Literally every frame in the second teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an image that deserves to be nerded-out over, right down to the black title card with white text that reads “THIS CHRISTMAS,” reminding us all collectively that in a matter of mere months The Force shall indeed be awakening.
The charred Vader mask…the Silver Stormtrooper…the TIE Fighter/Millennium Falcon dogfight…HAN AND CHEWIE! All of it. By now, we’ve all watched it a bazillion times and have read the countless frame-by-frame analyses of the teaser crowding the Interwebs right now. But I’d like to analyze and discuss one scene in particular.
The shot that made the hair stand up on my arm (the non-robot one), the shot that made salty water emit from my eyes…was the very first. It’s an instantly iconic shot, framed from afar, sweeping then still with a New Hope aesthetic. A land speeder cuts through the frame revealing a fallen, war-torn shell of a Star Destroyer that fills the background and the skeletal remains of an X-Wing that frames the foreground (which you probably didn’t notice on first watch due to the Star Destroyer’s jaw-droppingness). It’s all scored to the classic “The Force Theme” that set the tone for some of the original trilogy’s most goosebump-inducing moments. The shot is the true definition of “epic,” and deserves the use of the word in every way.
It goes without saying that JJ Abrams selected this shot to open the second, more nostalgia-infused teaser for a reason. It tells us everything we need to know about the galaxy far, far away three decades later and yet it’s a shot filled with so much mystery about a universe we haven’t visited for 30 years.
Are these the remnants of a ROTJ-era space battle between The Empire and Rebel Alliance? Is that the desert planet we now know to be Jakku? Who is that on the speeder bike? (Presumably it’s Daisy Ridely’s Rey, the scavenger on her popsicle-shaped speeder bike seen in the first teaser.) Where can I get this image stretched on a giant canvas to hang in my living room? I digress.
It’s a totally new scope of imagery, the likes of which we’ve never seen in the Star Wars-verse before, and yet it feels in a way very nostalgic. For me, it gives me the same feelings I still get every time I watch the binary sunset sequence in A New Hope, which never fails to give me the same chills it’s given me since I was a kid. We all know it, as the projector in our brains fires up and plays it on an invisible screen. Luke steps out into the desert sand of Tatooine, looking longingly to his home planet’s twin suns hoping something exists for him beyond the stars as John Williams’ beautifully scored “Binary Sunset” builds the emotion.
Though these two shots don’t really have much in common besides the musical cues (and sand), they both take me to the same places. Places in my heart and my brain…places of passion and imagination…places that only Star Wars has ever been able to take me. It is this single shot amongst the others we’ve seen from Episode VII that make me look up to those proverbial twin suns once again, knowing something exists beyond the stars.
December 18 can’t get here fast enough. Until then, I’m just going to stare at this image.