Why We're Worried About The Force Awakens

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, the first Star Wars movie in 10 years, opens on December 18, and we are really excited. Like, really, really excited. But, as self-proclaimed Star Wars aficionados, we're also super worried. We've listed a few reasons we're approaching J.J. Abrams much-anticipated reboot with a hint of trepidation.

The Prequels Really, Really Sucked

Even the biggest, nerdiest Star Wars fans on the planet will admit that the franchise's prequels—Episodes I, II and III—weren't that great. Obviously, that's good news for J.J. Abrams' reboot, as the bar has now been set considerably lower than it might have been otherwise. Still, he's up against 38 years of Star Wars fandom, which means expectations will inevitably be high by the time December rolls around.

Buzz So Far Has Been Pretty Quiet

Given that we're now less than three months away from The Force Awakens' release date, you would think that fans would already be camping outside their favorite theater, waiting to get the perfect seat on opening night. That, of course, has yet to happen (that we know of, anyway). In fact, compared to some of 2015's most anticipated releases, the buzz around The Force Awakens has been relatively mild. Could moviegoers just be recovering from what was a pretty intense summer movie season? All signs point to "probably." In fact, given how giant some of this summer's blockbusters were (hello, Jurassic World!), the film's distributor, Walt Disney Studios, is likely waiting for the dust to officially settle before hitting hard with its marketing campaign. And speaking of release dates...

Was December Really The Best Release Date?

The Force Awakens was initially set to hit theaters during the summer of 2015—the perfect time for a movie that's likely to break a ton of box office records. Then, suddenly, the film got pushed back to December 18, 2015, leaving many people scratching their heads. A holiday release date may ultimately prevent The Force Awakens from having the kind of record-setting opening weekend that Jurassic World pulled off in June, since gigantic opening weekends are typically reserved for summer blockbusters. But if the film's a hit with critics, it could wind up making a run for the all-time highest-grossing movie charts. Lest we forget: the two biggest movies of all time, Avatar (2009) and Titanic (1997), were both released in December of their respective years. Plus, releasing the movie during Oscar season could add a touch of prestige to a franchise that so desperately needs it.

The Trailers Haven't Really Told Us Much

Movie trailers are a fickle thing. Sometimes, they spoil too much of the plot; other times, they don't reveal anything at all, leading you to wonder whether the studio is hiding the good stuff or avoiding the bad. The Force Awakens currently falls into the later category. With only a handful of months left in the calendar year, we've only seen two teaser trailers that were basically two slightly different versions of the same thing. Sure, the visual effects looked awesome; the voiceover gave us chills; and John Williams' score was enough to ignite the seven-year-old kid in all of us. But, what did the trailers actually tell us about the movie? The answer, unfortunately, is nothing, beyond the fact that Harrison Ford and Chewbacca are back. Duh...we already knew that. And speaking of which...

Nostalgia Has Been A Very Hit-Or-Miss Trend

The Force Awakens reportedly takes place 30 years after 1983's Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. That's great for two reasons: one, we get to meet a whole new set of characters (played by such acclaimed actors as Oscar Isaac and Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong'o); and two, the film's original stars (among them Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and the aforementioned Ford) are all returning. Still, one has to remember that the original stars aren't exactly in their prime. Case in point: Ford, who suffered a foot injury on set that ultimately delayed production. Plus, while nostalgia may be a very popular trend, lately it's yielded mixed results in Hollywood. Among the more disappointing projects of the last few years: Netflix's fourth season of Arrested Development; ABC's new season of The Muppets; and that God-awful Entourage movie.

Can Adam Driver Actually Pull It Off?

Anyone who has seen Adam Driver's Emmy-nominated performance on Girls knows that he's an actor who can do wonders with even the shoddiest of material. But can the otherwise untested actor, who is said to be playing The Force Awakens' villain, carry a franchise as big as Star Wars? That remains to be seen and, naturally, people are worried. Even director David Fincher trashed Driver's casting in a now-infamous leaked email to colleagues. If it's any consolation: Hollywood appears to be very much invested in the 31-year-old actor. In addition to The Force Awakens, Driver landed a coveted role in Martin Scorsese's Silence, due out in 2016.

Abrams Is Only Staying On For One Movie

J.J. Abrams confirmed in August 2015 that he will not be directing Episode IX, meaning the latest franchise reboot will have three new directors. (Looper's Rian Johnson will direct Episode VIII, in theaters May 26, 2017; Jurassic World's Colin Trevorrow is reportedly up for the Episode IX gig.) In all honesty, the news shouldn't surprise anyone; after all, Episodes IV, V and VI each had different directors, which was probably for the best. Still, given the great work that Abrams did on Star Trek (2009) and Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), it would have been nice to see what long-term impact he could have on the Star Wars franchise. Then again, considering the Avengers sequel reportedly took a huge toll on director Joss Whedon, maybe it's for the best?