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Star Wars: The Force Awakens unveils second teaser trailer and character names at panel

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Story by Jack Foley

IT seems anticipation couldn’t be any higher surrounding Star Wars: The Force Awakens – but now that a second teaser trailer has dropped and more details have been released, it’s now hit fever pitch. And deservedly so.

The second peak at what to expect from JJ Abrams’ new movie certainly looks to have recaptured the magic of the original trilogy. From the opening music, to the Luke Skywalker monologue, and the haunting shot of Darth Vader’s smashed mask, right through to Han Solo and Chewbacca’s appearance at the end, this ticks all the right boxes to leave Star Wars aficionados salivating.

The launch of the trailer took place at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, a four-day gathering of Star Wars fans that has now become a yearly pilgrimage for devotees.

What made this one ultra special, however, was the presence of Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams – not to mention several cast members.

And while the trailer was the main event, there was plenty more to chew over, from new, never-before-seen photos from the set, to insights into the characters.

And yet it all came so close to being different. Abrams revealed that he had initially turned down the job of directing, in a bid to break away from sequels and franchises, but once he sat down with Kennedy it became “impossible to say no”.

Abrams and Kennedy revealed that the parts of the film shot in Abu Dhabi are not set on Tatooine but a new planet called Jakku.

Then came some more revelations about the film itself – many from the actors themselves, as they joined Kennedy and Abrams on-stage.

First up were the trio of new leads – John Boyega, Daisy Ridley and Oscar Isaac, who were able to divulge a little bit more about their characters.

Ridley will play Rey, a scavenger on the planet Jakku, who meets Finn (Boyega), a ‘man’ in incredible danger who makes some life-changing decisions that launch him into the Star Wars story. Boyega himself confirmed that Finn is indeed a Storm Trooper.

Isaac, meanwhile, plays Po Damerin, “the best freakin’ pilot in the galaxy”, who meets Finn and finds their fates intertwined.

Abrams and Kennedy went on to reveal that the parts of the film shot in Abu Dhabi are not set on Tatooine (as initially guessed) but a new planet called Jakku.

While Kennedy went on to promise that the new trilogy, unlike the first, will place more of an emphasis on heroines.

“There’s great new characters, but really strong women,” she said. “Not only in Episode VII but in the conversations we’re having moving forward.”

It was then down to former cast members to complete the panel’s line-up, including C-3PO actor Anthony Daniels, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) — plus a slew of Storm Troopers, R2D2 and new droid BB8.

Harrison Ford could not attend the event due to injuries he is still recovering from after recently crashed-landing his plane. Nevertheless, his appearance at the end of the trailer – during which he uttered the line “Chewie, we’re home” – guaranteed he attracted some of the biggest cheers.

Disney and Lucasfilm will release Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which also stars Adam Driver, Andy Serkis and Domhnall Gleeson, on December 18, 2015. Expect box office records to be shattered!

Now watch that trailer

Next story: Michael Fassbender, Matthew McConaughey and Sir Michael Caine to line-up at Cannes 2015