I’m perfectly aware there’s more than a few “breaking down the Episode VII teaser” pieces floating around on the Internet today. But Star Wars is the one thing I can’t resist picking apart and dissecting. And since for years I basically thought I’d never be able to do that again, I’m writing this more for myself than anyone. Because I’m so damn excited.
But if you’re reading, thanks for enduring another purely speculative and mostly uninformed orgasm of happy thoughts that only Star Wars can muster inside of me.
A couple of things: my thoughts are based on only what I see in the trailer itself or rumblings of unconfirmed rumors. I don’t have any inside scoops. I know as much as anyone else reading the rumor reports. I always take those rumors with a grain of salt (particularly ones that just sound absolutely ridiculous, of which there are plenty) and you should too. But who knows? I imagine there are bits and pieces of things that are accurate… from a certain point of view. And remember: Expanded Universe continuity is out the window and will not be adhered to, so anything is possible (and Boba Fett is deaaaaad).
In any case, while this is all theoretical and me just spit-balling… let’s go ahead and put a big ol’ SPOILER WARNING right here just in case anyone reads this and it turns out I was totally right.
Oh, and if you haven’t watched it yet, well duh:
SO, THAT PLANET
We all want to think this desert planet is Tatooine, right? It certainly seems likely; five out of six Star Wars movies (yes, there are six) visit the planet and the location is definitively tied to the Skywalker family. It’s where Anakin was born, it’s where Luke was raised, it’s where the whole adventure began. There even looks to be some scrap from podracers in the background at :30 when that cute little wheelie droid (we’ll call him Wheelie for now) is truckin’ along in the sand. They could certainly be spare ship parts or some moisture farming equipment or something, but my first instinct was pod engines.
However, rumors suggest that this is an all-new desert planet. While traditionally, introducing new planets means introducing new terrain and environments (otherwise, what’s really the point?), there’s no rule saying there can’t be more than one desert planet. It’s just kind of silly to use that kind of scenery and call it something different. That said, if it was definitely Tatooine, I feel like there would’ve been a shot of the planet’s iconic twin suns… even if just in passing as the Falcon zips through the sky at the teaser’s end.
One of the hardest things to distance myself from concerning the 30+ years of Expanded Universe stuff since Return of the Jedi is the notion of the New Republic. I know the Ewok celebration suggested the nightmare was over, but remember that Luke blew up the Death Star in A New Hope and the fight was far from over… the Empire struck back.
Sure, the Emperor is dead and Vader redeemed, but the galaxy is a big place and Palpatine’s legion is strong. Say what you will about the Empire, the Governors kept their regions in line. Unified. By nature a rebellion is often chaos… what if the Rebels’ killing blow hurt the Empire but also unraveled the galaxy’s structure?
Keep in mind the Rebel Alliance was little more than one fleet at the time of their victory. Did all of the systems loyal to the Empire just give in without a fight? Did no one try to claim the Throne after word of the Emperor’s death came down? If not, would the Rebels really have the manpower to cleanly transition into a whole new government? Would they be able to fend off attacks from additional Imperial forces? Doubtful. No matter how many celebrations we see at the end of ROTJ, I just don’t buy that the change from Empire to New Republic would be smooth, particularly with most of the Empire’s forces still intact.
As we see in this teaser, it seems the Empire is still very much a factor. TIEs are attacking the Falcon. Stormtroopers seem to be upgraded. If not upgraded, definitely updated, which implies they’ve still got the resources to do so. They’ve even got new blasters. Compare that to the Rebel X-Wing squadron we see skimming across the water in the same rickety old ships. Still, it’s a disservice to the original trilogy to start The Force Awakens with an opening crawl that simply renders all of the events moot (“The Empire is still in charge!” or something), so it’s more likely that the effect will be felt via thinned Imperial ranks, galactic disorganization, and battles for loyalty.
One idea I’ve always been fascinated by are troops stationed in some remote part of the world (during World War II, for instance) that for one reason or another have been out of contact with the mainland, never learning that the war ended. What if there’s a sect of the Empire that never heard word of the Rebellion’s victory and thus kept the fight alive? There are a million possible explanations, but it seems to me the Empire is still a major player, if only under a different regime or perhaps a more even playing field with their opposition.
Given the title of the movie, it feels as though maybe the idea is the two are at something of a stalemate… until a new player(s) enter the game and quickly become sought after to help either side achieve victory. Not unlike Palpatine’s plan to try and turn Luke to the Dark Side in an effort to crush the Rebels.
