Posted on Friday, August 12th, 2016 by Jacob Hall
A new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer arrived last night, which means that I’ve spent the time since then going through it frame-by-frame and trying to squeeze out every little interesting detail. Join me, won’t you?
And while this post won’t contain any direct spoilers, I will be over-analyzing, jumping to conclusions, and utilizing readily available information from various other sources to figure out what’s going on in every corner of this trailer. If you want to go in as blind as possible, you should consider turning back.
The trailer opens with this stunning shot of the busy airspace over Jedha, a planet that was once vital to the Jedi Order and is know a site of great importance to the believers in the Force. However, every pilgrimage has to deal with the presence of the Empire, who have occupied the planet for its own nefarious reasons. In fact, it’s been heavily suggested that Jedha is home to something that was of great importance to the Jedi and it now of great importance to the Empire. Also, this shot reveals that this unnamed city, seen in much of the released footage so far, is built on some kind of plateau.
“The world is coming undone. Imperial flags reign across the galaxy.” Here’s another look at Saw Gerrera, the Rebel extremist played by Forest Whitaker who was first introduced as a young man in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. We now know that the armor he’s wearing isn’t just for protection in a fight – it’s keeping him alive after a lifetime of injuries collected in various battles. As we saw in previous trailers, he seems to be meeting with with Jyn Erso in this scene. Or rather, she’s meeting with him, as Jedha is his current base of operations. Perhaps Jyn journeys to Jedha in the first place to recruit him to her cause?
Here’s a magnificent wide shot of that Jedha city (you can tell it’s the same one because of that large tower) with a Star Destroyer hovering over it. Although some fans have already noted that a ship the size of a Star Destroyer couldn’t possibly enter a planet’s atmosphere without plummeting to the ground, it’s hard to argue with the astonishing scale of this shot. Director Gareth Edwards has always been good at selling size on screen and this Rogue One trailer is full of shots where he takes familiar iconography and allows you to feel just how big everything really is. We’ve seen dozens of Star Destroyers, but this one actually looks, well, terrifying.
“Can you be trusted without your shackles?” As we saw in the previous trailer, Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso is a prisoner of some kind when she is given her mission by Mon Mothma and her fellow Rebel commanders. We still don’t know exactly what she did to get on their bad side, but she’s obviously the One Woman For the Job since they’re willing to let her take on such an important task.
“A major weapons test is imminent. We need to know how to destroy it.” The incredible shot of the Death Star slowing coming out of the shadows was seen in the previous trailer, but equally eye-catching is this Star Destroyer. After years of jokes about incompetent Stormtroopers and easily defeated TIE Fighters, Rogue One looks to remind us that the Empire is a force to be reckoned with and a source of pure terror. After all, what good is a desperate mission if the odds aren’t stacked against the hero?
“If you’re really doing this, I want to help.” So it seems that Captain Cassian Andor isn’t assigned to oversee Jyn Erso, but actually volunteers to join her on this suicide mission. Interesting. Anyway, meet the U-Wing, the latest ship in the Rebel roster and one that will allow Lucasfilm to sell millions of toys to even the most jaded Star Wars fan! In all seriousness, it’s a nifty ship, looking just rough around the edges enough to feel like it belongs in the same fleet as X-Wings and Y-Wings. You’ll also note that this ship is taking off from the Rebel base on Yavin IV, first introduced in the original Star Wars. Note the giant temple ruins in the background!
It’s not clear which planet this is (could it be Jedha at night?), but once again, the sense of scale is palpable. The Star Wars universe has always been small throughout these movies, with everything connected by familiar faces and surnames. The universe of Rogue One looks gigantic, both literally (look at how tiny that ship is!) and figuratively (not a Skywalker to be found!).
Meet Baze Malbus, played by Chinese actor Jiang Wen. We briefly saw him in the first trailer, but he’s given a proper introduction here, with dialogue and everything! We know that he’s a hardened brute who’s good with heavy weapons and has grown jaded after years of conflict. We also know that he’s the best friend of the spiritually-minded warrior Chirrut Îmwe, acting as his protector. In exchange, Chirrut acts as Baze’s conscience.
“They destroyed our home! I fight the Empire now.” And fight the Empire he does, because here’s Maze using a heavy blaster weapon to mow down a whole bunch of Stormtroopers. Keep that line of dialogue in mind because we’re going to revisit it in a bit. Also note the blue, rainy background of this shot. Whatever planet this is, it’s the same one glimpsed in that shot with the tiny ship navigating that massive landscape seen above.