There was a great disturbance in the Force today, as millions of voices suddenly cried out in exultation at the revelation of unseen "Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens" footage, which gave fans their clearest looks yet at new heroes Rey, Finn and Poe.
Presented as part of a Disney Channel set visit, the promotional clip offered the plainest description of the new "Star Wars" installment's plot and lead characters, stripped to the strictest boilerplate. There are generations of franchise die-hards with sophisticated appreciation for the many stories that have been told in that long time ago, faraway galaxy, from originals to prequels and every format in-between, but "The Force Awakens" will be many younger fans' first "Star Wars" experience, and the video went to lengths to give those viewers introductory access to the bigger picture. Footage from the classic trilogy was blended with long takes from the new film, taking previously seen and unseen shots and rendering the clearest picture of the new adventure, and new generation of heroes, to date.
"A long time ago, a group of young heroes banded together to save the galaxy from an evil Empire. A dark new threat promises to destroy everything that they fought for. Now, it's time for a new generation of heroes. Rey, a scavenger searching for answers, and Finn, a rogue Stormtrooper looking for something to fight for, team up with a mysterious droid named BB-8. These three must make a choice--continue their journey alone, or work together to defeat the Dark Side?"
An officer commands the firing of a new intergalactic weapon. An aircraft lands in a warzone. Poe delivers a winking line. We learn something Finn and Rey have in common.
The new footage gave plenty to speculate on, including a new alien species, but what jumped out most was how light it was on details regarding Poe Dameron, played by Oscar Isaac. We finally see him do something other than get tortured and give dap, but he goes unmentioned in the voice-over description, while odds-on Christmas favorite BB-8 is included as part of the trio of heroes, and also gets brand-new screen time.
As ever, the new look at the next "Star Wars" episode left fans with more questions than answers.
Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens opens galaxy-wide December 18.