'Star Wars' Fans Gear Up For New Film At Convention

Originally published on April 17, 2015 10:05 pm
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"Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" opens in theaters in December. Fans got a taste of it yesterday. The new trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration, a convention in Anaheim, Calif. Beth Accomando from member station KPBS is there, and she reports fans obsessed with everything about that galaxy far, far away have a lot to look forward to.

BETH ACCOMANDO, BYLINE: Anaheim's not exactly known as a wretched hive of scum and villainy, but this weekend it's drawn all manner of bounty hunters, stormtroopers and Jedi.

JOHN BARNES: Today I'm dressed as Qui-Gon Jinn, and I am at Star Wars Celebration VII in Anaheim, Calif.

ACCOMANDO: John Barnes is here with his father, Ron, who dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi. Like many here, they're looking to the new "Star Wars" movie with some trepidation.

BARNES: I'm excited about it, but my taste has been somewhat put off by what happened with episodes one, two and three.

ACCOMANDO: Call it the Jar Jar Binks factor.

CHRIS DUARTE: I don't want to get burned by another Jar Jar Binks.

ACCOMANDO: That's Chris Duarte. He opted to wait in line for toy exclusives rather than the panel with director J. J. Abrams. Still, more than 5,000 fans opted to wait in line to hear the director. At the panel, Lucasfilm president, Kathleen Kennedy, acknowledged fan devotion.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

KATHLEEN KENNEDY: I don't think there's anything more important in the "Star Wars" universe than the fans.

(APPLAUSE)

KENNEDY: You guys talk to us all the time about everything, and we take that really seriously.

ACCOMANDO: Lucasfilm hasn't always taken fan desires into account and still hasn't given fans a Blu-ray edition of the original Han shot first version of "Star Wars." But "Star Wars" fans have learned to put differences aside when there's a new movie on the horizon. Andrew Graham spent Wednesday night in line for the "Episode VII" panel with his brother.

ANDREW GRAHAM: Mostly sleeping on concrete.

ACCOMANDO: The two still had their pillows with them when Abrams finally asked...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

J.J. ABRAMS: Who wants to see a new teaser?

(APPLAUSE)

ACCOMANDO: Fans waved their lightsabers, and an ocean of cell phones were raised to record the epic moment for social media.

(SOUNDBITE OF "STAR WARS: EPISODE VII" TRAILER)

A. GRAHAM: It totally was worth it. That was awesome.

ACCOMANDO: Andrew's brother, Jesse, agreed.

JESSE GRAHAM: I wasn't really the biggest fan of the prequels, so I was skeptical, but I think it's going to be all right (laughter). I was excited. Now I'm - I don't know. My head blew off. As far as my favorite part of that trailer, that had to be the shot with all the X-wings flying down the water. There's nothing cooler than that.

(SOUNDBITE OF "STAR WARS: EPISODE VII" TRAILER)

ACCOMANDO: And the trailer saved the best for last.

(SOUNDBITE OF "STAR WARS: EPISODE VII" TRAILER)

HARRISON FORD: (As Han Solo) Chewie, we're home.

ACCOMANDO: But fans have another eight months until they find out if it's truly going to be home sweet home. For NPR News, I'm Beth Accomando in Anaheim, Calif. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.