Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: Han Solo returns

Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: Han Solo returns

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The internet blew up like the Death Star when the second teaser for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hit YouTube on 16 April.Fans of George Lucas’ space opera cheered the new footage of the most anticipated film of 2015 – especially since it featured the return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo, the roguish captain of the Millennium Falcon who in effect created the template for the modern Hollywood action hero.The trailer boldly sets out the mission statement for The Force
Awakens, which is scheduled to be released worldwide on 18 December: to honour Star Wars’ rich storytelling legacy but not just recycle old tropes. Instead it’s about capturing a feeling of discovery, of new worlds, new characters and new ideas.The biggest new idea to hit that galaxy far, far away? Diversity. The lead characters of The Force Awakens include the black British actor John Boyega, whose appearance in a stormtrooper uniform in the first Star Wars teaser elicited racist comments from certain corners of the internet last year, and Daisy Ridley, whose character some suggest may experience a similar “hero’s journey” to Mark Hamill’s seminal Luke Skywalker. Ridley joins a cast populated with far more women – Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gwendoline Christie and a returning Carrie Fisher, among them – than previous Star Wars films could claim. It’s a big galaxy, and director JJ Abrams and producer Kathleen Kennedy are stating that it’s available for all to explore.In a panel discussion held on 16 April at the fan event Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim, California, Lucasfilm president Kennedy discussed how important it was to them that women receive greater representation in the film and how she wants her two daughters to extract worthy role models from it. She even acknowledged that if she wanted to dress up as a Star Wars character in the past, “I didn’t have many choices,” before adding, “but that’s going to change.” Star-gazing And yes, the new trailer does look back to Star Wars’ past glories –there’s a powerful sense of nostalgia in the new teaser, but selective nostalgia. Abrams and Kennedy have taken certain elements from the previous films that are beloved by the fans and have jettisoned the Gungans and Ewoks.The clip opens on the desiccated wasteland of the desert planet Jakku – not Tatooine as many had predicted. It is strewn with wreckage,including a massive Imperial Star Destroyer beached in the background.Ridley’s character, named Rey, was revealed during the Star Wars
Celebration discussion to be a scavenger who collects spare parts.Indeed, she’s a tinkerer much like Luke Skywalker and his fatherAnakin (the latter of course having gone on to become Darth Vader).On that rubble-strewn landscape on Jakku, Abrams and Kennedy are bringing back the “used future” concept that George Lucas originally envisioned for his saga. Whereas most science fiction, even sci-fi as groundbreaking as Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, traded in gleaming, scrubbed-clean surfaces and bright lighting to create their futuristic visions, Star Wars revelled in the shadows and grime: dirty cantinas, dusty homesteads and vehicles with peeling paint. When Luke
Skywalker first sees the Millennium Falcon, he doesn’t admire it the way Star Trek’s Captain Kirk would beam up at the Starship Enterprise. Instead he says, “What a piece of junk.” The used-future aesthetic,originally brought to life in stunning concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, didn’t just create the feeling that the Star Wars galaxy was a lived-in place. The aesthetic was a philosophical statement: that future technological advancement may only accelerate decay, that entropy – and not a progress toward enlightenment and harmony à la Star Trek – was the natural state of the universe. That Abrams and Kennedy are embracing practical special effects, and keeping the glistening CGI to a minimum, should mark a return to the worn-and-battered aesthetic of the original trilogy, of a galaxy run
amok.First step into a larger world The cast of The Force Awakens revealed cryptic details of the plot at Star Wars Celebration. Rey meets Finn on Jakku and together they discover something that sets them on a star-spanning adventure. But a big question is whether Finn, who is first glimpsed wearing the armour of the evil Empire, is truly a villain. Is he a stormtrooper, or just wearing the uniform as a disguise, as Luke and Han did in the first
Star Wars movie?The new trailer does depict him in civilian clothes and running from explosions alongside Rey, suggesting he is indeed one of the film’s heroes. Apparently, Finn and possibly Rey, then meet up with another new lead character in the film, X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. (That Isaac and fellow Force Awakens cast member Adam Driver, who sang the folk song Please Mr Kennedy in 2013’s Inside Llewyn Davis – in which the two implored President John F Kennedy not to send them into outer space – have indeed been sent into orbit by a
Ms Kennedy is one of recent cinema’s great twists of cosmic fate.) Driver himself was still not glimpsed in any footage from the film, though it is suspected he plays the new villain, Kylo Ren, the wielder of the highly controversial ‘broadsaber’. Ren, hidden behind a mask that recalls both Vader and fan favourite character Darth Revan from the blockbuster videogame Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, is seen wielding his crimson blade in battle in this teaser. That sword is representative of the new Star Wars aesthetic: slight tweaks to old designs to create a sense of both the familiar and the foreign.But the moment everyone will be talking about from the trailer is the return of Harrison Ford as Han Solo. The 72-year-old actor hasn’t appeared on screen as the captain of the Millennium Falcon in 32 years. Everyone was wondering, “Will he still look the part?” His Indiana Jones always said that if he was worn down, the culprit “was not the years, but the mileage.” But would the years have taken their
toll on Ford’s depiction of Solo? Reports from the set made him sound as active as ever – he even broke his leg filming a stunt sequence.Any doubt, happily, has proven unfounded. In the trailer Ford looks as if he could make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs. “Chewie,” Han says to his Wookiee copilot. “We’re home.” That is precisely how millions of Star Wars fans feel.-BBC

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