Breaking down the new The Force Awakens trailer scene by scene. What did we learn?

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Nov 20, 2019, 6:51 PM EST (Updated)

It's hard to believe, but the final trailer for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: The Force Awakens has arrived. So let's get really hardcore and dig into every scrap of footage, shall we?


We learned a lot for the latest trailer, and it showed off a good bit of new footage — while also dropping some fascinating story details along the way. Of course, this being a film by Mr. Mystery Box, it's not nearly as much as some fans might've liked. But that just makes the little things all the more intriguing.

First up, we have Daisy Ridley's Rey sneaking around (probably scrapping for parts?) within a giant structure that seems to be a downed Imperial ship on the sand planet Jakku -- most likely that derelict Star Destroyer that's been prominently featured. Judging by the dust, it also looks like it's been on the ground for a very long time (possibly from when the Empire fell in the original trilogy). It also looks like she might've cobbled together part of her outfit from scrapped stormtrooper gear (i.e. the goggles she's wearing in the feature shot above). But when asked who she is, she says, "I'm no one." This, followed by an original trilogy-recalling shot of Ridley gazing off into the distance at a ship blasting off from Jakku, leads us to believe that she, like a certain young Skywalker we all know and love, feels isolated and unimportant on a backwater planet.


This shot mirrors one that has been around since pretty much the first trailer, showing off the massive new-look Empire, aka the First Order. At the front of the party is General Hux, addressing the troops. Previous trailers have also shown the opposite angle of this shot, revealing tens of thousands of stormtroopers just waiting to put a boot to the neck of the rest of the galaxy. These guys will almost certainly be the main antagonist for the revival, essentially picking up and rebuilding where the old Empire fell off.


From there, we jump to a lone TIE fighter being shot out of the sky and crashing toward a planet (most likely Jakku). By the framing of the scene, we're led to believe it's Finn (John Boyega) in the TIE fighter. Judging by previous set reports from the early parts of the film, Finn is here effecting an escape from the First Order with Oscar Isaac's Poe Dameron in tow (the shot from a previous trailer of a TIE fighter shooting up a hangar full of stormtroopers is also from this escape). Obviously, the escape doesn't go that well, and we soon pick up with Finn crash-landed on Jakku.


Say hello to the new Big Bad, meant to take over Darth Vader's proud place in your eternal nightmares: Kylo Ren, played by Adam Driver. His helmet takes some cues from Darth Vader's style (we'll get to that in a minute), and he seems pretty determined to do ... something. In the full shot, he seems to be standing on the bridge of a ship as a red streak (could this be a test-firing of Starkiller Base, the First Order's star-system-destroying super-weapon?) fires from the side. 


Now, the Darth Vader stuff. We've previously heard Kylo Ren is a bit obsessed with Vader, and judging by this shot, in which he speaks to the melted remains of his old helmet, we'd have to agree. Ren tells the Vader mask, "I will finish what you started," and you know that's not going to end well. Also of note: The Star Wars Aftermath novel features a group obsessed with searching out Vader relics. Could be related.

Having Ren be obsessed with Vader is an interesting way to keep that iconography present while hopefully spawning a new villain who is terrifying in his own right out of the ashes from the original trilogy. Fingers crossed.


It also looks like Kylo Ren is rocking some Force powers, or something of the sort, as he seemingly tortures Poe Dameron during the latter's imprisonment. We then see a flash of a powerful red light washing over a planet. Is this the effect of Starkiller Base?


Wheeee! The Millennium Falcon is back, baby! We get some nice shots of a dogfight interspersed with a conversation between Rey, Finn and Han Solo as they talk about the "stories" of the Jedi and The Force are all real (Interesting that Han, the original trilogy's voice of doubt and skepticism, is the one to deliver that news). Along with showing off some more of that Falcon-vs.-TIEs fight we've seen, this also lets us get a feel for the new and old cast as they mesh.

Judging by this scene, it looks like Han will be a major connecting force to tie the story together between the new and old groups. This short exchange also reveals just how much knowledge has been lost since the original trilogy, as these people don't even know Jedi are real — or (apparently) the details of how the Empire fell. The Jedi are apparently the stuff of whispers and forgotten legends, now.


