The years to come are a dream come true for Star Wars fans. Following the record-breaking release of The Force Awakens, the franchise has plans for a film every single year going forward, and while we’re already looking forward to the 2017 release of Rian Johnson’s untitled Episode VIII, this year brings the first-ever standalone Star Wars film. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — directed by Godzilla filmmaker Gareth Edwards — will chronicle the mission that led the Rebel Alliance to have possession of the Death Star plans that ultimately made it possible for Luke Skywalker to destroy the Empire’s secret weapon. [Update, 10/14/16: Added second full-length trailer, above.]
Here are some of the battles we hope to see take place in the film.
1. The Rebel Alliance vs. Darth Vader
All signs point to Darth Vader playing an integral role in Rogue One, and while we hope that the Jedi remain absent in the film — retaining the significance of Obi-Wan and Yoda’s survival of the Jedi Purge — the prospect of seeing a group of Rebel spies engaging Vader in battle surely gets fans salivating. Thus far, the closest we’ve seen in the saga is that brief moment wherein Vader deflects Han Solo’s blaster in The Empire Strikes Back, but the idea of the Sith Lord crushing a group of “rebel scum” with his Force powers (or even his lightsaber) would be a highlight.
2. Mon Mothma vs. Imperial stormtroopers
In Return of the Jedi, Mon Mothma makes a brief appearance when she presents the information regarding the Empire’s secret construction of the second Death Star. It stands to reason then that she’s a factor in Rogue One in much the same way, and with Genevieve O’Reilly returning to the role she played ever-so-briefly in Revenge of the Sith, there’s a real opportunity to delve into why Mon Mothma is such a distinguished military leader. Even a moment wherein she demonstrates her combat skill and/or experience would go a long way, perhaps against the mysterious villain played by Ben Mendelsohn.
3. Ground Rebel soldiers vs. AT-AT walkers
The recently released teaser trailer already gave fans a peek at the potential battle between Imperial walkers and the Rebel Alliance’s ground troops. However, we hope that this stunning shot is just a moment from a much larger sequence. Rogue One has the opportunity to delve into the war aspect of Star Wars like no other installment before it, and the idea of a single Rebel soldier versus a massive AT-AT serves as a clever allusion to Luke’s victory over one of the machines in The Empire Strikes Back.
4. Jyn Erso vs. Darth Vader
Although seeing Vader go toe-to-toe with Rebel forces would be amazing, having the Sith Lord directly engage Rogue One heroine Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) in battle — perhaps during her rumored infiltration of the Imperial forces (see above) — could be even better. First, it would establish why she’s such a powerful figure in the Galactic Civil War, but on a deeper level, the inherent irony in a Jyn vs. Vader showdown would be amazing if rumors that she and Luke are ultimately revealed as Rey’s parents prove true.
5. Emperor Palpatine vs. anyone
With Rogue One set firmly during the reign of Emperor Palpatine, we wonder if it’s too much to hope we see Ian McDiarmid once again reprise his most famous role. After all, we do see a mysterious hooded figure standing amid the Emperor’s Royal Guards, and we wouldn’t put it past the film to sneak in a surprise cameo or two. Granted, any face-off between Palpatine and a captured Rebel spy, for instance, would be a one-sided fight. Nevertheless, it is possible and would fit within the context of the larger saga.
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