In just a few weeks time, Disney and Lucasfilm will finally release Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens in theaters, the culmination of an interminable three year wait for fans of the galaxy far, far away. While the studio is done releasing full-length trailers for the film, they’ve spent the last wave of marketing unveiling new television commercials seemingly every other day. None of them have spoiled any of the movie’s heavily-guarded secrets, but most have revealed morsels of fresh dialogue and/or footage to obsess over.
With Star Wars 7 shattering early ticket sale records left and right, one would think Lucasfilm would be content to pump the brakes on their advertising efforts, but they’ve still got things they want to share. On the official Star Wars Facebook page, a new 60-second TV trailer made its debut, giving viewers a taste of the grave stakes at hand.
The spot begins with the same lines uttered by Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis) in the very first Star Wars 7 teaser trailer, where he asks someone if they have felt an awakening. It would appear he is speaking to Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), who responds to the query with a simple “yes.” Snoke then informs his young apprentice that “even you have never faced such a test,” suggesting that the Starkiller base isn’t the only threat the Resistance will have to face.
While the first half of the spot is focused squarely on the First Order, the second is more about the heroes and what they must do to stand up to the new group of villains. Viewers are treated to a montage showcasing the various action sequences that have been featured throughout the marketing campaign (Jakku, Takodana, and Starkiller base). It includes some new shots (Oscar Isaac’s Poe Dameron leading his squadron into battle), but a majority of the footage is repurposed from the prior commercials and trailers. That’s a smart strategy, since there’s still so much unknown about the film.
A big takeaway from this particular Force Awakens advertisement is that the tone is more dark and serious when compared to the other ones. Viewers get the impression that the galaxy is in dire times, with the Galactic Civil War still raging on 30 years after Emperor Palpatine was defeated. The First Order is shaping up to be an intimidating force that’s even stronger than the old Imperial regime. Their army observing what is most likely the Starkiller base weapon in action is an image that immediately conveys the magnitude of their power and the tremendous odds stacked against the Resistance as they fight for freedom in the galaxy.
That’s not to say The Force Awakens won’t feature some classic moments of Star Wars levity and escapism, but it arguably makes for a stronger film if the proceedings have some weight to them. One of the stronger elements of the original trilogy was its underdog tale of the ragtag, outmatched Rebels banding together against the well-resourced Empire. If Star Wars 7 really is to be the “genuinely magical” return to form many are hoping for, it would help if it told a compelling story viewers can easily get invested in.
Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18th, 2015, followed by Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on December 16th, 2016, Star Wars: Episode VIII on May 26th, 2017, and the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25th, 2018. Star Wars: Episode IX is expected to reach theaters in 2019, followed by the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.