I can’t not comment on the trailer for Episode 7 that just came out. Disney and Abrams are definitely returning to the set and prop design feel of the Original Trilogy as much as possible, probably as a reaction to the reception of the Prequels. This will probably work out fine.
I’ve been fairly optimistic about this movie ever since I heard the title was “The Force Awakens”. It shows a lot of awareness of what the movies are about, compared to various alternatives. The movies are a spiritual journey after all.
But this trailer makes me really excited.
For one there’s the black stormtrooper we see as the first character. This is excellent. A lot of racists in youtube comments may feel this in violation of the entirely white Imperial Order we saw before, but readers of this blog know better. The clones are one of the many underclasses of the Star Wars universe, and are used by white humans as cannon fodder to die for them. The fact that even post-clones, the front line troops continue to be the underclass fits in perfectly with the Empire’s hierarchy.
(Of course in the Original Trilogy there is one Imperial character played by a black man. Darth Vader. And his general treatment by and of the Imperial staff definitely re-emphasizes this theme of racial strife.)
The light saber tripart hilt is interesting. We may be seeing the continued debasement of light sabers, like we saw in the Prequels, where they’re everywhere instead of being holy objects. Or it could be the further sanctification of them, as it literally looks like a cross*. We will have to see.
But the best thing is the final line. The narrator says “The Dark Side” while showing a Sith.
And then says “The Light Side” and shows us… the Millenium Falcon.
The Millenium Falcon is the home to our heroes who are united in trust and the Force. It shows up multiple times out of nowhere, just to save the day. It’s non-standardized and illegal. It is the best non-character symbol of trust and community in the entire six movies. It's a TAZ. Understanding that the Millenium Falcon is the Light Side of the Force shows that JJ Abrams really gets it.
* Of course these are Christian movies. The main figure has an immaculate conception, and dies to rid the universe of the Dark Side. Along the way we all find out that we are one and the best path is to love each other unconditionally. I'm surprised at how few crosses there are.