First off, if you haven't seen the Teaser Trailer yet, check it out:
Wasn't that just shiny. Now I'm gonna break it down and do my best to explain what I'm seeing by guessing what is going on in each scene.
Desert, probably Tatooine, and an ominous voice starts by asking, "There has been an awakening, have you felt it?" Despite rampant online conjecture, this was voiced by Andy Serkis, not Benedict Cumberbatch. Which is funny to me, because I never thought it sounded much like Cumberbatch. Anyway, the next moment we have a rather sweaty man pop up into frame from below the camera. He takes a few panicked breaths and starts to move away. This is John Boyega. (I recently saw Boyega's first movie, Attack the Block, and he was awesome in it.) I have absolutely no idea what his character name will be, and I understand he is going to be one of the new main stars of the film. And oh yeah, he's wearing a Storm Trooper outfit.
I don't have terribly much to say about this, but I don't think anyone has mentioned that he is wearing full armor in the middle of the desert, so of course he's sweating. He's also clearly upset, and probably on the run from something. I think it is important to note that lot of time has passed since the end of Return of the Jedi, about thirty years, according to rumors. Taking into account that before the rise of the Emperor, Storm Troopers were not exclusive to the Empire, they were just soldiers in service to the Old Republic (at least according to the now non-canon Expanded Universe). So basically there is no way to know if that uniform has anything to do with the remnants of the Empire, or even if he is just wearing it as a disguise.
Next is a cool and cute little droid rolling past the wreckage of some pod-racers (nice little pointed nod from J.J. towards the prequels). I like the idea of the comic relief characters being droids again, especially droids that don't speak. This little one (I assume it's little, but camera perspective can be tricky) seems a little bizarre, but totally original for a droid design. The orange motif works in contrast to R2's blue color scheme, and a droid sidekick for the new characters might be a good idea. I wonder what the rolling part looks like when it is still?
More Storm Troopers, which emphasize the changes to new helmet design, lined up in a troop transport. This shows a few interesting details. First they seem more militaristic in this moment. The camera isn't steady, showing movement like the chaos of flying into battle, and close ups of the blaster rifles and the ramp opening. None of these things really tell us much, but it is clear that we might want to take the Storm Troopers a little more seriously this time. Mostly I'm curious what mission they are about to undertake. Which again begs the question, which side are these soldiers on?
Next we meet Daisy Ridley, our other main character and newcomer. She is also clearly on a desert world, probably Tatooine, and setting off with some urgency on a oddly designed speeder. I think it looks like a cross between Luke's speeder from A New Hope, and the bike-like speeders from Return of the Jedi.
Her outfit also looks like a cross between a non-camo version of Leia's outfit in Return of the Jedi, and something resembling a feminine take on Luke's clothes in A New Hope, some clear parallels there. Plus she looks a bit like Natalie Portman and Carrie Fisher. The rumors are that she's supposed to be Han and Leia's daughter, but that is just conjecture at this point. Personally, I think she might be Luke's daughter, but hey, I have no evidence to back that up.
Cut to a man in a Rebel/Republic helmet flying an X-Wing low across a lake. The pilot is Oscar Isaac, but again I have no idea who he is playing. My guess is he is Wedge's son. I don't have much else on this one, but I like the black in the helmet.
This is probably the best shot in the trailer, with a ton of atmosphere and just simple beauty. It also illustrates the old lived-in universe that every Star Wars fan loves, and was mostly absent from the prequels.There is a bit of a design change with the X-Wings, but it's mostly just subtle streamlining stuff. Which again shows that time has passed, and there are at least two different squadrons of X-wings represented in this shot (Red and Blue).
Finally, we have a dark figure almost stumbling through a dark snow-filled forest. The ominous voice picks up again, "The dark side...", at the same time we get the first glimpse of a new lightsaber. And wow, this is totally different from anything we've seen before on film. Not only is the blade longer and a bit thinner, but the beam also seems jagged and almost unstable. Then there is the most controversial moment, when the two beams for the cross piece ignite.
I wasn't really happy at first when I saw this, but it's grown on me in the last week. There have been a lot of arguments and complaining about this new lightsaber, mostly about the impracticality of a bladed cross guard. Questions like; How it wouldn't protect the hands of the wielder, and aren't the smaller blades more dangerous than beneficial? I won't get into a defense of the blade because I don't have the geek credentials to form a coherent one. So here is a link to my favorite defense of the new lightsaber by Stephen Colbert.
Then voice continues, "And the light." Just as the music picks up and we get a sweeping and magnificent entrance of the Millennium Falcon with the roar of Tie-Fighters streaming past firing green blasters, and accompanied by a crescendo of the classic Star Wars theme. The camera pitches and tilts around in a dizzying way, showing the maneuverability of the beloved ship. The bright blue sky provides an interesting contrast for the ship, and lets us see some of the minor changes the Falcon has undergone in the intervening years. Gone is the giant round communications dish that was ripped off during the battle of Endor, replaced by a much lower profile rectangular one. The back thruster panel now has a grid of some kind over it, but mostly she looks the same.
Lastly, I'm curious about the title. Notice something missing?
"Episode VII" is missing. Are they dropping the numbers? What does that mean? It probably means Disney doesn't want to deal with the franchise looking old when they start the second set of three movies in 2020. Star Wars Episode X seems a bit.... off.
I have a lot of other ideas about this movie, but I think I've rambled on enough. So until the next trailer drops (which will probably be paired with the Avengers: Age of Ultron)...
Goodbye, and may the Force be with you.
J.D. Balthazar is a confirmed nerd who loves most things sci-fi or fantasy-related.
For more Star Wars here on Doux Reviews, check out:
- How to Watch Star Wars by J.D. Balthazar
- Game review of Star Wars: The Old Republic also by J.D. Balthazar
- Reviews of the first six Star Wars movies by Billie Doux