Kylo Ren and his gang of elite guards stand on a rainy battlefield, and it looks like they've just kicked a whole lot of butt. Are these the Knights of Ren we've heard about? Putting Ren in this dark scene, with his crossguard lightsaber shining through the rain, really makes him look menacing. Here's hoping he's really as scary as he looks.


This next scene sets up another battle (note we're on a different planet here), as First Order Stormtroopers prepare for a fleet of X-Wings to arrive. They're set up in the ruins of something, so it stands to reason this isn't the first battle this city has seen. Could this perhaps be the climactic battle of the film's finale? Perhaps.


Another shot that seems to be from this same battle, with an X-Wing torching a TIE fighter. This looks like it'll be a big one, pitting the forces of the Resistance against the First Order. This is going to look great on the big screen.


After that, we see Finn, Rey and Han heading into a mysterious temple, with the help of a colorful droid. What is this place? No clue, although there's some speculation that this is the home of Lupita Nyong'o's pirate, Maz Kanata. But, it seems Han will be getting a lot of screen time with these two, since this marks the second place we've seen the trio together. 


Here, we see the ever-badass Captain Phasma leading a group of First Order Stormtroopers, with some troop transports in the background and sides. There are also some burning huts, so this could very well be the raid/massacre that leads Finn to his crisis of conscience and toward the Resistance.


Uh oh. Han, Finn and Chewbacca have apparently been captured by the First Order forces, and are in the middle of surrendering. But, they're looking at something in the sky, so we'd imagine rescue could be on the way. Could they be on the planet where the battle is taking place, waiting for the X-Wings to show up and attack the Stormtroopers so they can stage an escape? The background certainly makes it seem that way.


Poe Dameron is in the cockpit of an X-Wing, hopefully coming to rescue Han and the gang (or, you know, just getting ready to take on some TIE fighters). 


This is war, and even the adorable BB-8 has to pull his weight around here. We get a peek of BB-8 in the astromech slot of an X-Wing (probably Poe Dameron's, we'd guess), and what's that he is looking at? Oh, just a massive fleet of TIE fighters on the way. All these years later, and the Resistance is still outgunned. Get ready for a dogfight, y'all. The icy backdrop also indicates that this could be part of the movie's final act - an attack by the Resistance on Starkiller Base.


We'd imagine this shot comes from the ensuing battle, though it flashes by so quickly, it's hard to tell exactly which type of ship is blowing up here. Imperial, probably, judging by the tech style. But yeah, this stands as solid proof that it'll be one heck of a space fight.


Much like Princess Leia before her, Rey plans to get in on the ground floor of this fight. Instead of a lightsaber, she goes with a tried and true (very cool-looking) blaster, and we can see her firing away at someone off screen. She also looks quite angry.


And then...the hug that started 1,000 memes. Seriously, who hasn't wanted to see Han and Leia back together after all these years? We don't know much about the context of the shot, but we can guess a few things: This seems like one of those hugs where they've been separated for a while, and since we've seen Han paling around with the younger cast up until now, it seems this moment might be when the disparate groups start to come together. This jibes with reports we've seen that Han and Leia are estranged at the beginning of the film. My gosh, the feels.


Last but not least, we have Finn firing up his very own lightsaber. The trailer and posters seem to be setting him up as a young Jedi in training, and this seems to fit with that thread...but word on the street is that this is all a bait and switch for the eventual ascendance of Rey to Jedi status, and that Finn is just wielding a lightsaber as an untrained civilian. But, as cool as it might be, it looks like he'll have some immediate competition...


Yeah, that's right — Finn is firing up that lightsaber to fight off Kylo Ren, who is rocking his crossguard lightsaber. Judging by the look on Finn's face as Ren comes in for attack, he might've bit off a bit more than he can chew. Can't wait to see this battle play out in all its glory.  Also worth noting, here, is that Kylo Ren has removed his helmet and we can see the back of what certainly looks like Adam Driver's head, thus thankfully putting to rest the crazy theory that it was somehow Luke under that mask all along.


What was your favorite part of the new The Force Awakens trailer? Did you pick up any little details we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens December 18.