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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

If you thought this summer was crazy for the box office, just wait until this winter when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters. Sure, with “Jurassic World” hanging onto the number three spot of all-time highest grossing flicks by its teeth, it seems like a tall order. But if there was one project handmade to beat that record, it’s “Star Wars.” We’re talking about one of the most recognizable brands in the history of cinema, here, and after suffering through three bad movies, fans are starving for a quality installment–something along the lines of the original trilogy.

Of course, that’s all easier said than done. No one expected “Jurassic World” to do as well as it did, so things don’t always pan out as everyone expects. Although the new flick is pretty much guaranteed to break $1 billion, there’s still no telling what kind of staying power it will have. Yes, it’s an anticipated film, but George Lucas’ prequel trilogy faced similar anticipation. But if director J.J. Abrams has learned from that trilogy’s mistakes, we may be in for a real treat. So what exactly are we in for with “The Force Awakens?”

In a short series of interviews with Variety, director J.J. Abrams, along with several actors, talked about what fans could expect from the latest installment of the franchise.

“Well I think J.J. has honored the world that George Lucas created and brought it to the present,” actress Lupita Nyong’o, who plays the mysterious Maz Kanata in the film, told the outlet. “I mean you’re going to find a world that you recognize, but with things that will surprise and delight you.”

As much as something like this will delight many fans, one has to wonder just how far the filmmakers will go to give viewers the nostalgia goggles they so desperately crave. There comes a point when it just becomes too reliant on the material that came before it. Luckily, J.J. Abrams is well aware of that problem, and has taken measures to avoid it.

“We really focused on how do we tell a story and incorporate what people know in a way that won’t feel like we’re just doing callbacks for the sake of it. It’s not about “best of” moments. It’s really about telling a solid story.”

That’s a comforting fact, and it’d be great a few more details. The actors, of course, were very hesitant to say much, and even Daisy Ridley joked about that fact.

“I can tell you that Rey begins alone…thank you,” she said, bowing her head and retreating from camera. After a good laugh she came back and gave her proper response, which was, as one would expect, a vague one.

Daisy Ridley as Rey.

Daisy Ridley as Rey.

“You can see that she has some fun with Finn along the way. She evolves as the film goes on. The relationships evolve as the film goes on.”

Actor John Boyega, who plays Finn in the film, was a bit more detailed.

Actor John Boyega as Finn.

Actor John Boyega as Finn.

“Well what we know so far is that [Finn and Rey’s] worlds collide in some way that is very important to the balance of the galaxy. And these characters who don’t have similar backgrounds come together to be a part of an adventure. That’s our connection.”

One of the bigger questions out there is how Harrison Ford’s Han Solo will fit into the story. Based on everything we’ve heard so far, his will be much more than just a passing role. His character seems deeply integrated into the plot of the story–but how will that work out? J.J. Abrams had an interesting take on the character, and what his life would be like in this modern “Star Wars” world portrayed in the film.

Director J.J. Abrams on the set of "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

Director J.J. Abrams on the set of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

“[Fans] love Han Solo. It made me realize there is a generation of people–of characters–in [the “Star Wars”] world who may have heard of him, who may not have heard of him at all. What would he mean to people now? And that just struck a nerve for me, and so it’s certainly a part of our story.”

Does that mean that the Han Solo we’ll see in the film will be something of a rockstar? It’d be an interesting direction to take the character for sure, and one has to wonder who Ford would play it. Just how grumpy will old Han Solo be?

What are you looking forward to most from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens?” Let us know in the comments down below!

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” hits theaters on December 18, 2015.

SOURCE: Variety

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.