Have you felt it …?
After six months of waiting, Star Wars fans will finally get a new glimpse into The Force Awakens when the first full trailer hits Monday on ESPN during Monday Night Football.
Look for it at halftime during the game between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, which starts at 8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT. A Spanish-language trailer will be shown at the same time on ESPN Deportes. After the trailer hits, advance tickets will go on sale for the Dec. 18 movie.
Along with the announcement, Lucasfilm released the film’s one-sheet poster Sunday, which will replace the simple title logo currently hanging in most movie theater lobbies.
The new poster offers us something both new and ominous — the background of what looks to be an entire planet or moon, but … that’s no moon. It’s split in two and appears to be a massive weapon along the lines of the Death Star. Could this be The First Order’s Starkiller base?
There’s another newcomer who figures prominently enough in the story to earn a spot on the poster, albeit a small one: the tiny, alien creature in goggles between BB-8 and R2-D2. There was no explanation given by Lucasfilm about this being’s identity, but smart money says that is Lupita Nyong’o’s space pirate Maz Kanata.
We also see Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia for the first time apart from making-of footage, peeking out from behind Harrison Ford’s Han Solo. The sidebun hairstyle is long gone, but she’s sporting a galactic updo and a worried expression.
The one who’s missing: Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker. We know he’s in the movie, so his absence from the poster is significant. The characters we see may also be hoping they can lay eyes again on the Tatooine farmboy-turned-last-surviving-Jedi.
A couple of dark-siders are also not shown on the poster: The First Order’s General Hux (played by Domhnall Gleeson) and the performance capture character of Supreme Leader Snoke, played by Andy Serkis, who narrated the original teaser: “There has been an awakening …”
It was nearly a year ago when director J.J. Abrams first offered a look into this new return to the galaxy with an 88-second teaser released the day after Thanksgiving, showing a frightened storm trooper, a desert scavenger, a rolling droid, and a brash X-wing pilot. On the dark side, we saw a shrouded figure ignite a sparking red lightsaber with a laser crossguard on the hilt.
Two weeks later, Lucasfilm revealed the names of those characters exclusively to Entertainment Weekly by way of some retro-imagery: mocked up Topps trading cards depicting scenes and descriptions from the teaser. But who were John Boyega’s Finn, Daisy Ridley’s Rey, this bouncing ball-droid BB-8 and Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron? And what dark quest was Adam Driver’s Kylo Ren pursuing?
We didn’t see any of the vintage characters until later. April’s Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim brought the reveal of the second teaser, which showed a battle-scarred galaxy: the desert world Jakku littered with fallen starships, a village in flames, and finally our old pals Han Solo and Chewbacca in the hallways of the Millennium Falcon as Harrison Ford’s character flashes a familiar smirk and says: “Chewie, we’re home.”
Fisher’s Princess Leia made an appearance in that teaser, too, although we didn’t know that for sure until she turned up in a three-minute behind-the-scenes video Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy brought to San Diego Comic-Con in July. She’s the one receiving the lightsaber that once belonged to her brother, Luke Skywalker, and to their father, Anakin Skywalker, before that.
At Comic-Con, we also met Gwendoline Christie’s chrome-plated stormtrooper Captain Phasma and Gleeson’s General Hux, members of the Imperial remnant known as The First Order. The plot remained shrouded in mystery, but all of the players were coming into focus. Even Ford, who had been injured months earlier in a plane crash, turned up for the first time publicly for an emotional appearance before the Star Wars faithful.
A month later, Entertainment Weekly offered a series of new reveals about the film, including the question about Luke Skywalker that hooked Abrams into directing and a look at Ford’s first day back as the galactic smuggler. We also learned names say a lot — even when they deliberately don’t say much. Kylo Ren, in particular, turns out to have begun life with a different identity.
Later in August, legendary poster artist Drew Struzan offered his contribution to The Force Awakens with a poster showing Han Solo, Rey, Kylo Ren and a lightsaber-wielding Finn. (Although this new poster clearly pays homage to Struzan’s composition style, it doesn’t appear to be his handiwork.)
The full story of this new Star Wars venture won’t be known until the film’s release on December, but come Monday we’ll finally see a little deeper into this place we know from long ago and far away.
It’s getting closer.
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