My wife suggested I start this post with the following disclaimer:
If you don’t want anyone to harsh your Star Wars mellow, do not read on.
Still there? Good.
Yesterday, a number of people I know lost their minds. You see, at a Star Wars Celebration yesterday, JJ Abrams and company revealed a new teaser trailer for the next Star Wars film.
And the crowd went wild.
I, however, did not.
First, let’s go to the videotape:
Okay, now you’ve seen it. And yes, it looks snazzy and polished and action filled and ohbytheway did you notice Han and Chewie? That was, naturally, what sent the crowd at the celebration over the edge.
So why am I not all tingly inside, along with everyone else? Why am I filled with more excitement over the trailers for the new Mad Max film than I am Star Wars? Have you seen the trailer for the new Mad Max movie?
Okay, had to get that out of the way.
The truth is, the Star Wars trailers don’t show us anything yet to be excited about. We have a number of new characters, none of whom we have any emotional attachment to. Contrast that with the trailer for The Phantom Menace, where we saw images of old favorites from a different era. In TPM trailer, we get glimpses of Anakin and Obi-Wan, characters we have deep deep connections with. In the new trailer we have glimpses of Rey and Finn. To which you have to ask yourself, “Who?”
To be fair, we do get a glimpse of Han and Chewie at the end, with Han saying, “Chewie, we’re home.” But that’s it. That doesn’t show is anything. In TPM trailers we get to see Anakin and Obi-Wan doing stuff, racing across the desert, using lightsabers, being introduced to each other, rather than a elderly Han waxing philosophical. It’s true we see the Millennium Falcon being chased by a TIE Fighter and flying into the superstructure of the
Death Star wrecked starship, but is Han flying it? Perhaps not, given that he and his now 240 year old fur ball friend appear to be coming home to the Falcon itself.
Another aspect that’s generated endless speculation is just who is this Kylo Ren, the apparent villain of the film. We’ve now seen a masked visage and we’ve previously seen an improbable lightsaber, but little else. As far as trailers go, he’s been boring. Boring to watch, boring to look upon. Contrast that with the coolest looking and ultimately most boring villain in the pantheon of Star Wars movies, Darth Maul. He looked like the devil himself, and turned out to have one line in TPM. With nothing to ground us as to why we should invest emotional energy into this character, he was the Sith equivalent of a special effect without a storyline: a pretty boring thing.
Some folks have gone gaga over the image from the opening shot of the trailer, namely a Star Destroyer beached and half buried in the sands of the desert world
Tattooine Jakku. (Why we need a different desert world I’m not sure. There are doubtlessly more than one in the galaxy, but maybe the need will be revealed in the film.) It’s a cool image, I’ll give you that. Almost as cool as this one from one of the now discarded former canon of Star Wars literature. Yes, that’s a wrecked Millennium Falcon crashed on (if memory serves) Kessel.
Okay, that’s perhaps enough badmouthing for now. Because I don’t want to come across as a total geeked-out asshole. If I’m being truthful with myself, I really am looking forward to seeing the new film. I grew up with Star Wars and was the quintessential geek about it when I was younger. But if I keep in the truthful vein, I, like millions of other fans, was extremely disappointed at the new trilogy. All of the magic and mysticism that made the first three so enjoyable had vanished in the new three. Yet, before anyone knew how underwhelming they would eventually be, there were trailers that made all of us self proclaimed nerds wet our pants. Sadly, as a friend recently pointed out, often times the trailers for movies exceed the movies themselves.
I’m hopeful about the new three. But for reasons other than the trailer. I’m hopeful because Lawrence Kasdan worked on the script. I’m hopeful because JJ Abrams is good at rebooting things. I’m hopeful because he won’t be continuing after this one, which, if you’ve seen Star Trek: Into Darkness, you’ll likely agree that’s a good thing. I’m hopeful because Lucas, who should have known better when he made the new trilogy but clearly didn’t, isn’t really involved in this new movie.
Time will tell.
In the meanwhile, let’s go for a ride down Fury Road and say hello to this handsome fellow: