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The Force Awakens Teaser: Immediate Reactions

No time for anything fancy—head into the article for our first thoughts about the new teaser for TFA!

Alex: My first impression is: well, come on, what do you think it is? The Empire strikes back. Again! There’s not a whole lot to be said at this point, given the lack of context for most of the shots in the trailer, but a few things do immediately come to mind. The X-wing pilots are still wearing the unmodified crest of the Rebel Alliance, the Starbird. Some interesting implications there, or they just didn’t have much in the way of imagination when they formed the new government. All this atmospheric flight has me positively thrilled, on that note. If John Boyega is, in fact, playing a stormtrooper and not merely wearing the armor for some purpose of infiltration or disguise, I’ll be doubly thrilled.

It’d be an interesting throwback to A New Hope to have the start of the new trilogy open with a stormtrooper stranded on Tatooine instead of droids. Our new villain seems to be from the dark side yet again, which is getting kind of repetitive, but I’m willing to give him a shot. His lightsaber strikes me as a touch ridiculous, and I’m bestowing upon him the name Darth Death Metal until further notice. Football Droid has similarly distinguished itself. All things considered, I think the trailer accomplishes what it set out to do, but as always, much will depend on the meaning behind the scenes we’re seeing, which tell us very little of certainty in the grand scheme of things.

Lisa: OMG STAR WARS THE FORCE AWAKENS TRAILER. *hyperventilates*

Ok now that I got that out of the way. New X-wing pilot uniforms, I do like the touch of the Rebel crest being visible on their chest. John Boyega looks to me like he’s wearing the trooper armor for disguise. Brief shot of female dressed in what looked like Endor gear riding the most ridiculous looking speederbike I’ve ever seen. There’s no way that blocky design is a step-up from the ones we’ve seen before. I like how the feel of the movie looks more like the OT than the PT. I always thought the PT looked so overdone CGI to the point where it might as well have been an animated film. This has more of the feel so far from the trailer or the OT which never really gave me that impression.

Stormtroopers means the Empire is still alive and kicking. Appears to be main bad guy as well which is interesting. Not quite sure how I feel about that yet. Sith dude better end up chopping his own hand off with that ridiculous blade because I see very little purpose for that shape other than it looks cool.

Mike: So, yeah, the lightsaber is corny—but no more so than the Inquisitor’s, and Rebels is still great, so whatever. While the general look and feel of Daisy Ridley’s character has been floating around for a while now, seeing her for the first time really drives home the “Ania Solo” factor, in my opinion. That doesn’t have to mean they’re the same character (it’d be hard to make her a Solo without the space of several generations), but confirmation that the movie is focusing on junkers and stormtroopers instead of the High Galactic Council of Important Folks is a giant relief after the last ten years of “Big Three” EU.

Other miscellaneous thoughts: the TIEs have at the very least a different color scheme, but I think it’s more than that—they seem stripped-down. Maybe Boyega’s team has been stranded on the planet and they had to use the parts for other stuff? And I was annoyed by the different sensor dish on the Falcon for a split second, but actually, it really makes sense that it’d have been noticeably upgraded by now (even if it hadn’t been knocked off last time we saw it). The ball droid is pretty neat, and I’m totally fine with the new stormie helmets, but the title logo still looks like a hamburger. #sorrynotsorry

Rocky: I like the new lightsaber. There’s a power vacuum in the Force with the deaths of the Emperor and Vader, and with Luke having so little formal Jedi training. A new lightsaber design? Yes, totally viable. It’s kinda out there but this is a whole new unexplored era of Star Wars so why not use familiar things in new designs?

I like the slightly evolved Empire, stormtroopers who look like the ones we know, similar things. But just slightly different. It’s the same universe but a time jump that hasn’t made a huge difference. All the stuff from my childhood reimagined.

X-wings with a Rebel starbird, though. Either the Rebellion hasn’t become a viable government yet, or they’re using the old symbol because it’s recognizable, or the galaxy is still really fragmented? Sorry, busy speculating on politics.

I want more. Now.

Ben W: My first reaction was reflecting the thoughts Kevin Smith had, about how real everything looks and feels. Boyega’s Stormtrooper armor, the adorable little soccer/football droid, and especially the scenery and sets, everything looks and feels real (or at least not fake). Even the starship and speeder effects feel kinetic and visceral, and while I miss the models from the OT era, starship action is one thing that modern CG does well enough that I don’t mind too terribly much.

My second thought was, where are the old cast? Not a sign of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, not even one of the droids. It really drives home how much this is a new story for a new era for Star Wars, not merely another adventure of the Big Three. A new cast is being built and new movies being made to take Star Wars into the future, rather than obsess on the past as many feared.

Like the others, I want more. I want to know the plot, I want to see more of the new characters, I want to hear more of John Williams’ fantastic score. It’s going to be a long, hard wait until next December.

Ben C: In the end, say what you like, Star Wars is all about icons and they’re as much technological as individual! That’s what really leaps out at me from this trailer. Forget plot and characters, all that’s here is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-glimpse. Not that that will stop a planetary explosion’s worth of pointless speculation, but there’s so little to work with you’re better off relaxing and enjoying the show!

They’re all here too – Stormtroopers, X-Wings, TIEs, and of course, the Falcon. The only real conspicuous absence is the ship that really grabbed everyone’s attention in that opening sequence of ANH! But maybe they’re saving the Star Destroyer for later…

The other thing it gets right is the tone – it feels like it could be epic. It has the mix of technology and mysticism that made ANH so successful and it has a cute droid! Don’t forget the cute droid – it’ll probably be despised by the Internet but just wait, you’ll be able to buy a cuddly plush version in about a year’s time!

Jay: Seeing the trailer in theaters was interesting — and it perhaps made the trailer a lot more disappointing than it actually was, just because of the significance attached to that kind of old school experience. On the big screen, it seemed like a big joke — overly shiny lighting, corny and obnoxious voiceovers, a kewl looking lightsaber. It basically felt like a fanfilm, or another fake trailer. It was a profound disappointment — though even the disappointment of that experience couldn’t erase how wonderful it was seeing the Falcon again on the big screen, or my curiosity about the TIE Fighters, the “Rebel” (?) pilots, and the Daisy Ridley character.

Seeing the reactions online have been interesting — a good number of people have mocked the teaser, but a lot of them have reacted positively. I think the difference may well be in the experience — a quick online download makes it clear that this is just a teaser, while a theater-goer expects rather a bit more. I’ve only seen it again once more, on a TV news broadcast of all things (it really is 1998 come again!) and while I still think the lightsaber is absurd and the voiceover is unforgivable, the collection of short clips is interesting enough.

The Boyega character actually seems interesting — what is he doing? Did he crash? Is he a stormtrooper? The stupid soccer droid seems less offensive when it isn’t whirling over unreasonable expectations of a transcendent theater experience. Ridley and the Falcon are still pretty cool, and the X-wings seem less bothersome than earlier. Everything’s a bit shiny, a bit clean — I think I’m unused to CGI of this caliber, considering it’s ten years on from ROTS and the technology must have improved immeasurably. It’s a new era of Star Wars for sure. But parts of the trailer are still worryingly slick — the troopers, the X-wings, etc. The desert planet and the Falcon looked properly used though, so let’s hope they get the Star Wars look down.

In conclusion: the teaser is better when it’s treated like what it actually is, a teaser. The spaceships are really cool, but the shiny and the shakeycam bring back worrisome visions of new Trek. The rest of it is pretty good, and if the dorky voiceover weren’t present I’d probably love it.

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