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'Star Wars' awakens force with new stars in teaser trailer

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?"
/ Source: Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?"

So begins the first teaser trailer released on Friday of the highly anticipated "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," the seventh installment reviving tales of a galaxy far, far away.

The 88-second clip from director J.J. Abrams features a handful of scenes with newcomers to the franchise, including John Boyega in a Stormtrooper suit, Daisy Ridley on a hovering craft in the desert and Oscar Isaac in a X-Wing fighter jet, the craft of the Rebel Alliance.

A cloaked figure who some fans on social media speculated may be a new addition, Adam Driver, enters a forest with a T-shaped lightsaber sword that has already spurred viral memes, as a deep, raspy voiceover - rumored by fans to be "Planet of the Apes" star Andy Serkis - says "the dark side and the light."

A new ball-like droid robot is also shown rolling across the desert landscape, along with the Millennium Falcon spacecraft soaring into the skies while under attack.

The eagerly awaited trailer debuted on Friday both online and in 30 U.S. theaters, and reveals fleeting snippets of the new film over composer John Williams' distinctive score.

"The Force Awakens" will be set 30 years after "Return of the Jedi," the third film in George Lucas' first "Star Wars" trilogy released between 1977 and 1983. It is scheduled to be released in theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.

Not featured in the new trailer are returning stars Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Kenny Baker (R2-D2), or new additions Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Max Von Sydow and Gwendoline Christie.

"The Force Awakens" is the first of three new "Star Wars" films being produced by Walt Disney Co since it purchased the franchise from Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.05 billion.

The six previously released "Star Wars" films have grossed more than $4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since 1977 and spawned a legion of devoted fans.

"Star Wars: Episode VIII" is already in the works, with writer-director Rian Johnson at the helm.

(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; edited by Ronald Grover and G Crosse)