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Watch: The new Star Wars trailer is out, and all your favorites are back

Emily St. James was a senior correspondent for Vox, covering American identities. Before she joined Vox in 2014, she was the first TV editor of the A.V. Club.

The new teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens, out December 18, 2015, is here. It was revealed by director J.J. Abrams at the annual Star Wars Celebration event in Anaheim, California. Watch it above.

What happens in this trailer?

This is another teaser trailer, to go along with the first, which was released in November 2014. A teaser trailer is literally that — a tease designed to get you thinking about the movie, but not a proper trailer, which would give viewers actual information about story and characters.

Like the November teaser, viewers spend most of their time being introduced to new characters, like Rey and Finn, characters played by Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, respectively, who will be integral to the new film.

Star Wars

Daisy Ridley and John Boyega play important characters in the new Star Wars film. (Lucasfilm)

But this teaser also makes time for old friends. The narration sure seems like it's meant to be from Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker, and there is a very, very brief glimpse of what seems to be the hand of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher).

But there's also the Millennium Falcon!

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The Millennium Falcon makes a tight escape. (Lucasfilm)

And these guys!

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Han Solo and Chewbacca are here! (Lucasfilm)

Embarrassingly, I have never seen Star Wars. Who are "those guys"?

It's okay! Not everybody can see everything!

The big, hairy alien on the left is Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew). He's from the Wookiee species and is best known for being the co-pilot of the Millennium Falcon, the ship shown narrowly evading pursuers above.

As always, he's working with Han Solo (Harrison Ford), who pilots the Millennium Falcon and is the good-hearted rogue who wins Princess Leia's heart in the original trilogy.

What do we know about the story of the new film?

Impressively little. The introduction of the new teaser by Abrams was preceded by an hourlong panel on the film that gave only the slightest of hints as to what happens.

We know that Rey (Ridley) is a scavenger on a new desert planet named Jakku, and that Finn (Boyega) is a Stormtrooper in jeopardy whom she meets. And we know that a new character played by Oscar Isaac is a terrific pilot. That suggests the three will fall roughly into some of the dynamics of the Luke/Leia/Han trio from the first trilogy of films, without being an exact replica.

But otherwise we don't know that much, which is probably ideal for a film that won't be out for eight months.

What important lessons did we learn from this teaser?

Try something for me. Cue up the trailer, but put it on mute. Not as powerful, huh?

As Vox's own Matt Yglesias pointed out to me, this series is made by John Williams's majestic, famous score. Without it, things fall flat. Yes, that's true of nearly any movie with sound, but Williams's music is so much a part of the Star Wars landscape that those musical cues instantly let you know just what you're watching.

How do you spell Chewbacca's famous roar?

Believe it or not, the Vox staffers have some thoughts for you, from our work chatroom.

Vox copy chief Tanya Pai made the final call. All other publications vexed by this question may use Vox style, free of charge.


And, yes, it's "Chewie," not "Chewy," as we learned from reading Wookiepedia.

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