Why The 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Is So Special

In case you didn't know, Friday we get our first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. And there's already been a lot of talk about it. Lots of speculation, lots of discussion, lots of everything. Most of it has been positive and exciting. Some has been more negative and questioning. Why do we care so much about this trailer? Why is this trailer, out of every trailer, creating such a fuss? Who cares?

Well, there is a very good reason for the excitement. Friday's release of the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a huge deal and I'm going to explain why. Basically, it's a unique anomaly in modern movie culture. Below, read why The Force Awakens trailer is so special.

J.J Abrams Star Wars 7 trailer note

Why Is This Different?

On the surface, the trailer's importance is pretty obvious. This trailer is the first trailer for a very highly anticipated movie. However we've experienced that a ton of times before. Whether it's in Hall H at Comic-Con or online, anticipated trailers are a dime a dozen. Another obvious point is it's the first trailer for the first Star Wars movie in almost a decade. Again, we've experienced that before too. The Phantom Menace in 1998 being the prime example.

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

What Sets This Apart?

No, what sets this trailer apart is our level of ignorance. It's totally and utterly unprecedented. Even with The Phantom Menace, arguably the most anticipated film of all time, when the trailer came out, we already knew stuff about the film. In fact, we knew a lot.

We knew who lots of the new actors were playing. Ewan McGregor was the young Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jake Lloyd was kid Anakin Skywalker, etc. We knew a bit about the new characters too. Qui-Gon Jinn was a Jedi, Darth Maul was a bad guy, etc. We even knew what was going to happen. Eventually, Anakin Skywalker was going to become a Jedi, fight in the Clone Wars, get married, have kids and become Darth Vader. That's a lot of story that – going into the first movie – we already knew.

Star Wars Episode VII Contest JJ Abrams

We've Seen Very Little. We Know Very Little.

Now, tell me what happens after Return of the Jedi? We don't know. Books have told stories, but that's all gone. Disintegrated from the canon. Who are the new actors playing? We don't know. We have an idea of who is good, who is bad, who is important and who isn't but most of it is speculation. What does the film look like? We don't know. Sure lots and lots of concept art has leaked, and several set photos have been taken, but we don't know what the film looks like. We don't know what the film looks like through J.J. Abrams' camera.

Okay, we saw a few UNICEF videos. We know there's a weird puppet on a desert. We know there's an X-Wing Fighter that looks a little different and we know the Millennium Falcon is in the movie. We also know all the returning actors are playing their iconic roles. So Mark Hamill is Luke Skywalker, Harrison Ford is Han Solo and Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia, etc. But what are those characters doing? Is Han still with Chewie? Is Luke training Jedi? Is Leia a Jedi? Are Han and Leia still together? Do they have kids? Spoiler hounds like myself maybe know a little bit about this, but really, we don't know for sure.

If you think about it, we have no idea about anything. At all. Everything is a mystery.

To put that in perspective, think of any other movie you've been looking forward to. Avengers 2, Jurassic World, Inherent Vice, whatever. When you saw the trailer, you had some general idea of what you were going to see. You knew the characters, the bad guy, the premise, the book's story. In the case of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we have absolutely no idea what to expect.

Star Wars episode 7 8 and 9 fan poster

This Will Not Happen Again.

And it's not going to happen again. When we see the spin-offs, Episode VIII, we'll have an idea of what's going on. The story, some characters, a start point. But with The Force Awakens, nope. We know nothing. That changes soon.

So on Friday, whether you're in the theater or sitting in front of your computer, each one of us is going to get our first glimpse of what this new theatrical version of Star Wars looks like. All at the same time. Our heroes, our villains, worlds both familiar and new. Everything is a surprise.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Fan Trailers

Anything IS Possible

What we love about Star Wars is that anything is possible. With the prequels, that was only half true. Anything was possible – as long as it told the story we already knew. Now, with The Force Awakens, literally anything is possible and we start to learn about it Friday.

So have a great holiday and Friday, come back to Slashfilm. We'll have our immediate reaction to seeing the trailer in the theater. We'll have the trailer itself. We'll have analysis, we'll have it all. We love Star Wars just as much as you do and we know how important this is. It's a big deal.

Header image credit: Michael Cohen