Boyega pops into frame, frantic. Scared. I have a couple of theories:
One, he’s with the Rebels and infiltrating the ranks of a stormtrooper squad for some reason. Or perhaps nothing as elaborate; maybe this is the middle of the movie and for some reason he’s in a stormtrooper getup (a la Luke and Han in A New Hope) and this is where stuff goes sour. Some have pointed out that in that shot of the troops lined up in the deployment ship (see above), the one in focus looks to be a little short for a stormstrooper…
The second theory, and the more interesting one, is that he’s just a regular stormtrooper cog. Just another recruit, but one with a heart of gold. Maybe he’s not unlike Luke was at the start of A New Hope; ready to join the Imperials just to escape his droll life. But maybe he comes into some information that he shouldn’t have; something the Empire wants and could turn the tide on the stalemate between the Empire and Rebels.
A holocron, or god help us, Luke’s severed hand/lightsaber from Empire Strikes Back as rumored; something that is of great importance to the new big bads. The Empire knows he’s got it, and they’re coming for him. Knowing he has to do the right thing, he turns coat and is suddenly an enemy of the state. You’ll notice the Imperial Probe Droid noises right as Boyega’s scene draws to a close. I don’t think he’s reporting in, I think he’s being hunted.
Judging by her looks (raggedy speeder, salvaged clothing — her goggles are from a stormtrooper helmet), I’d be willing to bet she’s the everyman-type of this story and not Han and Leia’s daughter as some rumors have suggested. Perhaps she and Wheelie are the Han/Chewie or even the C-3PO/R2-D2 of this trilogy; they’re caught up in this adventure through pure happenstance.
Like street urchins or otherwise insignificant beings (in the grand scheme of the Star Wars Universe, I mean) that get roped into someone else’s fight. In this case, judging by the mutual location, I’d say she winds up helping out Boyega in some capacity. Maybe she helps him lay low from the Imperials, blend in with the locals?
If we’re going with this narrative, that Daisy and Wheelie are helping out Boyega and they’re trying to get him to the Rebels, maybe the Falcon at the end — being chased by Imperials, remember — is a part of this too? An extraction mission from maybe-Tatooine.
THAT LIGHTSABER THOUGH
We get a from-behind glimpse at what I imagine is a Sith… or a Sith wannabe, searching for a Master. The broadsword-style lightsaber he/she is carrying (the crossguard on traditional broadswords is meant to protect the wielder’s hands… and we all know how often hands are lost in saber duels, so this addition makes sense to me) certainly seems unstable.
The glow of the blade is frantic and flickering, atypical of the lightsabers we’re used to, and its ignition sound/hum is a bit off-kilter as well. Given the immense accuracy given to all of the other designs and sound effects in the teaser (probe droid, the Falcon’s whir, the TIE fighter blasters and engines, etc.), this is clearly on purpose. Perhaps this lightsaber’s construction is the work of an amateur or, alternatively, an extremely skilled Force-sensitive person that has augmented the traditional lightsaber in some way. Intriguing, no doubt.
This isn’t relevant to the teaser, really, but writing all of this got me thinking about the rumor that Luke is the “evil cyborg” character that’s been seen in leaked concept art (below). That the big twist is Luke’s been gone for 30 years and become evil/gone nutso. While I don’t believe that everyone lived happily ever after post-ROTJ, I certainly don’t buy this. This would be a twist for twist’s sake, an M. Night movie; this would have to be a story we’d need to be told in full if we’re to buy it. We can’t cut to 30 years later, after the adventure of a lifetime, to a bunch of old farts that don’t speak anymore and where the hero of the galaxy has gone mad.
That doesn’t ring true to the characters nor the universe. Maybe he’s become distant or even a hermit like Old Ben, but I don’t buy that he’d turn evil.. and not in a way that we’d have to learn about in an opening crawl or exposition or a tie-in novel. It’d be impossible to sell the idea that way with absolutely no precedent for it.
That being said, the Star Wars Episodes have only one hard through line… the Skywalkers. So it’s doubtful that Luke would be cast aside as just a supporting player (unless he’s got a kid… or a niece/nephew… but I still don’t figure Daisy Ridley as a Solo), but even still… doing a son/daughter/niece/nephew redeems their fallen Jedi father/uncle, well, we’ve been told that story already.
So flipping cute, right?
As I mentioned, this is all purely fun speculation because I love thinking about Star Wars and we’re never going to be this in the dark about a Star Wars movie ever again. So let’s enjoy it. Let me know what you think of it all! Share the excitement — no negativity, please. Been there, done that.
And of course… May the Force be with you!