It's here. The first official teaser for STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS was released yesterday; the seventh movie few expected would get made, because George Lucas was always more interested in prequels than sequels to his original trilogy. There's also the fact Darth Vader died in Return of the Jedi, and until now every single Star Wars film's revolved around Anakin Skywalker in some way. It remains to be seen if this new trilogy will be able to successfully re-launch the saga, although it helps that J.J Abrams has managed to talk Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), Harrison Ford (Han Solo) and Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) into returning.
This teaser, inevitably, lives up to that description. We'll have to wait until early-summer for a seriously good look at the film, I predict. For now, we get glimpses of a few new actors (Daisy Ridley, John Boyega), but none of the 'holy trinity' mentioned above. It's basically a handful of clips that don't spoil much, but give us a few visuals to gawp at. Tattooine's back, droids have adapted to sandy terrain, there aren't any obvious CGI landscapes (the bane of the overly-digital prequels), Stormtroopers play a significant role, the likely villain (Adam Driver) has a crucifix-style lightsaber (oooh), iconic ships like the X-Wing fighters, TIE fighters and Millennium Falcon are involved, and that's Benedict Cumberbatch's vocals on the creepy narration (although there's been some disagreement on that, but it sounds exactly like him to me). It's not clear if Cumbers has an actual role in the film, or just did this voiceover as a favour to his Star Trek into Darkness director J.J Abrams.
From Cumberbatch's dialogue and the title, it seems The Force has awakened—which suggests this aspect of the Star Wars mythology's sentient? If so, why has it awakened? Is there an imbalance caused by the demise of the Sith? Okay, let's stop the geekiness.
I've seen better teasers over the years, but this one still feels special. We don't know anything concrete about this new trilogy, in terms of its storyline, so I find it more exciting to consider what J.J Abrams and his team have in store for us. I also love how this teaser has a real sense of urgency, too. You want to know what these characters are reacting to. And yes, the way the Millennium Falcon roars into shot, soaring through the clouds accompanied by John Williams' famous theme tune, was the icing on the cake. Goosebumps. Star Wars is back.
The prequels were a mostly painful experience that favoured cutting-edge visuals over character and story, but I'm more confident Abrams will redress this imbalance of the force. What do you think?
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS premieres December 2015.