In only lasts a second-and-a-half, but there’s one ominous new image in a Star Wars: The Force Awakens international trailer that shows the full might of the villainous group known as The First Order.
Most of the trailer is made up of footage we’ve already seen in previous teasers, but it opens with a wide shot of a snowy, rocky landscape where thousands of stormtroopers and officers are grouped before a stage where a lone figure stands before them. We saw this scene in the second trailer, released in April, but it was from far back in the crowd.
Here we see it from the staging platform, and Gwendoline Christie’s chrome stormtrooper, Captain Phasma, is one of the leaders overlooking the assembly. Beside her appears to be Domhnall Gleason’s General Hux, although it’s difficult to tell from this angle. He could also be the one at center stage, although it seems more likely that this might be Andy Serkis in his performance-capture role of Supreme Leader Snoke.
TIE Fighters with white wings are arrayed around the landing platform, and to the right of the image are what look like stockier, more beetle-like versions of the AT-ATs we saw in The Empire Strikes Back. There also appear to be flat troop convoys to the left and some even larger machinery hulking in the distance.
Director and co-writer J.J. Abrams has told EW he doesn’t want to explain yet just why the Imperial army is now operating under the moniker of The First Order, nor does he wish to say why the Rebel Alliance is now fighting under the title of the Resistance. But a smart bet is that the war we thought was over at the end of Return of the Jedi merely continued on as both sides regrouped over the decades, with the Imperials clearly not hurting for resources or followers.
The name “The First Order” has always conjured another historically disturbing group: The Third Reich. In this case, the red banners emblazoned with the thornier, sprocket-like version of the Imperial crest, as well as the arrangement of the troops at this rally, easily call to mind documentarian Leni Reifenstahl’s notorious 1935 Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will, which terrified the world with its depiction of the cult-like dedication to Hitler and his war machine.
There are few more chilling film references to drop.