It's the photo seen by nerds, geeks and sci-fi aficionados around the world. In grainy black and white, large sofas fill what appears to be an empty studio set, with many familiar and new faces. Among them, J.J. Abrams, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Andy Serkis, Max von Sydow and Adam Driver.
In an announcement from Lucasfilm and Star Wars Episode VII director Abrams, the official cast of the highly anticipated return to a galaxy far, far away was revealed, confirming many fan-based rumors, and starting many more. What characters would flesh out the new story, and who would play them? Other actors announced were John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and Domhnall Gleeson, as well as returning series regulars Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker.
Recently, the web was fueled with a new hope of sightings of the original trilogy cast members Fisher, Ford and Hamill in London.
For more than three decades, fans of the billion-dollar franchise have speculated what should and would happen in a film series to follow 1983's "Return of the Jedi." Now, the world may know what happened to Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, as well as learn of the fates of a new slate of villains and heroes.
Lucasfilm released a statement last week about the status of the scripted storyline, revealing that the established Expanded Universe of books, comics and video games would not be adhered to as "canon." Instead, filmmakers would seek to invest a new adventure to surprise fans, and keep the audience guessing.
"Star Wars Episode VII" is not slated for release until Dec. 18, 2015. Until then, rumors will grow, as the smart crew of Abrams and company unveil small tidbits of information, and keep the larger secrets under wraps. Fans will have to wait a while longer for the big picture.