Ron’s Thoughts on the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer

In case you live in a broken starship on Jakku, the official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally landed on Monday night between scenes of a bunch of sweaty fat dudes hugging each other.  The epic Episode 100 of Now, This Is Podcasting! dropped yesterday featuring an awesome cross-over with the ladies from Rebel Grrrl.  People were very excited about it:

The podcast will give you all the spoilerific details that you want.  That’s not my area.  But below are the scenes that stood out to me in the highly anticipated, much demanded trailer.  First of all – I’m terrible at screen caps.  So BIG SHOUT to the good folks over at Jedi News for doing an amazing job with screen caps from the trailer.  Be sure to head over to their site to check out all 239 screen caps they took.  Below are a few scenes that stood out to me and my various ramblings.

LIGHT SPOILERS

As the trailer opens we meet Rey.  It’s an “official” introduction if you will.  The first few scenes of the trailer tell us about Rey when we meet her.  And I think that tells us a lot about the film’s focus.  I think that’s indicative of the focus of the trailer overall.  It wasn’t a broad, sweeping, epic trailer full of action.  It was a very focused character introduction of Rey, Finn and Kylo as we will meet them in the beginning of the film.  This trailer tells us who the main players are, where they came from and what their motivations might be.  I hope that’s how the film will be focused as well.

This seen was breathtaking.  It looked amazing and so unique that it almost didn’t seem like a Star Wars scene to me.  In fact, the first thing that popped into my head when I saw this was Firefly.  It definitely tells the audience what we need to know about Rey when this film begins.  It’s an interesting contrast to the innocent, sheltered farm-boy that Luke was in A New Hope.  Rey probably isn’t at all innocent, she’s clearly not sheltered.  She’s a survivor.  But, she’s also “noone”.

I love this shot. Rey looks strong and beautiful. Yet kind of wistful. She doesn’t look like a jaded or hopeless individual.  To me it was really evocative of Luke.

It was interesting how minimal a role The First Order played in the trailer.  Particularly given their presence in the prior teasers and other marketing materials.  This shot, which really wasn’t very new, was all we really saw beyond random troopers running here and there.  Again, as I said above, this trailer was a character introduction.

And now we’re introduced to Finn.  Paul Bateman made a fantastic connection with this shot of Finn:

Which is VERY cool.  If anyone knows Ralph’s concepts, it’s Paul Bateman.  Having said that, I also saw this scene as the reverse of Luke’s iconic binary sunset scene:

Here, Luke has no real purpose. But he desires it and feels like he is destined for more.  In contrast, based on the trailer voice-over, Finn has lost his purpose.  He doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do now.  The outlook here isn’t hope or “more.”  While Luke starts with a desire for something greater in his life and we journey with him as he finds that, here Finn just lost his whole identity.  I’m sure ultimately he’ll reach that same place but it’s an interesting contrast of start points.

Finally, we’re introduced to Kylo.  These scene is eye-popping.  Just a beautiful shot in my opinion.  The voice-over tells us his motivation.  He intends to finish what he believes Vader started.  But what did Vader start?  Did he start the Knights of Ren?  Did he start the eradication of the Jedi?  Did he start bringing balance to the Force?  My guess is that whatever Kylo’s motivation, it comes from the myth of Darth Vader instead of the reality.  It comes from what Kylo and others of his kind believe Vader stood for.  I believe that at this point, Vader has become a legend and a martyr, and the Knights of Ren will fight for what they believe is his holy cause (whether that’s actually what Vader cared about or not).  In the interest of clarity – I’m not drawing from any spoilers here.  This is pure speculation.

It is just me or does he look awkward here?  He looks like a Funko bobble-head.  The guy’s helmet looks massive compared to his shoulders.  Also, I think his “voice” sounds ridiculous.

“It’s true…all of it.”  This was the culmination of the main point of the trailer.  The 2 protagonists we were just introduced to, meeting the wise guide who will set them on their Heroes’ Journey.  As others have pointed out, it’s a perfect contrast to the Han in A New Hope.  Also notable is that he says “Dark Side” instead of “Sith.”  I’ve maintained that I believe the word choice is particular so as not to confuse audiences of this film.  Kylo is not Sith.  However, I don’t at all interpret Han’s statement to mean that there will not be Sith going forward.  I think that’s overbroad.  And ultimately, only uber geeks (like us) care whether they’re called Sith or Jedi.  It’s still light vs. dark.

With the very general framework laid out, the trailer goes into eye-candy mode:

This was my favorite scene in the whole trailer by far.  My eyes bugged out.  I plastered my face to the screen.  The Seven…THE SEVEN!  The one on the far right looks to be holding a blaster.  The one on the far left seems to have a blaster shouldered.  The one over Kylo’s right shoulder has something that could either be something out of Final Fantasy VII or  a massive canon.  It’s not surprising to me that Kylo is the only one with a lightsaber, and one that’s fairly rudimentary at that.  I don’t think that necessarily means these aren’t Force sensitive.  There just isn’t anyone around to teach them how to make one.  Or maybe they’re just trained killers who aren’t Force sensitive.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I need each and every one of these gangsters in my shelf in 6″ form.

Many loved this scene for the comradery between Finn and Poe.  But what struck me here was the look on Finn’s face.  It’s not one of determination or focus.  In contrast to the chaos around him where various Resistance soldiers are running around like crazy, he looks strangely unemotional…lost.  I’m dying to know what’s happening in this scene.  Why is Finn so…blank?

This scene has been analyzed to death so I won’t go into it too much.  Yes you see Boba Fett’s crest in the flags.  Yes the doorway looks to be the same one we see in ruins behind Captain Phasma.  I don’t know what’s happening here but it struck me that possibly those flags could be trophies or warnings.  Do they represent everyone who has tried to come to this place with hostile intentions?

Where’s Luke??? Uh…right there.  At first I hated the mystery.  Now that it’s driving everyone crazy I love it.  Genius all around.  They payoff will be fantastic.

The initial response on social media here was “another trench run???”  My question is – Is it a trench run or Starkiller Base opening up to reveal the superweapon we see in the official poster?  There had better not be a small exhaust port there.

Interesting how angry Daisy is here.  There’s more than just determination.  She’s legitimately angry…hateful…you all know where that leads.

Many seemed to interpret this scene as being reunited after a long time.  I can see that and that may be the case.  But regardless I think the anguish we’re seeing in Leia’s face is more than just regret.  That’s a reaction to something that just happened in the film.  It’s not just about the past.

My wife…who doesn’t care much for Star Wars…had the perfect reaction to this scene: “Whoa.”

That’s my take on the trailer.  I enjoyed it but I didn’t love it.  I think I liked breaking it down more than actually experiencing it.  I was surprised at how emotional the tone was as opposed to focusing on the action.  But I appreciate why they did it and what it tells us about the film.  I think it says very positive things about The Force Awakens.

Hope you enjoyed!  Again, if you haven’t yet purchased your tickets to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, please join us in our effort to support A Force for Change.  Buy your tickets through our link and all proceeds will be donated to Unicef.

Written By
More from Ron

Entertainment Weekly teases glimpses of the Dark Side in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Concluding Entertainment Weekly‘s fantastic coverage of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Anthony...
Read More