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Four Slices of Costume Pie from the Star Wars VII Trailer

There is little point in Clothes on Film delving too deeply into the first trailer for director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars sequel The Force Awakens, mainly because it is just so much speculation at the moment, which of course is part of the fun, but also because there are far smarter (or more interested) minds on the Internet who will do a better job.

That said how can you watch that trailer and not have an opinion? So here are ours, and with no contribution whatsoever from Star Wars VII costume designer Michael Kaplan. If he told us anything at this stage he would be thrown in the Sarlacc pit with us soon after him. Rest assured though, when we can talk to Mr Kaplan about The Force Awakens, we WILL.

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Perhaps the best compliment we can pay to what’s revealed in this trailer is just how retro it looks. Essentially this is the world we know and love from 1977 to 1983, but with a few embellishments to make it new, or judging by the designs so far, old and dusty.

What we see here look to be ground force Stormtroopers – the regular kind as it were. There are some differences to the helmet, though these seem more evolutionary than revolutionary. The visors are no longer separate for each eye but one single piece, part of thick black piping to frame the face in a more aggressive fashion. Overall the shape seems to be sleeker. Joe Boyega’s suit sans helmet (main image) is like a wonderful trip down memory lane.

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That could be the name of Daisy Ridley’s character, or she could be called Geoff. Point is she’s apparently the heroine of the story and most likely Han Solo and Leia’s daughter. Simply down to the colour palette and fabric draping, Ridley’s ensemble echos that of Leia’s Ubese bounty hunter disguise from Return of the Jedi. Oh and nice boots too – like Nike basketball kicks with a chunky Air sole. They scream young and energetic, probably quite unlike most of the original films’ fan base these days.

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Sith Lord

We are hardly going out on a limb to suggest this is Adam Driver under the robe. Physicality alone seems to imply that. Then again it could be Harrison Ford for all we know. In all seriousness, the hooded robe is akin to Alec Guinness’s as Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars IV. It is a simple enough costume hint; that all old masters, whether they are evil or virtuous, retire in their comfies, aka a hooded robe. It is industrial grey for the bad guys and organic brown for the good. Some wrapped bandage down by this fella’s lightsaber hand too – possibly to treat an injury? Who knows?

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X-Wing Pilot

Oscar Isaac doesn’t have a name in the film yet, but evidently he’s an X-Wing pilot (or can pilot). The most we have to analyse is the helmet. The major difference from helmets in the original trilogy is that there’s only one Rebel Alliance logo and not one either side of the visor. Plus it’s a trimmer, more functional shape, and with a permanent radio attached. Kaplan has adhered to that grimy beaten up Star Wars world we adore though. This helmet has seemingly been through as much action as its owner.

Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens is released on 18th December 2015. Michael Kaplan’s main job is probably finished at this point with any additional costume razzmatazz to be achieved in post. That is until the next time of course…

© 2014, Lord Christopher Laverty.