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‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ trailer 3—Everything you need to know

by Brandon Russell | October 20, 2015October 20, 2015 7:00 am PDT

Wow. That was some trailer, huh? Just two months before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on Dec. 18, and Disney has hit lightspeed in the hype department. We thought we couldn’t be anymore excited about the movie’s imminent arrival, and then yesterday’s trailer happened.

Made up of almost entirely new footage, the newest trailer gives us a wonderful look at the overall story arch of The Force Awakens. Not only is the First Order hellbent on eliminating the Resistance, but Kylo Ren is on a mission to destroy every last remaining Jedi—and he’s doing it to please Darth Vader, who is long gone by now.

We also get a good idea of how Finn (John Boyega) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) are going to fit into the story. They feature prominently in the trailer, no doubt as a way for audiences to get familiar with the characters. Oh, but we also see some familiar faces, including Han Solo, Chewie, Leia and R2-D2.

The face we don’t see is Luke, who is apparently in hiding from the First Order. We don’t know how long he’s been on the lam, and whether or not anyone knows where he is. But it’s clear he still has a very important part to play—just don’t count on seeing him until the movie hits in December.

If you didn’t catch yesterday’s trailer, be sure to watch it up above. After that, come along with us as we go through each shot and look for clues, Easter Eggs and secrets to this new Star Wars universe.

We open with a cloaked figure, who we presume to be Rey. She’s in a broken ship, maybe a Star Destroyer, scavenging for parts. What’s cool is that her outfit looks a little bit like Leia’s in Return of the Jedi. You know, when she rescues Han Solo.

“Who are you?” a voice asks. It’s a voice we haven’t heard before, and I’m thinking there’s a good choice this is the voice of Maz Kanata (Lupita N’yongo). She sounds friendly, welcoming, but since we know absolutely nothing about her, it’s hard to say if she’ll be a good character or not. Chances are her intentions will be ambiguous from the start, but I’m guessing she’ll wind up being someone we love.

Rey walks across the planet Jakku as BB-8 follows by her side.

“I’m no one,” Rey responds.

Does she really believe she’s no one? Or is she just trying to disguise her real identity? There have been rumors that Rey is actually Force sensitive, though it’s not really clear if she’s aware of this fact. It could be she’s just hiding her abilities; there’s also a chance (as the trailer later suggests) that she is completely oblivious of her potential.

A spacecraft takes off toward the sky in the distance… Rey looks toward the camera in contemplation.

We then cut to a scene that’s been familiar to the other trailers—a wide shot of a First Order rally of some sort. There are Stormtroopers as far as the eye can see. A lone figure stand at center, likely General Hux (Domnhall Gleeson).

“I was raised to do one thing, but I’ve got nothing to fight for.” A Stormtrooper takes off his helmet, revealing Finn (John Boyega), who is another new character. It’s clear by his actions and comments that he longer believes in the First Order’s cause, which is why (as we saw in the other trailers) he winds up hijacking an TIE Fighter and flying away… by not before he gets shot out of the sky, crash-landing on the surface of Jakku.

This is presumably how his path crosses with Rey’s, though I imagine their first encounter isn’t exactly a happy one.

What’s notable about these early shots is how visually stunning everything is. Although director J.J. Abrams said he’s relying on practical effects this time around, there’s still plenty of CGI, and it looks like the filmmakers are putting them to good effect. There are a lot of wide shots, signifying the movie’s grand scope.

Finn (without his Stormtrooper gear) ascends a large dune that overlooks a scavenger outpost.

We cut to another shot, seemingly aboard that new Starkiller base we saw in the recent poster, to a shot of Kylo Ren, who is the new big bad of the movie.

“Nothing will stand in our way,” he says. “I will finish what you started.” As Ren is speaking—by the way how awesome is his modular voice?!—the camera cuts to the burned remains of Darth Vader’s helmet.

There have been rumors that Ren is a Vader fanatic, and this absolutely confirms them. He speaks to Vader as if he’s alive, and it’s clear Ren looks up to him as an idol—maybe even some kind of father figure. Vader’s familiar breathing can be heard in the background. Pair what Ren says in the trailer to what his toy say, and it’s clear he’s on a mission to destroy every remaining Jedi.

The next shot we see is of Ren using his powers to manipulate Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac); is he doing it to torture Poe? How did he get captured? How far into the movie does this occur? Does Poe survive? He’s certainly doesn’t look like he’s in good shape.

And here’s what might be the most significant shot of the entire trailer: as we cut to the next scene, we see what looks like a planet being obliterated, perhaps by the Starkiller base. We don’t know that for sure, but if the First Order has one in working order, who’s to say they aren’t using it already?

We then get to see a more extended look at the dogfight between some TIE Fighters and the Millennium Falcon, which we got a brief glimpse of at in the first two trailers. Again, the trailer is visually amazing—there is wreckage everywhere, and we again get to see a Star Destroyer at its grave on the new dessert planet.

“There were stories about what happened,” Rey says.

