Star Wars Celebration kicked off yesterday in Anaheim with a special introduction to Episode VII. Director J.J. Abrams, Producer Kathleen Kennedy as well as stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Peter Mayhew and Anthony Daniels all came out to introduce the film and unveil the anticipated second teaser trailer. So, without further ado, here is a complete breakdown of everything in the teaser and what it means. Naturally, if you want to go into The Force Awakens cold then do not continue: there are spoilers ahead.
We open on an arid desert landscape, a lone speeder hurtles across the sand in the distance, leaving a dust trail in its wake. The planet is not, as many had speculated, Tatooine but rather an all new planet called Jakku. The speeder is the one ridden by Rey (Daisy Ridley), seen up close in the first teaser.
As Rey continues we see the smashed carcass of an X-Wing in the foreground but further back is revealed the crashed hulk of an Imperial Star Destroyer. These are the remnants of the Battle of Jakku, one of the final skirmishes between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. It takes place between Episodes VI and VII, shortly after the Battle of Endor.
Luke Skywalker’s voice chimes in. “The Force is strong in my family…” Note that this isn’t dialogue lifted from Return Of The Jedi but rather old Luke repeating the words he once said to Leia, presumably to one strong in The Force. Whether that’s to Finn (John Boyega) or Rey remains to be seen. However, judging by concept art for Finn we’ve seen in which he has a lightsaber hanging from his belt, Boyega’s character is the odds-on favourite. “My father has it...” We see Darth Vader’s burned and battered helmet held, we can assume, by Kylo Ren. This fits with the leaked concept art which showed Ren holding Vader’s mask.
“I have it…” The hooded figure in this shot, we can conclude, is indeed Luke. He places an affectionate hand (his robotic one) on the chrome dome of R2-D2. Good to know Luke hasn’t abandoned the little Astromech even all these years later.
“My sister has it…” A lighsaber is passed from hand to hand. The eagle-eyed will recognise this one as Anakin’s lightsaber, the one inherited by Luke and ultimately lost on Bespin… along with his hand. The person handing the hilt is thought to be Lupita Nyong’o’s character, known as ‘Rose’. The hand receiving it is clearly Leia’s, which makes sense given what Luke is saying. “You have that power too.” A clear indication that someone (again, probably Finn) is strong with The Force (no-one mention midi-chlorians!) and on the path to possibly resurrect the Jedi order.
X-Wings flying over the water. Specifically Incom T-70 X-Wings. According to concept art found elsewhere at Celebration this is the signature combat craft of the Resistance forces. Yes, The Rebellion is long over and has been replaced at this point in the Star Wars timeline by a new insurgent group called 'The Resistance'.
Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron whoops with excitement in the cockpit. According to Isaac, “He’s the best frickin’ pilot in the galaxy. He’s been sent on a mission by a certain princess and he ends up coming across Mr. John Boyega’s character and their fates are forever intertwined.”
Kylo Ren swinging his now infamous ‘broadsaber’, characterised by its beam crossguard.
Rey, Finn and BB-8 running from an explosion. If you look carefully at the sky you can see the source of said explosion: an attacking TIE Fighter.
Kylo Ren (widely held to be played by Adam Driver), up close and personal. It looks like he’s using a Force push in this sequence. That this is the first clear look we’ve had at Ren’s mask. His costume comprises Sith-like black robes, black leather gloves, a thick metal belt and the rather sinister face mask/respirator. Behind him you can see a village burning as well as the new-look stormtroopers. Not the same as standard Imperial stormtroopers because…
This isn’t The Empire. In The Force Awakens The Empire has been replaced by The First Order. We know little beyond the (admittedly cool) name but you can see the First Order troops here in formation and behind them the First Order banner, which is a spiky rendition but one clearly derived from the Imperial sigil (itself derived from that of the Galactic Republic). Who’s that standing on the balcony and watching over them? Andy Serkis? Domhnall Gleeson’s general? Both? You can also see the rather cool white-and-black side panels of the First Order TIE fighters on the left.
A close-up of Rey. She’s a scavenger who lives in a ship graveyard on Jakku (like a jawa, only far more attractive). According to Ridley, she meets Finn and then her adventure begins.
Those funky inverted-palette TIEs again…
And here one causing havoc inside a hangar bay. It’s not too great a stretch to think that someone (Finn? Poe?) has likely hijacked it.
Boyega in stormtrooper attire takes off his helmet. Look closely at the frames before he removes it and you can see bloody finger marks on the armour’s headpiece. According to Boyega, who confirmed that Finn is a stormtrooper, at least for part of the film, when we meet Finn “he’s in incredible danger. The way he decides to react to it launches him into the Star Wars universe in a very unique way."
A First Order Star Destroyer, in considerably better shape than the Imperial one at the beginning of the trailer. Troop transports fly towards it along with a shuttle that may well be Kylo Ren’s.
In glorious chrome armour and snazzy black and red cape we see Captain Phasma (thought to be played by Game Of Thrones’ Gwendoline Christie).
New droid on the block, BB-8. The most interesting aspect of BB-8 is that, rather than being a CG character, the droid is actually a practical effect. Rolling out onto the stage during the Episode VII presentation, BB-8 is in fact fully articulated, his gyroscopic design put into practice by animatronics expert Neal Scanlan. Recognise those wall panels? Yes, it would appear that our ball-like friend is on board the Millennium Falcon.
Rey offers Finn a hand and helps him to his feet. This presumably in the aftermath of the earlier TIE Fighter attack.
Speaking of which, TIE Fighters pursue the Falcon over the dunes of Jakku before the chase leads them through the thruster port...
...and inside the superstructure of a Star Destroyer. Now, it could just be that it’s a wreck but the protruding thrusters of this make it look more like a Super Star Destroyer in the same vein as Darth Vader’s flagship, The Executor, which impaled itself in the second Death Star.
The stormtroopers have been updated and so have the TIE Fighter pilots. Here we see inside a TIE cockpit and get a glimpse of a First Order pilot.
Finally, the money shot. It’s Han Solo and Chewbacca, still together. The walking carpet has hardly aged a day. “Chewie,” says Han. “We’re home.” And what better way to end a teaser than that? Feel free to start screaming – you can stop on December 18, when The Force Awakens is finally released.