I really don’t want to exaggerate, but the first word that comes to mind when describing the new Star Wars trailer is “historic.” As I look back decades from now on my experience watching film in the 2010s, today will come to mind. However The Force Awakens turns out – and I am now confident it will turn out well – I will always cherish the experience of getting hyped for it.
There’s not much analysis I can add that hasn’t already been said better by more dedicated fans, but I wanted to chronicle my initial reactions here, partially just for future reference.
With the teaser back in December, I only felt like Star Wars was really, truly back during the very last shot of the Millennium Falcon. This time, I got that thrill right away with that immediately iconic pan to reveal a downed Star Destroyer. It is clear within seconds that J.J. Abrams understands how a Star Wars episode should look and feel, and accompanied by that John Williams score, everything about this is just so right.
Then we get the partially burnt Darth Vader helmet, the only scene that gave me pause. I have faith that J.J. has a plan for this that will pay off, but when one of my worries is that the movie will rely too heavily on fan service, seeing Darth Vader “back” so soon has got me nervous. We should be done with him. Let’s hope this is a brief moment in the actual film or that the rumor about Kylo Ren having it as part of a collection of relics is true.
Then, R2D2! With all the new faces being added, and with the original cast looking so different, the thought of R2D2, Chewbacca and C3PO being on screen exactly like we left them is insane. We see what has to be Luke’s hand grabbing the droid, though I have to wonder what the deal is with this new robot arm as opposed to the human looking one from before. Did Luke break it and not buy a warranty so he downgraded to a cheaper version, or what?
Then, another mysterious hand giving over a lightsaber to a third mysterious hand. This is a very hand heavy trailer. It’s heavy-handed, if you will. Based on the narration here, and the way Luke saying “my sister” perfectly matches the shot, I’m going to go ahead and guess that what we’re seeing here is Leia passing on Anakin’s lightsaber to…let’s say Rey? That would make sense, right?
The pace quickens a bit and that chill-inducing Williams theme picks up. Another shot of the X-Wings and of Poe Dameron, who seems to be having an absolute blast being a Star Wars protagonist. Can you blame him? Then, a quick beat of Kylo Ren swinging the crossguard lightsaber, which in action looks fabulous despite all those complaints. Rey and Finn run away from some explosion, and holy crap am I pumped to see more of Rey now. She looks like a total badass, and I’m feeling that she’ll end up as the MVP of the film, this movie’s equivalent of Luke.
Another quick shot of Kylo, who we finally get a glimpse at from the front, and I’m a big fan of the helmet design. Then we’ve got perhaps the most interesting part of the trailer: a bunch of stormtroopers looking out at what appears to be some sort of rally with a giant banner and figure in the back. The Emperor, maybe? Max Von Sydow’s character? There’s also a brand new Imperial flag, or could this be a separate faction of the Empire entirely?
Also, you gotta love that explosion shot with one stormtrooper flying through the air. How does that even happen? Watching frame by frame, it’s like he was doing a handstand or something and then rocketed upwards when the blast happened. Next we see Poe, probably from that same sequence, frantically removing his helmet (He does pretty much everything frantically). There’s a bloody hand print on it, and with the panel discussion confirming that he is in fact a stormtrooper, we can assume that he’s defected by this point, he has probably just been caught, and he had to get violent.
And then OH MY GOD, a chrometrooper! Probably the rumored Captain Phasma, apparently played by Gwendoline Christie? The look of this thing is so cool, though I wonder about the purpose and practicality of her cape. It seems like it just gets in the way, but hey, it identifies her as a bad guy. BB8 peers out from behind a wall, and from what we saw of him at the panel, I am absolutely in love with this thing. BB8 is for sure going to be one of the top selling toys when this Christmas, right? Back on what we found out is not Tatooine, but a totally different desert planet called Jakku that looks exactly like Tatooine, the Millennium Falcon is still flying away, right into what seems to be the remains of a crashed ship.
Of course, we then have the big applause moment, with holy crap, Harrison Ford back as Han Solo standing next to Chewbacca. It’s one thing to read that Han and Chewy would be in the movie, and it’s another thing to see it before your eyes. This is really happening, people. “We’re home,” he says. We sure are.
As someone who is generally terrified of spoilers and prefers going into a film knowing as little as possible, I was seriously debating whether I should watch this. I am so glad I did. First of all, J.J. Abrams knows exactly how to put together a trailer, providing enough iconic visuals without revealing any of the plot. There is so much we still don’t know, and entire characters we haven’t seen once yet. But even if the trailer was more spoilery, the experience of rushing back from class, watching the footage, and rexamining at frame by frame, made me realize that sometimes getting excited about a movie is just as fun as the movie itself. Part of me feels I’ve already gotten what I wanted out of a new Star Wars. J.J. and the crew have already given me an amazing experience.
But it’ll be cool to see the movie, too.