Monday, March 19, 2018

'Forces of Destiny' Season 3 Review

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny is back! Eight new shorts premiered last night, giving us new adventures with Rey, Leia, Ahsoka, Padmé, and other iconic Star Wars characters. We're reviewing each of the episodes:

"Hasty Departure"
Unlike the last Hera/Sabine short, "Crash Course," this one has an original premise and some genuinely exciting action, in mid-air no less. Both rebels get to shine in their own ways, both get heroic moments, and Sabine learns from her mistake. It's another solid adventure for two characters who we won't see again for a while. 

"Unexpected Company"
Forces of Destiny has given us Ahsoka and Anakin and it's given us Ahsoka and Padmé, but all three of them together makes for a great Clone Wars throwback. Each of their individual relationships is developed, and we get another big piece of the everlasting puzzle of whether or not Ahsoka knew about Anakin and Padmé's forbidden love. (Turns out, she probably did—and Padmé, at least, was okay with that.)

"Shuttle Stock"
Take away the giant space jellyfish and this short is pretty boring. It basically just has Finn lazily piloting a shuttle while Rose fixes BB-8 so that he can pull off the difficult(?) maneuver of sending them up and out of nebula instead of, y'know, through it. It doesn't do much to develop Finn and Rose's relationship, either. (And since we saw them travel to Canto Bight through hyperspace in The Last Jedi, why exactly were they just flying through random space, anyway?)

"Jyn's Trade"
This is another annoyingly kid-friendly short, but it sheds some more light on her Kyber crystal necklace and how much it means to her—something that Rogue One didn't touch on too much. Plus, it gives her some cool physical stunts, which is perhaps the one area where she surpasses her fellow Star Wars heroines.

"Run Rey Run"
Forces of Destiny has given us plenty of Rey on Jakku, but this one shifts the location to the neat bowels of the crashed Star Destroyer. The action isn't particularly interesting (you're telling me she couldn't have kicked Teedo's ass the second he lowered his blaster?) but it once again highlights her compassion for all living creatures—even jerks like Teedo who seem to try to rob her on the daily.

"Bounty Hunted"
This isn't just the highlight of this batch of episodes; it might be the best Forces of Destiny short, yet. It goes above and beyond to explain the origins of Leia's seriously underrated Return of the Jedi Boushh disguise (yep, turns out she went toe-to-toe with the bounty hunter himself to get his armor), it sheds more light on Chewie and Maz's romance(?), and most importantly, it establishes Leia and Maz's relationship, something that The Force Awakens barely touched on.

"The Path Ahead"
Is this short interesting? Yes, especially in the ways that Yoda's teachings parallel Luke's in The Last Jedi. Does it add to the Star Wars canon? Sure—or at least, no less than the average Forces of Destiny short. But a short with exactly zero women is a fundamental betrayal of what this series has always been about: spotlighting the heroines of Star Wars and their relationships.

Okay, so maybe when Mark Hamill offers to lend his voice, you go out of your way to write an episode for him. But there's surely opportunity for a short with him and Rey on Ahch-To that would keep with the series' female-centric theme and better suit his 66-year-old voice. (Hell, we got another Luke/Rey moment in a deleted scene just last week.)

"Porg Problems"
Ever wondered how Rey lifted all those rocks at the end of The Last Jedi? Well, turns out she had a bit of practice on Ahch-To, and just like her lightsaber training, it was without Luke's help. The porgs in this short are absolutely adorable, but overall it feels more like a cool Rey moment than a childish story for kids.

The good news? Forces of Destiny has gotten decidedly better with this batch of episodes, even if it faltered from the core premise with "The Path Ahead" and generally didn't do too much to expand the number of characters already used in the series. It's still not a vital part of the canon in the way that The Clone Wars and Rebels are, but it continues to tell exciting, tiny stories that stay true to some of the franchise's best heroes.

Which of these shorts is your favorite? Who do you hope to see in Forces of Destiny next? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

'The Last Jedi' Deleted Scenes Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out on Digital HD today. We're reviewing each of its 13 deleted scenes (excluding the alternate Phasma death scene that was revealed last week) and looking at what they would have added to the film.

