Squeaky Mouse Droid Episode 5: Chewie, We’re Home, Teaser breakdown
Featuring an unexpected guest!
Hey folks, Squeaky Mouse Droid is about to analyze the new teaser trailer for The Force Awakens…
Thanks for sticking around, folks. Because if you’ve made it this far, you’ve not only seen the trailer upwards of fifty times, you’ve probably read other in-depth frame-by-frame commentaries of it as well. Chances are, you’ve (if you’ve been truly bored) seen reaction videos on YouTube, wherein people film themselves watching the trailer for the first time. Chewbacca scares me and pretty much every other Squeaky Mouse Droid, and since he pops up in this trailer, you won’t see a video reaction from me. It’s too late, anyhow. I tried to watch the trailer that first time right after the stream of the TFA panel at Star Wars Celebration. However, the trailer didn’t transmit, and by the time I refreshed my stream, the trailer was half over. It felt like I was never able to watch it as a whole trailer “for the first time.”
This analysis will be different from the others you’ve read. Inspired by the fantastic analysis by Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis at Schmoes Know (where they made a few observations I will comment on and will repeat here) I figured I’d also bring in a co-columnist to help me out.
Welcome to, my column! Folks, it’s Salacious Crumb, Jabba the Hutt’s former court jester.
Hi Mr Crumb.
Crumb: Ehhhhh hehe he heeee!
Awesome! Salacious is here to help me out. Here we go. So we open with the Lucasfilm logo. They revamped it a bit.. it’s no longer green, and it’s no longer…
Crumb: Heeee hehehehe Heeh
Shut up. Shut. Up. So if you watch the logo card in this trailer, you can hear the hum of lightsabers…
Uh, no, Salacious. No. It’s not the sound of interference on your tv from an alien transmission. It’s the sound of lightsabers humming. Okay. That’s the sound. Right?
Crumb: Heee he he he hee heh!
Well, okay. We are going to have to agree to disagree…
Crumb: Ha! Ha! Heeeee!
If you remember, comicbooked did a really awesome, quite perfect and rather splendid analysis of the previous 88-second teaser that dropped around Turkey Day of last year.
Crumb: He? He?
Stop it, I lost my place. That trailer had a total of eleven shots, as it was the ultimate tease. It was strung together by absolutely new music composed by John Williams. No kidding. They really only wanted to givest the very tip of the iceberg of what this movie was like. The only familiar character in that trailer was the Millenium Falcon. Yes, I consider that a familiar character. But the intention there was not to use nostalgia exactly, but to show the viewer that this franchise was going to plow its way forward with it’s own vision.
The thing is, everyone knows this is a sequel to the original trilogy, and that original cast-members will be returning. They are not simply “characters appearing in a sequel.” These characters (Luke, Han, Leia, R2-D2, and C-3P0) are more akin to creatures of myth. as Star Wars is indeed the closest thing to sprawling myth that has come from whole cloth at the dawn of Generation X, and was passed on to younger generations. These characters, their world, and their adventures are as recognizable as they come. To know that there will be new scenes and new dialogue featuring these characters is something that, truth be told, is something remarkable to contemplate. Imagine if a new story – in as a legitimate a way as possible – continued the stories of Odysseus or Hercules and such new stories are considered to be as integral to the myths as any of the old stories that are centuries old.
No, I actually I can’t remember if Hercules – or Odysseus, for that matter were depicted as having died in the stories. But you know how fantasy is: no one ever really dies so long as a writer can come up with a clever way to bring them back.
Please, Salacious, don’t let me go off on any more useless tangents.
And that was indeed, a useless tangent. So, anyway, like the first teaser, the opening shot shows a desert. We have learned that this planet is not Tatooine. The director of the film revealed that much at the panel. This is, in fact, Jakku, and apparently the site of a large battle between the Empire and the Rebellion – a battle that may be playable in the upcoming game Battlefront. Anyway, we see a crashed X-Wing fighter and, looming in the background, a Star Destroyer. moving across the landscape is a speeder. It’s too small to be sure but wager Salacious Crumb’s very life that this Rey riding on the very speeder we say her using in the original teaser… that speeder that looks like a Popsicle.
