A Trailer Awakens: Two fans discuss whether ‘Star Wars’ teaser is worth getting excited about.Written by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
By Jeff McGinnis and Jim Beard
JEFF: Never before has so much been written, with so much in-depth analysis, of so little actual content. When it was revealed that the upcoming “Star Wars” sequel — “The Force Awakens” — would see its first teaser trailer released in a handful of theaters over Thanksgiving weekend, fans the world over salivated at the news. When the trailer was released online on Nov. 28, the reaction was swift and rapturous. It seemed that every “Star Wars” enthusiast the world over was thrilled with what they saw, and couldn’t wait to tell everyone else all about it.
Strange, given how the trailer itself really offered no information at all about the plot, characters or much of anything about the new film, beyond the fact that the new lightsaber has a crossguard. Otherwise, it’s just a bunch of quick cuts of images that are vaguely “Star Wars,” accompanied by the iconic theme. Frankly, it felt like a pretty lazy teaser to me. Yet the reaction was over the moon. What are fans going so crazy for?
JIM: Because “Star Wars” is “back,” I’d say. Another friend said it was like JJ Abrams & Co. saying, “Don’t worry. We’ve got this,” and I have to say I pretty much agree with that. Maybe some people forget that we’re a little more than a year out from the film’s release, and that this is only a teaser to whet the appetite.
A little historical perspective: When I saw the very first “Star Wars” teaser trailer in January of ’77, I gleaned little to no story or plot from it. It was a jumble of images that I let wash over me, and began to speculate over. I guessed the Tusken Raiders awaited Luke and Leia at the other end of their swing across the chasm — who knew? Flash forward to now. Same thing: a bright burst of “Star Wars” and I’m a kid again.
I’ll be honest with you. I just went with it and allowed my gut to tell me what to think. And I thought it was pretty cool. The real trailer will come eventually and we’ll get some idea of the story. I’m not worried about it. For now, I’m assured that Abrams & Co. are delivering a “Star Wars” film that echoes the past and delivers the future, and that feels pretty good.
JEFF: But are fans setting themselves up for a great fall? I remember the overwhelming excitement that accompanied the early trailers for “Episode I,” and the general response to the film itself was significantly more muted. As you said, you filled in most of the excitement and ideas yourself when you were a kid, and that same excitement fills you now. But considering how little you were given, it feels like you — and many fans — are doing the heavy lifting yourselves.
Yes, this is a teaser trailer, and the film is still over a year away. But that hasn’t stopped fans the world over from praising this snippet of footage as proof that Abrams has a firm grasp on the universe he has inherited. But there’s really no concrete evidence either way, based upon what we have seen. Trailers convinced me Abrams would deliver a great “Star Trek” experience, too, and in my opinion, he went 0-for-2 there. I’m not saying “The Force Awakens” WON’T be a great “Star Wars” movie. I’m just approaching this with caution — as a fan who has been burned before by trailers that offered considerably more meat to chew on than this one.
JIM: I totally get what you’re saying, but my gut — my sensitivity to the Force, if you will — tells me that they’re at least heading in the right direction. And yes, “Star Wars” fans, like most all other genre fans, can be their own worst enemy. With this teaser, I can really only speak for myself when I say that I don’t think I’m kidding myself by being optimistic for the film.
From what we know and what we’ve seen, it appears as if they’re trying to be all-inclusive: diversity in casting, mystery in action, humor, dark fantasy, sly wrinkles on existing “Star Wars” iconography — it’s all there in the teaser, which I see as being carefully thought out. In some ways, it’s fairly masterful, because it sends a message without giving much away. It provides excitement, and despite some grumblings and the typical naysaying, as well as a few nuggets of mind-boggling racism over the casting John Boyega, the excitement seems heartfelt to this “Star Wars” fan. Maybe the supposed wounds over the prequels are healing.