There has been an awakening.
It’s been just over two years since the jaw-dropping announcement that Disney had bought Lucasfilm, and that more Star Wars movies were on the way. Since then there have been countless rumors, constant speculation, and a ridiculous number of words devoted to discussing just what might be in store for us. Well, now it’s here, the first tangible look at Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Check out the new teaser trailer below.
It looks pretty great, but it’s definitely putting the “tease” in “teaser.” We get to see three of the new trilogy’s core characters, and that’s not surprising since we’re being set up to follow them for at least two movies beyond this first one. But the one choice that’s bound to be controversial is not showing us any footage of “the Big Three” — Luke, Han, or Leia. Or at least not directly, depending on which rumors you choose to believe or ignore. Still, that final shot of the Falcon definitely made my inner eight-year-old stand up and dance. There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s break it down with some screen grabs, shall we?
We’re going to discuss some of the Force Awakens rumors, and what light this teaser might shine on them, so SPOILERS BELOW!!!
We open on a desert planet — probably Tatooine, but you never know — with a creepy narrator saying, “There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?” Our first glimpsed human is John Boyega, looking confused and sweaty in a Stormtrooper uniform. It may just be the combination of the narration, but he definitely gives the impression of having literally just woken up and not knowing where the hell he is, or at least how he got there.
Rumors suggest that Boyega’s stormtrooper character is a deserter, and that he teams up with Daisy Ridley’s character after a severed hand clutching a lightsaber comes into their possession, an inciting incident that puts them on a path toward Han, Leia, and eventually Luke himself. If nothing else, this seems to confirm the stormtrooper part.
Next up we get a silly, semi-random shot of a droid rolling along through the sands. He looks like somebody cut off R2-D2’s dome and stuck it on top of Wilson from Castaway. It’s definitely a crazy design, but the shot also shows off some of the film’s gorgeous practical props and sets in the background, a decision that’s already giving this movie a look that feels very Star Wars. Even the CGI stuff doesn’t seem to have the shiny, unreal quality of the prequels. We’re back to the dirty, grimy Star Wars universe of the original trilogy, thank Jeebus.
Next we see a contingent of even more stormtroopers — these ones not breaking Imperial protocol and leaving their damn helmets on. And those helmets do indeed match the designs and images that were leaked earlier this year. They’re headed into action in some sort of shuttle or dropship, and, in a series of quick cuts, we get a quick glimpse at their blasters and then a shot of them lined up before a lowering ramp, about to deploy into…wherever.
Then it’s time to meet Daisy Ridley, all decked up in warm-weather survival gear and rocketing across the dunes on a wonky-looking speeder. The most recent rumors about Ridley’s character — allegedly named Kira — suggest that she finds the severed hand/lightsaber combo at a scrap dealer after a blue alien finds it in the desert.
Next we’re introduced to Oscar Isaac’s character, an X-wing pilot for the restored Republic. He and several other X-wings are flying fast and low over over a lake on a foggy, mountainous world. Earlier rumors had suggested that Isaac’s character will be the owner of the Millennium Falcon by the time Force Awaken’s story begins, since Han is presumably busy with bigger issues than smuggling spice. Seeing Isaac behind the stick of an X-wing doesn’t really confirm or refute that rumor, but it does at least provide the one solid tidbit about his place in the Star Wars universe. And, like everybody else in this trailer except for the ball-droid, he’s looking pretty stressed out.
Then the narrator continues, explaining that both “the Dark Side…and the Light” are a part of that aforementioned awakening. And we get one of the more badass shots of the trailer, a rear view of a dark-robed figure sporting a very distinctive lightsaber.
This character is at the core of some of the biggest, most controversial rumors about the upcoming Star Wars sequel, and you can read some of them here, here, and here if you’re so inclined. For this post, however, we’ll just say that this dark figure is being set up as the villain of the first film — or at least, the character we’re supposed to think is a villain. Things may be a lot more complicated than that.
Regardless, Force Awakens continues the arms race of continually trying to put new spins on lightsaber design. I’m still not sure what I think about the whole broadsword-style “crossbeams,” but I have to concede…that is one hell of a great visual. It’s also worth noting that the saber seems to flicker and stutter in a way we haven’t seen before. The beam seems less steady or controlled than what we’ve seen of typical Jedi and Sith weaponry.
And finally, we get the money shot: a dizzying, acrobatic sequence of the Falcon skimming along over the sands of (presumably) Tatooine, engaged in battle with some TIE fighters.
I’m still annoyed that Abrams didn’t give us a single glimpse of Leia, Han, or Luke, but given his penchant for secrets and mystery, I really shouldn’t be surprised. But it’s these closing moments of the teaser, with the Falcon taking to the skies for new adventures for the first time in over 30 years, that truly got me the most excited. That, coupled with the John Williams music, packs such a wallop of nostalgia, it’s hard to resist the smile creeping across my face.
Since this teaser is all about the tease, it’s hard to make too many solid impressions about the story of The Force Awakens, but it’s sure as hell going to be pretty, and the visuals very much feel organically like Star Wars. And even more importantly, like the original three films that so many of us fell in love with. We’re still a year away from release, and there are countless ways Abrams could drop the ball, but this first glimpse at Episode VII has kindled (a new) hope in me.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters on December 18, 2015.