Star Wars: The Force Awakens has grossed $1 billion in ticket sales after twelve days of release. After the divisive prequels, we have a movie that manages to recapture what made the original trilogy enduring classics. While it's not perfect, it got a lot right. CG wasn't over used, the dialogue and performances were good, and the plot focussed on character development and action without getting bogged down in politicking and excessive exposition.
The Force Awakens was almost called Shadow of the Empire. I'm glad they didn't go with this title. It would have been too similar to Shadows of the Empire, Lucasfilm's 1996 multimedia project which was intended to fill the gaps between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
It spawned a mediocre video game which was released on PC and Nintendo's Nintendo 64 console, and a badly written novel, a graphic novel, toys, and a soundtrack. The main character was smuggler Dash Rendar, a Han Solo clone who, after helping Luke Skywalker find where bounty hunter Boba Fett took Han Solo, was killed off at the end of the novel in order to preserve the continuity of the movies.