The Force Awakens in Abu Dhabi: See the UAE in new Star Wars trailer

Published April 17th, 2015 - 12:10 GMT


Han Solo and Chewie are back after 32 years in a spectacular second trailer for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens, that shows fans much more of what they will see when the movie hits screens on December 18.

The one minute 51 second trailer was unveiled by JJ Abrams during a fan even at California's Anaheim Convention Center  - with stars Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac and John Boyega looking on.

The clip is the first time Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, has been seen on film since 1983's Return of The Jedi. He is joined by Chewbacca at the end of the trailer and heard saying, 'Chewie, we're home.'

The trailer opens on what appears to be the newly revealed desert planet Jaku (or Jakoo), as a speeder races across the sands we see an ancient downed Star Destroyer and a skeletal X-Wing, which clearly crashed there from orbit decades ago.

We then see a an unknown pair of hands holding the mangled mask of Darth Vader, melted and disfigured from the Sith lord's funeral pyre at the end of Return of the Jedi.

We hear a voice - believed to be Mark Hamill's - reprising a line from the 1983 film: 'The force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it.'

A hooded figure with a robotic arm, very likely Luke Skywalker, reaches out and lays a hand on R2D2 as John Williams rising score plays in the background.

We then see a lightsaber changing hands between two more unseen characters, as the voice finishes: 'You have that power too' - a strong suggestion Luke Skywalker has had a child.

The lightsaber itself looks exactly like the one Luke inherited from Obi Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, but lost when Darth Vader cut off his hand above at the climax of The Empire Strikes Back, suggesting the weapon was somehow retrieved from below Bespin's Cloud City. 

Then in a flurry of quick scenes we see Oscar Isaac as pilot Poe Dameron flying with a squadron of X-Wings above water; His helmet and flight suit still bear the Rebel insignia from the original series.

Suddenly a hooded figure swinging the much-discussed 'crucifix lightsaber' at the camera; before John Boyega and Daisy Ridley as Rey and Finn are seen fleeing a TIE fighter blasting at them from above the desert planet, while the new rolling droid BB8 trudles speedily beside them.

It is then we get our first proper look at the masked villain wielding the red lightsaber as he performs a Force push, while Stormtroopers mill about him in amid a fiery background.

We then appear to get a glimpse of what has become of the Empire - a squadron on the new look Stormtroopers form rank in a snow-covered location beneath a new black and red insignia reminiscent of the old Imperial one, surrounded by gun batteries and parked TIE fighters, while a sole figue can be seen on a stage way in the background.

Immediately we get to see the new look TIE fighters in action as a pair fly in formation above the sand, before a base filled with the former Imperial troops and falls under attack. 

One of the TIE fighters seems to attack its own base, suggesting it was commandeered by whomever the troops are fighting against. 

As the explosions rock the base we see one Stormtrooper remove his helmet to reveal John Boyega, a plot point fans were aware of having spotted him in the uniform in the fist teaser trailer back in November. 

As the trailer continues, more and more evidence of surviving elements of the supposedly toppled Empire are revealed, including at least one operating Star Destroyer, although all the ships seen appear to have been modified or updated in the decades that have past since Return Of The Jedi.

One of the most intriguing shots was of a new character wearing a black version of Stormtrooper armour, perhaps some sort of elite troop, who wore a cloak over one shoulder similar to fan favourite Boba Fett. 

This image is followed by one of BB8 peeking around a corner in thr interior of a ship that is surely the Millennium Falcon.

During the Q&A session, John and Daisy had confirmed that their characters form an allegiance and the trailer appears to show that moment as Rey stand's above an exhausted Finn - presumably after fleeing from the Tie fighters - and extends an arm in friendship.

The penultimate shot of the trailer shows the Millennium Falcon - whose pilot is as yet unknown - being pursued across Jaku by a pair of TIE fighters, presumably the same ones that were chasing Finn and Rey.

They chase the ship, once (and possibly still) owned by Han Solo into the belly of an enormous ruined inverted Super Star Destroyer. In one of the teasers many nods to the original films besides, the sequence mirrors the final battle above Endor when the Falcon was flown into the heart of the second Death Star.

