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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.

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“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.

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“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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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…

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“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.

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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.

Continue Reading Rogue One Trailer Breakdown >>

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