Sequel Saturday: The Trailer Awakens, by Mat Bradley-Tschirgi
The not insignificant marketing push has begun for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the seventh live-action episode in the cinematic Star Wars saga. Lucasfilm debuted the first trailer early in the morning on November 28, 2014 on iTunes. Fans were upset at the requirement of Apple’s QuickTime software to play the video, but a copy popped up on YouTube within seconds.
Bar none, this trailer is the best piece of Star Wars marketing we’ve seen since the creepy poster for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace with an ambling Anakin projecting an ominous Darth Vader shadow onto a Tatooine hut. Teasing separate elements without ruining anything, it whets the appetite. Director J.J. Abrams did a bang up job rebooting another sci-fi series with 2009’s Star Trek. Based on this trailer, I have high hopes he’ll bring the fun back into Star Wars after the melodramatic snooze that were the prequels.
We fade in on a desert planet as a grisly voice asks “There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?” A very vintage John Williams orchestra hit booms on the soundtrack. We see John Boyega playing a character wearing a stormtrooper outfit, his head exposed. A quick hit of black, then loud droid noises accompany the head of an R2 unit riding what looks like a soccer ball. Second hit of black. Flickering lights illuminate a cadre of stormtroopers and a ramp opening up on a spaceship. Third of black. Daisy Ridley shows up as a character dressed for the desert riding a bulky landspeeder. Fourth hit of black. What appears to be Oscar Isaac is piloting an X-Wing. There’s a cool wide shot of three X-Wings flying in formation over a lake during a misty morning. Fifth hit of black.
A hooded character wanders into frame in a snowy forest setting. He’s limping. The grisly voices continues, “The dark side…” The lightsaber ignites, revealing a red blade. A pause, then the hilt pops out two smaller red blades on the side. Sixth hit of black. The grisly voices ends his voiceover with, “And the light.” The familiar Star Wars opening crawl music theme blares as the Millenium Falcon zooms in. It pulls a loop de loop as we see a desert landscape below and two TIE Fighters attacking it with green laser blasts. Final cut of black that shifts to a starfield as the title Star Wars: The Force Awakens fades into view.
The best thing about this trailer is how it conveyed almost none of the plot. Quick flashes of vehicles and new characters. I was a bit surprised we didn’t see the classic trio of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford appear for a split second. They have to save something for the other trailers, I suppose.
December 2015 can’t come soon enough.