Future Familiar: The New Trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Unless you decided to take a vacation under a rock over the weekend, you'll have heard by now that the first trailer for the next Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens (a.k.a. Star Wars: Episode Seven) has arrived at both movie theaters and on the Internet. It's been met with great fanfare--within hours of its debut, the 'net was swamped with new updates, analyses, and complaints about this 88 second bit of film. There's even a stop-motion remake of this trailer that's been made purely with Lego toys. How fanboy-ish can you get?
The new trailer is a teaser in the most literal sense. It doesn't give any hints about the film's plot; instead, it gives us fleeting glimpses of what this era of the Star Wars universe looks like. What I think most critics, commenters and curmudgeons have missed it how the trailer emphasizes familiar aspects of Star Wars, details that fans will instantly recognize such as vehicles (X-Wings, TIE Fighters and the Millennium Falcon), technology (an astromech droid and pod racer engines) and uniforms (Stormtrooper armor and someone dressed in the Sith fashion ensemble of a black Sith hood and red lightsaber accessory). Some of these things look slightly different in order to suggest a passage of time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens--the Stormtrooper armor looks more streamlined, and the astromech has a different body than the standard barrel-shaped model--but the trailer doesn't stray into anything that fans wouldn't recognize in some way. (While we're on the subject, the same emphasis on familiarity has been part of the advertising and marketing of the new Star Wars: Rebels animated series, with lightsabers, TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers and two-legged Imperial walkers making very frequent appearances.)
Star Wars' new astromech droid, although I hear that only
goalies are allowed to pick it up with their hands.
I'm assuming that the purpose of leading this film's marketing campaign with the familiar is to get fans excited for episode 7 before easing them into aspects of the new trilogy that will be significantly different from the previous six films. With a title like The Force Awakens, I think we'll be seeing a few startling revelations about how the Force works, how the revelations relate to the "balance in the Force" prophesy, and what it all means to both Jedi and Sith alike. Personally, I'm hoping that the new trilogy will revisit some of the stranger aspects of the Force that were introduced in The Clone Wars (such as the story arcs that involved locations such as Mortis and Moraband), since these aspects have the potential to make the new trilogy the epic conclusion it was always meant to be. I can't wait!
Here's the trailer, in case you haven't seen it yet: