A Handy Guide to All the Reasons ‘Star Wars’ Fans Are Freaking Out


The full Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer was released last night during Monday Night Football, and tickets for opening night went on sale immediately thereafter. The fan freak-outs commenced right away, both excited — ooh, what was the story with the guy behind that mask? — and furious — why couldn’t I get my tickets, Fandango?

Here’s a quick and cursory rundown to the primary reasons your typical Star Wars’ fan’s heart is currently beating faster than Han Solo piloting Millennium Falcon through hyperspace right now, from the good to the racist.

The Good Freakouts:

The trailer was awesome. Fans are getting “chills” watching the trailer, partly because it showed lots of action, sweeping shots, suspense and emotion — and plenty of callbacks to the original trilogy — without giving very much away plot-wise, leaving plenty of room for theories and speculation. One element it did seem to give away was the idea that bad guy Kylo Ren is obsessed with Darth Vader, which makes viewers happy because they, too, are obsessed with Lord Vader. Who isn’t?

Luke Skywalker theories abound. The near-total absence of Luke in the trailer, and the posters, meant lots of intense guesswork between fans last night. Why keep your main man under wraps, JJ Abrams? The two most popular ideas: Has Luke gone over to the Dark Side? I hope not for selfish reasons, but I admit it would be narratively compelling. Or has he “gone to ground” like Yoda, hiding somewhere he only will be coaxed out by people in need of the Force — young, hot, people in a load of trouble? Whatever happens, Luke’s first appearance in the film is going to be a major surprise element — one that will be disappointing if it doesn’t leave audiences gasping.

There are so many questions about who is whose spawn or relative. Is the badass-seeming, desert-stalking loner girl, Rey (Daisy Ridley) who claims she’s “no one,” actually Luke’s daughter? Is Kylo Ren Han and Leia’s son? Are they secretly twins like Luke and Leia (I just came up with that one, but everyone is probably also saying it online. So, I’m not going to check because I’m too proud of it.) Are they all fifth cousins? Are none of them related at all, like Dark Helmet and Lone Starr in Star Wars parody Spaceballs (“I am your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate.”)?

Who is Finn? John Boyega’s character, who wears both a stormtrooper suit and wields a lightsaber in the trailers, is a flashpoint for open-ended wondering. A scene in which he gazes contemplatively over a fast planetary desert suggests that his emotional journey is going to be important, too.

The Bad Freakouts:

Racists managed to get a boycott hashtag to go viral. A few really, really, super-bigoted types who think that the franchise reboot is a Jewish plot to create white genocide by casting too many actors of color (still with me?) campaigned endlessly to get their #BoycottStarWarsVII hashtag trending. Eventually, they upset enough people that the backlash caused the hashtag to trend. Vox explained how this epitomizes the troll economy: “That’s not to say there aren’t people out there using Twitter to spread a message of hate. But the fact that they’re such a small fringe compared with the number decrying their message speaks to the unique way Twitter trends can amplify a niche message and create controversy out of whole cloth.”

No one could get their tickets. Multiple ticket-ordering sites crashed under intense fan demand for pre-orders last night, shutting out would-be opening night viewers (including your humble Flavorwire blogger) from their purchases.The Force was so not with online ticketing systems.If anger leads to hate, which leads to suffering, which leads to the Dark Side, then a lot of fans were all but pledged to the Sith cause after watching the spinning wheel of death on their computer screens. In all seriousness, it was an annoying glitch but certainly pointed to the reboot being a huge success at the box office.

Nerds had to watch football last night. Perhaps the most painful trial of all, for some of us, was that in order to see the trailer Star Wars fans had to sit through two hours of mercenary soldiers for an evil empire (known as the NFL) pummeling each other from beneath big helmets and alien-like padding, all for the sake of control of a magic object. What a tease.