Anaheim, California is homebase for the "Star Wars" fan world this weekend, as host of the latest installment of Star Wars Celebration -- which this time around, of course, happens in the same year that the massively anticipated Episode VII will be released. Things kicked off in style on Thursday, with director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy unveiling the new trailer for December's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," which was immediately met with nearly universal online praise.
There are tons of striking images, moments, story beats and character returns in this latest teaser, which fans have already been dissecting. This new peek into Abrams' incoming film included a bit more from the franchise's major new additions -- Finn, Rey, Poe Dameron and Kylo Ren as well as some old favorites. The trailer was an emotional surge of energy for old "Star Wars" fans and a hint of the magnitude of the upcoming new age of films. So let's examine the moments from the new trailer that made us pump our fists, gasp and even shed a tear or two.
The Crashed Star Destroyer
Things kick off with a bang in the new trailer, opening with an epic -- and classic "Star Wars" -- shot of a desert landscape and the image of a huge crashed Star Destroyer. Fans are familiar with these fearsome pieces of Imperial technology terrorizing the galaxy, as the giant ships became some of the most iconic vehicles in the original trilogy. To see one of these familiar juggernauts crashed in a barren wasteland was certainly attention grabbing -- not to mention a cool visual. Later, when the Millennium Falcon flew into the bowels of the crashed ship, well, things just exploded into another level.
I think new heroic pilot Poe Dameron spoke for Star Wars fans everywhere with his "Ya-hoo!" The exclamation echoed Han Solo’s yelp of joy from "A New Hope," and also gave fans a bit of idea of at least part of the new film's tone. "Star Wars" is a franchise built on fun, and Poe’s unadulterated enthusiasm really captured the aesthetic that made so many fall in love with the galaxy far, far away over the past 38 years.
Villains, Villains Everywhere
The first "Force Awakens" trailer didn't give fans much of an idea regarding who or what the newest "Star Wars" antagonists would be. Well, this new trailer gave fans some tasty teases into the Dark Side. We got to see legions of new Stormtroopers, a new TIE Fighter pilot, a new type of Stormtrooper in gleaming chrome armor (is that Gwendoline Christie under there?), a new Sith (presumably Kylo Ren) and more new Imperial tech than you can shake a hold-out blaster at. It’s been a long time since fans have seen the Empire in all its terrifying glory, and this new trailer certainly scratched that itch.
The Skywalker Legacy
Just hearing Mark Hamill's voice at the start of the trailer was enough to take even a cynical fan's breath away. Luke's voiceover is a promise the Skywalker legacy will continue, as Luke namedrops his sister Leia and his father Anakin -- before going on to inform whoever he is addressing that he or she to, is strong with the Force. Who is Luke talking to? A new hero? A new villain? His own offspring or the offspring of Leia? Only time will tell, but this trailer promised that the legacy that began with Anakin will continue into the franchise's latest entry. If all that wasn't enough, the sight of Darth Vader's burnt mask -- accompanied by a ominous faint breathing -- added to the intrigue.
"Chewie, we're home."
What else needs to be said? A black screen combined with Harrison Ford's comfortingly familiar gruff voice addressing his co-pilot; followed by our first image of an older Han Solo and Chewbacca, presumably aboard the Millennium Falcon. Han Solo's proclamation of "We're home" goes beyond just this film, as fans everywhere got to see characters and images that have been absent from their lives from far too long. Welcome home, Han and Chewie! We missed you! From Han's three words it is more than clear that the Star Wars celebration is just getting started.
"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is set for release on Dec. 18, 2015.