"Alternate Opening"

Rather than the opening zoom through the Resistance fleet down to the D'Qar base, this scene starts the movie with an Alderaan blockade runner (the same model as the iconic Tantive IV) and a Nebulon-B escort frigate soaring over a round surface. But it's not a planet, it's Finn's domed medical capsule.
Finn's original revival scene then plays out, except this time he's watching Resistance transports evacuate to D'Qar. The First Order's Dreadnought and Star Destroyers arrive, and Lieutenant Connix tells Poe Dameron that they need more time to evacuate the base.

What this scene would have added: A neat visual trick to open the movie, an earlier appearance for Finn in the story, and some context as to why Poe confronts the Dreadnought alone in his X-Wing.

"Paige's Gun Jams"

During the battle with the Dreadnought, Paige Tico confidently blasts apart TIE fighters from her gunner's position. Her gun jams as two TIEs approach her bomber; she manages to fix it just in time and she blows them apart. Relieved, she pulls off her mask and clutches her crescent necklace.
What this scene would have added: Another badass Paige moment and a little more insight into her relationship with Rose.

"Luke Has a Moment"

After Rey explains why she and Chewie have come to Ahch-To, Luke retreats back into his hut and bows his head in sorrow. We then cut to the original footage of Leia in a similar pose on the Raddus, before the cruiser exits hyperspace.
What this scene would have added: A very brief emotional moment for Luke and another connection between the Skywalker twins as they presumably reflect on the death of Han Solo. 

"Poe: Not Much of a Sewer"

Poe explains to Finn that by attacking Starkiller Base, they exposed themselves to the First Order. Finn tells him that he believes in the Resistance but he's not committed to their army yet. Poe says he belongs with the Resistance and he gives him his jacket back, having sewed up the part that was cut open by Kylo.
What this scene would have added: A better explanation of how the Resistance wound up in this predicament and a nice Finn/Poe moment that would have explained how he got his jacket back.

"It's Kind of Weird That You Recorded That"

Finn examines Leia's homing beacon that's meant to lead Rey back to them. BB-8 rolls up and shows Finn a hologram of Rey's last words (and forehead kiss) to him when he was in a coma. Finn tells the droid it was kind of weird that he recorded that, but thanks him anyway.
What this scene would have added: Some context into Finn's decision to leave the Raddus on an escape pod.

"The Caretaker Sizes Up Rey"

After Rey fires her blaster in the Ahch-To village, a cranky Caretaker scolds Luke and he responds in their language. She continues cleaning her fish and gives Rey a dirty look as she follows Luke to their first lesson.
What this scene would have added: Just another funny, memeable moment with the Caretakers.

"Caretaker Village Sequence"

After Rey assures Luke that she won't fail him, she spots the Caretakers' burning village from afar. Luke tells her that a tribe from a neighboring island has come to raid and plunder them. Rey wants to go and stop them, but Luke tells her that a true Jedi would ignore that anger inside of them and do nothing. Following her own instincts, she hops down the cliff and ignites her lightsaber as she races to the village.
She bursts in but discovers that it's really just a party with the Caretakers and even Chewbacca and R2-D2. Later she confronts Luke, who laughs at her but insists that the Resistance needs someone like her, who tries to help those in danger, not the failed Jedi Order. Her response is chilling: "That old legend of Luke Skywalker that you hate so much, I believed in it. I was wrong."

What this scene would have added: A solid heroic Rey sequence (which the film could have used more of), a lot more insight into the Caretaker's culture, and another emotional moment with her and Luke (albeit one that makes him look like a jerk).

"Extended Fathier Chase"

This scene is just the original fathier chase except with a few new shots, including Finn and Rose crashing into a sauna, escaping to the beach through a tight alleyway, and a short sequence on the cliff next to the beach.
What this scene would have added: Another minute or so of everyone's least favorite part of the movie. 

"Mega Destroyer Incursion – Extended Version"

Kylo stands in the bridge of the Supremacy. Down below, Finn fixes DJ's posture and tries to smooth Rose's hair before they enter a large room crawling with First Order personnel. They pass through and an officer takes interest in them, but Finn manages to close the doors to the elevator on the other side before he can reach them.
A squad of stormtroopers then enters the elevator. A trooper with a Western accent recognizes Finn. There's a tense moment as Finn pleads with the trooper to not expose him while Rose readies her blaster, but instead he just congratulates Finn on being promoted to officer, even slapping him on the butt.

What this scene would have added: Another Vader-esque Kylo shot and a silly Tom Hardy cameo.

