Wednesday, July 27, 2016

When Will We See the Second 'Rogue One' Trailer?

It's no secret that many fans were disappointed when Star Wars Celebration Europe neglected to deliver us the anticipated second trailer for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The trailer was shown exclusively to Celebration audiences, while the rest of us received only a behind-the-scenes reel. So when will Lucasfilm officially release a second trailer online?
First of all, from someone who's watched multiple leaked versions of the Celebration trailer (all of which have since been taken down by Lucasfilm), there's a few things you should know about it:
  1. It's a good, well-crafted trailer. It starts relatively slowly with a voiceover from Jyn Erso explaining their opportunity to strike against the seemingly-unstoppable Empire ("We haven't much time. Every day we grow weaker...while they grow stronger. This is our chance to make a real difference"), and then quickly shifts to fast-paced action shots with an exciting drum beat in the background.
  2. However, it's very short, only about 60 seconds long.
  3. There's definitely some (fascinating) new footage in there, but a significant amount is reused from the first teaser trailer in April. Like, enough to make you furrow your brow a little and think, Haven't we already seen a lot of this?
  4. It ends with a shot of Darth Vader's upside-down reflection on a large, red console. You hear him inhale once, an iconic sound that sends goosebumps down any fan's spine.

The hard truth is that the Celebration-exclusive trailer simply isn't the kind of thing that Lucasfilm will want to show off to the world. It's a nice treat for a small audience, but they'll most likely aim for something longer (like over two minutes) when they decide to present Rogue One to the world for the second time. Something that shows us more of the characters (both the heroes and the villains) and an extended look at the action sequences. And yes, they'll almost certainly keep the Vader tease at the end.

All of this means that unfortunately, we can't count on a new trailer anytime soon if the filmmakers do indeed plan on putting together a better, denser one. Based on The Force Awakens' marketing campaign – which similarly dropped a teaser in April and a BTS reel in July, and then a full-length trailer in October – we could be waiting for as long as three months.
The good news is that Star Wars trailers have never been surprises in the past few years; for every single one, there were reports (or at least rumors) of something new coming our way in the days before its release.

When do you think the second Rogue One trailer will come? What do you hope to see in it? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

Sunday, July 17, 2016

'Rebels' Steals the Show at Celebration Europe

Star Wars Celebration Europe is now officially over, and in terms of Rogue One, Episode VIII, and other cinematic reveals, the event was, frankly, underwhelming. Yes, we did get a good amount of new Rogue One footage in the form of the sizzle reel, along with the film's epic teaser poster. We also got new details regarding VIII and the Han Solo spinoff, and some exciting announcements about upcoming video games and publications. 
But it didn't really compare to what myself and other news outlets were hoping for: a second Rogue One trailer for everyone to see (instead of just the Celebration audience), the true title of Episode VIII, potential Han Solo concept art, and an update on the third Star Wars Anthology film that was rumored to center on Boba Fett. 

Even the biggest revelations – including details on Rogue One characters and planets, the nonexistent time-jump between Episodes VII and VIII, and the official announcement that Alden Ehrenreich is playing Han Solo – were mostly just confirming what any serious fan already knew. 
Ben Mendelsohn arrived to the Rogue One panel in character  
Instead, the most exciting moment of the weekend came from a somewhat unlikely source: the Star Wars Rebels panel. The new Season 3 trailer contained a lot of teases (Darth Maul, Dash Rendar, Mandalorians, etc.), but the shiver-worthy reveal of Grand Admiral Thrawn had Star Wars fans across the world dropping their jaws and feverishly tweeting their joy. 
For those unfamiliar, Thrawn is one of the most popular characters born from the Expanded Universe. He first appeared in the Heir to the Empire trilogy of novels in the early 1990s as a brilliant strategist who took command of Imperial forces to fight the New Republic in the years following Return of the Jedi

Along with hundreds of others, Thrawn was torn from the Star Wars canon in April 2014 when Lucasfilm announced that they were planning to disregard the Expanded Universe and set up a new timeline to correspond with The Force Awakens. Thanks to Rebels, Thrawn has officially returned, albeit in a different time period than his original incarnation. 
Kathleen Kennedy and the other super-producers at Lucasfilm certainly have a right to decide exactly what they want to share at each Star Wars Celebration and which tidbits they want to save until later. But something just seems wrong when an animated TV show outshines multiple highly-anticipated movies. 
Over the past year, we've entered a Golden Age of Star Wars that hasn't been felt for at least a decade (arguably, not since 1980). Perhaps this weekend simply demonstrates the contrast between how Lucasfilm has adapted to this Golden Age and how much the expectations of fans have risen. Were we expecting too much, or should the studio have tried harder to quench our enormous thirst for spectacular revelations about our favorite film series?

