I was very excited to be invited to the Star Wars celebration in London yesterday evening, an event which featured a live stream to the Anaheim presentation of the brand new trailer for The Force Awakens, plus a q&a session with J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and others. Here is what happened…
We were greeted by two ominous-looking Stormtroopers, however Any apprehension was soon eased by the appearance of everyone’s favourite robot duo. C3PO and R2D2 were on hand at the Star Wars Celebration to offer a more friendly welcome. Despite 38 years passing since the release of the first Star Wars film, these two looked sprightly as ever.
Before too long, the show began, with Willow Ofgood himself (aka Warwick Davis) presenting the Star Wars Celebration event for the London audience. Davis makes an excellent host; he was highly amusing throughout the evening. After some events for fans, the presentation was about to begin.
Director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy looked genuinely thrilled to be at the Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim. The emphasis was definitely on going back to Star Wars’ roots with The Force Awakens. Numerous times, J.J. Abrams, mentioned going back to the original trilogy with both the look and the feel of the new film. It definitely felt as if both Abrams and Kennedy wished to steer away from memories of the less well-received prequel trilogy of the late nineties/early noughties.
After answering some questions, it was time to bring out more guests including the makers of the new R2D2, plus the robot himself and B8, a new robot addition to the Star Wars franchise. Fans at the Star Wars Celebration then got to meet the main stars of The Force Awakens; John Boyega (Finn), Daisy Ridley (Rey) and Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron). All three spoke of their memories of Star Wars growing up, and their excitement of working on the film at being at the Star Wars Celebration.
Next, it was time for some old faces to appear, in the form of Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia), Anthony Daniels (C3PO) and Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca). The cast from the original franchise spoke of their affection for the films and their joy at coming back for the new films. The main event arrived at the every end of the presentation, with the first screening of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer.
Reception to the trailer was extremely positive. Earlier spoken of “retro” aspects are apparent at this new glimpse, with the look of the film a great reflection of the original franchise. There are some wonderful shots, including the desert landscape opening shot, the image of Pol Dameron in the pilot seat (echoing Luke Skywalker) and decaying helmut of Darth Vader. The teaser also posed some interesting questions, particularly in who Luke is speaking to when he talks about family. I would assume it is a child or nephew/niece of his, which posits Rey or Pol Dameron as the likely audience of this speech. Then again, this teaser gives away so little that this may be a red herring. The final shot of Han Solo and Chewbacca, unsurprisingly got the biggest cheer of all; fans were certainly glad to see the return of this duo.
After the excitement of seeing the new teaser on the big screen at Empire Leicester Square, it was time for the Star Wars Celebration to conclude. There was a definite air of excitement about the new footage at the event; the venue was buzzing with discussion of what was screened as I left, goodies in hand.