Not sure if you’ve heard the news, but a little teaser trailer dropped yesterday and the Internet sort of loves it. When Star Wars Celebration kicked off with a panel focused on Episode VII, there was little doubt that we would be getting our second The Force Awakens teaser trailer. The entire setup was perfect: some of the things discussed in the panel, such as the planet’s name (which we’ll get into later), and some of the information dropped about the characters helped make the teaser that much more awe inspiring without spoiling too much about the film itself.
There’s a surprising amount of information in the trailer, when you really sit down and look at it all. There are some obvious things that I’m sure everyone noticed on first watch, a few details that can only be assumed, and a few more than are total guesses and borderline opinions. It should go without saying, but if you haven’t already seen the trailer, go check it out now.
Done? Ok, let’s get started.
Jakku is a mess
That’s right, Jakku. Not Tatooine. If you watched the panel leading up to the teaser reveal, you may recall that director JJ Abrams revealed the desert planet we saw in the first teaser was in fact not the planet where the adventure all began in Episode IV. Instead, it’s an all-new planet, and it’s a total disaster.
The obvious first thought is that the planet is a former staging ground for a battle between the Empire and the Rebellion, with massive ships scattered around the landscape long since crashed and hollow enough for the Millennium Falcon to fly through with relative ease. Since this is Jakku and not Tatoonie, one important thing missing from the planet is Jawas. Were this actually Tatooine most, if not all, of these massive ships would have been broken down and sold for parts by the little sand scavengers in the past three decades since Episode VI. Instead, we’re on a brand new war-torn planet that lets us enjoy beautiful vistas like the opening shot of this second teaser.
Speaking of that beautiful vista, how in the world did the command tower stay intact on the Star Destroyer? There was obviously enough force on impact to cause the back of the ship to rear up in the air, but somehow the bridge attached by a single tower remained in place? I’m almost positive a ship that size falling out of the sky would be going incredibly fast and the top would snap and fly off.
Who is Luke talking to?
The whole idea of having Luke Skywalker be the first voice we hear in the teaser trailer is a brilliant move, and what he is saying is even more brilliant. It starts with some dialogue from the original trilogy, then eventually transitions to new dialogue as he’s talking to… someone. He mentions his father, himself, and his sister all being gifted in the ways of the force, and then turns his attention to the mysterious person who is never shown.
When Luke says each other person, it clearly shows them on screen. “My father has it,” the camera shows Vader’s charred helmet, “I have it,” we see Luke touching R2-D2, “My sister has it,” we see Leia receiving a lightsaber from a mysterious person. But when he says “you have that power too,” the screen remains black until the teaser “This Christmas” line appears. Unless he’s implying that Christmas is powered by the force, this is likely an obvious omission to leave it vague who he’s speaking to. The next character to even appear on screen is Poe Dameron, but it doesn’t seem connected to Skywalker’s speech at all.
So who is he actually talking to? If I had to take a guess, I would say Daisey Ridley’s character, Rey. She’s heavily featured in this trailer, arguably more than Finn. She’s seen acting as the more dominating character while giving Finn a hand while he’s down, and leading him from a series of explosions. The entire arc of Luke training someone (in this case, Rey) could end up being just a side-story to Finn’s quest throughout the films. It’d be an interesting twist on Star Wars to still have Finn be the main character, but not a Jedi at all.
The other important question, if indeed Luke is talking to Rey, is whether or not she is Luke’s daughter. I’d say no. If nothing else because I think it’d be interesting to have the lead up of Luke talking about his family be a red herring – he’s only mentioning his family while training Rey, not saying he’s passing down the force to her.
Vader’s melted helmet
This is the part of the teaser that honestly worries me a bit. Are they shoe-horning Darth Vader in just because he’s Darth Vader? Or is there some significance to the story that revolves around digging up the helmet of a Sith Lord that was killed 30 years ago? If the latter, what’s the reason? That much is still left unanswered to this point, but it’s worth noting that whoever is looking at the helmet appears to be doing so inside of a poorly lit, futuristic interior. The implication from this is that there was a dedicated search for Vader’s helmet and it has been brought aboard a ship or to some facility – so it’s not someone just stumbling upon it in the backwoods of Endor.