"Rose Bites the Hand That Taunts Her"

Captured in the Supremacy hangar, Rose accidentally drops her crescent pendant. General Hux picks it up and recognizes it as hailing from the Otomok system, where Rose's homeworld suffered from the First Order. He puts it back around her neck and assures her that the First Order will always win, and in response she bites his finger. He tells Phasma to execute them both and storms off.
What this scene would have added: A fiery moment of rebellion for Rose.

"Finn and Rose Go to Where They Belong"

After escaping the Supremacy in a shuttle, Rose asks Finn where they're going, and he says, "Where we belong." They direct the ship to Crait.
What this scene would have added: A small character moment for Finn that confirms he now aligns with the Resistance and understands his place is with them.

"Rey & Chewie in the Falcon"

Having disposed of the TIE fighters, Rey and Chewie return to the Crait battlefield, where the walkers are currently blowing apart Luke (or at least, his Force projection). "Let's go around back," she tells Chewie, and they turn the Falcon around.
What this scene would have added: A slightly funny moment that helps to explain where Rey and Chewie are during Luke's confrontation with Kylo.

"The Creatures and Costumes of Canto Bight"

This isn't a deleted scene so much as it is a collection of shots of the amazing inhabitants of the Canto Bight casino. It mostly just gives some more appreciation for the hundreds of unique, incredible costumes that the costume department worked on, only for fans to declare that they hated that part of the movie. (Oh, the joys of being a filmmaker.)
Which deleted scene is your favorite? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

'Star Wars Rebels' Concludes the Story of the 'Ghost' Crew

*MAJOR SPOILER ALERT for the last few episodes of Star Wars Rebels*

Star Wars Rebels aired its last episodes on Monday night, definitively concluding the series. The three-part finale – "A Fool's Hope" and "Family Reunion and Farewell: Parts 1 and 2" – saw the main characters enlist the help of old friends to take a final stand against the Imperial forces occupying Lothal, Ezra's homeworld.
The episodes ended with the destruction of most of Lothal's Imperial forces, including Governor Pryce – the steely, authoritative villainess that Phasma never was – and Thrawn's assassin Rukh. Meanwhile, Ezra and a defeated Thrawn vanished into hyperspace by means of the purrgil, massive space whales that Ezra first befriended in Season 2 and summoned to decimate the Empire's fleet over Lothal. 

In the epilogue, Sabine narrated the fates of her friends: Zeb took Kallus to Lira San to prove that he hadn't destroyed the Lasat people while working for the Empire; Hera fought in the Battle of Endor with Rex and Chopper and gave birth to a son, Jacen Syndulla, whose father was Kanan (raising all sorts of questions about cross-species breeding and just how intimate Hera and Kanan got before his death); and Sabine stayed on Lothal to watch over the planet in Ezra's stead.
In the episode's final moments, Sabine examined a mural she painted in Lothal's capital of the original Ghost crew and their Loth-wolf and Loth-cat friends. Recounting Ezra's last words to her – "Don't forget, I'm counting on you" – she decided to find Ezra and bring him home with help from a white-cloaked Ahsoka Tano. 
The implication, of course, is that the next Star Wars animated series (which has been rumored for some time now and will probably be announced very soon) will center on Ahsoka and Sabine's journey to find Ezra, post-Return of the Jedi. It's a neat premise that will allow some of Rebels' best characters to shine, but this time in a new, unexplored era. 

And though the main objective will be tracking down Ezra (as well as Thrawn, who is certainly alive in some fashion), the idea of Ahsoka and Sabine teaming up is pretty damn cool on its own. An ex-Jedi and a Mandalorian, both passionate and badass warriors who suffered physical and emotional trauma in their youths and came out the other side stronger than ever? Ezra won't have to wait long because there is nothing those two could not do together.
Comparing Rebels to The Clone Wars – as fans will naturally do for the next few decades, if not longer – isn't an entirely pointless endeavor, as there's a lot to analyze about their respective story arcs, themes, character development, animation quality, and music, just to name a few. But one thing's for sure: Rebels got the satisfying, conclusive finale that Clone Wars was robbed of.

The intended series finale for Clone Wars was "The Siege of Mandalore," an episode arc that would have synced up with the events of Revenge of the Sith and seen Ahsoka reunite with Anakin and Rex. "Sacrifice," the Season 6 finale and the last completed episode of the series, did end on a conclusive note, but left many threads hanging (such as Maul's, Ahsoka's, and Rex's fates).

