Star Wars 7: who are new characters Finn and Rey?
John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Daisy Ridley's characters revealed in digital trading cards for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Harking back to the late 1970s, Disney and Lucasfilm have released a collection of "digital trading cards" that reveal the names of some of the forthcoming Star Wars film's central characters.
The cards imply that British actor John Boyega will be playing a character named Finn, Daisy Ridley's character will be called Rey and Oscar Isaac's will be named Poe Dameron. But who on Tatooine are they?
According to online Star Wars guide Wookiepedia, Poe Dameron was an X-wing pilot 30 years after the Battle of Endor, which takes place in the final film in the series, Return of the Jedi. The site has a number of listings for characters named Finn but none for characters called Rey, other than a short entry put together from her appearance in the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
The villain seen in the trailer carrying a broadsword-like lightsaber will be named Kylo Ren. Again, Kylo Ren has no pre-existing listing in Wookiepedia, so little is known about the character's history.
A number of key cast members' characters have not yet been revealed, including those set to be played by Adam Driver, Lupita Nyong’o, Max von Sydow, Gwendoline Christie, Domhnall Gleeson and Andy Serkis.
The first Star Wars Topps trading cards were released in 1977. They featured original characters Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia as well as arch-villain Darth Vader.
George Lucas, the director and creator of the Star Wars, became very rich and managed to finance the creation of his Lucasfilm production company by retaining all merchandising rights for Star Wars: A New Hope and its sequels.
The first film went on to become a huge hit, but as celebritynetworth.com notes, the real money didn't come from the box office. Between 1977 and 1978, Star Wars sold $100 million worth of toys. In the following 37 years Star Wars merchandise has generated at least $12 billion in revenue.
Click on the digital trading cards below to expand them.
Star Wars 7: Marvel to release new Star Wars comic in 2015
Capitalising on a resurgence of interest after the release of the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer two weeks ago, Marvel has announced plans for a new comic that will star some of the series' most popular characters, including Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker.
Star Wars #1 will feature a new adventure that fills in the gaps between George Lucas's original 1977 movie A New Hope and the 1980 sequel The Empire Strikes back.
Disney, which owns both Marvel and LucasFilm, has given readers a first glimpse of the comic on the official Star Wars website.
In the three-page teaser, Solo, Leia and Skywalker appear to lay a trap for a unit of stormtroopers aboard a spaceship that bears a striking resemblance to the interior of an imperial star destroyer. Solo wears his trademark wry grin throughout the short action sequence and droid assistant R2-D2 plays a key role in the attack.
The comic's artist John Cassaday has represented the original cast members Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill as they were almost 40 years ago.
ComicBook.com suggests that the upcoming series could sell over a million copies, which would make it the top-selling single-issue comic book of the last twenty years.
The comic is due in stores 14 January 2015, while Star Wars fans will have to wait until the following December to see The Force Awakens.
A survey conducted by Cineworld found that cinema-goers consider Star Wars Episode 7 the most unmissable film of 2015, ahead of Fifty Shades of Grey and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Star Wars 7 trailer: Boyega in #BlackStormtrooper row
Star Wars 7 actor John Boyega weighed in on a brewing social media storm over his appearance in the recently released Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer as a "black stormtrooper" with four carefully chosen words: "Get used to it."
Some YouTube viewers took to the comment form below the trailer to question whether it is possible for there to be black stormtroopers, while others posted racist comments, CNN reports.
In a short statement on Instagram, Boyega issued a short reply thanking some fans for their support, while telling critics to get used to the idea of a non-white stormtrooper.
Many Twitter users soon began using the hashtag #BlackStormtrooper to offer their support to Boyega.
Black Stormtrooper criticism? They'll accept an alien-filled galaxy powered by 'force' but they're not having a black man in uniform?
— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) November 30, 2014
Love how there's "controversy" over a #BlackStormtrooper. Even in a galaxy far far away black people exist and can be dynamic characters too
— Joseph Oteng (@drjotengii) November 29, 2014
Some people thought best to combat the insults with humour.
Typical. Sending young black men to die in wars started by old white/orange-black siths. #BlackStormtrooper
— Keith Ng (@keith_ng) December 1, 2014
Others saw a parallel with the row surrounding Ridley Scott's forthcoming biblical film, Exodus: Gods and Kings.
— Nestlé Snipes (@ChocnessMonsta) December 1, 2014
Many of the original YouTube commenters queried whether it would be possible to have a black stormtrooper considering that the army raised by Emperor Palpatine in the prequel films was made up entirely of clones of Jengo Fett, an ethnic "Mandalorian" warrior who was played by New Zealand-born actor Temuera Morrison.
However, as CNN notes, according to the Star Wars mythos, in the years following the Clone Wars, stormtroopers came to be recruited from across the galaxy, making it possible for the soldiers to be of any race. Also, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker both masqueraded as stormtroopers during a daring raid to save Princess Leia in the original 1977 film.
With no further trailers planned for release any times soon, and the film a full year away, fans will have to wait patiently for more clues as to why Boyega's character is seen wearing the famous white armour.
Star Wars 7: First preview of The Force Awakens
After months of feverish anticipation, the first official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has finally arrived.
The 90-second trailer opens with a desert landscape, similar to the dunes of Tatooine where fans were first introduced to the original trilogy's hero, Luke Skywalker.
"There has been an awakening," a voiceover says. "Have you felt it?"
Moments later British actor John Boyega appears on screen in what looks like imperial storm trooper's armour. The screen soon fills with flashes of clone warriors, and droids backed by with the familiar strings of composer John Williams.
The trailer also features Daisy Ridley, the forthcoming film's other young star, riding a rust-coloured jet bike.
However, the real stars of the trailer are some of Star Wars' original vehicles including Tie fighters, X-wings and a return of "the fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy" – the Millennium Falcon.
The trailer confirms the existence of a new villain, a cloak-clad enemy who wields a huge light-saber the size of a broadsword. An image of the character holding the imposing weapon was leaked to the public last month.
The trailer builds to a rousing finale featuring the yellow Star Wars logo with Williams' horn-driven force theme blaring behind it.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is scheduled to open in December 2015.