The first teaser trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has arrived, and by the look of things this is a very different take at the rejuvenated sci-fi saga. Directed by Gareth Edwards (Godzilla, Monsters), Rogue One is the first of several planned spin-off movies, and is said to take place just before the events of the original film. In it, a group led by Felicity Jones sets out to steal plans for the Death Star — the same plans, it seems, that Princess Leia stored in the memory banks of R2-D2 back in 1977.
Jones, who we learn is named Jyn Erso in the film, is the focal point of the trailer, painted as a rebel from the start. She's definitely a rogue, as an unnamed authority figure lists her many crimes, including forgery and aggravated assault. Mon Mothma says she's "reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined" — but those qualities are probably what will help her most in the battles ahead. "This is a rebellion, isn't it?" she asks. "I rebel."
"This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel."
At Star Wars Celebration last year, Edwards talked about his inspiration for the film, and how he was looking to create a grittier take on the franchise, citing Saving Private Ryan as one of several inspirations. The menacing, black-clad trooper featured in last night's teaser preview seemed to signal just that, and the intensity of today's trailer certainly follows through. (Imagine facing down AT-ATs while on foot.) With the traditional serialized saga safely rebooted thanks to The Force Awakens, Rogue One represents an effort to expand Star Wars into a more traditional cinematic expanded universe, similar to what Marvel has done in recent years. It will turn Star Wars into an annual event, with Rogue One slated for release on December 16th, Rian Johnson's Episode VIII following one year later, a Han Solo spin-off film coming in 2018, and then Episode IX capping off the Skywalker saga in 2019. There's also another anthology film scheduled for 2020, though as of yet neither a title nor character has been officially announced. Rumors, however, have centered on everyone from Boba Fett to Obi-Wan Kenobi.
For more on Star Wars trailers, watch this feature on how The Force Awakens teaser changed movie trailers