Meanwhile, "Family Reunion and Farewell" felt like a culmination of the entire series, with many familiar faces turning up to help liberate Lothal, a centerpiece of the show since the very first episode. The last scene was something of a cliffhanger, but it showed that Star Wars Rebels was about the Ghost crew as a whole; their story as a team is over, even if most of the individual characters still have wide-open futures in the Star Wars universe.
No, contrary to its title, Star Wars Rebels was not about the  Rebel Alliance. While it certainly shed light on its formation and had appearances by iconic Rebel leaders like Bail Organa, Princess Leia, and Mon Mothma, at the end of the day the Ghost crew and their friends were fighting for what they personally cared about, without the help of the Alliance.

Kanan, Hera, Ezra, Sabine, Zeb, and Chopper. Not exactly soldiers, not exactly capital-R "Rebels," but a collection of lost individuals who together became whole again. They were a family who fought during the galaxy's darkest hour to protect the innocent from an evil that perpetuated genocide and slavery. And there's nothing more Star Wars than that. 
What did you think of the Rebels finale? Where do you hope Star Wars animation goes next? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

'The Last Jedi' Deleted Scene is the Phasma Death We Deserved

It's still three weeks until The Last Jedi comes out on Blu-Ray on March 28, but "The Star Wars Show" today revealed one of its most anticipated deleted scenes: an alternate death for Captain Phasma. 
The clip seems to begin right after Finn wallops his former captain in the helmet with his riot baton. But rather than falling into the wreckage below, Phasma climbs back onto the platform, as do several of her troops. They train their blasters on Finn and she gets a few more verbal jabs in: "Disobedient, disrespectful, traitor!"

Finn then points out that when he threatened Phasma with a gun to her head back in Starkiller Base, she "squealed like a whoop hog" and lowered the shields. For all the loyalty she preaches, she's something of a traitor herself. There's a hint of fear in her exposed eye as she realizes her own men are taking Finn's words to heart. 
Before the troopers can make any decision, Phasma whips out her pistol and guns them all down. Finn charges towards her and slices off her hand with his baton before she knocks him down into the pile of rubble. We then get the original "You were always scum"/"Rebel scum" exchange between them, before she raises her staff to finish him and he blasts her in the chest with a repeating blaster, sending her flying backwards.

A big complaint about The Last Jedi and the Sequel Trilogy in general is how they've completely wasted Phasma as a character, giving her nothing to do in The Force Awakens and then hyping up her battle with Finn in Jedi but only giving them a quick fight scene before seemingly killing her off. 

This scene doesn't fix how the trilogy has treated Phasma overall, but it does give her a hint of actual character depth as it addresses her traitorous actions at Starkiller. Shooting her own troops is also a shockingly ruthless move on her part, lining up perfectly with the Captain Phasma comic miniseries (in which she kills multiple First Order personnel to keep the secret of her betrayal). And getting her hand cut off but still recovering fast enough to parry Finn's next swing is a pretty badass move, too.
Not only was the theatrical version of Phasma's death much shorter, but it also made her fate more ambiguous, with her body falling into flames instead of getting blasted in the chest. This means the filmmakers still may be interested in bringing her back in Episode IX, if only because Gwendoline Christie is such a lovable presence on and off the screen and at least a few fans are still holding out hope for her redemption as a serious villain.

What did you think of this scene? Do you hope Phasma returns in Episode IX? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

'Rebels' Proves Television is Where 'Star Wars' is Truly Innovating

*SPOILER ALERT for the latest Star Wars Rebels episodes*

Star Wars Rebels is rapidly approaching its series finale next week, and the latest episodes have proved how great and relevant this show really is. Last week saw the long-dreaded death of series mainstay Kanan Jarrus in "Jedi Night" as he sacrificed himself to save Ezra, Sabine, and his soulmate Hera, followed by "DUME," an episode that let the crew sort through their grief in different ways, before finally banding together again to continue their fight against the Empire.
But it was Monday night's "Wolves and a Door" and "A World Between Worlds" that truly changed what we thought we knew about Star Wars—both in terms of the nature of the Force and how innovative and abstract the franchise can get. The penultimate episodes brought in Emperor Palpatine (voiced by Ian McDiarmid himself) for his series debut, finally shed light on the fate of Ahsoka Tano, and introduced legitimate time travel to the Star Wars universe in a way that somehow worked.

