Last week, the teaser trailer for the highly anticipated Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens awoke the Internet and a few select cinemas. Since it’s appearance, critics and writers have dissected the very essence out of the 90 second teaser, and if I have to glean one central conclusion from J.J. Abrams’ minute and a half ad for the film, it’s that us fans may actually be getting the Star Wars film we’ve been waiting for.
I’ve watched the teaser almost fifty times, and read a fair deal of literature covering the obsessive topic, and after all this I have some thoughts of my own. But first…
What we (think we) know from the trailer.
The teaser gives us a few possible facts about the upcoming seventh installment of the world’s favorite space opera. For one, we know a lot of it’s going to be on Tatooine. John Boyega, a new actor in the franchise, seems to be playing a Stormtrooper, and Daisy Ridley is riding a sweet hover ride whilst wearing Tusken Raider garb (thanks, Vox, for pointing out that second observation). Oscar Isaac is also seen in an X-Wing flying around with a Rebel Alliance getup.
Also, we know that there’s a new Sith Lord in town, and he has a slightly ridiculous new lightsaber, with a devilish radiance about it (it’s like a claymore made of fire).
But better than all this is the fact there’s fun droids again, and they look like models with minimal CG. And, of course, the flippin Millennium Falcon is back in all it’s glory, about to take down some Tie Fighters. All this adds up to some classic Star Wars fun, with some newfangled J.J. Abrams flare (lens and dramatic).
What we hope this means.
After many viewings of the teaser, I’m pretty hopeful. The special effects look less audacious than if George Lucas was personally helming the project, and the new actors were chosen very, very well. Oscar Isaac is an especially promising choice, and having him as an X-Wing pilot can only mean badass hero moments aplenty. Also, Vox pointed out that the voice in the trailer was rumored to be Andy Serkis, which means that he could be one of the villains, sporting that dark and deadly Sith voice (it’s like a Darth Vader and Sidious mix). Where does that leave the illustrious Max von Sydow? Not sure, but hopefully as the elder dark lord to a young Jedi turned evil.
Also, seeing all the old favorite ships and slightly improved droid incarnations means that Abrams stuck to the technology of the first three films. One of the problems with episodes I-III was the paradox of having insanely more powerful technology before A New Hope even began. The Millennium Falcon plus John Williams’ original anthem together has everyone on the edge of their seats, and hopefully that expectation will be met and then some.
What this all probably means.
To me, the most important aspect of Star Wars was always the charm of the characters. Hayden Christensen and company ruined that for an entire generation (we had so much hope, Ewan McGregor), and Abrams will, with any luck, reverse that and give the saga back its charm. The spritely orb droid in the trailer, as well as Boyega’s bewildered face scanning the wasteland of Tatooine, immediately harken back to the intelligently silly nature of Star Wars; a galaxy far, far away doesn’t have to be all serious, and Lucas used to know that.
But the modern film audience likes a dumb spectacle, and Star Wars may fall into that trap. The characters may be one-dimensional, a scene where Stormtroopers are being dropped into a battlefield might look like every other modern war movie, and trying to replicate the charm of the original trilogy might backfire. Abrams is under stress to bring the saga back to life, but Disney is also sitting atop their money tower looking at the final product, so giving the fans what they desire might be all for the money and not for the respect of the original saga. No way to tell yet, so maybe I’ll watch the teaser another fifty times.