The Force Awakens: 5 Takeaways From the New Star Wars Trailer

4 minute read

I just got back from paying $15 to see the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer in a theater then ducking out well before the third Hunger Games started. And ho boy, this ain’t your dad’s Star Wars.

Here are five things that stuck out at me about The Force Awakens trailer, which you can watch at home for free above.

1. The very first person we see is black

The original Star Wars trilogy only had one black character of any significance: Lando Calrissian. And while some may see Lando as a positive role model in the realm of science fiction/fantasy, let’s face it: In the first film in which he appears — Empire Strikes Back — audiences were left seeing him as a traitor who sold out his old buddy Han to Darth Vader/Boba Fett/Jabba the Hutt. Only in the next film do we see Lando as a hero who helps destroy the second Death Star. The next major black character didn’t show up until Sam Jackson was cast as Jedi Knight Mace Windu for The Phantom Menance — a character who I should note was intended to be in the original trilogy but got scrapped along the way.

This might seem like a minor point, but Star Wars movies have traditionally opened with a shot of a passing ship, while the first characters we see are often droids. Starting this trailer with a black actor on what’s clearly Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine is a big statement in the Star Wars movie universe.

2. Those X-Wings look awesome

That squad of seemingly souped-up X-Wings we see skimming the water’s surface at high-speed? I don’t have anything of eloquence to say about them other than yeah, those look really cool. Expect director J.J. Abrams to bring to Star Wars space battles what he brought to those in Star Trek: Bigger and way more intense.

3. That 3-bladed red lightsaber

We see some shadowy, very evil Sith-looking figure in a dark forest — who then switches on his very evil Sith-looking red lightsaber, only for it to have two shorter energy beams pouring out the hilt, a design we’ve never seen before. My first thought was maybe this very evil Sith is using some supercharged, possibly unstable crystal to power his lightsaber — a very evil Sith thing to do.

But then I realized the tiny blades sticking out the sides make the new lightsaber look more like a longsword. Those pack a handguard just on top of the hilt, convenient for avoiding getting your fighting hand chopped off — a fate that’s befallen far too many Jedi and Sith before somebody finally figured out how to stop it.

4. The Millennium Falcon returns

The last sequence we see is Han Solo’s Millennium Falcon zipping along the desert of what again is presumably Tatooine and getting shot at by TIE fighters. The audience in my theater burst into cheers at the sight of it — proving that hey, maybe she is much to look at after all. Can the Falcon do the Kessel Run in less than eleven parsecs now? Who knows!

5. The voiceover.

The voiceover — is that Max von Sydow? — gives us just a little more insight into the movie’s plot. It sounds like the film’s title is very literal: There’s been an awakening in the Force, both on the light side and the dark side — so it’s a safe bet we’re going to see some very good Jedi-on-Sith action come next December.

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