Wolves, portals, and a tantalizing return

After transporting by way of Loth-wolf to the Lothal Jedi Temple, Sabine and Ezra found a mural of the Ones—the Daughter, Father, and Son of Mortis who were first seen in one of The Clone Wars' best episode arcs. With some key input from Sabine, Ezra used the Force to activate the door into the Temple and the painting moved, with the Loth-wolves forming a round portal into another dimension.
Ezra entered "the world between worlds," an endless, starry plane between time and space that echoed with the voices of the past and the future. Spotting a familiar convor, Ezra found a gate that looked onto the end of the duel between Ahsoka and Darth Vader in the crumbling Sith temple on Malachor—the part that we didn't see in "Twilight of the Apprentice." Just as Vader was about to deal the final blow, Ezra instinctively reached through and pulled Ahsoka into the world between worlds, saving her life. 
Ezra explained the situation to a bewildered Ahsoka and soon realized that there was someone else he could save, too. He found a portal that opened to Kanan's final moments, but Ahsoka pointed out that saving him would just result in Ezra's death (and create an good ol' fashioned time paradox). She pleaded with him to let go of Kanan, and he reluctantly followed her advice. "You can't save your master," she said. "And I can't save mine."
Unlike "Twilight," Anakin and Ahsoka's relationship wasn't one of the focuses of this episode, but this line seems to have brought it to a close. She'd gone from loving him as her master, to (literally) turning her back on him and the Order, to discovering – though not truly believing – that he had fallen to the Dark Side, to facing that evil head-on, and then, finally, to accepting that she couldn't save him from what he had become. It was as huge a moment of growth for Ahsoka as it was for Ezra.

But another presence suddenly appeared in the portal: the Emperor, who was seeking to enter the world between worlds and use its incredible power to control past and future events. Using a method of Sith magic first glimpsed in "Sacrifice," The Clone Wars' Season 6 finale, he sent torrents of fiery blue energy at them. Ahsoka promised to find Ezra later and ran through her portal back to Malachor with little time having passed, while Ezra returned to Lothal and closed the door to the world between worlds, causing the Temple to collapse.
Time travel hasn't exactly been off-limits to Star Wars before; there's a long history of Force visions foreshadowing future events and giving us glimpses of the past. But never before has anyone been able to tangibly interact with the past, and even irrevocably interfere with massive events such as Ahsoka and Vader's duel. 

This also answered the question of what the hell happened to Ahsoka (which has been brewing for two years) in a thoroughly unpredictable manner, while still leaving her future wide open. Now we know the context of that infamous "Twilight" tease of Ahsoka limping back into the Sith temple – she was wounded from both Vader and the Emperor, but resolved to find her way back to Ezra – but we still have no idea what she's been doing since then. 
Has she been stranded on Malachor like Maul was for many years, or – more likely – has she been avoiding the Ghost crew because she carries the knowledge of their future (particularly Kanan's death)? Does that mean she'll return to lend them a hand in next week's finale, or will another Star Wars animated or comic series chronicle her next adventures? Either way, Ahsoka's story is far from over. 

What the world between worlds tells us about the Star Wars franchise

First thing's first: the world between worlds isn't a game-changing plot device that we can expect to appear in more Star Wars stories soon. It's a painfully huge concept for any filmmaker or writer to borrow, and Rebels seemed to imply that it's been permanently closed off from the galaxy (though there's still probably some Force trick to accessing it). Rather, it's a testament to how much deeper the franchise can go in its television than in its film. 
A place ringing with the voices of everyone from Yoda to Maz Kanata, Qui-Gon Jinn to Jyn Erso? Where characters and events from every on-screen piece of the Star Wars canon meet? Forget cross-galaxy Force projections and tangible ghosts; this is the kind of jaw-dropping, never-before-seen Force action that Rian Johnson only touched on in The Last Jedi.

