I broke up with Star Wars, but JJ Abrams has my Jedi heart beating once again

New and diverse faces, old war horses, and the return to practical film making..I'm falling back in love

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The Independent Online

I broke up with Star Wars about 15 years ago. Ours wasn't an acrimonious, hostile split like it was for other fans (I didn't consider that my childhood had been assaulted). It just didn't do it for me anymore. There was no more excitement left in our relationship. When the prequels came out, they tried to impress me with new special effects and call backs to beloved characters - but it bore little resemblance to the franchise I once loved. I couldn’t even take much solace in the original movies. George Lucas kept tinkering with them, removing the original prints in favour for CGI enhanced replacements. Like a bad plastic surgeon, he took something beautiful and buried it under superficial cosmetic flourishes -even changing plot points.

The prequels were insipid. Where was the whimsy? Where was the fun? I was still transported to a galaxy far far away, but instead of being sent there for an adventure, I was sent to a toy store. Star Wars and I had agreed to see other people (I had fallen for a tall and handsome chap who knew kung fu and wore a black trench coat). 

When news broke that Disney had bought Lucasfilm, we knew right away that would mean more Star Wars movies. In Disney, Lucas had sold to perhaps the only people in the world more effective at selling tat than he. This was the real Empire and it had trousered The Muppets, Pixar, and Marvel in the last decade alone. Good for him, I thought, but I'm not watching them.

Then a few things happened. The first was that I remembered that I rather liked The Muppets, Marvel and Pixar - even since their move to the Mouse. The second was that they hired JJ Abrams. I like Abrams, and though he has yet to live up to the Spielbergian reputation Hollywood has bestowed upon him, I think he's a talented guy, and a fan of this  Star Wars stuff to boot.

Then there was the news that the original trio of Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill would return, and it dawned on me that this would be the first new ground covered in the movies since Return of the Jedi. Is Han still a rogue or have he and Leia moved to a 'burb planet? Does Chewie live with them? Does Luke hang out with ghost Vader?

And then there was the teaser trailer. Forget the old characters, who is this storm trooper? Who is he running from? What's with the football droid? Who's the girl on the bike? Who's that creepy guy/girl in the woods and why is his/her lightsaber so weird (and awesome!)? And OH MY GOD IT'S THE FALCON.

On reflection, the teaser trailer didn't even have to try that hard. It just had to remind you already love Star Wars. Simple things like the frames not being crammed with extra CGI characters, and an early word which promises a return to things like puppetry and make up goes a long way. So does a classic sound cue on the TIE fighters. It's playing our song, and though I can pretend I am still mad at it for its dalliances in the noughties, I find I am swaying my hips. 

It feels like we're all ready to love Star Wars again. The trailer was seen forty million times in the first three days and I can only lay a claim to maybe a third of that. People seem to like what they saw. Hey, maybe they’ll even buy a toy or two.