A meta breakdown.
The new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story trailer aired last Thursday during the Rio Olympics and it’s spreading like wildfire. Deadline reports that its views are currently outpacing this year’s Super Bowl spots, including those for Captain America: Civil War and Deadpool, by three to five times. Pop culture media responded to its near-unprecedented buzz with a glut of trailer breakdowns and summaries. It’s a lot to sift through for the nuggets of knowledge that we all crave.
So, in the interest of sparing you the time, I’ve aggregated the crucial revelations from this trailer along with a little bit of background info to keep you updated on Rogue One. Spoilerphobes beware! This speculation and theorizing is (at least) somewhat accurate. If you want to go into the film unsullied, then read no further.
One of the trailer’s first segments shows the leader of the Rebel Alliance, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), telling Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) of the mission that will serve as the movie’s central story: “A major weapons test is imminent. We need to know how to destroy it.” As established in the teaser trailer, Jyn Erso has a history of rebellion against the Empire. That alone does not seem to qualify her for such a crucial task, especially considering that she begins her conversation with Mothma in shackles. Courtesy of Star Wars News Net, an international trailer released yesterday shed even more light on her importance to the mission. The Rebels learned of the weapons test by intercepting an Imperial message from none other than Jyn’s father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen).
While we have known of the two characters familial relationship for a few months, his exact role in the story was the subject of much speculation. Besides being the impetus for Jyn’s mission, Mikkelsen has confirmed that he will appear with a younger version of the character and with the Felicity Jones “present” version. This means we can expect part of the quest to entail Jyn seeking out her father, or at least coming into contact with him along the way. The flashbacks should also clarify how Jyn ended up separated from her parents as a teenager. I’m guessing they had differing political views, so to speak.
In order to discuss the specifics of each character’s backstory, I must first establish the film’s main locations and how they relate to the overall story.
Jedha is a “small desert moon frosted by a permanent winter.” Though the name refers to the moon itself, I will also use it to refer to the yet-unnamed city on its surface, pictured here under a Star Destroyer. It was once the Jedi’s source of Kyber Crystals, a key component of lightsabers AND the source of the Death Star’s power. It is now a pilgrimage destination; a place where anyone in the galaxy can travel for spiritual guidance. Imperial occupation hinders these efforts and has spurred an on-going battle between their forces and scattered Rebels. Many scenes from the trailer seem to take place in the city, though the footage also hints at a more dire future for the holy land.
The top photo depicts the Death Star orbiting what seems like the desert moon. The bottom photo shows a spherical object blocking out Jedha’s sun. The lone tower raised above a walled city matches perfectly with closer shots of Jedha. Taken together, these photos demonstrate that the Death Star is leaving its planet of origin, Scarif, and is orbiting above Jedha. Remember the imminent weapons test that Erso and company hope to stop? While some believe this refers to the eventual annihilation of Alderaan in A New Hope, another possibility is that it regards the Empire’s intention to destroy Jedha and leave the Rebels without a source of Kyber Crystals.
This footage of a daring escape and shift into hyperdrive is the decisive evidence of this theory. The terrain resembles that of the desert moon. The dust storms are similar to those that would result from an explosive shockwave. Whether through the use of the Death Star or a Star Destroyer, the destruction of Jedha seems imminent.
Scarif “would be a beautiful tropical paradise if not for the presence of a major Imperial military installation.” That base serves as the primary construction facility for the Empire’s war machines. Leaked tie-in materials indicate that it is also the location where Imperial forces built the Death Star and gathered resources essential to the ship’s construction. The film’s heroes will travel to Scarif in search of the Death Star plans and some intense battle scenes will commence upon their arrival, though many Bothans will not die to ensure the plans’ retrieval.
In the trailer’s opening segment, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) warns her that “the world is coming undone.” We do not see much more of him in the trailer, but there is more to his character than alluded to in that moment. Gerrera is the first character from the animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, adapted for live-action. He is the leader of the Partisans, a rebel group based on Jedha that commits acts of terrorism against the Empire. His ideology, and willingness to bend his morals in pursuit of the Empire’s destruction, will stand in stark contrast to that of other resistance leaders like Bail Organa.
Erso’s primary compatriot is Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), shown in the trailer as a recruiter for the Rebel Alliance and the pilot of a U-Wing starfighter. Though he may look reluctant here, Andor makes his desire more clear in one of his few lines of dialogue: “If you’re really doing this, I want to help.”
K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) is a reprogrammed Imperial droid. He has a long standing history with Cassian, who erased his Imperial programming to give him a sense of free will. Tudyk, a Texas native, adopted a psuedo-posh British accent to create a distinct personality for the droid.
Furthermore, his appearance allows him to conduct espionage against the Empire, though it is unclear how that will play out in the film. One of his lines in the trailer adds to the tension surrounding the Rebel’s mission: “There’s a 97.6 percent chance of failure.” The Rebels seem to like those odds.
Baze Malbus and Chirrut Îmwe
Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) are the “baddest fighters from Jedha.” Imperial occupation of his home world has turned Malbus into a pragmatic soldier armed with a heavy repeater cannon and, at one point in the trailer, a rocket launcher. Îmwe is a blind monk and warrior who, despite a lack of force sensitivity, is a staunch believer in the Force and the teachings of the Jedi: “I fear nothing. All is as the Force wills it.”
Various shots from the trailer, including this one that shows off Îmwe’s combat prowess, indicate that they start the film on their home world. However, lending credence to the idea that the Empire undertakes a massive strike against Jedha, Malbus remarks, “They destroyed our home! I fight the Empire now” while firing upon what appears to be the Imperial military installation on Scarif. The rainy climate corresponds to that of Scarif and the presence of Imperial soldiers support the idea that the protagonists head to the planet upon the decimation of Jedha. The following photo of Imperial shuttles being fired upon by X-Wings seems to indicate that they are supporting Malbus in his attack on the Empire’s base.
Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) doesn’t have a speaking part in the trailer, but his appearance on what looks like the inside of a U-Wing implies that he has already defected from the Empire when we meet him in the film. A former Imperial cargo pilot, Rook takes on a more essential role the Rebel’s hot-headed lead pilot. He continues to wear the Empire’s insignia on his shoulder to remind his comrades of the debt he owes to his team.
Imperial Director Orson Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) also lacks a speaking role in the trailer, though his menacing stare suggests more than words could. He has staked his reputation on the completion of the Death Star, and is therefore obsessed with ensuring its completion. He also commands the Death Troopers, an elite group of Stormtroopers tasked with protecting Krennic and carrying out his every whim. They appear to battle Baze Malbus and the rest of the film’s heroes on the beach in Scarif.
Last, but not least, there is Darth Vader. His role in the film has not been specified, but he appears in the final shot of the trailer, signaling a foreboding role in the conflict to come.
And that’s about it! With the outline of the plot in focus, all we can do now is speculate about the details. How will the Empire attack Jedha? What role did Galen Erso have in developing the Death Star? Why did Jyn leave him the in first place?
These questions and many more will be answered when Rogue One premieres on December 16th. Thanks again to /Film, iO9, Movie Pilot, EW, MovieWeb, FanSided, and ScreenRant for their contributions to this piece. If you want to see more footage, then check out the American and International trailers below.