control a vehicle.

Plant sums up by calling Battlefront “a beautiful and accessible fantasy of shooting bad guys in an iconic galaxy far, far away”, adding that this might be “the dad rock of video games I’ve been waiting for”.

However, Vincent Balestiere on International Business Times was less impressed with the “glaring lack of single-player features”. There are a few “missions” that you can play solo, he says, but they are mostly limited to standard “survival” modes, where you fend off waves of enemies as a timer runs out.

It looks fantastic, admits Balestiere, but there’s not much story, and battles will be spread across only four planets (Hoth, Sullust, Tatooine and Endor).

While the game and Star Wars 7 tie-in elements might be catnip for fans, some have criticised the expensive additional downloadable content (DLC).

Dice and EA have announced a $50 Season Pass consisting of four expansions “filled with new content that will take you to new locations across a galaxy far, far away”, Erik Kain writes in Forbes. And while they haven’t provided details for what exactly that new content is, it’s likely to be mostly extra maps and a few other game modes and gear.

For some extra maps, the pricing is “irredeemably insane and greedy”, says Kain, adding “this is EA going full Dark Side on us again”.

Star Wars Battlefront UK release is set for 19 November.

Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens – what does BB-8’s name mean?

12 October

The mischievous droid from the original Star Wars films, R2-D2, is said to have been named in homage to American Graffiti, a previous film made by Star Wars creator George Lucas.

So when director JJ Abrams took control of the sci-fi franchise, fans wanted to know the significance of the name of BB-8, a new droid who features prominently in trailers for the forthcoming film, Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens.

A new theory suggests the name may be a reference to one of Abrams’s favourite hip-hop acts, Beastie Boys.

Fan site StarWars7News.com points to other Beastie Boys references Abrams has sprinkled through the new film, including a character named Ello Asty – a reference, they say, to the fifth Beastie Boys studio album, Hello Nasty.

The character also wears a helmet inscribed with the words “born to ill” in the fictional language of Aurebesh, the site notes – which could refer back to the first Beastie Boys album, Licensed to Ill.   

The droids in Star Wars are some of the characters most beloved by the films’ ardent fans. R2-D2 was said to have been given his name when Lucas was working on the film American Graffiti.

One of the director’s co-workers asked Lucas to pass him a section of film – “reel two, dialogue track two” which was transcribed as R2-D2, SlashFilm notes. Lucas liked the sound of the abbreviation and went on to use it as the name for one his robotic heroes in the Star Wars films.

So if BB stands for Beastie Boys, what is the significance of the number eight? According to StarWars7News it is a reference to the eight studio albums the band recorded between 1986 and 2011.

Abrams himself has another explanation for the name. In an interview he said: “I named him BB-8 because it was almost an onomatopoeia.

“It was sort of how he looked to me, with the 8, obviously, and then the two Bs.” But was he just trying to obscure the name’s true origins?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in cinemas worldwide in mid-December.