With the latest addition to the Star Wars franchise due to release on December 15, Rebecca Greenwood looks into the hype surrounding the award-winning movie series.

The geek world was taken by storm last year with the long-awaited release of Episode 7 of the Oscar award-winning franchise Star Wars. Hugely popular, with the opening weekend earning $250 million in the USA alone, The Force Awakens continues the tale of battle between Sith and Jedi, the two sides of the Force, picking up where the original trilogy ended.

A year later, Disney and LucasFilm are due to release a spin-off, which is predicted to earn at least $150 million in its first weekend. The hype for the movie’s release is already tangible, with popular high street stores filling up with Star Wars merchandise.

Well-known brands such as Lego and Funko Pop! have launched Star Wars related lines, and even Japanese car manufacturer Nissan have used Rogue One branding.

Rogue One is set in the Star Wars universe some time after the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and shortly before the events of the original Star Wars trilogy. The story centres on a group of Rebel spies on a mission to steal the design schematics for the Galactic Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star.

Star Wars has also been praised by critics for its feature of many strong female roles, and Rogue One is no different. The plot follows a female recruit, Jyn Erso, of the Rebel Alliance who forms a team to carry out their daring plan. Fans were also excited by the appearance of well-known characters in the film’s trailers, such as the infamous Darth Vader.

Rogue One will also make a new link between the prequels and the original trilogy. According to long-time Star Wars fan Jaydn McGhee, “the events that take place in the upcoming movie were mentioned in the original Star Wars movie, A New Hope, and will pull back the older audience, many of whom feel like the story-line of that film has been completed.”

McGhee on the new Star Wars: the Force is strong with this one.

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