Whoever is giving Leia a lightsaber isn’t human
Aliens in Star Wars? No way!
When Luke mentions his sister in his monologue, the camera focuses on an exchange between who we can assume is princess Leia and someone giving her a lightsaber. A lot of fans quickly jumped on the idea that Leia could finally wield a lightsaber, but I would put more eggs into the basket of the Princess just retrieving the lightsaber for Rey for her training. Again, that’s just a guess, and there isn’t much we can glean from this short sequence, but there is one interesting unrelated part: whoever is giving her the lightsaber doesn’t look human.
Whatever it is looks to have a short, almost cat-like nose structure, a white stripe painted above its eye, and maybe orange-colored skin? It’s hard to tell what exactly it is, or if it’s just a human obscured by the lighting, but after looking frame-by-frame I’m leaning towards a new alien, potentially one of the inhabitants of Jakku.
In-atmosphere dog fights!
Following the first date teaser of “This Christmas” we’re thrown into an almost exact continuation of a scene from the first teaser. Poe Dameron (“the greatest freakin’ pilot in the galaxy” as actor Oscar Isaac called him), is leading a group of X-Wings into what looks like a battle inside the atmosphere. There was some in-atmosphere flying hijinx in the prequels, but from what I can remember there has never been a full-blown dogfight anywhere but in the depths of space. At least it would finally make sense as to why X-Wings are designed to be somewhat aerodynamic and not just giant cubes with guns and thrusters in every direction imaginable.
Cool guys, girls, and robots don’t look at explosions
Rey, Finn, and BB-8 are seen running from a place that figures to play an important role early on in the film. It’s the place that we first saw BB-8 rolling around in the first teaser, and where Rey offers a hand to Finn later on in this teaser. There’s a decent chance that BB-8 and Rey were purposefully scouring this little facility looking for Finn as well.
Looking back to that first teaser, BB-8 is shown rolling around this facility looking around as he does so. It’s a dramatic moment in the trailer itself because of the ominous narration right before it and the dark music, but without all that it could be a typical scene of him scouting around for Finn while Rey looks off somewhere else.
In this new teaser, Rey is also holding the same mysterious staff that was attached to her popsicle-looking cycle in the first teaser. From that, it’s safe to assume she was zooming off to find Finn in the first teaser for whatever reason. I also wouldn’t be a bit surprised to learn that BB-8 slots into that vehicle somehow, either on the side we don’t see in the first teaser, in the top, under the seat, anywhere. I’ll eat my hat if those two aren’t working together somehow.
And now, in this newest teaser, all three of them are running from a TIE Fighter in the distance aiming poorly as it tries to take them out. Probably not relevant, but there was a very similar scene in Star Wars: Rebels where Ezra was running from a TIE Fighter in the open desert.
For the first (official) time, we get a good glimpse at the main villain’s mask, as well as that odd claymore lightsaber in action. We see him standing in front of a group of frightened citizens by the look of it, with a line of Stormtroopers stopping them from going any further. Something startles Kylo, or he sensed it and was waiting for the right time. Either way, he whips around at the last second and looks like he’s using a force push.
This is one of the most interesting aspects of the new trailer. It’s only a couple seconds long, but we see a quick shot of the newly re-designed Stormtroopers standing in front of a flag. It’s a flag with a logo similar to that of the Empire, but it’s not the Empire’s symbol. According to images coming out of the official Force Unleashed exhibit at Star Wars Celebration, it’s the logo of the “First Order.”
Not much is known about this new evil organization, but it’s likely whatever has succeeded the Galactic Empire in the 30 years since Vader and the Emperor’s death at the hands of Luke. There’s also the possibility that both the Empire and the New Order exist within the galaxy, and they may even be at war. I noted in a separate article about the leaked promotional posters that, curiously enough, some of the Stormtroopers (lead by a chrome-covered ‘trooper) feature a blue outline, while Kylo and his own ‘troopers are covered in red. Is there more than the usual two factions at play in Episode VII?
