Oh, dear friends, the day has finally arrived. We have the Rogue One trailer in our grubby little paws, and you know what that means: it’s time for ridiculous overanalyzing and speculation! Huzzah.
You’ve undoubtedly gotten a chance to see the whole thing–multiple times, if you’re anything like me–so I hope you’re okay with going over it again one more time with us as we look into the details and little bits you may have missed. Let’s start from the beginning, shall we?
You’ve got a slow fade in on Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones. She’s apparently in handcuffs, being escorted by two Rebel troopers, decked out in their Yavin 4 finest. There’s sparks flying, a couple of siren lights flashing–looks like everything’s under construction. In the very next shot, she’s walking through the Yavin 4 hangar, which looks to be the very same one that the X-Wings launched out of in A New Hope. Of course, since you can’t seem to walk through a hangar or Rebel/Resistance base without groups of people running by, you’ve got that, too. Thanks for promoting cardiovascular health, Star Wars.
In the very next moment, after the officer is done reading off her laundry list of offenses, we hear the glorious, harmonious voice of Mon freakin’ Mothma. You’ll remember that she’s the leader of the Alliance at this point. She was the one who introduced the plan to attack the Death Star in Return of the Jedi–you know, just in case you weren’t aware.
The actress playing Mon Mothma, Genevieve O’Reilly, is an absolute dead ringer for the original actress, and–fun fact–this technically isn’t her first appearance in a Star Wars movie. She was originally in Revenge of the Sith, but her scene was cut for “reasons.” Now, though, she’s got the last laugh and is back here in Rogue One.
In the middle of her talking to Jyn, the shot cuts over to Diego Luna, playing an as-yet-unnamed character. To be honest, my first time through this trailer, I thought it was Oscar Isaac. No, it’s not because I see Oscar Isaac everywhere–nuh-uh, shut up, you have a problem–it’s because the cut over to him is pretty darn quick and let’s face it, they both seem to be sharing a character archetype here: roguish and a bit Han Solo-esque.
But before too long, we’re taken to a planet that looks, well, very Tatooine-like. You’ve got the sandstone buildings, the moisture vaporators, etc. Jyn handily wrecks a bunch of stormtroopers, no problem. Then, a massive explosion, and you can see two characters diving for cover, one of whom looks like Jyn. Who’s she protecting? Could it be a member of the squad that we got to see way back when? If so, one wonders at which point in the movie this scene takes place.
Either way, as soon as that shot’s over, Jyn delivers the two lines that will undoubtedly be remembered in Twitter bios and Facebook status updates for years to come: “I rebel.” God. Damn. Right.
Next up: the Death Star being built. What’s noteworthy about this scene is the fact that there are pristine white Star Destroyers floating around on patrol. They’re not the iconic grey that you might remember from the original trilogy. Chris Plante over at The Verge actually has a great point in that it’s likely the Star Destroyers were originally painted white and got dirty and grey over time. It just goes to show just how far back this movie takes place–you know, if an “under construction Death Star” didn’t tip you off already.
After some forboding drums, a siren that sounds like the wails of a newborn elephant, and some really dramatic walking, we’re treated to a shot of who seems to ostensibly be the film’s Big Bad: Ben Mendelsohn playing… well, we’ll call him Big Bad because we don’t know his character’s name yet. What’s especially striking about this character is the fact that he’s decked out in all white, a uniform reserved for Grand Admirals of the Imperial Fleet. The (arguably) most iconic character to don such a uniform existed in the expanded universe, Grand Admiral Thrawn.
It’s hard to separate the two characters–this Big Bad and Thrawn–in my head, simply because that damn uniform is so iconic. Whether this character will be a Thrawn proxy or not–though, he’s more likely to have elements of Thrawn rather than be him–shows that (as a friend of mine helpfully pointed out), these films are carrying out some definite callbacks to the now-defunct expanded universe canon. It’s good to see, and promising, if we can take this as a sign that they’re pulling inspiration from that vast pool of creativity.
After Admiral Big Bad, we get some more shots of stormtroopers walking around, and then finally, we’re treated to the first image of Forest Whitaker. According to rumors that started swirling back in January, Whitaker’s taking on the role of a grizzled war veteran type of character. He’s definitely got a limp, suggesting he’s Seen Some Shit. Then, a voice kind of takes over, that of Whitaker’s character, apparently asking Jyn (or any other Rebel, I suppose) what she or they would do if they were caught or broken. “Will you continue to fight,” he asks, as shots of combat are smashed together.
I wanted to point out the shot with Admiral Big Bad with his Big Bad Cloak walking across the water, in the aftermath of the battle that’s referenced at the end of the trailer. It’s placed right before a shot of someone in a black cloak kneeling down before a white pillar of light (kind of like the holo communicator seen used by Darth Vader and the Emperor), flanked by two members of the Emperor’s Royal Guards. Could we be treated to a shot of the Emperor? Or is this even perhaps Darth Vader making an appearance in Rogue One? One can only hope, really.
Back to the trailer: if Admiral Big Bad is walking around, boots on the ground and everything, does that mean the Rebels involved in that fight lost? Where did they go? What’s more, there’s a shot of an armored trooper running out of a carrier with sand blasted in the air–kind of a WWII Normandy-inspired shot, I’d gather. Or, perhaps more accurately, a Revenge of the Sith Battle of Kashyyyk throwback. See what I did there?
After a few more Inception-like blares and baby elephant wails, the last words of the trailer play out over an incredible shot of Jyn dressed in black Imperial Stormtrooper armor. “What will you become,” Whitaker’s character asks.
This final, parting shot is incredibly reminiscent of the many shots of Katniss in The Hunger Games movies. That being said, I don’t think the movies will be too similar, nor will their characters, despite fan outcry over them both apparently being “Mary Sues” or whatever.
Boiling it down, this trailer had one job: get everybody hyped about a potential brand new series of Star Wars films, the Star Wars Stories. Personally speaking, and judging by the internet’s reaction to the trailer, it did its job with flying goddamn colors. Star Wars represents a world that many of us want to just keep playing in, and while that can lead to some fatigue–you can really blow up the Death Star so many times, folks–it’s still nice to look back into the countless untold stories that must have been playing out during the course of the original movies.
What’s more, telling the stories of female characters and making them the center is especially refreshing. For a franchise that’s had its trouble with representation–and still does, honestly (there’s still a dearth of black characters), it’s nice to know that steps are being taken to address that now. They’re small steps, to be sure, but if Rogue One is a small sign of things to come, then the future could get better.
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