It's a little hard to believe, given how long we've been hearing about it, that Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens is only two short months away from being a movie that fans can see in theaters, rather than consume piecemeal via set photos, teaser trailers, rumors, and pre-release merchandise.
But as of this very moment, impatient Star Wars fans — is there any other kind? — are buying actual tickets to the actual film, for showtimes ranging from December 17 (the night before the film's Friday, December 18, release date) to January 3. (Or at least, they're trying to. Ticketing websites have been overloaded since tickets went on sale.) It's getting real, everybody.
It's appropriate, then, that after humming along steadily for months (years?), the Star Wars hype machine has kicked into hyperdrive the past couple of days. First, fans were treated to a glimpse of the film's official poster (which you can see below), but the main event arrived at halftime of October 19's Monday Night Football game: the third (and, many assume, final) trailer for The Force Awakens.
That's it up there. Go ahead, watch; the Force compels you.
And here's the poster
But back to that trailer...
The good news is that there's a lot of new footage in this trailer to keep Star Wars fans drooling until December. And while there's nothing quite as arresting as that first shot of John Boyega in the first trailer, and nothing quite as squee-inducing as the revelation of Han and Chewie in the second, it's nonetheless a well-rounded trailer that offers several enticing hints without giving up the mystery the project is shrouded in.
The trailer begins by reinforcing what looks to be the main character triad of The Force Awakens, at least judging by the prominence they hold on the poster above: Daisy Ridley's self-sufficient scavenger Rey ("Who are you?" "I am no one.")...
John Boyega's (former?) Stormtrooper Finn ("I was raised to do one thing, but I've got nothing to fight for")...
... and Adam Driver's mysterious Darth Vader acolyte (and cross-lightsaber-wielder) Kylo Renn. ("Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started.")
These are the most definitive looks we've gotten at who these characters are and how their respective missions might intersect in The Force Awakens. More voiceover from Harrison Ford's Han Solo reveals that these characters are living in a world where the events of the first two Star Wars trilogies have faded into legend. From the looks of things, they're not staying that way.
Besides all the voiceover vague-sposition, the trailer contains a good bit of pew-pew action and arresting alien vistas to get the blood pumping. And a solid bro-bump between Finn and Oscar Isaac's X-wing pilot Poe Dameron automatically takes this trailer from an A to an A-plus.
There's plenty here to bring a tear to the eye of even the most casual Star Wars fan, but perhaps the most arresting moment of the two-minute trailer is a quick glimpse that lasts less than a second:
I know how you feel, Leia. December 18 feels a long way away.
Correction: The original post listed the film's release date as December 17. While there are preview screenings that night, the movie's official release date is December 18.