Saturday, 6 December 2014

"There has been an awakening. Have you felt it? The dark side, and the light..."

It's finally here. Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm have just released their first trailer for J. J. Abrams' (Star Trek Into Darkness) Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

This certainly looks like being the real deal, a return to the core values (practical effects) and, perhaps more importantly, the feeling of classic Star Wars.

It's also more notable for what it doesn't show as much as it shows. So, contrary to initial rumours, we don't get a glimpse of the franchise returning veterans. There's no Mark Hamill as a Luke Skywalker, no Harrison Ford as Han Solo, no Carrie Fisher as Leia Organa, no Chewie, no Threepio and no Artoo.

What we do get, though, is our first glimpse at the new blood that will drive the film – John Boyega (Attack The Block), the hero of the film, intriguingly wearing an Imperial Stormtrooper's outfit. Some rumours had suggested that Boyega's character would be a guy with a troubled past trying to find the right path. This definitely tallies with that.

Then we have Daisy Ridley (Silent Witness) as the film's heroine (believed to be called Kira), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) as an X-Wing pilot lining up in formation with a squadron of fellow pilots, and... the new Sith threat. The dark voiceover that begins the trailer – "There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?" – not only tees up the title, but seems to come from a villain who'll be making life difficult for our heroes.

That villain may well be the Sith Lord seen near the end of the teaser, wielding an impressive red lightsaber that's more ragged and, literally, laser sword-like than previous models.

And then, in lieu of faces of old friends, we get an astonishing shot that heralds the return of arguably the coolest spaceship in movie history – the Millennium Falcon, swooping and gliding across the sand dunes of Tattooine as it seeks to avoid any Imperial entanglements. With the one-two punch of that, followed quickly by John Williams' Star Wars theme, the trailer ends on a triumphant note that had this particular blogger bursting into applause.

It's a great teaser – certainly enough to reassure us that J. J. Abrams and the Walt Disney Pictures and Lucasfilm team are heading in the right direction, while still holding plenty back. There's still no notion of the overall story, and dozens of characters and locations are yet to be introduced.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is set to arrive on 18 December next year.

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