Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s First Teaser Trailer Rebels in all the Right Ways

“This is a Rebellion, isn’t it? I rebel.” With those simple words Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones, has already become a favorite of mine and many others. On top of that, from the pan over of the Death Star, Donnie Yen’s brief beat down of a stormtrooper, Mon Mothma, and those AT-ATs in the sand, the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer has proven a Star Wars film doesn’t need “Episode” before it to feel like a Star Wars film; Which is very good news for the A Star Wars Story brand. Some hi-res stills and extended thoughts below, but in short: December feels so much further away now than it did yesterday!

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Death Star Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Rogue One tells the tale of a band of ruffians who come together on behalf of the Rebellion to steal the Death Star plans, therefore taking place just before A New Hope and overlapping a tad with the upcoming third season of Star Wars Rebels. The last time we got any video preview of the film was last April at Celebration Anaheim (which I attended), but it was never made public beyond the panel, while the cast was revealed later in August. I was expecting we’d finally get a teaser for the film in May, both on May the Fourth and with Captain America: Civil War, so this was a pleasant surprise to say the least. Expect a similarly slow, but very deliberate marketing plan to trickle out for Rogue One much like it did for The Force Awakens.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Felicity Jones) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

Jyn Erso has what sounds like a very intriguing but checkered past, making her suitable for a team of expendable misfits to uncover details about an unknown weapons test by the Empire. Between her attitude and the brief moments of her kicking some stormtrooper butt, she’s a character I already can’t wait to see more of and I’m hoping the upcoming R1 prequel novel (or the comic) revolves around her and her many misdeeds ticked off at the opening of the trailer. And as it begins with her, it’s only fitting it ends with her: the trailer’s final shot of her wearing Imperial armor raises even more questions than the hints of her past do. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing the film’s answers to the many questions around Jyn (and the many we don’t even know to ask yet): What caused her to ‘rebel’ for all those years? What and who brought her to the Rebellion’s attention? Is the shot of her in the what looks like TIE Fighter outfit simply a disguise in some last ditch effort, with a possible side of sacrifice, to ensure the plans for the station make it to the Rebellion? December can’t come soon enough!

I don’t know how else to put it, but recasting Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma after her part in Revenge of the Sith was relegated to deleted scenes is a classy move on Lucasfilm’s part. It’s obvious why they casted her in the first place because in the 11 years since RotS, she’s aged to look even more like Mon Mothma! But really, what makes seeing Mothma in R1 so exciting is her rightly getting an expanded role in canon, like the one she enjoyed in Legends, and showing her important place in the higher echelons of the Rebellion (and Aftermath reveals she’ll later be the first Chancellor of the New Republic!). Yes, it’s kind of odd/funny it seems she only has one outfit, but when you’re on the run and always hunted by the Empire, packing a change of clothes isn’t always high on the list. Also interesting to note, as I mentioned on Twitter, now kids can grow up seeing Mothma in Return of the Jedi and think how cool it is to see her again instead of wondering, “Who’s that lady?”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Ben Mendelsohn) Ph: Film Frame ©Lucasfilm LFL

We didn’t get to see the full cast, but some of the characters not pictured back in August 2015 were revealed, including the one’s played by Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, and even a brief glimpse of Alan Tudyk’s robot. Mr. Whitaker’s character has quite the bulky set of armor, which is probably one of many things keeping him alive all these years, and had some interesting dialogue, including lines like, “What will you do when they catch you?” (emphasis mine), which reminds viewers the Rebellion is still very much the underdog at this point and his line, “What will you become?” pointedly frames the final moments with Jyn in the Imperial outfit. Ben Mendelsohn’s white robed Imperial has left his role as either Imperial Security Bureau or Imperial Intelligence open to question, but everyone can agree his cape game is on point. Diego Luna is briefly seen watching Jyn’s ‘interview,’ and gives off the roguish charm character vibe. Donnie Yen’s samurai bounty hunter gets his required moment of badassery. Jiang Wen was the dude blasting his way out of the base, in full armor, as the AT-AT’s fire at the fleeing rebels. And that tall, black-painted robot scene with Jyn several times? Likely Alan Tudyk’s role as a repurposed Imperial droid used by the Rebellion (described in greater, spoiler-ish, detail by the folks at MakingStarWars).

Whitaker in Star Wars

Riz Ahmed’s character didn’t get a scene, and even more noticeably, nor did Mads Mikkelsen (who I can’t get enough of following his performance on the TV show Hannibal). And don’t ask me who that cloaked figure is (though I can bet it isn’t Darth Vader) nor who they are kneeling in front of, but if the chamber is flanked by Royal Guards, it’s someone high-up in the Empire. But this trailer isn’t so much about story or revealing character dynamics, but rather making sure fans know who the main character will be, setting the tone, and showing off the war film feeling R1 is going for (thanks to employing the same behind-the-scenes crew who worked on such films like Saving Private Ryan and Zero Dark Thirty). If there’s any film this footage reminded me of, it was The Dirty Dozen, a classic that should be required viewing prior to seeing R1.

With TFA, I was certain I’d be excited by the film, but with Rogue One I wasn’t sure how excited I could get. Now, after this electrifying teaser trailer, I’m almost certain I’m even more excited than I was for TFA, mainly because R1 looks to bring a different feel to a Star Wars film akin to how it feels reading one of the books or comics. If that can be true of the rest of the A Star Wars Story branded films, then Lucasfilm is doing the right thing with these spin-offs.

Here are a few other things:

  • ClubJade’s round-up of reaction Tweets covers the excitement over Jyn, Mothma, the cape, and the disgusting response from aging dinosaurs on the internet. Top notch stuff, per usual!
  • If you aren’t following Lorna_ka on Twitter/Tumblr, then you need to correct that instantly because feast your eyes on this gorgeous drawing of Jyn Erso:

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story rebels in movie cinemas everywhere December 16, 2016.

All images courtesy of Lucasfilm (via Nerdist)

Ryan is Mynock Manor’s Head Butler. You can follow him on Twitter @BrushYourTeeth. You can follow the website @MynockManor.

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