Thursday, April 7, 2016

'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' Trailer Breakdown

The first official trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story dropped this morning on Good Morning America, and it's even more of a #ThrowbackThursday to the styles of the Original Trilogy than the trailers for The Force Awakens (which didn't even seem possible). 
For every familiar face and technology the trailer shows us, there's about a dozen that we're seeing for the first time. Here's a breakdown of the trailer to glean the most information possible about one of the most anticipated movies of the year:
  1. "State your name for the record," an authoritative voice asks. "Jyn Erso," Felicity Jones' character replies, as we see her escorted by Rebel soldiers into a large room. Interestingly, this mirrors the first moments of The Force Awakens' trailer, in which similarly British-accented heroine Rey is asked "Who are you?", and she replies, "I'm no one." The Rebel helmets are instantly recognizable from the first scenes of A New Hope, aboard the Tantive IV. 
  2. "Forgery of Imperial documents, possession of stolen property, aggravated assault, resisting arrest," the same voice says as Jyn is led through a bustling Rebel hangar. This appears to be Jyn's introduction to the Rebel Alliance, although the voiceover seems to be an Imperial interrogating her and reading her impressive rap sheet. The architecture of the hangar identifies it as the headquarters on Yavin 4.
  3. "On your own from the age of 15. Reckless, aggressive, and undisciplined," Mon Mothma tells Jyn in the Rebels' strategy room. Mothma is a somewhat surprising but welcome presence; despite having had only a handful of scenes throughout the Star Wars canon and a single memorable line ("Many Bothans died to bring us this information"), she's one of the highest ranking Rebel leaders. She's played by Genevieve O'Reilly, who reprises her role from Revenge of the Sith (in a silent cameo and a deleted scene). 
  4. Diego Luna's character gives Jyn a look. According to Making Star Wars, his name is Cassein Willix (unconfirmed). He will serve as Jyn's partner-in-crime against the Empire, and if Rogue One follows the tropes of most other films (which is unlikely, given Rey and Finn's platonic friendship), he'll also be her love interest.
  5. A hooded Jyn is followed by Alan Tudyk's motion-captured droid. We see her beating up several stormtroopers, and then she and Cassein are knocked down by an explosion. The architecture here is very reminiscent of Mos Eisley, Tatooine. This pretty much confirms to us that yes, Jyn is a total badass. 
  6. "This is a rebellion, isn't it? I rebel," she replies to Mothma, who looks barely amused. One can easily compare Jyn to Rey, based on their physical appearances, three-letter names, and roles as the central character in their respective films, but while Rey is hopeful and naive, Jyn appears to be a constantly-defiant punk. Chances are, her grudge against the Empire has something to do with the absence of her parents, which Mothma previously mentioned. 
  7. Jyn looks out the window of a vehicle. "We have a mission for you. A major weapons test is imminent, and we need to know what it is and how to destroy it," Mothma says as we see the superlaser focus lens placed on the Death Star. Well, that pretty much sums up the premise of the film, for the large demographic that had no idea. This tells us that the Rebels don't even know what the Death Star is when they decide to steal its plans. It'll probably be dramatic when the heroes see it for the first time, and hopefully there'll even be a callback to Obi-Wan's classic "That's no moon" line. 
  8. "Is that clear?" another Rebel leader asks Jyn. "Yes sir," she sarcastically replies. This hints that Jyn's relationship with the Rebel Alliance won't exactly be a smooth one. 
  9. We hear a siren blare as Jyn and Cassein walk purposefully among Rebel pilots in the Yavin temple. This siren can't be from the Rebel base – if the Empire were attacking, it would be wiped out by the time of A New Hope. It's difficult to pin the sound down, but it's definitely been heard before in the Star Wars universe. Whether it's from the Rebels or the Empire, it can only mean one thing: danger. 
  10. Ben Mendelsohn's character stands dramatically in front of a Death Star hologram. His white attire identifies him as a Grand Admiral of the Empire, and it looks like he'll be in charge of the Death Star construction and the primary villain of the film. Rumors of the true identity of this character include Grand Moff Tarkin (which is quite possible, given Tarkin's connections to the Death Star project) and even Supreme Leader Snoke.
  11. Stormtroopers and a hovertank march past a masked civilian. This is the same environment as Jyn's previously-seen stormtrooper beatdown and ensuing explosion; the masked man could be a member of their team, waiting to ambush an Imperial convoy. The tank is definitely something we haven't seen before, and on top of it, you can see the first (and far from last) new type of stormtrooper that this trailer shows us. 
