3. How important is Captain Phasma (compared to other named villains)?
Gwendoline Christie’s chrome-clad stormtrooper gets prime, if limited, real estate centered on the poster right above the title, and she’s flanked by First Order troopers with some guns that are definitely not standard issue (or at least they weren’t in the original films). By the look of it, Phasma is going to be the biggest day-to-day thorn in the side of the New Republic of anyone not named Kylo Ren.
But go down to the credits, and they tell a different story, though perhaps a misleading one. There’s quite a lengthy cast named on the poster, but Christie’s name is a notable exclusion, even falling out to people like Domhnall Gleeson, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow whose characters are nowhere to be seen on the poster. BUT – and here’s why that’s misleading – credits, and where on a poster an actor is billed, is a part of every acting contract and is closely negotiated. Star Wars is sort of the exception to the norm of featuring your highest billed cast even above the title of the movie. We know Gwendoline Christie’s name, and so does anyone else who watches Game of Thrones as religiously as we do, but she’s not as well known to the general public. Gleeson, Serkis, and Sydow are all in positions where they’d be more likely to negotiate a poster mention. So we’ll hold to the opinion that Captain Phasma is going to be all over this movie, just as the character’s position in the picture suggests.
But on the subject of Domhnall Gleeson, how will his General Hux relate to Phasma and Kylo Ren? The poster does give us some clues.
Unlike the original Star Wars, which made sure to hold a spot for Peter Cushing’s Grand Moff Tarkin, General Hux isn’t on this poster. That’s maybe not entirely surprising, given that he was only one of four named villains in the movie, and quite possibly the least important of them. Also, Grand Moff Tarkin was one of nine characters on the poster for the original Star Wars. The Force Awakens trailer comes in at twelve named characters plus a whole lot of stormtroopers. At least in terms of screen time, figure that Hux gets far less than Kylo Ren, who takes up a third of the poster all by himself and is clearly going to be a major focus of the movie, and less than Captain Phasma, but maybe still more than Supreme Leader Snoke. (We’re standing by the idea that he’s going to be very Emperor-ish and barely show his face in this movie.)
2. Is that Maz Kanata?
This little creature is nestled in right behind R2-D2 and BB-8. There are a few possibilities, but we think this pretty much has to be Maz Kanata, the space pirate played via motion capture by Lupita Nyong’o. There’s just no one else who figures to be important enough to the plot to put on the poster, especially when General Hux and Lor San Tekka (the Jakku elder Max von Sydow is said to be playing) didn’t make the cut.
Although a lot of the action in the movie seems like it’ll take place on Jakku, Maz Kanata’s pirate castle could be one of the most important locations in the film. It could be the place that this happens:
Watching the clip, there’s some random tech in the background like you might expect to find in a black market or pirate hideout. It’s also worth noting that neither of these hands belong to Finn, who appears to have the lightsaber later. But all this (including the rediscovery of the lightsaber’s existence) could all go down at Maz Kanata’s pirate haven.
1. What’s up with that first rank of stormtroopers?
The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that the first couple stormtroopers on either side of the title have different helmets and chest plates than the others. This isn’t new for a Star Wars movie; The Empire Strikes Back had snow troopers (and there is updated snow trooper armor for the new movie, but these aren’t snow troopers in the poster) and Return of the Jedi had scout troopers (the ones Luke and Leia chased on speeder bikes).
But these? These are Flametroopers. Which is both pretty smart, considering fire is harder to block with a lightsaber than laser blasts, and pretty twisted when you remember how Luke’s aunt and uncle were cooked alive in the opening act of Star Wars.
So that’s the poster. We think it’s a good one, and it leaves us with some new questions as well as answers (or at least hints and answers) to some old ones. We’ve seem most of our major characters, but there’s a lot still to be revealed.
Check back with us tomorrow (Monday 10/18), we’ll be breaking down and explaining everything new in the full length trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens as soon as it’s released!