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Where to start with the new teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens?
With the ending, of course — Harrison Ford‘s “Chewie, we’re home” is exactly the right way to end a teaser premiering at a convention of faithful fans who’ve stuck with the franchise through thick and thin. It also summed up the appeal of the second teaser, which was all about reminding fans that this really is the Star Wars they’ve been envisioning for the last three decades.
Whereas the first Force Awakens teaser focused entirely on the new characters from the movie — to the point where none of the original cast even appeared — this second one was entirely about nostalgia; not only do we get Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) narrating (and talking about his family, for that matter: “The Force is strong in my family,” he says, before making a very curious choice in tense when talking about Darth Vader: “My father has it.” Shouldn’t that be had? Is Darth Vader alive?) and Han Solo (and Chewie!), but visually, there are countless echoes of the original trilogy.
Some are obvious. For example, the shot of the TIE Fighter pilot firing on the Millennium Falcon is almost a direct lift from the original Star Wars, as is the shot of Oscar Isaac inside the X-Wing. Some are some more oblique, like the crashed Star Destroyer, which is visually stunning and raises many questions — foremost among them: What, exactly, caused it to crash?. Even the reveal of the new villain is reminiscent of what we’ve seen in previous movies: he’s masked, with a cloak and a red lightsaber, just like Vader. And don’t even get me started on the glimpses of architecture that resembles both the Death Star (at 1:20) and the Millennium Falcon (at 1:21)…!
For a fan of the original trilogy — less so of what followed, I confess — it’s all genuinely thrilling, especially when set to John Williams‘ score. It feels like Star Wars in a way that nothing since Return of the Jedi has — even the prequels — and in such a way that bypasses all the cynicism and attempts to reduce the optimism and excitement that we can conjure up. Magically and amazingly, it makes you feel like you did when you first saw Star Wars.
Whether or not the finished movie can live up to the promise of the two trailers to date remains to be seen, but that almost doesn’t matter at this point; the fact that a line as simple as “Chewie, we’re home” can have such emotional impact after less than two minutes of footage (and, as social media has demonstrated, I’m nowhere near alone in that response) is a sign that something, somewhere, has gone right in a way that no-one really believed it would, or could, happen. For that alone, Star Wars: The Force Awakens already feels like a success.
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