I should probably stop watching that new Star Wars trailer, but I’m not going to. I have vivid memories of the first time teenage David, college-age David, and workforce David watched the first teasers for various new Star Wars movies, because there’s no feeling quite like it. Yes, even for Episode I: The Phantom Menace, which seemed so amazing at the time that I must have watched it, gosh, I can’t even count how many times. How silly that feels, in hindsight.
Now that we have the first official teaser for the culmination of the Skywalker saga, appropriately titled Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, it’s time to kick off months and months of endless speculation about what might happen come December 20, the film’s official release date. (While we all probably have better things to do than debate the goals of Ghost Palpatine for 40 hours a week, it’s kind of fun to jump into the chaos from time to time.)
In case you have no idea why a weird cackle in a Star Wars trailer has any significance, or you just want to reminisce, as I have, about your feelings when you first saw the early teasers for various other Star Wars films, let’s take a quick trip into the Holocrons. Here’s how the various other Star Wars films have used teasers to whet geeky appetites over the years:
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace
How many times did you watch Meet Joe Black for this?
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Short, simple, satisfying. Who would have thought that breathing would make such an effective first teaser?
Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
It’s impossible to not feel something when you see that Binary Sunset and hear that delicious John Williams theme.
Star Wars: A New Hope
My, how times have changed.
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
My favorite film in the franchise had one of the weirdest teasers by far—at least, I can’t think of the last time I saw concept art as the trailer for a film.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
Fun fact: I can only ride Star Tours once in a day, or else I get motion sick. Also, this trailer is pretty upbeat and peppy for the film’s darker content. Those poor murdered Ewoks.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
That majestic shot of the huge-ass Star Destroyer is one of the best starts to a Star Wars trailer I’ve ever seen. But don’t take my word for it. With The Force Awakens debuting at a time when it’s normal for everyone to record everything they do, crowd reactions to this first teaser are almost as fun to watch as the trailer itself.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Mark Hamill could read the phone book and I’d watch a trailer for it. And I wish John Williams could write music for my life. Also, insert requisite crowd reaction video here.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
And here we are—the big ending. Er, the first teaser for the big ending, which had the expected amount of fan exuberance when it debuted this past week. Also, Han and Leia’s theme? Lando? Carrie Fisher? The Emperor’s laugh? I have never felt as strongly for a film in this franchise as this one—not because it’s the last, but because the teaser was exactly what it needed to be. The only way I won’t be a mess come December is if the Sith Jar-Jar theory holds true.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Weird naming convention aside, Rogue One has been my favorite spin-off Star Wars story, period. The ending is perfect, as is the super-bonus “holy shit” ending—at least, what I said the first time I saw it.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
This teaser’s soundtrack was pretty solid, I’ll give it that. It still feels a little weird to have Khaleesi flying around space with Haymitch Abernathy, but not nearly as weird as that tentacle monster thing that felt like a “well, we have a lot of CGI budget left so, here’s an idea…” addition to the film. Oops. Spoilers.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Did this big introduction for the animated Star Wars TV show even get a teaser trailer? I can’t recall even seeing the film in theaters, I confess.
Super-bonus: That Mandalorian TV show
Superfans of the Star Wars franchise tend to have an affinity toward a particular helmet-garbed bounty hunter—no, not Zuckuss. Rather, the bounty hunter who spent most of his screentime in the original trilogy getting his ass kicked. It’s only fitting that his people, the Mandalorians, get their own spin-off TV show to illustrate how badass they actually are. And while Disney has been going wild blasting leaked versions of the show’s trailer with DMCAs on YouTube, worry not; there are plenty of other places to find it. And the other one.