rogue one trailer breakdown

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.

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