1:14pm PT by Graeme McMillan
Luke Skywalker M.I.A. and Other Big Trailer Clues in New 'Force Awakens' Poster
Sunday's release of the poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens offered the most obvious hints about what to expect from J.J. Abrams's revival of the space opera series ahead of the release of this evening's first full trailer, raising all-new questions to accompany the ones fans already had from earlier glimpses into a galaxy far, far away.
As we count down the hours until the release of the trailer Monday night, here are some poster-related questions the trailer will hopefully address, if not answer completely.
Where Is Luke Skywalker?
We know that Mark Hamill is in The Force Awakens, but he's surprisingly missing from the poster on first viewing, despite the presence of every other major player that we've seen to date — and even the presence of a new, previously unseen, character, beside C3-PO and R2-D2. Does his absence on the poster have greater meaning for the movie itself — perhaps suggesting that Luke himself is missing for some reason? (20th Century Fox, former Star Wars distributor, has noticed Luke's absence as well…)
Is that a Death Star?
There's something interesting on the right of the poster, behind John Boyega's Finn: it looks similar to a Death Star, albeit one unlike any the audience has seen before — in fact, it looks like a planet that has had a section removed to insert some kind of gigantic cannon. Is the First Order trying to make Death Star technology work one more time, under the "third time lucky" school of thought? This, at least, is something that the trailer stands a chance of answering one way or another. After all, if there is a new Death Star, surely that's a big enough threat to publicize ahead of time?
Who is Rey?
She's front and center in the poster, and has been in the same position for the majority of promotion for the movie to date, but almost nothing is known about Daisy Ridley's character.(Although much is rumored — that she's the offspring of Han Solo and Princess Leia, for one thing.) While it's unlikely that her parentage is going to be revealed in the trailer, perhaps audiences will finally get the chance to learn a little bit more about the mysterious woman at the heart of the new trilogy beyond "She hangs out in the desert and runs a lot."
Who are the bad guys?
Initial teasers for the new movie have revealed an army that looks very like the Empire of old, named "The First Order" — but what is the First Order? Is it the Empire, rebuilt, or something new that has co-opted the iconography (and vehicles, and uniforms) of the old guard? The prologue novel Aftermath suggested that the Empire refused to relinquish control of the galaxy after the events of Return of the Jedi — is the First Order what it became instead? And if so, is Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) part of the organization, or simply someone that has similar aims and isn't averse to working together?
Will someone have a bad feeling about this?
Almost everything audiences have seen from the new movie has been specifically targeted at the nostalgia pleasure centers of an audience already closely familiar with at least the original trilogy of movies. Bearing this in mind, what is the likelihood of the new trailer containing at least one line of dialogue referencing or directly quoting a beloved line from the first three movies? "I have a bad feeling about this" would be the most obvious choice, but we can only hope that someone manages to say, "That's a name I haven't heard in a long time ... a long time," at some point during the trailer, ideally after the title card has come up. Too obvious, perhaps ... ?