A Stormtrooper who turns from the Dark Side, a desert scavenger with an unexpected destiny, and plenty of Han Solo: At long last, the first full-length Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer has arrived. (Watch it above!) The trailer, which premiered tonight on Disney-owned ESPN during Monday Night Football, gave fans the most in-depth look yet at J.J. Abrams’s film, the seventh in the Star Wars franchise. In addition to some breathtaking action scenes, the new trailer offers us a glimpse at the villainous plan of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) to follow in Darth Vader’s footsteps; Rey (Daisy Ridley) and the revelation that she holds the power of the Force; and the transformation of Finn (John Boyega) from First Order soldier to rebel.
There’s also a brief, but gratifying clinch between Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher). In fact, it looks like Han Solo has a significant role in The Force Awakens, traveling with Finn and BB-8 to parts unknown. As for Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), it looks like we’ll have to wait until opening day to see more than his robotic hand.
The trailer opens with a few dazzling shots of Rey, in her masked desert costume, rappelling into an abandoned starship. “I’m no one,” the desert scavenger says in voiceover, as she crosses the lonely sands with the droid BB-8 by her side. Next, we get some backstory for Finn, a Stormtrooper whose TIE fighter appears to have been hit in battle, leaving him stranded on Jakku. But that may be the least of his problems. “I was raised to do one thing, but I’ve got nothing to fight for,” Finn says.
After we’ve met our heroes, we finally come face-to-face (or face-to-helmet, as it were) with our villain: Kylo Ren, who stands on the bridge of what looks like a Star Destroyer, speaking to the desiccated mask of Darth Vader. “Nothing will stand in our way. I will finish what you started,” he intones. Presumably using the power of the Dark Side, Kylo Ren turns his open palm to rebel pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac), who cries out in agony.
The trailer then returns to Finn and Rey, who have teamed up — and are looking to a familiar face for answers. “There are stories about what happened…” Rey asks Han Solo. “It’s true. All of it,” he replies. Sounds like the events of the original trilogy have become the stuff of legend.
The remainder of the trailer thrusts the audience into the center of an epic battle. We see Stormtroopers laying waste to a planet; the evil Knights of Ren, congregating in the rain; Han, Chewbacca, and Finn being taken captive; and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie) marching through a fiery battleground. But the rebels are fighting back: Finn meets Kylo Ren in a lightsaber battle; Rey shoots a blaster; and an X-wing descends into a snowy mountain melee, with BB-8 on board. There are hints that our heroes will face devastating losses: Rey cries over a dead body, while Han and Leia’s embrace suggests a tearful parting. Thankfully, we know that Rey holds the power of the Force. “It’s calling to you,” says a woman in voiceover (who sounds a lot like Princess Leia). “Just let it in.”
To build fan anticipation for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, advance film footage has been parsed out sparingly over three trailers: an 88-second teaser last November; a two-minute teaser in April; and finally, the full-length theatrical trailer. Additional footage has been released in an Instagram video; a Korean TV spot; and a behind-the-scenes video shown at Comic-con.
Tickets are now on sale for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which opens in theaters on Dec. 18.
Watch our breakdown of the trailer: