Unless you've been living under a rock this past week, you'll know the second trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens hit the internet. The trailer debuted at Star Wars Celebration in Anaheim and has been viewed over 40,000,000 times since.
While many have tried to dig into this trailer to find story elements, they haven't gone deep enough. If you don't want parts of the film to potentially be ruined for you, stop right now. If not, keep reading.
The Battle of Jakku
Leaked concept art showed the aftermath of The Battle of Jakku long before the second trailer. For those who are unaware, JJ Abrams announced that the desert planet we've been seeing in the two trailers isn't the beloved Tatooine. It's Jakku.
The Battle of Jakku takes place after the events of Return of the Jedi and features Rebel and Imperial forces. It was announced at Celebration that upcoming video game Star Wars Battlefront will have a free DLC (downloadable content) featuring the Battle of Jakku. It was also announced that Battlefront will not have space battles. This is significant because it casts doubt on The Battle of Jakku (unlike the Battle of Endor and Naboo) having a battle in space in addition to the battle on the planet.
In the trailer we see a crashed Star Destroyer and an X-Wing. However, leaked concept art shows a broken AT-AT with what appears to be an opening on its underbelly as well as a crashed TIE-Fighter. Could a character be living inside? Could something be inside?
Early rumours have said that this is where Daisy Ridley's character Rey is living. This would certainly fit with the fact the character is a scavenger – which was confirmed by Ridley herself at Celebration.
Darth Vader's melted helmet/mask
Two pieces of leaked concept art show Darth Vader's melted helmet. The first is strictly a close-up of the helmet, while the other really sheds some light into potential plot spoilers.
Mark Hamill confirmed at his Return of the Jedi panel that he did, in fact, record the voice-over for the trailer over his original speech from Jedi.
During the 'My Father Has It' scene we have a close up of the melted Vader mask. The melted Vader mask has been seen in leaked concept art.
In the leaked art, the mask is being held by a mechanical-looking/disfigured character in a cloak while on what appears to be a space ship of some sort.
Notice his hands. While Star Wars characters are no strangers to prosthetic limbs, it appears this character has had both his arms replaced. This is note worthy for future trailers.
Is the character in the leaked art Kylo Ren (the new villain with the crossguard lightsaber) without his mask? Perhaps.
R2-D2 / Robotic Hand
Fast forward a bit to the 'I have it' shot featuring a cloaked figure with a robotic arm touching R2-D2. The person is not confirmed to be Luke Skywalker. While we never see the character's face, he or she appears to be in a location with fire.
Reports have also suggested that The Force Awakens will break the narrative structure of previous films in the franchise and will have flashbacks.
One of which states that Robert Boulter has been cast to play Luke Skywalker during those scenes. This has not been confirmed by Disney, but does seem likely given reports.
Also note the character's right hand is touching the droid – it was Luke's right hand that was cut off by Vader in The Empire Strikes Back. A hand that wielded...
Luke / Darth Vader's old lightsaber
The next scene, 'My Sister Has It' shows what appears to be an unknown character with an alien hand passing Luke / Anakin Skywalker's old lightsaber to another unknown character.
However, if you pause the video at exactly the right frame you can make out what appears to be an abnormal face. There are a couple of characters this could be judging by concept art and the trailer itself. The lighting, however, makes it very difficult to completely verify.
Reports state that Lupita Nyong'o is doing motion capture for a character codenamed Rose. The character is said to be a Yoda-like puppet and given the size factor, it is likely that this is in fact a short, straight-standing alien.
Concept art of an alien leaked back in October show what could very well be Rose. Rose is seen in what appears to be a Cantina and in a cave with Rey and Finn, who holds uses the lightsaber.
However, it could be Daisy Ridley.
If you look closely at the arm holding the saber, you'll notice a very distinct costume detail. While difficult to describe, it seems to be some sort of arm/wrist band.
Later on in the trailer, Rey is offering a hand to one of the film's protagonists, John Boyega's Finn.
Notice her hand? Look somewhat familiar? Could this be her?
Recall earlier rumours about John Boyega and Daisy Ridley “discovering a lightsaber on a desert planet.”
Pictures from Celebration of Finn show a lightsaber in his pocket. This gives the theory more weight.
So, who is receiving the lightsaber in the trailer?
Given the context of the voice over, the audience is to associate the hand with Leia (my sister has it). But why would Leia be given the saber by what could potentially be an alien creature?
Poe Dameron and The Purpose of the Lightsaber
During a panel at Celebration, Oscar Isaac revealed that his character, Poe Dameron, was sent on a mission by a 'certain princess'. He stopped short of flat out saying Princess Leia. He then ends up coming across John Boyega's character Finn and 'their fates are forever intertwined'.
This matches up quite well with a February rumour from MakingStarWars.net.
“The film does open with a lightsaber in space. It falls to the ground in a savannah environment during the day. It is quickly discovered by a farmer named Naka. Naka accidentally ignites the weapon and starts a fire with it. At first he runs, but then turns around and obtains the weapon. I assume he snatches the weapon so it is not destroyed in the fire. Naka then takes the weapon to his elder called The Vicar.
The Vicar is most likely played by Max von Sydow. It is most likely a code name too. Chances are they didn’t need to name the character during filming so they just went with the title The Vicar. Anyways, the Vicar appears to contact the Rebels and this brings Poe Dameron to the planet.
