Star Wars: The Force Awakens international trailer: A deep dive into the new footage
The international trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens presents a lot of new images, many of them gorgeous compositions that herald the work of cinematographer Daniel Mindel (Star Trek). It's light on plot, but lets us know that Rey is waiting on Jakku for some word from her family (and she's been waiting a very long time.) It also opens with this shot of a Star Destroyer's massive, wrecked exhaust port and a tiny figure clapping and then shaking its hands in what looks like gratitude. That's Rey's staff in the sand, but the figure doesn't look like her.
As Rey's speeder glides across the Jakku desert, we see some familiar silhouettes: the kind of moisture vaporators seen on the farm of Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru in the original Star Wars. Just like on Tatooine, the agriculture seems to be water itself, not the things that grow with it.
Apparently Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Finn (John Boyega) don't know each other very well during this encounter in a Jakku outdoor market, which is interupted when BB-8 spots an approaching First Order assault in the skies. Later, we see them aboard the Millennium Falcon introducing themselves to each other.
I love the smell of TIE Fighters in the morning. As The First Order swoops down on Jakku, blasting the hell out of this village in apparent pursuit of Rey, BB-8, or Finn (maybe all three), The Force Awakens is quoting a similar sunrise assault, from Francis Ford Coppola's 1979 Vietnam saga, Apocalypse Now. Don't you hear "Flight of the Valkyries" looking at this image?
BB-8 vs. the bomb
Again, cinematographer Daniel Mindel is the secret star of this trailer. There has always been a push and pull between light and darkness in Star Wars, but his imagery — such as this shot of BB-8 with an explosion in the (not-so-distant) background is also speaking that language.
After making their escape aboard the Millennium Falcon, the two new heroes of the Star Wars universe have a chance to actually meet. At this point, even though much of the movie is still secret, we know the runaway stormtrooper and the desert scavenger better than they do. Whatever brief encounter they've had before, this is where two strands of fate entwine and destiny starts coming into focus.
She's "no one" in her own eyes, but after waiting for a very long time to be reunited with her family, it seems she has found at least part of a new one. The original Star Wars was a story of loners who join forces and become stronger than they ever imagined individually. Luke the naive farmboy, Obi-Wan the hermit, Han Solo and Chewbacca, the lone wolves. Even R2 and C-3PO discovered unexpected purpose in this found family. Whether any of them are related by blood or not, the same thing is happening here.
Again, whatever slow clap of appreciation that robed figure in the inital shot was doing ... let's have another one for cinematographer Daniel Mindel. This point of view, locked to the foil of an X-Wing fighter, gives us a perspective on aerial battle that we've never seen before in Star Wars. It has to be the result of digital effects (unless they built a real sci-fi airforce) but it somehow looks like they strapped a camera to one of these things and turned it loose.
Leia in command
A new look at Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. From her early days as a diplomat/spy, Leia was always a more fearsome fighter than her appearance in that white gown and fashionable hair-buns let on. Now, she's in full warrior mode, surrounded by fellow commanders from the Resistance. Something tells me they don't call her "your worship."
We still don't know how C-3PO got his red left arm, but here he is in the control base of the Resistance alongside his old master, Leia, and what appears to be Oscar Isaac's X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron. (It's a little blurry, but that orange jumpsuit makes him hard to miss.) One theory is that Threepio has been on a spy mission within the First Order, which has a thing for branding things with the color red.
Kylo Ren ignites
We've seen Kylo Ren spark his crossguard lightsaber in battle, but here he seems to be firing it up in the midst of a control room of some sort. Is he letting his temper get the best of him in a First Order disagreement, or is he unleashing hell inside the Resistance headquarters where we just saw Leia? Either way, lightsabers are like umbrellas — you don't open them up inside unless you're prepared for some bad luck.
Chewie blows a gasket
Doesn't Chewbacca look great? Hardly a gray hair in that fur. And he just looks as happy as a dog with a bone. Except, the thing he has fetched is a trigger mechanism that blows apart the bridge of an enemy ship. Raaawwwrrr!
Without doubt, the most intense shot from the new footage. Adam Driver's Kylo Ren lowers his blade toward Rey's neck in a moment that that will keep things tense until we see the resolution on Dec. 18. One reason it's so disturbing is Ren's lightsaber is so unsteady, sparking and throwing off pieces of laser like a campfire. It looks like it's ready to tear itself apart — as well as anything it's near.