Rogue One: A Star Wars Story teaser trailer breakdown

The wait is finally over…


– Contains Video spoilers, please watch first or read at your own risk!

Earlier today the much anticipated trailer for this year’s Star Wars story release ‘Rogue One’ finally aired online, giving fans everywhere the very first taste of the new expanded universe… and wow, where to start!?

After much speculation regarding the name of the forthcoming hero, we finally have a definitive answer in the form of Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and what a first impression. Striking, bold and battle hardened, Erso is introduced by narration of her impressive rap sheet; “Forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest” as she is led in cuffs through a suspiciously Yavin IV looking rebel bunker, seemingly under trial at the hands of the alliance. Not alluding yet to a single one of the Erso origin stories floating around the internet (Is she Reys mother? the daughter of one of the Death Star architects seeking redemption? a relative of Qui-Gon Jinn?), what we do know about her is that she was abandoned at 15, and no stranger to a life of galactic crime possibly placing her at odds with both conflicting sides of the galactic civil war. Online rumour has it that her involvement with the alliance comes as part of a choice, to help the Rebels or face punishment for her past misdeeds, in many ways the unforgiving rogues nature that drew so many to Han Solo when we first met him on Tatooine. This is another serious lead character to get behind, and regardless of where she comes from, how she fits in to the main narrative timeline, it’s another strong female lead spearheading a fantastic looking addition to the canon.

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The trailer itself looks like everything we’ve hoped for from the expanded universe; gritty, dark, remarkably Jedi free. Director Gareth Edwards has called Rogue One a “war movie” which has been common knowledge for some time now, and boy does the teaser show exactly what that means. We’re treated to ground combat footage of rebel soldiers going head to head against slick looking AT-AT walkers at the one minute mark, the original Star Destroyers circling a partially constructed Death Star I all exactly true to stylistic form, Donnie Yen surrounded, battling an entire squad of Storm Troopers, and the on-screen introduction of the fearsome looking Death Troopers (standing in front of burning moisture vaporators seen in A New Hope).

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Jyn herself seems to be involved in a lot of ground level scuffles, which seems to indicate that Rogue One really will center around individual troops and the obstacles they face. At 27 seconds we witness just how handy she is at brawl style combat with your every day Storm Troopers (on the suspiciously familiar looking desert world, presumably containing said moisture vaporators), but what about the flight element to the Rogue One name? Although we see Jyn and supporting actor Diego Luna bolt through crowded hangers, both Imperial (1:12) and Rebel (1:03), we also see her riding what appears to be as a passenger, perhaps en-route to her ground mission on (possibly) Tatooine, and as she isn’t in cuffs at this point it’s a safe guess to assume that this could be taking place after signing up with the Alliance. Most exciting however with regards to possible scenes of piloting is the final clip, with her wearing what looks suspiciously like Tie-Fighter pilot armor aboard the Death Star, as Forest Whitaker draws to the end of a passionate speech that eclipses the latter half of the trailer; “What will you do if they catch you? What will you do if they break you? If you continue to fight, what will you become?”.

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It looks like Mon Mothma features heavily (perfect casting of Genevieve O’Reilly, one of the only things that Revenge of the Sith managed to get absolutely right), but this teaser seems to hint less at Ben Mendelsohn playing Grand Moff Tarkin as some previously speculated, but rather a new and imposing leader of the Galactic Empire. Dressed in the customary white uniforms of the Imperial Security Bureau, itself based on some of the white uniforms aboard the original Death Star I, it seems very likely that he has more to do with the ISB than the grand admirals, although what exactly this means remains to be seen. It certainly seems to make more sense that the grunt level fighting has major villains that feature slightly down the pecking order in terms of Imperial hierarchy.

Although very few of the character names and roles have been released as of yet, there’s enough to gorge yourself on with both aesthetic nostalgia harking back to the original trilogy; the old faithful GNK power droid shows up at the Yavin base in the background, and we see the burned shells of X-wing power units smouldering as Mendelsohn surveys wreckage in his resplendent white cloak. Interestingly enough too, there’s enough new or tweaked tid-bits as well, made to keep us guessing at the internal politics of the characters and their roles; in the form of a scarred and battered bounty hunter-esque looking Forest Whitaker (think Dengar from the Executor Bridge scene in Empire), the odd scene featuring a new but undisclosed droid side-kick (a recommissioned imperial enforcer droid? We think Alan Tudyk will voice him), and a looming, down tempo, Imperial march courtesy of composer Alexandre Desplat, at once both sinister and sorrowful.

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Visually this looks like another stunning, grounded and groundbreaking Star Wars film that’s managed to bridge the gap between flawless CGI integration and real set-pieces, the breath of fresh air that we were all waiting for, and which Abrams delivered on in The Force Awakens, combined with solid characterisation, score, and script. It may be too early to tell, and if there’s one thing we know about Disney and Star Wars, is that their teasers do just that, so we’ll have to hang on to find out all we can as December approaches. It could well be, based on what we’ve seen, that the stand-alone films will usher in a new era for the Star Wars universe, one less exclusively family orientated and more in line with the moral shades of grey within some of the games and fiction of the old (now sadly all but re-written) Star Wars expanded universe. It certainly looks very, very promising so far.. and who is that shadowy figure surrounded by the Imperial Royal Guard for just a split second? Vader? We certainly hope so, as there’s been many mumbled mentions of his popping up in this film, although thinking about it, we haven’t seen Mads Mikkelsen so far, and Vader doesn’t typically wear a hood… Another throwaway Dark Jedi? Something more long standing? Or Vader in slightly different attire? another line of questioning to be followed through on endless forums between now and the first of many viewings over the Christmas period (release date: the 16th of December).

Fan girls and boys, prepare to be nothing but impressed, and may the force be with you.

 

What did you guys think? Let us know your thoughts below.


 

– Max Colbert

 

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