Sunday, 26 April 2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer breakdown

Many of you have no doubt watched the latest trailer for J.J. Abrams' (Star Trek Into Darkness) Star Wars: The Force Awakens more times than you would care to admit, but there are still more details that only a screen grab analysis will bring out. So, here is a complete breakdown of everything in the teaser and what it means. Though we should warn you, there are spoilers ahead.

We open on an arid desert landscape, a lone speeder hurtles across the sand in the distance, leaving a dust trail in its wake. The planet is not, as many had speculated, Tatooine but rather an all new planet called Jakku. The speeder is the one ridden by Rey (Daisy Ridley), seen up close in the first teaser.

As Rey continues we see the carcass a downed X-Wing in the foreground but further back is revealed the wreckage of an Imperial Star Destroyer. These are the remnants of the Battle of Jakku, one of the final skirmishes between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. It takes place between Episodes VI and VII, shortly after the Battle of Endor.

Luke Skywalker's voice begins. "The Force is strong in my family..." Note that this isn't dialogue lifted from Star Wars: Episode VI - Return Of The Jedi (1983), but rather old Luke repeating the words he once said to Leia, presumably to someone strong in The Force. Whether that's to Finn (John Boyega) or Rey remains to be seen. Recent online speculation has suggested that Luke is in fact talking to his son, potentially Domhnall Gleeson's (About Time) general. "My father has it..." We see Darth Vader's burned and battered helmet held, we can assume, by Kylo Ren. This certainly fits with the leaked concept art which showed Ren holding Vader's mask.

"I have it..." The hooded figure in this shot, we can conclude, is indeed Luke. He places an affectionate hand (his robotic one) on the chrome dome of R2-D2. Good to know Luke hasn't abandoned the little Astromech after all these years.

"My sister has it..." A lighsaber is passed from hand to hand. The eagle-eyed amongst you will recognise this one as Anakin's lightsaber, the one inherited by Luke and ultimately lost on Bespin... along with his hand. The person handing the hilt is thought to be Lupita Nyong'o's (12 Years A Slave) character, known as Rose. The hand receiving it is clearly Leia's, which makes sense given what Luke is saying. "You have that power too." A clear indication that someone is strong with The Force and on the path to potentially resurrect the Jedi order.

X-Wings flying over the water. Specifically Incom T-70 X-Wings. According to concept art found elsewhere at this years Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, this is the signature combat craft of the Resistance forces. It would appear that The Rebellion is long over and has been replaced at this point in the Star Wars timeline by a new insurgent group known as The Resistance.

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) whoops with excitement in the cockpit. According to Isaac, "He's the best frickin' pilot in the galaxy. He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess and he ends up coming across Mr. John Boyega's character and their fates are forever intertwined."

Kylo Ren (potentially Adam Driver) swinging his now infamous broadsaber, characterised by its beam crossguard.

Rey, Finn and BB-8 running from an explosion. If you look carefully at the sky you can see the source of said explosion – an attacking TIE Fighter.

Kylo Ren, up close and personal. It looks like he is using a Force push in this sequence. This is also the first clear look we've had at Ren's mask. His costume comprises Sith-like black robes, black leather gloves, a thick metal belt and the rather sinister face mask/respirator. Behind him you can see a village burning as well as the new look stormtroopers. Not the same as standard Imperial stormtroopers because...

This isn't The Empire. In The Force Awakens The Empire has been replaced by The First Order. We know little beyond the name but you can see the First Order troops here in formation and behind them the First Order banner, which is a spiky rendition but one clearly derived from the Imperial sigil (itself derived from that of the Galactic Republic). Who is that standing on the balcony and watching over them? Andy Serkis? Domhnall Gleeson's general? Both? You can also see the rather cool white and black side panels of the First Order TIE fighters on the left.

A close-up of Rey. She is a scavenger who lives in a ship graveyard on Jakku. According to Ridley, she meets Finn and then her adventure begins.

Those inverted palette TIE fighters again...

And here one causing havoc inside a hangar bay. It's perhaps not too great a stretch to think that someone (Finn? Poe?) has likely hijacked it.

Boyega in stormtrooper attire takes off his helmet. Look closely at the frames before he removes it and you can see bloody finger marks on the armour's headpiece. According to Boyega, who confirmed that Finn is a stormtrooper, at least for part of the film, when we meet Finn "he's in incredible danger. The way he decides to react to it launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way."

A First Order Star Destroyer, in considerably better shape than the Imperial one at the beginning of the trailer. Troop transports fly towards it along with a shuttle that may well be Kylo Ren's.

In glorious chrome armour and black and red cape we see Captain Phasma (thought to be played by Game Of Thrones' Gwendoline Christie).

New droid on the block, BB-8. The most interesting aspect of BB-8 is that, rather than being a computer generated character, the droid is actually a practical effect. Rolling out onto the stage during the Episode VII presentation, BB-8 is in fact fully articulated, his gyroscopic design put into practice by animatronics expert Neal Scanlan. Recognise those wall panels? Yes, it would appear that our ball like friend is on board the Millennium Falcon.

Rey offers Finn a hand and helps him to his feet. This presumably follows the aftermath of the earlier TIE fighter attack.

TIE fighters pursue the Falcon over the dunes of Jakku before the chase leads them through the thruster port...

...and inside the superstructure of a Star Destroyer. Now, it could just be that it's a wreck but the protruding thrusters of this make it look more like a Super Star Destroyer in the same vein as Darth Vader's flagship, The Executor, which impaled itself in the second Death Star.

The stormtroopers have been updated and so have the TIE Fighter pilots. Here we see inside a TIE fighter cockpit and get a glimpse of a First Order pilot.

Finally, the money shot. Han Solo and Chewbacca, reunited on screen for the first time in 32 years. The walking carpet has hardly aged a day. "Chewie," says Han. "We're home." And what better way to end a teaser than that?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives on 18 December.

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