'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Breakdown: Going Through The New Footage Frame-By-Frame

The third and final Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer arrived this morning, so you know what that means – a third and final trailer breakdown where we go through the whole thing frame-by-frame. Join us, won't you?

And while we can't directly spoil anything, we can dissect this thing to within an inch of its life and dig up spoilers in the process. So act accordingly.


The trailer opens with this shot of an Imperial Shuttle flying over an unknown planet. However, we do know that this unknown planet was filmed in Iceland and we know that the bulk of the Iceland shooting was related to flashback sequences involving a young Jyn Erso and her father. And that brings us to...


...a twist on a very familiar shot. This is, of course, an obviously intentional echo of Luke standing on the edge of his aunt and uncle's moisture farm and watching the twin suns of Tatooine set. In this case, our subject is now Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen) and he's watching a team of Imperial operatives descend on his location.


This shot gives the cosplayers in the audience a much-needed full body shot of an Imperial Death Trooper, which are essentially far more competent and dangerous Stormtroopers who are instantly recognizable thanks to their black armor. We still don't know too much about these guys, but it has been suggested that they are under the direct command of Orson Krennic, the villain played by Ben Mendelsohn.


Speaking of Mr. Krennic, Rogue One's main villain is among the Death Troopers, making it clear that he's the kind of baddie who isn't afraid to get down on the ground and get his hands dirty (but not that glorious white cape, thankfully — ed.). We know from the synopsis of the upcoming Star Wars novel Catalyst that Krennic was a family friend of the Ersos at one time, saving their lives during the Clone Wars. Naturally, that relationship began to fall apart when he started pushing Galen to help build a super-weapon. It's not clear how much of that background detail will actually make it into the movie, but it does explain why Galen and Jyn are hiding out on an isolated planet.


"Jyn. Whatever I do, I do it to protect you. Say you understand." Here's our first good look at young Jyn, who will eventually grow up to be a tough rebel operative (and to look like Felicity Jones). Although Rogue One doesn't focus on any Skywalkers, it's interesting to see the saga continue to feature lackluster father figures in key roles.


This is just a beautifully composed shot. One man against many in knee-high grass, with the long flat horizon making it clear that there is literally nowhere to run. Even the line-up of villains is interesting in a visual sense, with Krennic, looking like a bureaucrat with a splash of royalty, flanked by soldiers who won't hesitate to kill at the drop of a hat.


Despite being a genius scientist whose intellect and knowledge have made him a highly-sought asset for the Empire, Galen has really embraced the whole "living on a moisture farm in the middle of a nowhere planet" thing (which is actually a pretty darn good look for Mr. Mikkelsen). These next few shots feel like they've been torn straight out of a spaghetti western, with two steely-eyed opponents staring each other down on the plains.


Mikkelsen's quiet desperation is the perfect companion for Mendelsohn's irritable scowl. His expression is more disappointed than angry, which certainly feeds into the backstory that has already been revealed.


And of course, Jyn watches this whole exchange from the tall grass. Seeing your father forcibly taken from you by Imperial soldiers is the kind of thing that, you know, may encourage you to grow up and join a rebel alliance of some kind. While we're on the subject of young Jyn, you may remember that released still of a Death Trooper holding a Stormtrooper doll, a shot that comes from this same Icelandic location. That seems to suggest that the doll belonged to Jyn and that she managed to escape, literally leaving her one attachment to the Empire behind.


Then the trailer cuts to a full-grown Jyn in an Imperial cell, another puzzle piece in her backstory. After all, other trailers showed her handcuffed while in Rebel custody. Whatever she did, nobody seems especially happy with her when things get started. Her cellmate just happening to be a weird-looking alien reflects one of my favorite aspects of Star Wars in general – there is crazy stuff just hanging out in the frame and no one bats an eye.


Everything we've seen from Jedha has looked impressive. This planet (and this unnamed city in particular) holds great spiritual significance to believers in the Force...which means that the Empire has clamped down hard on it. I love this on-the-ground visual of a Star Destroyer just hovering over the city, which makes the concept the Empire having its thumb over these people all too literal.


