We finally have a title for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.
Here’s the current logo:
I’m actually surprised by some of the reactions online. I think it’s fitting, I think it’s oldschool, and I think it respects the legacy of George Lucas. I also think it’s a great way for Lucasfilm to kick off this new era of Star Wars films.
Firstly, as I wrote yesterday, at the start of the movie, Luke has been absent for a long time, yet something will inevitably draw him back. Something is stirring in the galaxy, as if the Force is insisting the cycle of the “hero’s journey” be completed. In this sense, the title makes perfect sense.
Secondly, consider the original titles released in the ’70s and ’80s: there was the eponymous Star Wars, followed by The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. With both sequels, there was a strong noun that was part of the Star Wars lexicon: Empire, Jedi. Note too that nobody went around saying “Episode VI” instead of “Return of the Jedi”, and it’s refreshing that we’re back to the title just being marketed as a bare title instead of being part of a lengthy, convoluted explication of where we are in the series. Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens… It’s a logical progression and I can easily imagine a world where The Force Awakens is the next big Star Wars movie being released after Return of the Jedi.
Thirdly, under Lucas, the first movie of the two prior trilogies each had a rather abstract title that followed a three-word pattern starting with an article: The Phantom Menace, A New Hope. The Force Awakens follows that pattern but adds a verb to make the title active, implying forward movement and again following in the footsteps of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. It’s the verb that prevents the title from seeming static, adding a dynamic quality which will strengthen perceptions of the film itself.
And finally, the Force is awakening in a larger sense in that this film is a “big bang” event which will be the first major salvo in a campaign that will bring us many more Star Wars films in the future.
In my opinion, this is the best Star Wars title since Return of the Jedi. I remember the reaction to the title The Phantom Menace, which, while honouring the pulp roots of Star Wars, reads as flat and static—it was a real head scratcher when it was announced. But we all got used to it eventually.
If you’re still not convinced, think of it this way: it’s better to have a great movie with a bad title than a bad movie with a great title.
And when the impending teaser trailer hits sometime soon (if the rumours are to be believed), the title will be a secondary topic at best.