Four a.m. All right? That’s when I went to bed. That’s pretty much a record from someone who’s frequently tried to pull an all-nighter only to decide at the eleventh hour that sleep – any amount, however small – really would be better. If you have children you will understand this. If you have my children, you’ll tell me I’m being an idiot for staying up so late on a school night.
Anyway, that Star Wars trailer. You’ve all seen it, haven’t you? The one that was announced with a flurry of trumpets and had Twitter in meltdown. The one with the ominous voiceover from Luke, who basically repeats his I-am-your-sister monologue from Return of the Jedi, to a woman whom I’m informed is probably his niece. The one that’s already been analysed to death as people try and work out whether the black stormtrooper is a good guy or a bad guy (surely ‘both’ is the only sensible answer?), why Lando still hasn’t fixed the Millennium Falcon’s deflector dish, and whether you could park a plane in one of the crags on Harrison Ford’s face. It’s standard “this is what should be in a Star Wars trailer” fare, telling us precisely nothing about exactly why the Force is awakening or in whom (although I can make an educated guess) followed by the welcome sight of Han Solo – whose absence is what killed the prequel trilogy and whose presence here got the kid in me all excited. (Actually, the kid in me is about ninety per cent of my active personality, so it was quite spectacular.)
You haven’t seen it? Well, go and watch it now. Otherwise you’re going to be horribly confused by what follows, which is my version. And here it is.
The last time they did a Star Wars teaser, I produced a selection of memes. This time I went one better, opting for a full-on reconstruction. The result is rather like the Magnum P.I. trailer I produced a while back. Anyone can do a fancy trailer with appropriate footage, designed for maximum emotional / comedic impact. Producing something that actually looks a little bit like the thing you’re trying to copy is considerably trickier, and requires time, patience and – in this case – an almost encyclopedic knowledge of New Who. I have none of the above, but where’s the fun in going into something totally prepared?
I started and finished this in a single evening, mostly as a shameless land grab. The abundance of black screen helped – there was less to do. Certain stories jump out at you as being obvious targets, if like me you’ve spent time watching them with a cynical, “They nicked that from Star Wars” eye. (This isn’t really fair, of course. The original Star Wars trilogy is, in its own way, thoroughly derivative, and that’s the reason it works so well – it fuses western with Arthurian legend and dumps it in space.) But there are obvious contenders. I never thought I’d actually be able to do anything with ‘Planet of the Dead’, but it really was a gift for something like this. And there’s not a single shot of Lee Evans.
Episodes used, in order of first appearance:
‘Planet of the Dead’
‘The Time of the Doctor’
‘Forest of the Dead’
‘Aliens of London’
‘The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe’
‘A Good Man Goes To War’
‘Asylum of the Daleks’
‘The Stolen Earth’
‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’
‘Voyage of the Damned’
‘Victory of the Daleks’
‘The Crimson Horror’
‘The Eleventh Hour’
‘Fires of Pompeii’
It works reasonably well. I wish, wish, wish I’d remembered to fix the text justification in that opening title. And what’s even more irritating is that for all the shot reversals I included, I didn’t reverse the opening walk to the Tritovore spacecraft across the San Helios desert, and this is silly. At least it’s a contrast. Aside from that, you will note the obvious inclusion of the lightsaber-toting monks in ‘A Good Man Goes To War’, and the the less obvious inclusion of the pteranodons from ‘Dinosaurs on a Spaceship’. That closing image was the hardest one to pick, and even now I’m not entirely sure it’s the right one, but by this point it was half past two and my brain was bleeding.
All the while I was producing this it made sense to do a side-by-side comparison to accompany it, just to see how close I was, or wasn’t. But I bought that split-screen enabled editing software, and I’m damn well going to use it. So here it is. May the Force, and all that.