"You want to get out of here?" I'm not sure who the guy rescuing Jyn from captivity is supposed to be, but I do know that he will soon have a name, a backstory, an action figure, a meaty role in a Star Wars novel, and maybe his own comic book miniseries.


"Our rebellion is all that remains to push back the Empire." Much like how the Imperial Star Destroyer hovering over Jedha was shot from below so that it fills frame and the sky, this shot of a Rebel U-Wing speeding over the desert emphasizes just how tiny it is, a spec against a massive landscape. The Star Wars series has always used visual shorthand to express certain ideas as quickly as possible, but director Gareth Edwards, a genuine master of depicting scale, is really running with it.

And while we're here, take a closer look at that rock formation and remember that Jedha is an ancient place that is holy to those who believe in the power of the Force. Yeah. I didn't notice it at first, either. I like how the Jedi continue to loom over this universe, even during a movie that takes place when their order has been broken and forgotten. The question now: is that a fallen statue or something that an ancient artist carved into the landscape?


There is a certain nostalgic kick in seeing old ideas, characters, and locations revisited through a modern lens. For example, seeing the Rebel base on Yavin IV through Edwards' more immersive and immediate camera feels like a genuine treat. Elements that were previously only seen in separate shots can now exist together in the same frame. Being able to sit in that familiar hangar and see the temple looming in the background is thrilling.


We know that Rogue One will visit the desert planet of Jedha and the tropic planet of Scarif (where the Death Star is in final stages of construction), so what is this dark and shadowy place? It could very easily just be Jedha at night (the surrounding landscape certainly looks right), but it's not clear at the moment, especially since Star Wars has the habit of making its planets instantly recognizable. However, we do know that this Imperial installation, wherever it is, will be the location for a major action set piece.


And would you look at that? This mysterious location appears to be where Galen Erso has been held, presumably against his will, as he's been working on the Death Star project. Because the Empire is nothing if not tidy and orderly, he certainly looks a lot sharper than he did in his fugitive farmer phase.


Icy Ben Mendelsohn Death Stare Version 2.0! Anyway, it looks like Orson Krennic will be visiting this mystery location to touch base with his old friend/head scientist, presumably to demand to know why things are behind schedule or what-not.


How many times can we discuss scale before it starts to get old? Here is the Death Star, seen in the skies above an unknown planet. It's a shot that makes the knees weak when you think about what you're actually seeing – this had to have been the last thing the population of Alderaan saw before millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. Although it's not instantly clear which planet this is, it's most likely Scarif, where the Death Star is being finished during the events of the film.


"If my father built this thing, we need to find him!" And like that, cue up the cast roll call! After all, every dangerous military mission needs a cast of characters. We have Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook, an ill-tempered Imperial pilot who decides to switch sides...


"Alright, how many do we need?" And here's Jiang Wen as heavy weapons specialist and gun-for-hire Baze Malbus, who has been described as a cynical and grounded soldier.


Then there's Chirrut Îmwe, played by Donnie Yen, the blind spiritualist warrior. This is not the only time in this trailer that he greets the concept of danger with a smile. It's too early to make any judgement calls about any of these characters, but Chirrut seems destined to become a fan-favorite.


"They are requesting a call sign."

"It's Rogue...Rogue One."

Hey, that's the name of the movie!rogue-one-star-wars-23

I'm still trying pin down exactly what kind of man Director Orson Krennic is beyond "really bad guy with cool cape who does evil things," but knowing that he's the kind of man willing to look Darth Vader in the face and lecture him about power says an awful lot. It's not clear how much of a role the Dark Lord of the Sith plays in this movie (it's probably just a small cameo), but I like the idea of using his iconic presence to showcase what kind of villain Krennic is. This could be a fascinating study in contrasts.


Some people have been wondering if this shot of an Imperial officer from behind is supposed to be Grand Moff Tarkin, the villain played by the great Peter Cushing in the original 1977 Star Wars. After all, there were rumors that the character was being brought back into the fold (and he did get his own in-canon novel recently). And if this officer is supposed to be someone familiar, shooting him from behind in the build-up to the reveal of his face would be the right thing to do...


