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J.J. Abrams' Mysterious Bad Robot Teaser, 'Stranger': 5 Theories for What It Can Be

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Aug 19, 2013 | 4:00pm EDT

Now this teaser is such a tease that we don't even know what it's teasing! Sounds just like J.J. Abrams, right? The Star Trek and soon to be Star Wars director released the above video, simply titled "Stranger" earlier today on the official Bad Robot YouTube channel. The black-and-white clip shows a man falling into the crashing surf while portentous narration says, "He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know. Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there shall once more begin. This is what happens when we become lost...and banished...and are erased...and reborn."

So, yeah, a lot of pseudo-profound blather. But as transparently manipulative as this clip is, our response is probably exactly what he wants: sure, J.J., we’ll play. Here are five theories as to what gestating project this could be a trailer for, and, oh, rest assured, both Star Trek and Star Wars will be among them.

JJ Abrams Bad Robot Teaser

Bad Robot

1. It’s a Tease for Abrams’ novel with Doug Dorst called S. , out Oct. 29.

Publisher Mulholland Books lists this as the official description: “At the core of this multilayered literary puzzle of love and adventure is a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds—through the hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations of two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that bring this tale vividly to life.”

All of which is to say that S. is a multimedia experience more than it is a stand-alone novel. It also sounds strange. Or shall we say, stranger. We’re so focused on the idea of “stranger” as a noun because of that mysterious surf-tossed figure that we forget it might be used here as a comparative adjective instead. That doesn’t mean that the figure in question is unimportant. The clip even ends with the text “Soon he will know,” but I don’t think this person is necessarily a “stranger.”

2. It’s a Promo for Believe,the NBC Drama He’s Developed with Alfonso Cuaron for Midseason 2014 — The rather trippy premise of the series is that a girl with supernatural powers is raised under the protection of a mystical group called the “True Believers” and they even bust a death row inmate out of prison to serve as her guardian. Maybe this is right after he’s been freed?

3. It’s Our First Glimpse of Star Wars Episode VII! — Okay, the fact that the video obviously features some of Michael Giacchino’s trademark piano chords should dispel this notion, since John Williams is attached to score Episode VII. But what if this really is our first live-action glimpse of that Galaxy Far, Far Away since Revenge of the Sith? Maybe the dude with his mouth sewn shut is some freaky new Dark Side warrior and the castaway stumbling in the surf is a Jedi exile trying to find himself. Ooh, or maybe the surf dude is a survivor of the Second Death Star’s explosion who finds himself having crash landed by one of the Forest Moon of Endor’s seas and now he’s menaced by a really scary member of those forest-dwelling witches from those ‘80s Ewoks movies!

4. It’s a Tease for the Next Star Trek Movie (Or at least an Into Darkness DVD feature) — Maybe after Khan was put back into cryofreeze at the end of Into Darkness he and his crew were launched back into space only to crash into the ocean of some alien world, and this is him moments after finally reaching shore. The sewn-lips people will be his new followers who he’ll lead into battle as the ultimate weapon of revenge against Kirk.

5. J.J. Abrams Has Finally Decided to Adapt Albert Camus’ L’Etranger, a.k.a. The Stranger — The French existentialist’s novel about a man who’s convicted and sent to the guillotine for shooting an Arab not because of the evidence but because he didn’t properly mourn his mother’s death seems ripe for a J.J. Abrams adaptation. It’s about a man tossed about by fate and other absurdist forces beyond his control, who’s also capable of great violence, much like the characters on Lost. And like in this clip, the pivotal moment in The Stranger occurs on a seashore. Indian Naveen Andrews played an Arab on Lost, he can here too! It all makes…oh, who are we kidding. J.J.’s probably never even heard of Albert Camus.

Or it’s a tease for our long-awaited Jacob origin story Lost spin-off series! Just what all of us are dying to see.

Follow Christian Blauvelt on Twitter @Ctblauvelt

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J.J. Abrams Didn’t Want ‘Star Wars’ and 6 Other Secrets Behind the Disney-Lucasfilm Deal
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