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Film: Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
What We Know So Far: Story details are scarce but it will take place some thirty years after the events of Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
The Trailer: (Theatrical Trailer)
Dan: This is why I watch football . . . for a chance to watch the brand new Star Wars trailer. It had me cheering like my team just scored a touchdown. There was so much exciting new footage. We finally heard Kylo Ren and saw him without his helmet. We also heard our new heroes for the first time. We finally saw outer space dogfights. We got our first look at Leia. And -wow- we had that nostalgic John Williams score returning at all the right moments. There was a flurry of amazing images to totally blow your mind. It looks like our hero is played by Daisy Ridley. This is her story. The trailer begins with her getting all Indiana Jones, hunting for relics inside a crashed Star Destroyer. Ridley also seems to believe in The Force, trying to convince John Boyega’s character that this mythical magic is real. Han Solo appears and confirms her story. He lived through the Empire wars and fought alongside Jedi. The trailer gives away the perfect amount of story without ruining all the surprises. Thankfully, we haven’t been introduced to Luke Skywalker yet. This surprise is saved until it’s revealed in the proper context with the proper set-up. Has Luke gone bad? Remember that vision he had on Dagobah? Where he fought Vader, and the mask revealed Luke’s face staring back at him? He’s been fighting that from happening for decades now, but what if the Dark Side won? We won’t have to wait long now for our answers. Nerd Christmas is just around the corner: December 18th!
David: I’ll start at the end with a wonderful bit of dialog that closes this latest trailer for The Force Awakens: “Just let it in.” It is inviting and even a bit joyful, despite the heavy-handed darkness of the short clip. The anticipation level for this movie is beyond measure and as the release date fast approaches, the timing of this trailer is perfect, giving us a bit more to work with than the last trailer (which I consider one of the finest trailers ever made in terms of a complete package). This one is somber to be sure and emphasizes the oppression of the dark times these characters are living in. Still, there are moments of hope (a trademark of the franchise) that signal something special in this story, most notably John Boyega as Finn, who clearly has a change of heart in his role as a Stormtrooper. He, as before, is wrought with emotion and I really like how he seems devastated at either something he has done in the name of the Empire or the cause itself. He claims he’s got nothing to fight for in the narration and it feels wonderfully weighty. So far, it is the most compelling element of both trailers and teases at just how deep this story will hopefully go. Boyega is well cast and I like the hints at transformation and redemption his character looks to be taking. We see more of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) as well and finally, Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), the two in an embrace that appears more solemn than romantic. What I like is, just like with the previous trailer, Solo gets the only on-screen spoken dialog, with everything else in voice over. He explains that all the stories the young generation have heard in rumors about the Dark Side and Jedi are true, and teases about a story arc where the events of decades past have fallen into lore. This could really provide some meaning to the inclusion of Solo and Leia, which again, will probably be nothing more than cameos, though there is quite a lot of Han in this trailer so that could be a surprise.
Dan Says: My favourite Moment isn’t any of the bombastic ones, even though there are several mind-blowing visuals. The scene that drove home the tone for me was when Oscar Isaac’s X-Wing pilot passes John Boyega’s soldier on the battlefield. They silently acknowledge one another, knowing the incredible challenge that stands before them. One is headed to the stars above, and the other joins the infantry. This is my Sneak Peak Moment because of the held back emotion. There isn’t a big speech here. These are cold steely nerves of a warrior. They know they are together like a Band of Brothers. War is coming to Star Wars. It is going to be epic. This trilogy should focus on these new characters. Boyega could be a new Jedi. Ridley could be our new Luke – and probably a Skywalker herself. Meanwhile, we also discovered Isaac has some sort of connection with Kylo Ren. This already feels like a whole new universe, even though it’s the Star Wars we know and love. This is the first time we will be surprised with the story. It can go in any number of exciting new directions. The writers weren’t slaves to an established history like the Prequel Trilogy – where we knew every plot-point before it happened. Like the Moment shows there will be restraint as well. An essential quality since special effects today allow anything to appear on screen. With Force Awaken, it seems like the stage will be set first, built on the foundation of character, before we get to (once again) experience the triumphant spectacle of saving a galaxy far, far away.
David Says: The entire clip is so carefully constructed to offer just enough exciting hints and mysterious clues, and works almost as well but not quiet as the first, but that’s to be expected. There is a lot to take in, and even after four successive viewings, I was still discovering interesting things and probably will with four more viewings. That Sneak Peek Moment comes not from what is on screen but what isn’t: Luke Skywalker. While not confirmed, the only possible image of him is a reused shot from the first trailer where a cybernetic hand reaches out and touches R2D2. Otherwise, this trailer is entirely devoid of the famous Jedi Knight, yet he lingers in nearly every frame and the choice to exclude him here only intensifies expectation for his (probably brief) role in the final film. Pressed into choosing an actual moment in this trailer, it must be Finn (Boyega) firing up a lightsaber in a dark snow-covered forest about to go toe-to-toe with a very large adversary, who I immediately thought was Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) but repeated playback of this moment has me second guessing that choice, though the cross-guard lightsaber seems to make it clear. Either way, it must be a pivotal moment as the once enlisted Stormtrooper is facing a previous comrade. More so, he is brandishing a lightsaber, which opens up a whole nother set of questions. It’s a startlingly powerful shot. And let’s not forget that in all of this, we get a look at the new poster as well (see below), which fits nicely into the series.