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What you can expect to see in Star Wars 7

Very few movies this year will attract the kind of hype and anticipation that is building around Star Wars Episode 7, which is due to hit theaters in December. Disney has tasked JJ Abrams with rebooting the franchise for today's audiences, and this is what we think you can expect (though we don't have any official confirmation to back up these predictions).

The Return Of The Droids

We're hoping that the prominence given to the rolling BB-8 droid at the Star Wars Celebration in California and in the movie's first trailer is a sign that mechanical characters will play a significant role in Episode 7. The original trilogy was primarily told through the eyes of C-3PO and R2-D2 after all.

A Strong Sense Of The Force

The clues are there in the title and in the trailers: The Force will be strong with this movie. The light and dark magic is probably going to feature strongly, despite the death of Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine at the end of The Return Of The Jedi.

Nods To The Original Trilogy

Star Wars has a loyal following like no other, and JJ Abrams and his team will want to get them onside — just look at the crashed Star Destroyer in the second trailer. It's looking fairly certain that there will be plenty of reference back to the first three movies, and that could include places and characters yet to be officially announced.

A New Generation

Getting Luke, Han, and Leia back for one last hurrah has been great — but too much nostalgia isn't healthy. You can expect the torch to get passed on to the new generation of characters very quickly.

An Iconic Monster

JJ Abrams' vision of Star Wars looks to be a lot muddier and dirtier than the one seen in the prequels directed by George Lucas. We're hoping for an iconic monster in the vein of Jabba the Hutt, the Sarlacc, the Space Slug, or the Rancor (Jabba's pet).

A Cold War

You can bet that the events at the end of The Return Of The Jedi weren't the end of the matter as far as the Jedi versus Sith battle is concerned. The struggle between good and evil still has a long way to run, although in The Force Awakens it's likely that there's an uneasy stand off rather than an all-out war.

Family Ties

In all of the promotional work for Star Wars 7 we've seen so far, the importance of family ties has been emphasized — that's no real surprise, considering the Luke-Anakin relationship that underpins the whole series. Disney will want a very human heart to the new Star Wars films, and family ties are the best way of establishing one.

A Memorable Cliffhanger

As Lost proved, JJ Abrams knows what he's doing with a storyline, and of course so does Disney. You can expect an ending to Star Wars 7 that ratchets up expectations for Star Wars 8 — will the fate of the galaxy hang in the balance once again?

Flashbacks

Lost also shows us — as do the new Star Trek movies — that JJ Abrams enjoys a well-orchestrated flashback or two. Don't be surprised if the timeline of Episode 7 jumps around a little bit during the course of the film, allowing the director to fill in some backstory between movie installments.

Another Epic Lightsaber Duel

Whether it's Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker or Darth Maul versus Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn, iconic lightsaber duels are a vital part of any Star Wars movie. We've seen the crossguard lightsaber in the trailer (wielded by main villain Kylo Ren) so let's hope it sees some action.

The Death Of A Major Character

From Obi-Wan to Yoda, Star Wars isn't afraid of killing off significant characters, and we think JJ Abrams is plotting a dramatic death too. We fear that one or two of the returning stars Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford won't be returning to reprise their roles in Star Wars 8.