By Will Camillo
Well, here we are. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is less than a month away, and moviegoers are gearing up for what may be one of the biggest premieres of all time. Hardcore and casual fans alike are diving back into the galaxy far, far away to prepare themselves for a new adventure. One need not look any further than September’s Force Friday events, when “The Force Awakens” merchandise was officially released to select stores at midnight, to see just how much hype has been built for the seventh episode in the blockbuster franchise. But, if you are not a card-carrying member of the Jedi Order, the Rebel Alliance or the Empire, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need to catch up on anything before I see the movie?” Well, look no further, young padawan. Here is your guide to preparing for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
A lot has changed in the galaxy far, far away since it was acquired by Disney in 2012. Under this new ownership, the Star Wars universe has been irrevocably altered. Originally, the story of Star Wars included an expanded universe, comprised of hundreds of novels, comics, video games and television shows, as well as the Original and Prequel Trilogy films. After acquisition by Disney, this continuity was rebranded as “Star Wars Legends,” and is no longer considered an official part of the Star Wars saga. The new, official canon consists of five main components: The six original films, the “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” animated series, the currently-airing “Star Wars: Rebels” animated series, the upcoming “Star Wars: Battlefront” video game, as well as any novel or comic book that was published after October 2014. The website “Outer Places” has a fantastic infographic of the new timeline, if you want more information.
Even with the continuity reset, there is still quite a bit of material to get through if you want to be completely filled in on the Star Wars saga. But fear not, you do not need to understand every facet of the universe to enjoy “The Force Awakens.” As mentioned earlier, the major parts of the saga include the six original films, “The Clone Wars” and “Star Wars: Rebels.”
After you re-watch Episodes I-VI, you may want to check out “The Clone Wars” animated series. All six seasons are available on Netflix and, while it begins rather kid-friendly, it quickly evolves into a fantastic look at the conflict that takes place between “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith,” with many new characters that you will grow to love. The series was cancelled after Disney acquired Star Wars, so many of the unfinished episodes have made their way into the saga as “The Clone Wars Legacy.” Starwars.com has posted concept art and story reels, which are unfinished animated sequences, for eight episodes that were planned for season seven of “The Clone Wars.” Additionally, the novel “Star Wars: Dark Disciple” was written from eight scripts for season seven, and is a great read for any fan of “The Clone Wars.”
In addition to “The Clone Wars,” the “Star Wars: Rebels” animated series picks up several years after the end of “Revenge of Sith,” and shows how the Rebel Alliance came to be. Not only that, but some of your favorite “Clone Wars” characters make a return in the show. “Rebels” is currently airing on Disney XD, but you can stream every episode on their website the day after it airs.
There you have it. That is everything you need to know before making your return to the galaxy far, far away. “The Force Awakens” opens in theaters December 18. Good luck young padawan, and may the Force be with you.