10 Things to Notice in The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer
After months of anticipation the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer has been released. As a Star Wars fan, and collector, I have been "cautiously optimistic" about the future of Star Wars under its new Disney ownership and the new movie-a-year road map. Yet there is something about seeing the Millennium Falcon in flight and hearing the original John Williams score that takes me back to being 8-years-old and having the same excitement I did for Return of the Jedi in 1983 or The Phantom Menace in 1999. Still, the teaser trailer gave up very few of The Force Awakens' secrets, but there were 10 items that stood out to me as I watched the trailer again and again. 10. The Dark Side is everywhere...or is that just editing? The trailer was only 88 seconds long, but it starts with 11 seconds of total blackness. After the first scene is 5 more seconds blacked out. Then 3 more seconds. And 14 more seconds throughout, for a total of 33 seconds of black screen. Add to that 22 seconds of just the Star Wars logo and we ended up with only 33 seconds of actual footage. And in those 33 seconds, no Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, or Han Solo, likely to leave fans talking as much about what we didn't see as what we did. A tease indeed! 9. The Millennium Falcon's had a few more special modifications made. We saw Lando's poor piloting rip the sensor dish off the Falcon in Return of the Jedi. It looks like Han took that opportunity (or some other time in the 30 years) to upgrade with a square sensor dish. This one's a bit shorter, too, so maybe it won't go flying off when things get "too close." Of course this new Falcon is all CGI, and able to make moves only hinted at in the original trilogy--moves which I imagine to be stomach-wrenching in IMAX 3-D. But even with no physical model the effects look first-rate; I'd expect nothing less from Abrams and Disney at this point. 8. Still Rebel-lious When last we left the Star Wars universe the Empire had been defeated. Per the (now erased from continuity) novels, Mon Mothma and Princess Leia established a new galactic government called "The New Republic". It even had its own fancy logo--an iteration of the Rebel symbol seen in the movies. Yet here, in this brief shot of an unknown X-Wing pilot we see the Rebel logo both on his helmet and his vest. Is this the logo of a new ruling order? An honorary tribute to pilots of decades past? Or is the Rebel Alliance still rebelling all these years later? (And is it just me, or does that guy look like he could be Wedge's son?) 7. There is no VII Like so many movie series that get past a certain number of sequels, it seems Star Wars is eschewing its roman numeral numbering system. While The Force Awakens has been referred to as "Episode VII" (or Ep. 7) by Lucasfilm, rumor has it the number will actually be absent from the film. The logo in the trailer seems to lend credibility to that rumor. 6. Stormtroopers? Where? The first new character seen in the trailer is actor John Boyega (Attack the Block) in a Stormtrooper outfit. Some have jumped to the conclusion that this film will let us finally know the men inside the helmet (more than, at least, the clones from the prequel films). But lest we jump to too many conclusions, let's recall we have seen heroes don Stormtrooper outfits before... 5. Will new helmets help with their aim? Speaking of stormtroopers, we are only given a strobe-like glance at the white-armored troops in this trailer--and they have a new helmet design. The iconography of the old Stormtrooper helmet is certainly in tact, with the white dome and the black frowney-face, but it's been upgraded. Is this to improve their accuracy as troops, or just to sell all new action figures and helmets? (Their blasters got upgraded too with nice LEDs...looking forward to those toys!) 4. What is the target? Finally with these troops, it's curious that we appear to be following some Stormtroopers inside a landing craft as they are about to engage in combat. The Imperial troops have long been faceless enemies but here it seems as if we're watching them as they go out to something akin to the beach of Normandy in World War II. (I admit readily I'm reading a lot into 2 seconds of footage). Lucas made the Clones good guys for Episode II and half of Episode III...could they be heroes in The Force Awakens? Or will be have some troops with whom we're sympathetic as they go to battle? The scene does not convey danger, it's not filmed in a way that "they're coming for you", it's "they're prepping for combat." Then again, as with point 6, perhaps these are all heroes in disguise... 3. The Desolation of Sith Does that opening voice sound familiar to you? Is it Benedict Cumberbatch using the same breathy, deep voice he had as the dragon Smaug in the recent Lord of the Rings: The Hobbit film? Is he the man in black we see in the trailer? Update: 2pm: The answer to both those questions is "no". While there is no confirmation as to who the voice is, all signs point to it being fellow Hobbit alum Andy Serkis giving a great impression of the great dragon. Others maintain that voice is that of Max von Sydow. 2. More Probe-ing questions... Also in the audio, pay attention when Boyega stands up and turns his back to the camera. The sharp-eared viewer will hear the familiar sounds of an Imperial Probe Droid (seen in The Empire Strikes Back). This adds to my theory that Boyega is a hero on the run...and that a multi-limbed robot set to self-destruct may be on his tail. 1. Watch your fingers! When The Phantom Menace trailer premiered fans witnessed a totally new weapon--a double bladed lightsaber. Now Abrams continues that gambit by showing us a tri-bladed lightsaber--though the side blades appear far more like the finger guards found in a longsword than anything that can actually inflict damage. The key difference is that fingerguards are dull and there to prevent the enemy from slicing you--lightsaber blades are pure plazma that cut through anything. My first reaction is that they seem more likely to cut off the wielder's fingers than to protect them, but that would be in the Robot Chicken parody, not the actual film. Of course the bigger question is who is holding that saber. Cumberbatch? Luke Skywalker? Darth Vader back from the dead? The Emperor alive after his fall? As I said, the trailer provokes more questions than it gives answers, and that's just what the marketing department wants The intent of a teaser trailer is to build anticipation and buzz, and if Social Media has been any indication they've already succeeded. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below! Hear Arnie talk Star Wars on the podcast Star Wars Action News Support independent podcasting and hear the Now Playing reviews of all the Lord of the Rings films, available only through Dec 31, 2015 Join the Star Wars Action News Sithmas Gift Exchange to give and get some Star Wars themed gifts this year!