Star Wars: The Force Awakens footage shows lightsaber-wielding John Boyega

Star Wars

The first footage of Britain’s John Boyega wielding a lightsaber as rogue stormtrooper Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens has hit the web, sparking furious online debate from fans.

The footage, premiered via Instagram’s new landscape video format, shows Boyega involved in what appears to be a lazer sword battle with Adam Driver’s nefarious Kylo Ren. Finn carries a blue lightsaber, while Ren wields the red “crossguard” or “crucifix” device seen in earlier trailers.

Related: JJ Abrams hints Darth Vader is Star Wars: The Force Awakens 'martyr'

Bloggers and fans have speculated that Boyega might be carrying the blue lightsaber which was once owned by Anakin Skywalker and later obtained by his son Luke from Obi-Wan Kenobe in 1977’s Star Wars - then later lost in a battle with his father (now Darth Vader) in 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. A similar weapon was seen being handed from one hand to another in an earlier trailer.

Finn’s use of a lightsaber would usually suggest he boasts Force skills, as either a Jedi or a Sith, though the cyborg General Grievous was able to wield multiple lightswords in the prequel trilogy without being named as a member of either order. Finn’s battle with the Vader-obsessed Ren, who appears to be The Force Awakens’ primary villain, also suggests Boyega has been cast as the new film’s primary hero alongside the returning Harrison Ford (Han Solo).

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due out on 18 December worldwide. The Hollywood site Deadline predicted this week that the film will smash the all-time box office opening record of $524.4m currently held by Jurassic World on its opening weekend.

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