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"There has been an awakening, have you felt it?"

The official release date is tomorrow (17/12/15), so cinemas everywhere are screening The Force Awakens at one minute past midnight. Set 30 years after Return of the Jedi, this long awaited sequel IS SET TO STAR an all new cast with a few familiar faces back to save the day. With Darth Vadar gone and the Galactic Empire no more, it is up to some old friends to confront the new evil that has risen to take the Empire's place..

Here are the top things can't wait to see in Episode VII.


No return to the Star Wars universe would be complete without Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford. More than a nostalgic cash-grab designed to sell tickets (we hope) the original trio of Luke, Leia and Han are set to play major roles in The Force Awakens. Joining them in that galaxy far, far away are series regulars Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Kenny Baker as R2-D2, and even Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew! (What, no Billy Dee Williams as Lando?!) Joining them are John Boyega as Finn, a rogue stormtrooper, Daisy Ridley as Rey, a scavenger from desert planet Jakku, and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) as an X-wing fighter.

Filming shut down for two weeks last year while Ford recovered from having part of the Millennium Falcon set fall on him, fuelling speculation that the old smuggler will have a much bigger role to play than we thought. The amount of screen-time the Skywalker twins will get isn’t yet known. Neither have featured in any of the trailers so far, although if the rumours are to be believed Luke may finally have succumbed to the Dark Side of the Force…


In the biggest shake up of Star Wars since the prequels, the role of director has passed from franchise stalwart George Lucas to Star Trek helmer JJ Abrams. Lucas had no direct input in the making of The Force Awakens (given the much maligned prequels this is probably no bad thing)...

Lawrence Kasdan, who wrote The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is not only co-writer on The Force Awakens, he’s co-writing the first Star Wars Stories movie. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Kasdan said “I thought, ‘Wow, okay, these people have lived - they’re in a different place in their lives, Han and Leia and so on. They’ve lived the same 30 years I have. What would that be like? How would you see things differently’.”


Heroes are only as good as their villains. From Captain Phasma (the chrome stormtrooper glimpsed in the trailer played by Game of Thrones fave Gwendoline Christie), to the mysterious Kylo Ren, The Force Awakens is stuffed with as much villainy as the Mos Eisley cantina. (Greedo not included.) With the Death Star out of action the Empire is no more. But wait! A new group dubbed The First Order has risen to take the Empire’s place. Little is known about who or what The First Order are, but chances are it’s nothing good. Early speculation pegged Kylo Ren as a Sith when his tri-bladed lightsaber from the first trailer grabbed headlines. Director Abrams says otherwise. “He works under Supreme Leader Snoke, who is a powerful figure on the Dark Side of the Force,” he told Empire magazine. Snoke is the CG character motion-captured by Andy Serkis. If you think he looks a bit like Darth Vadar the similarities are intentional. Kylo Ren is obsessed with the former Anakin Skywalker…


Earlier this year Disney chief executive Bob Iger revealed that Disney would soon be adding two massive Star Wars expansions to their Florida and California parks. “We knew it needed to be big,” says Iger, “we knew it needed to be great, and we knew it needed to be every bit as thrilling as the films are going to be.”

Inhabited by humanoids, aliens and droids, these 14 acre sites will transport guests to a whole new planet not previously seen in the movies, with shops run by various species and everything looking a bit like a cross between Mos Eisley and ......

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