STAR WARS fans have been driven into a frenzy by the highly anticipated release of the full trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, which reveals tantalising glimpses of Darth Vader, “crucifix” lasers, new heroes and heroines, old diehards, Stormtroopers and the Millennium Falcon being unleashed into battle.
The two-and-a-half minute clip debuted on US television at half-time during an American football game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia on Monday night, two months before the film hits cinemas in the UK on 17 December.
But fans worldwide stayed up through the night to watch the trailer on social media.
The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the franchise, directed by JJ Abrams, opens with a white-clad masked figure scaling the massive interior of blackened ruins while a voice asks: “Who are you?”
The action then quickly moves to showcase the three main lead actors. First to appear is scavenger Rey from the desert world of Jakku, played by British actor Daisy Ridley. This is quickly followed by a shot of ranks upon ranks of Stormtroopers.
Finn (British actor John Boyega) is seen taking off his stormtrooper mask while declaring: “I was raised to do one thing, but I’ve got nothing to fight for.”
The third protagonist is the menacing Kylo Ren, played by “Girls” star Adam Driver, looking out to a blood-red horizon, who vows: “Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started”, while looking at a disfigured mask which would likely have belonged to Darth Vader, the ultimate sci-fi villain of the original Star Wars.
There are glimpses of stars of the original trilogy, with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca appearing, as well as a fleeting glimpse of Carrie Fisher as Leia. Missing from the footage is Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, though many fans say this is a “teaser.”
To soaring music by Oscar-winning composer John Williams, it finishes with the dialogue: “The Dark Side - The Jedi”... “The Force - It’s calling to you... Just let it in ...”
Gafin Austin, owner of Deadhead Comics, in West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, said the trailer left him “hanging on the edge”.
“It’s very mysterious but doesn’t show a hell of a lot. They’re not giving much away, very much keeping their cards close to their chest. But it’ll make people eager to see more.”
The trailer’s release coincides with the launch of ticket sales for the film and comes directly after the unveiling of the theatrical poster.
However UK fans were left frustrated after cinema websites struggled to cope when advanced tickets went on sale on Monday morning at 8am.
Vue Cinemas said: “Our StarWars tickets have been flying off the shelves at 5 past lightspeed.”
The film is a continuation of the saga created by George Lucas and is set 30 years after Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi. It also stars Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels and Max von Sydow.
• Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, will receive a world premiere in Los Angeles on December 14 ahead of a UK release on December 17.