This was a huge week for trailers, what with the reveal of the first trailers for Batman v. Superman, The Fantastic Four, and even a leaked teaser for the first Star Wars standalone film, Rogue One. But of course, the biggest reveal was the new Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens trailer. And what a reveal it was.
The first teaser trailer was perfect for inciting the type of excitement that a first teaser was supposed to incite. Before our eyes was a flurry of action with a freaked out string section providing the rhythm of our heartbeats. There was so much new, so much strange, and so much mystery that it left fans dissecting the trailer for months.
But now J.J. and his Bad Robots have found it fitting to give us a proper trailer. While many are calling this another teaser, I feel like it’s a proper trailer if anything, because it gives us so much more information. We can finally see many of the new characters as they are, in their respective rolls. We see the new design of the TIE Fighters. We see more about what exactly is happening on this new desert planet of Jakku. We see the existing might of the empire, its champions, and a clearer view of the mysterious Kylo Ren with his broadsaber. But most importantly, we finally see the old combined with the new. Han Solo says it best, “Chewie, we’re home.”
*****WARNING: POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW **
*****RUMORS USE TO ANALYZE TRAILER*****
Hopefully that was enough warning to get everyone who wants a “pure experience” or whatever out of this discussion. I’ve fully embraced the idea that I might be spoiled on some details. I’m okay with that. I don’t agree that the “Luke, I am your father” reveal made Star Wars great. I thought it was a forgettable and awkward interaction that was a necessary part of the development of Luke and Anakin’s relationship. A great movie isn’t built on secrets and twists, it’s built on the backs of deep characters, well-written dialogue, and a back story that matters. If I walk into the theatre on opening day and I know the entire script by heart, I know I’ll still be blown away. Because a movie is more than what is made, it’s how it’s delivered.
So with that said, I want to delve into a discussion of this trailer and pick out what we know, and what questions we still may have. I’ll be referencing details from the other trailers, as well as rumors where necessary. I don’t believe that all the rumors we’ve been hearing are correct, but this trailer certainly proves some things.
Luke Skywalker and the New Jedi
The first thing that caught my attention when I watched the trailer was Luke’s speech, seemingly ripped from Return of the Jedi. The funny thing about memory is that when you revisit things that sound very similar to something you’ve viewed in the past, that original memory can be corrupted by the new viewing. As was the case here, because it took me about three viewings before I noticed that something was different about Luke’s speech. And while Mark Hamill still sounds quite young in this speech that flows over the imagry we see, he doesn’t sound nearly as young as he did back in in the 80’s. His speech is either heavily edited, or it’s new. And I honestly think it’s new. If you’re not sure, check out the speech in the video above, and then watch the original scene from Return of the Jedi. The speech comes at 1:35.
So, first of all, the speech is slightly out of order. He says “You have that power too” before he says all that stuff about The Force being strong in his family. Secondly, he says “And you have that power too.” Finally, his voice is notably deeper, seemingly older. All of this could be edited together by the geniuses at Bad Robot, or it could have just been recorded separately for this video.
But what if it’s not? What if this speech from Luke is actually from the movie? It’s the simplest explanation, and as a fan of Ockham’s razor, this is what we should be considering. That means he’s telling someone, “The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. And now you have it too.” The general structure of that sentence deems that the person being talked to is part of his family. Either another Skywalker, or perhaps a child of Leia. Because honestly, there’s no way that Anakin’s bits were functional enough to produce spawn after he got charred to bits.
The biggest question is, who the heck is this family member? Rey? Finn? Poe Dameron?
Okay, probably not Poe.
So unless there’s a new character we haven’t seen yet, that pretty much leaves us with the two characters that Bad Robot has refused to give us the last names for. Rey and Finn. Based on some leaked concept art, one would assume this new Jedi to be John Boyega’s character.
While I’ll admit the awesomeness of the possibility that Leia dumbed Han and shacked up with Lando instead, as that would be the most amazing plot twist in the whole of cinema, I kinda doubt that’s going to happen. They’d have to explain that situation to a group of fans that are used to Han and Leia being together, and without Billy Dee being cast, I don’t see that happening.
