It’s been more than two years since it was announced that Disney had purchased Lucasfilm and the Star Wars universe, and since then it’s been a maddening wait for the first footage from the studio’s new planned trilogy to hit the Net. Thankfully, not even a holiday weekend could stand in the way of Disney finally releasing the first trailer for director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And here, nostalgia collides with a new generation.
Of course, with the movie’s release date still more than a year away, the trailer is short on actual footage, but big on hype. It begins with an ominous voiceover by someone who sounds absolutely villainous talking about an awakening (Hey, just like the title!). As this is going on, we get to see glimpses of the new leads in the film on what looks to be Tatooine. First we see John Boyega in stormtrooper garb and then Daisey Ridley riding around on something that looks like a ramped-up speeder bike from Return of the Jedi.
Not much is known about these characters, but it makes sense for Boyega to be a stormtrooper. After all, at the end of Jedi, the second Death Star was destroyed, but that doesn’t mean the Empire was fully defeated. Boyega is likely part of a rag-tag stormtrooper fleet that is doing its best to impose the imperial will of the defeated Empire. However, it’s possible that Boyega’s character soon moves towards the light and leaves his imperial roots behind.
Daisy Ridley’s character has been rumored to be a scavenger of sorts on Tatooine, and she definitely has that look here. Not much is seen of her, but from what we can tell, she’s not going to begin this trilogy in a glamorous place. Think Luke’s humble beginnings in A New Hope.
The most intriguing new aspect of the trailer happens about midway through, about 50 seconds in, when we see a cloaked figure (likely a Sith) ignite a new red lightsaber design. It’s not as iconic as Mauls’ double-edged saber, and we’re not sure who will actually be scared by those tiny laser prongs, but it’s a Star Wars tradition to give the baddies some fancy new weaponry. There are toys to be sold, after all. Obviously we can’t tell who’s behind the hood, whether it’s Adam Driver or another actor, but whoever it is might be bringing the Sith back in a big way.
But that’s all the new stuff. What’s going to get fans really talking are all of the old favorites sprinkled throughout. There are short glimpses of the new stormtroopers deploying from a ship, a trio of X-Wings (with Oscar Isaac piloting in one of them) flying along what looks to be a lake, and, of course, the beautiful sight of the Millennium Falcon locked in a mid-air battle with some Tie-Fighters over the sand dunes of Tatooine. It’s ironic that on the day after Thanksgiving that J.J. Abrams is reheating some of our favorite leftovers, but after the calamity that was the Prequel Trilogy, it’s probably for the best that these movies cover some classic territory.
So what’s exactly going on here? The Empire is definitely still in play, perhaps grasping at any hope to get back in power. And that hope might lie in the reawakening of the Sith, which never turns out well. Unfortunately, we didn’t get any shots of Han, Luke, or Leia, so we don’t know where they are when the story starts. This teaser was more or less an announcement; it focused on some new, some old, and exists to reaffirm that the Star Wars you know and love is back.
We’ll find out if they stick the landing when Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18, 2015.
Jason Serafino is a contributing writer. He tweets here.