I was browsing through Youtube recently and I came across the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer again. Amazingly, as I watched through this trailer, all the feelings and waves of emotions just watched over me and I couldn’t help but acquiesce to how unbelievably awesome this trailer was. So I decided to write this bit about it.
I considered discussing the teaser trailers that came before this because they were awesome, too. However, when I was watching over them again, I found that they were just too short. The full trailer above has so many more beats and reveals and a flow the teasers don’t. I still love watching Han Solo tell me that “he’s home.” Further, the teasers definitely added to the awesomeness of the full trailer.
So right from the beginning, with those first keys on the piano the tone is set. Images of a broken star destroyer and Darth Vader’s broken helmet show us that we are moving on from the old, into and uncharted future. I don’t know about everyone else, but I remember feeling overcome with feelings of nostalgia and this feeling of adventure. In fact, I still feel that way watching it now.
In regards to the narrative, you begin feeling that sense of sadness and resistance. The protagonists are in a bad place and they have no hope of escape. Then the music swells and the Millennium Falcon roars overhead with Tie Fighters in chase and I am just drowning in nostalgia and holding back my tears as I choke down the tender feelings of my childhood. Credit must be given to the musical arrangements used because it is this familiar, sweeping melody that everyone knows that just washes over you and brings you back to this place were dreams are possible and a noble underdog of a hero resists the overwhelming forces of evil.
Then you hear that familiar, reassuring voice. Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) tells you to believe. And while he isn’t truly addressing the viewer, in many ways he really is. He’s telling us to believe in this story, in this franchise again. He’s telling us that we can feel what we once felt before, that the feelings we had during the original trilogy will once again return. This is going to be that kind of adventure.
We then get a quick barrage of all the things we love about Star Wars. We see storm troopers, and X-Wings fighting Tie fighters and comradery in the face of evil. And at the very end of this sweeping montage, when I am all but emotionally exhausted and filled with anticipation for this movie, we get that last glimpse of the black protagonist (Fin, but we didn’t know his name at the time) wielding a blue light saber against Kylo Ren’s cross shaped light saber. So epic.
And that was all. Obviously I went and watched the movie as soon as I could and learned that it was mostly a glorified, beat by beat remake of A New Hope. And while that was disappointing, I can almost forgive the movie for the entertainment and emotions given to me through the release of its trailers. This was movie marketing at its pinnacle. No plot points were given away, no big moments revealed, and yet I could not contain my hype for this movie. I watched this trailer upwards of fifty times.
This is how you do a trailer. This is how keep a sense of mystery and adventure. And while I did not love the film, the trailer brought be infinite amounts of joy and for that I am grateful.