New Star Wars trailer, with older Han Solo and black Stormtrooper, excites local fans

The second trailer for the hotly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens has found favour with local fans of the popular science-fiction series.

They cheered that it brought back their fond memories of the past movies, and were also intrigued by two new characters featured in the two-minute trailer.

Primary school tutor Jasmine Lee, 32, says: "It brings back memories. It gives me a warm feeling to see the old characters."

The trailer included a scene where an older Han Solo (played by Harrison Ford) says to Chewbacca, "Chewie, we're home", and his Wookie partner roars in delight.

Fans were also supportive of the black Stormtrooper (played by 23-year-old British actor John Boyega) who appears thrice in the trailer, something which drew flak from some netizens overseas because Stormtroopers have always been assumed to be white clones.

Housewife Toh Yi Ling, 36, says: "I'm interested in his motivation - why is he in Stormtrooper armour? Does he defect from the Empire? Does he have a change of heart? Is he in disguise?"

A female character (played by Daisy Ridley) who appears three times in the trailer also fascinates fans.

"It's good to have her because there is at least one female fans can relate to," said Ms Ysabel Yaneza, 20, a recent polytechnic graduate attended Thursday night's Star Wars event at Shaw Lido dressed up as Queen Amidala, a look that took her two hours to create.

She was among more than 400 fans of all ages who descended upon the Orchard Road cineplex to catch the simulcast screening of a panel session in the United States hosted by director J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Tickets to the event, which also premiered the new trailer, were given to fans on a first-come-first-served basis.

The simulcast started past 1am, but the energy among the fans was high, with many of them yelling and cheering at the screen. After the trailer was played for the first time, they chanted for an encore and were happily treated to a second showing.

Many of the ticket-holders showed up dressed as Star Wars characters the likes of Jedis and Stormtroopers, with some even engaging in mock lightsaber battles.

The panel session was held to kickstart Star Wars Celebration, a four-day fan event that celebrates all things Star Wars held in Anaheim, California, this year. Comprising a series of panels, autograph sessions and exhibitions, the convention is expected to see a turnout of more than 150,000 fans from around the world. 

Singapore was one of 23 countries to hold a simulcast fan event of the panel, and photos of the international celebrations were sent to the main event in Anaheim for sharing on the big screen. 

The upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens movie is slated to open in cinemas on Dec 17.

Secondary 2 student Lee Newton, donning a Jedi costume that cost him $100 to rent, was one of two winners of the Best Dressed contest that night. He walked took home Star Wars premiums including a lightsaber.

"I've been a huge fan of Star Wars since I was seven, there's no way that I would want to miss this," says the 14-year-old, never mind that he had a choir contest to participate in the next morning at 7am. "This is my first time gathering with other Star Wars fans, so I was excited to see what characters they would dress up as."

The other winner of the Best Dressed contest was Primary 1 student Luke Quek, who also showed up as a Jedi. Whipping out his own lightsaber, the six-year-old displayed some Jedi moves, which led many fans around him to squeal in delight.

His IT professional father Sebastian Quek, 39, says that he introduced Star Wars to his son over a year ago and already, his son has become a bigger fan.

"We've watched all the movies together, and he really loves them. Maybe it's because his name is Luke and he feels like he had something in common with the main character right from the start," says Mr Quek, who clarifies that he did not name his son after Star Wars hero Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hamill).

Click here to watch the trailer.