  12. We see Forest Whitaker's character walking with a cane, in what looks like some kind of cantina. Once again, we don't know who the Oscar winner is playing (Jyn and Riz Ahmed's Bodhi Rook are the only ones that have been confirmed), but his armor suggests that he's some kind of wise, experienced bounty hunter. 
  13. A black-colored stormtrooper turns his head, and in the background we see similar soldiers, a moisture vaporator, and a billow of smoke. These awesome-looking guys are reportedly Shadow Troopers of the Death Squad. Shockingly, the Death Squad doesn't help deliver Girl Scout cookies; they'll probably be a serious opposition to our heroes. The moisture vaporator is very reminiscent of Tatooine, but you can also spot some vegetation, so this is most likely a different planet. 
  14. "What will you do when they catch you? What will you do if they break you?!" Whitaker's character says. We see handcuffed Rebel pilots escorted by stormtroopers through a marketplace. Clearly, this guy's not too optimistic about Jyn's chances of success. This marketplace shot might just explain the Mos Eisley-like shots in the trailer; the Rebels attack a force of stormtroopers to free several pilots. 
  15. Jyn, Cassein, and Alan Tudyk's character run down a corridor. This is our best look yet at Tudyk's sleek droid. Jyn's holding something in her right hand, which might just be the coveted Death Star plans in flashdrive-like form. These scenes were reportedly shot in the London Underground, so perhaps our heroes are making a quick getaway via hovertrain. 
  16. Stormtroopers rush after them. And here we have the third and final new trooper type that this trailer shows us: the tan colored Sandtrooper. Making Star Wars refers to them as Scarab Troopers, but that doesn't make a ton of sense, considering that Egyptian scarabs don't exist in the Star Wars universe. (It's even worse than starfighters named after an alphabet that they don't use.) 
  17. Donnie Yen's character is surrounded by stormtroopers in the same urban environment with a crashed X-wing in the background. He expertly whacks one with his staff. Yen is a martial artist and has starred in many Chinese martial arts films, including the Ip Man trilogy. As the first photo from the film suggested, his character is blind, which explains why the stormtroopers have their weapons lowered. This is one of the classic "underestimated blind guy is secretly a badass" situations, à la Daredevil.
  18. The Death Squad opens fire. A large transport explodes, and a Rebel with a long rifle ducks. Here we have another major location this trailer shows us: a beachy planet with palm trees. The transport is another new vehicle, and the gray coloring and folding wings (like the classic Lambda-class shuttle and even Kylo Ren's command shuttle) identify it as an Imperial vessel. 
  19. The Grand Admiral walks up the beach with dead stormtroopers and flaming wreckage all around. Long, flowing cape? This guy has a very villain-y sense of style. However, we can see that he's not afraid to step into the heat of the action and dirty his white suit. 
  20. A hooded figure kneels in front of a smoky, illuminated cylinder. This is perhaps the most intriguing shot of this trailer. The red-cloaked Imperial Royal Guards definitely suggest that the Emperor is involved in this scene, but why would the dictator of the galaxy kneel to anyone? The hooded guy doesn't resemble Darth Vader's armored figure, either. Could the cylinder be a big bacta tank for someone?
  21. Jiang Wen's character avoids an explosion. Jyn, Cassein, and more Rebels are fired at by AT-AT's as they run towards them on the beach. Wen's character is apparently the weapons enthusiast of the group, and everyone else looks armed to the teeth, suggesting that they're planning to hijack the walkers rather than escape them. These AT-AT's are slightly different than the ones seen in The Empire Strikes Back, but it's still an obvious throwback. 
  22. "If you continue to fight, what will you become?" Whitaker's character concludes. A series of lights illuminate Jyn in a TIE fighter pilot suit. This line suggests that Jyn's fate is uncertain, although she's most likely just wearing that suit as a disguise. If you listen closely, you can hear Darth Vader's breathing during Whitaker's voiceover, and along with the subsequent Imperial March theme, this is a subtle confirmation that the iconic villain will appear in the film.
Overall, this trailer excelled in explaining the time period and basic plot details Rogue One. We saw a lot of callbacks to A New Hope (the stormtroopers, the Star Destroyer, the Death Star, etc.), but only one familiar character (Mon Mothma) was explicitly shown, and many viewers may not even recognize her. Just like with The Force Awakens, this trailer tells us that Rogue One will have all the beloved themes of Star Wars, but with an extremely diverse group of new characters and tons of never-before-seen technologies and concepts. 
What did you think of the trailer? How excited are you for Rogue One? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

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