“It’s true—all of it,” Han Solo responds.

His response is interesting because it suggests that the era of Sith and Jedi is just a fable by now. But papa Solo comes around and says all of that is true. There is an augmented reality chart being displayed in the ship’s lounge, but it’s tough to say which planets they’re looking at. Both Finn and Rey look at Solo in disbelief.

We see Ren with his cross guard lightsaber drawn, and he’s just standing there with a mean looking group of individuals (The Knights of Ren?) as rain comes pouring down. Either they’re about to raid a base, or they’ve just done something very, very bad. It’s difficult to get a lay of the land in this shot, but Ren is obviously leading groups of soldiers through encampments in search of the last remaining Jedi. Luke maybe?

The trailer cuts between a few shots of some X-Wings over a lake, Stormtroopers, and TIE Fighters in battle. We see Finn with a blaster walking around a runway as Poe gives him a comforting pat on the shoulder. (This is the brief teaser we saw over the weekend.) Finn appears overwhelmed by it all, but he has a bigger part to play yet.

“The Dark Side,” Solo says, “the Jedi; they’re real.”

The big reveal is cut with some truly spectacular action shots, showing explosions in the air and explosions on the ground. We also get a shot of Solo, Rey and Finn walking toward some kind of base as a robot casually walks by; BB-8 is loyally following behind. This is a colorful place, one that looks like it hasn’t yet been touched by the war. Perhaps this is where Rey meets Maz, and further learns about here place within the Galaxy.

A robotic hand is placed gently upon R2-D2, and we cut to a spaceship landing on a planet that’s on fire. There are Stormtroopers running toward the camera, as people run away in terror. Another Stormtrooper leads the way, giving us only a brief look at Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie). Ren raises his lightsaber and takes a huge swing, but at who?

In the next shot, Rey looks up in tears, with a lifeless body just in front of her. There have been a lot of rumors about what this scene might be; I won’t say what it is, but it’s big. Those are just rumors, however, and it isn’t really clear what’s going on. However, the setting pretty much confirms what’s going to happen—yikes!

Finn, Chewie and Han are seen with their hands up, though the end of the cut suggests help has arrived. But before we can even digest what’s happening, we see a close-up of BB-8 in the back of an X-Wing, with a few dozen TIE Fighters quickly approaching. It’s clear there are going to be a lot of epic dog fights, so prepare yourselves.

“The Force, it’s calling to you,” Maz says, likely to Rey. The next few shots are pure action—X-Wings taking on TIE Fighters, Stormtroopers running down a spaceship’s ramp, Rey angrily shooting a blaster toward an unknown assailant. In the middle of this, on whatever ice planet the First Order seems to be holed up on, it looks like something is splitting open. Is that a trench? Like the original Death Star?

And then a shot of Ren holding his arm up to use the Force, but we don’t know what the context is.

After a few more explosions, we see a tender moment between Leia (our first look at her) and Solo, as the two embrace at an unknown base. It’s unclear how long it has been since the two have seen each other, but so far we’ve only seen Chewie and Solo by themselves, so chances are Leia and Solo haven’t been in contact for many, many years.

The next shot we see Finn light up Anakin’s older lightsaber, kind of taken aback by the whole encounter. In the toys that were released over Force Friday, Ren says how he wants Anakin’s lightsaber for himself, so that will obviously be a very important scene.

As the scene progresses, Ren approaches in the foreground—and without his helmet! We don’t know how or why his helmet is off, but it kind of calls back to what happens at the end of Return of the Jedi to Darth Vader, who winds up taking his helmet off before he passes away.

Throughout the entire trailer we’re led to believe Finn is the one who is Force sensitive, but the prevailing rumors are it’s actually Rey who might have that power. I won’t say anything beyond that, but if you’ve been following Star Wars rumors over the past several months, you probably already know what’s going on.

As Ren and Finn are about to clash, Maz’s voice finishes, “Just let it in,” referring to the Force as she speak to Rey. If Rey truly has no clue the Force actually exists, then she wouldn’t have known she has sensitivity to it. But if she finally opens up to it, then there’s a lot of potential for her power to grow.

Throughout the entire thing we don’t get to see Luke Skywalker once, though it’s likely it’s his hand in the shot of R2-D2. The popular theory is Luke has been on the run since the Episode VI, so it’s no real surprise Lucasfilm has kept him a secret; we probably won’t get to see him at all until the film is actually in theaters.

We also don’t get to see Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis), so we don’t really know just important he will be. If Lucasfilm hasn’t revealed him at this point, don’t count on seeing him over the next few months.

With all of that said, a lot has happened in the trailer, but nothing too significant. Hopefully we haven’t actually seen the entire movie spoiled by two minutes of bliss. Trailers this year have had a tendency to ruin big moments, but it looks like (hopefully) J.J. Abrams and company are keeping their biggest secrets close to the chest.

I hope you got your ticket early, because it’s going to be quite hard to see this on opening night. Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits theaters on Dec. 18, 2015.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...

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