The latest trailer for Star Wars: Rogue One is here, and it gives us a better idea of what the film is going to be about. We meet new characters, get a clear view of some of the film’s locales, and overhear some details pertaining to the film’s plot.
But the footage also includes a number of subtle hints and clues about what we can expect from the franchise’s first anthology film. As a Star Wars disciple, I’ve taken the time to mine the trailer for its secrets. Be warned: what follows includes rampant speculations and potential spoilers!
The trailer opens with a shot of what appears to be Jedha, a so-called “holy land for those who follow the Force.” We already know that Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Îmwe isn’t a Jedi, but a sort of devotee to the Force. We see him beat the snot out of a bunch of Stormtroopers on this planet.
Gareth Edwards said in an interview that the planet is particularly important to Jedi, because it’s where they collect the materials for lightsabers. Apparently, the Empire is still skittish about Jedi and the Force, enough so that they keep them under a watchful eye. What’s not entirely clear is why or how the team makes it here.
Next up, we’ve got Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera saying, “The world is coming undone.” Gerrara is a character that we last saw in Star Wars : Clone Wars. He had fought in the Clone Wars, and now is taking a stand against the Empire.
The Gerrera voiceover continues over a shot of a desert fortress — clearly the sort of place that Imperial officers will hang out. It’s weird to see a Star Destroyer hanging out in the atmosphere. Maybe this is a local garrison on Jedha, watching over Jedi groupies?
Felicity Jones’ Jyn Erso, the hero of the film, is asked by an Alliance officer if she can be trusted without her shackles. This goes back to the first teaser trailer, when we hear a bit of a laundry list of her past crimes. It’s clear that the Alliance isn’t sure what to make of her just yet.
Despite the fact that the Alliance doesn’t trust her, they’re willing to give her an assignment. This probably has something to do with her family — Mads Mikkelsen’s character is Galen Erso, a scientist involved with the Death Star project. Going off surnames, it’s safe to assume Galen and Jyn are related.
Speaking of Death Stars, this shot of the Star Destroyer in the shadow of the Death Star is just amazing to watch. It’s a great way to show off the scale of the installation. What’s also nice here is the music: a clever throwback to the Imperial March plays lightly in the background.
“If you’re really doing this, I want to help.” These are the first words we hear from Diego Luna’s Captain Cassian Andor. It looks like there’s going to be some doubt about whether or not the mission’s actually going to happen. Andor and Erso appear to be the first on the team.
Next, we see the two of them flying off together in the latest alphabet fighter, the U-Wing. Our guess? They’re tasked with assembling the rest of the team to go look for the Death Star.
Andor notes that he’s been recruiting for the Rebellion for a long time, which is probably why they have ended up on Jedha. It’s very possible, given the planet’s ties to the Jedi, that it’s a good place to find people who dislike the Empire.
Next up, what looks like the U-Wing fighter jetting through the air. We’re guessing that this is the night mission we see a few glimpses of later in the trailer.
A bit of background on Jiang Wen’s character, Baze Malbus. Apparently, the Empire destroyed his home, and now, he’s taking the fight to them. He also seems to be pretty good at it, taking down troopers during this night mission.
The trailer returns to the U-Wing, apparently on Jedha? At any rate, this looks like the same world that the garrison is on.
Back in the marketplace of Jedha, it appears the Empire has heavy security presence on this world.
Here’s Donnie Yen’s character Chirrut Îmwe walking through a crowd, and past a Stormtrooper. “I fear nothing,” he says, “All is as the Force wills it.” It’s looking like he saves Erso and Andor by beating up a squad of the troopers.
Jyn meets Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO for the first time. He’s a reprogrammed security droid who is comically blunt with the people around him, as we see from his line, “The captain says that you’re a friend. I will not kill you.” Looking at Andor in the background, he’s clearly amused. It seems that these two know each other already.
This is a pretty unexpected shot of the Death Star upside down (or maybe the camera is?) Either way, the construction appears to be complete.
A lunar eclipse from the Death Star is never a good sign. It’s a striking image, and it makes us think that this is connected to the nighttime battle that we saw earlier in the trailer. Perhaps the battle doesn’t take place at night, rather the planet’s source of light is blocked by the Death Star.
Our running theory? The team is getting close to acquiring the plans for the installation, and the Imperials on the Death Star decide to test out the weapon on the planet, to make sure that the team doesn’t succeed.
Director Orson Krennic and his team on the command deck of the Death Star look upon the planet.
Krennic really doesn’t look happy here.
This appears to be Scarif, a “secluded world” where the materials for the Death Star were mined. It looks like the location of a huge battle involving Alliance ground troops and X-Wing fighters. The next couple of shots show off the footage of the Death Troopers unleashing their weaponry.
X-Wings join that night mission that we saw earlier. Whatever the original team was doing, they have some ground support at this point.
We’re back on Scarif, where Malbus is taking out an AT-ACT with a rocket.
Something huge is crashing down to the planet — maybe a Star Destroyer? Erso and Andor are aboard their U-Wing fighter, clearly making a last ditch effort to escape from whatever it is.
The trailer cuts back to the night battle, where an Imperial soldier is about to meet a fiery end.
This shot of Erso confronting a TIE Fight on Scarif is just wonderful and badass.
We get a final look at the entire team cramped aboard the U-Wing fighter. We love how K-2SO is hunched over in the back of the cargo bay. “Are you with me?” Erso asks, to which Andor replies, “All the way.”
We’re suspecting that this is the moment when the entire team realizes exactly how high the stakes are, and how unlikely it is that any of them will survive the mission.
Finally, the cameo that we’ve all been waiting for: Darth Vader. It’ll be interesting to see exactly what role he plays here, but it certainly looks like he’s on the Death Star, and that screen really looks like targeting information.
Rogue One arrives in theaters on December 16th.