I’ve been feeling pretty burnt out on Star Wars lately. We’ve gone from a world in which it looked like there was never going to be another Star Wars film to a world in which we’ll getting a new one every year for the foreseeable future. This sudden abundance of new movies in this universe, in my view, makes each subsequent film feel less and less like a special event. That’s not to say that the new films aren’t good; The Force Awakens, while overly familiar, is very entertaining, and Rogue One takes a number of tonal and narrative risks seldom seen in huge blockbusters to great effect. It doesn’t help, though, that every single one of my Christmas presents in 2015 was some kind of Star Wars product, or that I’ve put over 150 hours into Star Wars Battlefront since it was released. Star Wars is back and bigger than ever, but it seems to have lost some of its mystique and indefinable power in the process.
All that said, if you’re going to get me interested in Star Wars again then hiring Rian Johnson to write and direct it is a great start. Johnson is one of my favourite working filmmakers, and judging by this preview, he certainly seems to have brought his A game. This is a fantastically constructed trailer, one that swells and rises and offers plenty of tantalising glimpses of scenes while leaving the actual plot still relatively unspoiled. I think we get a good sense of where this story will take the trilogy’s crucial duo of Rey and Kylo Ren in their respective journeys without giving away where they’ll ultimately end up. And how great is it to see Mark Hamill back in the saddle? He’s even got dialogue this time! Luke’s inevitable reunion with Leia is possibly my most anticipated moment of this film, and I’ve got little doubt that Johnson will do something very special with it. On the other hand, though, I’m a little worried that Finn and Poe are starting to feel somewhat vestigial at this point, with no clear purpose for them in this saga beyond the roles they played in Episode VII. On an aesthetic level, this looks to be the most visually compelling Star Wars film yet: the oppressive red and black colouring that dominates multiple shots (as well as the official posters) feels like a new look for the franchise, and hammers home the dark-middle-chapter vibe this movie seems to be shooting for.
I can safely say that while I don’t think I’m quite excited yet, I’m very intrigued. I’m a huge Rian Johnson fan, and a big Star Wars guy. Can this combination reignite my love for the galaxy far, far away? I look forward to finding out.