Though Star Wars: The Force Awakens co-writer and director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the most recently released trailer would be the film's last, it doesn't mean there isn't any new footage left to be seen. As Disney and Lucasfilm ramp up the marketing efforts with a little over a month to go until its premiere, they've begun to air TV ads for the holiday release.
Like every other bit of Star Wars advertising, these commercials exist mainly to tease moviegoers about the various mysteries of The Force Awakens, leaving the real juicy bits for when fans are watching the film in a theater. Thankfully, that practice continues with an extended TV spot, which aired tonight on ABC before making its way online (watch it above).
This third TV spot is essentially is modeled after the third domestic trailer, in that it sets up the movie's three main leads: Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). It reuses some of the footage viewers have already seen, but there are a handful of new clips worth examining. Arguably the most exciting bit comes towards the end, where Finn (using Luke Skywalker's original lightsaber) is engaged in a close quarters skirmish with a Stormtrooper wielding an electric melee weapon. Perhaps the rumors of The First Order incorporating lightsabers into their military training programs are true.
There's also a shot of Resistance (formerly the Rebel Alliance) leaders in what is presumably their base. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), General Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), and protocol droid C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) are part of the group. It also appears that fan-favorite Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar is taking part in the meeting as well, perhaps giving audiences their first official look at the character since his appearance in Return of the Jedi.
As was the case with the previous trailers and TV commercials, this extended spot is successful in capturing the classic Star Wars tone of a rousing space adventure. There are high stakes to keep moviegoers on edge (Kylo Ren threatening to show people the Dark Side), but also brief moments of levity to make the proceedings fun. It's hard not to crack a smile when Han hands Rey a blaster, telling her that she might need the weapon when they are on Takodana. Star Wars 7 is obviously going to have serious undertones, but it's nice to see that Abrams mixed in some old fashioned wit and charm so it isn't too dour.
The Force Awakens has had one of the more universally-approved marketing campaigns in recent movie history. Just about everything Lucasfilm has shown up to this point has done nothing but generate more excitement for a film that has already been highly-anticipated for years. It also doesn't hurt that cast members such as Ford and Simon Pegg are discussing the film's emotional aspects and "genuinely magical" feel. Everyone is hopeful that Star Wars 7 can be that long-awaited comeback for the franchise, and spots like this illustrate the saga could be in good hands.
Star Wars: 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.