‘Rogue One’ Trailer: The Return of Darth Vader

We’re rapidly approaching the December release date for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, a date that will live on as a momentous occasion in Star Wars history regardless of how good or bad the movie ends up being. Rogue One mark the first feature-length film in the franchise to take place outside of the main trilogies. More than that though, it’ll be Disney and Lucasfilm’s first test in the expanded Star Wars saga that could potentially give them a new release every year for the indefinite future.

[Update, 10/13/16: Added second full-length trailer (see below).]

All the hype so far has been tied to the trailer we got back in April, followed by a lengthy featurette unveiled at this year’s Star Wars Celebration in London. Now, we have a second trailer in hand, jam-packed with just enough new footage to sate our curiosity.

[Update, 11/7/16: Added new “Together” TV spot, below.]

[Update, 11/11/16: Added international trailer, below.] 

Here’s what we saw.

1. The planet of Jedha

Jedha - Rogue One

Jedha | Source: Lucasfilm

In the Star Wars mythology, the planet of Jedha is important for a couple reasons. First, it’s the spiritual home of the Jedi Order, often traveled to by followers of the Force on pilgrimage. More importantly, it’s also the home of the biggest source of Kyber crystals in the galaxy, the element used to construct lightsabers. We know that the Empire used those same crystals to power the destructive laser of the Death Star, so their occupation of the planet is likely going to be a large point of interest in Rogue One.

[Update, 8/16/16: An international trailer has officially revealed that Jyn Erso’s father is heavily involved with building the Death Star, having sent the original message hinting at the first test of the weapon.]

2. Rogue One shows us the Empire at the height of its power

Rogue One Star Destroyer

The Empire reigns supreme in Rogue One | Source: Lucasfilm

The first voice we hear in the trailer belongs to Forest Whitaker, who notes how “Imperial flags reign across the galaxy.” Here we see the Empire’s power and influence at its zenith, evidenced by the fleets of Star Destroyers and scores of Stormtroopers. That will likely be a prevailing theme throughout the film, as our ragtag Rebels attempt to turn the tide of the war against the Empire once and for all. And since we know the story ends with Luke blowing up the first Death Star, we even have some of the pieces in hand already.

3. Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus

Baze Malbus - Rogue One

Baze Malbus | Source: Lucasfilm

We’re slowly but surely beginning to learn a little about each member of Jyn Erso’s elite team. The latest trailer gives us a brief look at actor Jiang Wen as Baze Malbus, the former assassin turned Rebel operative. With his compatriot Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), the pair battle the Empire however they can on their Imperial-occupied homeworld of Jedha.

4. Donnie Yen as Chirrut Imwe

Donnie Yen - Rogue One trailer

Chirrut Imwe | Source: Lucasfilm

Donnie Yen has made a career from being a martial arts badass, as the shining force behind the Ip Man saga. That being so, it was only a matter of time before he made his way into the mainstream action and sci-fi scene. He’ll be playing the blind monk, Chirrut Imwe, in Rogue One. His character is a staunch believer in the Force and a fierce warrior. In the latest trailer, he gets one of the better one-liners, ominously telling a battalion of Stormtroopers, “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it,” before laying each and every one of his enemies out on the ground.

5. Our first good look at the newest Star Wars droid, K-2SO

K-2SO - Rogue One

K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) | Source: Lucasfilm

In terms of comedic relief, Star Wars has a history of leaning on its droid characters to carry a lion’s share of the load. Rogue One will be no exception, employing the voice talents of Alan Tudyk for K-2SO. The character is a repurposed Imperial security droid now working for the Rebellion. The newest trailer gives us our first real introduction to the slightly twisted K-2SO. In it, we see him offering not to kill Jyn, and later committing a cardinal Star Wars sin by telling our main characters the odds in the face of certain doom (Han Solo would not be pleased).

6. The Death Star is coming

Death Star - Rogue One

The Death Star | Source: Lucasfilm

Above we see the Death Star hovering over what appears to be Jedha. We know the Empire will need the planet’s vast stores of Kyber crystals in order to power their fearsome new weapon, so odds are we’ll be spending a fair bit of time on the planet’s surface. Incidentally, many of the most prevalent rumors point to Jyn’s father, Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) as the Oppenheimer-type who helped develop the technology for the Death Star. Perhaps we’ll see him appear somewhere on the surface of Jedha along the way as well.

7. Director Krennic is a man on a mission

Director Krennic - Rogue One trailer

Director Krennic | Source: Lucasfilm

While much of the hype surrounding Rogue One‘s villains has centered around Darth Vader, it’s Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) who’ll be the one terrorizing our heroes the most. Given the fact that he’s nowhere to be seen in the original trilogy, there’s a good chance his failure in keeping the Death Star’s plans out of Rebel hands won’t lead to a happy ending for the Director. In the meantime, he appears to be a fearsome and intriguing addition to the considerable roster of Imperial baddies.

8. Speaking of Darth Vader…

Darth Vader - Rogue One

Darth Vader | Source: Lucasfilm

Director Krennic may be the boots-on-the-ground bad guy in Rogue One, but it’s Darth Vader who’s pulling all the strings. Lucasfilm is pulling out all the stops for their first non-trilogy entry in the Star Wars saga. They’re bringing the iconic villain back for at least one more go-around, voiced once again by James Earl Jones. And while we’ve seen promises that his role is likely going to be considerable, we’d be smart to learn from the mistakes of Suicide Squad with the Joker and not expect too much.

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