The official title of the new Star Wars movie that is set to hit theaters on December 18, 2015 is The Force Awakens. I like the title, but without context, I can’t say that I love it, yet. It does feel right when saying it along with the names of the other titles such as A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
I did notice that “Episode VII” is absent from the title image. TheForce.net has confirmed with Lucasfilm that it will be not appear in the title or promotional material for the film, but it will be in the opening crawl.
I don’t mind this at all because it is reminiscent of how the original trilogy was advertised, which is a sign that Disney is looking to take every avenue to recapture the magic that made this franchise such a cultural touchstone.
Using Roman numerals made sense for the prequels because those stories were a precursor to the tales presented in Episodes IV, V, and VI. Also, the powers that be at the time wanted to avoid audience confusion since the films went back in time instead of forward.
The title, The Force Awakens, could mean so many things and it’s exciting and worth speculating about because this is the first real piece of information we know about the movie. Has The Force been inactive since we last saw the Rebel Alliance on Endor over thirty years ago?
Perhaps it’s been quiet even longer than we realized. Order 66 wiped out the majority of the Jedi population in Revenge of the Sith and after a twenty year gap to reach A New Hope, Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, The Emperor, Obi Wan Kenobi, and Yoda were the only force users we knew of. Once ROTJ ended, Luke was presumably the last of the Jedi, he will be, according to Yoda.
Maybe, the awakening of The Force speaks to a galaxy wide convergence of sorts where those who survived Palpatine’s deadly mandate emerge from the shadows along with others who were born force sensitive throughout the years, but never received the training needed to harness their abilities. To take it one step further, what if some of the untrained force born found a way to teach themselves?
Between the main episodes and the spin-off films, we are scheduled to get a new Star Wars movie every year for the foreseeable future. This is a drastic change from how the films used to be released. Remember, The Phantom Menace was released in 1999 which is sixteen years after Return of the Jedi. The Force Awakens will be released 10 years after Revenge of the Sith in 2005.
This is an exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. Being introduced to new characters while exploring different worlds will hopefully augment this already rich universe. I’ve already told my coworkers that I’m not coming into work on opening day as it will hopefully be a day long remembered.