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.
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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Skyline opens nationwide in theaters this Friday. Believe it or not, this is not an action film about franchised chili parlor employees, a disappointment I had to come to grips with myself. But be that as it may, Skyline does present us with a frightening supposition of our inevitable demise at the hands of our alien overlords. Directed by the fraternal directing team that brought us AVP: Requiem, we can only hope the brothers Strause didn’t exhaust all their magic on that one genius film.
But in all seriousness, we are under constant threat of alien invasion, and as much as Hollywood offers us these amusing distractions, we are perpetually on the brink of intergalactic warfare. And while Skyline may employ the stereotypical “scary” aliens as the harbingers of doom, the reality is that the beings for which we really need to be watching the skies are far more covert in their evilness. Here are the best alien invaders that you never saw coming...
Brown, fuzzy -- a Fozzie bear from planet Melmac? Sure, these are all apt descriptions for the wisecracking new addition to the Tanner family, yet why the moniker of future enslaver of the human race is not bestowed upon him is beyond me. This is a creature that was forced to come to this planet because his own world was destroyed by nuclear war, and where does he land? Earth…in the '80s! We were still in the midst of the Cold War and stockpiling warheads like crazy; ALF would conquer us if only to ensure no encore of his misfortune. Hell, in an early episode, he tried to persuade the president to stop the nuclear arms program, so obviously he isn’t shy about involving himself in a power struggle. All I’m saying is that when the cats begin to go missing, the end is nigh.
Yeah, the whole “ouch” finger thing was cute and, sure, the flying bicycles were heart-warming. But how can you honestly say that E.T. is not out to conquer Earth? He’s bitter about being left on Earth, he practices powerful magic, and he has a creepy knack for eluding his enemies provided that there are enough stuffed animals around. E.T.’s master plan was to manipulate children into doing his bidding and, given that he convinced a group of them to defy a clandestine government agency, I’d say it was a pretty effective plan. Besides, as we saw in the later version of the film, it’s going to be really hard to stop him if our law enforcement officials have all their guns replaced by walkie-talkies.
Yeah, go ahead and believe that these furry denizens of Endor’s moon are merely a marketing gimmick cooked up by Hasbro and Lucas. That is exactly what they want you to think. They may be sickeningly cutesy and impossibly cuddly, but inside each of these monsters beats the heart of a revolutionary. The best warriors in the universe, including a next-generation Jedi, can’t bring down the evil empire, but a bunch of mutant teddy bears get the job done with rocks and sticks? The only thing keeping our planet safe from Ewok occupation is their inability to construct or operate a spacecraft.
This one may be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy on our part should it occur. So...we send out the Voyager II space probe and invite life forms to come to Earth -- sounds benevolent enough, right? But then we shoot down the first ship that accepts our invitation because we aren’t exactly the brightest species in the universe. While our hero in John Carpenter’s intimate sci-fi film doesn’t lash out against us, some of his compatriots may not be so forgiving of our intergalactic snafu. Also, that ability to genetically replicate anyone and grow from baby to man in minutes is just plain unsettling.
Call me crazy if you like, but those stoic, peace-loving freaks are up to something. Yes, they are all about live-and-let-live-long-and-prosper, but I think it’s all part of an act, a calculated waiting game. When they do rise up and set their sights on Earth, we are six kinds of screwed. Their infallible logic will make them great battle strategists while their Vulcan nerve-pinch will provide victory in any close-quarters combat situation. Plus, with that mind-melding ability, it turns out they are extremely hard to keep dead. What resource do we harbor that Vulcans could possibly desire? Supercuts. Those guys have been sporting the same Beatles mop for decades and would kill for a crew cut or pompadour.
In this sequel to the greatly-admired "The Ewok Adventure" which premiered a year earlier as George Lucas' maiden television venture (directed by John Korty), these imaginative, adventuresome furry creatures team up with a little girl marooned on the forest moon of Endor where her family's starship has crashed and with a feisty old hermit (played by veteran actor Wilford Brimley) to fight off a fearsome king, a hazardous cave monster, a sinister witch (Sian Phillips), and the king's army of giants.
Written and directed by the relatively little-known brother team, Jim and Ken Wheat, Lucas discoveries, this second adventure won Emmy Award nominations as Outstanding Children's Program and for sound mixing. Curiously (since it premiered in TV's family hour), it also bore a warning: "Parental discretion is advised."