There’s a new international trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakensout today, and it showcases new scenes and events that weren’t in the North American trailer released several weeks ago. It may also have explained a plot point in the movie, though this last is speculation on our part.
The new trailer is configured similarly to the old, but we see new shots of Leia, of Tie Fighters streaking over the desert planet Jakku, and a few more scenes of Kylo Ren’s unusual new light saber. Ren also threatens Rey directly in one scene of the new trailer. C3PO and his replacement red arm are also seen for the first time. We also glimpse Finn, Rey, and R2D2’s kid-friendly replacement, BB8 all together on Jakku.
Minimally founded speculation to follow
One of the events heavily implied by both the various trailers and the rumor mill is that Han and Chewie abandoned the Millennium Falcon on Jakku for an unknown span of time and an unspecified reason. I always found this difficult to believe, since the New Republic won the Battle of Jakku, and the battle itself took place 30 years before The Force Awakens. Why would Han leave the Millennium Falcon — a ship he clearly loves just short of life itself — behind on an alien planet for years, possibly decades?
Rey’s answer could hold the key. She’s clearly being set up in shots that recall Luke’s moisture farm beginnings on Tatooine, and in this trailer, she says she “knows all about waiting. For my family.” Han’s decision to leave the Falcon makes a lot more sense if we assume that he did so to ensure his daughter had a way to escape Imperial spies or pursuers. The Falcon wasn’t just fast — it’s heavily shielded and well-armed for a freighter its size, and more than capable of outrunning Imperial capital ships.
If we run with this hypothesis, much of the rest of the trailer starts clicking into place. When Kylo Ren talks about finishing what “you” (Darth Vader) started, he’s referring to the extermination of the Jedi. The Star Destroyer we see in orbit around Jakku is his, and the battle scenes on the ground in the first trailer are part of the effort to find and execute Rey. This, in turn, would explain why Han and Chewie return to Jakku as part of an effort to protect / rescue Han’s family.
There’s one more tidbit that seems to point in this direction. At Comic-Con this year, theStar Wars team showed off a reel that included this scene, at the 3:17 mark.
That’s Rey and Han settling into the Falcon’s cockpit, side-by-side. Rey is in the co-pilot’s position, where Chewbacca normally flies. The implication is that she’s familiar enough with the Falcon to fly it, and Star Wars historically makes it clear that flying the Falcon isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do.
If this theory is true, it makes me feel better about the general direction of the movie. Star Wars was at its best when it framed galactic events and grand battles between good and evil through the lens of individuals struggling to make a difference, even at a local level. One reason the prequels fail was because the character framing was so terrible — it was difficult to care, even a little, about Anakin’s Skywalker’s struggles with sand or the nature of trade embargoes and Separatist movements.
Yes, The Force Awakens is about the ongoing struggle between the Light and Dark sides, the Imperial Remnant, and the appearance of a new breed of Dark Jedi — but framing that struggle against Han’s attempts to protect his own family? Smart move. We’ll see what happens. Hopefully the other scenes in the trailer — a Death Star-like device destroying a planet and some type of Force-powered interrogation — don’t recall A New Hope to the point of slavish imitation. Gamers looking forward to Star Wars: Battlefront will be able to jump into the fray in a matter of days, while the movie itself is only six weeks away.