'Chewie, we're home': Star Wars trailer delights fans

ANAHEIM, United States (AFP) - Hype surrounding the eagerly-anticipated Star Wars reboot made the jump to light speed on Thursday as the movie's makers unveiled a new trailer that delighted fans with a glimpse of iconic characters Han Solo and Chewbacca.

The action-packed second trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens showed spacecraft dogfights and a chase involving the Millennium Falcon before concluding with the unmistakable voice of Harrison Ford as Solo.

"Chewie, we're home," Solo says to his Wookiee friend, who offers a signature roar in reply before the trailer closes with a shot of the iconic yellow-on-black Star Wars logo.

The trailer was premiered at the Star Wars Celebration convention in Anaheim outside Los Angeles, sending fans who had flocked to the event - many wielding light sabers and wearing full Star Wars regalia - into raptures.

The hashtag #ChewieWereHome was rapidly adopted by fans on Twitter while #StarWars was soon a top trending subject on the social media site as anticipation for the movie, due out on Dec 18, went into overdrive.

Many fans spoke about tears of joy after the trailer's soaring finale featuring Han Solo and Chewbacca, central characters of the beloved first trilogy of Star Wars films made by George Lucas between 1977 and 1983.

"I'm 41 years old and I cried at the end!" tweeted one fan, sentiments echoed by many after the trailer's release.

In another scene, played out against the familiar soundtrack used in the first films, Solo's spaceship the Millennium Falcon is seen being chased inside the cavernous exhaust pipe of a stricken Imperial Star Destroyer.

Star Wars has attracted generations of loyal fans ever since the first film arrived nearly 40 years ago, creating a signature moment in the history of popular culture and launching one of the biggest movie franchises ever.

After a second trilogy of prequel films wrapped in 2005, the movie franchise had lain dormant until Disney shelled out US$4 billion (S$5.4 billion) to buy creator Lucas' Lucasfilm in October 2012.

Disney soon announced plans for three new films in the series, with acclaimed Hollywood director J.J. Abrams being entrusted with the reboot.

Filming began in Britain in May last year on The Force Awakens, or Episode VII.

Several stars of the first films will return alongside Ford, including Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker.