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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not part of the new trilogy, instead a stand alone story still set in the Star Wars universe but not connected (directly) to the latest numbered series. The plot, while closely guarded, is set in a time just before the events of Star Wars Episode One: A New Hope, following a groups of Rebels on a mission to steal the Empire’s Death Star plans, an event mentioned but not shown in the first movie. Part of an anthology of films to be released in off-years from the Numbered movies, Rogue One has a lot of potential for adding depth to the already epic scale of the franchise.
Directed by Gareth Edwards, perhaps best known for 2014’s Godzilla reboot, the cast includes Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, and Mads Mikkelsen. Until now, who they play and where their allegiances lie remained unknown, but based on released images, it’s clear that most are part of the Rebel team, with Tudyk reportedly doing voice work as reprogrammed Imperial droid. Intriguing is Mikkelsen, who stated his character is not a bad guy, a leap most made upon his character’s announcement. Speculation has intensified, as is common with the hype surrounding Star Wars, yet whomever he plays, we can be sure he’ll bring the same intensity to the role that has made him so popular. He doesn’t make an appearance in this clip, but that’s the right move.
While the movie may lack the familiar names of the famous saga, rumors persist that despite the more peripheral approach, one name is sure to make an appearance. That’s Darth Vader. As one of the central plots to A New Hope, his search for those plans, or in this case, loss of those plans, surely merits a cameo. It would also help to establish a firmer connection the more well-known story.
The trailer reveals a lot in the short minute and a half, introducing the Jones character, Jyn Erso, and highlighting some of the rebellious actions that make her the ideal candidate for infiltrating the Empire. In shackles, she’s led to a familiar face, a women seen infrequently but of great import in the series, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). It’s a nice callback to a now iconic moment in the very fist Star Wars film and helps to quickly identify the time and place (for fans of the franchise at least). From there, we see jump cuts of other characters and some of the action we’ll be in in for. Adding far more weight than expected, is the Whitaker character, most likely a bounty hunter affiliated with the cause who demands to know what Jones will do if caught.
A supremely well-produced clip, the teaser succeeds in doing just that and offers up a great look at what’s coming. Dark and moody but not without joy, this appears to be right on track with keeping the newly reinvigorated franchise in the right direction. It looks fantastic.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story open in December.
John Knoll (story), George Lucas (characters)
Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen