Is J.J. Abrams’ ‘Stranger’ trailer linked to his upcoming novel?

Could J.J. Abrams’ mysterious new trailer be linked to the novel he’ll be publishing in October?

On Monday, Abrams’ company Bad Robot placed a trailer on YouTube that, more than anything else, confused viewers. Is it a teaser for his upcoming television project Believe, created with “Children of Men” director Alfonso Cuaron? Another big Abrams project is “Star Wars: Episode VII” -- it probably isn’t that, but it’s possible. Did he release a trailer about nothing at all?

Or coud it be about his new book?

Coming in October, “S.” will be Abrams’ first novel. He’s got a co-writer, author Doug Dorst. It’s been getting slightly secretive treatment by publisher Mulholland Books, a Little, Brown imprint; though it appears in the fall catalog, its cover does not -- instead there’s the teasing notation, “Cover to be revealed.”


Abrams, of course, is known for strewing clues through his projects -- i.e., “Lost” -- as well as launching promotional campaigns that are more mysterious than revealing.

There are some similarities: The book is titled “S. A Novel,” while the trailer is titled “Stranger.” They could be connected -- or not.

In the black-and-white “Stranger,” a man washes up on a shore. “He arrived knowing nothing of himself. Who is he? Soon he will know,” a voice says. “Because what begins at the water shall end there. And what ends there shall once more begin. This is what happens: Men become lost; men vanish; men are erased -- and reborn.” And then a spooky face with sewn-together lips emerges from the darkness.

That might connect to the book. Here’s how Mulholland describes “S.” in its fall catalog: “In his first-ever idea for a novel, Abrams conceived of and developed a multi-layered literary puzzle of love and adventure. At its core, we have a book of mysterious provenance. In the margins, another tale unfolds: hand-scribbled notes, questions, and confrontations between two readers. Between the pages, online, and in the real world, you’ll find evidence of their interaction, ephemera that brings this tale vividly to life.”

A YouTube video could certainly be considered “online evidence.” Evidence of what, exactly, is -- so far -- impossible to say.

What else might connect “Stranger” and “S.”? The book’s co-author, Dorst, is the author of “Alive in Necropolis,” a literary detective novel set in a city of the undead -- spooky, just like the trailer -- and a short story collection titled “The Surf Guru” that takes place on the shore -- as “Stranger” does.
EW has some more theories about what “Stranger” might be, including a far-out one about tacos.


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