Crumb: Heeeee? A-heheheh heh!
That’s a great opening shot! And by using the classic Williams “Force Theme” we are instantly aware that this is the continuation of this myth that we’ve been waiting for.
The next shot is extremely telling. If the entire saga has been about Darth Vader, then we have a reason to stand up and take notice, as Vader’s charred helmet/ skull is not sitting on a shiny black shelf. I speculate that the film’s villain, Kylo Ren, is some kind of relic hunter in search of Sith artifacts. Leaked concept art has him holding Vader’s helmet in very much the condition it is now. I believe that this shot is aboard a new Star Destroyer. And it is here that we hear narration from Luke Skywalker himself. All of this narration is lifted from (or maybe re-recorded) from that scene in Return of the Jedi where Luke tells Leia that she too has the Force as they are both the offspring of Darth Vader. By changing the order of the lines a bit, the producers of this trailer have made the line “you have that power, too” connect to this new story. Is it referring to Rey, or Finn, or maybe someone else.
We had also seen someone – perhaps Luke, as he has an artificial hand) contemplating things at a campfire next to R2-D2. His reverence for the droid indicates that this may indeed be Luke but…
Crumb: Heeeee he he heh heeeh!
And we see the lightsaber being passed. We know not who is getting it, but it’s clearly the hands of a young woman. The lightsaber is likely the one that Luke had lost in The Empire Strikes Back, and, to really speculate in a manner that’s even more absurd that Mr’. Crumbs insane laugh, the background, which looks to have a good deal of machinery, could be the junk room of Cloud City.
How cool would it be to see Bespin on screen again?
Crumb: Hee hehehe heeh!
Certainly that matches some of the leaks that indicated that Luke’s missing lightsaber plays an important part of the plot. Maybe Kylo Ren is desperately searching for it, despite having a rather impressive saber of his own.
And it is about here that the trailer picks up the pace. After the music swells with the words “This Christmas”, we see a squadron of X-Wings zooming at a very low altitude led by what actor Oscar Isaac called “the best pilot in the galaxy,” Poe Dameron. He shows plenty of panache here, enough to put Maverick to shame.
Then we get a shot of Kylo Ren wielding his three-bladed saber. He’s also in another shot coming up, leading stormtroopers at night. It seems like they are burning villages, perhaps looking for an artifact. I’m getting flashes (in a positive way) of an early sequence in The Two Towers wherein Saruman has many of the villages in Rohan burnt down. Maybe this films scope will match that film’s and maybe if these scenes happen early enough in the film, it could establish Ren as one of the most awesome villains in all of cinema. Yes I think it could.
Crumb: (speechless, turns his head back and forth in befuddlement).
No, Sebulba isn’t here, Salacious. Anyway, sandwiched in between the shots Kylo Ren is a fantastic shot of Rey, Finn, and BB-8 escaping fire from a TIE fighter. Yes, this is an actual explosion the actors are running from, making an amazing shot. JJ obviously feels that using actual explosions on location will give the scene more impact than having the actors time their movements in front of a green-screen for effects that will be added later. This is real directing!
After a shot Kylo Ren using the Force, we see the first shot of the New Order, which was that Empire has evolved into. There seems to be a figure leading them, but he’s only about three pixels in size here. Could it be Andy Serkis’ character? Or how about Max Von Sydow’s character? Who knows, but the New Order has their own stormtroopers and their own TIE fighters, and they’ve set up a base on a very cold planet. Pretty cool, huh?
Crumb: Heee he he he heeeh!
