‘The Force’ Examined: Dissecting the ‘Star Wars’ Teaser

Although it only runs about 90 seconds (including a number of fade-to-blacks between segments), the new teaser trailer for ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ might turn out be the most examined piece of footage since the Zapruder film. I’ve cataloged some of the most interesting shots to provide my take on each of them.

While I don’t know anything more about this movie than the rumors that have floated around online, I feel it’s fair warning to say that potential spoilers may follow, so read on at your own risk.

Star Wars – John Boyega

As John Boyega’s character looks off into the desert (which I assume is Tatooine), we get a look at the back of his stormtrooper uniform and see a dark circle to the left and two elongated white ovals to the right. Do these serve any functional purpose, or are they some kind of insignia/rank? Rumors are that Boyega’s character is a rookie stormtrooper who has defected. Do the marks signify that he’s a trooper in training? Also, if you listen to the audio here, you can faintly detect the same sounds the Imperial Probe Droid made in ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, suggesting that this trooper is a hunted man.

Star Wars – Ball Droid

Easily the cutest thing in the trailer (aside from Daisy Ridley, of course), this droid with the gyrosphere lower half is reported to belong to Ridley’s character, meaning that it will probably have a pretty big role in this film and in the films to come. Does it only travel like this and morph into a more stable form when stationary? That’s my guess, but we’ll see. More importantly, take a look at the background in the above shot. That’s a pod racer engine, so this character is almost certainly on Tatooine. Will this droid be loved, or be the next Jar Jar Binks?

Star Wars – Stormtrooper Gun

Following a shot of some stormtroopers waiting to exit a transport ship, we get this close-up of one of their guns, which appears to be some sort of pulse rifle that includes a scope. I don’t have much speculation here. I just thought everyone would like to get a better (albeit blurry) look at the weapon.

Star Wars - Stormtroopers

This is some info you may have missed. As the opening in the troop carrier comes down, you can see water spraying up and the reflection of water below. Are the troops storming a beachhead? It sure seems like it.

Star Wars – Daisy Ridley

This shot of Daisy Ridley riding a huge fudgsicle (make up your own jokes here, folks), looks like a combination of the landspeeder in ‘A New Hope’ and the speeder bike from ‘Return of the Jedi’. The operational mechanics seem to be exactly like the speeder bike, with a foot pedal for speed and a bar the hands use to either go forward or bring the bike to a stop. Also, Ridley’s character is in a desert environment, once again suggesting a Tatooine location.

Star Wars – Oscar Isaac

This is our first look at Oscar Isaac’s character. We don’t know all that much about him yet (although there are rumors that he’ll inherit the Millennium Falcon, which leads to all kinds of potential spoilers about the fate of another character I won’t get into here). He’s definitely flying one of the X-wings (see next shot) and obviously a member of the Rebel Alliance (probably referred to as the “New Republic” in this movie, though there’s been no confirmation of that yet), as we can see the insignia on his left shoulder and on his helmet. Of note here is that his helmet looks pretty beaten up. This suggests that, despite the victory at Endor, the Alliance/New Republic is still struggling.

Star Wars – X-Wings

The new X-Wings look pretty much like the old X-Wings. You’ll note they’re flying over water. My guess is that they’re on the same planet as the stormtroopers who were exiting in the earlier screenshot.

Star Wars – Sith Lightsaber

The snowy woods looks like something we’d see in ‘Game of Thrones’ rather than ‘Star Wars’, but there’s no denying the shadowy figure is wielding a lightsaber. However, it’s unlike any we’ve ever seen before, with additional beams serving as a crossgaurd. The logistics and practicality of the crossguard have already been debated ad infinitum across the web, so I won’t go into that again here. I ask you instead to examine the lightsaber beam itself. It’s much different than what we’ve seen before, with crackles of energy going up and down the blade. Is this an old lightsaber (from before the prequels) or a newly made one? I’m guessing the former. And who is the mysterious figure? General consensus is that he’s the character played by Adam Driver, who is supposed to be this trilogy’s Big Bad, though we know little about him at this point.

Star Wars – Millennium Falcon Loop-the-Loop

There she is! If you didn’t get goosebumps up and down your spine when you saw the Millennium Falcon in the trailer for the first time, I question your fandom. Of course, leave it to J.J. Abrams to add contrails as the Falcon soars through the atmosphere. Also check out the different sensor dish on the ship, most likely added after Lando destroyed the previous one in ‘Return of the Jedi’.

