Star Wars: The Force Awakens (also known as Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens) is a 2015 film directed by J. J. Abrams who co-produced the film with Kathleen Kennedy and Bryan Burk. The screenplay was co-written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams and Michael Arndt based on the characters created by George Lucas. The Force Awakens sees the return of some original actors from the original Star Wars films; Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew alongside Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson and Max von Sydow.
The storyline is set three decades after Return of the Jedi and follows Rey, Finn and Poe Dameron’s search for Luke Skywalker. They are thrown into the middle of a battle between the Resistance, led by veterans of the Rebel Alliance and Kylo Ren and his daunting legions of the First Order, a successor organisation to the Galactic Empire.
The Force Awakens is the first film made following the acquisition of Lucasfilms by Walt Disney Studios in October 2012. Marking a break in the creative control by the original creator, George Lucas although he did serve as a creative consultant during the film’s early production. All was not lost from the original trilogy as Lawrence Kasdan worked on the screenplay. He co-wrote of the original trilogy films The Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983. John Williams who was the film scores composer also returned to the film series.
Principal photography commenced on May 2014 and was based at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England. During filming at Pinewood Harrison Ford suffered a fracture to his leg after a hydraulic door on the Millennium Falcon set fell on him. J. J. Abrams said, Ford’s ankle “went to a 90-degree angle” and forced production to be suspended for two weeks. Filming also took place at Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland along with the Krafla volcano in Iceland, Rub’ al Khali desert in Abu Dhabi, New Mexico and Bad Robot in Santa Monica, California in the USA.
When the announcement for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was made it created huge anticipation among fans, media and critics all trying to get an exclusive on the production. Storyboard artist Simon Duric explained that “The security on the film was a challenge. That script was locked in a safe. Most of the time on a film you can sit at your desk with a copy of the script next to you. On this, you couldn’t. That’s fine but it was tricky in places. We had people flying drones over Pinewood studios trying to take photographs. It was nuts. If a prop was being moved we had to have them covered in a big black sheet. We were told in an email to be [wary] of drones”.
When Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released it received overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes it currently holds a rating of 92% with the consensus “Packed with action and populated by both familiar faces and fresh blood, The Force Awakens successfully recalls the series’ former glory while injecting it with renewed energy”. Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph gave it five stars out of five and said that it “sets out to shake Star Wars from its slumber, and reconnect the series with its much-pined-for past. That it achieves this both immediately and joyously is perhaps the single greatest relief of the movie-going year”. Peter Bradshaw from The Guardian also gave it five stars out of five, saying it was “both a narrative progression from the earlier three films and a shrewdly affectionate next-gen reboot … ridiculous and melodramatic and sentimental of course, but exciting and brimming with energy and its own kind of generosity”.
It was nominated for five Academy Awards Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score, Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Visual Effects. The Force Awakens was nominated for three BAFTA awards in production design, music and sound but won an award for Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects.
Commercially, Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a huge success with a loyal fan base built up from the previous films in the series. Produced on an estimated production budget of $245m, it took $247,966,675 in US box office takings from its opening weekend. Total US box office receipts were $936,662,225. The film achieved total worldwide box office receipts of $2,026,638,964 making it the highest grossing film in the Star Wars series.
There are plans for two sequels, one called The Last Jedi and a currently unnamed title known as Episode IX. They are scheduled for release in 2017 and 2019, respectively.
The Force Awakens
Year of Film
J. J. Abrams
Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Max von Sydow
Origin of Film
Genre(s) of Film
Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Budget: $245,000,000 (Estimated)
Opening Weekend: $247,966,675 (USA)
Gross: $2,026,638,964 (Worldwide)
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