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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Force in Focus: The Force Awakens Teaser #2


I honestly hadn't intended to interrupt the comic book reviews at least until we'd finished the adaptation of the film with issue #6, but then a new Force Awakens trailer was released at Celebration Anaheim last week, and while I wasn't going to push back the launch of the comic book reviews another week, talking about that trailer sure seems to fit the purview of this blog series. So here are.

Here, then, are five things that stood out to me in the second teaser trailer. Mild spoilers, but I don't know much more than what's been shown in the trailers.

Star Destroyer Down


The trailer opens with a long shot of a desert landscape, the camera panning right as a vehicle races over the land, and gradually we see that the mountain in the distance isn't a mountain - it's a crashed Star Destroyer. I actually said "holy crap" out loud the first time I watched the teaser; it's an absolutely gorgeous shot, one of the best from the entire saga.

Crispy Dented Vader


As Mark Hamill's voiceover talks about how the Force runs strong in his family, we see Darth Vader's mask, crumpled, burnt and ashen following his funeral pyre in Return of the Jedi. Does this mean a return trip to the oft-maligned Endor? Is it simply a nod to the past, or an indication that Vader will play as big a role in this series as he did the previous two trilogies?

(Incidentally, much has already been made of Luke's dialogue in this scene, as he says in regards to the Force running in his family, "my father has it", with the present tense "has" and not "had". Now, in the original dialogue from Return of the Jedi, he (rightly) uses the present tense, but after the end of the film, "had" would be more accurate. Apparently, the voiceover in the trailer is from Jedi, but Abrams also had Hamill re-record it, which is overlaid as an echo in the trailer. So does that mean Vader lives on, somehow, in the new film, or is this all just an elaborate tease?)

Leia's Lightsaber


In the same series of images that begins with Vader's charred mask, we also see an alien of some kind handing over a lightsaber to a pair of hands that look suspiciously like (and which the internet has crowned) Leia's hands. The Expanded Universe got a lot of mileage out of the idea of Leia as a Jedi (to varying degrees of ability) already, but Leia wielding a lightsaber is such a great, obvious idea, from the moment it was revealed she was "the other" Yoda spoke of in Empire Strikes Back, that hopefully Abrams and company are going down that road themselves to some degree.

Furthermore, the lightsaber in question looks an awful lot like Luke's original lightsaber (which was, of course, Anakin's lightsaber, given to Luke by Obi-Wan in Star Wars), which was lost during his battle with Vader during Empire (you know, when Vader chopped off the hand holding it). In the Expanded Universe, that lightsaber was eventually retrieved and ended up in the hands of Luke's future wife, Mara Jade. It'll be interesting to learn, if this is indeed Luke/Anakin's old lightsaber, just how it was found, and why Leia (if that is indeed Leia) is receiving it.

Red Cloaked Stormtrooper


It's unclear if this is a new character, a new class of Stormtrooper or something else entirely. But red-lined cape? Dark armor? Badass swagger to camera? Color me intrigued! 

Han and Chewie, back in the saddle!


As Star Wars fans go, I'm not a big Han guy. Growing up a nerd, it was the whiny, naive-turned-coolly-calm Luke who appealed to me, because he was more like me than the snarky, sarcastic Han (and also because Force powers + lightsaber > anything Han does). This is also why the whole "Han shot first!" outrage never really got me all riled up/ Basically, it's the Cyclops vs. Wolverine argument, and as in all things, I am a Cyclops guy (also, a lightsaber guy).

All of that said, I'll be damned if the closing shots of the teaser, featuring Han and Chewbacca, seemingly aboard the Millennium Falcon, poised in a recreation of that famous still shot from the first movie, didn't bring a tear to my eye as Han announced that they were home, followed by Chewie's affirmative growl.

You guys, I'm really excited for this movie.

7 comments:

  1. it's the Cyclops vs. Wolverine argument, and as in all things, I am a Cyclops guy

    Way to slag people when their guy is sealed into ca... adamantium.

