My Official Teasy-Teaser Trailer Analysis (TM)

As I knew it would, not only was the teaser trailer for TFA uploaded online, I was able to see it a few more times on t.v….there it was on one local t.v. affiliate during its morning show, there it was again on Fox News’s “The Five,” and again on the local NBC evening newscast. So I’ve had a few opportunities to watch and see others’ reactions.

In terms of “teases,” this was the teasiest one I’ve ever seen. It’s a series of quick, seemingly random shots that go by so fast, just as you’re digesting it all, it’s over. This was probably put together so fast, they had no production logos and the film’s title just splashes on at the end, nothing fancy. I am very skeptical that John Williams did any new music for this, as was rumored a couple of weeks ago. Why they decided to do a trailer now is anyone’s guess, other than the folks behind the movie deciding, “Why not?” It’s rare there’s any kind of promotion like this a year before a film’s release. But it got attention and on that front, mission accomplished.

I was pleasantly surprised that what we did see focused on new characters. It would have been super easy for them to show us the OT3, Chewie, et al. for the pure nostalgia factor. It also would have been really easy to show us a bunch of footage from the existing films, especially ROTJ, and maybe a couple of quick flashes of new stuff at the end. The biggest bow to nostalgia was the Falcon, which in its final form on the big screen might turn out to be a pretty impressive shot. Oh and all of this stuff about practical effects? Yeah, riiiight.

Now we know John Boyega’s playing a stormtrooper…or is he? Maybe he just disguised himself as one. Or he plays a 501st member who got drunk and wakes up in an actual Star Wars film. We’ll have to wait and see if the Empire has improved its diversity recruiting in its stormtrooper ranks. The other stormies shown look like their helmets were designed by Daft Punk with a teensy bit of inspo from the clone troopers. The presence of stormtroopers of course make me wonder why is the Empire still around? I am not fond of this idea at all. If Lucas intended the Empire to end with ROTJ, then I’m not interested in reviving it just for something do to in this movie.

All hail the Beach Ball Droid! He wins the trailer.

Here’s also our first glimpse of Daisy Ridley in costume. There appears to be a lightsaber attached to that giant rectangle thing she’s flying. Again, based on her slight resemblance to Natalie Portman and the fact she has a lightsaber, I’ll eat my hat if she is not a Skywalker descendant, likely Han and Leia’s daughter.

Then there’s a nice shot of X-Wings skimming above water and the usual shot of some guy in the cockpit. The Rebel insignias are there, but the uniform is slightly different. You do realize by now that they don’t have space shots because those aren’t close to being done yet, right?

Okay, other than the Falcon, there’s one of the last shots that looks cut from some fantasy flick where someone in dark robes struts in a dark forest and turns on a red, flaming lightsaber-y type sword that looks like Excalibur. It seems to me someone thought, “Let’s come up with something as cool as Darth Maul’s lightsaber” and scoured the EU until they found Excalisaber. But what’s interesting is the wielder. Looks smallish in build, almost female. Now Darth Maul was played by the small, slight but powerful Ray Park so I’m not saying it’s a woman. But did anyone see Gwendoline Christie in this? Or Lupita N’yongo? Or any of the other women not named Daisy Ridley cast in this movie? For all we know, it’s Leia. I just hope it’s not a Sith Lord because it would ruin the end of ROTJ and mess with a key part of George’s story.

Then there’s the narration which everyone keeps thinking is Benedict Cumberbatch (ugh, does he have to be in everything???) but I’ve read is Andy Serkis. Which makes sense since Serkis is in the film. Come to think of it, Andy’s not very big either so maybe he’s in the robes. Anyway the narration hints that the awakening Force in the light and the dark, whatever that means. Just as long as it doesn’t ruin what has come before it.

So that’s it. The shots are cool but I had no sense of what this movie’s about or the overall direction the saga’s taking. It seemed kind of random. The prequel trailers did a great job showing you what’s to come and giving you a sense of story without giving much away. I don’t think it is worth going out of your way and paying $14 to see it in a theater unless you were going to the movies anyway, so it was smart they put it online.

It isn’t to say I think it’s bad or disappointing. I realize they wrapped only a few weeks ago and they have a year to finish the film, so there’s not a lot to show. The prequels debuted their first teasers six months before the films’ releases, when there was much more work completed. But to paraphrase Leia, there isn’t quite enough to get me (super) excited…yet.

Which is why I don’t get some of the over-the-top ebullient reactions. It just wasn’t enough of anything to either go over the moon or down in the dumps. I understand many fans are excited to see anything at all and these images make the film seem that much more real. But some of these people are projecting things that aren’t there and once again, raising their expectations too high.

I hope that this spring we’ll get a trailer of the same caliber of the TPM trailers that gives me a better idea of this film and might alleviate some of my concerns about the film.

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19 Responses to My Official Teasy-Teaser Trailer Analysis (TM)

  1. Pingback: Open Thread: Teaser Reax |

  2. madmediaman says:

    Agreed. The one thing the trailer did do was get me to go back and revisit the old trailers, and compared to the Prequel teasers especially this was just lacking. This reminded me a lot of Attack of the Clones’ “Breathing” teaser, but even that was a web only teaser released a week before the theatrical release hit cinemas.

    There was just no flow at all to it outside of the narration bringing it together, and frankly some of the shots looked a little dodgy, and lacked the scope Lucas brought to each film. For example the first shot of Boyega looked extremely flat with almost no depth of field and no contrast. It really looked like it was shot on home video. And of course the Stormtrooper scene was filled with Abrams shaky cam… so I’m worried there.

    But I really like the rollerball/FIFA World Cup Soccer droid; that seemed like a character straight out of George’s mind. The X-Wing shot was awesome, and I loved Ridley’s appearance. But I never got this overwhelming sense of OMG this is Star Wars.

    I guess if you are a frustrated hateboy who has basically hated Star Wars since 1983 then this probably is closer to what you envision from the Wars, but for me (who has been a fan since 1976 with the novelization), I kind of expected more since this film is meant to relaunch the film franchise.

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    • zch81721 says:

      That was my thing was the shots felt like they were just slapped together and that opening shot with Boyega just looked amateur. The way he came up looked goofy. It literally looks like the actor was just told to crouch below the camera and wait for his cue to jump up. In fact if he was lying in the sand then why is there no sand on his armor? Just the way it was shot looked off to me. In fact I was mistook it for another fan trailer. Until the stormtrooper scene popped up. That shot just screamed Abrams (how sad is that that when someone is holding the camera still I mistook it for a fan trailer but when the camera is shaking obnoxiously and strobe lights going all over the place I realize it is an official film). Hell that shot with the sith in the forest I must have seen that kind of shot in a billion star wars fan films. In fact I found that same location in the Force Unleashed 2 trailer. So yeah I was just scratching my head going “Is this real or is this another fan film?” Hopefully those shots will look better in the final version because when i need to double check to see if it is a fan film something is wrong.

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  3. I think John Boyega starts out as a stormtrooper and becomes one of the main heroes.

    Why are they still using X-wing fighters after thirty years?

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    • Chris N says:

      Very pertinent question. This is set 30 years after Episode VI, not 2 or 5 years. What’s the excuse for the lack of creativity? They’ve updated the stormtroopers (why does the Empire still exist?) but they couldn’t change the X-Wing and TIE fighters (and I’m not talking about minor changes that do exist but the common viewer doesn’t notice)? This screams of blind nostalgia and that’s not a good thing.

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      • Stefan Kraft says:

        Well, the B52 and the Boeing 747 have a decade-old design that is still used today. So in-universe it may even make sense that X-Wings are still around (of course modernized and adapted).
        Still, the SW Universe (at least in the movies) seems to introduce new starships quite fast and to even discard the old ones after a short amount of time. Think of the Jedi Starfighters between Ep II and III, or that the Rebellion developed new ships (A- and B-Wing) between ANH and RotJ.*
        We will have to see whether an (implicit or explicit) explanation is given in the TFA. I just hope that the X-Wings are not included for nostalgia’s sake.

        *If I think about it, the Naboo Starfighters have not really changed between TPM and AotC… Still, my examples for a fast starship evolution in SW may suggest that the X-Wings should have evolved more between RotJ and TFA.

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  4. I liked the Teaser Trailer I thought it was awesome!!! And keep in mind a full Theatrical Trailer will be out next year during Star Wars Celebration.

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  5. Nobody says:

    The only thing I can realy say about this teaser is it’s the first time I’ve only ever wanted to watch a Star Wars trailer once, and only once. I feel no desire to sit through it again.

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  6. peacetrainjedi says:

    I agree with your analysis on pretty much all fronts. I hadn’t thought about who exactly the mystery Dark Sider in the Forest is, but I think you might be onto something. The effects do need ( a great deal of) work, but I think given time, the second trailer will impress more on that aspect. Overall, a fairly decent, albeit not mind-blowing, teaser for what’s to come. Watching the trailer a few times has given me much more appreciation for the narration (which I thought was a bit..off-putting when I first saw the trailer). The voice-over has a very meta, “This is what it’s all about,” primordial feel to it.

    I too am glad they decided not to play up the nostalgia factor too much; I think the Falcon shot and the classic score at the end of the trailer was exactly the right amount of “Old” to go with the new. Though, so help me, I was kinda hoping to catch a glance of Luke in full Jedi Master mode…

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  7. What alarms me the most about the teaser is the point that – if you take away all of the old OT stuff (Falcon, Tie, X-Wing, Troopers) – there is nothing memorable about this universe. Think back of TPM: Queen Amidala, Darth Maul, Pod Racers. Nothing like that, if anything: The EU Lightsaber.

