'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Awakens the Internet


Not since the Zapruder film has a video with a runtime of less than two minutes been so thoroughly analyzed.

The first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released on Friday, and the video has already received more than 25 million views across various channels on YouTube. On Twitter, "Star Wars" mentions spiked on Friday, managing to give #BlackFriday a run for its money with hashtags like #TheForceAwakens and #BlackStormtrooper (alluding to an early frame in the trailer that reveals actor John Boyega in a Stormtrooper uniform).

The trailer, also being shown in about 30 North American movie theaters over the weekend, reveals little about the plot for the new film, which will be the first live-action Star Wars movie to come out in nearly a decade when it is released next year. But just a day after going live, all 88 seconds of the video have been thoroughly analyzed for their cultural, technological and social implications.

The Guardian on Friday wrote up a straightforward "eight things we learned," conclusions that include a location for the new movie: Tattooine, which is in line with rumors that the story involves a young duo who leave Tattooine to find Luke, Leia and Han Solo. IndieWire gave us just three major lessons from the trailer, and postulated that the video's very vagueness is a testament to the power of the Star Wars franchise (i.e. the movie will be huge no matter what). Vox answered the five questions we "might have" about the trailer, at least one of which seems more suited to people who have never seen a movie trailer at all. Time put together five takeaways, including that the Millenium Falcon is back and there's a new three-pronged lightsaber, while TechCrunch broke down the video frame by frame.

Over at The Atlantic, Kriston Capps penned a response to debate over John Boyega as a Stormtrooper. In an earnest combination of social commentary and sheer nerdery, Capps tells us that the Star Wars universe, for all its flaws, "is pretty chill on race, if not totally post-racial. No one in the Rebellion bats an eye when Lando Calrissian and Nien Nunb copilot the Millennium Falcon during the Battle of Endor in The Return of the Jedi, even though the former is a black man from Bespin's Cloud City and the latter a fish-faced smuggler from the humid caves of Sollust."

The Verge, meanwhile, went in-depth on the new lightsaber, which has a crossbar and some on Twitter have taken to calling a "laser claymore." Up for debate: Whether the three-pronged weapon is a) in line with the technology implied by other iterations of lightsabers in other Star Wars films, and b) an improvement on lightsaber design. From The Verge:

The big question, in my opinion, is whether lightsaber blades can even slide. I don't recall a time in the original three movies when blades slid. Opponents would cross blades, which seemed to stick together and make that crackling sound, and then push apart again. I assumed there was some sort of electrical force that locked blades together when they touch.

But Russell Brandom points out that there seems to be case of sliding here at 1:08 in the Anakin / Obi Wan / Yoda / Count Dooku fight, and that a crossguard could've helped.

​The Force Awakens, directed by JJ Abrams and including original Star Wars cast members Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher, will be released in December 2015. ​