For big-budget films, there’s a cycle of teasers, trailers, and TV spots that can be observed and measured like tree rings. And by taking a core sample of the Star Wars: Episode VII—The Force Awakens advertising machine, we can confirm that we’re just over a month away from the film’s global release.
Specifically, this new TV spot marks the phase where we aren’t going to get any more substantial new footage. Instead, we’re getting the same scenes of Rey and Fin running around sandy Jakku, a galaxy-weary Han Solo finally understanding what it’s like to be the “crazy old Ben” of the story, First Order stormtroopers pew-pewing, and the Millennium Falcon whipping about the galaxy.
Instead of debuting characters like Andy Serkis’ Snoke, or Luke busting out his magisterial beard, “new” is limited to frames and phrases added to the margins. Buried in among the now-familiar scenes is a vow by Kylo Ren, who promises to “show them… the dark side.” Han Solo hands Rey a blaster and dryly suggests that it may come in handy. There’s General Leia’s command bunker, what appears to be a Stormtrooper fighting Finn with a lightsaber-blocking weapon, and a few frames of X-Wing-on-TIE-Fighter combat reminiscent of A New Hope.
For those intimately familiar with the existing trailers, it can feel frustrating to be consciously aware that the spot contains only five or six seconds of footage that isn’t already ingrained in our brains. But don’t give in to hate; that leads to the dark side. Instead, take heart in knowing that these minuscule updates mean that December 18 is just around the corner.