Star Wars – Millennium Falcon vs. TIE Fighters

Our final screenshot gives us a closer look at the Falcon, along with a good look at the new TIE Fighter design, which is primarily the same, but the solar array wings on each side either appear to be clear or white, as opposed to the darker coloring they had in the original trilogy. Also of note is that the ships appear to be flying above a desert environment – so it’s a pretty good guess that the Falcon will be involved in whatever is taking place on Tatooine as well.

Well, that’s what I noted in the trailer. What are your thoughts? Did I miss anything important? Do you think I’m totally wrong in some of my theories? Let us know in the Comments below!


  1. Chris B

    I noticed the shape of the lightsaber to be diffrent from the prequels as well, it harkens back to the original trilogy in which the bladed seemed more slender and almost pointed at the end. As opposed to the prequel trilogy where they seemed wider and more rounded.. I’m assuming the vast majority of fans prefer the OT design so it’s a no-brainer they went back to them.

    As far as speculation of a certain character being killed off, (let’s refer to him as Man Molo *wink wink*) I would think it would be more likely that Luke Skywalker would be killed, acting as sort of a parallel to “A New Hope” when Obi-Wan meets his fate aboard the Death Star. Judging from his Star Trek films, it’s obvious Abrams like’s to make connections to the original films in that series, wouldn’t be surprised if ep.7 continues the that trend.

    Oh and I totally agree about the first time we see the first shot of the falcon, it’s a magical moment.

  2. Alex

    Honestly, I found John Boyega’s reveal a little jarring, not because of any racial issue, but because he pops out of nowhere and his expression seems a little goofy and melodramatic. I’m sure it will make more sense in the context of the larger movie, and Star Wars is space opera, so it does tend to lean a little more towards the melodramatic.

    Overall, I have high hopes. Attack of the Clones and the Phantom Menace had both soaring highs (Darth Maul and the battle on Geonosis) and crushing lows (anytime Anakin and Padme shared the screen), so my expectations are somewhat tempered, and I don’t think the new trilogy has any chance of eclipsing the original trilogy, but I’m hoping for a great time at the movies nonetheless.

    Oh, and the Falcon…I got a little misty seeing her fly once again.

  3. As mentioned in the forums, I get a chuckle when I see the top picture of the Stormtrooper, expecting a Michael Winslow to say “We Ain’t Fount SHIT!!”

    Even with JJ at the helm, this movie will make a Billion dollars once it’s all said and done.

  4. Eric

    When I first saw the trailer and Boyeag reveal at the beginning I thought it was some sort of over dramatic parody and then it cut to the droid, again I was waiting to see what type of parody this was going to be. But when it cut to the troopers I soon new it was the real deal.

    The Falcon at the end gives me.. Well… New hope that this could be good.

    Boyega sounds like a Star Wars name. Born for it.

  5. Eric

    not sure what the last comment about “even with JJ . . .” meant. JJ is what should be giving fans hope. Without Lucas at the helm, this film appears to be bringing a sense of tension which all three prequels lacked entirely. Abrams has only taken two well known properties (MI, Star Trek) and given us the best movie iterations of both. Sit back and get ready to enjoy the camera flares and Abram’s understanding of how to make completely enjoyable films.

    • Bill

      Must must must differ with eric re Star Trek. Abrams has ruined the franchise for most long time trekkers. Just too many changes for us to ever be comfortable with his takes on a classic. After watching the first two I have no intention of ever going near the next movie,

      Now please don’t misunderstand me. Both of Abrams’ Trek outings have been good films/videos. I just wish that he had created his own original universe of planets, characters, plots in which to stage them rather than modifying the Star Trek universe. It’s a bit like tampering with the Bible.

    • That’s interesting…I’d never noticed them before. I have noticed the oval pattern on a lot of Imperial stuff from the OT, usually on panels in the Death Star and Star Destroyers.

  6. William Henley

    The XWing over the water reminds me of Naboo. Since that is pretty much where all the trouble started, it seems fitting that we revisit this place.

    Of course, it could also be a lake on Endor, or a completely new planet.

  7. Scott H

    What sold it for me was the look of the trailer. It looks like a lot of it is models and practical special effects. It doesn’t look like actors standing in front of a blue screen with a bunch of artificial CG backgrounds added in. If you compare this trailer with any of the prequel trailers, this looks more real than any of them. And for me the coolest shot in the trailer is the one of the X-Wings flying over the water looking like there’s some actual weight to them. But the greatest moment is when it fades to black for a moment and then you hear John Williams famous theme, and whoosh there’s the Millenium Falcon flying with some really cool camera work. I can’t wait.

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