Wednesday, October 21, 2015

'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' trailer No. 2 review

"The Force, it's calling to you. Just let it in."

The seventh episode in the "Star Wars" saga seems to be about the journey of self-discovery and/or self-identity. That's what the footage from the second full trailer for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" appears to be for Daisy Ridley's Rey and John Boyega's Finn.

Who are these characters? How do they fit into the "Star Wars" universe? What are Finn and Rey's importance in "The Force Awakens"? How do they relate to other iconic characters in the saga?

These are questions many fans have had and wondered about ever since we first heard about Rey, Finn and the new Dark Lord of the Sith, Kylo Ren.

What I wonder is why there's any backlash about Boyega's Stormtrooper character. What does it matter if Finn's a black guy?

I didn't quite get it right in my casting diversity op-ed many months ago, but let me say it straight here: It's loooong past time for a main character in "Star Wars" to be a man of color.

(And don't forget Lupita Nyong'o plays a character named Maz Kanata, so there's a black woman in "The Force Awakens," too! And if you think I forgot Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian or even Samuel L. Jackson as Jedi Master Wace Windu; I'd say they're secondary characters -- very important ones, but not a main character in "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi" (for Lando) and the prequels for Windu.)

What's wrong with a black "Star Wars" character? Nothing: diversity is a beautiful thing.

In a galaxy with incredibly diverse aliens, racial diversity should be embraced too.

The opening seconds of the trailer seem to indicate Rey is a scavenger. She would need a protective mask to avoid exposure to the harsh sun of the planet Jakku.

And doesn't it seem like Rey is in the interior of the Star Destroyer that crash-landed on the sandy planet where she lives?

Speaking of crash landing, the TIE fighter that gets hits in a space battle likely is piloted by Finn. He is forced to crash-land on Jakku, which is why we see him take off his Stormtrooper helmet and being separated from the rest of the Empire (now called the First Order), it's no wonder he's freaked out and sweating.

If indeed Finn lands on Jakku, it stands to reason he and Rey would meet each other. And if Finn is considered AWOL, First Order soldiers will be looking for him. With lots of firepower.

Now how Rey and Finn get into contact with Han Solo, Chewie and the gang is another issue. My prediction -- again, based on this trailer footage -- is it seems like the Millenium Falcon is leading TIE Fighters through the wreckage on Jakku. It could even be that this fight is part of the battle in which Finn's ship gets shot and everyone meets eventually that way.

Regardless, Rey has questions about Solo's adventures during the original trilogy. Having lived in an-out-of-the-way world like Jakku, it's likely she hasn't heard the whole story about the long battle between the Rebel Alliance and the Galactic Empire.

"There are stories about what happened," Rey says to Solo.

"Chewie: We're home."
Solo doesn't mince words: "It's true. All of it. The Dark Side. A Jedi. They're real."

That's a long way from Solo's first exposure to The Force in "Episode IV: A New Hope" when he tells Obi-Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker he'd prefer a trusty blaster at his side over "some hokey religion."

Of course, Solo's cryptic reply to Rey means there are untold stories between the end of "Return of the Jedi" and "The Force Awakens." ...

By what's likely the climactic battle in "The Force Awakens," Finn has joined the Resistance (the new version of the Rebel Alliance aka the Rebellion) as an X-Wing pilot.

Our only glimpse -- and it's a brief one! -- of Princess Leia is when she goes to Solo's arms to be comforted.

Why is Leia on the verge of crying? Did someone die? Is she worried about the fate of her brother Luke or Finn or someone else?
GIF courtesy of

Let me just say, Carrie Fisher looks fabulous as Leia. The princess' hairstyle is a nice complement to a middle-age woman who is both regal and not afraid to jump into action. The haters can stuff it!

Fisher and director J.J. Abrams should be applauded for embracing a character who has aged gracefully. And looking great in the process! Hollywood should take notes. ...

No "Star Wars" film would be complete with a big baddie.

The Darth Vader-esque Kylo Ren promises that "nothing will stand in our way."

"I will finish ... what you started," Ren says to Vader's melted helmet/mask.

Did this Dark Lord dig up Vader's corpse from the ashes of the funeral pyre Skywalker built for his father at the end of "Jedi"? Does Kylon Ren not know that Skywalker helped Vader return to the Light Side of the Force and kill Emperor Palpatine? What exactly is Ren wanting to finish?

To whom is the voice-over speaking when she says that person needs to "let in" the call of The Force?

Is it Rey, as the first full trailer insinuates?

Finn? (He's armed with a blue lightsaber in the promotional poster [above] and what appears to be a battle with Kylo Ren in the trailers.) attributes the aforementioned quote to Leia. (See the top of this review for the exact wording.) Judging from the outfit we see in this trailer, that very well is Leia handing a lightsaber to Rey, anointing her as a Jedi -- which would be an incredibly powerful moment in "The Force Awakens."

(I just got full-body shivers! I'm not kidding.) 

There's a much better chance it could be Nyong'o as Maz Kanata speaking to Rey. (Listen to her voice and I have a feeling you'll realize it sounds more African than it does Fisher.) Is Maz Kanata possibly a Jedi we meet during the film?

Many fans have griped about not seeing Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker.

Gimme a break, gang. Director J.J. Abrams has to hold something back. What better Big Reveal than the older, wiser and Kenobi-esque Skywalker? ... There isn't.

This trailer for "The Force Awakens" prompts many questions, answers a few more and then turns around and inspires more questions. The footage promises lots of the kind of unique "Star Wars" action we're used to seeing in the original trilogy. It doesn't give me the gooseubumps like the first full trailer, but it keeps me just as pumped for the Dec. 18 release date.

The Force is strong with this trailer. Grade: A-

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