Ten years is a long time to wait for anything, but that is how long Star Wars fans have been waiting since the last film, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, was released in 2005.

The newest movie, Episode VII: The Force Awakens comes out this Thursday, Dec. 18. Even before its release, the film has made more than $6.5 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket presales, Deadline.com reports.

American filmmaker George Lucas has been making Star Wars movies for three generations, starting in 1977 with Star Wars, renamed Episode IV: A New Hope. This was the beginning of the first trilogy. In 1999 the second trilogy came out, starting with Episode I: The Phantom Menace. This was the prequel to the first trilogy.

Episode VI: Return of the Jedi was thought to be the end of the Star Wars story, but in early 2011 George Lucas began work on The Force Awakens. The continuation will feature the First Order, a spin-off of the Galactic Empire, which is aligned against Resistance, created from the Rebel Alliance.

According to Wookieepedia.com, “The story material will not be based on Star Wars Legends, formerly known as the Expanded Universe, rather, it will be an original story set after Return of the Jedi.”

“We wanted to tell a story that had its own self-contained beginning, middle and end, but at the same time, like A New Hope, implied a history that preceded it and also hinted at a future to follow,” Director J.J. Abrams said in an interview with Wired magazine.

Almost 60 percent of the students at West plan to see The Force Awakens, according to a Wingspan survey.

Teachers and students alike have been captivated by the Star Wars films.

The survey showed that male students like Episode V: Empire Strikes Back the most and female students prefer Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Favorite characters include Darth Vader, Chewbacca and Han Solo.

“Han Solo, he’s definitely my favorite. I’m a good guy, I like good guys, but he’s got just enough bad in him to make him a round character,” English teacher Tom King said. “As a writer and as an English teacher I love round characters and pretty much despise flat ones.”

King has been watching Star Wars films since he was 11 years old. He has always loved science fiction and for him Star Wars was something new.

“Nothing like Star Wars had ever been done. When Star Wars came out, they used techniques and they used models and shading and shadowing on the models, that made things look real and life sized. In ways we had never been anything like this before,” King said.

Star Wars has a reputation for being one of the best science fiction series of all time, and fans have high expectations for Episode VII.

“The movies left a lot of mystery and I’m sure the upcoming movie will bring many more thrills and answer the questions that we had,”  junior Austin Dunn said. “It’s a great series, and I know that it is going to be a great movie. Hopefully, it lives up to the expectations of the old ones.”

By Lillian Summey

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