No matter who's to blame, Celebration Europe was a genuinely fun event for both the London audiences and the thousands of fans watching over live-stream, even if some of us walked away a little disappointed. What are you hoping for at Celebration Orlando next year? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

'Rogue One' Panel and Sizzle Reel Review

The Rogue One: A Star Wars Story panel at Star Wars Celebration Europe today was a blast, hosted by Captain Phasma herself, Gwendoline Christie, and featuring the film's cast, producers, and director. The panel delivered us a ton of new information as well as multiple new visuals, including the film's official teaser poster: 
The poster showcases one of the film's major action sequences on the tropical world of Scarif: the main group of Rebels charging across a beach to face a squadron of stormtroopers. Flying overhead are several X-Wing fighters (probably the titular Rogue Squadron), and the Death Star itself looms large in the background. The poster confirms that Scarif's proximity to the moon-sized superweapon will make it an important plot point in the film. 

The panel also included a three-minute behind-the-scenes reel with dozens of bits of new footage, much like the footage released at San Diego Comic-Con last year for The Force Awakens

Here's the highlights from the reel: 

  1. Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and other Rebel fighters take cover on a fiery battlefield. This shows us that Rogue One will be different from previous Star Wars films with its use of realistic, warlike battles. Instead of just a few heroes running around, we'll see whole armies of soldiers fighting against each other. 
  2. A man stands alone next to a moisture vaporator on a grassy field. We've seen images of Death Troopers patrolling an identical terrain, and based on what we know about Galen Erso (as well as the first image of him revealed during the panel), we can guess that Director Krennic sends his troopers to the Erso farm in order to seize Galen and his valuable knowledge. 
  3. We see director Gareth Edwards with several actors in Mon Calamari costumes. Considering the aquatic species' supporting role in the Rebel Alliance, it's no surprise that they'll appear in the film. One can only hope that Admiral Ackbar himself will turn up.
  4. Jyn hands some kind of canister to a little girl in a marketplace. The panel revealed that this is the planet Jedha, where Force believers like Chirrut Imwe go on pilgrimages. Although Jyn has been shown to be a hardened warrior, we can see that she has a soft spot for little girls in need of some help. Perhaps they remind her of Jyn's own past...
  5. Stormtroopers file into a London Underground station. During the panel, Edwards described how they had only four hours to set up and film this action sequence (between 12 and 4 AM). It appears that this location was appropriately used for a scene in which the Rebels board a hovertrain to escape an Imperial facility.
  6. Director Orson Krennic addresses several officers aboard an Imperial vessel. Krennic may not be the only one delivering intimidating speeches in this scene; the Celebration Europe-exclusive trailer (more on that later) apparently ends with the reflection of Darth Vader on a similarly shiny floor. 
  7. Jyn, Cassian, and other Rebel fighters run through flying sand on the Scarif beach. The rectangular object in Jyn's hand might just be the coveted Death Star plans. That would explain why the Empire is going to such great lengths to destroy them with stormtroopers, Death Troopers and AT-ACT's. 
  8. Several helmeted and clothed faces flash before the screen. Much like with The Force Awakens' BTS reel, this is a look at the bizarre-looking extras in the film. Rogue One may do the same thing and give these characters rich backstories, despite their blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearances. 
  9. Jyn has an intimate moment with Saw Gerrera. Although Saw has repeatedly been described as a Rebel extremist with questionable methods, this shows us that he'll form some kind of bond with Jyn. Maybe he sees something of himself in her; a young delinquent whose rebellious attitude may lead them to cross the line. 
  10. A furry creature cackles and then turns to fire a rifle out of a vehicle. The leaked character details from May identified this guy as Bistan, species and actor unknown. He'll most likely have a small role as a Rebel gunner.
  11. Cassian slams a stormtrooper into a wall. This must take place when Jyn and Cassian disguise themselves as Imperials to infiltrate a facility, like Luke and Han in A New Hope
  12. A huge explosion erupts in front of a facility on Scarif. Based on the climax of the first trailer, we can infer that this fireball is the result of AT-ACT's blasting the Rebels as they attempt to escape the facility with the Death Star plans. 
  13. Krennic and his squadron of Death Troopers approach Galen Erso on a grassy field. And here we have it, folks: the moment that sets the events of Rogue One into motion. Krennic comes to capture Galen and destroy his farm, leaving little Jyn all alone. Jyn sets on a rough path that leads her to form a deal with the Rebel Alliance, while Galen is forced to develop the Death Star.
  14. "May the Force be with us," Jyn says aboard a Rebel landing craft. This is such a pure, simple moment that truly cements this as a Star Wars story. In the context of the film, this undoubtedly takes place before the Rebels land on the beach, Invasion of Normandy-style, for the climactic battle. We know that most of the galaxy has lost faith in the Force since Revenge of the Sith, so this is foreshadowing a new era of rebellion, unity, and most of all, hope. 
A second trailer for Rogue One was shown exclusively to Celebration audiences at the end of the panel. According to Collider's description, it included footage of young Jyn and ended with Darth Vader's breathing and the aforementioned shot of his reflection on the floor. 