While not actually shown anywhere in this trailer, The Rebellion also has undergone a name change, as they are now dubbed the “Resistance,” according to that same batch of images from Star Wars Celebration.
Based on these names, it may be a safe bet that the New Order is a change being brought on and led by Kylo Ren in some capacity (or he may just be a weapon like Vader was), and the Resistance isn’t keen on that change happening.
Finn sweating and panting… again
The next big scene is within a hanger. A TIE Fighter (complete with a sweet all-black paintjob) has apparently gone rogue and begun shooting at Stormtroopers within the hanger. Like the last teaser, our first extended look at Finn is while he’s panting and sweating profusely. This time he appears to be in that beseiged hanger and not in the middle of the desert, however. There’s also a bloody handprint on his helmet, hinting that he may have been in some violent close combat, or he stumbled in on one and got his own hand bloody. Could this be the final moments before he ditches whatever ship he is in and ends up where we saw him at the beginning of the first teaser?
Right after the first Force Awakens teaser was revealed late last year, I was pretty positive that the claymore lightsaber-wielding Sith was a character played by Game of Thrones actress Gwendoline Christie. While it’s looking more and more like I was wrong (but hey, it was fun to research), I think it’s a safer bet that we finally found our Christie with this chrome-plated ‘trooper. Captain Phasma is a character only known in name to this point, as it was one of many character names registered by LucasFilm last December. There is still no confirmation that Captain Phasma is this shiny chrome Stormtrooper, but it could fit, and it could very well be Christie.
The scene before Phasma’s appearance shows a Star Destroyer in space, but when it cuts to the chrome trooper, it’s walking alongside rock. It looks as if, whoever it is, is in an underground facility somewhere.
Prior rumors had Phasma (or whoever Christie’s character ends up being) as the one chasing Finn, a now ex-Stormtrooper. Whoever it is, they look undeniably badass, and I can’t wait to see more.
Upside down Super Star Destroyer
This is one discovery I take no credit for, but I feel the need to pass on some great detective work. That giant tube that Han Solo leads a TIE Fighter into is actually an upside down Super Star Destroyer, as pointed out by redidt user shidarin. Along with the image showing the similarities, he also spells out the ship’s obvious markings of a Super Star Destroyer with a concise list.
Upsidedown Super Star Destroyer.
the protrusion over the middle exhaust
a hull that continues under the exhaust (well, normally above)
at least 2 rows of 3 exhaust cones
at least 3 rows of exhaust cones total (the broken one screen right does NOT line up with the row of 3 screen left)
Does the scale match? The falcon isn’t even inside of the exhaust cone yet, is super tiny, and NO shadow on the ground yet. Scale seems to match, a SSD engine ports should be about 8-10 times wider than the Falcon, and that’s the scale we’re seeing here.
In case you’re wondering what a Super Star Destroyer even is when it’s not upside down in the desert: Vader’s own command ship, the Executor, was one.
Yep, this is still JJ Abrams
While it looks like JJ Abrams has finally grown out of the lens flare hell that plagued his first Star Trek film, there are still a couple marks in this Force Awakens teaser that clearly make it a JJ Abrams production. For one, when the Falcon and TIE Fighter go into the engine of the overturned Super Star Destroyer there is a hard shakycam zoom-in, which is very much a JJ Abrams thing. Another example is the last action shot involving the Falcon where it causes an explosion then the cameras follows into it until it cuts to black.
We’re home. But where?
Not much to say about the teaser’s final scene other than gushing about it. But with that said, where actually is “home” when Han tells Chewie they have arrived? Was the Falcon missing and they finally tracked it down? Or have they returned to where Han was born? There’s also the distinct possibility than Han is cracking a joke with the line.
So that’s that. Until the full-length trailer releases prior to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, these first two teasers are all the taste of Star Wars: Episode VII we’re going to get, and that’s ok with me. There’s a lot of exciting things to come, and we’ve seen a lot of them, but nothing feels like it’s been spoiled entirely. For everything that these teasers have explained, they have raised even more questions, which is a rarity in today’s world of trailers that give away massive plot points and generally ruin movie experiences. Let’s hope the trend for Episode VII continues until its December 18 release date.