The teaser then closes with what caused a tidal wave of excitement among already riled fans - the sight of an aged Han Solo reunited with Chewbacca aboard the Millennium Falcon, as Harrison Ford rasps: Chewie... We're home.'

During the panel, JJ talked about his love of the franchise. 'I was 11 years when Star Wars come out,' he said.

'That moment transported me. It was the first time a movie made me laugh that way.... the film was brilliant and had such heart and the biggest thing for me was that it had such hope.

'Shooting in Abu Dhabi was an incredible thing. Shooting Star Wars is a Western and a fairy tale... shooting in Abu Dhabi was just that,' he added.

'He was more of a hero in that move than in all of the movies he's been in,' it was added. 

R2D2 then appeared on stage and an image from the movie was shared with the robot in it. The 'tinkerers' were also brought out to talk about working with the droid. Next came BB-8, a rolling droid that appeared in the first Star Wars VII trailer.

Abrams rvealed that while it would have been easier to simply make a computer graphics version of the droid, it adds to the 'real feel' of the universe if characters are tangible, demonstrating the mind-boggling technology that keeps the droids domed head floating above his spherical rolling body.  

Daisy described her character, 'She is a scavenger and very solitary until she meets another character and that's when the adventure begins.'

Oscar added, 'He's been sent on a mission by a certain princess and he meets John Boyega's character and their fates are forever intertwined.'

John then said he would not confirm whether he was a Stormtrooper or not - he looked like he wanted to tell the host 'yes'... but feigned discomfort since his 'boss' Abrams was sat right beside him.

Anthony Daniels also made the event - he plays C3PO. 

Fisher came out in a black blazer and red skirt. Next was Peter Mayhew, who plays Chewbacca. Last was Hamill. The audience went wild for over 10 seconds.

When asked about her iconic hairstyle, Fisher said, 'The buns are tired now so I don't think we'll have the futuristic buns but we will have an alternate that will not include the metal bikini.'

Hamill added, 'George originally called the film the most expensive small film he ever made.' He then thanked the fans for their passion. 'My entire adult life I have felt such love from you. You're more than just fans, you're family.'

Anthony Breznican from Entertainment Weekly was the first to talk at the panel. He talked about his first time watching Star Wars then introduced Abrams and Kennedy.

JJ had on a baseball cap and button down shirt while Katheleen wore a Star Wars shirt.

In November the first trailer came out and it lasted only 88 seconds.

Opening some 30-years after Return Of The Jedi, the teaser kicked off with British actor Boyega, playing Finn, racing across a desert landscape dressed in full Stormtrooper regalia.

A parched, disembodied voice tells us of an 'awakening' and reminds us of the dual energies that are 'the dark side... and the light.'

British actress Daisy Ridley is the next new star to appear as she drives a hover vehicle towards a desert town, while Oscar Isaac is seen as a fighter pilot, looking rather like a young Luke Skywalker when he's headed for the Death Star.

The first trailer also delivered what was initially suggested during the forthcoming film's development - a clear departure from the over-indulgent use of CGI that blighted parts one, two and three of the science fiction saga.

It also confirmed the welcome return of the iconic Millennium Falcon, and it is seen dodging laser blasts in a brief battle sequence.

A new lightsaber made its debut, complete with a sword-like hilt, as an ominous cloaked figure marauds through a dark, snow-layered forest setting.

The result of an ambitious $4.05 billion buyout that saw Disney acquire complete autonomy over the franchise from LucasFilm in November 2012, the Abrams directed Star Wars Episode VII is their first offering as they endeavour to build on the universe originally devised by George Lucas in the mid-70s.

The coup followed similar buyouts from Pixar ($7.4bn) and Marvel ($4.2bn) with Disney unveiling plans to release a further three episodic films and an additional stand alone film every two or three years - a reaction to 'pent-up demand' from fans.

With a proven pedigree in TV and film, Lost creator Abrams signed up to direct the first after initially ruling himself out.

Directly responsible for redefining and reinvigorating the Star Trek franchise, Abrams' decision made him the first director to work across two rival universes.

The film opens December 18, 2015.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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