The second trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has been just released. It brings the new footage we have been waiting for, and we can be sure that more will follow soon. It is then perhaps the time to sum up what we have learned about the upcoming film so far.
Let’s start with the obvious: the plot will revolve around the capture of the Death Star plans by the Rebellion, an event directly leading to the events in the very first Star Wars film. Perhaps we could just quote the opening crawl of A New Hope here:
“Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, Rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon…”
I’d say if you think about Rogue One just from the perspective that this is what we are going to finally see on-screen, it’s pretty nice.
Who are the “Rebel spies” in question, then? The lead character, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a rebel in the true sense of the word: she is known to have caused trouble both to the Empire and the Rebels, and we can safely assume that will be the starting point of her story. In that way, she becomes a “female Han Solo” (if that’s not an overstatement! But if you look at the new trailer – is it really?) who presumably gets her chance to make up for meddling with the Rebels by working for them. Her father, Galen Erso (Mads Mikkelsen), who is going to appear possibly only in flashbacks, is a scientist wanted by the Empire as well as by the Rebels for his knowledge and expertise.
The baddies will be chiefly represented by Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn). Unlike Tarkin, this Imperial officer is going to be a bit more active in the front lines. His arsenal includes, aside from classic stormtroopers, also so-called “Death Troopers” (the ones in black armour we saw briefly in the trailers) and a lot of vehicles. It really seems that those responsible for the technical side of this film wasted no time to introduce new armoured ground transports (like the one from the trailer), the AT-ACT (which stands for Armoured Cargo Transport – we can assume their cargo has to do with materials for the Death Star’s construction), and TIE Strikers (which first appeared in the preview of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story: The Official Visual Story Guide and, contrary to their classic counterparts, are designed for in-atmosphere flights). If we are already talking vehicles and starfighters, Star Wars Databank (on the official Starwars.com page) also tells us the new Rebel fighters we see a lot in the new trailer are “U-Wings”, a type of Rebel troop transports suitable for planetary assault.
The team of good guys should be interesting as well. Of Cpt. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) we know very little, but we can expect him to be one of the average, bland good guys. (I am joking, of course.) Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) is a pilot – a former Imperial pilot, to be precise. We could think of Wedge Antilles, Porkins or Luke’s friend Biggs (and now also Poe Dameron) as his forerunners, although we can see in the new trailer that Bodhi looks a bit more unsure of himself and he isn’t really a hardened soldier. His actor has also revealed that Bodhi is just a normal person doing his job (a sort of an equivalent of a space long-distance truck driver), put into unusual circumstances which might change him.
Next there is Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen), a blind warrior-monk who sort of takes on the mantle of the Jedi Knights since they are no longer around. Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) is his partner-in-arms and the filmmakers have compared him to being Sancho Panza to Chirrut’s Don Quijote.
Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) is a veteran freedom fighter from the planet of Onderon. He is unique in one respect: he is actually a live-action version of an animated character who had first appeared in the Clone Wars for a couple of episodes, there being a part of the resistance against Separatist occupation of his homeworld. Nit-picky fans of the series have noticed that his eyes are different colour than they were in the Clone Wars, but the filmmakers actually reassured everyone that there is a very good in-story reason for it. In any case Saw Gerrera seems like a promising character because he represents the war-torn veteran who had experienced oppression, war and occupation of his homeworld first during the Clone Wars and later in the supposedly peaceful era promised by the Empire which came after the Republic. He is the one we hear at the beginning of the new trailer, and in the first trailer asking ominously “What will you do if they catch you? What will they do if they break you? …What will you become?” I have high hopes for him to provide a slightly more mature, but perhaps also more grim contrast to the younger, unexperienced rebels.
The unlikely team is completed by the presence of K-2SO (“Kay-Tuesso”), a droid portrayed via motion-capture by Alan Tudyk. For the first time, we can properly see him just in the new trailer. When I first heard “Alan Tudyk” and “droid”, I immediately thought of some ridiculous joke. From the bits revealed about him, it seems, however, that he might be a bit more menacing than one might expect. The similarity to C-3PO is obvious, but if he is a joke, he may be more of a deadly joke – more like the famous HK-47 droid from Knights of the Old Republic. The interesting fact you can notice is the Imperial symbol on his plating, and it has been indeed confirmed at the Star Wars Databank is that K-2SO is originally an Imperial security enforcer droid reprogrammed to serve the Alliance.
The remaining Rebel character we know about is Mon Mothma, who is obviously not a member of the fighting squad, but who represents Alliance leadership at this point. On the opposite side, we have Darth Vader, who is probably going to have episodic, but nonetheless significant role. We can assume he is going to be called upon only when the “conventional” forces seem to be having problems with handling the situation.
Despite some rumours which circulated earlier, it seems that the film is NOT going to feature young Han Solo’s cameo. On the other hand, we are going to have James Earl Jones’s voice for Darth Vader, which is awesome. The music store is also not going to be provided by John Williams, but by Alexandre Desplat (a worthy choice, if you ask me!).
There is some information at the official Star Wars Databank already regarding the planets that make an appearance. Many of the characters hail from the world of Jedha, which is a cold desert moon. Interesting fact is that this world used to be of significance to the Jedi, it is a site of spiritual significance for pilgrims from all over the Galaxy – and a place of conflict with the Empire. The vibe similar to the “holy cities” of our own world is very interesting.
The second world we saw – the one with palm trees and stormtroopers running in shallow shore waters – is Scarif, the place where Death Star construction is taking place. Scarif is to Death Star I what Endor was to Death Star from Return of the Jedi.
Rogue One is supposed not only to supply the background for A New Hope, but the film’s ending is actually supposed to chronologically fit only moments before the beginning of Episode IV. My personal prediction – or rather a wish – would be that the film could end with a scene where aboard a familiar-looking ship, the figure of Princess Leia, turned to us by her back (so that the filmmakers don’t need to worry about casting someone resembling young Carrie Fisher), receives a transmission from a computer terminal. It is a wish… but it kind of sums up how I expect this supposedly stand-alone film to fit into the universe of the original trilogy.