By Jubenal Aguilar
Copy Desk Chief
Star Wars creator George Lucas may not be a part of the saga these days, but we’ve still got a lot to look forward to. Thanks to J.J Abrams, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set to premiere Dec. 18.
The first teaser, an 88-second video, excited Star Wars fans across the world on its release Nov. 26, 2014. A second teaser aired April 16, featuring a monologue by Luke Skywalker on his family and the Force. The official, full trailer aired Oct. 19 and was followed by several TV spots.
Thirty years have passed since the Battle for Endor saw the demise of the Empire and the end of Sith rule. With the passage of time, it appears that the events of that fateful day have been suppressed, altered or forgotten. “There are stories about what happened,” Rey, a scavenger from Jakku, says in the trailers. The First Order, the remnants of the Empire, may be altering the history and rebranding the Rebels as terrorists.
The teasers and trailers feature the classic starship battles that made the original and prequel trilogies epic. X-wings battle it out with TIE fighters over new planets. First-person shots follow both Resistance and First Order pilots as they target and destroy each other.
But the scenes are not entirely new. One shot reveals what appears to be a giant trench on a frozen planet. A similar scene appears in “Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope” as the Rebel pilots approach the Death Star.
In fact, several scenes are strikingly similar to others from the first six movies. There’s a scene when Finn overlooks a small village in Jakku that resembles the one of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi overlooking Mos Eisley. Another features Kylo Ren activating his lightsaber while in a menacing stance, the same way Darth Sidious attacks Mace Windu and the Jedi in “Star Wars: Episode III-Revenge of the Sith.”
The First Order, heavely reminiscent of Nazi soldiers is seen on their stronghold, Starkiller base. The base is like a super upgraded Death Star. But instead of building a new station, the First Order has transformed an entire planet into the largest, most devastating weapon in the saga. The station is seen firing its main weapon, a menacing red beam fueled by the planet’s core, while a large formation of Stormtroopers stand on the surface of the planet.
Kylo Ren has been the prominent dark side figure featured. He has been dubbed the anti-Luke, indicating we may witness his rise to power on the dark side. However, Abrams has said that although he is Force-sensitive, he is not a Sith.
Kylo Ren wields a red lightsaber of an ancient design; its cross guards are formed by raw energy. Emanating from the hilt the blade crackles wildly – a stark contrast to the well-defined, elegant glow and smooth hum of the lightsabers used by fully trained Force users. The lightsaber closely resembles his own wild, unpredictable nature.
His obsession with all things Vader is evident in the trailers. “I will finish what you started,” he says as he holds the charred remains of Darth Vader’s helmet.
Finn, a rogue Stormtrooper, has deserted the First Order after questioning his purpose in life. He finds Rey, who has been waiting a long time for family to return. Fan theories speculate she may be the child of Princess Leia and Han Solo.
Both Finn and Rey are Force-sensitive and likely to be heroes in the new trilogy.
The official movie poster features a detail that may give a clue to the identities of Rey and Kylo Ren. Rey’s electrostaff and Kylo’s lightsaber are perfectly paralled. Could this mean they are related? Possibly even twins separated at a young age, like Luke and Leia?
Noticeably missing are Luke and Supreme Leader Snoke, the who may be most powerful figures on each side of the Force.
Only Luke’s cybernetic, exposed hand is seen in the second teaser released April 16. Fans have speculated that Luke has either turned to the dark side or is in hiding somewhere, guarding an unknown dark force.
Snoke has not made an appearance anywhere. Only his threatening voice is heard as he appears to be speaking to Kylo Ren. Snoke’s mysterious origins have led to an endless number of speculations regarding his true identity. Theoretical candidates have included Luke, the Emperor, Darth Plagueis and even Jar Jar Binks.
Snoke’s voice-over is repeatedly featured, saying: “There’s been an awakening. Have you felt it?” This awakening refers to the Force, which may have been dormant since the fall of the Empire. But why has the Force awoken all of a sudden?
The last time the Force manifested its will was during Anakin Skywalker’s birth. According to Wookieepedia, the story is told in James Lureno’s “Star Wars: Darth Plageuis” and Darth Sidious shifted the balance of the Force to the dark side after months of intense manipulation. Plageuis wanted more control over the midi-chlorians, but they refused and in turn conceived Anakin to counter their efforts.
Snoke’s tone appears concerned in the trailers. He warns Kylo Ren that even he “has not faced such a test.” Is it because the Force has begun to manifest itself on characters who will oppose their efforts?
Even Finn fears for everyone around him. “You don’t know what I’ve seen,” he says in the trailer “We all need to run.”
But run from what? Could there be a new, even more powerful threat from beyond the galaxy? We’ll all have to wait until the release of “Star Wars: Episode VII-The Force Awakens,” on Dec. 18.