The Force Awakens teaser contains only 11 shots, ending with a breathtaking Millennium Falcon sequence that leaves us wanting more. But how does the trailer stack up against the OTHER Star Wars teaser trailers?
You can see all the original trailers below:
1. Star Wars (1977)
This teaser is fascinating. The sound is all on set, nothing has been added in post. The iconic Star Wars score is missing, making the trailer seem like a creepy 1970s dystopian sci-fi film, like Logan's Run or Zardoz. I love the narration: "In another galaxy, this could be happening right now." At a time when Americans were exhausted by Watergate, the gas crises, and stagflation, this trailer promised us a much-needed escape.
2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
This is the only Star Wars trailer to feature no footage: only concept art by Ralph McQuarrie and a few production stills. In this age of Abrams secrecy, it's shocking to hear the narrator outline the movie's plot (without revealing its classic twist).
3. Revenge of the Jedi (1983)
No, that's not a typo: this film was called "Revenge of the Jedi" until a few weeks before its release. It follows the same pattern as the first two teasers: a deep-voiced narrator (James Earl Jones) names a few characters then shows us a few cool images to sell some action figures. Also notable: Luke's lightsaber is blue, not green. Watch "an adventure as vast as the universe!" below:
4. The Phantom Menace (1999)
This begins the trend of Star Wars trailers being better than the movies. After waiting 16 years for a new Star Wars movie, this is exactly what the fans needed. From its misty "Every saga has a beginning" opening, it gently opens the door to a galaxy far, far away. It mixes nostalgic images of Yoda, Obi-Wan and Anakin, while teasing new characters such as Qui-Gon Jin and Darth Maul. The movie may have disappointed, but this trailer made sure expectations couldn't be higher.
5. Attack of the Clones (2002)
This may have been the worst Star Wars movie, but the trailer tried to crack the cynical scab the Phantom Menace left behind. This is a perfect teaser trailer, more akin to the original 1976 trailer and JJ Abrams new tease. It is mostly silent, containing minimal music and lightsaber sound effects. Then theres Darth Vader's ominous breathing, growing louder as the Sith Lord comes closer to being born. A great teaser for a terrible, terrible movie.
6. Revenge of the Sith (2005)
I love the beginning of this trailer. It begins with Alec Guiness narrating the history of the Jedi and the Fall of Vader. This classic monologue is juxtaposed with images from the newer films, brilliantly bridging the two trilogies. In 20 seconds, this trailer gives us the story it took the prequels 7 hours to ruin.
The second half of the trailer follows the prequel M.O. of throwing as much crap on the screen as possible.
7. The Force Awakens (2015)
In typical JJ Abrams fashion, the trailer tells us absolutely nothing about this film (see: Super 8, Star Trek), but leaves us wanting more. In 11 shots, he briefly introduces us to the young stars of the new trilogy, wisely leaving the reveal of classic characters for later.
We do get that Millennium Falcon fighting TIE fighters equine though. That was nice. Though, am I the only one who thinks it's weird the Empire is still around? They can't wipe these guys out after 30 years? At this point the Empire has existed longer without Palpatine than it did with him. I dunno. I'm excited.
BONUS: The Ewok Adventure
The made-for-TV movie features the original Mace Windu, English-speaking Ewoks, terrible stop-motion, and well...we still had to wait 15 years for Phantom Menace. Star Wars fans are very forgiving, and eternally optimistic.
[Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens](movie:711158) hits December 18, 2015!