Three words in a movie trailer eased the fears of “Star Wars” geek Adam Normand: “Chewie, we’re home.” The line is spoken by Harrison Ford as Han Solo to Chewbacca, his trusted companion.

“I actually teared up when I saw that,” Normand said.

They were tears of relief, because he sensed from watching the trailers for “The Force Awakens” that the movie is going to be good. Normand and other fans who care deeply about the latest “Star Wars” installment are confident their worst fear — that this movie would somehow be another letdown — won’t be met. “We haven’t seen it yet so we really don’t know what to expect, but I’m getting good vibes,” he said.

There are many reasons to be hopeful. For one, the movie will see the return of three original characters and cast members, as well as a score from composer John Williams, whose “Star Wars” music is closely associated with the movie’s iconic status. And fans seems to trust that director J.J. Abrams is closely guarding the soul of “Star Wars” and will do nothing to harm the franchise. The trailers have suggested as much, allowing fans like Normand to set his hopes high that “The Force Awakens” will provide a similar joyride to the one that accompanied the original release nearly four decades ago.

Normand, 31, will be at a 10 p.m. screening Thursday in Saco. He tried to get tickets to the 7 p.m. show, but it sold out. Until then, he’s avoiding all conversations about “Star Wars” — except for this one — to avoid spoilers.

Lucas Bessey, 29, is doing the same thing. He lives in Los Angeles, where he works as an assistant editor on a reality TV show, and he is coming home to Bath for Christmas. He bought 10 tickets to see “The Force Awakens” on Dec. 20 in Brunswick.


For now, he’s going dark on Facebook and Instagram.

“I am expecting to be surprised, and I am trying to avoid all information about the film so I can be surprised,” said Bessey, who is bringing his father, sisters, cousins and others relatives to see the movie with him. “This is going to be the ‘Star Wars’ film I have wanted to see but haven’t since my dad sat me down as an 8-year-old and introduced me to ‘Star Wars.’ It might not be great, but it will at least be good. That’s all it has to be. As long as it’s not terrible, people will love it.”

Another Maine fan, Noella Kingsley, 35 of Portland, has hopes but no expectations. “I have been doing my best to be spoiler free. I don’t know theories,” she wrote in an email. “I have watched the first two trailers and have stopped listening to the ‘Star Wars’ podcasts that I listened to over a year ago. I want to be surprised with the new ‘Star Wars’ and be thankful that new movies and stories are being made.”

Among fans, there are two primary avenues of anticipation. One is the story. We know the movie is set 30 years after “Return of the Jedi” and we know — or we think we know — that the three primary characters from the original movies are back in “The Force Awakens,” in Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia. There’s mystery surrounding Luke. He barely appears on the posters or in the trailers, so some wonder if he dies or has crossed over to the dark side.

“I have a couple of theories,” offered Bessey. “Luke may have removed himself from the equation because he has become too powerful. Or he might have gone over to the dark side a little bit. The Skywalkers are prone to the dark side.”

Many fans anticipate that one of the new characters who will be introduced in “The Force Awakens” is the son of Han and Leia, or perhaps the illegitimate son of Luke Skywalker. “Now that would be an amazing plot twist,” Bessey said, refusing to dismiss the rumor. “Star Wars” already has delivered one of the great plot twists in cinema history with the reveal that Darth Vader was Luke’s father. “No one expected that, so anything is possible,” he said.


The other angle is the movie itself, from a movie-making perspective. J.J. Abrams is directing “The Force Awakens” and has earned the respect of fans with his work on the latest “Star Trek” movie. Normand liked that Abrams was loyal to the original “Star Trek” and managed to give the story a turn that advanced the narrative. He’s hoping for something similar from the new “Star Wars.”

Bessey called Abrams a perfect choice. Abrams is an avowed fan of “Star Wars” who wouldn’t do anything to harm the franchise, Bessey said. That means paying attention to the source material and making a “Star Wars” movie that feels like a “Star Wars” movie. Which is to say that it feels more like one of the movies from the original trilogy (the fist movie, “A New Hope,” released in 1977, and “The Empire Strikes Back” in 1980 and “Return of the Jedi” in 1983), and not one of the three prequels that followed between 1999 and 2005. Fans generally don’t like the prequels, because the storylines were soft and the movies lacked the cinematic flair of the original three.

Kitschy and cheesy though they were, the original three had a tone and feeling that Bessey expects Abrams will honor. “Just from seeing the trailers, you can tell it has some of the weight back,” Bessey said. He’s also pleased that John Williams composed the new music. That bodes well, he added.

Bessey was 8 when he saw “Star Wars” for the first time. His father waited until he was old enough to understand the premise of the story, and they watched the original three in succession. The movies bonded father and son, and also sparked Bessey’s interest in making movies.

All he wants is the chance to feel like he is 8 again, when anything was possible.


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