I saw The Phantom Menace for my eighth birthday. It wasn’t the first Star Wars film I saw, nor was it the first I saw in theaters (I have the vague recollection of seeing A New Hope when it was rereleased in Singapore). But it was a new Star Wars movie and I loved it unaware of its flaws.
A teaser for the new new Star Wars dropped yesterday and I am so freaking excited.
First off, it’s a new Star Wars, which, has had me pumped for quite some time. But seeing actual footage from The Force Awakens pushes me over the edge like no amount of leaked concept art ever will.
The teaser trailer is less than a minute and a half long and composed of only eleven shots which, combined with the large amounts of blank space isn’t that much. But it’s a terribly important eleven shots.
We don’t see Luke, Han, or Leia in the teaser, characters we’re anxious to see again. We don’t even see some of the somewhat more well-known actors, like Adam Driver or Gwendolyn Christie. Rather we see Oscar Isaac, John Boyega, and newcomer Daisy Ridley. Are these three the three new main characters? Rumors point to yes, with Daisy Ridley playing the movie’s protagonist. If it’s true, then, awesome, we’re getting a black main character in a Star Wars movie and a woman protagonist. Yay representation!
Then there’s the desert in the first shot. An actual, real, not-CGI desert in which we see John Boyega in actual, real, not-CGI Stormtrooper armor. That many of the eleven shots take place in practical locations is no coincidence: Abrams and crew are reminding us that they’re going back to how the Holy Trilogy was made; they’re using real locations and real props. This is a movie that’ll have great effects, not just great CGI. Like that new droid, which I want to say is a practical effect, but, honestly, I can’t be sure.
Much of the teaser brings the cool. The really cool, the moments of awe that Star Wars is known for. We’ve got X-Wings, done new and looking awesome, but X-Wings nonetheless, skimming over water. There are X-Wings skimming over water. It’s a beautiful, beautiful shot (spaceships in atmosphere make me very happy), but it’s also showing off what they can do now with modern technology. Something this beautiful wouldn’t have been doable before and The Force Awakens is bringing it in. That they’re X-Wings and that Oscar Issac is shot just like Luke or Wedge once again elicits memories of the older movies. It feels like Star Wars.
We also get a shot of who’s presumably the villain of the piece staggering through the snow and igniting a lightsaber that I like more than I probably should. I really like the medieval-esque image it conjures up and, with it, we know there’s gonna be a bad guy in this and that bad guy’s going to have a lightsaber. The teaser ends with the Star Wars fanfare and the Millennium Falcon flying over a desert and dodging TIE Fighters. There’s literally nothing I can add to that sentence to make it sound cooler. It’s Star Wars, man, and it’s back.
The teaser says little in the way of story (beyond the narration that the Force has awakened, light side and dark and all that), but rather tells us a lot about the new movie. We’re getting a diverse group of new characters, we’re getting practical effects, and we’re getting a movie that feels more like Star Wars than the prequels.
It’s easy to be cynical as an adult. The world isn’t what it cracked up to be, justice doesn’t always happen, good isn’t always as clear as you’d want it to be. But then a new Star Wars trailer rolls around and I feel like I’ve eight years ago and I can’t wait to return to a galaxy far far away.
Twelve months, nineteen days, and counting.