*Warning: Potential spoilers lie ahead*
Since the announcement that J.J. Abrams will be offering the newest cinematic addition to the Star Wars franchise, fans have been filling the internet with theories about what they think will happen in the newest trilogy. To further fuel this debate Disney have released a number of fantastic trailers to whet our appetites.
Seriously, who didn't get chills when watching the most recent trailer?
Among these theories it has become commonplace to see suggestions that a protagonist will die in the upcoming episode, especially fan favorites such as Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Chewbacca.
But is there any validity to these theories? Possibly. Abrams and his team have released precious little information about the upcoming movies, it's frustrating but tantalizing, and it leaves a lot about which we can speculate.
So... who do I think could die.
I'll walk you through it. There's been a theory circulating for a while about the death of beloved fan favorite, Chewbacca. This theory is based on an image taken from the third Star Wars VII teaser trailer, in which protagonist Rey can be seen crouching over a stationary body.
Some believe that this body can be identified as none-other than Chewbacca and that this is conclusive evidence of his death. Have a look at the video below; the moment in question can be seen at 01:45.
I was less inclined to believe this theory. However, in the fourth teaser trailer there's a moment which I believe supports the suggestion that Chewbacca could be killed in the movie. This is by no means conclusive proof, but it's certainly thought-provoking.
Why I think Chewbacca could die.
Now, I know there are a lot of hardcore Chewie fans who will crucify me for this one, but have a look and let me know what you think.
As you can see above, in the trailer we witness Chewbacca pressing a button, which is immediately followed by a massive explosion. We see a close up shot of Chewie's hand prior to the detonation, which serves to emphasize the drama of the final moment.
The resulting explosion is powerful enough to blast several people from their feet, so as mighty as the wookie is could he really survive such a blast?
The camera angles used in the scene would suggest that this is the final moment for our beloved walking carpet; with the camera zooming in towards the action as the bomb is activated followed by a long shot of the resulting devastation. This is a climax, a moment of self-sacrifice designed to traumatize the audience and fuel the fires of passion in the protagonists.
On the other hand, there is a possibility that Chewbacca could survive the blast. We really don't know the situation surrounding the incident or the technology involved. Chewbacca could very well die in this scene, or the blast could simply injure the powerful wookie.
So... what evidence do we have, one way or another?
Well, for starters -- the original concept art for Chewbacca showed him as having a robotic arm labelled "Bionic arm from war wound." This is certainly the type of wound one could sustain from detonating a bomb. Yes, as you can see it's the wrong arm, but concept art is just a guideline which Abrams could easily have deviated from during production.
However, after Chewbacca appeared in the trailer wearing only a bandage the general consensus was that Abrams decided against the Wookie having a war wound.
But what if the idea was never dropped at all? What if Chewbacca is due to be gifted with a robotic arm after his limb is blown-off during a particular explosion?
It would certainly fit well into the narrative; we know the Star Wars franchise love to have protagonists lose limbs, especially those Skywalker boys.
Chewbacca losing an arm as a consequence of an explosion would be a break from the norm, but it would be pretty innovative writing, and a great visual element in what is sure to be an incredible movie!
On the other hand -- no pun intended, as I've previously mentioned: it's worth pointing out that a vital aspect of the "Chewbacca will die in Star Wars VII" fan theory is the shot of Rey crying over a body which looked a lot like a certain wookie. So perhaps this movie will see our favorite wookie sacrifice himself in order to save his allies.
Whilst Rey is lying over the body we hear the voiceover of Maz Kanata saying:
“Hope is not lost today. It is found.”
Could these words be in reference to the passing of a loyal friend and ally? If so I can imagine the calm and collected Han from the previous trailers will be on the warpath! Chewbacca's death would be the perfect catalyst to rial the protagonists and ready them for battle.
Moreover, it's also worth considering that a death in the beloved main cast would be a perfect means of generating a powerful emotive response in the audience.
In a movie such as this, with a devoted and loyal following, a death is a vital device when seeking to create genuine empathy in the viewers. So would Abrams really use this opportunity to retire the iconic wookie outfit for good?
But this is just my theory. Have another look at the trailer below and see what you make of it. Let me know what you think!
Do you think Chewbacca could die in Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens?