The arrival of the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi on Friday was met with tremendous excitement amid the hysteria at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando. At last, the world had caught a glimpse of Rian Johnson's vision for the next chapter in the Star Wars saga, the continuation of Rey's journey, the re-emergence of a long-exiled Luke Skywalker, the return of Finn and Poe and Kylo Ren and BB-8.
Fans immediately started breaking down the teaser in search of clues about the new movie's still-mysterious plot. In amongst all the analysis, one fan noticed something else about the teaser: its striking similarities to the second teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Observant YouTube user James VanFleet fired up his editing tools and put together a side-by-side comparison of the Last Jedi and Force Awakens teasers, and it turns out they are more-or-less identical in format. Each teaser runs down the same checklist of elements: setting up new-trilogy characters with a particular emphasis on Rey, bringing in voice-over that sets a certain mood, calling back to original trilogy characters, reminding the world that Star Wars owns the Christmas release window, teasing action and space battles, and then one last blast of nostalgia courtesy of an original character speaking dialog on-screen. Music, editing, shot selection all uncannily mirror each other, as VanFleet's clip shows.
At the very end of the clip, VanFleet drives home the point of how closely the Last Jedi teaser adheres to the formula laid down by the teasers for The Force Awakens: he shows the slow fade-in that leads to our first, somewhat startling look at Rey in the Last Jedi teaser along with the now-famous "boo" moment from the very first Force Awakens teaser when we saw the desert of Jakku and then suddenly Finn appeared. The two images sync up perfectly, highlighting these parallels as likely intentional.
Of course, it's no surprise that Disney, a company committed to maximizing the value of an incredibly important asset, would adopt a strict "if it ain't broke don't fix it" policy when it comes to marketing. There's no denying the effectiveness of the marketing for The Force Awakens, and it makes sense that Disney would stick to that template, even going so far as to copy the first movie's teasers beat-for-beat. Perhaps more surprising is the similarities between the new teaser and the one for Man of Steel.
At the end of the day, fans will be happy with any chance to see new footage from Star Wars: The Last Jedi, even if it's assembled in a familiar way. Working on people's emotions is the point of teasers after all, and Disney has clearly hit on an approach that really stirs up fan anticipation and gets people talking.
Source: James VanFleet
- Star Wars 8/Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017) release date: Dec 15, 2017
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) release date: May 25, 2018
- Star Wars 9 / Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) release date: Dec 20, 2019