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  8. Eduardo Vargas says:

    I have to agree that the lack of exposition was kind of disappointing. Hopefully the trailer will be more in line with previous installments.

    One of George’s ideas for the sequels was for it to deal with the Rebuilding of the Republic and dismantling the last Imperial Remnants. So if they stuck with those ideas it’s fine, as long as we actually get a Republic and a semi Jedi Order. Otherwise It will be disappointing.

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  9. Keith Palmer says:

    I admit I was surprised; whatever imagination I put into this “very early promotion” beforehand envisioned quick shots of most of the characters in costume (and yet I wondered, and maybe worried, if they’d all be against “carefully closed-in, old-fashioned in-camera sets”), with one short line of portentous voice-over near the end, and from comments overheard I could also imagine it closing with a shot of the Millennium Falcon banking around against a starfield. For some reason I wasn’t thinking of “lots of clips from the previous movies,” which of course we didn’t get either.

    In any case, there was more of a sense of “things will be happening” than I was imagining, even if we can’t begin to imagine what yet. Most of the reactions possible seem to be to designs; I myself was amused by the whimsy of the “rolly droid,” but I’m afraid the “Rebel” flight suit underwhelmed me; maybe I thought too much of “old-time football helmets.” Probably there are people pleased “we’re back to non-elaborate planets.” I could compare the “lightsabre reveal” to the “second blade” in the first TPM trailer (which I was inspired to go back to shortly afterwards), but it didn’t seem quite as impressively coordinated with the music or as “simple yet powerful.”

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  10. Wizardman says:

    I have confidence that they won’t ruin anything crucial to George’s story because these movies are based on his ideas for a sequel trilogy! If anything major comes along that changes something from the previous films, it’s likely that it’s as George Lucas meant it. I remember reading that Abrams hopped on board after Kathleen Kennedy told him where these films are going story-wise. I doubt he would be that excited and then go in and throw everything away (I don’t think he’d be allowed to even if he wanted to, anyway). :/

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    • Stefan Kraft says:

      I think you have a point here. The story group consists of several prequel supporters or at least people that respect the whole Saga. Thus, throwing the Midi-chlorians out of the window (to cite an obvious example) seems out of question. Not to forget a re-write of Boba Fett’s backstory… (There was this crazy rumour for the Boba spin-off that the Boba from AotC and TCW is killed by some anonymous bounty hunter that then uses Boba’s identity in the future – mystery of the faceless bounty hounter restored etc…)
      While the major themes and ideas of the ST may be preserved, Abrams & Co. may still have slightly changed the focus. (It seems that the first screenplay focused on the new characters and that Abrams and his team re-wrote it such that it gives a larger role to the old characters. On the other hand, the teaser focuses on the new characters… Hmmm…)
      To sum up, major changes of the backstory and mythology of SW are really unlikely (unless supported by George himself), but the focus may still be different to what George envisioned. We will have to wait and see.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Is it me, or were those podracer parts in the background during the Beach Ball Droid scene?

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    • Darth Pipes says:

      Yeah, that looked like a big podracer engine in the background.

      I loved beach ball droid myself but if GL had given us a cute droid and CGI Falcon in the trailer, the fanboys would be ripping him to shreds. They’d be starting threads on how the cute droid had already ruined Episode VII.

      Admittedly there’s not enough in the trailer for me to have an opinion on it. I will repeat what I’ve said elsewhere…if the Empire is still a major force in the galaxy and the war has continued non-stop for thirty years, it renders what the heroes did in ROTJ absolutely meaningless. I would consider it disrespect to the original trilogy that JJ claims he cherishes. I would actually find that more upsetting than the presence of the Sith, which I wouldn’t be thrilled with either.

      Daisy Ridley REALLY looks like Natalie Portman, which is a clever bit of casting.

      I did like John Boyega’s introduction.

      I don’t mind familiar ships so long as the movie doesn’t revel in nostalgia.

      Excellent question on the identity of the Dark Sider, lp. Gwedoline Christie is 6’3″ but I don’t know if she’s that slender. She’s not heavy mind you but it’s hard to tell her body type because she is often wearing armor on Game of Thrones. Whatever role she plays, I hope it includes a lightsaber because Game of Thrones has proven she can REALLY do an awesome sword fight.

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  12. BansheeGun says:

    Great piece, LP! I agree with you about how vague the trailer was. A little too vague, even if they just finished filming. When X-Men: Days Of Future Past finished filming we had a full TRAILER a few weeks after, and that trailer made more sense than this teaser. (Yes, DOFP was already an established storyline but the film was just loosely based off of it).

    I don’t care what people say. Nothing, not even Excalisaber, can top the reveal of Darth Maul’s double sided lightsaber.

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