Director J.J. Abrams hoping ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ will appeal to female audience

"I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to" says director

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has said he hopes his take on the long-running franchise will be more “female friendly” than before.

Abrams told US show Good Morning America that by focusing on female characters such as Daisy Ridley’s Rey, female cinema goers will warm to the films in a way they have not done in the past.

“Star Wars was always a boys’ thing, and a movie that dads could take their sons to,” Abrams said. “And although that is still very much the case, I was really hoping this could be a movie that mothers could take their daughters to as well.”

Abrams added see that he hopes kids in general will watch the film and see “themselves in it. And see they’re capable of doing things they could never imagine possible.”

In addition to Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens will also feature Lupita Nyong’o as space pirate Maz Kanata and Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie’s as Captain Phasma. Carrie Fisher, meanwhile, will return as Princess Leia.

Abrams has recently revealed that Carrie Fisher’s Leia will not be referred to as “Princess” in the film, but has instead been given a new, more military-sounding title.

Last week (November 26) a dark new teaser trailer for The Force Awakens was released online.

The minute-long clip, shared on the Star Wars Facebook page, shines a spotlight on Kylo Ren, the film’s hooded villain played by actor Adam Driver. Check it out below.

We will face them. December 18, 2015. #TheForceAwakens

Posted by Star Wars Movies on Thursday, November 26, 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in the UK on Thursday, December 17, a day earlier than in the US. The Motion Picture Association of America has given the film a PG-13 rating based on its “sci-fi action violence”, which makes it only the second Star Wars film not to be rated PG.

The story takes place 30 years after the events of Return Of The Jed but specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps. The film’s script was penned by director JJ Abrams, Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt and Star Wars franchise veteran Lawrence Kasdan.

Alongside Adam Driver and the returning trio of Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher, the film’s cast includes Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o and Andy Serkis.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the film will feature a character apparently named after a Beastie Boys album.