'Star Wars: The Force Awakens': What the new trailer reveals

A new 'Star Wars' trailer gives us more glimpses of new characters but, as with the rest of the film's promotion, still keeps a lot under wraps.

A new trailer has arrived for the upcoming “Star Wars” film, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” and tickets for the movie went on sale following the trailer’s debut. 

In the trailer, fans saw more of new characters Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega), and Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), as well as the return of characters like Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). 

Is Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) there too? If so, he's keeping a low profile.

In the new clip, Rey walks across the desert, accompanied by the droid BB-8. Meanwhile, Finn, then still in Stormtrooper armor, says, “I was raised to do one thing – but I’ve got nothing to fight for.” A TIE fighter, possibly Finn’s, slowly tumbles through space towards a planet.  

Meanwhile, the villainous Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) is talking to what looks like Darth Vader’s charred helmet. “Nothing will stand in our way,” he says. “I will finish what you started.”

There are also glimpses of Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) as well as Finn and Poe encountering one another near what appear to be some starships, Han Solo leading Finn and Rey into a building decorated with some colorful banners, and a figure in a cloak with an artificial hand reaching out to R2-D2. Is it Luke Skywalker? 

Of course, you didn’t think you’d get any big plot reveals, did you? Most of the dialogue is fairly vague, with a character that is presumably Rey saying “I’m no one,” Han Solo saying of “what happened” (perhaps the events of the previous films?), “It’s true. All of it,” and someone saying in voiceover, “The Force. It’s calling to you. Just let it in.” 

The “Force Awakens” production has been one of the most secretive in recent memory, with director J.J. Abrams and those behind the film seemingly determined to reveal as little as possible.

We know the names of most of the characters, but little else. A reel of footage that played at the convention Comic-Con this past summer proved popular – especially the ending, in which Han Solo tells his sidekick Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew), "We're home."

Comic-Con interviews with Mr. Abrams and the actors revealed a bit, as when Mr. Isaac said his Poe Dameron is “the best … pilot in the galaxy.” But when Driver was asked if he could discuss the connection, if any, between Kylo Ren and the Dark Side, the evil force in the “Star Wars” films, he said, “No,” then added, “It was the difference between someone who thinks they’re bad, and somebody who thinks they’re right.” 

The actors are obviously under orders not to reveal much. When actor Domnhall Gleeson, who portrays a character named General Hux, said during the Comic-Con panel that his character is “in charge of people on a Starkiller base,” Mr. Gleeson quickly stopped and said, “Uh-oh… is that all right?”

Abrams seemed okay with it, adding, “The name of the base of the [possibly evil] First Order, in honor of the original last name of Luke Skywalker, is Starkiller Base,” then joked, “spoiled by Domnhall Gleeson.”

Is it a good or bad idea to keep things so under wraps?

Many recent blockbusters have used the strategy, including Abrams himself with the recent “Star Trek” movies and Christopher Nolan with the “Dark Knight” series.

The advantage to this plan is that, as Abrams and others most likely know, anything that’s revealed will be endlessly dissected by “Star Wars” fans, a group has grown exponentially since the release of the original film in 1977. If fans discover a creative decision that they don’t like, their objections could overshadow the release of the film and cause some potential moviegoers to stay home. 

However, the lack of plot knowledge also heightens expectations.

With Nolan’s film “The Dark Knight Rises” in particular, the mystery surrounding a few new actors meant comic book fans spent months trying to guess who actors like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard were actually portraying.

(Mr. Gordon-Levitt was credited as John Blake, and fans surmised he must be someone integral to the "Batman" universe.) After the movie was released, J. Caleb Mozzocco, a writer for the comic books site ComicsAlliance, wrote that John Blake’s “ 'legal name' [which revealed that he was comic book sidekick Robin] was a bit much,” but he was impressed with the way Ms. Cotillard’s real character was kept secret, writing, “the way Nolan executes the reveal, holding off on it for so very long, made it come as a surprise.” 

All the latest “Star Wars” surprises will be revealed when “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is released on Dec. 18.

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