Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Trailer

A new servant of the Dark Side holds a precious relic,
 the destroyed helmet of Darth Vader. 

Last night, the movie trailer for "Star Wars:The Force Awakens" was released. I didn't catch it on TV, so I looked it up online. It had 700,000 views, but this morning it's already up to 7+ million.

The trailer definitely exudes the character of the Star Wars series. Everything I've seen about the movie so far looks & feels great. It's awesome to think that this timeless saga is going to get new chapters on the big screen, using a combination of new & existing characters.

What it is really making an impact on me is the use of familiar elements, but seeing them in a different way. For example the scene with Kylo Ren holding the long-dead Sith Lord Darth Vader's aged helmet, which is now mangled, burnt, and reminiscnent of a skull. It is a stark contrast to the fearsome. polished black armor that one represented Vader's temporal power.

Also symbolizing the old order of the Galactic Empire, the beginning of the trailer shows Rey (with a light on her face that may be seen as a symbol of searching & future illumination) rappelling through the husk of a crashed Star Destroyer, a gigantic mile-long warship that had the ability to conduct planetary assaults. It is now nothing but cavernous ruins, slowly disintegrating in the desert of Jakku. These are clear symbols showing that this is a new era, yet still connected to the past.

Along with the name itself, "The Force Awakens," the feel of the movie seems to be keeping in line with the original focus on the telling of The Hero's Journey. This is a journey of the soul exemplified by fictional characters, but experience by each one of us through the challenges that we face in life. By facing life with courage and purpose, while rising to each circumstance you encounter, you can also embody the hero's quest. This set of transformative experiences can lead to an awakening of one's mind & spirit.

It appears that the main characters, Rey and Finn, are both facing the traditional hero journey. There is speculation that Rey is really a Skywalker, and this would make sense to me, since the entire series is a telling of the family story. The absence of Luke Skywalker is fueling a lot of rumors, but it appears to me that he is the one touching R2-D2, with the mechanical hand that replaced the one sliced off by his father. Luke may eventually help the younger characters on their quest as Obi-Wan did for him. I'd like to think that he is either creating a new Jedi order or forced out of hermitage to help confront new manifestations of The Dark Side.

The calling to the hero's journey is usually unexpected. It looks like both of the main characters are suddenly thrown into their situation- much like the characters in the original movies were led into their journey by circumstances beyond their control.

The interplay of the opposite aspects of The Force also seem to play a big role. The heroes (especially Rey I would guess) will have to grapple with both sides, The Dark and The Light. It is interesting that the group of black-clad figures that appears to be The Knights of Ren do not follow the Sith rule of allowing only a master & apprentice. In fact, it looks like the "Knights" look like a fairly ragtag & motley group with mostly non-energy weapons, like staffs & clubs. Maybe they're a gang of wanna-be thugs or mercenaries, with Kylo trying to find relics to establish a connection to the Dark Side users of old.

I think the mix of old, familiar features with new looks really well done, so far.

I'm really looking forward to joining the rest of the human race in seeing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" when it is in theaters at the end of the year.

I almost forgot... the official poster for "The Force Awakens" was also revealed a few days ago. It shows most of the major characters- including Rey, split between the blue & red sides. This was also the first glimpse at Starkiller Base, a weapon built right into a planet that can destroy an entire solar system:

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