Later that night, Poe Dameron arrives and retrieves the lightsaber from The Vicar. The only problem? They’ve brought the Empire there as well (not sure if the Empire followed Poe or intercepted the initially transmission he received). Poe sees Stormtroopers are coming and he places the laser sword safely in a little droid: BB-8. The droid flees and the heroic Poe Dameron prepares to fight!
Concurrently, a young Stormtrooper named Finn enters a situation that will drastically change his life forever. When his best friend dies in battle and he allows a few innocent villagers to escape, Kylo Ren orders him arrested and the village burned to the ground. Because Finn just isn’t naturally evil enough, he finds himself in the brig of a Star Destroyer with a Rebel pilot. Finn never learned to fly. Finn has the knowledge how to get out of the brig and Poe is their best chance to fly out of there. They hatch a plan to steal a TIE Fighter and make a run for it.”
This adds up very well considering there is a scene in the trailer where a TIE Fighter is seen shooting at Stormtroopers inside of what appears to be a Star Destroyer.
Also note that the rumour states that droid BB-8 belongs to Poe. This can be backed up given the fact that he's an X-Wing pilot and new model X-Wings on display at Celebration show what looks to be BB-8 (or similar ball droid models) on top of them, replacing what used to be R2 units.
It was previously speculated that BB-8 belonged to Rey, but that seems unlikely now.
If BB-8 indeed holds the lightsaber everyone is after, then it mirrors the role of R2-D2 in A New Hope, with that droid carrying the Death Star plans.
What is the lightsaber's purpose?
This October report from Badass Digest conflicts partly with some of the above info, but there are some similarities. Do note that Ridley's character had previously been reported as being called Kira.
“Remember that I told you the movie begins with the discovery of the lightsaber? Well, it isn't Daisy Ridley who discovers it but rather a blue alien guy. He brings it to a salvage yard where Kira - that seems to be what Ridley's character's name is, or at least what they're calling her on set - sees it. She's hanging out there with von Sydow, who is an old cyborg dude, a guy who maybe has dementia. He talks a lot of nonsense. But as soon as that lightsaber shows up, he gets lucid. He recognizes it. He begins to talk about the old days, name drops a couple of Prequel Trilogy characters, even. And then, after Kira and the alien leave he makes a call to a mysterious figure. "It's here," he says. But who is he calling?”
Once again, take concept art into consideration. Bear in mind that this rumour was posted online before the art was leaked.
In the art, we see the blue alien – most likely Lupita Nyong'o's character in a cantina. The 'cyborg guy' the report mentions was also featured in concept art – sitting at a bar.
It seems rather odd that a weapon last seen on Cloud City in Empire Strikes Back now has such a massive purpose.
Why is Vader's mask, which was burned after the Battle of Endor, suddenly featured in a trailer and concept art?
If the burned mask is in the possession of Kylo Ren, why?
Who is Kylo Ren?
Needless to say, Kylo Ren has the internet talking. And they haven't shut up since his infamous crossguard lightsaber was first seen in the original teaser trailer.
When concept art of the character was leaked, Disney even went as far as to demand image-hosting website ImageShack take it down and tell them the identity of the uploader.
If you look at the picture of Kylo Ren, his mask looks very familiar to that of Darth Revan from the now 'decanonized' Old Republic video games.
The crossguard lightsaber he wields also has an 'ancient' vibe to it, perhaps meaning that it belonged to a Sith Lord from a long time ago.
Some theories have suggested that Kylo Ren is a collector of Sith artifacts.
Would the lightsaber that belonged to Darth Vader be a valuable artifact? Most likely.
Also notice the way the character gazes and holds Vader's mask in the concept art. There is a look of adoration attached to it. Almost like he's family.
This would coincide with a 3 week old report by Making of Star Wars suggesting that Kylo Ren is actually Han Solo and Leia's son, thus making Vader his grandfather and Luke his uncle.
Worth noting that in the Expanded Universe (now decanonized), Leia and Han's son is named Jacen Solo. He would go on to become Darth Caedus.
An Ancient Fear?
You may recall the early rumours that the working title for Episode VII was 'The Ancient Fear'.
There are rumours that Rey is in fact the daughter of Han and Leia and has been kept 'in hiding'. Bear in mind that this does somewhat conflict with other reports.
If true, however, this again mirrors A New Hope where Luke was sent to live on Tatooine with his aunt and uncle.
Take this February 2015 report with a grain of salt.
“Rey and Luke go into hiding at exactly the same time for the same reason. She is the daughter of Han and Leia and she’s tasked with protecting a lightsaber that can open a proverbial Pandora’s Box of evil. Artifacts being sought after by Kylo Ren are collected because they’re trying to figure out which artifact will open the tomb. Luke Skywalker is guarding the tomb and being tormented by evil spirits that appears half crazed from the duty he’s been on.”
The dark side... and the light
It's unknown why or how exactly Vader's lightsaber would have the ability to open a tomb. But, if the rumours are true that The Force Awakens will feature flashbacks, then chances are this could be explained in one of them.
A lot of rumours have new weight thanks to the recent trailer along with displays and panels held at Celebration.
While nothing can be completely verified, there will be more hints coming in recent months in book form.
Even JJ Abrams has even gone on record saying that “some of the rumours are true.”
Certainly the information we've managed to dissect from displays and concepts hold weight.
Given the fact that we've only had what amounts to teaser trailers thus far, we'll have a lot more to talk about once the first official full-length trailer is released or more concept art leaks, shedding light on the plot to one of the biggest films of all time.
Concept art photos: http://sploid.gizmodo.com/all-the-leaked-star-wars-the-force-awakens-awesome-c-1679272605