We’re still a ways off from some much-needed answers from the Star Wars universe in Episode VIII, but 2016 has its own treat in store for fans. Come December, we’ll be getting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the first movie in the saga taking place outside of the trilogy timeline. It’ll be set directly before A New Hope and take us through the story of the brave team of Rebels that stole the original plans to the Death Star.
[Update, 9/2/16: Added first full-length trailer (see below) with appearance of Darth Vader.]
Up until now, the only information we’ve had has come in the form of set rumors. The first official trailer though gives us our first good look at Rogue One. In it, we get an idea for the aesthetic of the story, a little bit of background on our lead hero (played by Felicity Jones), and teases at some exciting action sequences. [Update, 10/13/16: Added second full-length trailer (see below).]
So with that, let’s dive right in, shall we?
1. “This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.”
The trailer opens up with our lead, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), listening to Mon Mothma read off a series of charges against her. Erso aptly points out that breaking the law is kind of the whole point of a Rebellion, and gets tasked with a mission to discover the secret behind the Empire’s Death Star construction. What’s most significant here isn’t the story though: It’s that we have yet another strong, assured female protagonist in a Star Wars movie. Daisy Ridley’s Rey was apparently only the beginning for Lucasfilm, and soon Jones’s Jyn Erso will be the next in line.
2. The Death Star under construction
Since Rogue One is technically a prequel, there’s bound to be some familiar elements. The Death Star is the most significant example of this, as we see the Empire gingerly lowering the giant destructive disk into place as they complete construction. The Star Wars canon tells us that the Empire kept the Death Star under wraps right up until the moment it destroyed Alderaan. This secrecy plays heavily into the stakes of Rogue One, keeping in mind that the Rebellion know almost nothing about the super-weapon at this point in the timeline.
3. Ben Mendelsohn as Grand Admiral Thrawn?
The story of Grand Admiral Thrawn actually comes from the expanded universe novels that are no longer considered canon by Lucasfilm. For his part, Thrawn’s claim to fame were his skills as a master strategist, as well as his trademark blue skin. Additionally, he was the only non-Human member of the Imperial admiralty, and one of the primary antagonists to Luke and Leia in the days following the destruction of the Empire. Rumors have been flying around for awhile now that his character would be inserted back into the Star Wars canon in Rogue One, albeit one that’s “loosely based” on Thrawn rather than a straight carbon copy. Could Ben Mendelsohn’s unnamed part (above) be that recreation?
4. New Stormtroopers galore
Throughout the Star Wars movies, we’ve seen a variety of Stormtroopers. The prequels showed us the Clone Trooper uniforms, with everything from camouflage to color distinctions based on rank. The original trilogy had the updated standard armor, Scout Troopers on Endor, and black pilot unis. Rogue One promises to continue building on this, introducing brand new versions of the intimidating Imperial soldiers. The one we see above is rumored to be a “Death Trooper,” while photos from the Rogue One set show us even more variety. Alongside the updated armor in the new Battlefront video game, we’re getting the first, truly in-depth look at the Empire’s operation.
5. Donnie Yen doing what he does best
Donnie Yen numbers himself among some of the most skilled and accomplished martial arts actors in the world. The legend goes that when Yen was a young man, he and his girlfriend were accosted by eight men at a nightclub. After Yen warned them away, they came at him anyway. He proceeded to fight the gang himself, hospitalizing all eight of his assailants in the process. That should give you an idea of what we’re working with in terms of his martial arts prowess for Rogue One, making it that much more exciting to see it on full display in this trailer.
6. Is that Darth Vader?
Early rumors tell us that Darth Vader will be prominently featured in Rogue One, acting as one of the primary antagonists for our heroes. We see little (if any) of him in the first trailer… until this flashes across the screen. We can clearly see two of Emperor Palpatine’s personal guards, with a dark, hooded figure kneeling in the center of the frame. There aren’t many characters this could be besides Vader, although it’s worth noting that he’s never been seen donning a hood. Either way, it seems likely that this could be our first look at the infamous Sith Lord in Rogue One. [Update, 10/13/16: As we now know from new trailers, Darth Vader is making an appearance in ‘Rogue One’.]
7. A full-on Walker assault
Lucasfilm has devoted a lot of effort to this time period in the Star Wars saga lately. First we have the animated Rebels TV series, followed by the Twilight Company novel, and then finally the Battlefront video game. All this leads us right into the thick of Rogue One, a movie that looks like a combination of all three of those properties. Above we can see our heroes storming a jungle beach protected by at least three AT-ATs, bearing a whole lot of DNA from Battlefront‘s “Walker Assault” game mode.
8. More Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso
If this trailer is any indication, Rogue One‘s will be doubling down on Felicity Jones as Jyn Erso. Rey is definitely a tough act to follow, but Lucasfilm has proved itself nothing if not capable lately when it comes to compelling female protagonists. The above frame hints at Erso going deep undercover as an Imperial, donning the black armor of a Death Trooper, and providing a massive platform for Jones to become an iconic part of the Star Wars universe.
Rogue One releases nationwide December 16, 2016
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