Last night after work I sat down to watch two things – the Canadian election and the first full trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And if we’re being completely honest it’s hard for me to say what I was more anxious about.
But now after many hours and hitting the refresh button more times than I can count I find myself with a new Prime Minister and a trailer I plan on watching over and over again until December 17 at 7:25 pm when I settle into my theatre seat for the main event.
If you haven’t seen the trailer yet you can watch it here in all its glory.
Beautiful isn’t it?
From the opening shots to the John Williams music cues, this trailer gave me goosebumps. Star Wars was my first fandom, and as such it will always have a special place in my heart. Seeing Han, Chewie, Luke(‘s hand), R2-D2, Vader’s helmet, and Leia (especially Leia) again made actual tears well up in my eyes.
But nostalgia wasn’t the only reason this trailer got me excited for The Force Awakens. It also suggested some key elements about the seventh installment in this storied franchise.
For starters, there’s the fact that Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is just a big ol’ Darth Vader fanboy (something I, with my piles of Darth Vader merchandise, can relate to). He’s got Vader’s old mangled helmet and he promises that he’ll “finish what [he] started.” An easy way to tie an old enemy with a new one but what really bonds them together? Why does Kylo Ren care about what Vader was trying to do (besides mastering the Dark Side)? Is there a personal connection?
Then there was seeing Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) front and centre throughout the trailer. It was already assumed that these two would play a central role in this story but the trailer felt like confirmation. It felt like we were finally getting a chance to hear from them, and learn a little bit more about their background.
Finn tells us “he was raised to do one thing” but that he’s “got nothing to fight for.” While the screen pans across a legion of Stormtroopers, a TIE fighter goes spinning through space and Finn himself pulls the Stormtrooper helmet off his head, begging the question: was he fighting for the Empire? And if so are we going to get a look at what that might be like for those who aren’t Sith Lords or Emperors?
And then there’s Rey. While many of us are asking ourselves “Where is Luke Skywalker?” (Seriously where is he? What aren’t you telling us , JJ?) there’s no denying that he was present in this trailer – and no, I’m not talking about his hand.
There’s been a lot of speculation that Rey is Han and Leia’s daughter, and while that could still be true, her presentation screams Luke Skywalker. Our first glimpse of her is one where she was walking through the desert (Tatooine?), followed closely by a droid. She’s wearing worn, beige clothes and we see her working on something mechanical. And we watch her stare, as a ship takes off in the distance. These things seem small, but they’re not accidental. They call to mind the first time we met Luke, as he trudged through the sand on Tatooine.
Come to think of it, Luke wasn’t even the first Skywalker to make this fashion statement…
Rey may tell us that she’s “no one” but we know that couldn’t be further from the truth.
All of this only begins to scratch the surface of the treasure trove that is this trailer. We get our first real look at Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong’o), a shiny glimpse of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), we see Finn lightsaber up against Kylo Ren himself, we get the impression from Han that everyone may have forgotten everything he, Leia and Luke did for the galaxy and we know something terrible and Dark Side-related is going to happen to Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).
All in all I couldn’t be happier with this trailer. It looks great, it builds anticipation without giving too much away and it’s easy to rewatch again and again. It also fills me with confidence that The Force Awakens is going to be the movie I hope it will be. I want it to have enough of the previous films in it to still feel like the Star Wars I grew up loving, but I also want it to be an opportunity for new characters to tell their story: characters who were either secondary to the leads, or who simply didn’t have a chance to in the originals. And from everything we’ve seen so far, it’s looking like that may actually be the case.