Now, I don’t doubt the possibility that Finn is force sensitive in some way. With the amount of stress and sweat that he’s exuding in both sets of trailers, he’s clearly having a bad time being hunted by the empire (Now called the First Order – I’ll get into that later). And what better reason to be hunted than if someone found out he’s force sensitive. After decades of no longer being ruled by a crazy megalomaniac Sith and being inconvenienced by a single lone Jedi Knight, I would imagine that whoever’s ruling the new Galactic Empire wants to make sure that Force Sensitive people are kept to a minimum.
But, the voice over implies that there is a family member who is strong in the Force. But with only one other option left, I believe that Daisy Ridley’s character, Rey, is that family member. A lost child of Han and Leia’s, who was spirited away once the Empire took hold once again. There are rumors that Han and Leia’s relationship never really panned out in the end. Maybe in some fit of teenage angst, she ran away from her overbearing father and emotionally troubled mother (she lost her entire planet afterall), ran far away from this never-ending Civil War to the desert planet of Jakku to live in isolation as a junker.
When Daisy Ridley went up on stage at Star Wars Celebrations this last week, that’s pretty much the character she drew out. Someone who’s a loner, who avoids the help of others, and lives fiercely independent. By the way, does that sounds like someone else you know?
There are also rumors that go along with that leaked concept art, mentioning that when Finn ignites the lightsaber (it’s green in the rumors), that Rey looks from the shadows of its light, terrified. Meanwhile, an alien rumored to be named Rose says, “I know why the weapon came to you.” Does the fact that Finn ignited the lightsaber mean that he’s a Jedi? Not really. Rey is terrified of the weapon, as she should be knowing that it’s associated with chaos, Civil War, untold destruction, and unchecked power. That’s not really enough to be so afraid of the lightsaber, since she can always just jet out of the deal and return to her normal life. As long as she’s not Force Sensative. But maybe that’s why Finn ignites it and not Rey. She doesn’t want to see its power, she doesn’t want the weapon anywhere near her.
Because she knows it belongs to her. Think about it, what does it mean to be force sensitive and have a lightsaber? It means it is now your job to save the galaxy. It also means that most of the galaxy is going to be hunting you, seeking to kill you. She is terrified because of what her ability and this weapon means for her. She is going to have to uproot her lifestyle that she’s grown accustom to, and start fighting a war she was never really invested in.
Once again, I find it highly likely that both Finn and Rey are Force Sensitive. In a movie called “The Force Awakens,” it makes sense that the two protagonists are potential Jedi. If we combine this information with the rumor that Luke Skywalker will only make an appearance at the end of the movie, when Rey delivers the lightsaber to him, it makes me think that maybe Luke’s voice over actually plays out near the end. Finn and Rey had been running for so long because Finn’s the one being hunted, but now Rey gets confirmation that she’s Force Sensitive as well.
But I want to make one other point regarding Rey and her Solo-ness. When Luke says, “My sister has it,” we see a scene in which a lightsaber is passing from some vaguely alien looking creature… (Look at the face in the top right)
..to a young female hand that appears to be lightly darkened, perhaps by a harsh desert sun?
In any case, it looks like this scene is playing out when Rose and Rey are talking about the lightsaber. The words voicing over this moment are “My sister has it” followed by the scene fading to black as Luke says “And you have it too.” What I’m saying is that Rey is getting associated with Leia’s power, and then being told that she is Force Sensitive too, right after getting handed a lightsaber. Confirmed? No. But it’s very likely that Rey is a child of Leia.
Kriffing Krong, Is that a Star Destroyer?
During Star Wars Celebrations this last week, J.J. Abrams confirmed that the desert planet we’re looking at in the trailer is not Tattooine. It’s another planet called Jakku. The name literally means nothing at this point, but it does make me a little relieved because Tattooine needs to stop being so vital to Galactic matters.
But it does appear to be a planet that nears the site of a giant Rebel vs. Empire battle. And quite possibly a very old and familiar one. That Star Destroyer has been buried in that sand for quite a while. Maybe a few decades? Certainly, a giant graveyard like this would provide scrappers like Rey a decent living for quite a while. That X-Wing looks pretty old too.
