Collect ‘Em, Trade ‘Em

The Force Awakens Trading Cards

Do you remember Topps trading cards? The ones that came with a stick of really hard dry chewing gum? I certainly do, and still have my treasured “1st” series of collectible cards featuring scenes and characters from around the galaxy for the original 1977 Star Wars movie. The top of my deck is No:1 Luke Skywalker, although it’s little tatty, but I prefer to consider it ‘well-loved’ after over 30 years ago of “Collect ‘Em, Trade ‘Em” which was the catchphrase of the Topps trading card company in those early days. There was five rounds of the Topps cards for that movie, each one designated by a different colour.

Now 34 years later, they return “surprisingly” via J.J. Abrams who is well-known for his “mystery box” approach to movies; he lets as little information out as possible before the film’s release, but he has benevolently buckled to Disney’s open approach to marketing and cracked open this Star Wars mystery box and put some names to the faces we saw in the first teaser for The Force Awakens. And in the charming retro style nod to the original “first fans” with a digital set of trading cards, cementing their long-running tradition of Star Wars Merchandising tie-in with Topps Trading Card Company.

As you can see for yourself below, the cards finally put some names with the faces, the card captions also give a hint about the state of mind of the characters. Abrams was also asked if there was significance to the numbering, Abrams replied: “YES.” …Time to get some of those Bothan spies to figure that one out. 🙂

His final retro homage on the subject was “I’m only sorry we couldn’t give everyone a stick of gum,”

At last we no longer have to call that adorable, rolling robot “football ball droid.” that character now has its own R2 D2 style alphanumeric moniker: BB-8.

Next were introduced to Finn, but we don’t know the last name of John Boyega’s character, so that could also be an important omission. But the extra three words of description—”on the run”—explains a little bit why he is seen jumping into frame and gasping in the opening moments of that trailer. Although he’s in a Stormtrooper uniform, we don’t know for sure if he is an actual trooper or if, like Han and Luke in A New Hope, he’s just using it as a disguise.

The most interesting reveal is Daisy Ridley’s character, who we now know is called Rey. For some time, it was rumoured that she was going to be called Kira, the so-called daughter of Han & Leia from the Expanded Universe…Well, this just goes to prove we can’t believe everything we read on the web.

That short guy in the middle, is that Finn before he goes “On the Run”… I think Princess Leia said it best, once upon a time in a galaxy far far away: “Aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper?”

Poe Dameron! now there’s a name weighted with significance. Some fans have already gleaned an intense, not necessarily welcoming vibe off of Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot, and a first name taken from a writer who chronicled the sinister side of human nature would suggest that this is a character who is on the edge of the light/dark divide. His name is almost identical to Cameron Poe, the character Nicolas Cage played in Con Air. Coincidence?…Oh yeah, but in reverse…light to dark?

The original Ralph McQuarrie designed X-Wings skidding along the surface of a lake rather than screaming through the void of space is joy to see.

And that shadowy figure who’s clearly the Sith villain, mentioned in the trailer as the dark side of the awakening that has taken place. As he stumbles through the snow with his modified cross guard or claymore lightsaber is now called Kylo Ren which I’m guessing is Adam Driver.

There’s certainly much more to reveal. We haven’t yet seen Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, or Max von Sydow—let alone any of the veteran stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, or Carrie Fisher. And we’ve heard, but not seen, Andy Serkis. Will we get more someday or see similar reveals with the yellow, green, and orange borders? Fingers crossed…

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