Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Analysis
“You’ll find I’m full of surprises!”
The trailer runs to 88 seconds, yet there’s a lot to dissect and discuss. Below are the major talking points and some things you might have missed.
00:10 – “There’s nothing to see. I used to live here, you know.”
It’s a pretty safe bet we’re on Tatooine here, one of the most familiar planets in the Star Wars universe.
The home of Luke Skywalker in New Hope and Anakin Skywalker in The Phantom Menace, Tatooine serves as the starting point for both existing trilogies, so it’s only fitting it makes an appearance in Episode VII.
Traditionally, Tatooine is a harsh place, and not only in terms of its landscape; crime is rife and the planet is controlled by gangsters, though the last time we were on its surface (Return of the Jedi) its ruler, Jabba the Hutt, was killed by Princess Leia. Hard to imagine it’s improved much.
00:20 – Aren’t you a little anxious for a Stormtrooper?
First look at John Boyega, the British actor who’s rumoured to be one of the leads in the movie. While it’s possible he’s posing as a Stormtrooper, most of the rumours point towards him being a Stormtrooper who’s no longer committed to the cause and has gone AWOL.
00:27 – We love this guy, but what’s behind him?
R2-D2 and C-3PO are both set to return, but neither makes an appearance in this trailer. It doesn’t matter, because this guy does. His head resembles that of an R2 model, as do some of the sounds he emits, but his body is unlike anything we’ve seen before – a rolling robotic beachball.
But what’s more interesting is the junk in the background. The heap of metal to the right strongly resembles the engine of an old pod racer. Since the death of Jabba, has the sport gone out of fashion? Is Abrams making an indirect comment that the prequels are effectively on the scrap heap?
00:30 – Stormtroopers galore
A group of Stormtrooper line up in what appears to be some sort of drop ship. Are they touching down on Tatooine?
We reckon there’s a good chance one of these troopers is John Boyega. It’s also worth reminding ourselves that while in the prequels all troopers were cloned from Jango Fett (Temuera Morrison), by the time of the original films, Stormtroopers were recruited.
That said, it’s unclear as to why Stormtroopers are still around following the demise of the Empire and who’s giving the orders. In the expanded Star Wars universe, the number of Stormtroopers dwindled for a time, even though they retained a lot of their duties under various successor states.
It’s unclear what kind of shape they’re in right now. Given the panicked look on Boyega’s face, it’s possible conscription is in operation.
00:31 – Upgraded blaster rifle
Stormtroopers in the original trilogy were equipped with E-11 blaster rifles. Capable of switching between semiautomatic, fully-automatic, and pulse rates of fire, the blaster could also use a variety of ammunition types, including darts, grenades, and flares.
Although very similar in appearance to the E-11, there are differences. The E-11 was totally black, but this blaster has extensive white panels, reflecting the design of the Stormtrooper armour. The red gauge possibly indicates the rate of fire setting.
Hopefully their marksmanship has improved over the years.
00:33 – I spy wretched hive of scum and villainy
It’s very difficult to make out where this ship is landing, but if you look really closely, you can just about see the outlines of some buildings – they have domed roofs – and what look like antennas (vaporators?).
If the ship is indeed landing on Tatooine, could this possibly be the wretched spaceport of Mos Eisley? It’s where Luke and Obi-Wan first meet Han Solo for the first time. Maybe another visit to the iconic Cantina lies ahead.
00:35 – What’s on Ridley’s bike?
Our first look at Daisy Ridley’s character. The dominant theory is she’s playing the daughter of Princess Leia and Han Solo, and might go by the name Kira. (Leia and Han have a daughter in the expanded universe called Jaina, but earlier this year it was announced the sequel trilogy would not adhere post-Return of the Jedi expanded universe, which is no longer considered canon.) Either way, looking at Ridley, it’s hard not to be reminded of Leia on the speeder bike in Return of the Jedi.
Also, what’s that strapped to the side of her bike? Is that a lightsaber?
If it is, it appears to be lashed onto a much bigger staff. Perhaps Kira is using it more as a tool, rather than as the traditional weapon of a Jedi Knight. Maybe she just needs someone to show her the ways of the Force. (Enter Mark Hamill?)
00:37 – Vaporators return (yay!)
Not as nimble or streamline as the speeder bike, Ridley’s ride may have been originally used in moisture farming or some other kind of industry.
As she rides away, you can spot on the horizon what looks like a covered market, or a scrap yard, and what appear to be vaporators (machines used to collect water from the air). It’s definitely Tatooine.
00:41 – Move over Wedge
Oscar Isaac is playing an X-Wing pilot. The shot pulls you inside the cockpit, and the composition evokes the original trilogy and its memorable dogfights.
00:44 – Rogue squadrons
Three X-Wings skim across the waters of an unidentified planet.
It’s hard to make out exactly, but the most distant of the three fighters appears to have red markings, while the middle and nearest X-Wings come from Blue Squadron. The design is very similar to the original, but instead of having four distinct engines (one on each wing), these have two cylindrical engines that split in half when the wings open into attack formation. You can see the design more clearly in the video below, where JJ Abrams stands in front of the design..
00:51 – The rule of two
Flowing black cape with face-obscuring hood? Check. Angry-looking, red lightsaber? Check. Yes, this is our Sith.
The smart money’s on this being Adam Driver. The lightsaber looks strikingly different, too. Obviously, there’s the hilt, giving the weapon a more medieval, sword-like appearance. In addition to looking cool, it’ll probably present greater defensive options to its wielder.
Crossguard lightsabers have appeared in the extended universe before; the Jedi Roblio Darté, who fought in the Clone Wars, wielded a lightsaber which sported two blades. But this is a first for the films.
And there’s something different about the quality of the plasma, too – it appears to be more ragged, unstable, violent. This might have something to do with the quality of the crystal being used. It’s almost certainly an aesthetic choice, though the idea of lightsabers being rare or difficult to make could present a minor plot point.
There is one thing we know for sure when it comes to the Sith: “Always two there are, no more, no less,” to quote Master Yoda. If this is the Apprentice, are we hearing the Master? The raspy voiceover certainly sounds menacing enough and his words – “There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The Dark Side and the Light.” – predict a battle between old adversaries. We’re not sure who the voice belongs to; it could be Andy Serkis, who’s a confirmed member of the cast, but there’s also more than a passing resemblance to Benedict Cumberbatch, who was rumoured at one point but never confirmed.
Update: Multiple sources, including HitFix, have confirmed that the person narrating the trailer is Andy Serkis – though it’s still not known who Serkis is playing. HitFix says that despite those rumors, Cumberbatch is not in The Force Awakens.
00:57 – Star Wars happens
After a brief dip to black, John Williams’ iconic theme strikes up and we see the Millennium Falcon swoop into shot and perform some intense aerial manoeuvres.
Look closely at the Falcon itself, and you’ll spot it’s carrying a new sensor dish; instead of a round dish, it’s now rectangular and curved. It’s a neat piece of continuity, since Lando Calrissian knocked off the original sensor while piloting the Millennium Falcon in Return of the Jedi, as the Alliance assaulted the Death Star II.
It’s probably one of the many improvements the Millennium Falcon has received over the years.
01:04 – Let battle commence
The final shot is a full-on nostalgia trip, with the Millennium Falcon evading two TIE fighters above the desert planet of Tatooine. Star Wars is back.
Did you spot anything else? We’d love for you to share your opinions and theories in the comments below.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens will be in cinemas worldwide on December 18th, 2015.