Wait. X-Wing? It actually took me a couple of viewings before I noticed the X-Wing in the foreground. But after about four or five viewings, I noticed something pretty important. We’ve been getting treated to a whole bunch of new hardware designs throughout the last two trailers. And X-Wings are one of them. Their top S-foils are slightly off-set so that both wings fit into each other. The S-foils now fit into each other flat, rather than stacking on top of each other. Presumably, this improves aerodynamics and reduces aircraft strain.
But the X-Wing in the foreground of the Jakku shot is of the old design, with stacking S-foils. There does not appear to be any offset notches in the wing design.
Furthermore, there appears to be a new Star Destroyer design that’s showed off in this new trailer, with a taller middle super structure and a slimmer bridge turret.
Whereas the old design is buried in the sand. Now, I didn’t think much of this at first. I mean, this planet could be literally anywhere and this could resemble literally any battle during the Civil War. But then some eagle-eyed forum posters (I don’t remember where I found this now, I’m sorry) pointed out something very intriguing. During the shot in which the Millenium Falcon is being chased by a TIE Fighter through the super structure of a Star Destroyer, the Star Destroyer in question actually looks a bit different from a normal Star Destroyer. The below shot appears to show giant ship that’s actually buried upside down. Check out the protruding engines at the foreground, and then look at the additional engines in the upper background.
The only ship I’m aware of that had this sort of distinctive design is this one.
This is the flagship of Darth Vader. You might be remembering that a heroic A-Wing pilot crashed into the bridge, causing the Super Star Destroyer to crash unceremoniously into the Death Star. And you would be right. It’s possible that the back half of this massive ship might have cracked off the front half and careened into space and landed somewhere else. Along with a bunch of the Galactic Navy.
But how exactly did it end up on Jakku? Well, to know that, we’d have to know where heck this planet is. For instance, we are never told, in canon anyway, what the “Forest Moon of Endor” is a satellite of. All the action happens on a Moon, but what is the planet that this moon revolves around? What about the rest of the system. Are there any other moons? Maybe the planet that Endor revolves around is actually Jakku. And when this battle happened over this desolate planet, it created a thriving junking economy.
Keep in mind, this is all speculation. It could be that the Empire built dozens of these massive Star Destroyers in J.J.’s alternate universe, and this is just one of them that crashed. But I’d like to think that Episode VII starting on a planet graveyard of the Battle of Endor is just wonderfully fitting enough that J.J. couldn’t pass it up. For that matter, it’s close enough to the beginning point of Han and Leia’s relationship to explain why Rey might have ended up there. Maybe the Rebels hid out on Jakku for a little after the battle of Endor. Maybe Han and Leia got together, had a kid, but then either Rey ran away for they kept her there on Jakku for her own protection while the Empire hunted Han, Luke and Leia.
Quite possibly the most ludicrous name given to a Star Wars character, yet fairly fitting for what I believe this character is going to be. This is one decked out stormtrooper, complete with a red cape and chrome armor, Captain Phasma is trying for superhero status. We don’t yet know the role of Captain Phasma in this movie, although there have been plenty of rumors suggesting various things. But it’s clear that this character is a public figure. Why is that? Because none other than Captain Phasma is standing to the left of whatever important military leader is addressing that giant army of stormtroopers. Who knows, maybe that’s even of the First Order, which is the name of the redesigned Galactic Empire.
It’s possible I’m wrong, but it’s hard to mistake that armor as anything but Captain Phasma’s distinctive Chrome. Still, I’m really curious to know what role this character has to play. The fact that she’s standing to the left of this leader tells me that she’s the executive power in this new government, like a new Darth Vader to the Empire’s Palpatine. In this scenario, Grand Moff Tarkin would probably be sitting to the right of the Emperor, should the Emperor sit next to people, and should either of these people still be alive.
Oh wait, are you confused by me referring to Captain Phasma as a she? Well then, you haven’t been paying attention to rumors. Captain Phasma is rumored to be played by none other than Game of Throne’s Gwendolyn Christie. A rumor that I entirely believe, now that I’ve seen the character, the armor, and the walk. It’s all gender neutral stuff, but Phasma’s walk looks like a Gwendolyn Christie stride. And we’ve all seen her in armor before.
There’s a Bloody Hand Print on Finn’s Helmet
This is more of an Easter egg than anything worthwhile, but I thought I should include it here. It’s actually kind of hard to see when you’re just watching the trailer, but when looking frame by frame, as ya do, it’s easy to see the bloody hand print. All this really confirms is that Finn is having a bad day, and he obviously lost some friend. Supposedly, the death that precedes this hand print is kind of a last straw for him that makes him seriously consider leaving the empire.
However, it’s possible that due to the similarity in the background walls, that this scene and the scene with a TIE Fighter blowing up stormtroopers in a hanger bay. It might be Finn doing this damage, and it also might be Poe Dameron. Rumors have pointed to the two of them sharing a cell at some point, and Poe is apparently a damn good pilot, so that kinda makes sense.
What’s the Deal with Kylo Ren
This is a question that still plagues me, and it probably will continue to plague me until I actually watch the movie. The two scenes that we see Kylo Ren in within this trailer, are seemingly on the same planet and the same place and at the same time.
In the first shot, we get Kylo Ren swinging his broadsaber in a wide arc that places it far away from his body. I want to mention that it confirms what I originally thought would be Kylo Ren’s fighting style, and it justifies the use of his cross guard. Just sayin’.
Anyways, if you pay real close attention to the background of this massive swing, you’ll notice that it’s dark out, the presence of a stormtrooper, and some fires as shown above. Not real notable, but whatever. The next scene, though, shows us Kylo Ren in all his masked glory.
But once again, if you look closely at that scene, frame by frame as before, you’ll notice what I’ve attached below.
Stormtroopers facing a mob of people. There are fires, some sort of light devices, and some strange machine in the top right that vaguely looks like a moisture vaporator. I’m not quite sure what it is, but given what appears to be sand on the ground between stormtrooper B and the lighting device, I’m assuming this scene is taking place on Jakku.
My only thought is that this scene is taking place sometime either before or after Finn and Ren escape Jakku. The fires seem to imply that this is taking place after the escape, since we see how much destruction is wrought from the TIE Fighters chasing after Finn and Rey.
The mob in front of them is curious though. Are they facing a mob, angry with the Empire’s assault on a peaceful planet, or did they round up the entire village in the effort to interrogate and find them? If it’s the former, I expect nothing but pain and suffering the follow. If it’s the latter, as I believe it to be, then it’s possible Kylo Ren is working as a modern Inquisitor for the First Order. It makes me wonder if Inquisitor is the only acceptable position for one with Force sensitivity.
I have no idea who Kylo Ren is so pissed off about when he looks behind him and either Force Pushes or Choikes someone. Either way, I’d imagine that these scenes are being played in backwards order. I would imagine that the stormtroopers round up the mob, then Kylo Ren sees someone behind him, Force Pushes him or her, and then slashes with his broadsaber.
Confirmed Cast Member: Darth Vader’s Helmet
We still don’t know much about this other than rumors. But Darth Vader’s helmet is in the movie for some reason. According to rumor, Kylo Ren is obsessed with the legacy of Vader, and probably obsessed with finding his son, so it might be Mr. Ren himself holding this mask. Or it could be Rey finding it in the wreckage. Currently unknown.
Poe’s Happy About Being a Badass Pilot
Yup, we get another shot of Poe Dameron flying an X-Wing on a lush planet with some sort of river or something. During Star Wars Celebration, Oscar Isaac described his character as being the best pilot in the universe, so I guess he’s taking on some of the cockiness of a Han Solo-type. Always good to see some kickass X-Wing action.
Also, he mentioned that he was set on a mission by Leia. What the mission is, who knows. However, I’ll bet it’s not the one in this scene. I have a feeling the mission he was sent on is going to be the one where he gets captured by the Order and runs into Finn and eventually Rey. But that’s just me thinking here.
Harrison Ford Smiles
And let’s not bury the lead here. We get to see Harrison Ford reprising the greatest role of his career. Yeah, okay Indiana Jones was cool, but Han Solo, man. Come on. Oh and Chewie hasn’t aged a day. Damn those Wookies and their 300-year long life span.
And holy crap, I just wrote 3600 words on a 2-minute teaser trailer. But it feels good. I feel tired, and drained, after watching this trailer almost as many times as I saw the first one. But ultimately, I feel very much alive. This is going to be a great year to be a Star Wars fan. I agree with you completely Han.