Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer released
The teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just been released. What does it reveal about the movie that is the biggest mystery in Hollywood?
It’s the trailer that has perhaps seen more speculation than any other in movie history. The teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has just been released, revealing details about a film that’s been kept under wraps to a remarkable degree.
While some facts have been made public – the original line-up is returning, with Mark Hamill playing Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford appearing as Han Solo and Carrie Fisher reprising her role as Princess Leia, and the Millennium Falcon is getting a showing – crucial details were held back.
What are the iconic characters doing now? What roles are the new actors playing? What does Star Wars look like through the eyes of writer-director JJ Abrams? As online commentators have complained, everything was a mystery. Until now.
The level of secrecy and speculation has prompted fans to create and release their own fake versions of trailers (not the trailers you are looking for), many of which have had millions of views. So when the real one was finally released, it caused a great disturbance in the force… well, the internet. The 88-second trailer finally reveals director JJ Abrams’ hand, disclosing the briefest of hints about what takes place in the years after Darth Vader’s death and the presumed fall of the Empire.
The first of these suggests that the Empire has not disappeared. We see soaring shots of Tie fighters in battle with the Millennium Falcon. Ships full of heavily-armed Stormtroopers get ready for battle. X-wing fighters cruise across a lake and a faceless Sith advances through a forest before revealing a T-shaped lightsaber.
But beyond that broad narrative of good v evil, the trailer does not give too much away. Fans hoping for details of the story will be disappointed. Instead, Abrams – a master of teasing audiences (remember the Cloverfield trailers?) – leaves the viewer wanting more.
The trailer opens on what looks like the planet of Tatooine – although without the double sunset, it is difficult to be sure. We see a terrified looking character (John Boyega) dressed as a Stormtrooper but without his helmet. A voiceover declares: “There has been an awakening”. Fans will want to know what that means: Has there been an awakening in the Force? The title of the film would suggest so. But on which side? The shot suggests it may be on the Dark Side, but the trailer does not give enough to say one way or another.
The sequence then cuts to a fast-moving droid. In the background are parts of what look like an X-Wing fighter. Is this where Luke Skywalker has retired following the death of his father? Skywalker does not appear in the clip. Neither do the other two members of the original trio, Princess Leia or Han Solo.
It then cuts to classic fast-moving action sequences, where we see glimpses of familiar characters and craft interspersed with new faces, like a female character played by Daisy Ridley on a speeder and what we can only presume is one of the leaders of the Dark Side – a dark, faceless character that looks like the Phantom Menace’s Darth Maul complete with his shimmering, red saber. A soaring sequence showing a sleeker Millennium Falcon dog-fighting with swirling Tie fighters completes the trailer.
All of this is set to iconic and rousing John Williams scores – including the original Star Wars fanfare. But while the music may be the same, it already feels like a very different film. The tone of the trailer is dark, as many expected from a director that updated the Star Trek franchise in a similar way. They also appear to be more complex and serious than the prequels – perhaps a nod to the many fans who felt bitterly disappointed by George Lucas’ Phantom Menace. Those same fans will also be pleased to see there is no sign of an annoying – and for many unforgivable – Jar Jar Binks type character, who went on to define the superficial nature of the prequels.
The new trailer will delight fans, but will leave them with as many questions as it answers. And they will know from JJ Abrams’ previous work that all is not always what it seems.
With the film itself set for release in December 2015, will fans learn much more in the coming months? Abrams has called the process of keeping details secret “rather extreme”, describing how people in his office covered up his windows with black paper when he was working on the script; yet he believes in the power of the big reveal. “It feels to me like there’s a purity in not knowing every little thing.”
One thing is for sure: The Phantom Menace looks like it will be forgiven.