So the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer is here and it is awesome. Like lump-in-your-throat, make-sure-your-coworkers-can’t-see-you-crying awesome. If you haven’t seen it yet, we’ll drop it in right here. Once you’re done, we’ll go ahead and give you a detailed description of what this latest look at the cosmically anticipated film means.
The trailer starts with a shot of Rey (played by newcomer Daisy Ridley), in her goggles and desert getup. She has previously been described by the filmmakers as a “scavenger,” and in the opening moments you see her scavenge, climbing around a giant cavernous wreck of something. “Who are you?” Maz Kanata (Lupita N’yongo), off-screen, asks Rey. “I’m no one,” she replies. Like Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), in the first film, she seems to come from humble beginnings.
More atmospheric shots follow: Rey trekking across the desert with her faithful droid companion BB-8, a ship in the distance taking off from the planet surface, Rey looking contemplative. Then the glittery Lucasfilm logo, followed by evocative images: Stormtroopers (members of the First Legion), gathered in front of a stage (we’ve seen bits of this in earlier trailers), and Finn (John Boyega) taking off his Stormtrooper helmet.
“I was raised to do one thing,” Finn says, as a nifty new TIE Fighter (with the red square) falls out of the sky. “But I’ve got nothing to fight for.” Then the big reveal of bad guy Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), standing on the deck of a ship. The camera pushes in, giving us a clear indication that director J.J. Abrams has not given up his trademark style (those lens flairs!) “Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started,” Kylo Ren says, talking to the melted helmet of Darth Vader. (!) This is followed by a quick shot of Kylo Ren torturing Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Poe screaming in pain.
And then …
The love theme from Star Wars swells and TIE Fighters chase the Millennium Falcon across the desert planet’s surface.
“Those stories about what happened?” Rey asks, and Han answers (as Finn and Rey inch closer): “It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.” The Millennium Falcon zooms through hyperspace. Dark forces, led by Kylo Ren, amass. An aerial battle takes place above a wooded planet. Poe and Finn greet each other. A giant hunkering robot walks away. Han, Chewie, and Finn have their hands behind their back and slowly lower them. Captain Phasma walks into battle. BB-8 gets a new position in Poe’s X-Wing. Another aerial battle takes place over a snowy planet. Carrie Fisher’s Leia is pressed against Han Solo’s chest. She says: “The Force, it’s calling to you. Just let it in.” And then, slowly, the title: Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
What’s so great about this trailer isn’t that it reveals a lot or spoils anything (and, really, it doesn’t, in addition to Lupita, Mark Hamill, Domhnall Gleeson, and others are completely absent), but it gives you a great sense of what the movie will feel like. This is classic Star Wars, with unlikely heroes, villainous bad guys, and tons of action. It also feels, as we said before, like a real J.J. Abrams movie. The shot where Poe and Finn interact, featuring a looping camera movement, could be from anywhere in the director’s oeuvre. Quite frankly, if this is the last we see of Star Wars: The Force Awakens before December 18, we’d be perfectly happy. So what did we really, truly learn? Well, that BB-8 is going to make a great copilot. And that’s enough for us.