Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hits local theaters
JEFFERSON CITY - "There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" asked Supreme Leader Snoke, played by actor Andy Serkis. Disney and Lucasfilm, Ltd. released "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" Thursday night. Those who remembered, those who won't forgot, and a whole new generation experienced a new beginning of the "Star Wars" saga.
The story of "Episode VII," directed by J.J. Abrams, takes place 30 years following, "Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi," released in 1983. The original heroes are back. Fans will get to see longtime beloved characters Han Solo [played by Harrison Ford], Luke Skywalker [played by Mark Hamill], General "Princess" Leia [played by Carrie Fisher], Chewbacca "Chewie" [played by Peter Mayhew], C-3P0 [played by Anthony Daniels], and R2-D2 [played by Kenny Baker].
Erin Cox, general manager at Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres off Country Club Drive, said she and the movie theater staff were excited beyond belief the big day had finally arrived.
"We're really excited," Cox said. "We've heard a lot of buzz about the movie. Everybody seems to be really excited about it. We're excited to bring in people from all over, people that don't usually go to movie theaters. We're excited that they come here, and we're hoping they have a good time."
Cox said, for safety reasons, Goodrich Capital 8 Theatres would not be allowing moviegoers to wear anything that obstructed their faces. This also included no hoods, no masks, and no face-painting. Fans would also not be allowed to bring in anything that resembles a weapon, including lightsabers and blasters.
"No weapons and nothing that can obscure your face, but we do want everybody to dress up and have fun and enjoy the movie," Cox said.
"Episode VII," will also include new characters such as heroes Rey [played by Daisy Ridley], Finn [played by John Boyega], Poe Dameron [played by Oscar Isaac], and villian Kylo Ren [played by Adam Driver].
Brandon Starks, Star Wars fan, is a member of a Cosplay costume-group called DoDeca Events. Starks dressed up as new character Finn for the occasion.
"I'm excited about the new chapter," Starks said. "The new Jedi, the new series, I've been waiting a long time. I binge-watched all of them last week. [I'm a] real big fan, and I'm really excited to see the new Jedis take off."
Starks was born in 1983, the same year "Return of the Jedi," premiered. When asked if he felt a special connection to the original trilogy, Starks answered yes.
"[Return of the Jedi] is actually my favorite movie out of the series," laughed Starks.
2015 has definitely been a big year for movies. For the first time in history, four films grossed more than a $1 billion worldwide [Furious 7, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Minions]. Cox said she has no doubt "The Force Awakens" will make more than $1 billion at the box office.
When asked if "Episode VII" could beat the James Cameron film "Avatar" for highest-grossing movie of all time, Cox, once again, said yes.
"I think it's going to bring in a lot more," Cox said. "[Episode VII] goes to more of a crowd. I think more people can relate to Star Wars than they could relate to those types of movies."
"Avatar" generated a total of almost $2.79 billion worldwide to become the highest-grossing film of all time in 2010, passing Cameron's own 1997 movie "Titanic." "The Force Awakens" would have to make more than $2.788 billion to capture the title.
Cox said "Episode VII" maybe has a chance to be nominated for Best Picture by the Oscars.
When asked if Starks would be surprised if "The Force Awakens," got nominated for Best Picture, he said not at all.
"Oh, not at all," Starks said. "[It's] a new fresh start, better graphics, better writing. I just can't wait to see it and check it out."
This is the first Star Wars movie since "Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in 2005. This is also the first new Star Wars movie to begin a new trilogy since "Star Wars Episode I: the Phantom Menace" in 1999.
After the premiere of the movie Thursday, fans would have all their questions answered that have been filling suspense in everyone for years: What happens after "Return of the Jedi"?, Where is Luke Skywalker? Have the Jedi fully come back from extinction? Do Han and Leia get together? Do Han and Leia have kids? Does Luke get married and have kids? Which beloved characters survive or die? After Thursday night, all these questions would be answered. However, if not, fans will have to wait until "Star Wars Episode VIII," scheduled for May 26, 2017.
The "original trilogy" began in 1977 with "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope," written and directed by George Lucas.
After moviegoers saw the opening words, "A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....," nothing would be the same again. "Star Wars" exploded into mainstream culture and became a phenomenon. "A New Hope" followed with "Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back" in 1980, and "Episode VI: Return of the Jedi in 1983.
The "prequel trilogy" began in 1999 with "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace," followed by, "Episode II: Attack of the Clones" in 2002 and "Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" in 2005.
"The Force Awakens," begins the "sequel trilogy." The next three films will show audiences what happens after the death of Darth Vader and fall of the Empire. On October 30, 2012, Disney bought Lucasfilm, Ltd. for more than $4 billion. This included both the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises. On that same day, both Disney and Lucasfilm, Ltd. announced Episodes VII, VIII and IX were happening.
Rotten Tomatoes has already awarded the new flick with a Certified Fresh 95 percent rating. More than 245 critics have reviewed the movie, 233 of them gave the film a "Fresh" rating.
Wednesday, the American Film Institute [AFI] also included "The Force Awakens" as one of the top 10 movies of the year. "Episode VII" joins other elite films of 2015 such as "Spotlight," "Bridge of Spies," and "The Big Short."
KOMU 8 News reached out to Goodrich Forum 8 theaters for comment on costume/prop regulations for moviegoers, but declined to be interviewed due to time constraints.
KOMU 8 News also reached out to Regal Columbia Stadium 14 off Goodwin Pointe Drive, but managers could not be reached for comment via telephone.