The newly launched trailer for JJ Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a fan boys fantasy come true – a darker tone, mixture of practical and computer effects, gritty close ups of storm troopers and above all else the resurrection of the Millennium Falcon – Han Solo is back!
But what makes Star Wars, regardless of director, so very special? Although Abrams was an important and intelligent choice to bring the cinematic back to Star Wars (don’t forget he forced the return to shooting on actual film and using miniatures and practical effects), the series mythology transcends any one person. Like Abrams, it is even beyond Lucas or Disney as its new owner. Star Wars, and the cultural prowess of the series, belongs to a generation of people.
It is with the generations in mind that the narrative of the series speaks to ongoing social, cultural and political context. From New Hopes incarnation of Joseph Campbell’s hero journey to Revenge of the Sith’s post 911 odyssey into the darkness of the human psyche, the series builds not only a particular mythology but reaffirms that film can both entertain but allude and address real world issues (after all, this is the critical core of the Sci-Fi genre). From the complex relationship between good versus evil, to the a representation of violence in the framework of political history, the world of Star Wars is mosaic of values – liberal, conservative and the in between.
Needless to say I am thrilled by Abrams first trailer. Unlike the prequels, it’s feels like a Star Wars film. From the introduction of a new light saber to the flying x-wings, this film will transcend age, race, class, religion and ethnicity. I can’t wait to take my daughter who will then be five at the of the film’s release – the perfect age to experience her first space opera. For my son who will be two – he will have to wait for the next one. For now, the trailer will have to be their eye candy.
Thank you Mr. Abrams – the force is indeed awaken.