This past Thursday morning, Disney released the first trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story on Good Morning America. When it releases this December season, it’ll be the first theatrical Star Wars film deviating from the traditional storyline, numbered sequels (although I think Disney did away with the Roman numerals). It tells the story of one of the most pondered about mysteries in Star Wars cannon: how did those Bothan spies steal the Death Star II plans?
The story takes place back between the events of Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope when all the Jedi are gone (save for Obi-Wan and Yoda) and the Empire has no force to oppose them. This being the case, there will presumably be very few, if any Force use or lightsaber appearances. I think this is fantastic universe-wise, because a large majority of the Star Wars inhabitants have had no encounters with Jedi or Sith and believe them to be a myth. I’m greatly interested to see other stories outside of the light side vs. the dark side, which these Star Wars anthology films, beginning with Rogue One, will tell us. On the other hand, the average population might only know Star Wars films by the light swords and magic moving objects featured in them. To them, a Star Wars story isn’t Star Wars without Luke and Darth Vader and Yoda and all these familiar elements. I’m confident that the title alone (A Star Wars Story) can carry this film to the billion dollar mark, but as a hardcore fan, I’m troubled that people minimize Star Wars to space wizards and flashy sword fights.
SO GETTING TO THE TRAILER…
First we hear the familiar Star Wars score that we’ve come to know and love, but played very unfamiliarly in as a slow, piano-only cover. Our main protagonist in Rogue One is a
rebellious citizen turned rebel spy, Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She looks like she’s being reprimanded by Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, played by Genevieve O’Reilly,
but originally played by Caroline Blakiston. This is one of the first recastings Star Wars creators have eve done and on first looks, it’s pretty god damn convincing – O’Reilly is a spitting image of Blakiston’s Mothma from Return of the Jedi. Hopefully, Disney will use the same care in choosing a new Han Solo for the “Young Solo” film in production.
The trailer shows Erso fighting off Imperial Storm Troopers, probably resisting arrest. We See the first Death Star being built and a new looking Star Destroyer floating in front of it. The main theme of this whole trailer, and indeed the main theme of all Star Wars films moving forward, is setting the familiar in unfamiliar scenarios and settings. This clearly didn’t come through in the prequels because everything looked shiny and new as a result of ugly CGI. The Force Awakens, beyond having characters we’re familiar with, has settings and technology we are familiar with, but put in new scenarios, i.e. Rey flying the Millennium Falcon. Rogue One looks dirty, lived in, and all together familiar, but what’s great is we know very few of the characters or their troubles set in “our” world.
We see a lot of Yavin 4, one of the Rebel’s strong holds from the original trilogy. We don’t get the names of the other new rebel characters making up the Bothan spy team, but I can conclude that from all their rebellious natures, part of the film will be getting them to work as a team. In contrast to them, we see many scenes of militaristic Stormtroopers looking very oppressive in every community they walk through. We get dire feeling from the alarm sounds playing over the Stormtrooper scenes and scenes of other Empirical characters. My favorite instance in this trailer is all the AT-ATs walking in some tropical locale; a planet we haven’t seen before. We’ve never seen active AT-ATs outside of Hoth, so it’s a great juxtaposition to put those machines which we associate with snowy environments in a very sunny setting.
I’m obviously very excited to see this film that expands the universe we know and love in new, bold directions. The trailer looks darker than anything we’ve seen before; very heavy handed and dire. This small group of rebels plans to set up a heist of galactic importance, all without the help of the Force. Finally, a prequel done right.