It's not that the people at Lucasfilm Animation are necessarily more creative and talented than those who work on the movies, it's just that they're not restricted by the pressure to turn a huge budget into a profitable feature film. As cool and totally appropriate it would be for Rey and Kylo Ren to visit the world between worlds in the Skywalker saga finale, it's just so weird that it would never be allowed to happen, out of fear of it alienating moviegoers who expect more concrete Star Wars action.
The Clone Wars and Rebels are where we can get storylines like Mortis, the Nightsisters of Dathomir, the Wellspring of Life, the Force-neutral Bendu, the Loth-wolves, and the world between worlds, each of which changes our understanding of the Force and its balance. Not to mention characters like Ahsoka, Kanan, and Ezra who are so popular because they've gotten hours upon hours of character development through television.
The lesson for fans? Keep on watching Star Wars movies for the epic stories and high-budget cinematic visuals, but we can only expect the really weird Star Wars stories, ones that challenge what we know about this galaxy, ones that take their time to build up lovable characters and beautiful relationships, from the animated series. All the sequels and prequels and spinoffs may the most important part of the franchise's future, but television is where some of its very best stories are being told.
What did you think of these Rebels episodes? When and where do you think we'll see Ahsoka next? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

'Game of Thrones' Creators Join 'Star Wars'

Lucasfilm announced today that Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will be writing and producing a new series of Star Wars films. There are no details on plots, release dates, or whether this will even be a trilogy versus a string of standalone movies.
The fan reaction to this announcement has been generally negative, and for good reason, too. Once again, two white male filmmakers have joined the Star Wars franchise, while women and people of color are still shut out. And though the director slots for these movies are still wide open, Benioff and Weiss have only collaborated with three female writers and directors (each for only a few episodes) and zero writers or directors of color over 67 episodes of Thrones.

Kathleen Kennedy has cited their character and mythology-building skills as the most exciting qualities they bring to Star Wars, and she's not necessarily wrong. But Benioff and Weiss have also been repeatedly criticized for their treatment of women on Game of Thrones (particularly the frequent portrayals of rape and other abuse against women), as well as a lack of diversity that crosses the line to subtle racism.
Of course, these controversies are nothing compared to the other HBO project that Benioff and Weiss were developing: Confederate, about on an alternate history in which the Civil War ended with the South seceding from the Union and maintaining institutional slavery until modern day. The announcement of the series was met with immediate and near-universal backlash, and though it's probably no longer in development, it hasn't helped their reputation.

The one silver lining is that on Thrones, Benioff and Weiss have demonstrated that they can write empowered (though often abused) female characters like Daenerys Targaeryen, Cersei Lannister, Brienne of Tarth, and Arya and Sansa Stark. At the very least we can trust them to create a narrative that includes women as leaders and warriors...even if they're all white, and even if there's still some underlying misogyny. 
What do you think of this announcement? What kind of Star Wars stories do you want Benioff and Weiss to write? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.

