- The Washington Times - Monday, December 14, 2015

As anticipation mounts for the Friday opening of J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the 7th installment of the popular sci-fi series, fans are taking to social media like a swarm of Rebel Alliance X-wing starfighters over a Galactic mothership.

One fan posts a photo of actor Liam Neeson saying, “I don’t know you, I don’t know what you want, but if you spoil Episode VII before I’ve seen it, I will find you and kill you.”

Or they post “fun-facts” about “Star Wars” in general, such as: “While filming lightsaber fight scenes, Evan McGregor kept getting carried away and making the sounds of a lightsaber himself, which had to be removed in post-production.”

Or they share videos, such as one by Sploid on YouTube on the size of every single vehicle in the trilogy.

Even GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz’s Facebook page mentioned a “Star Wars” contest:

“Users of the Ted Cruz 2016 mobile phone app began receiving a notification over the weekend alerting them to a contest where those who earn the most points on the app between now and Dec. 15 will get tickets to see ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ on opening weekend.

“Ted is a huge fan of the entire saga, and we know many of you are too. So keep helping us get the message out for a chance to win a movie night on us!” reads the notification being sent to Cruz app users, his Facebook page says, quoting an ABC story.

And, of course, fans are posting the movie trailer and funny memes from it, especially on the fascinating new red lightsaber that villain Kylo Ren uses in “The Force Awakens.” Some memes have his lightsaber turn into a menorah, a balloon animal, a tennis racket and a Swiss army knife.

For those who aren’t huge fans, there are “Star Wars” tutorials to catch up to speed on the stories.

So you don’t know the difference between a BB-8 and C-3P0, or what an AT-AT is? Is “The Force” still a mystery? Are you saying to yourself, like Princess Leia, “Help me, Obi-Wan. You’re my only hope!” No. Problem.

You can check out Wookieepedia’s page. Some sites tell you which order your should watch the series, or give you an interactive chart to follow.

But if you don’t have time for that, spend 6 minutes with the guys at Digitaltrends.com who will walk you through the plot of the series in a fun video.

Still too much information? Does it feel like “Use the Force” turned to “Force yourself?”

Well, then kick back, relax, turn the volume up and just enjoy composer John Williams’ score for the opening scene to “The Force Awakens.”

• Maria Stainer can be reached at mstainer@washingtontimes.com.

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