Since details of Star Wars: The Force Awakens first began to trickle through the internet a year or so ago, we've been predicting that the seventh film in the series is destined to become the Biggest Movie Of All Time, eclipsing the $2,783,918,982 (ish) taken world wide by Avatar in 2009.
If that sounds like a premature claim, consider the froth of excitement that has been whipped up in the past 24 hours by the release of a mere poster for this film two months before its release.
In keeping with tradition, the Force Awakens image set to be tacked to a million chlldhood walls is an illustrated montage of the major characters captured in moments of action. There's Kylo Ren clutching his long sword-style lightsaber. There's Fin and Rey poised with their blue lightsaber and staff respectively. There's Chewie, about to fire some sort of space age crossbow.
Han is in there, looking a bit grey and gristly around the edges, all-but screaming "I'm too old for this shit". There's Leia, looking like a Mum at an 18th birthday party when someone puts some Fetty Wap on. R2-D2 and C-3PO pick up where they left off as pioneers for the gay robot civil rights movement.
All of which is well and good, but that hasn't halted an en masse over analysis of the image, resulting (but far from being retricted to) the following three main concerns:
1 | Where the hell is Luke?
If you work on idea that the size of the characters on the poster relates to their prominence in the movie, with the three new additions (Kylo, Fin, Rey) taking centre stage and the old-timers in support, then Luke being left off altogether is - in the world of Star Wars mania at least - very interesting. Mark Hamill was also conspicuously absent from any of the trailers, leading to speculation that he won't appear in the new film at all except perhaps as a voice over. That said Hamill, bless him, hasn't aged quite as well as some of the other cast members, being now virtually unrecognisable from the bright eyed Aryan poster boy who once saved the day in a galaxy far, far away, so perhaps it was an aesthetic decision.
2 | Is that a new Death Star?
Fans of certain vintage have been excited to note the red-eyed sphere in the top right of the poster and its similarity to the great, floating bogeyman of their childhoods, The Death Star. More likely it is the Starkiller Base, described on the official Star Wars website as "an ice planet converted into a stronghold of the First Order and armed with a fiercely destructive new weapon capable of destroying entire star systems", which is more or less the same thing.
3 | What about Lupita Nyong’o?
One of the more exciting bits of casting news was that 12 Years A Slave Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o was appearing as Maz Kanata, described on starwars.wikia.com as a female pirate. The first disappointment is that Maz Kanata is going to be entirely motion captured, denying us the sight of Nyong'o gunning down a Stormtrooper or fizzing around with a jet pack. The poster appears to compound that disappointment if, applying the aforementioned size to prominence formula, that tiny, boggle-eye Yoda look-a-like behind R2-D2 is indeed Maz Kanata. Either way let's hope the character is more Boba Fett and less Jar-Jar Binks.
These are just three observations being made around the world as the poster trends on Twitter and websites including this one fall over themselves to publish the poster for reasons of
traffic public interest. The same thing happened when the first plot rumours, cast photo and teaser trailer came out, and whenever director JJ Abrams tweeted anything from set.
Put simply: the frenzied interest in this film is unlike anything seen before it, including Spectre, the follow up to the most successful British film in history. The cast and crew are fresh enough to mean younger audiences are intrigued, while at the same time the on point viral marketing has made shrewd use of the enormous nostalgia parents have for the franchise. It's been long enough for memories of the awful prequels to recede, so even the timing feels right - less a cynical cash in like those endless superhero movies, more a chance for redemption for the most beloved sci-fi story of all time.
So put your money on it now: for better or for worse, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be the Biggest Movie Of All Time. Well, until those Jaws / Back To The Future reboots, anyway.