Two things to note about this image. First, I love that Rogue One is embracing every single design choice from the original trilogy, which includes that very silly helmet. Second, that certainly looks like Jedha being targeted on the big screen, which lends credence to the theory (discussed in our previous trailer breakdown) that the Death Star will be initially tested on this planet, albeit in a weaker form.


Ah, would it really be a Star Wars movie without a scene where everyone gathers around a holographic image of a super-weapon for a desperate meeting? In addition to Diego Luna's Cassian Andor, this meeting is also attended by familiar faces like Mon Mothma and General Dodonna. If you look off to the far left, you can see the Mon Calamari Admiral Raddus, who was officially named and revealed as part of the next wave of Rogue One toys.


When we were first introduced the AT-ST Walkers, they were awkwardly shuffling around the forest moon of Endor and getting obliterated by teddy bears. From this shot, it looks like these things may be far better equipped for urban combat, where they seem ideal for navigating narrow streets and alleyways. For the record, this is most definitely Jedha and presumably part of the same action scene we've glimpsed in previous trailers, where Rebel forces (very likely under the command of Saw Gerrera) and Imperial soldiers clash in the streets.


And speaking of Saw Gerrera, this trailer fully reveals just how literally damaged this divisive Rebel leader truly is. After all, he's been fighting since the Clone Wars and all of the battles have taken their toll on his body. It's surely no accident that the most violent of the Rebel leaders is a cyborg with a few missing limbs who seemingly needs assistance breathing...


With the feet shot, Saw's full suit can be appreciated in its full context. This seemingly cobbled-together armor isn't for protection – it's keeping him alive. I hope Forest Whitaker enjoyed playing a brutal cyborg rebel leader as much as I intend to enjoy watching Forest Whitaker play a brutal cyborg rebel leader.


"We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope!" Nothing to say here beyond noting how much I love Chirrut's joyous reaction to Jyn's big pep talk. Full eyes, clear hearts, can't lose intergalactic conflicts.


Here are the Imperial construction yards at Scarif, the place where the Death Star was finished and (presumably) the site of the film's climax. We know from the previous trailer that Jyn ultimately ends up fighting for her life on top of that giant central building. Meanwhile, we know from other trailers and photos that the rest of the cast will be fighting in the jungles and on the beaches below.


It's probably no accident that the shots of jungle combat in this trailer evoke a real World War II vibe. This series has leaned on imagery from that conflict since the very beginning (especially with its aerial combat sequences), so it's only natural that a tropical action scene feels torn from The Pacific.


What use is a reprogrammed Imperial Security Droid if you can't use him to help you go undercover? At some point, it looks like K-2SO, Jyn Erso, and Cassian Andor all infiltrate an Imperial base of some kind, with him undercover as an officer and her disguised as a pilot. Could this be the same installation we saw earlier, the one where Galen Erso was being held captive? This wouldn't be the first time a Star Wars movie has seen its heroes disguise themselves as bad guys as part of a dangerous rescue operation.


Speaking of that same Imperial base, this shot appears to be on the cliffs surrounding that same location. While Jyn and Cassian infiltrate the base, it looks like Baze and Chirrut are keeping watch on the outskirts.


We know who this guy is! Revealed at Comic-Con, his name is Edrio Two Tubes and he is...

... a mercenary pilot who flies alongside his eggmate, Benthic. The two share the nickname derived from the breathing apparatus that allows their Tognath physiology to process oxygen atmospheres. Edrio's home world Yar Togna was conquered and occupied by the Empire, forcing him to flee as a refugee. Desiring to strike back at the Empire, Edrio and Benthic have allied with Saw Gerrera.

He's probably a minor character, but since he already has a name and backstory, he will soon have an action figure, a meaty role in a Star Wars novel, and maybe his own comic book miniseries.


I'm already loving the dynamic between Chirrut and Baze. As we saw in previous trailers, the former is quite skilled at taking down Stormtroopers in hand-to-hand combat, utilizing his faith in a higher power to guide him to victory. And then his best buddy just shows up to lend a hand an mows everyone down with the blaster equivalent of a heavy machine gun.


Once again, here we are at that mysterious planet with its mysterious Imperial base that seems to be holding Galen Erso. But now we know that this action sequence/rescue attempt will have an air component, with spaceships joining the fray and bombing the hell out of the area.


