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Anticipation for Star Wars: The Force Awakens might have officially reached ridiculous levels.
During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live Monday night, director J.J. Abrams revealed the first word spoken in the movie — it’s “this,” in case you’re interested — and that slim factoid has subsequently become the subject of many news reports.
Not wanting to miss out on what is obviously the hot story of the day, perhaps it would be good idea to put this information in context. The first word spoken in 1977’s Star Wars is “did” (C-3PO’s opening line to R2-D2 is, “Did you hear that?”), the first word in 1980’s Empire Strikes Back is “echo” (Luke says, “Echo 3 to Echo 7,” into his communicator), and the first word in 1983’s Return of the Jedi is “command” (an Imperial officer alerts the in-progress Death Star to his arrival by signaling them, “Command station”).
In the prequel trilogy, meanwhile, the first words in 1999’s Episode I: The Phantom Menace, 2002’s Episode II: Attack of the Clones and 2005’s Episode III: Revenge of the Sith are, respectively, “captain,” “senator” and “lock” — well, technically, the first line of dialogue in Revenge of the Sith comes from R2-D2, but somehow, I’m not sure “bleep bloop whee” was actually in the screenplay.
Through comparison, then, what can we tell about Star Wars: The Force Awakens from the first word “this”? That the movie is, like the word “this,” well-used and therefore more relatable? That it’s more generic? That it’s useless to speculate on a movie based upon a first word of dialogue, especially when that word is something that’s so common as to be meaningless? The answer to that last question, at least, is yes — not that it will stop people from trying.
Anyway, there are far more important questions to be asked about the opening of The Force Awakens. For example, will the opening crawl note that it is a period of civil war, as the crawl from the original two movies did? And far more importantly: will the movie begin with a spaceship flying through the void of space, before that ship becomes involved with the events of the movie in some form or another?
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be released Dec. 18, meaning we have four weeks of increasing speculation to survive before the Force can be with us all once again.
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