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Star Wars footage unveiled online

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Harrison Ford reprises his role as Han Solo

Harrison Ford reprises his role as Han Solo

Harrison Ford reprises his role as Han Solo

Millions of Star Wars fans have been given their first taster of the new film as trailers were unveiled online, a year ahead of the next instalment of the sci-fi saga.

Fans of the films will be reassured to see familiar favourites such as Han Solo's spaceship the Millennium Falcon, W-Wing Fighters and even a lightsaber - this time with side-blades.

The news that footage of Star War Episode VII: The Force Awakens would be released was accidentally posted on Twitter earlier today. A trailer was also screened in US cinemas.

In the first trailer, camera pans across a desert landscape as a voiceover declares: "There has been an awakening - have you felt it?"

Then actor John Boyega - a Star Wars newcomer - is seen dressed as a Stormtrooper breathless and panicked.

The voiceover later continues "the dark side - and the light", in a reference to the good and evil sides of The Force.

It also contains scenes of the Millennium Falcon in a battle with TIE Fighters and a battalion of Stormtroopers being armed, while a hooded and cloaked figure is seen with the lightsaber. It concludes with the traditional Star Wars theme composed by John Williams.

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has been unveiled online and in US cinemas. It gives fans an 88-second glimpse of the new film, the first new edition to the series since 2005. Featuring shots of the Millennium Falcon and a new T-shaped lightsaber, it is enough to whet fans' appetite. The film, which reunites original stars Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher is scheduled to be released in cinemas on 18 December 2015. Credit: Star Wars

In another trailer which emerged online, the voiceover says: "The Emperor has foreseen a new threat rising against him - the children of The Force. They must not become Jedi. This is my master's command."

Another voice responds: "And so it will be done."

It also features figures jumping into a jungle sink-hole, Chewbacca roaring and it concludes with Han Solo - played by Harrison Ford, who was injured during filming, saying: "You're never ready - you know when you're ready enough."

The film series is being rebooted by director JJ Abrams who breathed new life into the Star Trek franchise.

The film is due for release on December 18 2015.