Is...is Chirrut wielding a Bowcaster? First of all, who gave the blind man a gun? Second of all, it is undoubtedly odd to see a non-Wookiee shooting one of those things after all of these years. And if you put events in chronological order, Chirrut beats Han Solo (who finally borrowed Chewbacca's trademark weapon in The Force Awakens) to the punch.


One of the things about Rogue One that intrigues me the most is that everyone is expendable. Each character, from Jyn to K-2SO, could bite the dust by the time the end credits roll because the rest of the saga could easily continue without them. As long as the Death Star plans get delivered, they don't have to survive. So I thought about this during this shot of Bodhi Rook taking cover behind a crate while blaster shots explode around him. If Gareth Edwards has truly made a war movie, I think we can expect most of this cast to not make it to the end.


Most of the action in Rogue One seems to take place on the ground, following Rebel foot soldiers as they battle through the literal and figurative tenches. However, this trailer has confirmed that there will be at least some space combat, although it's not entirely clear what these X-Wings are fighting or how they're contributing the main Rebel cause. But let's take a stab at this anyway!

Since the planet below them is blue and covered with fluffy white clouds, let's assume this is Scarif. And if this is Scarif, that means that Jyn and her team are probably on the ground during this space battle, attempting to make off with the Death Star plans. So, these Rebel starfighters could be creating a distraction, diverting the Empire's eye so the ground solders can slip in. Or they could be attacking a shield generator of kind, allowing for the men and women on the ground to access a particular area. Heck, maybe they're taking down Imperial forces to clear a path for the ship that will fly the stolen Death Star plans to safety. In any case, we now know that the climax of Rogue One will seemingly cut between an action scene on the ground and an action scene in space.


I'm not sure who this X-Wing pilot is, but I do know that he will soon have a name, a backstory, an action figure, a meaty role in a Star Wars novel, and maybe his own comic book miniseries.


I was originally concerned that K-2SO was going to be a purely digital creation, mainly because I'm the kind of snob who likes practical droids. However, the more of him I see in action, the more I appreciate what they're going for. He's too large and oddly proportioned to be a guy in a suit and as a security droid, a puppet may have proven too unwieldy to pull off what he needs to pull off. K-2SO appears to be unlike any droid we've seen in a Star Wars movie so far and I'm genuinely excited to see what Alan Tudyk and a team of brilliant VFX wizards have cooked up.


Remember how we discussed how Jedha may be the site of the first Death Star test and how a less powerful version of the superlaser may wipe that entire city off the map? Yeah, about that...


I don't know about you guys, but after getting repeatedly gut-punched by the icy reality of 2016 on a daily basis, I'm ready for a science fiction action movie where the heroes are fueling their battle with dreams of hope and, you know, find time to smile every now and then. Star Wars has always been an optimistic series at heart and while Rogue One looks to be a fair bit darker than other chapters in the saga, the glimmer of hope at the center of it all is exactly what we need right now.


Here's the big man himself. This appears to be the same scene we glimpsed earlier, where Orson Krennic was lecturing Darth Vader about power, which only further suggests that Vader's presence in the movie will be limited at best. Still, I can safely say that I can't wait to see what these two have to say to each other.


And while we're talking about dramatic confrontations previously seen in this trailer, here is Galen Erso on his knees and looking a little worse for wear while someone (Krennic?) looms over him. This certainly appears to be the meeting we glimpsed earlier, with the two old friends meeting at that mysterious Imperial base. It looks like Galen didn't have the news Krennic was looking for and has paid the price. What are the chances that Galen actually makes it out of this movie alive? Slim to none, right?

rogue-one-star-wars-48Pushes glasses up nose.

Actually, those aren't AT-AT Walkers. They're AT-ACT Walkers, larger versions of the same design that were built to haul cargo, which is why there are so many of them hanging around the Imperial construction yard on Scarif. Ahem. Sorry. The climactic battle of Rogue One will allow us to see these monstrous machines at work from the sky...


...and from the ground. Gareth Edwards' experience making giant monster movies seems to have really benefitted him here.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens on December 16, 2016.