Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been quietly flying under the radar, avoiding attention while everyone pays attention to Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s fitting for a movie about a small group of spies trying to steal the plans of a new secret weapon that threatens to destroy them. The first trailer landed today, and it announced itself in grand fashion with another strong, female lead, incredible imagery that looks straight from the original trilogy, and Forest Whitaker looking all shades of awesome. Let’s break this down:
The very first thing to strike me was the variation of the famous John Williams score. This version is slower, melancholy, heavy, and it perfectly supports the dark and dangerous look of the film. Williams himself isn’t writing the score, but if this is a piece from Alexandre Desplat, I’m completely confident in his talents. We see Felicity Jones character being led past Rebel soldiers that are wearing uniforms from the original 1977 Star Wars: A New Hope when they were worn by the soldiers trying to protect Leia from Darth Vader in the hallway of the Tantive IV. Another callback to the original trilogy and it directly ties us that timeline. She turns around and states her name as Jyn Erson.
She is led through a Rebel base that looks to be the base on Yavin IV. Another voice from offscreen then describes her crimes: Forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, and resisting arrest. Sounds likes she’s the perfect fit for a small group of rebels that want to take down the Empire.
We then are re-introduced to Mon Mothma, the Rebel leader we met in Return of the Jedi. She’s being played by Genevieve O’Reilly who played the same character (though a younger version) in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. She says that Jyn is reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined. She also mentions that Jyn has been on her own since she was 15.
Jyn is seen taking on a squadron of Stormtroopers, and she looks more than capable of taking care of herself.
In what may be the best line of the trailer Jyn says “This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” The way she says the line is very matter of fact, very direct, and it reinforces the shots of her taking on the Stormtroopers from earlier.
We then get confirmation of the long rumored plot: These characters are on a mission to investigate the Empire’s new weapon, the Death Star. Gareth Edwards gives a great sense of scale of the Death Star as it slowly emerges from the shadows while being shadowed by a fleet of Star Destroyers. It looks immense, ominous, and deadlier than we’ve ever seen it before.
Here we get our look at the rumored main villain of the movie, an Imperial commander played by Ben Mendelsohn. We don’t get a name or title, but he’s obviously a high ranking officer with all white dress, and a long and impressive cape. If you pay close attention, you’ll note that the rank on his chest is similar to Grand Moff Tarkin’s from A New Hope. I would guess that he’s overseeing the final details of the Death Star. This shot looks almost exactly like the same room that Tarkin and Vader talk in.
It’s been rumored that the film would introduce new Stormtroopers, and the following two images pay off big time. There’s a new trooper on the hover tank in the background, and then we get what is rumored to be called a “Death Trooper.” These guys are the Special Forces for the Empire. The biggest, baddest, meanest collection of men in the Imperial army. The sleek, black armor is unique and imposing, and yet it’s instantly recognized as a Stormtrooper.
Then we see a row of Rebel prisoners being led by a Stormtrooper through a crowded market filled with aliens and creatures of all types. It appears that Edwards, much like J.J. Abrams, will be using makeup and practical effects, which adds a feeling of reality, and familiarity.
There’s a quick shot of Alan Tudyk’s droid character running through an Imperial base with Jyn and Diego Luna’s character. Tudyk is rumored to play a reprogrammed Imperial assault droid that is much taller than humans. It certainly looks like this could be him.
Another shot of an Imperial base where Storm Troopers are rushing through the frame. Note the beige colored troopers in the crowd. The helmet design looks like the troopers that fought on Endor, and the brown color is maybe for desert fighting?
We get our first look at Donnie Yen’s character, and this may be my favorite sequence of the trailer. In the first cast photo released a while back, it was revealed that his character is blind, but he takes out 4 Stormtroopers that all have blasters pointed at him, with nothing but a staff.
We then move to a tropical planet, where we see more Death Troopers, a huge ship explosion, and a gorgeous shot of Ben Mendelsohn’s character walking slowly through the carnage of the battle at sunset. The white of his cape just pops out of the frame what is filled with muted browns, and heavy shadows. He’s dominating, and he probably isn’t pleased to see his ship destroyed, and Storm Troopers laying in the rubble.
We then have a very mysterious image, and wherever it is, it’s important enough to be guarded by the Emperor’s Royal Guard first seen in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. These soldiers are the cream of the crop, and are the personal body guards of the Emperor. Strong, silent, and deadly, their presence here is intriguing to say the least. There is a cloaked figure approaching through the center of the frame, but it doesn’t appear to be Vader (rumored to be in the film) and it’s not Mendelsohn – unless he wears black as well as white cloaks.
It’s rumored that Forest Whitaker’s character has been physically broken and beaten down by the empire, and that seems to fit with the line of “What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?” He’s a physically imposing character, and he has obviously been very hurt emotionally and physically in the battle against the Empire.
Then we get the best single shot of the trailer. We have Rebels running across the tropical planet while facing a group of AT-AT Walkers. These rebels don’t have the snowspeeders like the will on Hoth, they have hand-held blasters. The sense of scale is again impressive here, with a shot from the rebel’s perspective at ground level, the walkers have never looked more terrifying.
The final shot of the trailer gives us a hero shot of Felicity Jones dressed in full Imperial clothing, and brings up a lot of questions. Does she flip sides? Does she betray the Rebellion? With this being a movie about Rebels trying to steal the plans of the Death Star, I’m guessing Jyn is deep undercover, but I very well could be wrong.
The trailer gives fans a taste of what is coming, gives us plenty to think and debate about, but doesn’t seem to give away the entire plot. I was already excited to see this film, but I’m positively giddy now after this first trailer. December 16th has never seemed so far away. Tell us about your thoughts! Let’s discuss!