Monday, February 5, 2018

'Solo' Teaser Trailer Breakdown

Barely 12 hours after releasing its first look during the Super Bowl, Solo: A Star Wars Story unveiled its full teaser trailer on Good Morning America. 
We're breaking down all the new footage from this trailer (excluding the shots previously seen in last night's TV spot): 
  1. "I've been running scams on the streets since I was 10," Han says. He races a landspeeder with a bewildered Qi'ra next to him. This would seem to suggest that he's known Qi'ra since his youth; it almost looks like they're on a date gone awry. But she looks more excited than terrified by his antics. Hanging between them are Han's gold dice, a hallmark of the Falcon's cockpit and a significant prop in The Last Jedi.
  2. A stormtrooper gives chase on a speeder bike but Han sends him crashing. "I was kicked out of the flight academy for having a mind of my own," he explains sarcastically. While the Super Bowl spot highlighted Han's recruitment to the Empire, this one brushes it off with one sentence. 
  3. Han and Qi'ra walk through a vast desert. "Hey kid, I'm putting together a crew," Tobias Beckett tells him. Here we go. This is where the "heist movie" theme kicks in, not unlike the way the second Rogue One trailer introduced us to an array of exotic, dangerous characters.
  4. Qi'ra and L3-37 walk into smoke from the Falcon's landing ramp. A Lucasfilm press release today confirmed this to be the name of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's droid character. If Qi'ra was going on joy rides with Han on Corellia then she must have come from meager beginnings, so this cape might be an elaborate getup as part of their mission.
  5. Lando Calrissian smirks. That pose, that smile...yep, Donald Glover is gonna make Billy Dee Williams proud. We're meant to believe that Lando and Han first meet through Beckett, though the real story might be a little more complicated.
  6. Val readies a blaster. Nope, as confirmed by the press release, Thandie Newton's character isn't Rae Sloane (as some fans were hoping for). But we can still be grateful that the first major on-screen black woman in Star Wars looks like a trained killer who's fed up with Han's BS. (The afro is another nice touch.)
  7. A small, four-legged creature sits in a pilot's seat. Okay, we have no idea who this is, but it's nice that this crew will be almost as diverse as Rogue One's main team.
  8. Han is silhouetted in a bar. This is more like his type of place, a cantina that looks straight out of the Wild West, not the fancy establishment seen in the Super Bowl spot (and later in this trailer).
  9. "You in?" Beckett asks. Chewbacca growls. "That's yes," Han says. We know that Solo will show us how Han and Chewie first met, so it's interesting that at this point, they're already friends and Han's learned his language. This would also seem to suggest that the team heist doesn't start until the second or third act of the movie, with Han and Chewie meeting towards the beginning.
  10. Lando and L3-37 salute each other and together send the Falcon into hyperspace. This is a little hint at L3's personality (or at least, the human mannerisms Lando teaches it). It's interesting to see Han in the Falcon's backseat for once.
  11. Han readies his blaster in a standoff with a squad of thugs, led by a masked figure with a staff. We saw this guy battling Beckett in the Super Bowl spot, so it looks like he'll be joining the ranks of Darth Vader, Boba Fett, and Captain Phasma as another mysterious masked villain.
  12. A dark, helmeted figure with a cape rapidly dispatches two masked beings. Another mystery guy, this time giving off serious Darth Vader vibes. Maybe he's deliberately dressing like the legendary Sith Lord in order to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies.
  13. Han pulls a lever. A freighter and several small speeder bikes fly in a snowy mountain range. The huge crate underneath them matches the cargo boxes on the train seen in the Super Bowl spot. If you look closely there's wires tying it to the bikes, so this definitely looks like the climax of a train heist.
  14. "I might be the only person who knows what you really are," Qi'ra tells Han. This is the key piece of dialogue in the trailer, making us question what Han Solo is on the inside (at least at this point in his life). A good-for-nothing scoundrel? A natural hero? Or just a sad, neglected boy? Either way, it gives us great insight into Qi'ra's, uh, close familiarity with Han. (Let's just say he might not have mentioned her to Leia.)
  15. Han pilots the freighter away from a huge explosion next to the same snowy mountains. This is some Jedha-level destruction right here. That train must be carrying some pretty volatile cargo...
  16. "What's that?" Han replies to Qi'ra with a grin. This is our best look yet at how Alden Ehrenreich captures Han's cocky and flirtatious attitude. Here, it's a defense mechanism in response to the one person who understands his true vulnerability.
  17. The Falcon is pursued by TIE fighters and a Star Destroyer in a stormy vortex. "Get ready," Han tells Chewie, Lando, Beckett, and Qi'ra, before tipping the side of the ship to knock a TIE into an asteroid. Nothing like a trademark Han Solo piloting stunt. This definitely looks like a climactic sequence, meaning it could be part of the Kessel Run itself.
  18. "Thought we were in trouble there for a second but it's fine, we're fine," Han assures them. The crew suddenly freaks out as gigantic electric tentacles fly past the ship. Lightning, wind, asteroids, the Empire, and now an electric space octopus? If this were the Kessel Run, it would certainly make sense why it has a reputation for being so dangerous.
Yeah, this was a big step up from the Super Bowl spot. This trailer gave us some basic plot details, first looks at most of the characters, and a much better look at Ehrenreich's performance. Whether or not you approve of his take on Han Solo – for many, Harrison Ford's is the only one they'll recognize – you can't deny that the supporting characters all look great.

It's also refreshing that Solo seems to be embracing its irrelevance in the greater scheme of the Star Wars universe. It's not pretending like Han, Chewie or Lando aren't 100% guaranteed to make it out alive, or that it'll have any effect on the story we really care about – that of the Sequel Trilogy – or that it's even filling in a truly necessary plot hole. This is just a fun action-heist movie with a few iconic characters and several new ones. 

Lucasfilm also released four teaser posters for the film, featuring Han, Chewie, Lando, and Qi'ra, each posing with a blaster against a different exotic backdrop:
What did you think of this trailer? What do you think Han Solo really is? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.