Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, out this December in 3D, will open up a particular corner of the Star Wars universe heretofore left unexplored: Rebellion’s dangerous mission to steal the plans for the Death Star. It’s an event that is referenced in Star Wars: A New Hope but has, up until now, never been dramatized. It’s the kind of thing you would wonder about while watching the movie, or later while playing with your Star Wars action figures: How did the rebels snag those plans? And how different would the events of the films have been if they had failed? The brand new trailer for Rogue One suggests that the mission was probably much, much harder than anyone could have imagined.
The trailer opens with narration from Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker), a character first introduced in the fifth season of the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars series, and brought to live action for the first time here. The stakes are high. “The world is coming undone,” he gravely intones. We then get flashes of the action: the rebellious Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is brought in front of Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly, reprising her brief role from the prequels), who says, “We have a mission for you.” Then flashes of battle, starships and various new characters, follow in quick succession. One of my favorite bits involves Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe, a blind “warrior monk” who, when surrounded by a squadron of Imperial Stormtroopers, says, “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.” (Great attitude, Chirrut!)
There are X-Wings careening through a foggy chasm, a look at the new U-Wing fighter, desert planet Jedha (which director Gareth Edwards recently described as a spiritual hub) and beach planet Scarif, and several shots of new droid K-2SO, a former security droid for the Empire who now fights alongside the ragtag bunch of Rebels. “Captain says you’re a friend. I will not kill you,” he tells Jyn. At another point, he tells the team they have a “97.6% chance of failure” (echoing the famous “Never tell me the odds!” scene from Star Wars: The Empire Strike Back). At the end of the trailer, Jyn tells the group, “This is our chance to make a real difference.” It’s stirring and inspiring and then, a shot from behind of a shiny black helmet and some very recognizable breathing …
This trailer is undeniably gorgeous, edge-of-your-seat thrilling, and a testament to director Edwards’ singular point-of-view, which seems to emphasize a you-are-there immediacy to the combat sequences and action set pieces. There are certain moments, far removed from the context of the movie, that just make your jaw drop (hello, shot of the Death Star blocking out the sun). This is a movie that fills in a missing piece of the Star Wars puzzle, but it’s far from a foregone conclusion. As suggested by this trailer, Rogue One will continue the patented Star Wars combination of adventure, suspense, and comedy, that has been a staple of the franchise since the very first film.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in 3D on December 16.