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'Star Wars' trailer: 7 things we just learned

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MILLENNIUM FALCON

You’ve seen it (below). You have thoughts. So do we. Here are 7 things we just learned from the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, which blew up Black Friday with voom-voom pew-pew-pew glory.

1. There is a triple-bladed lightsaber. Remember when our minds were blown by Darth Maul having a two-sided lightsaber in The Phantom Menace trailer? Not to be outdone, here comes J.J. Abrams with a triple-sided version. Note the light itself is more sparky and flame-like than the usual solid-looking shafts. Also, functionality-wise, the prongs presumably act as added protection. Finally somebody must have said, “Hey, maybe we should make a lightsaber that guards our wrists because our hands keep getting chopped off.” This also give it a medieval Game of Thrones-ian broad-sword look.

2. There’s no outer space in the teaser trailer: Desert, lakes, forests, more desert. The entire trailer is terrestrial-based footage, which is a little weird for a movie called Star Wars. We’re not complaining; we assume there is plenty in the film itself, but it  seemed worth pointing out.

3. Episode: VII is embracing atmosphere: Millennium Falcon contrails! X-Wing misty lake exhaust! Like the USS Enterprise rising from an ocean in Star Trek: Into Darkness, Abrams is using spaceships in atmosphere to add more realistic effects and edge away from the pristine, plastic look of the prequels. Is that a grateful tear in our eye or a lens flare?

4. The Falcon has some upgrades. That old-school circular radar dish? Now rectangular. Its blue-flame thruster? Now there’s some kind of grid of emission ports there. It remains to be seen if this means the ship acts/behaves differently with some kind of mechanical O.S. upgrade or is simply a cosmetic overhaul. Looks cool either way.

5. The title has some clarity: “Was The Force napping?” snarked fans when the Episode VII title was announced. Based on the trailer’s narration, yes, The Force was indeed napping, and now the new film seems to involve Force power awakening on both sides. Speaking of the title: Should we quit saying “Episode VII“? Once again, Disney isn’t using it.

6. The original actors are nowhere to be seen: Our biggest concern about the new film is still shrouded in mystery: Can Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fisher convincingly slip back into their iconic roles 30 years later? It makes for an unusual teaser in that the three most familiar faces remain off-screen. Naturally Disney will want to unveil key elements slowly, so their absence is not really a surprise. The Star Wars tone—another point of earlier concern—feels right(ish).

7. The teaser prompts more questions than answers: What is the soccer ball droid up to? Can it do anything other than roll charmingly? What are the scary stormtroopers preparing to do in that shuttle? Is that Adam Driver’s new villain in the snow? Who is he preparing to fight? Is Driver narrating this trailer and doing an effective Smaug impression? Is the lake-planet the same planet as the snow planet? Is John Boyega a good stormtrooper, a bad stormtrooper or a pretend stormtrooper? Why is he so freaked out and sweaty? Was he one of the troopers in the shuttle? Are we supposed to think his Force powers are awakening? Is Han Solo piloting the Falcon in that terrific looping roller-coaster shot and, if so, can we see him please? Where is Daisy Ridley — the presumed Princess Leia offspring — going on that awkward-looking landspeeder? Do the desert shots mean we’re back on Tatooine? It’s a rather big galaxy, couldn’t there be another desert planet? Why does nearly every planet we’ve seen in the Star Wars universe tend to exclusively have one type of terrain anyway?

Final thoughts: Abrams loves mystery, and one thing that’s really effective about this trailer is that it raises so many questions. You don’t leave this teaser knowing anything about the story, or if the new movie is actually any good. You only know that the new film has some really cool stuff and that, as a director, Abrams brings a sense of urgency and storytelling immediacy to his shots that the prequels sometimes lacked. The teaser isn’t as stingy with content as some feared, yet leaves you wanting so much more. Put another way: It gives fans a new hope, just not much else.

For more, check the 7 things I wanted to see from the trailer — and that I still hope to see in the film. And definitely check out Darren Franich’s trailer deep dive.

Here again is the trailer:

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