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  2. So does that mean Vader lives on, somehow, in the new film, or is this all just an elaborate tease?

    As we've seen from previous films, A Jedi's connection to The Force does, somehow, give them an ability to transcend death. Obi-Wan continued to give Luke guidance from beyond the grave. At the end of Return Of The Jedi, the spirits of Obi-Wan, Yoda, and Anakin were all present and accounted for. Who's to say that the spirit of Anakin won't make an appearance or two in the new films. That wouldn't seem too far fetched.

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  3. Hooper: Always some white boy gotta invoke the holy trilogy. Bust this! Those movies are about how the white man keeps the brother-man down--even in a galaxy far far away. Check this shit. You got cracker farmboy Luke Skywalker, Nazi poster boy blond hair blue eyes. Then you got Darth Vader, blackest brother in the galaxy. Nubian god!
    Banky (Jason Lee): (standing up) What's a nubian?
    Hooper: Shut the fuck up! (Banky sits down) Now. Vader, he's a spiritual brother, down with the force and all that good shit. Then this cracker Skywalker gets his hands on a lightsaber, and the boy decides HE'S gonna run the whole fucking universe! Gets a whole KLAN of whites together and they go bust up Vader's hood, the Death Star! Now what the fuck do you call that?
    Banky: Intergalatic civil war?
    Hooper: Gentrification!! They gonna drive out the black element to make the galaxy quote-unquote safe for white folks! In "Jedi," the most insulting installment when Vader's beautiful black visage is SULLIED when he pulls off his mask to reveal a feeble, crusty old white man! They trying to tell us that deep inside, we all wants to be WHITE!!!
    Banky: Well, isn't that true?
    Hooper: (shooting into the air): Black rage!!! Black rage!!! I kill all white folks I lay my motherfuckin' eyes on!

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  4. Everything you said about Han.

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  5. @Cerebro: Who's to say that the spirit of Anakin won't make an appearance or two in the new films. That wouldn't seem too far fetched.

    I wouldn't be opposed to that idea, though an Anakin Force Ghost would mean Hayden Christensen would need to come back, and that might cause some in the audience to revolt. Disney hasn't exactly ghettoized the Prequels since acquiring the property, but they also haven't exactly embraced them, either, and I'd be really surprised if they dropped such a blatant callback to them into the first of their big new Star Wars movies, especially since so much of the marketing so far seems geared at assuring older fans who felt burned by the Prequels that it's going to be okay to check out these new movies.

    But yeah, structurally/narratively, having Ghost Anakin pop up could definitely work.

    @Blam: Everything you said about Han.

    Yay! Someone agrees with me! Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one with that perspective towards Han.

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  6. // Yay! Someone agrees with me! //

    I don’t mean to dampen your enthusiasm, nor am I backpedaling on my agreement, but I want to point out that “everything you said” means “everything you said”: Despite not really liking Han until Empire — largely because I was identifying with Luke, and Han belittled Luke, Obi-Wan, and the whole concept of the Force — I got indescribable goosebumps from that final shot. I think using Han and Chewie was a canny move both because it saves the reveal of Mark Hammill in character as Luke for the film, or at least for a later big-deal trailer, and because Harrison Ford was far more dismissive over the years about his role in Star Wars than Hammill, so that while for me at least Luke needs to be in this movie I suspect that Ford as Han again is what more people want.

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  7. @Blam: I think using Han and Chewie was a canny move both because it saves the reveal of Mark Hammill in character as Luke for the film, or at least for a later big-deal trailer, and because Harrison Ford was far more dismissive over the years about his role in Star Wars than Hammill, so that while for me at least Luke needs to be in this movie I suspect that Ford as Han again is what more people want.

    Definitely agree. Ford is definitely the bigger get, in terms of his overall disinterest in the franchise and the desire of fandom in general to see Han again, so it makes sense to trout him out there sooner rather than later.

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