IF THERE was any need for proof that the latest Star Wars movie is the most hotly-anticipated film in cinematic history it was the reaction to its trailer.
Within hours of being broadcast it had attracted more than 10 million views on YouTube and crashed cinema websites around the world as fans rushed to grab tickets ahead of its Christmas release.
The two and a half-minute clip debuted on US television during half-time during an American football game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles and was also released online.
The Force Awakens, the seventh film in the franchise, has reunited the original cast of the 1977 blockbuster.
However the trailer opened with appearances from newcomers to the cast, with Daisy Ridley’s character Rey and John Boyega’s Finn questioning their places in the galaxy, before new antagonist Kylo Ren, played by Girls star Adam Driver, promising to finish what Darth Vader started.
There are also glimpses of the stars of the original trilogy, with Harrison Ford’s Han Solo and Peter Mayhew’s Chewbacca appearing, as well as a fleeting glimpse of Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia.
Conspicuous by his absence however was any footage of Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker, leading to rampant speculation as to what is instore for the iconic Jedi knight.
Elsewhere there were sweeping shots of the Millennium Falcon, Storm Troopers and plenty of action accompanied by a soaring score to keep fans happy.
Jurassic World star Chris Pratt was among those excited about the film’s release.
“I think it looks absolutely awesome.”
TV presenter Lizo Mzimba tweeted: “Some lovely images in the new starwars trailer plus finally little bit of plot. And and and beautiful John Williams music.”
The trailer’s release coincides with the launch of ticket sales for the film and comes directly after the unveiling of the theatrical poster.
However fans in Yorkshire and elsewhere were left frustrated after cinema websites struggled to cope with demand when the advanced tickets went on sale.
Odeon later tweeted: “StarWars Fans - When booking tickets please only book in one window at a time. It will save booking errors & get you your tickets sooner!”
Vue Cinemas said: “Our StarWars tickets have been flying off the shelves at 5 past lightspeed.”
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, is released in the UK on December 17.