'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': What a new TV spot reveals

A TV spot for 'Force' has some new moments for fans to talk about. The new 'Star Wars' movie will be released on Dec. 18.

A new trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” aired on TV during ABC’s popular Thursday-night drama lineup. 

While some of the trailer was comprised of footage fans had already seen, a couple of new moments has them talking. 

In one, Han Solo (Harrison Ford) gives Rey (Daisy Ridley) a blaster. “You might need this,” he says.

Another shows various characters gathered having a meeting, with Han, someone looks like Leia (Carrie Fisher), and a person who could be Fisher’s real-life daughter, Billie Lourd, present. Lourd is currently starring on the Fox show “Scream Queens.”

Fans have seen more footage recently, with an international clip that was released earlier this month providing more details on the character of Rey, who seems to be central to the story. “I know all about waiting for my family,” she says. 

In addition to cast members from the original “Star Wars” series such as Ford, Fisher, and Mark Hamill, the movie also stars John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Gwendoline Christie, and Adam Driver, among many others.

The upcoming movie is the third launch of a new “Star Wars” film trilogy. The first movie, “Star Wars,” debuted in 1977 and was followed by two more films, all following the adventures of Hamill, Ford, and Fisher’s characters. A new trilogy, which is set before the original movies, debuted in 1999 with “Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace.” “Menace” and the following two movies were not hits with critics, though they did well at the box office. 

This new movie is set after 1983’s “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi” and so takes place in a world of which fans know little.

In what kind of movie marketplace will “Force” debut? It’s one where fantasy and science fiction are stronger than ever. When “Menace” debuted in 1999, the last time a new "Star Wars" series made an appearance, neither the “Harry Potter” or the “Lord of the Rings” series had come along. “Rings” in particular began a fantasy craze that we are still seeing at the movies today. The “Rings” films became some of the highest-grossing movies of all time and the third became the first fantasy film ever to win the Best Picture Oscar. 

The marketplace when “Menace” debuted was in some ways a very different place. Big-screen spectacle was certainly a draw, as it was only two years after “Titanic” (and “Titanic” debuted so close to the end of 1997 that it was a big part of 1998 as well). New twists on horror movies like “The Sixth Sense” and “The Blair Witch Project” were other big successes of 1999, and otherwise the highest-grossing movies of the year were animated movies (Disney as well as Pixar, which was just getting its start), a romantic comedy, and an Adam Sandler film, among others.

By contrast, “Force” will arrive at a multiplex that’s dominated by comic book movies, which combine elements of fantasy and science fiction. The science fiction film “The Martian” has been a force this year as well, showing the popularity of the genre with recent films like “Gravity” and “Interstellar.” 

Of course, some things haven’t changed since the beginning of the millennium – Disney and Pixar were still big players this year and the “Jurassic Park” series, with its element of science fiction, was a big hit in the summer of 2015. It’s a movie franchise that would have been familiar to a 1999 moviegoer.

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