One of the highlights of the panel was when Jiang Wen talked about his character, Baze Malbus. In admittedly limited English, Wen described his character's "huge gun" and then his close friendship with Chirrut. 
Wen then dropped a massive spoiler when he seemed to reveal that (*MAJOR SPOILER ALERT*) Chirrut dies in the film, which convinces Baze to "do something better." Although Wen may have simply spoken incorrectly, the reactions of the other panel members – including "I think you've got to leave it right there" from Gwendoline Christie – confirmed that the Chinese star slipped up. 

Thousands of fans witnessed Wen's slip-up in person or over the panel's live-stream on YouTube. Unfortunately, Lucasfilm has since made the live-stream private and neglected to upload the Rogue One panel to the channel, suggesting that they're not keen on YouTubers re-watching the spoiler at the leisure. 
The sizzle reel isn't nearly as exciting as the new trailer that we were all promised, but it still gave us lots of new footage and the description of the Celebration-exclusive trailer alone is enough to gear us up for when it's inevitably released to the general public. What did you think of the sizzle reel? What else are you hoping from Celebration Europe? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all. 

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What to Expect from Star Wars Celebration Europe

Any serious Star Wars fan knows that the must-see event this month is Celebration Europe, taking place July 15-17 in London's ExCel Centre. The numerous panels scheduled (you can preview them here) will include announcements teases of all kinds of Star Wars entertainment – television, books, comics, video games – but the most buzzworthy moments will undoubtedly regard the future of the cinematic franchise. So what kind of reveals should we expect? Let's take a look: 
A Second Rogue One Trailer

As the biggest Star Wars release of 2016, it makes sense that Rogue One will have a notable presence at Celebration Europe. One of the biggest rumors about the event is that it will premiere the film's second trailer, since April's first look offered only a tantalizingly brief glimpse of the action and characters. 
Today, Making Star Wars discovered that ABC television listings (also available here) reveal that on July 15th at 8:00 PM, a 3-minute trailer for Rogue One will air alongside Secrets of the Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey. The trailer would certainly first screen at the film's Celebration Europe panel, 11-12 PM the same day, and it might even be released online at the same time, but this confirms that we are indeed receiving a much longer preview of Rogue One on the 15th. 

Episode VIII Teaser?

Another rumor is that the first footage from Star Wars: Episode VIII, set to wrap production on July 22nd (according to Mark Hamill), will be shown at Celebration Europe. This would be during the Future Filmmaker Discussion, featuring Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and Episode VIII director Rian Johnson, which will be marking the end of the weekend of festivities. 
However, it seems unlikely that anyone at Lucasfilm would want to overshadow the new Rogue One trailer with Episode VIII, and even a Celebration-exclusive teaser would succeed in doing that. Plus, it's pretty rare for any film to screen footage to audiences while it's not even finished with principal photography. If Episode VIII follows the same slow-build marketing campaign template as The Force Awakens, its first super-short teaser will come towards the end of this year. 

Episode VIII Title

They've gotta give audiences something exciting about the next installment in the Sequel Trilogy, right? It won't be called Episode VIII forever—there was a time when The Force Awakens was known as simply Episode VII. We don't really know what the process is of developing the sub-title of a Star Wars film, but the filmmakers could easily have settled on one by now, and Celebration Europe would be a pretty great place to announce it. 
Han Solo Spinoff

The Future Filmmaker Discussion also includes Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the directors of the yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film starring Alden Ehrenreich, set to hit theaters May 2018. It's not even starting production until next January, so we can't expect an ounce of footage, but they must have at least something to share. It could something as small as the film's title; is it going to be Han Solo: A Star Wars Story or something more creative? 

You can expect a breakdown of the second Rogue One trailer right here on July 15th. What kind of announcements are you looking forward to at Celebration Europe? What do you want to see in the second Rogue One trailer? Tell me in the comments or tweet to @SithObserver, and may the Force be with you all.