The next few shots fly by at a fast pace. We see Rey trying to contemplate the gravity of her situation. Then we see some of the new TIE fighters doing some exciting maneuvers. And then there’s a scene that really has piqued my interest: A rogue TIE (possibly piloted by former stormtrooper Finn) has opened fire on other TIES and stormtroopers in the docking bay of what might be a Star Destroyer. Or maybe someone in charge has ordered the slaughter of his own troops when a mission has failed. But there’s one thing I agree with just about every other Star Wars fan on aspect of the scene: to see that stormtrooper go flying from those explosions will probably get it’s own Wilhelm scream.
Crumb: Ha ha ha haa!
I thought if anyone can do a good Wilhelm scream it would be you, Crumb.
We then cut to what is likely Finn’s moment of crisis, where we see him remove his stormtrooper helmet with a look of utter regret, as if he is realized that he has been playing for the wrong team. Blood in a Star Wars film? We see it here, but just a little, as it has stained Finn’s helmet.
Now we see the might of the New Order. We see a new Star Destroyer, and some new vessels about to dock, followed by a shot of a Chrometrooper. Fans everywhere theorize that this elite stormtrooper is the character that will be played by Game of Thrones alumni Gwendoline Christie and she looks…
Crumb: Heeeeeee he he he he!
No, we’re not going to talk about Game of Thrones here. This analysis is already too long. Please, try to be helpful.
Now that we’ve seen a little bit of blood (every good fairy tale has some darkness in it, after all) we get other shots that give us a sense of wonder,, particularly the one of a cautious BB-8 exploring the interior of the Falcon for the first time. Presumably, this droid, along with Finn and Rey, escape this planet thanks to the help of Han, Chewie, and their famous vessel. We see a few more shots of Rey convincing Fin n to go with her, followed by the Falcon flying around Jakku (as it had at the end of the first teaser) before going into the beat-up engine of that downed Star Destroyer. It is pursued by a TIE fighter whose pilot has pretty damn good aim.
Man, I hope the troops of the New Order can hit their targets.
Crumb: He he heeeh heh!
And, after after we see the Falcon pull of movies like it did when Lando flew through the superstructure of the second Death Star, we get an explosion as a conduit is destroyed by enemy fire. The screen goes black. Then we hear:
Crumb: He haaaaaa ha haa!
No, we hear: “Chewie.. we’re home.”
For the first time since 1983, we have new dialogue form one of those characters of myth: Han Solo. How awesome is that. It’s the moment that made a million adult males cry out in joy and were suddenly at peace. We see an older Han Solo (check out his new jacket!) say that line with a hint of a smile, and that smugness that Solo is known for… think about that scene in Jedi where he led the Stormtroopers into a simple tap, and just kind of shrugged as if to say yeah I’m a baddass! We’ve all heard stories about how Harrison Ford has no interest in this character, and we’ve all seen how grumpy he’s been in many of his recent films, but here, in only a few frames of screen-time, he brings the levity to the table that Han has always brought I’m also taken home, taken to those early memories where Han ran after a small band of stormtroopers on the first Death Star before reaching a room where there are too many of them, before retreating in style as no one else can. To see this character on screen again is something to cheer about.
Crumb: Hah hah ha eh hah!
Or laugh about. And fans are cheering and laughing all over the place. The Star Wars we always wanted to have seems to be back. And when Han says he is home, he clearly means the Falcon. He and Chewie have their guns (actually, Chewie, who looks great, has his crossbow) at the ready. They are likely looking to see if there’s anyone else on board, but when Han realizes the ship is his hands, he realizes that he is home.
The shot they use is great, a recreation of a publicity still of Han and Chewie form 1977. What a great way to end a trailer. After all, the trailer started with a dose of nostalgia; why not end with some too.
Thanks for helping me with this review, Mr. Crumb. I never thought having a useless companion would be a useful asset, but somehow you made it work. Did J.J. Abrams send you?
Regardless, Disney’s stock has gone up in value considerably since this trailer dropped. There’s a lot of people – both fans and the powers that be – that are celebrating right now.
Celebrations tend to happen when Chewbacca gets the last word; didn’t that happen in the original Star Wars film?
Crumb: Ha! Hahahaha! Heeyyyyya ha ha ha!
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