The new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, unveiled on Thursday, makes the upcoming JJ Abrams-directed sequel look like a lengthy love letter to every series fan who hasn’t stopped complaining since 1999’s The Phantom Menace.
From the dogfight inside the ruined hulk of a crash-landed Imperial Star Destroyer to the not-quite-a-surprise appearance in the last moments of the trailer of Han and Chewie, there’s not an uncomfortably racialized alien or a tousle-headed child in sight.
A few of the many, many Easter eggs jammed into the 110-second trailer: a robot hand, presumably Luke’s, the dunes of Jakku, a wrecked X-wing, Darth Vader’s crushed helmet, and what looks like Leia getting a lightsaber of her own. There are also new twists on old formulas: a black-armored villain who looks like an amped-up stormtrooper, a black TIE fighter, and of course Han Solo disguised as an old man … wait, no, that’s just present-day Harrison Ford.
The film opens on 18 December; the release of the new trailer coincides with California fan convention Star Wars Celebration, happening this week in Anaheim. Carrie Fisher, Peter Mayhew (who plays Chewbacca) and director JJ Abrams are among the Star Wars royalty in attendance.
Fan reaction was overwhelmingly positive — Reddit, notoriously a wretched hive of scum and villainy (and sarcasm), had plenty of in-jokey commentary. “Commander, tear this trailer apart until you’ve found those clues and bring me those theories, I want them alive!” wrote a redditor called blood_souls. The /r/starwars subreddit was humming with activity, some of it related to the new trailer, some of it related to Star Wars Celebration, all of it devoted to The Force Awakens.
The trailer premiered on YouTube at 2 pm EST and by 5:30 had been retweeted from the official Star Wars account some 37,000 times. The YouTube video counter hadn’t caught up with views as of this writing, but the video had gotten the thumbs-up button 105,000 times and the Facebook video of the trailer had logged some 3.6m views and 97,000 likes (Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook vice president Tom Stocky were the first two). By press time Google had indexed more than 1,200 articles on the trailer. At the end of the footage, fans were redirected to a countdown page for a different Star Wars product: the marketing campaign for EA’s upcoming video game Star Wars Battlefront, the trailer for which is set to launch at the convention at 10 am California time tomorrow.
- This piece was amended on 16 April 2015; the planet is called Jakku.
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